Date Posted:11:17 Author: ketch - 31 Dec 2001 Subject: Norman Paulsen's Rainbow Theory
Many New Age discussions of the chakras put forward the theory that each of the major chakras has a colour of the rainbow associated with it. One disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda has distorted his Kriya Yoga teachings in a number of ways, and incorporated this theory into what he calls “The Rainbow Technique.” It is therefore worth examining this theory to see if it contains any validity.
The theory seems to have been first put forward by Christopher Hills in his book “Nuclear Evolution” published in the early 1970’s. This seems to be the first mention of this supposedly ancient tradition. Hills was not referring to the major chakras, but his theory seems to have been adopted by numerous New Age writers and supposed experts, including Norman Paulsen. Using this theory the major chakras are each assigned one of the colours of the rainbow in order, starting with the Muladhara (cocygeal) centre which is assigned the colour Red. Ascending, the other chakras are then assigned the other colours of the rainbow, in order, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. Some have slightly altered the way the colours are ascribed, including Paulsen, who assigns the colours as follows.
Sacral centre – Red.
Lumbar centre – Orange
Dorsal (Heart) centre – Yellow (Gold)
Throat centre – Green
Medulla centre – Blue
Kutasha – Violet
So the question must arise as to whether this New Age method of ascribing colours to chakras is in accordance with the experiences and teachings of genuine yogi’s.
SRF members may like to revise lesson 160 which gives the descriptions of the chakras according to Paramahansa Yogananda. Others may check with the writings of Swami Sivananda in his book “Kundalini Yoga” which is available online at this website.
There are some slight differences between the descriptions of Swami Sivananda and Paramahansa Yogananda, but they are similar.
To check further from the traditions of Kriya Yoga we can look at the book “Kriya Yoga and Sri Yukteshvar” by S.B.Dasgupta available on the YogaNiketan website. From that book:-
With the gradual cleansing of the physico-mental apparatus the finer fundamental principles underlying creation can be realized. These realizations are associated with certain experiences. Realization of the Solid principle, Kshiti Tattva, is indicated when the out-going breath Prana flow through the middle nostrils without touching the sides and reaching up to a distance of nine inches down from the nose tip; a sweet taste is felt at the throat, and a desire to see yellow color at the Kutastha; and a yellow quadrangular figure is perceived therein. This experience may last for not more that twelve minutes.The Liquid principle, Jala Tattva, is realized when an astringent taste is generated at the throat; a strong desire for white color develops and a luminous half-moon shaped figure is perceived in the Kutastha; breaths flow down the nostrils up to a distance of twelve inches from the nose. The experience can last up to sixteen minutes.
Revelation of the Fire principle, Vahnni Tattva, is heralded by generation of a bitter taste at the throat, a desire to see red color and perceiving a red triangular figure at the Kutastha. Breaths flow up to three
inches within the nostrils. The experience may last for four minutes. Air principle, Vayu Tattva, is realized when a sour taste is generated at the throat, longing for a sour taste develops, attraction for blue color
develops and a blue circle is perceived at the Kutastha; breaths flow down touching the sides of the nose up to a distance of six inches from the nose. The experience lasts for a maximum period of eight minutes.
Akasha or Vyoma Tattva is revealed with generation of a pungent taste at the throat, longing for Grey color and perception of specks of variegated color in the background of Grey at the Kutastha. Breaths completely loose force and remain restricted within the nostrils. The experience can last for four minutes.
For our purposes we can simply recognise that the experiences which the yogi is describing are each associated with the awakening of a particular chakra, e.g. he associates Yellow with the cocygeal centre (Realization of the Solid principle), White with the sacral centre etc. This is in accordance with experience of genuine yogi’s, but not the New Age rainbow principles.
The logical conclusion is that the rainbow idea is simply wrong. It is true that people may perceive different colours at the chakras depending upon their own spiritual abilities, and imaginations, but the experiences of advanced yogi’s do not offer support to the rainbow theory.
Most people here will know that in the style of Kriya Yoga taught by Paramahansa Yogananda it is the higher initiations, in particular the second initiation which eventually gives the yogi who practices diligently the ability to perceive the chakras. Why then does Norman Paulsen not know the correct colour manifestations of the chakras? Could it be that Mr Paulsen, in the short time he spent with Yogananda before running away to become an alcoholic, never actually received any of the higher initiations?