The Yin-Yang Attributes of the Chakras


All chakras have their yin-yang sides. And still we label 7 chakras overall like — 1st (yang), 2nd (yin), 3rd (yang) and so on, alternately. Does it mean that each chakra has overall yang/yin dominance? Is it like 1st,3rd, 5th chakras have yang energy dominant (expressive) and 2nd, 4th, 6th chakras have yin energy dominant (feelings)?

—Akanksha Bhardwaj, India


Dear Akanksha,

The characterization of the chakras with various attributes is primarily a descriptive exercise of the intellect in our natural search for understanding. It is useful, certainly, to help us tune into their innate energy, gifts, and consciousness but it’s like the difference between meditating and talking about meditation; eating a mango, and talking about mangoes. Prana (energy/life force) is holographic. Thus the elements of all are in each. And so it is with the chakras. Yes, clearly there’s a male and female (yang and yin) aspect to each one as well as yin and yang aspects within each. But this labeling exercise has its limits — beyond which actual experience is far better.

This process, then, of identifying the characteristics of the chakras is helpful when we first learn about them and as we use chakra meditations to experience them, but after that let them each speak with their own voice. It’s like taking an aspirin for a headache. You could learn all about the chemical properties of aspirin but if you have a headache, just take the aspirin (for heaven’s sake!).

It might help you to view the chakras from another angle (than their innate properties): it is a tradition to view the chakras as deities (in the West we might say as “angels”). The meaning here is that Life Force of the astral body (which includes the chakras) has its own intelligence, consciousness and well as energy and astral forms. Just as we don’t consciously digest our food or operate our brain, so too the astral body is not operated by our ego (though it can certainly be affected by the ego’s attitudes and behavior).

Thus praying to the governing intelligences of each chakra, using whatever name or form you feel attuned to, sets up the right attitude of reverence and sacredness that draws from the chakras their great gifts (siddhis) (described in Christianity as the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”). But such gifts must not embolden the ego; they are of and for the soul’s progress toward enlightenment. Paramhansa Yogananda did not put particular emphasis on this angle but the attitude and understanding of the power and intelligence of the chakras (separate and apart from the ego) is essential and elemental. And, of course, it IS a tradition in India.

Have you been taught any chakra energizing exercises? Or chakra meditations? Chanting at the chakras? Once having learned their basic qualities, then let each chakra speak for itself. Remember this: like taking the aspirin, your efforts to stimulate the properties of each chakra with the right attitudes of humility, devotion and will power will bear fruit no matter what. Prana (including the chakras) has its own, innate intelligence. Clearly you have studied the properties of the chakras. Apply this knowledge and the inspiration you have felt from your knowledge to your daily meditations and as Lahiri Mahasaya put it, “Banat, banat, ban jai!” (Doing, doing, soon done!)

Does this make sense for you?

Blessings to you,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA