Shat-cakra-nirupana (the six bodily centres)

by Arthur Avalon | 1919 | 46,735 words | ISBN-10: 8178223783 | ISBN-13: 9788178223780

This is the English translation of the Shat-cakra-nirupana, or “description of the six centres”, representing an ancient book on yoga written in the 16th century by Purnananda from Bengal. This book investigates the six bodily centres famously known as Chakras. The text however actually forms the sixth chapter of the Shri-tattva-cintamani, compiled...

Preliminary Verse

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of Preliminary Verse:

अथ तन्त्रानुसारेन षट् चक्रदि क्रमोद्वतः ।
उच्यते परमानन्द-निर्वाह-प्रथमाङ्कुरः ॥ ० ॥

atha tantrānusārena ṣaṭ cakradi kramodvataḥ |
ucyate paramānanda-nirvāha-prathamāṅkuraḥ || 1 ||

Now I speak of the first sprouting shoot (of the Yoga plant) of complete realization of the Brahman, which is to be achieved, according to the Tantras, by means of the six Cakras and so forth in their proper order.”

Commentary by Śrī-Kālīcaraṇa:

“He alone who has become acquainted with the wealth[1] of the six Lotuses[2] by Mahā-Yoga is able to explain the inner principles[3] thereof. Not even the most excellent among the wise, nor the oldest in experience, is able, without the mercy of the Guru,[4] to explain the inner principles relating to the six Lotuses, replete as they are with the greatness of Ṣa, Sa and Ha.”[5]

Now, the very merciful Pūrṇānanda-Svāmī, wishful to rescue the world sunk in the mire of misery, takes that task upon himself. He does so to guide Sādhakas;[6] to impart Tattva-jñāna,[7] which leads to liberation; and also with the desire of speaking of the union of Kuṇḍalinī[8] with the six Cakras.[9]

Now” (Atha).—The force of this article is to show the connection of the book with the Author’s work entitled Śrītattva-cintāmaṇi, the first five chapters of which deal with the rites and practices preliminary to Ṣaṭcakra-nirūpaṇa.[10] In this book he speaks of the first shoot of the realization of the Brahman.

Paramānanda (Supreme Bliss) means Brahman, who, says Śruti, is “Eternal (Nityaṃ [Nitya]) and Knowledge (Vijñānaṃ [Vijñāna]) and Bliss (Ānandaṃ [Ānanda])”.

Following the Tantras” (Tantrānusāreṇa)—i.e., following the authority of the Tantras.[11]

First sprouting shoot” (Prathamāṅkura)—i.e., the first steps which lead to realization of the Brahman. The first cause of such realization is achieved by knowledge of the six Cakras, the Nāḍīs,[12] and so forth, which is the Tāntrika-Yoga-Sādhana.

Complete realization” (Nirvāha)—The Sanskrit word means “accomplishment”; here it is the accomplishment of the immediate experimental realization of the Brahman.[13]

Achieved by means of the six Cakras, and other things” (ṣaṭcakrādī- kramodgata)—i.e., attained by[14] meditating on the six Cakras, viz.: Mūlādhāra, Svādhiṣṭhāna, Maṇipūra, Anāhata, Viśuddha, and Ājñā and other things,[15] viz.: on the Nāḍīs,[16] the Liṅgas,[17] the five Elements,[18] Śiva Śakti, etc., connected with the six Cakras, in their order.

The order (Krama) is, first, meditation on them, next awakening of Kuṇḍalinī, and Her passage to the Brahma lotus and then Her return therefrom; the union of Śiva and Śakti, and so forth.

Order” (Krama) by which it is attained, and this is the same as Yoga practice.

The Author in substance says: “I speak of the first step (Aṅkura) of the practice which is the First Cause of the immediate or experimental realization[19] of the Brahman, brought about by a knowledge of the six Cakras, as is laid down in the Tantras.”

Footnotes and references:




That is, the Ṣaṭ-cakra; six centres, which are: Mūlādhāra, Svādhiṣṭhāna, Maṇipūra. Anāhata, Viśuddha, and Ājñā.


Antas-tattvai.e., relating to the ṣaṭ-cakra.


Kṛpā-nātha, Lord of Mercy, i.e., the Guru.


Ṣa, Sa, Ha. Ṣa=Final Liberation, Sa=Knowledge. Ha=Supreme Spirit; also Brahmā, Viṣṇṇ and Śiva, respectively.


Those who practise Sādhana, or spiritual discipline; here aspirants for Yoga.


Tattva-jñāna=Brahma-knowledge or Brahman-knowledge.


The Devī as Śabda Brahman (Śabda-brahma-rūpā Kuṇḍalinī, v. 2, post) in the world of the body (Piṇḍāṇḍa), or Kṣudra-brahmāṇḍa (microcosm). Verse 10 describes Her as She who maintains all beings in the world by inhalation and exhalation. Unmanifested “sound” assumes the form of Kuṇḍalī in the animal body (vv. 10, 11).


Mūlādhāra, etc.


Ṣaṭcakra-nirūpaṇa. Nirūpaṇa=investigation, ascertainment into, and of the six Cakras. This forms the sixth chapter of Pūrṇānanda’s Śrītattva-cintāmaṇi.


In which is to be found a detailed description of the process here described, known as Ṣaṭcakra-bheda, or piercing of the six Cakras.


The “nerves,” or channels of energy (see v. 2). Nāḍī is derived from the root naḍ, “motion,” and means a channel (Vivara).




“Attained by”. This is Udgata, which literally means “sprung out of” or “sprouted out of”.


According to Śaṃkara, by “other things” are meant the Sahasrāra, etc. This Śaṃkara here and hereafter referred to is a commentator on this work, and not the philosopher Śaṃkarācārya.


See note 2, p. 5.


In three of the Cakras—viz., Svayaṃbhu, Bāṇa, and Itāra.



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