Anāhata (sanskrit: अनाहत)
Anāhata Nāda – unlimited, infinite sound
Just as love is infinite, so also is the Anāhata Chakra. And the extent of the radiance of the Anāhata Chakra depends upon the depths of our relationships. When our heart opens to divine love, our love becomes infinite.
- Prana: Prana – breath
- Planet: Venus
- Solar Sign: Libra
- Lunar Sign: Taurus
- Plane: Mahar Loka – balance
- Principle: Sankalpa-Vikalpa – forming and discarding of ideas; Moon – changeability
- Precious Stone: Saphire
- Metal: Copper
- Mineral: Potassium
- Characteristic: Moha – Lack of vision, perception (cause of attachment)
- Sensation: Trishna – thirst
- Sense Organ: Tvach – skin (principle Vayu – touch)
- Taste: Astringent
- Quality: Prasarana – expansion
- Part of the Body: Pani – hands (principle Indra – giving and taking)
- Organ: Nadi – nerves
- Secretion: Svedha – perspiration
- Gland: Thymus
- Plexus: Cardiac Plexus
- Other Names: Heart Chakra, Hridayakamala, Chinta Mani
Position within the body
The Anāhata Chakra is one of the most beautiful and richest Chakras, and invites us to dwell longer in its inexhaustible treasures of delightful feelings and experiences. It is located in the region of the heart, in the centre of the chest, and this is why it is also known as the Heart Centre. And it is not without reason that the heart is regarded as the symbol of love, for the Anāhata Chakra is the seat of love.
Qualities and Aspects
- JĪVAN JYOTI – Seat of the ‘Living Light’
- ĀTMA BHAKTI – Love, devotion, understanding, compassion, forgiveness
- BHĀVA SAMĀDHI – Samādhi of love for God
- positive: ICCHĀ SHAKTI (willpower), KRIYĀ SHAKTI (vigour/drive)
- SANKALPA SHAKTI – Power of wish fulfilment
- MANTRA SHAKTI – Power of words
- AJAPĀ JAPA – spontaneous, constant repetition of Mantra
- Seat of feelings and emotions, creative writing, artistic talent
- positive aspect: awakening of divine love
- negative aspect: changing emotions, stagnation of development
The most important and most beautiful quality of the Anāhata Chakra is BHAKTI. Bhakti means love and devotion. Love and devotion manifest as understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion and helpfulness. If all people developed these qualities there would be no further arguments or wars. Satya Yuga, the age of truth and purity (the “golden age”) where harmony, love and consideration reign supreme everywhere, would again begin. But at present we are a long way from this – often we are not even able to establish peace within our own family.
The first step in self-realisation is to recognise your own Self in every living being. Whoever has realised this feels the joy and the pain of others in the same way as their own feelings.
The Anāhata Chakra is our inner temple in which the divine Ātmā, “the flame of life”, resides. Self-Realisation, also known as God-Realisation, involves the recognition of our own Self, the Ātmā. To show that something belongs to us or concerns us we spontaneously point to the centre of the chest, the site of the Anāhata Chakra. No-one points to the head, the stomach or any other part of the body. This shows clearly that we spontaneously identify ourselves with the Ātmā within the heart centre.
The Ātmā is a part of God. It is pure, unchanging, Infinite Consciousness. It is Eternal, Unborn and Immortal, and exists in every living being. Just as the whole tree is already contained and present within a seed, the essence of the entire cosmos exists in the centre of the Heart Chakra.
The Jīvātmā lives joyfully in the liberated feeling of divine love and heavenly bliss when it has found its way to its true Self in the Anāhata Chakra. Bhakti Yogis, especially, who follow the path of devotion to God, linger here for a very long time. In the infinite space of the heart they are constantly discovering something new, fascinating and attractive. But the Heart Chakra is not the final goal. That is why it is necessary to continue along the path towards knowledge of God and God-Realisation in accordance with the teachings of Gyāna Yoga.
Anāhata means “infinite” and “continuous”. In the Anāhata Chakra we hear Anāhata Nāda, the constant, fundamental sound of the Universe, the eternal vibration of the Self. Its sound is SO HAM – “That I am, I am That”. We perceive it as a subtle rhythmic melody similar to a heartbeat, but much softer and more wonderful.
On one hand we experience delightful, happy feelings in the Anāhata Chakra, but on the other hand it is extremely easy to become unbalanced in this Chakra. If the mind and consciousness are not pure, misleading thoughts and feelings, fixed ideas and complexes that affect us physically and psychically arise in the Anāhata Chakra. Deep in the hear we come across numerous unprocessed experiences and Karmas from the past, which are resting in the subconscious.
The more the Heart Centre opens, the more strongly and deeply we feel the spiritual pain – but we can rest assured that it will finally dissolve in the light of love and wisdom. Therefore we should not forget to keep the door of our heart open. Because when we keep the heart closed for fear of further injuries, we simultaneously block our feelings and prevent them from being assimilated or expressed.
This is why the Āgyā Chakra should be developed hand in hand with the Anāhata Chakra so that emerging feelings can be analysed and controlled by Viveka (discrimination) and Buddhi (intellect) – not by harsh criticism or reproaches but with loving understanding and insight, which heal and resolve. In the Anāhata Chakra we are able to expand our feelings into infinity, but in the Āgyā Chakra we raise them to a higher level of consciousness.
To open the Anāhata Chakra in the spiritual sense means the realisation of all-embracing divine love, free from the capriciousness of worldly emotions.
When the life force flows within us unhindered and harmoniously, we feel light-hearted and happy. Happiness means to be in complete balance. When we are free of fear and tension the Heart Chakra opens and imparts pleasant feelings and inner strength. This strength heals the inner wounds and allows us to forget the pain and unpleasantness of the past.
But, unfortunately, this feeling of happiness is transitory. It relates only to the physical and psychic levels. We do, in fact, experience Ānanda (bliss), but still lack Sat (truth, reality) and Chit (consciousness) . In the heart we are able to perceive our inner reality and the beauty of the Self, but we are unable to maintain this state permanently. In these fleeting moments of bliss we are always conscious that we still have not reached our goal.
Two specific problems that we encounter in the Anāhata Chakra are worldly attachment and dependency. Often we feel we are tied to someone but are not necessarily happy about the relationship. A communal bond can be found everywhere in nature and is important for the maintenance of social order. But if we have fulfilled our duties in life and are still unable to release ourselves from the constant worry of family and possessions, this indicates a false sense of attachment. And, apart from the ego, this is one of the biggest hurdles on the spiritual path.
How can we recognise whether our feelings express dependency or genuine love? There is a very simple test for this:
- Love brings joy, not sadness.
- Love shows understanding and provokes no arguments.
- Love provides security and makes no demands.
- Love grants freedom and knows no jealousy.
Just like self-interested affection, feelings of resentment and revenge are also types of attachment that bind us. The body dies but the attachment does not disappear and binds us for several lifetimes. The cause of all problems is MAMATĀ , attached to “mine”. Mamatā is a strong, binding force that pulls us towards our desires and expectations. Mamatā clings to us like a leech and sucks out our spiritual power. Its companions are ĀSHĀ (hope/expectation) and TRISHNĀ (“thirst” – desire,longing). For as long as these exist within us we are unable to reach our goal.
Letting go is very difficult for us all. It gives rise to fear and defensiveness within us because we are dependent upon our habits even if they harm us or cause pain. We believe that we will lose our identity, our purpose in life, but the exact opposite is the case.
- Vairāgya liberates us from fear and sorrow
- Vairāgya means to love all
- Vairāgya is love.
he Anāhata Chakra is also known as CHINTĀ MANI because it bestows upon us the gift of expressing our thoughts and feelings in touching words, pictures or melodies. When we are in the Anāhata Chakra our perceptions become finer and more comprehensive. Artistic talents and creative abilities, through which we are able to touch the hearts of others, are awakened within us. These rediscovered treasures awaken infinite love and the desire to open to and communicate with others. Poetry, stories, pictures and sounds that we create from the heart allow the most beautiful chords to be struck within people. This is because love, the language of the heart and the call of God, manifests within them.
Those who call upon God long for truth, love and bliss. Even if the artist still has not realised God, the inner veil is lifted for a short time and other spheres are revealed through the artist’s vision and intuition. This gift is bestowed by the awakening of the Anāhata Chakra. Those who are able to realise their artistic talent are blessed and inwardly rich; and with the inspiration and creativity comes Ānanda, inner fulfilment and peace of mind. Countless works of art testify to the fact that people who have opened their Anāhata Chakra are able to accomplish marvellous things.
Everyone of us possesses artistic abilities that are able to enrich ourselves and others. Whether you paint, draw, write, play a musical instrument or sing, all these open your heart and allow you to feel the closeness and beauty of God.
The divinities of the Anāhata Chakra are SHIVA and SHAKTI . Shiva (or Purusha) is pure consciousness that steers us towards goodness and the Supreme Self. Shakti (or Prakriti) is the Divine power through which consciousness manifests.
The aspects of Purusha and Prakriti are also found in Sūrya Shakti (the power of the sun) and Chandra Shakti (the power of the moon). Both flow in our Nādīs and have a significant influence on our physical and psychic state of health.
- Lotus: 12 petals – 12 qualities of the heart: joy, peace, kindness, patience, love, harmony, clarity, compassion, purity, understanding, forgiveness, bliss.
We find a Lotus with twelve petals in the Anāhata Chakra. The petals represent the five Prānas and the five Upa Prānas (or expressed another way – the five Gyāna Indriyas and the five Karma Indriyas ), together with Manas and Buddhi. In this context Manas denotes the disposition and Buddhi the intellectual capacity.
The twelve petals also depict the twelve most important qualities that we are able to develop in the heart centre: Joy, peace, love, harmony, bliss, clarity, purity, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, patience and kindness.
To live with an open, loving heart means to awaken and cultivate these twelve qualities. When we sprinkle the Lotus of the Anāhata Chakra with the water of Bhakti (devotion) these twelve petals blossom into the celestial flower of Universal love, the fragrance of which delights everyone.
- Animal: ANTELOPE – vigilance, speed, sensitivity.
The animal symbol of the Anāhata Chakra is a black ANTELOPE. The antelope is fast and powerful, and at the same time delicate and sensitive. With its refined senses it senses danger well in advance. It is vigilant day and night, just as we should be on our spiritual path – always attentive and careful.
- NEW MOON – changeability, path to perfection.
- Two Triangles – rising and falling energy.
In the Anāhata Chakra there are two more important symbols – a SIX-POINTED STAR together with a NEW MOON. Both relate to the changeability we experience in this Chakra.
The six-pointed star is formed by two intersecting triangles. The triangle with the tip pointing upwards symbolises the energy (Shakti) that offers us the possibility of raising our state of consciousness. The inverted triangle implies that we can also very easily slip back into the lower Chakras again from the Heart Chakra. The triangles also highlight the inner battle that takes place within the heart between spirituality and emotion. When we purify our emotions we raise ourselves above earthly emotions and the spiritual love that rises in the Anāhata Chakra is the first radiation of the Divine light within us. But this enlightenment does not last because we still have to struggle with contradictory inner tendencies until our spiritual feelings are strengthened sufficiently.
The moon grows daily until it finally becomes the radiant full moon. In the same way our spiritual development is fostered by our daily practice until one day it achieves perfection. And just as the Lunar phases influence nature and the tides, the feelings within our heart are also subject to constant change; aggression and enthusiasm alternating with kindness, helpfulness and consistency.
In much the same way as the narrow crescent of the new moon is virtually invisible in the sky, our love for God exists within us unconsciously at all times, but our feelings of love are primarily directed towards worldly things. Love for Māyā always leads to disappointment, whereas love for God never disappoints. The more we steer our love towards God, the more love flows towards us.
When we constantly guide our consciousness towards God, then one day there is no longer anywhere that we do not see God. When the river flows into the ocean there is neither river nor bank, only the endless ocean stretching in all directions. This is our goal – unity with God.
- Mantra: YAM.
The Mantra of the Anāhata Chakra is YAM. It means to let go, to liberate, to give.
YAMA also refers to the five ethical principles of Rāja Yoga:
AHIMSĀ – non-violence SATYA – truthfulness ASTEYA – not stealing BRAHMACHARYA – pure way of life APARIGRAHA – non-accumulation To purify the consciousness and heart by adherence to these principles is a lifelong task, as new situations will continue to arise. Through prayer, practising Mantra, Satsang and singing Bhajans we are not only able to clear blockages in the Anāhata Chakra, but also in the Manipūra Chakra and Vishuddhi Chakra. When energy is able to flow freely through the heart again fear, annoyance, sadness and nervousness are “washed away”.
- Colour: SKY BLUE – purity, freedom, expansiveness, infinity; ORANGE and GREEN – radiation of the fire from the Manipūra chakra.
The colour of the Anāhata Chakra is LIGHT BLUE. Blue means spirituality and unity. It is the colour of the clear, cloudless sky, the reflection of purity and infinity. Also, the colour of the flame of a candle is blue in the centre as it is not polluted by smoke. When we purify the fire of the Manipūra its reflection in the Anāhata Chakra is also clear and pure. Sometimes when we are meditating on the Anāhata Chakra we can perceive the radiance from the glow of the Manipūra Chakra as a yellowish-orange colour.
- Tattva: VĀYU (Air) – movement, energy, touch, sensation.
The Tattva of the Anāhata Chakra is VĀYU, the air element. Air forms the basis for movement and expansion and symbolises the breadth and boundlessness of the heart, within which our consciousness is able to expand without restriction. Vāyu is connected physically to the sense of touch and the skin (the organ of touch), and emotionally to the level of feelings. When the heart is touched it can give us a feeling of becoming lost in an ocean of emotions or sinking into our feelings.
When air is in motion it develops an immense power. Storms can even uproot strong trees and destroy whole houses. Infinite power also exists within the Anāhata Chakra; and it can be utilised positively or negatively. Just like a raging storm, anger and fury can devastate everything positive and beautiful that we have built in our lives; but the power of love is capable of achieving miracles and moving mountains.