What Is The 3rd Eye, & Did Jesus Mention It?


By Mike Shreve| Most yoga practitioners believe in seven invisible energy centers in the body called chakras. Interestingly—a little note here at the beginning—the guru I studied under in 1969-70 taught that the chakras were just “imaginary and nothing else.”1 Apparently, he considered them just an aid to meditation, but actually non-existent. Of course, many proponents of this concept consider them to be real.

These chakras begin at the base of the spine and are positioned at various points up the spine to the top of the head (called the “crown chakra”). Those who believe in the chakras usually assert that the sixth energy center is in the middle of the forehead, that it is called “the third eye,” and that it is one of the main exits out of the body into the “astral realm” (considered to be a spiritual dimension just above this natural plane).

Hindu women and girls often adorn themselves with something called a “bindi” on their foreheads (the area thought to be the location of the third eye). Married women wear a red dot and widows, a black dot. Young unmarried girls wear different colors. This cosmetic emblem has symbolic value on a higher, spiritual level also: it represents a desire to walk continuously in an enlightened state of mind.

In Hinduism, the “third eye” is called “Ajna” or “Agya.” It represents the part of the brain which they believe can be made more effective and more powerful through meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices. In Hindu tradition, it signifies the subconscious mind, and it provides a direct link to the higher self which is said to be one with Brahman, the impersonal cosmic consciousness or universal mind that is labeled “ultimate reality.”

The two eyes in our physical body enable human beings to see into the physical world, but those who believe in chakras teach the third eye enables enlightened human beings to see into the spiritual world, to be sensitive to clairvoyant gifts and to possess insightful knowledge about the past and the future. An activated third eye is, therefore, the sign of an awakened person.

Now let me take you into some of the even deeper details of Hindu belief. In that worldview, the third eye or “Ajna” is depicted as a transparent lotus flower with two white petals which represent the nadis (psychic channels). These blend together in the middle called the Sushumna nadi before rising to the crown chakra at the top of the head.

The left petal represents Shiva (the god of destruction), while the right petal represents Shakti (the female goddess who is his cohort). These merge in the middle and in some systems of thought, are represented as a hermaphrodite deity that is both male and female. In other words, when enlightenment is achieved, duality ceases and oneness with universal consciousness is achieved.

Very strange ideas, right? Yes, I agree! Yet, billions of Hindus and New Agers subscribe to them. Many propose that these concepts are also hidden in the teachings of Jesus. When I was a yoga teacher five decades ago, I often referenced the following statement Jesus made during His “Sermon on the Mount” to support the blending of these worldviews. The King James Version of Matthew 6:22-23 records the Son of God saying:

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

Wow! That sounds like a confirmation, doesn’t it? Maybe Jesus was an initiate into the mystery religions, an avatar who came to show us how to awaken our own divinity. No, absolutely not! I repeat—Absolutely not! When subjected to proper methods of interpretation, this one isolated passage is not sufficient evidence that Jesus believed in chakras or specifically, in the third eye.

First, we must look at this passage within the surrounding text (contextual interpretation). This is necessary for proper exegesis—the right method of interpreting a biblical passage. Listen to what Jesus says immediately prior:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV)

Now listen to what Jesus said immediately after our emphasized verse:

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:24-25 NKJV)

Jesus was talking about the way we ‘see’ or ‘perceive’ what is important in life, how we set our priorities. The two verses about the eye being “single” are sandwiched between passages dealing with materialism versus spirituality. Jesus started by saying, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” and he concluded by saying, “You cannot serve God and mammon” (material riches). (Matthew 6:19, 24).

In light of this, the correct interpretation is plain and simple. Jesus was encouraging his disciples to stay focused on that which is spiritual and eternal, even though we have to function in a natural and temporal world. Let me sum it up in one statement what the Son of God was revealing: that no one can be a slave to material possessions and enjoy the abundant spiritual life that the Savior promised.

The New King James translation of Matthew 6:22-23 changes the archaic English of the King James Version to say, “If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22–23 NKJV) Other Bible versions use words like, “sound,” “healthy,” “clear” or “unclouded” for the word “single” in the King James Version.

The exact meaning becomes more obvious in these newer renditions. Combining them all into one statement: if you ‘look’ at life with a good attitude—if your values are sound and healthy, and your perceptions, clear and unclouded—the light of truth radiates in you and through you. Your body become a lamp-like vessel through which the light of the Word and the Spirit can shine, illuminating a very dark world.

Let’s continue developing this thought, how Jesus said: “If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.” The word translated “light” is luchnos (pronounced lookh’-nos). It can also be rendered “lamp.” In other words, your body becomes like a lamp. This is a source of light that must be lit. There are five parts to a lamp: the vessel, the oil, the wick, the fire and the light.

We are all described as “vessels” (Romans 9:23). We are also depicted as “lamps.” Churches are represented corporately as lamps (Revelation 1:20) and individuals believers fill this role as well. For instance, Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV) says:

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart.

However, a lamp sits in darkness until the wick is lit with fire. So also, the hearts of fallen human beings are in darkness until they are lit with the fire of the presence of God. Only then can we search out the inner depths of His heart and our own hearts—through the Word of God and by the Spirit of God. That empowerment comes when a person is born again. Jesus said He came to “send fire on the earth” (Luke 12:49). In other words, He came to set hearts on fire with intense love for God and burning passion to discover His truth and proclaim it to others—in other words, to shine like lamps in this dark world.

In Mark 4:21, Jesus warned again putting a lamp under a basket (which represents commerce) or under a bed (which represents laziness or complacency). Both situations can result in something very bad taking place (a destructive fire). In the Sermon on the Mount that contains our emphasized passage, Jesus showed His disciples their importance by using this “lamp” analogy. He said:

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Jesus was simply talking about focusing on eternal things and shining the light of truth in this world. It was never about some weird, mystical, esoteric unveiling of hidden mysteries of the universe. It was never about the awakening of some internal psychic energy centers. If Jesus were attempting to enlighten his disciples concerning these things, He surely would not have been so vague. He also would have developed this concept to a much greater degree than just one verse out of the entire New Testament.

[1] Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, Kundalini Yoga, The Flow of Eternal Power (New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1996) p. 61.

This article was originally featured on The True Light and was republished with permission from the author.

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Mike Shreve was a teacher of Kundalini Yoga at four Florida universities (University of South Florida, University of Tampa, New College, and Florida Presbyterian). He also ran a yoga ashram in Tampa. About 300 students were following his teachings. Then in 1970, an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ changed his heart, his life, and his worldview. The next year, along with another brother in the Lord, he began hitchhiking across America (during the Jesus Movement Era) preaching on college campuses and in downtown areas. Eventually he began ministering in churches, Bible schools, and open air gatherings overseas as well. He has written 15 books (3 of which have been #1 on Amazon in their genre). One of his greatest joys is helping other Christian writers become published authors through the publishing company he runs called Deeper Revelation Books. He has an earned Bachelor of Theology degree and an honorary doctorate, given to him by Faith Theological Seminary because of his extensive work in the area of comparative religion. His website is www.thetruelight.net