What’s The Origin Of The Chakras? ( Where Did They Come From)

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The first known writings about the chakras come from the ancient Vedas texts which are a compilation of Hindu writings from the Indus River Valley Civilization dating back to 1,500 BC.

The exact origin of the Vedas is unknown, and said to originate from Apaurusheya, which is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “not of a man, superhuman”.

When I initially heard about the chakra system a few years ago I though it was just some pseudo-science nonsense.  Then, last year I got curious, did a bunch of research, and wrote an article called “Are Chakra’s Real ? The Science Behind Chakras”.

In that article, we highlighted experts who now understand that chakras represent, directly correspond to, and link specific glands in your endocrine system, and nerve clusters in your central nervous system.

With modern technology we can understand a lot more than about the hard science behind “chakras”, but how did the chakras get discovered, who discovered them, and how did they know what they knew?

In the article we’ll dive in to the history, origin, and expert analysis of the chakra system.

Let’s Dive In.

What Is A Chakra? 

Chakra is an ancient Sanskrit word which means “wheel” as it refers to specific energy points in your body.

Are chakra’s real? Yes and No.

What's The Origin Of The Chakras? ( Where Did They Come From)

Chakras are not a real bodily organ or physical object. You cannot physically hold a chakra or do surgery to remove a chakra.

But the concept that chakras represent is 100% real. You can use the ancient techniques that chakra’s represent to help control your endocrine glands, the chemical hormones the glands secrete, the emotions produced by the chemical hormones, and the physical health that is affected by the corresponding emotion.

Chakra’s are an ancient representation of both our endocrine & nervous systems. There are seven commonly accepted ‘main Chakras’ which are all directly associated with the seven major endocrine glands and nerve plexuses.

Each of the endocrine glands, and nerve clusters in the human body correspond to specific organs. Each of our internal endocrine glands also naturally secrete a variety hormones, and the chemical release of different hormones can effect your mood, health, and overall emotional state.

So when people talk about chakras affecting your mood, your health, your organs, your emotional ‘vibe’, and so forth what they are really referring to is your internal balance of hormones.

For your body to run “like a well oiled engine” the chakras (or hormone secreting glands) need to excrete balanced amount of chemicals with-in a certain normal range.

If your hormones are over or under producing a certain chemical (this is called ‘out of balance’) then you may feel symptoms related to the unbalanced glands corresponding to a specific chakra location.

Scientists today have well-proven the link between hormones, emotions, and physical well being. This link is exactly what ancient Indian cultures had discovered when they first wrote about the chakra’s over 2,500 years ago.

What Is The Origin Of The Chakra System? Who Discovered The Chakras?

Vedas and Principal Upanishads 03 What's The Origin Of The Chakras? ( Where Did They Come From)

The first known writings about the chakras come from the ancient Vedas texts. The Vedas are a compilation of Hindu writings from the Indus River Valley Civilization dating back to 1,500 BC and are thought of today as the founding texts of the Hindu religion (and later Buddhist too).

The exact origin of the Vedas is unknown, and said to originate from Apaurusheya, which is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “not of a man, superhuman”.

Wherever the Vedas texts came from some 3,000 years ago, they are fascinating to say the least.

The Vedas contain vast ancient knowledge about philosophy, consciousness, ancient symbols, yoga, the cosmos, the universe, and ancient recipes (including some psychedelics), among many other topics.

The Vedas is composed of 4 sections, and each section is composed from a total of 108 sub-sections or chapters known as “Upanishads”.

The word Sanskrit word ‘Veda’ means “knowledge” and the word ‘Upanishads’ means to “sit next to”. This makes sense, as the Upanishads are the 108 chapters that ‘sit next to’ the 4 main sections of knowledge.

(Find out why 108 is important)

The specific Veda text that discusses the chakra system is known as the Rig Veda. And the specific Upanishad is known as the “Yoga Upanishad

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The chakras were originally called and translated as “breath channels”, “energy centers”, “psychospiritual vortices”, and nadi or “energy carrying arteries”.

Of course, the Vedas and Upanishads have been translated, re-written, and updated many times in the last 3,000 years.

Origin Of The 7 Chakra System

The commonly understood system of 7 main chakras as known today has not been around for 3,000 years. Originally in ancient texts, there was thought to be as many as 114 chakras, but commonly between 4 to 8 chakras was most referenced.

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Today we know through modern science that there are indeed 114 energy points on the body (more on that below) but there are 7 main nerve clusters that correspond to the 7 chakra system.

The 7 chakra system originated from the Vedas, but wasn’t known to be published until almost 2,000 years after the Vedas texts. Somewhere around the year 1,100 AD the Kaula tradition which was a subset of Hinduism started publishing texts with the 7 chakra system.

Although, the Buddhist religion split from the Hindu religion around 400 BC and took with it the teachings of the chakra system. The Buddhists commonly referred to a subtle body energy system which used a model with 4 to  8 chakras, so it is possible that todays 7 chakra system originated in the Buddhist religion.

Origin Of The 114 Chakra System

In 2018, Dr. Amit Ray, who holds a PHD in artificial intelligence and computational neuroscience, published a book identifying a network of 114 chakras. Dr. Ray breaks the 114 chakras down into 7 major chakras, 21 minor chakras, and 86 micro chakras.

From a scientific perspective, Dr. N.J. Cooper reviewed Dr. Amit Ray’s work in a paper published in the Journal for Psychology Review. Both Dr. Cooper and Dr. Ray linked the 114 chakras with  the glands,  hormones,  brain areas  and neurons, and neurotransmitters inside the human body.

Dr. Cooper concludes his review paper saying that the chakra system will remain, a dominant force worldwide in positive psychology. He also says that scientific studies for both the seven-chakra system and the Amit Ray’s 114-chakra system are crucial for modern positive psychology, neuro-psychology and healing.

How The Chakra Rainbow Colors Came To Be

By the 1970’s chakras had been written about for nearly 3,000 years. But up to that point there had been no real record of color associated with the chakras. That is until Christopher Hill published a book called “Nuclear Evolution”.

In 1968 Christopher Hills book, “Nuclear Evolution”, was the first known written publication to associate the colors of the rainbow with the 7 major chakras. Chris wrote the book with the help of scientists, doctors, and guru’s who studied consciousness, meditation, and yoga from all around the world.

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The book exploded in the western world, and as of today you’ll be hard pressed to find a chakra that’s not represented with the associated color of the rainbow.

A typical rainbow contains all the colors in the visible spectrum. But what are colors? Britannica Encyclopedia defines color as “light which has a specific frequency, wavelength, and energy associated with it.”

For example, the color spectrum of Red, vibrates at a frequency of 4.29 hertz, while the color spectrum of Violet, resonates at a frequency of 7.5 hertz.

Basically, color is light energy vibrating at a frequency that we can physically see.

So when Christopher Hill connected, and associated, chakra energy centers in the body, with the physical energy of colors from the sun, it made a visible connection that resonated with millions of people.

I personally find it fascinating that humans evolved to have 7 major energy centers (nerve clusters and endocrine glands) that can be directly linked to the 7 invisible light spectrums that emanate from the sole source of energy in our solar system, the sun.

Chakras In The 21st Century

Today, chakras still maintain a bit of a pseudo-science stigma. In my opinion this stigma comes from a place of ignorance and western consumerism.

Yoga studios have exploded in the US over that last 10 years, and google search trends for “yoga studios near me”  has increased over 800%.

In short, yoga is big business. This isn’t a bad thing at all, as the more people who become aware of the power of yoga the better. I personally have detailed my experiences with yoga and will continue to practice yoga until I’m dead.

However, with the commercialization of yoga, comes a ‘watered down’ version that highlights merchandise with the rainbow colored chakras on t-shirts, yoga mats, hats, and sweatpants, with promises of health benefits, “positive energy”, “good vibes”, and spiritual healing.

While all these claims ARE a part of the deep understanding of chakras, it can take years of yoga and meditation practice to fully comprehend the true power and benefits of the energy system in the body known as the chakras.

Buying a pumpkin spice Starbucks coffee, driving to yoga class in your BMW, and posting a selfie of yourself in yoga pants on Instagram is not part of the science of understanding chakras.

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Conclusion: The Origin of Chakras

The first written mention of the chakras was discovered in the Vedas, which date back as far back as 1500 BC. But it’s likely that the knowledge of the chakra system is far older than that, and  could have easily been passed down orally from one generation to the next before written language in the Indus Valley Civilization was even developed.

It’s absolutely fascinating to me that the Sanskrit word to describe the origin of the Vedas is Apaurusheya, which means “not of a man, superhuman”.

What does that even mean?

While the origin of the discovery of Chakras may pre-date our current understanding, the future of chakras is just as fascinating. It is entirely possible that with evolving technology in brain scans and quantum-physics the ancient chakra system could hold answers to unlock riddles of the human mind and the human experience as a whole.

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