Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sanskrit Word in English: Chakra

You may have heard the Sanskrit word CHAKRA used in English. The Sanskrit word refers to a circle or a wheel, and it is related to the Greek word kyklos, which gives us English "cycle." Thanks to the popularity of yoga, the word chakra is now used in English to refer to the centers of spiritual powers in the body. You can read more about the body's chakras at Wikipedia.

In Indian mythology, the word chakra refers in particular to the discus, a weapon used by some of the gods, and by Vishnu in particular. Vishnu's chakra is called the Sudarshana Chakra; you can read more about that at Wikipedia. Here Vishnu holds the Chakra in his upper right hand:


There is also a sports term in English that comes from Sanskrit chakra. The English word "chukker" ( also spelled "chukka" and "chucker") refers to a period in a polo game. It comes from Hindi chakkar, which comes in turn from Sanskrit chakra. The phrase "chukker boot" refers to a type of leather boot worn by polo players.

The image below shows the chakras as depicted in a yoga manual from the 17th century:





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