Chakra meditation in achieving altered states of conscioussnesss

B. Mukhopadhyay & Renukadevi
TTTI, Chennai

Several investigators have established the importance of Yoga- Meditation in overcoming emotional disturbances like frustration, anger, anxiety and tension and bringing about psychological equilibrium (Beson 1984, Jung 1958, Ram Dass 1971, Vaishwaran 1987). Tart (1976) in his work on altered states of consciousness observed that yoga can help to predict and control altered states, the realm of higher mental experiences, which has in-built potentialities of self development. Watts (1961) made an elaborate analysis of eastern and western psychotherapy and he came to the conclusion that the eastern way of liberation has similarity with the western psychotherapy because both are concerned with changing the feelings of people about themselves. Meditation, as one of the most important aspects of yoga processes, has been conceptualized from different angles (Jung 1958). Chakra Meditation is one of the processes of meditation which has been used widely by yogis (Campbell 1975, Nigamananda 1905, Sivananda 1995, Vishnu-Devananda 1995). Chakras are in the astral body and each chakra functions and controls a particular centre in the gross body, and is associated with a particular "Tattva". Nine principal chakras have been identified by yogis and for meditation chakras are conceptionalised with lotuses, each one with specified petals. These chakras are connected through "Nadis", channels of subtle energy. Each chakra has several distinct psychic characteristics and meditating on a particular chakra leads to achieve altered states of consciousness along with a set of specific behaviour rejuvenation. Though certain mastery over meditation postures (yoga Asana) and "Nadisodhana" helps in chakra meditation, it can be practised in easy postures also. Thus Pradhan (1986) writes, "He (Buddha) also organized deep meditation in standing, walking to and fro, reclining, and lying down postures as well.

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This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002