The Subtle system

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The Subtle System & Glossary of Terms

The Chakras

Inside every human being there is a network of nerves and sensory organs that interprets the outside physical world. At the same time, within us resides a Subtle System of channels (‘Nadis’, see A  to C on diagram) and centres of energy (‘Chakras’, see 1 to 7 on diagram) which look after our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being.

When we receive our Self Realisation, our Spirit is awakened and the Subtle System becomes connected with the all pervading life force.


Each of the seven chakras has many qualities. These qualities are intact within us, and even though they might not always be manifested, they can never be destroyed.  When the Kundalini mothering energy is awakened, these qualities start manifesting spontaneously and express themselves in our life.

Through regular meditation, we strengthen and nourish the chakras and the subtle system.


The Subtle System

Shri Mataji introduces the Subtle System (8mins 51s)

Shri Mataji’s short description of the Subtle system’s Chakras (13 mins)

Glossary of Terms

While exploring our website or listening to the various talks,  you will come across several terms that may be new to you. This is an overview of the most commonly used terms…

  • Attention: The attention is a very important faculty within us. It is often damaged by over-emphasis on the intellectual side of our nature. So the attention itself must be cleansed, steadied and healed. This is a natural process performed by Kundalini.
  • Catches: A catch occurs when the efficient functioning of the chakra is impaired. This blocks the passage of the Kundalini through that chakra to a higher level. Chakras can become distorted and bruised, and this is the root cause of problems in our lives. Once the Kundalini starts to naturally repair bruised chakras, the problems will disappear. It is very important, however, not to focus attention on catches. Keep your attention on the Kundalini and on the positive aspects of your ascent.
  • Chakras: These are subtle energy centres that are located at the sites of the main nervous plexuses. A chakra is a wheel (this is the literal Sanskrit meaning) of energy. There are seven main chakras in our subtle system, which relate to the stages of evolution. Once awakened (i.e., after realization) they begin to emit vibrations, expressing the unique qualities of the divine within us. It is in this sense that we are created in the image of God. Physical, mental and emotional problems can also be traced to an imbalance in one or several chakras.
  • Kundalini: The mothering energy that is lying dormant at the base of the spine in the sacrum bone. This energy is awakened by Self-Realisation to connect us to the Divine and begin its work of cleansing and balancing our energy centres.
  • Meditation: Meditation is the personal experience of going beyond one’s thoughts, worries and upsets, and being in a state of peace and calm through thoughtless awareness… being aware there are no thoughts in the mind.
  • Self-Realisation: The process of awakening the Kundalini within an individual. Everyone has the capacity to receive their Self-Realisation.
  • Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi: The founder of Sahaja Yoga meditation. In 1970, Shir Mataji started her lifetime work of giving people their Self-Realisation to enable individuals to discover and nourish their inner-self through meditation.
  • Spirit: This is the reflection of the divine which is present within us. The object of Sahaja Yoga is to fully become Spiritual Self, which is the true Self. By virtue of Kundalini awekening, the Spirit can be perceived and felt in our attention, and we can then live and act in harmony with the divine.
  • Subtle System: The network of energy centers (chakras) and channels (Nadis) through which our inner energy flows (the Kundalini). After Self Realisation, the System maintains our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual welling.
  • Vibrations: Once Kundalini is awakened, vibrations can be felt on the palms of the hand, in the body and on top of the head. Everything in creation emits vibrations, but the ability to feel them comes only with Kundalini awakening. Anyone or anything emitting cool (not cold) vibrations is balanced and “holy”. Hot, tingling vibrations are emitting when there is an imbalance or lack of harmony with the Spirit.

What does Self Realisation mean?

You have received your Self Realisation by the grace of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. The mothering, healing energy called Kundalini has become awakened in your subtle system. It has been raised to the level of the highest of the subtle centres in the body – the Sahasrara. You may have already felt this as a cool breeze on top of your head or on your hands. You may have felt the results of this experience immediately, or it may develop more strongly over time – spiritually, emotionally, physically. Your initial experience can be enhanced through meditation and by taking a little time each day to cleanse your inner being so the Kundalini can flow more freely.