Third eye

The third eye (also known as the inner eye) is a mystical and esoteric concept referring in part to the ajna (brow) chakra in certain Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. It is also spoken of as the gate that leads within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. In New Age spirituality, the third eye may alternately symbolize a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply-personal spiritual or psychological significance. The third eye is often associated with visions, clairvoyance, precognition, and out-of-body experiences, and people who have allegedly developed the capacity to use their third eyes are sometimes known as seers.


In Hinduism and Buddhism

In Hinduism and Buddhism, the third eye is a symbol of enlightenment (see moksha and nirvana). In the Indian tradition, it is referred to as the jnana-chaksu, the eye of knowledge, which is the seat of the 'teacher inside' or antar-guru. The third eye is the ajna chakra (sixth chakra) also known as brow chakra or brow centre. This is commonly denoted in Indian and East Asian iconography with a dot, eye or mark on the forehead of deities or enlightened beings, such as Shiva, the Buddha, or any number of yogis, sages and bodhisattvas. This symbol is called the "Third Eye" or "Eye of Wisdom", or, in Buddhism, the urna. In Hinduism, it is believed that the opening of Shiva's third eye causes the eventual destruction of the universe.

Many Hindus wear a tilak between the eyebrows to represent the third eye.

In the Upanishads, a human being is likened to a city with ten gates. Nine gates (eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, urethra, anus) lead outside to the sensory world. The third eye is the tenth gate and leads to inner realms housing myriad spaces of consciousness.

Chakra Color Primary Functions Associated Element Location Open or Balance Foods Symbol
Third eye
ājñā, आज्ञा
indigo Direct perception, intuition, imagination, visualization, concentration, Self-mastery , Extra Sensory Perception, numismatics time / light Between the eyebrows. Meditation, guided visualization. Dark bluish colored fruits, Liquids, Spices

In the Western Wisdom Teachings

According to Max Heindel's Rosicrucian writings, called Western Wisdom Teachings, there are in the brain two small organs called the pituitary body and the pineal gland. This last gland is also called by medical science as "the atrophied third eye"; however, these teachings describe that none of them are atrophying: the pituitary body and the pineal gland at the present time are neither evolving nor degenerating, but are dormant. It is said that in the far past, when man was in touch with the inner worlds, these organs were his means of ingress thereto, and they will again serve that purpose at a later stage. According to this view, they were connected with the involuntary or sympathetic nervous system and to regain contact with the inner worlds (to reawaken the pituitary body and the pineal gland) it is necessary to establish the connection of the pineal gland and the pituitary body with the cerebrospinal nervous system. It is said that when that is accomplished, man will again possess the faculty of perception in the higher worlds (i.e. clairvoyance), but on a grander scale than it was in the distant past, because it will be in connection with the voluntary nervous system and therefore under the control of his will.


The third eye is used in many circles as the consciousness of the human brain under the influence of a drug, to include: alcohol, caffeine, anti-depressants, salvia, etc.

The third eye is used in many meditation schools and arts, such as in yoga, qigong, many Chinese martial arts, Zen, and in Japanese martial arts such as Karate and Aikido.

In terms of Kabbalah, the Ajna chakra is attributed to the sphere of Chokmah , or Wisdom, although others regard the third eye as corresponding to the non-emanated sephirah of da'ath (knowledge).


  • Crowley, A. Liber 777, column CXVIII.


In Taoism and many traditional Chinese religious sects such as "chan", "third eye training" involves focusing attention on the point between the eyebrows with the eyes closed in various qigong postures. The goal of this training is to allow students to have the ability in tuning into right vibration of the universe and gain solid foundation into more advanced meditation levels. Students who undertake such training often report experiencing feelings of pressure, pulsing, tingling and other sensations between the eyebrows and around the forehead area. However, opening third eye can not depend on this focusing only. This only allows one to tune in to the right vision. Generally, opening the third eye requires strong energy to explode all clogged channels and supplies constant energy to maintain it.

In theory, the third eye, also called the mind's eye, is situated right between the two eyes, and expands up to the middle of the forehead when opened. It is one of the main energy centres of the body located at the sixth chakra (the third eye is in fact a part of the main meridian, the line separating left and right hemispheres of the body). In Taoist alchemy the third eye is correlated with the upper dantian.
Some claim that the chakras can be opened via chakra related gemstones, and that to open the third eye requires an amethyst that has been cleaned under flowing water before use.

During the 60's, psychologists experimented with LSD and strobe lights to gain an effect which seemed to correlate with third eye opening experiences.

Physical basis: the pineal gland?

Some, including Rick Strassman, have suggested that the third eye is in fact the partially dormant pineal gland, which resides between the two hemispheres of the brain. This concept is supported by the pinealocytes, one type of cells within the pineal gland, having a strong resemblance to the photoreceptors of the eye. Additionally, the pineal gland is said to excrete dimethyltryptamine (DMT) , which induces dreams, near-death experiences, meditation, or hallucinations. Various types of lower vertebrates, such as reptiles and amphibians, can actually sense light via a third parietal eye—a structure associated with the pineal gland—which serves to regulate their circadian rhythms.

The pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin, which has a role in regulating the body's circadian rhythm to the daily light/dark cycle and also assists with the immune system . Because of all the above, the pineal gland has become for some the subject of speculation about its origin as a physical third eye.

In popular culture

The third eye has been displayed in many varieties of fiction, often to denote a transcendent evolution which may also grant the recipient the ability to see through time or be in communication with a spiritual being.

In November 1956 the book The Third Eye by Lobsang Rampa was published in the United Kingdom. The book claims to tell the true story of a Buddhist monk's training in Tibet, and contains a description of a surgical operation in which a third eye is drilled into Rampa's forehead, giving him the ability to read other people's auras. This type of operation is known as trepanation. The Third Eye is a controversial book as it contains New Age and Occult themes that are not part of standard Buddhist teachings. It was also shown that the book was written not by a Tibetan monk, but by a man from Devon called Cyril Hoskin (1910 - 1981) who had never been to Tibet and spoke no Tibetan.

The American progressive rock band Tool also makes reference to "prying open my third eye" in a track from their 1996 release Ænima named "Third Eye". The song focuses on the rebirth of an individual through the opening of the Third eye.

New York and her mother Sister Patterson of VH1's "Flavor of Love" and "I Love New York" fame constantly refer to their third eye and use it quite powerfully in various situations on the shows.

Comedian Bill Hicks often spoke of the use of psilocybin mushrooms to "Squeegee clean your third eye" and also stated "Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye." The band Tool are actually fans of Bill Hicks, and a version of the Ænima album's artwork shows a dedication to him. For more information on this see here.

On the underground hip hop scene, many emcees and rappers (for example, Hieroglyphics, Dilated Peoples, and Blackalicious) use the idea of "transcending" spiritually and having a higher power speak through their rhymes/flows/freestyles. This has led a few artists to start using the term "third eye" in their lyrics as a means to take their verses and their consciousness to a higher level, rather than rap about worldly possessions. The Hieroglyphics crew's first collaborative album was titled 3rd Eye Vision, and the third eye concept is featured prominently in the group's logo.

The third eye is also seen in Japanese animation. One popular example is in the series Dragonball Z through the character of Tien. Tien had trained to unlock his third eye, or the 6th gate to his Chakra, but eventually trained to the point where his third eye became so advanced, it created a physical manifestation so the Third Eye became clearly visible. In another series, 3x3 Eyes the female lead, Pai, is the last Sanjiyan Unkara, a race of triclops that possess the secret to immortality; the third eye possesses its own personality and is the source of the Sanjiyan's power, vanishing completely from view when closed. In Elfen Lied, the female main character, Lucy, is a diclonius: a mutated variant of humans with an overly developed pineal gland that gives them telepathic abilities, as well as the ability to telekineticly manipulate solid matter through the use of, what is known through the anime as, "vectors". In the Hellsing series, often Alucard invokes a third eye in order to show his telepathic abilities.Also, Gaara from the Naruto series manipulates sand into the shape of an eyeball, connecting it to his optic nerve, allowing him to open his third eye. Prince Diamond of the Black Moon Clan in the Sailor Moon franchise also has a third eye, and uses it twice (once in two episodes) to hypnotize Usagi Tsukino into falling in love with him. In Avatar: The Last Airbender, a man that Sokka has deemed "Combustion Man",is shown able to utilize firebending through his third eye. The ability however, is shown to easily backfire by simply getting hit. This is shown when Aang launches a pebble at the "eye".

The mythical Antediluvian Saulot, from the game Vampire: The Masquerade, by White Wolf Game Studios is hinted at possessing a third eye that exhibits a plethora of powers, the more widely known of these being the abilities to relieve others of pain, induce sleep, weave healing magics on one's soul, or inflict pain and torture one's soul through malicious use of the Third Eye's mystical properties. This eye also gets passed down to his kin, the Salubri Clan (later Bloodline).

Third Eye Blind is also the name of an alternative rock band from San Francisco.

Chocho Momoo produced "Third Eye" candies in the 1930s.

In Video Games, a trophy was released in Super Smash Bros. Melee by the name of Daisy. In PAL version of this game, a Third eye could be seen by rotating the camera to the back of the skull and simply going into it. This was then fixed before being shipped to the EU.

In fiction

Three Eyed characters commonly appear in fictions and folklores of Asian cultures. Some of these characters, belong to the so-called "Three Eyed Race", and possess supernatural powers.

See also


  • Sagan, Samuel MD (2007). Awakening the Third Eye (3rd ed). [ISBN 0-9586700-5-6]
  • Hale, Teresa (1999). The Book of Chakra Healing. [ISBN 0-8069-2097-1]
  • Radha, Siviananda (2004). Kundalini Yoga for the West. New York: Shambhala [ISBN 1-932018-04-2]
  • Sharp, Dr. Michael (2005). Dossier of the Ascension: A Practical Guide to Chakra Activation and Kundalini Awakening. [ISBN 0-9735379-3-0]

External links

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