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Ajna or Agya, Sanskrit for ‘command’ or ‘perception,’ is a Hindu symbol for the sixth chakra. It’s positioned on the forehead above the eyebrows’ meeting point and is known as the third eye or brow chakra. It’s believed to govern our ability to understand, perceive, and see not only what’s right in front of us, but far beyond that.
The Hindus also call it The Eye of Consciousness, which allows the spiritual energy from nature to enter their bodies and see the world with their minds.
Hindus mark the Ajna area on their foreheads with a dot or bindi as a reminder to cultivate and use their spiritual vision to better understand the life’s inner workings. The third eye is considered ‘the mother’ of all seven chakras and symbolizes intuition, wisdom, and imagination. Here’s a closer look.
The Third Eye Symbol Design
In Hindu tradition, each of the seven predominant chakras has a unique design called a mandala, which in Sanskrit means ‘circle.’ Mandalas represent the universe. The circular design symbolizes a never-ending life and that everyone and everything comes from a single source of life force.
While there are variations to how the symbol is depicted, the Ajna symbol is most commonly represented with a indigo or bluish-purple color, sometimes transparent. It’s described as a two-petal lotus flower. Each of these petals represents two nadis or energy channels – Ida and Pingala. These channels meet in the brow chakra, and the joined energy travels upward toward the crown chakra – Sahasrara.
The two petals are named ‘ham’ and ‘ksham’ representing Shiva and Shakti. When their energies unite in the triangle, located in the lotus’s pericarp, they produce the sound of the universe – Om.
Inside the circle or the pericarp of the flower is Hakini Shakti, a six-faced deity with four arms, sitting on the lotus flower. Three of her hands hold a skull, Shiva’s drum, and prayer beads or mala, while the fourth arm is raised in a gesture of granting blessings and dispelling fears.
The downward-pointed triangle above Hakini Shakti holds a white lingam. Both the triangle and the lotus flower represent wisdom, but each element of the Ajna design has its own symbolic meaning.
The Meaning of the Ajna Symbol
According to ancient Yogi texts, the third eye chakra is the center of clarity and wisdom and is associated with the dimension of light. It’s one of the seven major energy vortexes representing the ability to command or summon the creation, sustenance, and dissolution of the world. It’s believed that this chakra is the dwelling place of Brahman, the supreme cosmic spirit.
As beautiful as it is, the Ajna symbol also has a complex meaning, from its name, color, to all of its astonishing design components.
- The Name ‘Ajna’
The Sanskrit word Ajna translates to ‘authority, command, or perceive.’ This refers to the fact that the third eye is the center where we gain a higher understanding, which guides us in our actions.
When this chakra is activated, we are open to both conceptual and intellectual understanding. It allows us to access deeper truths and see beyond the words and the mind.
- The Indigo Color
In many Asian spiritual traditions, the indigo-blue light is symbolic of divine beauty. Along with purple, indigo is the color most associated with royalty, wisdom, mystery, and faith. It represents the energy of change. It allows the energy transformation from the lower chakras into the higher spiritual vibration.
- The Two Petaled Lotus
The two petals symbolize the sense of duality – between the Self and God. In yogic texts, they represent Shiva and Shakti – the primordial male and female cosmic energies representing the dynamic forces of the universe. When the Ida and Pindala nadis, represented by the two petals, merge in the Crown chakra, we start to ascend the stairway of enlightenment and experience bliss. The third eye chakra represents many dual principles, as well as the necessity of transcending them.
- The Pericarp of the Flower
The pericarp’s circular shape is a symbol of the endless cycle of life – birth, death, and rebirth. In this case, it represents the spiritual journey of an individual and the unity between all entities in cosmos.
The inverted triangle inside the pericarp portrays our connection to the divine and true enlightenment. It’s the point where the lessons and the knowledge of the lower chakras are gathered and expanded into the spiritual consciousness.
- Hakini Shakti
Hakini Shakti is the name of the female deity who personifies the energy of the third eye. It’s one form of Shakti, the divine consort of Shiva, and a symbol of the power of the universe’s creative force. Balancing her energy in the Ajna chakra is associated with intuition, clairvoyance, imagination, and inner knowing.
- The Sound of Om
When the two energy channels meet in the triangle, they create the sound of Om or Aum. In Hinduism, the Om is the most important spiritual symbol, representing the ultimate soul, consciousness, and reality. It’s the sound of all sounds that carries beyond time, knowledge, and the ordinary conscious state. It raises us above the duality of God and the soul.
As it’s associated with the element of ether, Om is frequently included in prayers, meditation, and yoga practice to balance the mind and connect to the divine.
The Ajna Symbol in Jewelry and Fashion
The beautiful and vibrant design of the two-petaled lotus is a popular pattern found in jewelry, fashion, and tattoos. As a symbol of wisdom that opens the doors of sub-consciousness, it’s worn for many reasons:
- It summons serenity and clarity into our lives;
- Helps us focus on our ability to look within;
- It’s believed to bring gifts of excellent vision, health, and metabolism;
- As indigo is symbolic of light and the path to wisdom, Ajna is believed to bring good memory, intuition, imagination, and great mental strength and endurance;
- The gift of the third eye chakra is to be in sync with the flow of your life, by bringing emotional balance, and the ability to connect your spirit with nature;
- The spiritual aspect of Ajna involves developing deep wisdom and inner vision and the ability to transcend polarity;
- It’s also believed to fight anxieties and phobias.
To Sum It Up
The Ajna chakra is not only the symbol of wisdom but of our conscience, where the sense for justice and ethics originate. Its meaning is profound in its simplicity. In essence, it represents the eye of the soul, and the center of presence and perception. A person whose third eye is open has a natural capacity to look at inner-self and see beyond the limits of one’s mind.