The third eye is often associated with the sixth chakra in yoga and Hindu philosophy. The third eye refers to the ajna chakra, while the sixth chakra refers specifically to the anja chakra located between the eyebrows. However, there is some debate as to whether they are exactly the same thing or if there are subtle differences between the two concepts.
What is the Third Eye?
The third eye is a mystical and esoteric concept referring to a speculative invisible eye which provides perception beyond ordinary sight. In certain spiritual traditions, the third eye is associated with the ajna chakra or brow chakra, located between the eyebrows. This chakra is believed to be the seat of intuition and mystical vision.
The third eye is often linked to the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland located in the center of the brain. This gland produces melatonin and other hormones that regulate sleep, metabolism, and sexual development. Some believe the pineal gland can be activated through meditation, yoga, and other spiritual practices to grant psychic abilities or higher states of consciousness.
In Hinduism and Buddhism, the third eye is seen as a gateway to higher consciousness. By opening the third eye through meditation, it is believed that people can chakra tap into intuition, inner wisdom, and an enlightened perspective.
The concept of the third eye originates in the ancient Vedic and Tantric traditions of India. It is mentioned in early Hindu texts like the Rig Veda as the inner energy center where divine glimpses are revealed. The third eye is also represented in images of Shiva, in which the divine being is depicted with three eyes to symbolize supernatural insight.
What is the Sixth Chakra?
The sixth chakra refers specifically to the ajna chakra, according to the 7 chakra system in yoga. Chakras are energy centers located throughout the subtle body. Each chakra corresponds to a different aspect of human consciousness and potential for transformation.
The ajna chakra is located between the eyebrows, at the spot commonly known as the third eye. Ajna translates to “command” in Sanskrit, representing the role of this chakra in controlling and balancing our perception of the world.
As the sixth chakra, ajna is considered the center of intuition. It is associated with wisdom, insight, imagination, and clairvoyance. When this chakra is balanced, we are able to trust our inner guidance and visualize with clarity. An overactive ajna can lead to delusions or hallucinations, while an underactive chakra can cause poor concentration and lack of imagination.
The sixth chakra is often represented by a white lotus flower with two petals. Its associated gland is the pineal gland. The traditional color associated with the ajna chakra is indigo or deep blue.
In addition to intuition and imagination, the ajna chakra is linked to these aspects of being:
- Clear seeing
- Psychic abilities
When this chakra is balanced and open, we have a strong connection to our inner truth and purpose.
Are the Third Eye and Sixth Chakra the Same Thing?
There is disagreement among different spiritual traditions about whether the third eye and sixth chakra refer to the exact same concept or not. Let’s explore some of the key perspectives:
Viewpoint 1: They are the same thing
Many people use the terms third eye and ajna chakra interchangeably to refer to the mystical inner eye located between the eyebrows. The third eye is thought to correspond directly to the sixth chakra in the body.
Evidence used to support this perspective includes:
- The third eye and ajna chakra are described as being in the same physical location, i.e. between the eyebrows
- Both are linked to the pineal gland biologically
- The third eye and sixth chakra are associated with the same function of enhancing intuition and unlocking psychic abilities
According to this viewpoint, the third eye is simply a different name for the ajna chakra used in Hindu and Buddhist texts before the chakra system was developed and formalized.
Viewpoint 2: The third eye precedes the sixth chakra
Some spiritual writers believe the concept of the third eye actually developed before the chakra system, and therefore see it as linked to but slightly different from the sixth chakra.
Arguments for this perspective include:
- The third eye is mentioned in ancient Vedic texts that predate discussions of chakras
- The third eye is more broadly discussed across different traditions like Theosophy and occult writings, not just Hindu yogic texts
- The third eye is sometimes described as a more spiritual, mystical concept while the chakras are seen as physiological energy centers
According to this view, the third eye informs the later understanding of the sixth chakra in yoga philosophy but is not limited to just the ajna chakra.
Viewpoint 3: The third eye is part of the sixth chakra system
A third perspective sees the third eye as related to but not exactly the same as the sixth chakra. Here, the third eye is seen as a more concentrated part of the ajna chakra system.
Reasons cited for this viewpoint include:
- The third eye is focused on light perception, insight and inner vision, while the sixth chakra governs broader aspects like intuition, imagination, visualization, dreams, etc.
- Opening the third eye is seen as activating a core part of the sixth chakra through intense focus between the eyebrows
- The third eye is sometimes pictured as residing inside the sixth chakra or as the focal point of the ajna system
In this perspective, the third eye serves as a powerful window within the larger sixth chakra governing higher consciousness and inner wisdom.
Practices for Opening the Third Eye/Sixth Chakra
Whether you view the third eye and sixth chakra as the same thing or related but distinct, similar practices are recommended for awakening these inner energy centers. Some common techniques include:
- Ajna Chakra Meditation – Focused visualization and breathing exercises aimed at clearing, balancing and activating the sixth chakra area.
- Third Eye Chakra Yoga – Poses to stimulate the pineal gland like Child’s Pose and dolphin pose.
- Kundalini Awakening – Kundalini practices designed to unleash serpent energy up through all chakras, including the third eye and ajna points.
- Tratak – A concentration technique involving gazing steadily at an external object like a candle flame to awaken inner sight.
- Chanting – Mantras like “Sham”, “Om”, or “Aum” are intoned to resonate with the third eye and sixth chakras.
- Crystals – Stones like lapis lazuli, amethyst, and sodalite can be placed on the ajna area to stimulate this energy center.
Consistent practice of these methods can help clear blockages, activate intuition and inner wisdom, support visualization and reveal our deepest truths locked within the third eye or sixth chakra subtle energy systems.
Signs of an Open Third Eye/Sixth Chakra
How do you know if you have successfully awakened your third eye or ajna chakra? Here are some signs your sixth chakra may be open and balanced:
- Heightened intuition and inner knowing
- Vivid dreaming and ability to recall dreams
- Mind’s eye visualization and imagination
- Insight into personal/collective unconscious thought patterns
- Ability to visualize auras, chakras or subtle energy
- Shifting awareness and consciousness
- Increased self-reflection and personal development
A balanced and open sixth chakra supports our intuitive faculties and inner growth. However, be aware that overstimulating this area can also lead to daydreaming, illusion or spiritual delusions. Gentle and mindful practices are recommended for properly awakening the third eye or ajna chakras in a healthy way.
In summary, the third eye and sixth or ajna chakra refer to the same physical location between the eyebrows. Whether they are exactly the same thing or slightly different depends on perspective. The third eye tends to be associated more with spiritual inner sight, while the ajna chakra encompasses broader intuitive abilities. But there is much overlap between the concepts and practices for awakening these centers of wisdom within the body and mind. Consistent spiritual practice allows us to tap into the profound truths that lie beyond ordinary perception within the mystical third eye and its corresponding chakra.