The Subtle System & Chakras

The human subtle system is a vastly intricate one, made up of thousands of channels which carry energy throughout the body. The concentrations of the energy in the subtle system are called Chakras (‘wheels’ in Sanskrit), or energy centers.

The entire system is governed by three primary vertical channels of energy called ‘Nadis’ in Sanskrit and by seven main chakras. Through the Self Realisation process, our subtle system is fully activated with the awakening of the Kundalini , which cleans and balances the entire system and enlightens the pure qualities of the chakras within us.


Self-Realisation is achieved when the Kundalini, which is the mothering and spiritual energy present in all human beings, is awakened. The Kundalini energy rises from the sacrum bone through the spinal column. As a result, the energy centres (or chakras) become energized and nourished. When this energy passes through the brain, we spontaneously achieve mental silence and a higher state of awareness.

The Nadis (Energy Channels)

Within our subtle system there are 3 energy channels. They correspond to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

A. The Right Channel

The right channel corresponds to our physical and mental activity. It ends with the ego on the left side of the brain. Ego gives us the idea and sense of individuality. The right channel is the conduit for our energy of action.

B. The Left Channel

The left channel corresponds to our past, emotions and desires. It ends with the superego on the right side of the brain. The superego stores our memories, habits and conditionings. The greatest quality of the left side is joy, which is the nature of the spirit.

C. The Central Channel

The central channel is the channel of our ascent and spiritual growth. It is the conduit which sustains our evolution and guides us, consciously or unconsciously towards higher levels of awareness culminating in the Sahasrara, our uppermost chakra.


The activities that take place through the parasympathetic system and the rising of the Kundalini are spontaneous happenings, hence, the term Sahaja (spontaneous) to describe the meditation introduced by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. Once the Kundalini is awakened and has raised above the top of the head, we become “enlightened or Realization people, enjoying a full awareness of our subtle system and spirituality.

The Chakras (Energy Centres)

The chakras are centers of energy looking after diverse aspects of our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual being. In western medical science, their physical representations are the plexuses.

In Sanskrit, the meaning of chakra is “wheel”. They are represented as wheels of energy turning in a clockwise direction. Each chakra vibrates with a specific quality. When fully manifested, these qualities are expressed in our lives, giving us inner balance and beauty.

1. Mooladhara Chakra (Innocence)

mooladhara chakra

The first chakra is situated below the sacrum bone in which resides the Kundalini, and its main aspect is the innocence. Innocence is the quality by which we experience pure, childlike joy, without the limitations of prejudice or conditionings. Innocence gives us dignity, balance, and a tremendous sense of direction and purpose in life. It is nothing but simplicity, purity and joy.

The Kundalini (Mothering energy)

The Kundalini is the primordial source of all energy. It is a living energy that knows how to act. Prior to Self-Realisation, the Kundalini lies dormant in the sacrum bone at the base of the spine. When rising in our central channel, the Kundalini purifies our subtle system and chakras. She generates the power of pure desire, the power to evolve and to become one with the spirit.

2. Swadishthan Chakra (Creativity)

swadisthan chakraThe second chakra is the chakra of creativity, pure attention and pure knowledge. It is the one which connects us to the inner source of inspiration, and enables us to experience the beauty around us.

3. Nabhi Chakra (Peace)

nabhi chakraThe third chakra is the one that gives us the sense of generosity, complete satisfaction and contentment. When enlightened, the Nabhi chakra gives us our spiritual ascent, righteousness and inner sense of morality, and complete balance at all levels in our life.

3a. The Void (the Guru)

the voidSurrounding the second and the third chakra is the Void which stands for the principle of mastery within us. In Sahaja Yoga you become your own master, your own spiritual guide since you can feel your subtle system on your fingertips.

4. The Heart Chakra (Love & Compassion)

heart chakraThe fourth chakra, the chakra of the heart, is the place where resides our Spirit, our true Self, which is eternally pure and unaffected by anything. It shines like a hidden diamond within us, witnessing all our actions.It is from our heart that the compassion and love manifests, and also the heart chakra is the one that gives us the sense of responsibility and pure behaviour towards others. The heart chakra also gives us complete security and confidence.

5. Vishuddhi Chakra (Collectivity)

vishuddhi chakraThe fifth chakra is the chakra of diplomacy, of pure relationships with others, and of playful detachment.It removes our guilt feelings, and gives us a kind and compassionate voice. The Vishuddhi is the chakra which gives us the connection with the whole, enabling us to feel our oneness and the fact that we are all part and parcel of the whole.

6. The Agnya Chakra (Forgiveness)

agnya chakraThe qualities of the sixth chakra are forgiveness and compassion. Forgiveness is the power to let go of anger, hatred and resentment and to discover, in humility, the nobility and generosity of the Spirit.It is the one that dissolves all our ego, conditionings, habits, false ideas of racialism, and all our misidentifications. It is the narrow gate which opens the way for our consciousness to ascend to its final destination, which is the seventh center.

7. The Sahasrara Chakra (Integration)

sahasrara chakraThe seventh center integrates all the chakras with their respective qualities. It is the last milestone of the evolution of human awareness.

Today, this chakra is now awakened, allowing our consciousness to enter into this new realm of perception and awareness, which is beyond our mental activities and thoughts.This chakra gives us the direct, absolute perception of Reality on our central nervous system. This is precisely what is achieved by Self Realization, through the spontaneous awakening of the Kundalini given by Sahaja Yoga.

Shri Mataji describes how the subtle system and chakras work