THE CHAKRAS A MONOGRAPH
THE ABSORPTION OF VITALITY
THE vitality globule though inconceivably minute, is so brilliant that it is often seen even by those who are not in the ordinary sense clairvoyant. Many a man, looking out towards the distant horizon, especially over the sea, will notice against the sky a number of the tiniest possible points of light dashing about in all directions with amazing rapidity. These are the vitality globules, each consisting of seven physical atoms, as shown in Fig. 5C - the Fiery Lives, specks charged with that force which the Hindus call prana. It is often exceedingly difficult to be certain of the exact shade of meaning attached to these Sanskrit terms, because the Indian method of approaching these studies is so different from our own; but I think we may safely take prana as the equivalent to our vitality.
When this globule is flashing about in the atmosphere, brilliant as it is, it is almost colourless, and shines with a white or slightly golden light. But as soon as it is drawn into the vortex of the force-centre at the spleen it is decomposed and breaks up into streams of different colours, though it does not follow exactly our division of the spectrum. As its component atoms are whirled round the vortex, each of the six spokes seizes upon one of them, so that all the atoms charged with yellow flow along one, and all those charged with green along another, and so on, while the seventh disappears through the centre of the vortex - through the hub of the wheel, as it were. These rays then pass off in different directions, each to do its special work in the vitalization of the body. Plate VIII gives a diagrammatic
representation of these paths of the dispersed prana.
As I have said, the colours of the divisions of prana are not exactly those which we ordinarily use in the solar spectrum, but rather resemble the arrangement of colours which we see on higher levels in the causal, mental and astral bodies. What we call indigo is divided between the violet ray and the blue ray, so that we find only two divisions there instead of
three; but on the other hand what we usually call red is divided into two - rose-red and dark red. The six radiants are therefore violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and dark red; while the seventh or rose-red atom (more properly the first, since this is the original atom in which the force first appeared) passes down through the centre of the vortex. Vitality is thus clearly sevenfold in its constitution, but it flows through the body in five main streams, as has been stated in some of the Indian book, for after issuing from the splenic centre the blue and the violet join into one ray, and so do the orange and the dark red (Plate VIII).
THE VIOLET-BLUE RAY
(1) The violet-blue ray flashes upwards to the throat, where it seems to divide itself, the light blue remaining to course through and quicken the throat-centre, while the dark blue and violet pass on into the brain. The dark blue expends itself in the lower and central parts of the brain, while the violet floods the upper part, and appears to give special vigour to the force-centre at the top of the head, diffusing itself chiefly through the nine hundred and sixty petals of the outer part of that centre.
THE YELLOW RAY
(2) The yellow ray is directed to the heart, but after doing its work there part of it also passes on to the brain and permeates it, directing itself principaly to the twelve-petalled flower in the midst of the highest force-centre.
THE GREEN RAY
(3) The green ray floods the abdomen, and whale centring especially in the solar plexus, evidently vivifies the liver, kidneys and intestines, and the digestive apparatus generally.
THE ROSE RAY
(4) The rose-coloured ray runs all over the body along the nerves, and is clearly the life of the nervous system. This is the specialized vitality which one man may readily pour into another in whom it is deficient. If the nerves are not fully supplied with this rosy light they become sensitive and intensely irritable, so that the patient finds it almost impossible to remain in one position, and yet gains but little ease when he moves to another. The least noise or touch is agony to him, and he is in a condition of acute misery. The flooding of his nerves with specialized prana by some healthy person brings instant relief, and a feeling of healing and peace descends upon him. A man in robust health usually absorbs and specializes so much more of this vitality than is actually needed by his own body that he is constantly radiating a torrent of rose-coloured atoms, and so unconsciously pours strength upon his weaker fellows without losing anything himself; or by an effort of his will he can gather together this superfluous energy and aim it intentionally at one whom he wishes to help.
The physical body has a certain blind instinctive consciousness of its own, which we sometimes call the physical elemental. It corresponds in the physical world to the desireelemental of the astral body; and this consciousness seeks always to protect its body from danger, or to procure for it whatever may be necessary. This is entirely apart from the
consciousness of the man himself, and it works equally well during the absence of the ego from the physical body during sleep. All our instinctive movements are due to it, and it is through its activity that the working of the sympathetic system is carried on ceaselessly without any thought or knowledge on our part.
While we are what we call awake, this physical elemental is perpetually occupied in self-defence; he is in a condition of constant vigilance, and he keeps the nerves and muscles always tense. During the night or at any time when we sleep he lets the nerves and muscles relax, and devotes himself specially to the assimilation of vitality and the recuperation of the physical body. He works at this most successfully during the early part of the night, because then there is plenty of vitality, whereas immediately before the dawn the vitality which has been left behind by the sunlight is almost completely exhausted. This is the reason for the feeling of limpness and deadness associated with the small hours of the morning; this is also the reason why sick men so frequently die at that particular time. The same idea is embodied
in the old proverb which says that an hour’s sleep before midnight is worth two after it. The work of this physical elemental accounts for the strong recuperative influence of sleep, which is often observable even when it is a mere momentary nap.
This vitality is indeed the food of the etheric double, and is just as necessary to it as is material sustenance to the grosser part of the physical body. Hence when the splenic centre is unable for any reason (as through sickness, fatigue or extreme old age) to prepare vitality for the nourishment of the cells of the body, this physical elemental endeavours to draw in for his own use vitality which has already been prepared in the bodies of others; and thus it happens that we often find ourselves weak and exhausted after sitting for a while with a person who is depleted of vitality, because he has drawn the rose-coloured atoms away from us by suction before we were able to extract their energy.
The vegetable kingdom also absorbs this vitality, but seems in most cases to use only a small part of it. Many trees draw from it almost exactly the same constituents as does the higher part of man’s etheric body, the result being that when they have used what they require, the atoms which they reject are precisely those charged with the rose-coloured light which is needed for the cells of man's physical body. This is specially the case with such trees as the pine and the eucalyptus; and consequently the very neighbourhood of these trees gives health and strength to those who are suffering from lack of this part of the vital principle - those whom we call nervous people. They are nervous because the cells of their bodies are hungry, and the nervousness can only be allayed by feeding them; and often the readiest way
to do that is thus to supply them from without with the special kind of vitality which they need.
THE ORANGE-RED RAY
(5) The orange-red ray flows to the base of the spine and thence to the generative organs, with which one part of its functions is closely connected. This ray appears to include not only the orange and the darker reds, but also a certain amount of dark purple, as though the spectrum bent round in a circle and the colours began over again at a lower octave.
COLOURS OF CHAKRAS ENTERED COLORS GIVEN IN PRINCIPLES
Light blue Throat Blue Atma (auric envelope)
Yellow Heart Yellow Buddhi
Dark blue Brow Indigo or dark blue Higher manas
Green Navel Green Kama manas – lower
Rose Spleen Red Kama rupa
Violet Crown Violet Etheric double
Orange-red (with another Root (Afterwards Crown)... ...
In the normal man this ray energizes the desires of the flesh, and also seems to enter the blood and help to keep up the heat of the body; but if a man persistently refuses to yield to his lower nature, this ray can by long and determined effort be deflected upwards to the brain, where all three of its constituents undergo a remarkable modification. The orange is raised into pure yellow, and produces a decided intensification of the powers of the intellect; the dark red becomes crimson, and greatly increases the quality of unselfish affection; while the dark purple is transmuted into a lovely pale violet, and quickens the spiritual part of man’s nature. The man who achieves this transmutation will find that sensual desires no longer trouble him, and when it becomes necessary for him to arouse the higher layers of the
serpent-fire he will be free from the most serious of the dangers of that process. When a man has finally completed this change, this orange-red ray passes straight into the centre at the base of the spine, and from that runs upwards along the hollow of the vertebral column, and so to the brain.
There seems to be a certain correspondence (Table III) between the colours of the streams of prana flow to the several chakras and the colours assigned by Madame Blavatsky to the principles of man in her diagram in The Secret Doctrine, Vol. V, p. 454, Fifth (Adyar) Edition.
THE FIVE PRANA VAYUS
In the Hindu books there is frequent reference to the five principal Vayus or pranas.
The Gheranda Samhita gives their positions briefly as follows:
The prana moves always in the heart; the apana in the sphere of the anus; the samana in the region of the navel; the udana in the throat; and the vyana pervades the whole body.*
Numerous other books give the same description, and say no more about their functions, but some add a little more information, as follows:
The air called vyana carries the essential part in all the nerves. Food, as soon as it is eaten, is split into two by that air. Having entered near the anus it separates the solid and liquid portions; having placed the water over the fire, and the solid over the water, the prana itself, standing under the fire, inflames it slowly. The fire, inflamed by the air, separates substance from the waste. The vyana air makes the essence go all over, and the waste, forced through the twelve gateways, is ejected from the body.†
The five airs as thus described seem to agree fairly well with the five divisions of vitality which we have observed, as shown in Table IV.
PRANA VAYU AND REGION RAY OF VITALITY CHIEFLY AFFECTED
Prana; heart Yellow Cardiac
Apana; anus Orange-red Basic
Samana; navel Green Umbilical
Udana; throat Violet-blue Laryngeal
Vyana; the entire body Rose Splenic
* Op. cit., vv. 61-2. Sacred Books of the Hindus Series. Trans. Sris Chandra Vidyarnava.
† Garuda Purana, XV, 10-3. Sacred Books of the Hindus Series. Trans. Wood.
VITALITY AND HEALTH
The flow of vitality in these various currents regulates the health of the parts of the body with which they are concerned. If a person is suffering from a weak digestion, it manifests itself at once to any person possessing etheric sight, because either the flow and action of the green stream is sluggish or its amount is smaller in proportion than it should be.
Where the yellow current is full and strong, it indicates, or more properly produces, strength and regularity in the action of the heart. Flowing round that centre, it also interpenetrates the blood which is driven through it, and is sent along with it all over the body. Yet there is enough of it left to extend into the brain also, and the power of high philosophical and metaphysical thought appears to depend to a great extent upon the volume and activity of this yellow stream, and the corresponding awakening of the twelve-petalled flower in the middle of the force-centre at the top of the head.
Thought and emotion of a high spiritual type seem to depend largely upon the violet ray, whereas the power of ordinary thought is stimulated by the action of the blue mingled with part of the yellow. In some forms of idiocy the flow of vitality to the brain, both yellow and blue-violet, is almost entirely inhibited. Unusual activity or volume in the light blue
which is apportioned to the throat-centre is accompanied by the health and strength of the physical organs in that part of the body. It gives strength and elasticity to the vocal cords, so that special brilliance and activity are noticeable in the case of a public speaker or a great singer. Weakness or disease in any part of the body is accompanied by a deficiency in the flow of vitality to that part.
THE FATE OF THE EMPTY ATOMS
As the different streams of atoms do their work, the charge of vitality is withdrawn from them, precisely as an electrical charge might be. The atoms bearing the rose-coloured ray grow gradually paler as they are swept along the nerves, and are eventually thrown out from the body through the pores - making thus what was called in Man Visible and Invisible
the health-aura. By the time that they leave the body most of them have lost the rose-coloured light, so that the general appearance of the emanation is bluish-white. That part of the yellow ray which is absorbed into the blood and carried round with it loses its distinctive colour in just the same way.
The atoms, when thus emptied of their charge of vitality, either enter into some of the combinations which are constantly being made in the body, or pass out of it through the pores, or through the ordinary channels. The emptied atoms of the green ray, which is connected chiefly with digestive processes, seem to form part of the ordinary waste material of the body, and to pass out along with it, and that is also the fate of the atoms of the redorange ray in the case of the ordinary man. The atoms belonging to the blue rays, which are used in connection with the throat-centre, generally leave the body in the exhalations of the breath; and those which compose the dark blue and violet rays usually pass out from the centre at the top of the head.
When the student has learnt to deflect the orange-red rays so that they also move up through the spine, the empty atoms of both these and the violet-blue rays pour out from the top of the head in a fiery cascade which, as we have already seen in Fig. 2, is frequently imaged as a flame in ancient statues of the Lord Buddha and other great saints. These atoms are thus used again as physical vehicles for some of the glorious and beneficent forces which highly evolved men radiate from that crown chakra.
When empty of the vital force the atoms are once more precisely like any other atoms, except that they have evolved somewhat through the use that has been made of them. The body absorbs such of them as it needs, so that they form part of the various combinations which are constantly being made, while others which are not required for such purposes are cast out through any channel that happens to be convenient.
The flow of vitality into or through any centre, or even its intensification, must not be confused with the entirely different development of the centre which is brought about by the awakening of the higher levels of the serpent-fire at a later stage in man’s evolution, with which we shall deal in the next chapter. We all draw in vitality and specialize it, but many of us do not utilize it to the full, because in various ways our lives are not as pure and healthy and reasonable as they should be. One who coarsens his body by the use of meat, alcohol or tobacco can never employ his vitality to the full in the same way as can a man of purer living.
A particular individual of impure life may be, and often is, stronger in the physical body than certain other men who are purer; that is a matter of their respective karma; but other things being equal, the man of pure life has an immense advantage.
All the colours of this order of vitality are etheric, yet it will be seen that their action presents certain correspondences with the signification attached to similar hues in the astral body. Clearly, right thought and right feeling react upon the physical body and increase its power to assimilate the vitality which is necessary for its well-being. It is reported that the Lord Buddha once said that the first step on the road to Nirvana is perfect physical health; and assuredly the way to attain that is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path which he has indicated. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” - yes, even physical health as well.
VITALITY AND MAGNETISM
The vitality coursing along the nerves must not be confused with what we usually call the magnetism of the man - his own nerve-fluid, specialized within the spine, and composed of the primary life-force intermingled with the kundalini. It is this fluid which keeps up the constant circulation of etheric matter along the nerves, corresponding to the circulation of blood through the arteries and veins; and as oxygen is conveyed by the blood to all parts of the body, so vitality is conveyed along the nerves by this etheric current. The particles of the etheric part of man’s body are constantly changing, just as are those of the denser part; along with the food which we eat and the air which we breathe we take in etheric matter, and this is assimilated by the etheric part of the body. Etheric matter is constantly being thrown off from
the pores, just as is gaseous matter, so that when two persons are close together each necessarily absorbs much of the physical emanations of the other.
When one person mesmerizes another, the operator by an effort of will gathers together a great deal of this magnetism and throws it into the subject, pushing back his victim’s nerve-fluid, and filling its place with his own. As the brain is the centre of this nervous circulation, this brings that part of the subject’s body which is affected under the control of the manipulator’s brain instead of the victim’s and so the latter feels what the mesmerist wishes him to feel. If the recipient’s brain be emptied of his own magnetism and filled with that of the performer, the former can think and act only as the latter wills that he should think and act; he is for the time entirely dominated.
Even when the magnetizer is trying to cure, and is pouring strength into the man, he inevitably gives along with the vitality much of his own emanations. It is obvious that any disease which the mesmerizer happens to have may readily be conveyed to the subject in this way; and another even more important consideration is that, though his health may be perfect from the medical point of view, there are mental and moral diseases as well as physical, and that, as astral and mental matter are thrown into the subject by the mesmerist along with the physical current, these also are frequently transferred.
Nevertheless, a man who is pure in thought and filled with the earnest desire to help his fellows may often do much by mesmerism to relieve suffering, if he will take the trouble to study this subject of the currents which enter the body through the chakras and flow along the nerves. What is it that the mesmerist pours into his subject? It may be either the nerve ether or the vitality, or both. Supposing a patient to be seriously weakened or exhausted, so that he has lost the power to specialize the life-fluid for himself, the mesmerist may renew his stock by pouring some of his own upon the quivering nerves, and so produce a rapid recovery. The process is analogous to what is often done in the case of food. When a person reaches a certain stage of weakness the stomach loses the power to digest, and so the body is
not properly nourished, and the feebleness is thereby increased. The remedy adopted in that case is to present to the stomach food already partially digested by means of pepsin or other similar preparations; this can probably be assimilated, and thus strength is gained. Just so, a man who is unable to specialize for himself may still absorb what has been already prepared by another, and so gain strength to make an effort to resume the normal action of the etheric
organs. In many cases of debility that is all that is needed.
There are other instances in which congestion of some kind has taken place, the vital fluid has not circulated properly, and the nerve-aura is sluggish and unhealthy. Then the obvious course of proceeding is to replace it by healthy nerve-ether from without; but there are several ways in which this may be done. Some magnetizers simply employ brute force,
and steadily pour in resistless floods of their own ether in the hope of washing away that which needs removal. Success may be attained along these lines, though with the expenditure of a good deal more energy than is necessary. A more scientific method is that which goes to work somewhat more quietly, and first withdraws the congested or diseased matter, and then replaces it by healthier nerve-ether, thus gradually stimulating the sluggish current into activity. If the patient has a headache, for example, there will almost certainly be a congestion of noxious ether about some part of his brain, and the first step is to draw that away.
How is this to be managed? Just in the same way as the out-pouring of strength is managed – by an exercise of the will. We must not forget that these finer subdivisions of matter are readily moulded or affected by the action of the human will. The mesmerist may make passes, but they are at the most nothing but the pointing of his gun in a certain direction, while his will is the powder that moves the ball and produces the result, the fluid being the shot sent out. A mesmerizer who understands his business can manage as well without passes if he wishes; I have known one who never employed them, but simply looked at his subject. The only use of the hand is to concentrate the fluid, and perhaps to help the
imagination of the operator; for to will strongly he must believe firmly, and the action no doubt makes it easier for him to realize what he is doing.
Just as a man may pour out magnetism by an effort of will, so may he draw it away by an effort of will; and in this case also he may often use a gesture of the hands to help him. In dealing with the headache, he would probably lay his hands upon the forehead of the patient, and think of them as sponges steadily drawing out the deleterious magnetism from the brain.
That he is actually producing the result of which he thinks, he will be very likely soon to discover, for unless he takes precautions to cast off the bad magnetism which he is absorbing, he will either himself feel the headache or begin to suffer from a pain in the arm and hand with which the operation is being performed. He is actually drawing into himself diseased matter, and it is necessary for his comfort and well-being that he should dispose of it before it obtains a permanent lodgment in his body.
He should therefore adopt some definite plan to get rid of it, and the simplest is just to throw it away, to shake it from the hands as one would shake water. Although he does not see it, the matter which he has withdrawn is physical, and we can deal with it by physical means.
It is therefore necessary that he should not neglect these precautions, and that he should not forget to wash his hands carefully after curing a headache or any malady of that nature. Then, after he has removed the cause of the evil, he proceeds to pour in good strong healthy magnetism to take its place, and to protect the patient against the return of the disease. One can see that in the case of any nervous affection this method would have manifold advantages. In most of such cases what is wrong is an irregularity of the fluids which course along the nerves; either they are congested, or they are sluggish in their flow, or on the other hand they may be too rapid; they may be deficient in quantity, or poor in quality. If we administer drugs of any sort, at the best we can act only upon the physical nerve, and through it to some limited extent upon the fluids surrounding it; whereas mesmerism acts directly upon the fluids themselves, and so goes straight to the root of the evil.