“Doctors are the discoverers of physiological functions. Yogis are the discoverers of the chakras … Just as modern science gives importance to the sense organs and their functions, likewise the ancient science of yoga gives importance to prana and its various functions in the chakras.” — Swami Kripalu, The Science of Meditation
The fourth chakra is located in the region of the heart, has twelve petals, twelve vibrational sound frequencies identified by specific Sanskrit syllables, and is associated with respiration. Its mystical diagram is the hexagon, the color is emerald (or gold), the sense organ is the skin, the sense faculty is touch, the element is air (vayu, the air of the breath), the elemental color is smoky.
The first three chakras were in the created world, the Brahma Loka, and associated with the material plane, but now we are moving on to subtler things, and subtler affairs. This brings us to the meaning of the word, anahata, the name of the fourth chakra.
Anahata means ‘unstruck’. What is being referred to here is the breathless state. The word anahata is made up of ana (breath, respiration) and ahata (an action happening without the normal attributes). The normal attribute of breath is breathing. So anahata fully defined means, breath without its normal attribute. The breathless state is just what it says—your body stops breathing. The fourth charka is the home base region of prana. Even in this state in which one is not breathing, life continues uninterrupted because prana is uninterrupted. It is prana, Life Energy, that keeps us alive, not the process of pumping air.
When you first experience the breathless state, you will become aware of it when your body starts breathing again. You will be a little surprised, but not alarmed, and definitely inspired (pun definitely intended here). I have mentioned this state before in the context of the need for absolute privacy and a secure place for the practice of Surrender Meditation. You really don’t want your meditation to be interrupted in this state because it is not good for the nervous system. But more to the point, you will not reach this state if there is any chance that your meditation will be disturbed. If you do not lock your door because you feel certain that no one in the house will walk in on you, lock it anyway, because subconsciously you will know that this possibility does exist. So lock your door.
Piercing the Brahmagranthi
In a previous post we took up the third chakra and talked briefly about the Brahmagranthi. Now we move into the Vishnu Loka, the world of Sustainment of Life. The Brahmabranthi, an obstacle to kundalini rising up the central channel, the sushumna, must be dealt with in order for the energy to be able to move on to the fourth chakra.
Anahata means ‘unstruck, produced otherwise than by striking’, like the eardrum is struck for a sound to be heard. When kundalini pierces the Brahmagranthi, you will hear it directly, not with your ears. When this happens, you will simultaneously hear it directly and feel it subtly within the body in the area of the diaphragm. It will be a loud sound as if it were in the room with you, like a very deep drum has been struck.
Aches and Attainments
When the fourth chakra is contracted, or aches, you feel lonely, separate from others, an outsider. When it is open and expanded, you love everyone regardless of other considerations, regardless of what others may do or feel towards you, and regardless of emotions you feel that are contrary to this state of unconditional love.
When the fourth chakra has been evolved by kundalini, you attain the gifts of prophesy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and levitation, and have contact with the adepts.