Sat-Cakra-Nirupana
(Description of the Six Centres)

By Purnananda Swami

Page 2

Preliminary Verse

Atha tantrānusāreṇa Ṣaṭ Cakradi kramodvataḥ

Ucyate paramānanda-nirvāha-prathamāṅkuraḥ

Now I speak of the first sprouting shoot (of the Yoga plant) of complete realization of the Brahman, which is to be achieved, according to the Tantras, by means of the six Cakras and so forth in their proper order.

Realization = nirvāha, lit., accomplishment.

The Muladhara Cakra

Verse 1

Merorbāhyapradeśe śaśi mihirasire savyadakṣe niṣaṇṇe

Madhye nādī suṣuṁnātritaya-guṇamayi Candrasūryagnirūpā.

Dhattūra-smera-puṣpagrathita-tamavapuḥ kandamadhyacchirahstā

Vajrākhyā meḍhradeśā cchirasi parigatā madyamessyā jvalanti.

In the space outside the Meru, placed on the left and the right, are the two Sirās, Śaśī and Mihira. The Nadi Susumna, whose substance is the threefold Gunas, is in the middle. She is the form of Moon, Sun, and Fire; Her body, a string of blooming Dhatura flowers, extends from the middle of the Kanda to the Head, and the Vajra inside Her extends, shining, from the Medhra to the Head.

Meru = spinal column.

Sirās = nadis, i.e., subtle channels for energy.

Kanda, lit. bulb, located in the perineum.

Medhra = penis.

Verse 2

Tanmadhye citriņī sā praṇavavilāsitā yogināṁ yogagamyā

lūtātantūpameyā sakalasarasijān merumadhyāntarasthān.

Bhittva dedipyate tad-grathana-racanayā śuddha-bodha-svarūpā

tanamadhye brahmanāḍī haramukha-kuharadādi-devāntarātmā.

Inside her [Vajra] is Citrini, who is lustrous with the lustre of the Pranava and attainable in Yoga by Yogis. She (Citrini) is subtle as a spider’s thread, and pierces all the Lotuses which are placed within the backbone, and is pure intelligence. She (Citrini) is beautiful by reason of these (lotuses) which are strung on her. Inside her (Citrini) is the Brahma-nadi, which extends from the orifice of the mouth of Hara to the place beyond, where Adi-deva is.

Pranava = the mantra Om.

The Brahama-nadi is the hollow space inside Citrini; they are not two separate nadis.

Orifice of the mouth of Hara = the opening at the top of the Svayambhu-Linga in the Muladhara.

Adi-deva = the supreme Bindhu in the pericarp of the thousand-petalled lotus.

Verse 3

Vidyanmālā-vilāsā manimanasilasat-tantu-rūpa susūkṣmā

śuddhajṅanaprabhodhā sakala-sukha-mayī śuddha-bodha-svabhāvā.

Brahma-dvāraṁ tadāsye pravilasati sudhādhāragamya-pradeśaṁ

Granthi-sthānaṁ tadetat vadanamiti suṣuṁnākhya-nadyā lapanti.

She [Citrini] is beautiful like a chain of lightning and fine like a (lotus) fibre, and shines in the minds of the sages. She is extremely subtle; the awakener of pure knowledge; the embodiment of all Bliss, whose true nature is pure Consciousness. The Brahma-dvara shines in her mouth. This place in the entrance to the region sprinkled by ambrosia, and is called the Knot, as also the mouth of Susumna.

Bliss = sukha.

Consciousness = Suddha-bodha-svabhava.

Braham-dvaram = door of Brahaman, through which Kundalini passes.

Knot = Granthi-sthanam; the place where Susumna meets Kanda.

Ambrosia = Sudha; it flows from the union of Siva and Sakti.

The last sentence is reproduced accurately here from the printed original, despite its defective syntax.

Verse 4

Athādhārapadmaṁ suṣuṁnākhya-lagnaṁ

Dhvajādho gudordhvaṁ catuh-śoṇa-patraṁ.

Adhovaktramudyat-suvarṇābhavrṇaih

Vakarādisāntair yutaṁ veda-varṇaih.

Now we come to the Adhara Lotus. It is attached to the mouth of the Susumna, and is placed below the genitals and above the anus. It has four petals of crimson hue. Its head (mouth) hangs downwards. On its petals are the four letters from Va to Sa, of the shining colour of gold.

Adhara Lotus = Muladhara-Cakra, the root cakra, the lowest one, located in the perineum.

Verse 5

Amuṣmin dharāyaś-catuṣkoṇa-cakraṁ

Samudbhāsi śūlāṣṭakairāvṛtaṁ tat.

Lasat pītā-varṇaṁ tadit-komalāngaṁ

Tadante samāste dharāyāḥ svabījaṁ.

In this (Lotus) is the square region (Cakra) of Prthivi, surrounded by eight shining spears. It is of a shining yellow colour and beautiful like lightning, as is also the Bija of Dhara which is within.

Prthivi = earth element.

Yellow is the color of the earth element.

Bija of Dhara = Bija of Prthivi, the earth Tattva or “Lam."

Verse 6

Cuturbāhu-bhūṣaṁ gajendrādhi-rūḍhaṁ

tadaṅke navīnārka-tulya-prakāśaḥ.

śiśuḥ sṛṣṭkārī lasadveda-bāhuḥ

mukhāṁbhojalakṣmiś-caturbhāgabhedaḥ.

Ornamented with four arms and mounted on the King of Elephants, He carries on His lap the child Creator, resplendent like the young Sun, who has four lustrous arms, and the wealth of whose lotus face is fourfold.

This is the Dhyana of the Dhara-Bija. The Dhara-Bija is identical with that of Indra.

Verse 7

Vasedatra devī ca ḍākinyabhikhyā

lasadeva bā-hūjjvalā rakta-netrā

Samānoditāneka-sūrya-prakāśā

prakāśaṁ vahantī sadā śuddha-buddheḥ

Here dwells the Devi Dakini by name; her four arms shine with beauty, and her eyes are brilliant red. She is resplendent like the lustre of many Suns rising at one and the same time. She is the carrier of the revelation of the ever-pure Intelligence.

Ever-pure intelligence = sada suddha-buddeh; even people ignorant of Sanskrit can recognize the poetic quality of this phrase.

By meditating on Dakini-Sakti, the presiding divinity of this region, one acquires suddha-buddheh — i.e., tattva-jnana or pure intelligence.

Verse 8

Vajrākhyā viaktradeśe vlasati satataṁ karṇikā-madhyasaṁsṭhaṁ

koṇaṁ tat traipurākhyaṁ taḍidiva vilasat-komalaṁ kāmarūpam

kandarpo nāma vayur nivasati satataṁ tasya madhye samantāt

jīveśo bandhu-jīva-prakaramabhί-hasan koṭisūrya-prakāśaḥ

Near the mouth of the Nadi called Vajra, and in the pericarp (of the Adhara Lotus), there constantly shines the beautifully luminous and soft, lightning-like triangle which is Kamarupa, and known as Traipura. There is always and everywhere the Vayu called Kandarpa, who is of a deeper red than the Bandhujiva flower, and is the Lord of Beings and resplendent like ten million suns.

Vayu called Kandarpa = a form of apana; Kandarpa is a name of Kama, the deva of love.

Verse 9

Tanmadhye lingarūpī druta-kanaka-kalā-komalaḥ paścimāsyah

Jñāna dhyānaprakāsaḥ prathamakisalayākārarūpaḥ svayṃbhuḥ

Vidyupūrṇēṇdubimba-prakara-karacaya-snigdha-saṁtānahāsī

Kāsīvāsī vilāsī vilasati saridāvartarūpaprakāraḥ

Inside it (the triangle) is Svayambhu in His Linga-form, beautiful like molten gold, with His Head downwards. He is revealed by Knowledge and Meditation, and is of the shape and colour of a new leaf. As the cool rays ot lightning and of the full moon charm, so does His beauty. The Deva who resides happily here as in Kasi is in forms like a whirlpool.

Svayambhu in His Linga-form = the self-originated in the form of a phallus.

Shape and color of a new leaf = like an unopened blue-green bud, according to commentators.

Knowledge = jnana

Meditation = dhyana

Kasi = Siva’s favorite abode; the meaning is that the deva is as happy here as he is in Kasi.

“Whirlpool” refers to a depression on the top of the linga.

Verses 10 and 11

Tasyordhve bisatantu sodara-lasat sūkṣmā jaganmohini

brahmavāramukhaṁ mukhena madhuraṁ saṁchadayanti svayaṁ

śakāvarta nibhā navīna capalāmālā vilāsāspadā

suptā-sarpasaṁā śvopari lasāt sārdha-trivṛttākṛtiḥ


Kūjantī kulakuņdalī ca madhuraṁ mattalimālā-sphuṭaṁ

vācāṁ komalakāvya-bandaracanā bhdātibheda-kramaiḥ

śvāsocchvāsa-vibhañjanena jagatāṁ jīvo yayā dhāryate

sā mūlāmbuja gahvare vilasati proddāma-dīptāvaliḥ

Over it [Svayambhu-Linga] shines the sleeping Kundalini, fine as the fibre of the lotus-stalk. She is the world-bewilderer, gently covering the mouth of Brahma-dvara by Her own. Like the spiral of the conch-shell, Her shining snake-like form goes three and a half times round Siva, and Her lustre is as that of a strong flash of young strong lightning. Her sweet murmur is like the indistinct hum of swarms of love-mad bees. She produces melodious poetry and Bandha and all other compositions in prose or verse in sequence or otherwise in Samskrta, Prakrta and other languages. It is She who maintains all the beings of the world by means of inspiration and expiration, and shines in the cavity of the root (Mula) Lotus like a chain of brilliant lights.

“World-bewilderer” because Kundalini is maya in this world.

Bandha = type of literary composition in which the verse is arranged in a diagram or picture.

Verse 12

Tanmadhye paramā kalātikuśalā sūkṣmātisūkṣmā parā

Nityānada paraṁparātivigalat pīyūṣa-dhārādharā

Brahmāņḍādī katāhameva sakalaṁ yadbhāsayā bhāsate

seyaṁ śrī parameśvarī vijayate nityaprabhodhodayā

Within it [Svayambhu-Linga, round which Kundalini is coiled] reigns dominant Para, the Sri-Paramesvari, the Awakener of eternal knowledge. She is the Omnipotent Kala who is wonderfully skilful to create, and is subtler than the subtlest. She is the recepttacle of that continuous stream of ambrosia which flows from the Eternal Bliss. By Her radiance it is that the whole of this Universe and this Cauldon is illumined.

Universe = brahmanda, i.e., egg of Brahma

Cauldon = kataha, that is, the lower half of the Brahmanada, and as such cauldron-shaped.

Verse 13

Dhyātvaitan-mūlacakrāntaravivaralasatkoṭisūryaprakāśāṁ

Vācāmēśo narendrah sa bhavati sahasā sarvavidyāvinodī

Ārogyaṁ tasya nityaṁ niravadhi ca mahānandaittāntarātmā

Vākyaiḥ kāvyaprabandhaiḥ sakalasuragurūn sevate śuddhaśilaḥ.

By meditating thus on Her who shines within the Mula-Cakra, with the lustre of ten million Suns, a man becomes Lord of speech and King among men, and an Adept in all kinds of learning. He becomes ever free from all diseases, and his inmost Spirit becomes full of great gladness. Pure of disposition by his deep and musical words, he serves the foremost of the Devas.

Foremost of the devas = Brahma, Visnu, Siva, etc.

Arthur Avalon, pseudonym of Sir John George Woodroffe (1865‒1936), was a British judge who lived and worked in India.

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Read this as a book

The Serpent Power by Arthur Avalon

The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga

By Arthur Avalon

This book contains meticulous, scholarly translations of two Tantric classics, Sat-Cakra-Nirupana and Paduka-Pancaka, along with copious notes and extremely lengthy explanations by Avalon.

Arthur Avalon was a pseudonym of Sir John Woodroffe, a British judge who lived in India.

This book is very dense and it contains an almost unbelievable amount of information. Although it’s old — it was first published in 1919 — nothing like it has been written before or since. It’s possible that this book contains more information about chakras and Kundalini than all other English books put together. But be warned: this is heavy book — heavy in every way — and not for casual reading.

Crystal, an Amazon reviewer, writes:

“What I appreciated most about this book first published in 1919 is Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) takes great pains to stay true to the Sanskrit texts instead of reinventing them or overlaying them with his personal experiences, interpretations and thoughts. This book is a follow up/expansion on his previous book Shakti and Shakta and in retrospect I wish I had read it first, although it is not necessary as this book stands on its own. In the beginning of the book Avalon/Woodroffe takes to task some of the Westerners, most notably the Theosophical Society and Charles Leadbeater, which popularized their version/ideas about the 7 chakras in Western society. Avalon/Woodroffe felt they also popularized misconceptions or inaccuracies along with their ideas about the cakras/chakras. As the author prefers to let the texts speak for themselves most of the book is devoted to his translation of the texts and their description of the 6 cakras (chakras), their associations and powers. He also discusses kundalini and the rising of kundalini. Having said all this, the book is not an easy read. Avalon/Woodroffe uses many sanskrit terms and verses to keep to the actual text/meaning and while he does explain each and there are copius footnotes this will not be reading you can breeze through. I particularly enjoyed some of the verses.”

See it on Amazon.

This page was published on May 26, 2000 and last revised on June 29, 2017.


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