Introduction of Eastern philosophies and spiritual practices into the Western world has brought with it knowledge of the psychospiritual energy centers known as chakras. A question that often arises is why Jesus, as a spiritual master, did not teach about these energy centers whereas spiritual masters from most other traditions have taught about them and their vital role in spiritual transformation. A deeper reading of the New Testament, however, reveals that Jesus did in fact know and teach about the chakras and their crucial role in spiritual transformation. These teachings are found in the Book of Revelation and in several gospel passages, texts which form part of the New Testament canon, the foundational text of Christianity for the past two millennia.
The term chakra is derived from an ancient Sanskrit term meaning wheel of light. The chakras refer to energy centers situated in what is known as the energy body, a non-corporeal body of subtle energies overlaying and interpenetrating our physical bodies. The energy body, one of several subtle energy bodies overlaying and interpenetrating the physical body, holds within it many large and small energy centers. The term chakra commonly refers to the seven principal energy centers. These seven centers, which are non-anatomical in nature, are located in the energy body at points corresponding in the physical body the base of the spine, just below the navel, the solar plexus, the center of the chest at the level of the heart, the throat, the forehead between the brows (often referred to as the third eye or spiritual eye), and the crown of the head.[i]
Most spiritual traditions, with Christianity being the major exception, have long known of the existence of the chakras and have understood their profound importance for spiritual transformation. In fact, in most spiritual traditions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, spiritual practices based on an understanding of the chakras and other subtle energies are deemed essential for the attainment of higher spiritual states.
The importance of the chakras, however, is not limited to the spiritual. These energy centers are also important for physical health and well-being because they directly affect the energy body, which in turn acts as the energetic template of the physical body and influences health and disease at every level of the physical body. When the energy body is vibrant with the chakras open and spinning, our energy fields will be strong and in most cases we will be physically healthy and operating at relatively high levels of energy. A seer would see in such a person the spinning of the chakras and the flow of energies throughout the person’s energy field. In contrast, the energy body of a person suffering from disease or illness will usually be discolored and vibrating at a low frequency, with energies of one or more of the chakras being blocked or moving slowly or not moving at all. As such, blocked or discolored energies in a person’s aura, or energy field, often foreshadow physical illness.[ii]
The Chakras in The Revelation to John
While references to the chakras are found in the gospels, some of the most important references to the chakras in the New Testament are in the Book of Revelation, also called The Revelation to John, which forms part of the official canon of Catholicism and most Protestant denominations. It is widely, although not universally, believed to have been written by the apostle John near the end of his life. In the opening verse of this text, John explains that the revelation came from God through Jesus Christ to an angel and then to John “who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, and to all things that he saw.” Rev.1:1-2.[iii] The phrase, “all things that he saw”, signifies that John’s experience was visionary in nature, which is confirmed by John saying that when he received the revelation he “was in the Spirit”. Rev.1:10.
At the beginning of the vision, John is instructed to send what will be revealed to him to seven churches in cities located in the area known today as Asia Minor: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Rev.1:11. Upon receiving this instruction, John turns to see who is speaking to him. He immediately beholds seven golden lampstands, and he sees standing in their midst “One like the Son of Man” holding in his right hand seven stars. Rev.1:12-16. This radiant figure proclaims to John, “I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.” Rev.1:7-18. These words make clear to John that he is in the presence of Jesus, which is further confirmed when the radiant figure says, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore.” Rev. 1:18.
“What we may find, if we look deeply enough into Jesus’ teachings on the chakras, is a fundamentally new dimension of Jesus’ message and mission that has gone unrecognized in Christianity’s teachings on Jesus throughout its history. The issue these teachings raise is not one of competing views of Jesus, but of complementary views that see Jesus at the different levels that He lived and that understand His teachings at the different levels at which He taught.”
Jesus immediately proceeds to give to John the keys to understand the meaning of much of what He will reveal to him. Jesus discloses to John that when He speaks of the seven churches He is referring not to actual churches or communities of believers but to something much different.[iv] He explains to John that the seven lampstands in the midst of which He was standing are the seven churches and that the seven stars He holds are the angels of the seven churches:
The mystery of the seven stars which you see in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. Rev.1:20.
In these words, Jesus reveals to John that He is speaking not literally but symbolically. Equating the stars with the angels of the churches and the lampstands with the churches themselves, He lets John know that what He will reveal is not about actual churches in Asia. Jesus underscores that the churches, lampstands and stars are symbols signifying something other than actual churched by repeating no less than seven times, after each message to the seven churches, the exhortation: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”[v] Jesus is making clear to John that the meaning of His words is not to be found in their literal meaning. Moreover, He is stating that what He is revealing will not be understood by all, but rather only by those who “have an ear to hear”. What’s more, He is exhorting those who do grasp the deeper meaning of what is revealed to listen carefully because it is critically important. As we shall see, what Jesus is revealing is an understanding of His spiritual transformation when He walked the earth and of what we are called to do to follow His path and become like Him.
Jesus, by identifying the churches with the lampstands, is revealing that the churches represent things that are of light and energy. He also associates the seven lampstands with seven angels, indicating again that He is not speaking of churches existing in the physical world but of things belonging to the world of Spirit. He further makes known that He is not speaking on a literal level when He instructs John multiple times to give the messages to the angel of each church, and not to the churches themselves.[vi] What then, we may ask, are seven in number, are of the nature of light and energy, belong to the world of Spirit, and are somehow tied to the prophetic teachings that follow Jesus’ messages to the churches? It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Jesus is speaking of the chakras, with each of the seven churches representing one of the seven principal chakras.
We see this more clearly as Jesus gives a message to each church, praising the church for what it has accomplished and also admonishing it for its shortcomings. Jesus’ initial instruction is to the church of Ephesus, acknowledging its successes but also warning that if it fails to correct its errors He will remove from it its lampstand. “I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.” Rev.2:5. Jesus is not speaking of the removal of something physical, but of something related to light and energy and Spirit, which as noted already is of the nature of the chakras. He, in effect, is saying that errors as to the chakras and as to the use of their light and energy must not be allowed to happen because such errors will lead to their removal, indicating that something essential to the nature of the chakras as light and energy and Spirit will be lost. Jesus not only warns against this but clearly does not want it to happen. The reasons for the warning, dire in nature, will become evident as the revelation unfolds.
Jesus goes on to acknowledge each of the other six churches for what each has accomplished, but He also admonishes each for ways in which it has gone astray. What Jesus is doing with these messages is teaching that if things are not right with each of the chakras, there will be consequences that are not good. In other words, He warns that things can go wrong with the energy centers and that we must be vigilant not to let this happen, a central theme running throughout Revelation. Arguably, the apocalyptic disasters forewarned of in Revelation are tied directly to the misuse of the energies of the chakras on both personal and collective levels.
Jesus does not only give instructions and warnings. He also reveals the spiritual purpose of using wisely the chakras and their light and energy. He does this by making promises to those who “overcome” as to the churches, or chakras. While the King James Version uses the word “overcome”, other biblical translations use different but similar terms: “conquer” (New Revised Standard Version), “victorious” (Revised English Version), “to the victor” (New American Bible), and “to those who prove victorious” (New Jerusalem Bible). These translations all convey the same crucial lesson about the chakras: We must, as did Jesus, engage in a struggle relating to the energies of the chakras and we must, as did Jesus, win this struggle to advance spiritually. Jesus expressly promises to those who do overcome and who do advance spiritually that what they will achieve will be truly grand and great, nothing less than the culmination of the spiritual path that He came to teach us and the true meaning of salvation.
The Meaning of Overcoming
What might it mean, then, to overcome or to conquer or to be victorious as to the chakras? We are given the answer in the person of Jesus as He appears to John. By appearing amidst the seven lampstands and holding seven stars, He is telling John that He has overcome, or has been victorious, as to the energies of the chakras. At the same time, He is showing John what awaits those who overcome as He overcame in relation to these energies:
“[A]nd in the midst of the seven lampstands was One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Rev.1:13-16.
These images reveal symbolically the relationship between the chakras and spiritual transformation. When we overcome as to the chakras and their energies we will become like Jesus as He appears to John. The features of Jesus’ appearance illuminate the nature of this transformation. Jesus wears a golden band around His chest, gold being the metal of highest value representing Jesus’ spiritual victory at the highest levels. His head and hair being white as snow signifies the purity of Spirit gained with the victory. His eyes appearing like flames of fire convey transformation in the Spirit, with fire being a perennial symbol of Spirit. We are also shown that overcoming, or being victorious, entails trials by fire, represented by Jesus’ feet being like fine brass “as if refined in a furnace.” We further see that mastery of the chakras brings with it great power and authority, denoted by John hearing Jesus’ voice as if it were “the sound of many waters”. And lest there be any doubt about the totality of His transformation, Jesus’ countenance shines like the sun.
Most spiritual traditions hold certain things inviolate regarding how one relates to spiritual energies such as those of the chakras, and these sacred principles shed light on what “overcome” may mean as to chakras. Invariably, the energies of the chakras must be purified and cleared of all darkness and of the low energetic vibrations caused by darkness. Overcoming as to the chakras would then entail clearing from these centers darkened and blocked energies caused by a lack of love or by trauma or other emotional or psychological wounds that hold the chakras at a low energetic vibration or actually cause them to close and their energies to stop spinning. When these energies, which in their higher states are energies of light, are purified and brought to a higher energetic vibration, the energy field around a person appears, as shown in John’s vision of Jesus, “as white as snow”.
Also, spiritual energies must be used for higher and not lower purposes. Higher purposes are the use of these energies in the service of light and love. Lower purposes are their use in the service of the ego’s lower ways of functioning, which are often dark and open a person to darkness. Misuse of the energies of the chakras brings into them, and thus into ourselves, darkness and low energetic vibrations where light and high energetic vibrations should reign. In other words, misuse of these energies hurts us and places in jeopardy our spiritual evolvement, which Jesus warns against in His messages to the churches. One of the greatest temptations on the spiritual path is to reach a high level of spiritual attainment but then to choose to use the power gained in the service of the ego, or even in the service of darkness or dark forces. Even Jesus was tempted to misuse His power. Luke 4:13. The danger of this temptation is one reason most spiritual traditions advocate that spiritual practices be accompanied by a deeply cultivated intention to release the ego’s iron grip over the personality and the ego’s concomitant drive for power.
Thus, as Jesus states in His messages to the churches, there are great benefits but also great dangers connected to the chakras and their energies. If the energies are misused, there will be a price to be paid. Accordingly, overcoming does not simply mean to master the chakras and their energies, but also to choose to use this mastery in the service of light and love and, ultimately, in the quest for the Kingdom of God, which is what Jesus promises to those who are victorious as to the chakras and their energies.
The Promises of Jesus
At the close of each message to the seven churches, Jesus makes specific promises to those who overcome. What He promises are breath-taking by any measure of spiritual attainment, nothing less than the summit of the spiritual quest. He promises to those who overcome that they will eat from the tree of life (Rev.2:7), they will receive the crown of life (Rev.2:10), they will not be hurt by the second death (Rev.2:11), they will receive hidden manna to eat and a white stone upon which a new name will be written (Rev.2:17), they will receive power over the nations (Rev.2:26), and they will be blessed by the morning star (Rev.2:28). And, if all these were not enough, Jesus further promises that those who overcome will walk with Him in white and will be clothed in white garments (white as noted above signifying purity) (Rev.3: 4-5), that He will confess their names before His Father and His angels (Rev.3:5), that He will make of them a pillar in the temple of God (Rev.3:12), that He will write on them the name of God and Jesus’ own name (Rev.3:12), and, last but not least, that they will sit with Him on His throne (Rev.3:21).
Jesus proclaims that He overcame, referring to His victory as to the chakras and their energies during His life on earth: “I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Rev.3:21. He is expressing in words what He has already communicated by appearing amidst the seven lampstands and holding the seven stars: His total and complete victory as to the chakras. And He is calling us to do the same, whereupon we too will be transformed spiritually at the highest levels. Once transformed, we will then receive all that He promises. These teachings go to the heart of Jesus’ messages and mission, showing us the way to join with Him in oneness with God. Equally important, Jesus is teaching not only how to attain the Kingdom of God but where it can be found.
Encounter with God
What John experiences after he receives the messages to the seven churches is an encounter with the Divine, which gives us a still deeper understanding of the chakras and their relationship to spiritual transformation. At the end of Jesus’ instructions to the seven churches, John sees a door standing open in heaven, and a voice beckons, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Rev.4:1. John is then taken into the Spirit and finds himself in the presence of God. “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” Rev.4:2.
John is being shown what will come to those who are victorious in regard to the chakras. Here we see Jesus is teaching that overcoming as to the chakras not only leads to a profound personal transformation but, even more significantly, that overcoming brings us into direct relationship with the Divine. The open door and John being taken into the Spirit tell us that John is about to encounter something extraordinary. He is entering another level of experience far beyond what we experience in ordinary reality.
We might understand that John has entered into another dimension, perhaps a spiritual dimension, but what John is now experiencing is dimensionless. It is what is sometimes called the Hidden or Secret Chamber of the Heart. It is an experience which lies beyond the depths of the heart chakra and comes when the heart chakra is purified and opens to its depths and then beyond into the Infinite. We can know that the experience involves the heart chakra because there is a “rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.” (Rev 4:3) Emerald is the color of the heart chakra when it is purified and vibrating at the highest frequency, which is the frequency of pure love. It is now that John directly encounters God, the One, seated on a throne, as did Jesus as He recounted earlier, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on his throne.” Rev.3:21. John is now at the threshold of union with the Divine which, as is being shown, comes to those who have used the energies of the chakras wisely and in the service of love.
Confirmation that union with the Divine is achieved through overcoming in regard to the chakras is found in the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne. John is given to know that these lamps are the seven Spirits of God. Rev.4:5. They are the energies of the chakras purified and expressing fully the seven Spirits of God. Moreover, we now learn that the energies of the chakras are not human but divine, the Spirits of God, a revelation which deepens further the import of Jesus’ exhortations to the churches that the energies of the chakras must not be misused but rather used as their divine nature dictates.
We are also being shown what Jesus meant when he stated in a gospel passage that the Kingdom of God is within. “Indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21. John encounters God and his own Christ Consciousness beyond the depths of his heart chakra which, once purified, becomes the “place” of mystical union with the Divine. Yet, in this context, we must remember not to take literally metaphors of place. “Within” appears to signify that the purified heart chakra opens to the Sacred Heart of pure love and light, which is an experience of the Infinite beyond space and outside time, thus rendering all spatial metaphors as limited. What Jesus in essence is revealing is that once the heart chakra is transformed, it becomes a portal to the Divine. (For a further discussion of the heart chakra as a portal to the Divine, see The Heart Chakra and the Kingdom of God at www.christianityandthechakras.com.
John also sees four living creatures amidst and around the throne, and these creatures further illuminate what Jesus means by overcoming. Rev.4:6-7. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. These four creatures represent aspects of our animal-like natures, as well as the more carnal aspects of our humanness represented by the creature with a face like a man. These aspects, both the animal-like and the lower levels of our humanness, have been transformed through the redirecting of the energies of the chakras to higher ways of being and higher purposes. This is represented by each of the creatures having six wings (Rev. 4:8), the wings signifying the creatures’ ascension from lower to higher ways of being. Also representing the transformation of these creatures from lower to higher ways of being is their ceaseless praising of God (Rev.4:8), demonstrating that these aspects of our humanness are no longer absorbed in the things of the world but are focused on God.
Moreover, His teachings on the chakras give us a deeper understanding of our humanness in which the spiritual energies of the chakras, identified as nothing less than the “Spirits of God” in The Revelation to John, are woven into the very fabric of what it is to be human.
We now see that the energies of the chakras, having been transformed, are no longer used in pursuit of the lesser things of the world, but are instead used for the higher purpose of attainment of oneness with God, a shift that marks a sea change in a person’s consciousness. Our baser instincts and the carnal mind use the energies of the chakras to satisfy lower-level desires, which are powerfully rooted in our animal natures and the baser levels of the ego. The Revelation to John teaches us that to be victorious as to the chakras and to attain spiritual life requires that we overcome our baser desires and the lower ways of the ego and realign the energies of the chakras with our higher natures and our deepest longing for the joy experienced in becoming pure light, pure love and one with God. So John, standing before the throne of God, experiences what Jesus promised to those who overcome, the Kingdom of God.
John’s vision of the One seated on a throne depicts symbolically the nature of John’s experience of the Divine. The One was like a jaspar and a sardius stone, while around the throne are 24 more thrones upon which are seated 24 elders in white robes and crowned with golden crowns. As noted already, the throne is also surrounded by an emerald-colored rainbow, and before the main throne are seven lamps of fire, identified as seven Spirits of God. And extending out before the throne is a sea of glass like crystal. Rev.4:2-6. These symbols, while open to different interpretations, speak of the Divine, as well as the transformed self which experiences the Divine. The jaspar and sardius can be seen to represent the immutable nature of the Divine, with the white of jaspar signifying purity and the red of sardius signifying love. The emerald green of the rainbow, as discussed above, represents the transformed heart chakra, the seat of love, once it has developed to the point where it opens to the Secret Chamber of the Heart and merges with the Sacred Heart. The sea of glass like crystal may be understood to reflect the pure and endless and unconditional love that is God. The twenty-four elders appear to signify purified parts of the self whose transformation to higher levels of being is symbolized by their white robes and golden crowns, while the seven lamps burning before the throne represent, as we have seen before, the seven churches, or chakras, now purified.[vii]
As the revelation unfolds, John is shown what will happen to individuals and to humanity as a whole if the sacred energies of the chakras are purified and used for higher purposes, as Jesus instructs in his messages to the churches. John is also shown what will happen to individuals and the world if these energies are denigrated and misused for lower purposes. Thus, further symbolic references to the chakras in the form of the seven seals and the seven bowls, which figure prominently in later passages, all carry prophetic messages about what may come to us and to our world depending on how we use the energies of the chakras. And, as Jesus tells us, how we use these energies is the personal responsibility of each person on this planet!
The Revelation to John is considered within the biblical genre of apocalyptic literature, with the term “apocalypse” derived from the Greek word apokalypsis, meaning “unveiling” or “revealing” of things hidden or unknown. Jesus’ teaching about the chakras and their role in spiritual transformation and in union with God is an unveiling or revealing of things hidden or unknown, and therefore an apokalypsis. As an apocalyptic text, The Revelation to John uncovers hidden truths, while at the same time it reveals the possibilities that sit before us, individually and collectively, for great spiritual transformation or for great pain and suffering. As such, the prophetic messages do not reveal a future set in stone, but rather possibilities for us as individuals and for our planet, which will respond for better or worse to our use or misuse of the energies of the inner churches, as well as other spiritual energies which, like the chakras, are woven into the fabric of our humanness. And, lest we overlook the purpose of apocalyptic literature, The Revelation to John tells us that the choice is ours as to which possibilities and paths will unfold.
The symbolism in The Revelation to John runs deep, containing many levels of meaning. The full extent of what it reveals about the chakras and their role in spiritual transformation goes beyond what is discussed above. For example, the symbolic use of seven seals and seven bowls, along with the seven angels, gives a deeper and more comprehensive vision of what is entailed in the use or misuse of the energies of the chakras.[viii] But let us now turn to some of Jesus’ teachings on the chakras found in the gospels.
Gospel Teachings on the Chakras
New Testament teachings on the chakras are found not only in The Revelation to John but also in the gospels. An example is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Mt. 25:1-13. This parable tells of five wise virgins who conserve oil for their lamps as they await the bridegroom and five foolish virgins who fail to save any oil for their lamps as they too await the bridegroom. As in The Revelation to John, the lamps signify the chakras, and, in this parable, the energies of the chakras are represented by oil. Jesus is teaching, as He does in The Revelation to John, that we must use prudently the energies, or fuel, of the chakras to be able to consummate the mystical marriage, which is union with the Divine.
Jesus’ teachings about the chakras have not remained totally hidden. Indeed, although ignored by official Christendom and therefore unknown by most Christians, some highly regarded spiritual teachers have pointed out that the churches and related symbols in The Revelation to John are references to the chakras.
Jesus also speaks of the chakras when He speaks of seeing through the third-eye chakra, also known as the spiritual eye: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Mt. 6:22.[ix] He is teaching “for those who have ears to hear” that opening and seeing through the third-eye chakra brings spiritual transformation. Additionally, Jesus’ transfiguration on Mount Tabor (Mk. 9:2-9), which holds a singular importance in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, may be seen as His revealing to Peter, James and John His light body in a state similar to the transformed state in which He appears in The Revelation to John: “He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.”
One may wonder why, given the importance of the chakras for spiritual transformation, Jesus teaches about them symbolically and somewhat opaquely instead of in ways that are straight-forward and easy understand. One answer may be that Jesus taught on different levels, imparting higher truths, such as the role of the chakras in spiritual transformation, more directly to those “who had ears to hear.” He says as much when He tells certain disciples why He speaks to others in parables but not to them: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” Matt. 13:11. Jesus, in effect, is saying that He reserved more explicit teachings of higher truths for His more advanced disciples, while He spoke in parables to those less advanced, conveying to his followers teachings of truth at levels they were capable of understanding and ready to receive. As any teacher knows, not all students can learn at the same level or in the same ways.
Another reason for Jesus’ veiled teachings on the chakras may relate to the chakras being keys to spiritual power. In most spiritual traditions, the keys to spiritual power are held in secret because of the potential for their misuse. The temptation to misuse power, including spiritual power, is great, especially for persons whose consciousness and heart are not highly developed. And the consequences of the misuse of spiritual power, both for others and for the person misusing it, can be very serious. As such, in many spiritual traditions it is not unusual for advanced teachings to be withheld until an aspirant is prepared to not abuse the power derived from knowledge of higher spiritual truths.
Also, Jesus knew that the powers ruling over the world, what Paul refers to as “principalities”, “powers” and “rulers of the darkness” (Ephesians 6:12), were opposed to Him and His mission. The gospels clearly show Jesus pitted against these powerful forces of darkness and their attempts to undermine the truths He came to reveal. For Jesus to explicitly reveal powerful formulas for spiritual transformation very likely would have subjected those teachings to a fate similar to that of other teachings such as those in Gnostic texts that were widely read and circulated in the early Church but eventually excluded from the official Church canon.
Unveiling the Mysteries of the Churches
Jesus’ teachings about the chakras have not remained totally hidden. Indeed, although ignored by official Christendom and therefore unknown by most Christians, some highly regarded spiritual teachers have pointed out that the churches and related symbols in The Revelation to John are references to the chakras. Prominent among these teachers is Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi. In his Wine of the Mystic: The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam, he interpreted the churches and stars in the Revelation to John as references to the chakras, which he described as “spiritual cerebrospinal centers of divine consciousness.” Referring to these centers, he wrote, “These seven spiritual centers are spoken of as chakras or lotuses in the Yoga scriptures of India, and as ‘the mystery of the seven stars’ and the ‘seven churches’ in the Christian Bible (Rev.1:20).”[x] In The Yoga of Jesus, he similarly wrote:
“Man’s body, unique among all creatures, possesses spiritual cerebrospinal centers of divine consciousness in which the descended Spirit is templed. These are known to the Yogis and to St. John–who described them in Revelation as the seven seals, and the seven stars and seven churches, with their seven angels and seven golden candlesticks.”[xi]
Many Christians will undoubtedly find it difficult to accept that Jesus taught about the chakras and that these teachings are contained in the New Testament. However, a contemporary spirituality which ignores this knowledge risks becoming irrelevant to a world in desperate need of spiritual transformation. In light of the symbolic references to the chakras in The Revelation to John and in many gospel passages, it is hard to deny that Jesus knew and taught about the chakras. In fact, it would be intellectually dishonest to dismiss the possibility that The Revelation to John and other New Testament texts contain symbolic references to the chakras and their role in spiritual transformation. These texts pose to the Christian world the challenge to examine the meaning of the seven churches, lampstands, stars, and seals in The Revelation to John, as well as the parables and other gospel passages containing Jesus’ teachings on the chakras, and to learn the truths they reveal about spiritual transformation that Jesus taught and also showed us how to achieve through His life and death.
What we may find, if we look deeply enough into Jesus’ teachings on the chakras, is a fundamentally new dimension of Jesus’ message and mission that has gone unrecognized in Christianity’s teachings on Jesus throughout its history. The issue these teachings raise is not one of competing views of Jesus, but of complementary views that see Jesus at the different levels that He lived and that understand His teachings at the different levels at which He taught. As such, these complementary views offer us the opportunity to deepen and broaden our understanding of what Christianity refers to as salvation, the attainment of which brings the fulfillment of our deepest longing to be one with the Divine. Jesus’ teachings on the chakras open us to new paths to the attainment of this goal, paths for which the energies of the chakras play a critical role as Jesus taught in His messages to the churches. Moreover, His teachings on the chakras give us a deeper understanding of our humanness in which the spiritual energies of the chakras, identified as nothing less than the “Spirits of God” in The Revelation to John, are woven into the very fabric of what it is to be human. And, lest we overlook what is at the very heart of Jesus’ teachings on the chakras, we may yet find that the Kingdom of God is indeed within.
[i] An excellent introduction to the chakras can be found in Ambika Wauters, The Book of Chakras: Discovering the Hidden Forces Within You (London: Quarto Publishing, 2002).
[ii] For a discussion of the scientific research on the chakras and other subtle body energies, see Claude Swanson, Life Force: The Scientific Basis (Colorado Springs, CO: Posieda Press, 2010).
[iii] Biblical references are to the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.
[iv] The Revelation to John is considered within the biblical genre of apocalyptic literature. The term “apocalypse” is derived from the Greek work apokalypsis, meaning ‘unveling’ or ‘revealing’ of things hidden or unknown. Jesus’ symbolic use of churches, lampstands and stars to teach truths about the chakras is an unveiling or revealing of things hidden or unknown and therefore an apokalypsis.
[v] Rev. 2: 7, 11, 17, 29; Rev. 3: 6, 13, 22.
[vi] Rev. 2:1, 8, 12; Rev. 3: 1, 7, 14.
[vii] The symbolism of the seven seals, bowls and angels, as well as other symbolism running throughout The Revelation to John, is discussed in Michelle Rios Rice Hennelly and R. Kevin Hennelly, A Time of Fire~A Way of Fire (Santa Fe: NM: Our Lady of Light Publications, 2005) 259-298.
[viii] See ibid.
[ix] This translation is found in the King James Version. Subsequent translations of this gospel passage eliminated reference to a single eye, thereby altering the meaning of the passage.
[x] Paramahansa Yogananda. Wine of the Mystic: The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Spiritual Interpretation (Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1994) 87-88.
[xi] Paramahansa Yogananda. The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels (Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007) 32. A further discussion of references to the chakras in the New Testament can be found in Paramahansa Yogananda. The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You (Volumes I and II) (Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004) and in Jnanavatar Swami Sri Yukteswar. The Holy Science (Los Angles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1990) (originally published in 1949).