The march to freedom – part 1
KAMLESH PATEL takes us on a journey – the ultimate journey to freedom. In the process he explains why freedom is of such importance to humans worldwide.
THE SCIENCE OF SPIRITUALITY
Evolution of Consciousness Series
If we study history, we realize that there are some fundamental principles and values that the peoples of all cultures, backgrounds and walks of life have considered important. We can call them universal principles. One of the most highly valued is freedom.
In the words of Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, “The natural yearning of the soul is to be free from bondage.” This yearning or craving for freedom is the core of our human purpose. You could say, in fact, that the march to freedom is our true human purpose.
But what freedom is Ram Chandra talking about in this statement? Is it the license to do whatever we want on this earth for our own happiness, at the expense of other people, other species and our environment? The ancient Greek philosopher Plato said “No”, and argued that with freedom comes a responsibility to align our choices with goodness. In the 17th century, John Milton said the same thing. In the teachings of all religions, philosophies and spiritual traditions, we find the idea of choosing what is right over what is pleasurable. The Buddha’s noble eightfold path is based on the same premise, as are the ethical precepts of Yoga – yama and niyama – and the Ten Commandments of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
So let’s explore further Ram Chandra’s statement, “The natural yearning of the soul is to be free from bondage.” What bondage? What is the bondage of the soul? All throughout this series on the evolution of consciousness we have been very close to this theme. The evolution of consciousness is the expansion that comes, step-by-step, as we transcend the bondages of the soul. We have explored the three bodies of a human being: the soul is at the center of our existence, and then there are coverings around the soul. There are an infinite number of coverings around the soul, all of which can become heavy with complexities and impurities.
Our real march to freedom is to purify these coverings so that they no longer bind the soul. To let the soul be free of all heaviness, so it can soar and become one with the universal soul we call the Divine or God. To live in universal consciousness.
This march to freedom is the spiritual journey, and there is a map to give us guidance and directions. This map is the spiritual anatomy of the human system. In earlier articles of this series we started to explore spiritual anatomy, but now we will explore it in more depth.
Many of you will have heard of chakras, which are often described as centers of concentrated energy in the human system. The traditional view is that there are 7 main chakras: the root chakra at the base of the spine, the sacral chakra just below the navel, the solar plexus chakra in the upper abdomen, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, the brow chakra and the crown chakra at the top of the head.
But we now know that the spiritual anatomy of a human being is made up of many more chakras than these 7, and that they extend to the occipital prominence at the back of the head.
The 3 lower chakras are common to all higher animal species, while human beings also have the possibility of awakening and developing the capacity of the chakras from the heart upwards. These 13 chakras are shown in this image:
The heart chakra is not just one star; it is a constellation of many stars, and the 5 major ones belong to the 5 elements that manifest throughout the universe – earth, air, fire, water and ether, also known as akash or space. Our bodies are also made from those 5 elements, which are present in the heart chakra, starting with chakra 1 of the heart, which has the qualities of earth dominant. The other four elements exist here to a lesser degree. Chakra 1 is on the lower left side of the chest near the physical heart.
Chakra 2 is the soul chakra on the lower right side of the chest. It has the quality of space or akasha dominating. Chakra 3 is where the fire element dominates, on the upper left side of the chest. Chakra 4 is where the water element dominates, on the upper right side of the chest, and chakra 5 is at the throat and has the air element dominating. All of this is within the Heart Region or Pind Pradesh, and it is a vast region in itself.
Through the practice of Heartfulness, the first step is to purify and awaken these 5 chakras of the Pind Pradesh so that consciousness can expand through this vast region.
What does this mean for us? One thing it means is that we learn to purify and master the feeling side of life. We can clear away the overlays of emotional distortion around the soul that color our perception, so that purity, wisdom and clarity become our natural state of being. We develop the confidence to listen to the heart. Our lives become simpler and purer.
On this journey through the Heart Region, at chakra 1 we learn to work with our likes and dislikes, with the pull of our desires, including worldly worries, greed and jealousy, resentment and self-pity, sensuality and lust, guilt and shame. When we master these emotions, as a result of purifying and traversing chakra 1, a natural feeling of contentment and lightness develops. The beautiful thing about the earth element at chakra 1 is that it supports and allows everything. It is utterly accepting, without judgment. For instance, the earth will allow a murder to take place and when it does there is no earthquake. The earth does not swallow up the murderer. We walk on Mother Earth and she tolerates our weight. We can create a beautiful garden or burn the garden, and all is witnessed by the earth. She tolerates us. She accepts us. She is like a mother to us.
When a person develops this quality, at its pinnacle that person becomes like a mother, becoming so loving and accepting of everything.
Chakra 2 is the spiritual heart. At chakra 2 we experience the feelings of peace, lightness, stillness, and the bliss of the soul. Compassion reaches its zenith here. At first it is difficult to integrate this experience with daily life, as the feelings are so enticing that all we want to do is meditate and stay in that state of peace. On one side, there is immense calmness and peace, and on the other side a very subtle level of yearning to move onwards. Gradually, as we journey through chakra 2 and balance chakras 1 and 2, we learn to be both grounded in the earthly plane and soar in space at the same time. We start to integrate matter and spirit in our lives.
This creates our base for moving onwards to the upper chakras in the chest area where we encounter the other elements – fire, water and air. Fire is vital energy, and at chakra 3 we dive deeper into this element.
Fire purifies. When you see gold ore heated up it is purified to produce gold. If you heat ice, what happens? It melts – it becomes water, which then becomes steam, powerful enough to move locomotive engines. Let’s focus on these two principles of fire: purifying and melting. What is the solidity that melts in us? When we interact with people, sometimes we are vibrant and feel like moving and at other times we don’t feel like doing anything, we are frozen. It is just this. When the fire of love is there, we can move easily because love makes things easier and better. It is difficult to move around with complexities and heaviness.
Fire has another quality. Even when you keep a match or a lighter pointing downwards, the fire will always rise upwards. Our love, the fire of love, must ascend. When we talk of ascension we always talk of divinity. Love connects us with our Source and with the Guide who is leading us to our Source, and so love facilitates our march to freedom.
At chakra 3 we learn to use love and anger so that both are transformative guiding emotions for the onward journey. Anger in its pure form is also for our benefit, as it alerts us to the fact that something is wrong, and reminds us to change our tendencies and behaviors to continue on the right path. As we feel the inner friction we know something needs refining.
So at this chakra, the purifying effect of fire helps us to transform so that we evoke love in others. What is being transformed in us? The worst in us is being transformed; things like hatred. It is transformed into love, and that’s what helps us to ascend. Fire helps us to melt our heart. Here true devotion develops and true love develops. We don’t have to pretend to be in love, as we cannot help but love. Love becomes our very nature.
When anger and love are directed elsewhere, when their focus is outwards towards other people and things, these two emotions can drag us into entanglements and complexities, creating a diversion and causing emotional turbulence. That is not to say we should not love in a worldly sense, or that we should not utilize anger to improve ourselves in a worldly sense, but it is important to keep the field of consciousness clear and pure, as opposed to muddying it with turbulent emotions. Hence we have the process of cleaning in Heartfulness – to refresh and rejuvenate the field of consciousness, to purify the subtle body on a daily basis.
In our journey through the Heart Region,
we purify all these feelings.
Each one has its purpose and we learn how to use them
constructively for our onward evolution.
Once we have traversed the chakras in the Heart Region,
the journey then continues into higher and higher realms.
To go further, the important quality that we need is generosity.
Generosity of heart is able to drop the differences,
the opposites or the dwandwas,
and is able to discern things with just the right perspective.
Moving to chakra 4, what does the water element evoke in us? Water has a very soothing and tranquil effect. It refreshes our mind and soothes our heart. The state that we experienced with fire, always restless to love, now becomes quieter. The intensity of love is reduced considerably. Love becomes like a deep flowing river towards the Source. It is less expressive and more inwardly transporting. The emotional excitement of love found at chakra 3 is ennobled when it combines with the water element and becomes subtler.
Strength develops from within as love flows deeper, and this manifests at chakra 4 as courage and confidence in everything that we do. Courage is very beneficial when a healthy level of humility and concern for others is present, but when it is reckless and ego-driven it can be destructive.
At chakra 4 we also experience and learn to master fear. Let’s say you are all alone on the ocean and there are thirty-foot waves, you will feel afraid. Fear balances courage, preventing us from doing things that could be reckless. It keeps us on track, if you like, in its pure form. But when it is weighed down with impressions, fear can become negative and crippling.
Chakra 5 is dominated by the air element, and has qualities of lightness, clarity and intelligence. Air is always in flux – we don’t know which direction it is heading. In the same way, our mind, our moods, our emotions also keep on fluctuating. At chakra 5 there can be a lot of illusion. When heaviness or emotional turbulence exists in the heart, the air element manifests this confusion and illusion. When confusion is present, it means that we must pause and wait until the confusion has shifted and the heart is able to truly guide us with clarity.
In our journey through the Heart Region, we purify all these feelings. Each one has its purpose and we learn how to use them constructively for our onward evolution. Once we have traversed the chakras in the Heart Region, the journey then continues into higher and higher realms. To go further, the important quality that we need is generosity. Generosity of heart is able to drop the differences, the opposites or the dwandwas, and is able to discern things with just the right perspective.
Transcending this Pind Pradesh means going beyond this earthly plane of existence to the Mind Region, and finally beyond the Mind Region to the Central Region. We will explore these regions next time in the quest to understand more of the march to freedom.
Article by Kamlesh Patel
September 02, 2017
September 01, 2017
August 01, 2017