The Heart Centre: The heart centre is the air centre. It is the emotional centre, where all our feelings, our passions, our loves and hates, likes and dislikes, which the scriptures declare as pairs of opposites arise.
|Location||: Heart or dorsal region|
|Number of Petals||: Twelve|
|Presiding Deity||: Vishnu|
|Quality of Nature (Guna)||: Sattva and Rajas (Calmness and Activity)|
|Seed Syllable||: Yam|
|Sense organs||: Skin (organ of touch) and Hands (organ of work)|
|Benefits due to Concentration||: Emotional development, Material gain and Material knowledge.|
|Name of Fire||: Ahavaneya (fire of Love)|
|Vrittis (Tendencies)||: Desire, Depressive thoughts, Endeavour, Possessive attitude, Arrogance, Mourning, Discrimination, Ego, Greed, Hypocrisy, Argumentativeness and Repentance|
|Loka (Plance of Existance)||: Maha|
|Vital Breath||: Prana (helps to maintain life)|
|Virtues||: Shraddha (faith in Scriptures and teacher)|
|Zodiac||: Taurus and Scorpion|
|Ruling Planet||: Venus|
The Anahata chakra, or heart centre, is located in the spinal region of the human body, behind the middle of the chest. It contains vital energy.
Air is the vital life energy. Air is the symbol of stillness. The still air outside is a symbol of the still air inside which is the same vital energy referred to as prana in Hindu scriptures. When the air becomes restless outside, it blows as a breeze or a wind and when air moves inside the body, it manifests as the breath. When the wind outside becomes strong, it can take the form of a cyclone or a hurricane, causing a natural disaster. Likewise, when our breath becomes fast and strong, it results in the damaging emotions of anger, passion, depression, and tension.
Through breath control and self-control, Yogis regulate their life energy and are able to tread the path of inner peace and joy. While prana or life energy can be classified into different types, each responsible for a diverse number of activities, the heart remains the place of the main vital life force, which regulates the breath.
The Sons of Vayu
Breath control is self-control, breath mastery is self-mastery and breathlessness is the state of realization. Through breath control, Yogis are able to control their inner universe, which in turn brings control over the outer universe. Through breath control one attains immense mental and physical strength. The heart centre is the controlling and regulating chamber.
In Hindu mythology, Vayu is the God of Air. Vayu's two sons are said to be mythical heroes. One is Hanuman, the monkey god who, possessing superhuman strength and performed incredible feats in the Ramayana. The other hero is Bhima, the immensely powerful Pandava who, in the Mahabharata epic, single-handedly killed the hundred Kauravas who represented evil and animosity. By controlling the breath and thereby controlling the mind, these two sons of Vayu became invincible.
Life is preserved in the body through breath. All the other centres are only sporadically used, but even when the body is resting, the heart centre preserves life through constant breath circulation, the unique life energy.
The heart centre controls our emotions. Most of us are ruled by emotions. Our loves are deep and our agonies are devastating. Too rapidly do we become attached in our relationships and just as quickly do we become bored and detach. Our moods swing like a pendulum from wildly happy to dramatically miserable and desperate. Anger is an emotion we have great difficulty in controlling. It burst forth in harsh, cruel words that, a few minutes later, we would give anything to take back. Despite our own moods, we are all extremely susceptible, unable to bear the slightest critism, resenting it as a wound to the very soul. The heart, which should be a place of love, have become a place of anger, ego and pride.
In recent times, emotional problems have become rampant. Mood disorders, stress related disorders, depression, anxiety, suicides among adults and teens alike, have become dramatically prevalent in today's world. The place of modern society, the stress of any work place, the loneliness and isolation of urban life and the widespread disintegration of the family unit have all turmoil. Whatever caused pain, anger or depression, there is only one cure. That is to achieve a balanced emotional state in which neither pain nor pleasure can disturb the inner calm and tranquility of our minds.
Heart centre can be the source of either immense emotional satisfaction or intense emotional despair. By focusing on this chakra and by developing our awareness through deep meditation, we can energize this centre and turn it into a source of profound inner joy - first, by achieving the balance needed to deal with ups and downs in unwavering equanimity and, secondly, by channeling our emotions into a constructive course. Our selfish love, which is the root cause of many of our problems, will be replaced with an expansive, all compassing love for others. All of us have the same basic need: to love and to be loved. By transforming and turning the selfish love we feel towards ourselves and our immediate circle into warmth will find ourselves released from the self-made prison of our emotions. At last we will be free to love wholly, without fear and without restraint. Through loving others, we love God, and that love returns to us a thousand-fold when it is given unselfishly and without ulterior motives.
How can such a state be achieved? Through the same process of relaxation, meditation and self-inquiry with which we overcome the downward pull of the other chakras. Selfish emotion drags the mind downwards, burdening it with feelings that bury our spiritual energy and dissipate it in fleeting, momentary joys and sorrows. True happiness and spiritual awakening require that we expand our love to envelope the entire universe and thus the riches therein.
Vishnu - the Symbol of Tolerance
The presiding deity of the heart center is Vishnu. Vishnu is the maintainer, the sustainer of creation and a great symbol of tolerance.
Once, a great sage called Bhrugu went to visit Vishnu with the intention to test His Tolerance. When Bhrugu arrived, Vishnu was sleeping, while his divine consort Laxmi was massaging his feet. Bhrugu expected Vishnu to get up and greet him, as Vishnu is the omniscient god, but when he did not show any signs of recognizing his presence, Bhrugu became very angry and, as the greatest insult, kicked Vishnu on Hos Chest. Vishnu woke up and seeing the angry sage. He respectfully bowed to touch the sage's feet and said: "Please don't be upset. I am sorry I was sleeping and therefore did not acknowledge your arrival. Then Vishnu, to pacify the sage started massaging his feet with sandalwood paste.
Just as Brahma creates the universe with patience and Vishnu maintains the universe with tolerance and love, life is maintained in the body through tolerance, love and patience.
Centre of Transformation
Located in the middle of the seven chakras, the Anahata chakra is also called the centre of transformation. When necessary, from here, the mind can go down to the lower three centres or travel upward to the super-conscious state, reaching the upper three centres. The path of spirituality requires the transformation of passion into compassion and emotion into devotion. This transformation is possible through the art of breath regulation and breath control which should be learnt under the proper guidance of a teacher. Sometimes people are transformed only temporarily and, after a while, temptation and passion again get hold of them, but through regular practice and determination, transformation becomes permanent, just as butter, once separated from milk by the churning process, cannot go back to the initial milk stage.
Being Vishnu the presiding deity, many believe that the presence of God is manifested more in this chakra than anywhere else in the body. Those who meditate concentrating in the heart centre develop love and devotion which should then be properly directed by ascending to the Vishuddha chakra.
Source: The Universe Within - The Journey Through The Chakras, Pages: 56-62, Chapter 3