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Early doctrines regarding the chakras
The idea of the subtle vital force (prana) and the channels along which it flows (nadis) appear in the earliest Upanishads (7th-8th century b.c.e.).
The heart was said to be the centre of the 72,000 nadis or subtle channels, and the place into which the senses are withdrawn during sleep. As with many ancient civilisations (e.g. Egypt, Homeric Greece), the heart was also considered the seat of waking consciousness.
But it was only in the later Upanishads – the earlier of which were composed somewhere between the 2nd century b.c.e. and the 2nd century c.e. – reference is first made to basic Tantric concepts such as chakras, mantras, and so on.
The Brahma-Upanishad mentions the four “places” occupied by the purusha (soul): the navel, heart, throat, and head. Following common tradition, each place is characterised by a particular state of consciousness: the…
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