Āgyā = Command, Knowledge, Wisdom
In the Āgyā Chakra the development of our wisdom and humanity is completed and we reach the bridge to Divine Consciousness. It is located at the upper end of the spinal column, at the point of transition from the spine to the brain. Its radiation is, however, primarily perceptible in the centre of the forehead between the eyebrows. Therefore, it is also known as the “Eyebrow Centre” or “Third Eye”. Another expression for the Āgyā Chakra is “Guru Chakra – the Seat of the Master”.
Who can give us orders? Whose instructions should we follow? Only an initiate can show us the correct path, for only that one has the knowledge gained through personal experience and mastery that can then be imparted to others.
In connection with this it is important to understand what an initiate, a Master (a Guru), is. Guru Tattva is the Divine Principle of the evolution of consciousness. Therefore, the Guru represents the universal, divine principle that leads us from darkness to light – which means from ignorance to knowledge, from death to immortality.
All holy incarnations have been “Gurus”. Jesus was the Master of his disciples, Krishna was the Master of Arjuna, and he himself had a Guru, Rishi Sandīpa. When disciple and Master unite, when the “Guru Principle” has been awakened in the consciousness of the disciple and the disciple begins to guide himself, the disciple then becomes his own master.
The Guru Principle is recognisable within a person as clarity, wisdom (Gyānā) and the ability to discriminate between truth and untruth, reality and unreality (Viveka).
We do not need to seek truth; it is always in front of us. But in order to recognise it a person needs an open, pure consciousness and clear thoughts. While our mind remains cloudy, like a dirty mirror, we see everything hazily and unclearly. It is only in a purified mind and mature consciousness that Gyānā – wisdom and spiritual knowledge – can be broadened.
Until we are capable of anchoring our consciousness in the Āgyā Chakra our mind oscillates constantly between the human Chakras – the Mūlādhāra, Svādhishthāna, Manipūra, Anāhata and Vishuddhi. While we are still lacking in discrimination we should listen to the advice of the Master in order to avoid mistakes. Everyone has experienced how painful it can be when we ignore the advice of an experienced person. But the more our consciousness evolves towards the Āgyā Chakra, the freer and more independent we become in choosing correctly and making the right decisions.
Srī Mahāprabhujī teaches us:
“Be yourself, live happily and wisely, without dependence.
Awaken your abilities and use them.
Recognise your inner wealth.
You possess everything. The entire Universe is yourself.”
Normally our decisions are determined by selfish motives with the aim of gaining the greatest possible advantage for ourselves, and anyone we regard as belonging to us. Viveka (discrimination) is the moral authority in the Āgyā Chakra that weighs up and reviews our intentions in line with ethical and spiritual standards. Viveka filters and controls all our feelings and thoughts with a sense of responsibility and wisdom. Without this counterbalance we remain caught in the changing currents of our emotions, whose waves can one time carry us to the shore of happiness and another time to the shore of sorrow.
Until the Āgyā Chakra is awakened, we are often incapable of understanding ourself. We are unable to control the qualities and emotions that rise from the lower centres, or find an explanation for the stirrings of emotions, thoughts and dreams that suddenly surface in our mind. Why do we often feel uncertain and intimidated? Because we have no control over our inner functions and wrongly identify with the constantly changing emotions and thoughts.
In reality we are neither body nor psyche; the body, mind, thoughts and feelings, etc., do in fact belong to us, but we are something else, which is expressed very vividly by Srī Shankarāchārya, the Master of Vedanta philosophy , in the following Bhajan:
SHIVO’HAM, SHIVO’HAM, SHIVO’HAM, SHIVO’HAM
VAHĪ ĀTMĀ SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA MAI HŪ
AMARA ĀTMĀ SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA MAI HŪ
AKHILA VISHVĀ KĀ JO PARAMA ĀTMĀ HAI,
SABHĪ PRĀNIYO KA VAHĪ ĀTMĀ HAI
AMARA ĀTMĀ HAI MARANA SHILA KĀYĀ,
SABHĪ PRĀNIYO KE JO BHĪTAR SAMĀYĀ
JISE SHASTRA KĀTE NA AGNI JALĀVE
BUJHĀVE NA PĀNĪ NA MRITYU MITĀVE
HAI TĀRO SITĀRO ME ĀLOKA JISAKĀ
HAI CHANDA VA SURAJA ME ABHASA JISAKA
JO VYĀPAKA KAN-KAN ME HAI VĀSA JISAKĀ
NAHĪ TĪNO KĀLO ME HO NĀSHA JISAKĀ
AJARA OR AMARA JISKO VEDO NE GĀYĀ
YAHĪ GYĀNĀ ARJUNA KO HARI NE SUNĀYĀ
SHIVO’HAM, SHIVO’HAM, SHIVO’HAM, SHIVO’HAM
VAHĪ ĀTMĀ SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA ME HŪ
AMARA ĀTMĀ SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA ME HŪ.
I am Shiva, the liberated Ātmā, the Divine and the Supreme
I am the Ātmā, Sat-Chit-Ānanda and immortal
The Ātmā is the Supreme Self of the entire Universe.
It is the Ātmā of all living beings, and this Ātmā am I.
The Ātmā is immortal, only the body is mortal.
The Ātmā is in all living beings, and this Ātmā am I.
It cannot be destroyed by weapons, nor burnt by fire,
Nor drowned by water, death has no power over it.
It shines in the light of every planet and every star.
It exists in the moon and the sun and gives them their splendour.
The Ātmā exists in every atom, it never dies – in past, present or future.
The Ātmā is indestructible, unborn and immortal.
It is that which was sung about in the Vedas and taught to Arjuna by Krishna.
I am this Ātmā – eternal, free, infinite and divine.
I am Shiva – truth, light, consciousness and bliss!
The Āgyā Chakra is also described as the “Third Eye”. This is a symbol of wisdom and an attribute of Lord Shiva. When Shiva opens his Third Eye in the centre of his forehead, everything that his gaze falls upon is burnt . Everything bad is destroyed and the clouds of ignorance are dispersed, helping the light of wisdom and clarity to break through. The laser beam of knowledge sent out by the third eye cuts through the karmic chains and liberates us from everything that holds us fast and impedes our spiritual development. In this way all the Chakras are finally purified by the wisdom of the Āgyā Chakra.
When we enter a dark room for the first time we grope around on the wall with our hand to find the light switch. But when we already know where the switch is it is no longer necessary to search. One flick, the light goes on and we see everything clearly. And in the same way, as soon as the eye of wisdom in the Āgyā Chakra opens , we recognise the essence of truth.
Only wisdom and clarity of consciousness liberate us from attachment and sorrow. It is as if a curtain has suddenly been lifted away from our mind and all answers are clearly and plainly visible in front of us. This is the real awakening of the Kundalinī. It reveals itself in the growing ability to master the problems and weaknesses from which we suffer, not through some physical occurrence. To be centred in the Āgyā Chakra means to be completely clear and conscious at any time and to act appropriately with Viveka in all situations.
The gifts of clairvoyance, intuition and telepathy lie in the Āgyā Chakra. When we strengthen the power of concentration and learn to perceive all the energy assembled in the Āgyā Chakra, our mind can receive or transmit knowledge through time and space. The function of the Āgyā Chakra is comparable to a searchlight, which can, through the concentration of light, make things visible at a distance. Those whose Āgyā Chakra is opened are at home in all three worlds – past, present and future.
An important symbol in the picture of the Āgyā Chakra is the SHIVA LINGAM – this is a symbol of creative consciousness. We also encountered this astral symbol in the picture of the Mūlādhāra Chakra, indicating the close relationship between the Mūlādhāra and Āgyā Chakras. These centres represent the beginning and end of personal karma. In the Mūlādhāra Chakra the consciousness is at the level of unconsciousness, and on the path of development through the Chakras it is purified step-by-step until it reaches the Sahasrāra Chakra completely pure. We experience the journey as a process of development from ignorance and uncertainty to understanding and wisdom.
In the Mūlādhāra Chakra the Shiva Lingam is black, but in the Āgyā Chakra it has a milky-white or smoky colour. This indicates that the consciousness has to a great degree been purified, but is still not completely pure. It is still pulled in two directions. If the consciousness is led by the intellect it goes towards the lower Chakras and the ego; whereas when guided by Bhakti and Viveka it goes towards the upper Chakras, the Ātmā. If the consciousness turns towards the world it becomes cloudy and dark, but if directed towards the Ātmā it is enlightened and illuminated.
This does not mean that we should withdraw completely from external life. Quite the opposite …. continue to lead your “normal” life; work, eat, sleep, live with your partner, live with your family and enjoy the beauty of life, just like everybody else. Yet, simultaneously remain conscious of your true nature and your divine origin. Perform your spiritual practices daily, and enjoy your existence with a pure mind and clear consciousness.
To resolve a problem once and for all is certainly not easy. Day by day we create new karmic complications. New waves (Vrittis) that rise in the consciousness as emotions and thoughts develop in our mind continuously, and finally deepen into impressions, opinions, desires, habits, behaviour, etc. The source of the Vrittis lies in the Mūlādhāra Chakra. In meditation we are able to track down their causes and effects. As we know, the element of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is the earth. The roots of vegetation lie within and spread through the earth. As soon as we raise the roots to the surface and into the light they die, together with any growth coming from them. This is why the aim is to raise the roots of our problems into the light of consciousness in order to finally remove them.
Any problem, whether physical or psychic, material or spiritual, can be resolved through wisdom. Thus it is important not to suppress or reject problems, but rather to accept and deal with them. Only in this way can they be resolved. To accept means to completely accept oneself and others, and to treat oneself and others with love, understanding and forgiveness. Understanding others presupposes understanding oneself. To give freedom to others means to have freedom oneself. To make others happy means to make oneself happy, and to forgive others infers forgiving oneself. Just as the final outcome of our actions always comes back to us alone, so it is with our attitude. And just as the cause is found only within ourself, so too is the solution to our problems.
Sometimes we believe that life is no longer bearable and that we are on the brink of collapse because of the immense pressure of our internal and external problems. But it is a mistake to believe that we must manage all alone. In reality our existence is not borne by us, but by someone else. There is a very good story that epitomises this:
A peasant family had to leave their farm. They packed their belongings onto a cart and set out on their journey. The family sat up on the wagon and the little farm dog ran beneath the cart in the shade. Soon the little dog came to believe that it was he alone who was hauling the whole cart on his back. He ran and ran and soon felt totally exhausted and at the end of his strength. Then he thought to himself: “This is truly an unreasonable expectation that I, the smallest and weakest, should not only have to run the whole way but must also carry a fully laden cart. I simply can’t continue. I give up!”
Exhausted he came to a standstill – and, to his absolute amazement, the cart continued on its way without him. It was only then that the little dog clearly understood that it was not him that kept the cart moving – it was the horse.
On occasions we also moan about the heavy burden of our cares, even though the Divine Power helps us at all times, and would take them from us completely if we were able to place them in God’s hands. But the problem is that generally we do not really want to let go of our troubles and are not prepared to completely entrust ourself to God.
I am reminded of a poster put out by Amnesty International, in which a room with a wide-open window can be seen. Sitting on the windowsill is a dove ready to fly away – but it has a chain with an iron ball attached to its foot. This is a heartrending symbol for limitation and imprisonment. The chain and the iron ball symbolise our attachment. This is the burden that oppresses us! When we release the chains of attachment we simultaneously rid ourselves of our inner burdens and can “fly away into the sky”.
But we should be careful not to misunderstand this. To free ourselves from attachments does not mean to walk away from our family or neglect our duties. It is much more about the inner removal of the fear of separation, jealousy and the desire for possessions and power. To free ourself from these ties is allied with mental discipline and work. It is hard for us to motivate ourselves, to do without something, to give up something or to forgive someone. Remove the chains of attachment! Only our ignorance keeps us trapped in dependency, sorrow and pain. It causes all the problems. Give love without attachment, because real love gives freedom!
The Lotus in the Āgyā Chakra has two petals only. They stand for GU (darkness/ignorance) and RU (light/knowledge), the two syllables from which the word GURU (master) is formed. They also bear the Mantras HAM and KSHAM which represent the sun and the moon, the “masculine” and “feminine” principles, Shiva and Shakti, Purusha (consciousness) and Prakriti (nature).
These principles and primal powers influence both our body and mind. When out of balance they cause psychic or physical disturbances or illness. Until the principles of Shiva and Shakti are united we live in a world of duality from which our desires, wishes and striving after happiness originate. When Shiva and Shakti become one we become whole, the feeling of separation and the emotions connected with this, eg a sense of being unfulfilled and incomplete, vanish. The union leads to balance, liberation, desirelessness and contentment.
In our world duality prevails. Every state, every expression exists as an opposite: Masculine-feminine, positive-negative, hot-cold, good-bad, big-little, long-short, light-dark, wet-dry, clever-stupid, industrious-lazy, the list can go on ad infinitum. We have learnt to think and judge according to these categories. But in reality the apparent opposites are merely manifestations of the same principle – simply extremes of the same thing. One is a lack of the other, therefore, lightness is a lack of darkness and vice versa. Both are expressions of the ruling intensity of light, therefore reflecting the same principle. This simple example may be clear, but in the complexity of life we are often unable to recognise the unity behind the duality. Through the Āgyā Chakra, however, we are able to look behind the scenes and realise that everything existing is a manifestation of God.
The Mantra syllables HAM and KSHAM also stand for Idā and Pingalā, the two main Nādīs, that are allied to the moon and sun principles in the body. The third, and central, Nādī, Sushumnā, represents the Divine Consciousness.
Every twelve years the biggest and most exalted spiritual festival in the world is celebrated at the place where the three holy rivers, Gangā, Yamunā and Saraswatī, meet – the Mahā Kumbha Melā of Prayāgrāj . Gangā and Yamunā, which symbolise Idā and Pingalā, flow above the ground whereas Sarasvatī, the symbol of wisdom and pure, divine consciousness (Sushumnā) flows beneath the earth. During a specific planetary constellation that only occurs every twelve years, the Sarasvatī rises to the surface and unites with the other two rivers. At the time of the Kumbha Melā one can actually discern a stronger current and an increased flow of water at this place. Millions of people go there and immerse themselves in the water in order to free themselves of their Karmas.
For a Yogi the true Kumbha Melā occurs in the Āgyā Chakra. Gangā, Yamunā and Sarasvatī correspond to the main Nādīs, Idā, Pingalā and Sushumnā. The Āgyā Chakra, where these three strong energy currents meet in the human body, is also known as TRIKŪTĪ TATA . Other terms for the Āgyā Chakra are TRIVENĪ TATA and BHRŪKUTĪ TATA (Eyebrow Centre).
In many older illustrations of the Chakras one can see a twisted white cord made from three threads in the Āgyā Chakra. This also symbolises the three Nādīs. In India the Brahmins wear such a cord across their chest as a sign of purity of consciousness.
When Yogis purify these three Nādīs through concentration, meditation and Prānāyāma they are able to keep their consciousness in the Āgyā Chakra. With the merging of these three currents of energy in the Sahasrāra Chakra they attain the state of Samādhi, the highest level of consciousness. Just as the Kumbha Melā only takes place every twelve years, it is also only very seldom that all three Nādīs are active simultaneously. The body and energy channels are purified by regular practice of Prānāyāma and Hatha Yoga so that ultimately all three Nādīs can be aroused at once with the assistance of concentration and meditation. With this a radiant light appears in the Trikūtī and the Yogis immerse themselves in this light just as the faithful immerse themselves in the holy rivers at the Kumbha Melā. All karmas are dissolved in this light of Divine Love and wisdom.
The following can perhaps help us to visualise this? Complete darkness ruled for millions of years in a mountain cave. One day a cave explorer found his way into the cave with a bright torchlight. What happened? Can darkness exist and remain of its own right in a place where it had prevailed for so long? No! As soon as light appears darkness gives way. And what is the essence of bad Karma? It is a violation of Divine Law that was a result of mistaken knowledge, therefore, basically, “darkness” in our consciousness.
In a Peace Mantra it is said:
ASATO MĀ SAT GAMAYA – Lead us from unreality to reality
TAMASO MĀ JYOTIR GAMAYA – Lead us from darkness to light
All darkness disappears from our being the moment the light of knowledge and truth is ignited.
What is light? Light is Ātma Gyāna and Ātma Jyoti , the light of the Self. The Divine Flame burns constantly in our heart. When it rises and its beam penetrates the Āgyā Chakra any duality is dissolved – Shiva and Shakti, Purusha and Prakriti, are again united.
The flame of the Self is nourished by the oil of love and devotion. Its wick is formed by concentration, meditation and Guru Mantra. When it rises from the heart to the Āgyā Chakra it awakens Bhakti within us. The purer the oil of our love is, the purer and stronger the flame burns. In the Āgyā Chakra we dive into the ocean of Bhakti and attain immortality of the Ātmā.
The Āgyā Chakra is comparable to empty space – free of form, colour and qualities. It is a space of purity and unity, the site of Ānanda, bliss. Here the wings of the soul unfold. Free from the net of Māyā that held it captive, it climbs and dissolves in the light of the “Thousand-petalled Lotus” (Sahasrāra Chakra) that shines as brightly as millions of suns.
There are three aspects associated with the Āgyā Chakra – emptiness (SHŪNYATĀ), consciousness (CHIT) and bliss (ĀNANDA).
- SHŪNYATĀ (emptiness) means the absence of a “second” – there exists only unity. While duality exists there is doubt, discord and quarrelling. In German each of these words is based on the word ZWEI, which means two – Zweifel (doubt), Zwietracht (discord) and Entzweiung (quarrelling). Whereas in German the words for unity (Einheit) harmony (Einklang), understanding (Einsicht), concord (Eintracht) and agreement (Einigkeit) all contain the word EIN, meaning one. The latter qualities are the basis for harmony, wisdom, happiness and peace. “Emptiness” is not absence, deficiency or lack of fulfilment, it is the opposite – absolute existence and absolute fulfilment. The “sound of silence” vibrates within us, filled with the vibration of eternal happiness.
- CHIT (consciousness) means total clarity and certainty; we recognise and understand the truth. With this we achieve the purpose and fulfilment of our existence – thereafter living means “conscious existence” (CHAITANYA), as opposed to unconscious matter (JADA).
- ĀNANDA (bliss) is the expression of eternal, perfect joy that is based on the unity of the Ātmā and transcends the opposites of pleasure and pain. In one Kirtan we sing
ĀNANDOHAM, ĀNANDOHAM, ĀNANDAM BRAHMĀNANDAM
I am blissful, I am blissful, I am Supreme Bliss
When we try to fulfil our longing for happiness in the world, we are in reality trying to catch a glimpse of the reflection of Ānanda that radiates from our own inner being. Worldly happiness shimmers seductively – and bursts like a soap bubble when we try to catch it. The joy of the Ātmā is, however, “empty”, which means that it is without properties - absolute, incomparable, infinite, unchanging and steadfast.
The Mantra of the Āgyā Chakra is OM, the original sound of creation. This Mantra is the sound of both the Āgyā Chakra and the Sahasrāra Chakra. OM is the sound of the Divine that we hear when the Ātmā expands into infinity and unites with the Supreme. God, the Supreme Self, cannot be comprehended by the intellect or described with words, but can be experienced as vibration – light, sound or energy. God exists as vibration in every atom. The vibration of the Supreme is A-U-M, or OM. This represents the beginning, middle and end; therefore, the whole of creation. When in meditation we become absorbed in this Bīja Mantra we are able to hear the omnipresent, divine vibration of creation.
In meditation concentrate on the Āgyā Chakra with the Mantra OM or your Guru Mantra and visualise a divine image or symbol there. Through Bhakti and Gyāna, devotion and wisdom can be experienced. This experience is known as Paravidyā, “complete” knowledge, because it is unchanging, unlimited and eternal. Through the intellect we merely gain Aparavidyā, “incomplete” knowledge, which is changeable, limited and bound by time.
The awakening of the Āgyā Chakra is an essential and fundamental step in our development. The abilities that lie in this Chakra help us to cope with all problems and are of great assistance for those people suffering from psychic problems such as depression, Schizophrenia or changeable emotions. Emotions, in themselves, are unbiased. They are a form of energy that can serve us positively or negatively, just as fire can be useful but also destructive. With the assistance of the Āgyā Chakra we can learn to control and guide this inherent energy positively.
VAIRĀGYA (renunciation) is a prerequisite for the attainment of true knowledge. To attain the eternal we must let go of the transitory. Vairāgya is an inner occurrence – the extinction of our wishes and desires. These always produce new karma, and when they “dry up” the river of karma runs dry by itself. Vairāgya is best developed through concentration on the Āgyā Chakra. But at the same time we should be careful of the harmony and balance between “heart and intellect”, and never ignore either. Never forget – the goal is to harmonise and unite both aspects of our being, not to suppress one of them.
In the Āgyā Chakra we dive into the ocean of knowledge and the ocean of bliss (Ānanda) in which fear and sorrow vanish without trace. But we are still not at the goal. We are still not fully united with the Self. At any time Māyā can again seize possession of us and pull our consciousness down into lower levels. We can protect ourselves from this when we read holy books, seek out spiritual company, cultivate good thoughts, never cause anyone pain and always behave with love and understanding. When your actions are filtered and purified by the Āgyā Chakra they are exemplary, pure and positive and support your spiritual development.
Many who start with Yoga are initially full of enthusiasm and practise very diligently, but after a while they give up. Why is this so? Because their resolve was not firm enough.
Mahāprabhujī said in his Golden Teachings:
“Make your decision with firm determination and then success is certain.”
Our goals in life should be as strong and firm as a tree – deeply rooted and able to withstand all storms. This is a precondition for our success in life. Nothing can succeed without firm resolution from the start. Cause and effect, as well as beginning and end, are inseparably linked to one another; but because of our dualistic perceptions we generally do not realise this.
Everyone is responsible for their own life. Consider the purpose of your existence and what you would like to achieve in life. Make your decisions with Viveka (discrimination), live consciously with love, understanding and devotion, and it is certain that you will reach your goal, God-Realisation.