The Body's Chakras - weapons of Vishnu

"Chakra" is a word used to describe the basic instincts which unconsciously drive every being, through cycles of distress - and which permit the transcendence of that distress toward the freedom from distress. "Chakra" is also the word that connotes wheel (circular, cyclical), and describes the discus or frisbee-like weapon of Vishnu. These instincts are the weapons of Vishnu: for Vishnu has mastered them, and they cannot injure those who have manifested Vishnu (by mastering them, as well).

Though countless in variety (for example, the instinct of self-preservation is extremely varied, with instincts to avoid high places, dark places, spiders, snakes, or even to self-sacrifice to save what we have made or what we love and identify as our "self"), these instincts are classified and grouped to facilitate study - and mastery:

The two basic instincts are the pain and pleasure responses; these motivate (or "energize") the other instincts. "Energy" is used in the sense of what brings action and form, like a wave has no form until it motivates water through action into the form of a wave.

On either side of our body, there is pleasure and pain. Pain and pleasure are not experienced the same way among all beings. Most commonly, beings seek pleasure and avoid pain. But some seek pleasure and seek pain, some do not seek either pleasure or pain, some avoid both pleasure and pain. Some seek pleasure and do not avoid pain, some do not seek pleasure and avoid pain... and so forth, in all combinations. And some beings are incapable of feeling pleasure, or pain, or both. Beings find themselves in various lokas, "worlds" of Hindu cosmology based upon their response to pleasure and pain. As some are lefthanded, others righthanded, others ambidextrous, and others undexterous (clumsy), and still others without one or both sides properly formed, so are we borne to a world of pain and pleasure.

The significance of this is seen when an instinct is felt that causes pleasure or pain.

The first of these instincts will be used as an example: the instinct regarding change. Growth / decay, continuance / change. Change is painful and continuance is pleasurable, growth is pleasurable and decay is painful - and for the most part, beings attempt to seek growth and avoid decay, seek existence and avoid change. It is the instinct of survival itself: of killing, and eating. Killing animals, plants, fungi - even cannibalizing our fellow humans. Guided by instinct, we eat too much or too little, we do not necessarily eat what is nutritious, we sometimes eat what is poisonous or even intoxicating. Meditating on our ingestion, digestion and excrement allows us to overcome our instinctual response (whether it is to seek or avoid) and instead act consciously, logically. We develop rational behavior by such meditation - and bring an end to our distress, mastering this Chakra, as Vishnu has.

After mastering this, we meditate on the next instinct: individuality or isolation is painful, community and socialization is pleasurable; reproduction and familiarity are the means of seeking community and socialization while avoiding individuality and isolation. Meditate on your sexual identity, on your sexual organs, on what you have made and is "yours," on your family, your friends, your society - and your self. De-identify. You are not man or woman, you are not this or that, you are not a child or a parent, of this nationality or that nationality, your identity is an emergent property of various co-dependent phenomenon. Like a fire is dependent on fuel, air and spark - and disappears, having no existence in of itself, when one or more of these fail - so too is your identity without form. You do not need to fear the pain, or desire the pleasure.

After this, meditate on your navel: understand your connection to your world, the co-dependent nature of your existence. Are a mother and child distinct? Are they ever distinct? Is Vishnu any different than Brahma, connected by the same umbilical cord (which is Shiva)? Are they different than their umbilical cord (Shiva)? Power and control are pleasurable, vulnerability and weakness are painful - but are illusionary. You cannot ever be ultimately powerful enough to avoid distress. But you do not require any more power than you already have, you are already strong! Understand the first truth: there is distress, and it is unavoidable.

Feel your strength, feel your heartbeat, your breathing. You will come to know the pleasure of acquisition, the pain of loss. Like breathing, like the heartbeat, there is gain of air, gain of blood - and loss. There is a moment of holding on, and rest, and contentment - which is transitory. You are never content, and desire ever more air, more blood. Stop seeking gain and holding on, stop avoiding loss and letting go. Your body will one day die; your identity, conditional upon that body, will die. That is your nature. Understanding the second truth: it is the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain which results in the distress.

Turn your attention to your throat. Shiva swallowed the poison; you are in distress, too: catch it in your throat! Savor every drop, and you will grow accustomed to the bitter taste. From your throat, sense your tongue: is bitter worse than sweet? Is sour worse than salty? Up, down, left, right, wrong, good, bad, clockwise, counterclockwise - we turn this way and that, writhing from belief itself. We believe better or worse, different, this and that - and do not see the codependent nature of things, our subjective perspective. Turn from your tongue to your eyes, ears, nose, and skin - your senses lie to you; turn to your mind, it interprets poorly, irrationally. Turn away from seeking and avoiding, understand rationality. It is the desire for relief from the distress which motivates the distress. Let it go. Action has reaction; only non-action has no reaction: do not add to your distress by further action. All that has begun must end, all that is born must die, your distress will end if you do not add to it. Only non-action, Dharma, duty, will result in this.

Open your third eye, and see the noble eightfold path: see your Dharma, know your duty. This brings a termination to the side chakras, the left and right, the dextrous, the undexterous, etc. You have mastered your instincts - but then can understand that this mastery was itself instinctual.

This wisdom is the crown of yoga, the raja yoga, the top of your head. Take hold of it by letting go of this last instinct - by permitting yourself to feel the instincts, be guided by them, yet retain rational control. Discover the full maturity of your humanity! Merge the rational with the irrational, the logical with the illogical; your nature with your Dharma. Accept your duty, your form.