From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Jit Majumdar

  1. wheel; disc; circle; spin; turning
  2. a throwing weapon in the shape of a round disc or a flat ring with a sharp, often serrated edge, which is well-known as the weapon and symbol of Viśņu and Kŗşņa; a symbol of the sun;
  3. in Tantra, a number of subtle, psychic centres in the human body, starting from the base of the spine and placed above each other and ending with the last centre at the crown of the head along the length of the spinal chord. These are centers of activity that refers to a vortex of bioenergetic activity (hence, ‘cakra’, i.e. turning in a circle) emanating from the major nerve ganglia branching forward from the spinal column, that receives, assimilates, and expresses the evolutionary Life Force. Each cakra is representative of a group of human emotions, feelings, tendencies, instincts, propensities and differing degrees of psychological and psycho-physiological states – from the base to the increasingly refined and subtle. They are seen as the portals to, and by awakening or activating which, various degrees of reality, from relatively gross to increasingly subtle, can be perceived and increasingly expanding awareness, along with various psycho-physiological powers, or siddhi, can be achieved (Şcn. Tantra); a gathering around, or getting together (as in a circle) of people for any physical, mental or intellectual activity; in Tantric rituals, a gathering of male and female practitioners seated in a circular i.e a “round-table” formation to perform their prescribed rituals, categorized into 5 different types (Nu. Tantra); the different networks of intersecting nerves, or nerve plexus, in the body.