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Is knowledge about esoteric subjects such as
chakras, collective unconsciousness, energy fields,
really helpful along the way, or not? Or will
whatever is needed come to me through
experience, in its own time?
Is knowledge about esoteric subjects such as chakras, collective unconsciousness, energy fields, really helpful along the way, or not? Or will whatever is needed come to me through experience, in its own time?
Anything that is needed will come of its own accord, in its own time. All this so-called esoteric knowledge about chakras, energy fields, kundalini, astral bodies, is dangerous as knowledge. As experience it is a totally different thing. Don’t acquire it as knowledge. If it is needed for your spiritual growth, it will come to you in its right time, and then it will be an experience.
If you have an acquired knowledge, borrowed knowledge, it is going to be a hindrance. For example Hindu Yoga believes in seven chakras, Jaina scriptures mention nine chakras, and Buddhist scriptures say that there are dozens of chakras, that these are only the important ones which have been chosen by different schools. They don’t give any fixed number. Acquired knowledge will be confusing: how many chakras? And what are you going to do with that knowledge, whether there are seven or nine or dozens? Your knowledge is not going to help; it can only hinder.
My own experience is that perhaps Buddha’s experience is correct and that does not make the Hindu Yoga or Jaina Yoga incorrect. Buddha is saying that there are energy fields, whirling energy fields, from the lowest point in your spine up to the very peak of your head. There are many; now it is only a question of a particular teaching which ones are important for it. That particular teaching will choose these. Hindus have chosen seven, Jainas have chosen nine. They don’t contradict each other, it is simply that the emphasis is on whatever chakra the teaching feels to emphasize.
As far as I am concerned, you will come across only four chakras which are the most important.
One you know is your sex center. The second, just above it, which is not recognized in any Indian school of thought but has been recognized in Japan alone, is called the hara. It is between your navel and the sex center. The hara is the death chakra.
My own experience is that life, that is the sex center, and death, that is the hara, should be very close, and they are.
In Japan, when somebody commits suicide, it is called hara-kiri. Nowhere in the world does such a thing happen except in Japan. Suicide is committed everywhere, but with a knife: just two inches below the navel, the Japanese forces a knife and this is the most miraculous death; no blood, no pain and death is instantaneous.
So the first chakra is the life chakra; it is a whirling energy. “Chakra” means wheel, moving. Just above the life chakra is the death chakra.
The third important chakra is the heart chakra. You can call it the love chakra, because between life and death the most important thing that can happen to a man or to a woman is love. And love has many manifestations: meditation is one of the manifestations of love, prayerfulness is one of the manifestations of love. This is the third important chakra.
The fourth important chakra is what Hindu Yoga calls agna chakra just on your forehead between the two eyes. These four chakras are the most important.
The fourth is from where your energy moves beyond humanity into divinity. There is one chakra more, which is at the top part of your head, but you will not come across it in your life journey. That’s why I am not counting it. After the fourth, you have transcended body, mind, heart, all that is not you only your being remains. And when death happens to such a person
That’s why in India the hara has not been taken note of, because in the Hindu or Jaina or Buddhist Yoga they were not considering people who commit suicide. They were thinking about people who were transforming their energy from the physical to the immaterial.
So the fifth chakra is the sahasrar. Jainas count it, Hindus count it because when you have transcended the fourth chakra, sometime you will die. And a person who dies after transcending the fourth chakra His energy, his being leaves the body, cracking the skull into two parts; that is the sahasrar chakra, but because it is not part of your life experience, that’s why I am not counting it. The four are your life experience. This one is the death of a person who is enlightened. He does not die from the hara.
That’s why in India no school has taken note of the hara chakra. But in Japan they had to take note of it, because in Japan suicide was a form of etiquette.
You will be puzzled: the Japanese have such a totally different culture from the whole world; from small things to big things, they have their own approach.
I am reminded of one incident. For small things a Japanese can commit suicide, because he cannot live a life of shame. If he feels ashamed, that is enough to finish his life and you will not be able to conceive of what small things are thought to be so important that life is nothing.
A master, who was the greatest archer of Japan, was called by the king. The king wanted his son to become exactly as great an archer as the master was.
Now, it is Japanese etiquette, that even when two persons are going to fight with each other, first they will bow down to each other’s divinity with folded hands, even though they are going to kill. But before killing, they will respect each other. So in ordinary life, in Japan, you will find people everywhere bowing down to each other on the road, in the restaurants. It is disappearing as the modern Western influence is changing the whole world.
But the master archer was such an egoist that even in front of the king he waited: first the king should fold his hands, and then
The court of the king condemned the man and said, “You have committed such a shameful act. Just go back and commit hara-kiri.” It was not such a big thing, but when the whole court had said it, the whole country would know about it.
The man went directly to his home and committed hara-kiri.
He had three hundred students. When they heard that their master had committed a shameful act, all three hundred students committed hara-kiri, because it was so shameful that their master should have behaved like this.
Now this cannot happen anywhere else in the world. If the master has done something shameful although it was not much of a shameful act, but even if it were, the students are completely innocent. But because they were the students of that master, it was enough to feel ashamed you had followed such a man.
People have been committing hara-kiri in Japan for centuries. So when Buddhism reached there for the first time, nearabout fourteen hundred years ago, and they started meditating, they were the first people to discover the hara center because they had been using that center for centuries, so that center was very much throbbing and vibrating and alive.
It all depends. In different cultures it may be a little bit different where the center is.
For example when Japanese started coming to see me I was a little bit puzzled because all over the whole world when you want to say yes, you move your head up and down. And the Japanese, when they want to say yes, move the head from side to side which means, no. All over the world that is the sign for no but that is their sign for yes, and the head moving up and down is their sign for no.
So when I would ask them something I would be very much puzzled; I could not believe that they had come to take sannyas. They were sitting before me and I was asking, “Are you ready for sannyas?” and they would shake.” Then why have you come? You have unnecessarily traveled here from Japan and you are sitting here in front of me just for that purpose, and you are saying no?”
Then my interpreter said to me, “You are not understanding; that person is saying yes. In Japan, the head moving from side to side is yes; the head moving up and down is no.” So you have to remember it when you are talking with the Japanese. Otherwise there is going to be great confusion you will say something, they will understand something else. They cannot speak but they can understand.
In the Caucasus, where Gurdjieff was born, they have a system of chakras which is slightly different. It seems to be the difference between the people of the Caucasus and the other people.
In India, three religions, Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, all have exactly the same points. They may count five or seven or nine, but the places are exactly the same. Centuries have affected their bodies in different ways.
In the Caucasus there are thousands of people who are older than one hundred and fifty years. The Caucasus is the place in the whole world which has the oldest people and they are not old; at the age of one hundred and eighty the person is still young. He is working on the farm just like any young man.
In the Caucasus people always die very young; they don’t grow old. Naturally their bodies have developed in a different way. Their food has something to do with it, their climate, their geography, their land. It has created a different psychology.
Throughout the whole world it is thought that seventy years is the time for everybody to die that is the average; you can be five years earlier or five years later, but the average is seventy.
When George Bernard Shaw became seventy he started looking in the small villages around London at the stones which are put on the graves, in their cemeteries, to see how long people in that village had lived. His friend said, “You are mad. Why are you wasting your time?”
He said, “I don’t want to die at seventy. I have never been average in anything, and I cannot be average in death. So I am looking for a place where people don’t believe that seventy is the average age to die, because that place will have a psychology of its own.”
Finally he found a village where, on many stones in the graveyard, he found that it was written: This man lived one hundred and eight years, and died untimely.
He said, “This is the right place where a man lives one hundred and eight years and still people think the poor fellow has died ‘untimely,’ that it was not yet time to die.”
After seventy years he moved from London he had lived seventy years in London to a village, after checking the cemetery. And he lived a hundred years. He proved it that village had the psychology, that village had the vibe, that village had the idea that one hundred years is nothing.
When he would ask people if he could live to be one hundred, they would say, “One hundred is nothing; everybody lives to be one hundred. You can go to the cemetery and see one hundred and forty, one hundred and thirty; people live that long very easily. A hundred? that is too early.”
He lived one hundred years.