The header image for this article is a photograph taken by Johannes Plenio as found on Pexels.
For yogis Ajna is the meditation chakra. It is –
Ida – Sushumna – Pingala
Ganga – Jamuna – Saraswati
as well as many other appellations which can apply.
The location of Ajna is the triple confluence. In the outer world on Earth the triple confluence is the North Indian city of Prayagraj, site of the Kumbh Mela where the three rivers of Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati meet. In the inner world of the human being the triple confluence is the Ajna chakra located on the pineal gland. It is the meeting place of the three main nadis of the subtle yogic body: the left nadi known as ida, the right nadi known as pingala and the central nadi, or channel known as sushumna. If ida is moon then pingala is sun and sushumna is emptiness – and it is these channels which are the pathways for the subtle yogic energy known as kundalini.
So the Ajna chakra is located on the pineal gland which is above the mid point of the eyebrows within the area of the brain approximate to the centre of the forehead. In order for kundalini to rest upon the triple confulence it has to be first liberated from the location in the human body in which it lies dormant. This is the perenium which lies at the base of the spine between the sexual and excretory organs and corresponds to the location of the foundation or base chakra known as the Muladhara chakra.
Once kundalini is released from this base location it travels up the central yogic channel of the subtle body known as sushumna. By way of journeying the central channel the only resting place, or place of destination for the kundalini energy released, is going to be Ajna. In many ways it is like Ajna and Muladhara are two ends of a magnetic pole, whether the kundalini energy is at one end or the other makes no difference to the nature of that energy and what it is comprised of. The only difference is because since Ajna is located within the brain and not the base of the spine it is closer to mind and therefore it is known as the mind chakra.
When kundalini rests within the mind chakra it is able to utilise its location within the context of meditation practice of the yogi. It would be correct to state that the meditation of the yogi becomes empowered by the energy of kundalini which has been released from the base and sent up the central channel to rest upon Ajna. This means that the object of meditative concentration within the context of yogic practice can be viewed by means of the Mind’s Eye, or Third Eye as it is more commonly known in the West. The illuminating power of the kundalini energy opens the Eye of the Mind.
When on Ajna with awakened kundalini if breath is taken as the object of concentration, awareness can be placed upon the nostril tips. During the process of breath inhalation, expiration and retention the yogi illuminates the tip of the nose by way of the kundalini energy drawn down from Ajna. In other words the yogi turns the power on, turns on the light within the nostril tip area.
Inhalation – Exhalation – Retention
Puraka – Rechaka – Kumbhaka
It is in fact a mild pranayama exercise. Here the object of concentration is the breath, using this object to see the connection between body and mind, or to put it another way, to see the connection between the breath of the body and the thoughts which are generated by the mind. To see the relationship between the two. Why? Because thoughts ride upon the breath. If there are fast, harsh patterns of inhalation and expiration with no awareness of any retention, there is also the likliehood that the mind at that time is full of disturbing thoughts. Not a great place to be. In contrast to that state, a smooth flow of puraka / rechaka will help to still the mind opening the way to sustained kumbhaka in which there will be little or no thoughts. All of which is good and the chances of which become significantly enhanced when the breath observation is empowered by way of kundalini.
Once settled upon the nostril tip area as the object of concentration it is helpful to reflect on the fact that in many depictions of the Buddha there is an illuminated quality to his lower facial area centered around the nostrils and upper lip. Illuminated as if there is a light shining from within behind them. Why should this be so? Might it not be reasonable to speculate that the opening of the Mind’s Eye was in the remit of the Buddha? That the Buddha accessed the storehouse of kundalini and released it from the base foundation of the Muladhara to send it up the central yogic channel to rest upon Ajna? This is worth pondering upon, meditating upon even.
But make no mistake, when the object of meditation is viewed by way of this unique faculty, the awakening of Ajna within the subtle body and the placement upon there of the sacred energy of kundalini, the power of the meditation practised on whatever the object of meditation might be – breath inhalation, exhalation, retention / face of the guru / sacred Om syllable / enquiry into the identity of the meditator and subsequent confirmation of illusory status – is enhanced immeasurably.