Humans have fourteen great nerve centers in the physical body, in the astral body and in the body of the soul. These centers are called chakras in Sanskrit, which means "wheel." These spinning vortices of energy are actually regions of mind power, each one governing certain aspects of our inner being. Together, they are the subtle components of all people.
When inwardly perceived, they are vividly colorful and can be heard by sages and mystics. When awareness flows through any one or more of these regions, the various functions of consciousness operate, such as memory, reason and willpower. In any one lifetime, one may predominantly be aware in two or three centers, thus setting the pattern for the way one thinks and lives. One develops a comprehension of these seven regions in a natural sequence, the perfection of one leading logically to the next. Thus, though we may not psychically be seeing spinning forces within ourself, we nevertheless mature through memory, reason, willpower, cognition, universal love, divine sight and spiritual illumination.
There are six chakras above the muladhara, which is located at the base of the spine. When awareness is flowing through these chakras, consciousness is in the higher nature. There are also seven chakras below the muladhara, and when awareness is flowing through them, consciousness is in the lower nature.
Through personal sadhana, prayer, meditation, right thought, speech and action and love of God, we lift our own consciousness and that of others into the chakras above the muladhara, bringing the mind into the higher nature. The functions of the chakras are aspects of our being that we use every day. In the same way, we use our arms and hands everyday without thinking. The chakras do not awaken—they are already awakened in everyone.