Anahata (Sanskrit: अनाहत, IAST: Anāhata, English: "unstruck") or heart chakra is the fourth primary chakra, according to Hindu Yogic, Shakta and Buddhist Tantric traditions. In Sanskrit, anahata means "unhurt, unstruck and unbeaten". Anahata Nad refers to the Vedic concept of unstruck sound (the sound of the celestial realm). Ananhata is associated with a calm, serene sound devoid of violence.
Anahata is represented by a smoke-grey lotus flower with 12 petals. Inside is a smoke-coloured region made from the intersection of two triangles, creating a shatkona. The shatkona is a symbol used in Hindu Yantra, representing the union of the masculine and feminine. Specifically, it is meant to represent Purusha (the Supreme Being) and Prakriti (Mother Nature) and is often represented by Shiva and Shakti. The deity of this area is Vayu, who is smoke-coloured and four-armed, holding a kusha and riding an antelope (the chakra's animal).
The seed syllable is the dark-grey mantra "yam". In the bindu (or dot) above the syllable is the deity Isha. Isha is bright white or blue in color, has one or five faces, with three eyes on each face; has two, four or ten arms; is clad in a tiger skin, holds a trident and drum, grants blessings and dispels fear. His shakti is Kakini, who is shining yellow or rose-coloured. She has a number of variations: one, three or six faces, two or four arms, and holds a variety of implements (occasionally a sword, shield, skull or trident). She is seated on a red lotus.
The twelve petals are vermilion-coloured, and on them are inscribed the syllables kam, kham, gam, gham, ngam, cham, chham, jam, jham, nyam, tam and tham in Sanskrit. They match the vrittis of lust, fraud, indecision, repentance, hope, anxiety, longing, impartiality, arrogance, competence, discrimination and defiance.
Anahata is considered the seat of the Jivatman and Parashakti. In the Upanishads, this is described as like a tiny flame inside the heart. Anahata is so called because here sages hear the sound (Anahata – Shabda), which comes without the striking of two things together. It is associated with air, touch and actions of the hands.
Anahata is associated with the ability to make decisions outside the realm of karma. In Manipura and below, man is bound by the laws of karma and fate. In Anahata one makes decisions ("follows one's heart") based on one's higher self, not the unfulfilled emotions and desires of lower nature. As such, it is known as the heart chakra. It is also associated with love and compassion, charity to others and psychic healing. Meditation on this chakra is said to bring about the following siddhis: he becomes a lord of speech; he is dear to women; his presence controls the senses of others, and he can leave and enter the body at will.
Hrit (Hridaya, Surya) chakra
Immediately below Anahata (at the solar plexus or, sometimes, on the near left side of the body) is a minor chakra known as Hrit (or Hridaya, "heart"), with eight petals. It has three regions: a vermilion sun region, within which is a white moon region, within which is a deep-red fire region. Within this is the red wish-fulfilling tree, kalpa taru, which symbolises the ability to manifest what one wishes to happen in the world.
Hrit chakra is sometimes known as the Surya (sun) chakra, which is located slightly to the left below the heart. Its role is to absorb energy from the sun and provide heat to the body and the other chakras (to Manipura in particular, to which it provides Agni (fire).
Associations with the body
Anahata is said to be near the heart. Because of its connection to touch it is associated with the skin, and because of its connection to actions of the hands it is associated with the hands. In the endocrine system, Anahata is said to be associated with the thymus.
In Kundalini yoga, anahata is awakened and balanced by asanas, pranayamas and the practice of ajapa japa (japa, without the mental effort normally needed to repeat the mantra) and purified by bhakti (devotion).
Comparisons with other systems
The heart wheel in Tibetan Buddhism is the location of the indestructible red-and-white drop. At death the winds of the body dissolve and enter this drop, which then leaves the body into Bardo (the intermediate stage) and rebirth. The heart wheel in this model is circular, white and has eight petals (or channels) reaching downwards. These channels divide into three wheels (mind, speech and body) and go to 24 places in the body. They again divide into three and then into 1,000, producing 72,000 channels (known as Nadi) throughout the body.
The heart wheel is important in meditation; in the lower tantras, the mantra is recited from the heart. It is recited verbally and then mentally; then, in the heart, a tiny moon disc and flame are imagined from which the mantra rings. In the higher tantras (the Anuttarayoga Tantra of the Sarma schools) or the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma school, the practitioner attempts to dissolve the winds and drops into the central channel at the level of the heart to experience the Yoga of Clear Light; this is a practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa. In Tibetan Buddhism there is a chakra, the Fire Wheel, above the heart and below the throat.
Sufis have a system of Lataif-e-sitta at a number of points on the body; at the heart, there are three positioned horizontally. On the left side of the chest is the Qalb (the heart); the Ruh is on the right side of the chest, and the Sirr (innermost heart) is between them.
The Qalb is called the heart of the mystic; it is caught between the downward pull of the lower nafs, and the upward pull of the spirit of Allah and may be blackened by sin. It may be purified by reciting the names of God. The Ruh is the centre of the spirit, the breath of Allah; when awakened, it counteracts the negative pull of the nafs. The Sirr is the innermost heart, where Allah manifests his mystery.
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- Anahata Chakra