MARCH 3, 2016
Subject: Yoga and chakras Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2016 22:59:21 +0000
To: INFO AIE – Roma Segreteria (International Association of Exorcists), ICCRS, Michael Prabhu firstname.lastname@example.org
I am sending this in consideration that there is an upsurge of pseudo-scientific claims about chakras as being the entry point of spiritual energies. Related to it are the claims of energy exchange and energy lines in relation to human health, claiming an imbalance of the energies in the body are the cause for sickness (and not denying that an unhealthy spiritual life might cause sickness!) Those claims I have considered in the attached paper “Chakras”*. To help a fuller understanding I have also attached my article on Yoga*.
In Christ, Erika Gibello
Ms. Gibello has served with the
International Association of Exorcists (AIE) and International Association for Deliverance (IAD). The following article was written by her on March 3, 2016 in London.
In view of Christian teaching
The concept of chakras, energy points or nodes in the subtle body stems from Hinduism.
Yogic positions and breath channels (nādi) had been already documented in the classical Upanishads. Hierarchies of chakras had not been deployed until the eighth century BC, when we find them in various Buddhist Tantric texts. Here it is necessary to point out that there is no “standard” system of these chakra hierarchies; various gurus taught differently of their positions in the body. It is not always clear if the body is the actual biological one or the assumed subtle one.
The teachings about chakras have some points in common:
They form part of the body, along with breath channels. They are located along the central channel. They are positioned where two side-channels cross the central channel. They posses “spokes”, called “petals”, meaning various smaller channels. Chakras associate with specific mantras and often with deities and various colours.
Yoga of all forms and traditions has one aim to concentrate the”wind” of the body into the main channels. Several systems are representing different methods, but the aim stays the same: attaining bliss in the knowledge to have overcome re-birth by reaching the crown chakra.
Hindu Tantra promotes the rise of the Serpent power, Kundalini upwards from the lower end of the spine through the chakras.
Vajrayana, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition teaches to bring the subtle winds of the body into the main channels, by rising upwards from the third eye (the seat of Shiva), first towards the crown of the head (thousand petals of the lotus) to bring a clear light of bliss and emptiness, and to attain Buddhahood, from where it descends into the lower parts of the body.
Whatever method is used, the energy (wind) will touch the 7 main chakras, of with each is associated with a specific psychic experience. These energy flows suppose to wind themselves into knots. The navel, throat and crown one into twofold knots, whilst the heart chakra has a six fold knot. Meditating on the heart chakra is important for realising clear light Buddhahood or attainment of freedom of re-birth. Meditating on the crown chakra will achieve conscious projection either to another world, or into another body- this would be a free decision and not anymore bound by the wheel of re-birth, destined by karma. A man reborn in this way is called an Avatar.
The observation by the ancient yogis that the “wind” or breath can be controlled by physical exercises, and subsequently initiates psychic experiences, is confirmed by modern medical knowledge. The major exercises of Yoga serve to suppress the intake of air, its consequence is a lack of oxygen in the blood circulation and hence in the brain, this causes a surplus of carbon dioxide, which in turn could cause hallucinations.
Basic belief of Hinduism
Hinduism as religion was not really defined till the late 18th and 19th century. One could say that vis-à-vis the Western influence the many fold Hindu traditions experienced a unification of their believe systems:
There exists a universal spirit from which all forms of life flow. Even today Hindus will say: “All gods are one”, which indicates, that the majority of Hindus are polytheistic in their religious observations.
Most Indian philosophers throughout the ages have understood God as an impersonal power, which manifests in different forms in nature, represented as gods. There have been a number of philosophers, and religious founders, like Buddha (5th century BC), who rejected polytheism. Shankara, 8th century AD, propagated monism, still as an impersonal power. But there are few exceptions like Madhva, 13th century, who propounded the existence of a personal God.
The human experience of good and evil is explained with karma, which depends on the personal dharma (law, duty, truth), which is not universal, but depending on one’s station in life, which is found in the caste system of the Indian society. The dharma also depends on other factors like age, and gender etc. The final solution to earthly suffering is escape from it, and not to be re-born.
Yoga, is seen as one method of achieving freedom from re-birth. Since Yoga is a system of meditation by bodily positions to ascend to the “light of bliss”, the assumed system of chakras, are vital for this final aim: freedom of re-birth.
Chakras, do they exist?
Much of Hindu philosophy has emerged through human experience and the effort to explain what these represent. The interconnection of our body parts, the influences of our feelings on our health and vice versa, also our interconnection with the nature around us, has driven the human mind to give biological explanations supported by philosophical assumptions. Even in this short study about chakras it is obvious that there is not always clarity if these are to be found in the “subtle “, psychic, or the physical human body. Considering that Indians, following Hindu tradition, which does not know Christ and the teaching of His Church, it is remarkable that some of their philosophers had come to the conclusion that there is a “subtle” or psychic body, which is thought to have connection with the physical body. It is intelligent, but does not represent the same as the Bible teaches, I Thessalonians 5:23.
Western Understanding of Chakras
Since the British rule in India 1757, there is a marked influence of Eastern philosophical ideas in Europe. Chinese as well as Indian ideas started to circulate and people like Hahnemann with his Homeopathy and Mesmer with his “animal magnetism” have surely been influenced in their effort to find new ways of curing peoples illnesses. This was just before Descartes’ declaration of the decimal system, which made scientific research in the 19th century possible. The British rule and the new missionary wave in India, had created a counter effect of Hinduism, a system of religions and philosophies and endless religious practices steeped in superstition, which had fallen into a decadent state before the arrival of the British rule. Hindu tradition rallied in a kind of national mood, and many new leaders emerged. Ramakrishna and his acolyte Yogananda are the most outstanding personalities, representing the revival of Hindu thoughts.
Yogananda was the first Hindu teacher invited to come to the West. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian immigrant to USA, invited him to New York to hold a series of lectures. The foundation of the Theosophical Society followed (1875). Whilst promoting Indian traditional ideas of Yoga and Chakras it also promoted Spiritualism, in matter of fact it was driven by ideas gained via occult energies (Helena P. Blavatsky). It also promoted the equality of all religions and their masters, including Jesus. Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian (1861-1925) followed with his philosophical ideas of Anthroposophy. He claimed his inspirations stem from occult visions (clairvoyance). He joined the Theosophical Society, then under Annie Besant. He soon helped founding a German Branch in Würzburg, but was alienated by Annie Besant’s and C.W Leadbeater‘s total spiritual dependency on Eastern, especially Indian and Tibetan mystical Traditions and teachings.
Here is just to note that Sri Auribindo and Swami Sivananda, both were contemporary to Rudolf Steiner and had already influenced him with their views of Grace and Light Works through descending (Aurobindo) and ascending (Sivananda) chakras. Steiner accepted the idea of chakras, but was searching for European ideas connected, or similar to chakras. His idea was that chakras are influenced by their appearance in human history, by nationality and, according to those influences are changing and will be changing in future. He searched for parallels in European Mysticism. He left the Theosophical society and founded the society of Anthroposophy.
There were at that time a number of other Western personalities, who transferred these oriental ideas and experiences to European understanding. For example the idea of the “Awakening of the Kundalini” was promoted by the artist Zachary Selig through his colour-coded chakra paintings.
The Western mind very soon found pseudo-scientific explanations for chakras, their positions in the body and their mental functions. Apparently every thought and experience in our lives gets filtered and recorded through the chakra database. Chakras are thought to vitalise the physical body, and to be associated with interactions of a physical, emotional and mental nature. They are considered seats of life energy or prana, which is thought to flow among them along pathways called nadis. The function of the chakras is to spin and draw in this energy to keep the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health of the body in balance.
Efforts have been made to equate chakras as metaphysical counterparts to the endocrine glands (Gary Osborn); apart from this assumption, a link was thought to be between the sixth lower chakras and specific nerve plexuses along the spinal cord (Stephen Surgess). Already C. W. Leadbeater associated the Ajna chakra (Third Eye) with the pineal gland, which is part of the endocrine system.
With these explanations we have arrived at the core of New Age belief, which further equates the Hindu shakti, qi (or chi) in Chinese, ki in Japanese, koach-ha-guf in Hebrew and bios in Greek. The nadi or breath channel, will be equated in New Age understanding with meridians, as in Chinese traditional medicine.
New Age takes hold of these ideas, and they re-appear in alternative modern medicine. Today in complementary medicine, as it is now called, (for example acupuncture), any of the 12 pathways are believed to conduct energy between the surface of the body and the internal organs. Blockages along these pathways are believed to disrupt energy flow (qi, ki) and to cause imbalances that are reflected in symptoms of various diseases.
All these associations remain speculative, and would have yet to be empirically and scientifically validated.
New Age thinking has its roots Theosophy and Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy. They helped to spread Oriental philosophical views of a pre-scientific age to re-appear in Western Christian Society expressed in pseudo-scientific terms. The close connection of spiritualism, dressed as mysticism, through promotion of Theosophy and Anthroposophy makes all involvement for a Christian suspect. Helena Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner, their founders, both declared themselves as mediums of higher or hidden knowledge.
Chakras and their subsequent connections with energy lines, being spiritual or physical, when considered in modern scientific terms do not exist. From an spiritual view point, we can admit that ancient Indian observations of, what maybe could be called psychic experiences, indicate some exchange of energies on certain point in the body, maybe are facts, but since those points do not relate to any medical known organs or nerve centres or glands, we could to assume that they have spiritual values. Modern man is very well informed about naturally occurring energies, like electricity, or even atomic energy, which would not be manifesting itself via physical exercises.
A Christian will consider to research claims of manifestations of various powers as seems to be the case with chakras. When we deal with energies, outside natural energies, especially if they are named as negative or positive, evil or good, we can assume that we talk about spirits. Since the Christian understanding is that no neutrality exists in the spiritual sphere, we are dealing either with powers for or against Jesus Christ.
Very early in Christianity the Church experienced the power a Christian has over evil forces in the name of Jesus. This experience led the Church to develop a ritual, which is called Exorcism. This is not a Sacrament, but a Sacramental, a tool to help people to live in the freedom of Christ, also a tool for Evangelisation. It is often a part of the Healing Ministry in Christ.
Now to conclude, working with an exorcist for well over 25 years, having seen evil spirits to leave a human body on very specific places, it is easily assumed that those locations in the body could be equated with positions of the Chakras. This is not the case. Considering that the teaching of the assumed chakra positions are various according to tradition and may or may not coincide with an exit point of an evil spirit by prayers in the Name of Jesus Christ, one can say that the claimed chakras do not exists, but the human experience of acquisition of various powers during specific yogic exercises should be taken serious, as they may request later an exorcism. Evil spirits, St. Paul calls them elemental spirits of the universe (Galatians 4:3), do not have a personality (unlike the black angels) and hence like to attach themselves to a human, an animal, or even to plants to gain personality. They cling to emotional and spiritual wounds, received by hurts or sins on preferred locations in the human body. They take the names related to the hurts or sins of this individual. A preferred seat is the womb of a woman, some spirits prefer the neck and other parts of the body, but all spirits leave, when forced by prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ through one of the five openings of the human body.
On their way out they rise through stomach and chest and leave at the openings on the upper part of the body or slip down to leave at the openings at the lower part of the body. There seems to be no exact position, which could be equated with certain chakras. The same can be said for their place of entry. During exorcism prayer their manifestations are very visible and physical, so much so that the afflicted person has to be restrained as not to hurt her/him self. This is not at all demonstrated during ascent or descent across the chakras by yoga exercises. This shows that even on a spiritual level no evidence is given to believe that chakras are a reality.
When concluding such, we are forced to admit that claims of psychic or otherwise energetic experiences of advanced yoga practitioner seem to happen for which we might assume the lack of oxygen could be blamed since this could cause hallucinations.
Since Patanjali, who unified many yogic traditions, the exercises are under Ishwara, a general dedication to a divinity of unknown name, and by tradition all chakras are dedicated to one of the Hindu deities, one could conclude that this exercises could be seen as a sin against the First Commandment, hence an invitation for spiritual affliction and even oppression by specific evil, related to these gods.
The entrance points for evil are not the chakras, but the heart and mind of sinful man.
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