The Chakras and Theosophy

The person who wants to learn more about the properties and functions of the chakras is likely to become confused (at least if he/she is looking for a unitary answer) by the diversity of the desciptions of them. The original tantric desription is quite different from what we can read in popular chakra books today. Also the old sources are often full of contradictions, especially regarding details.
In Indian and Tibetan chakra tradition the chakras mostly represented energies that are only activated in yoga and which are connected with the subtle inner being. In Tibetan yoga the yogi quite consciously created the chakras as mental exercises. The Chinese tradition´s view of subtle Man was (and is) on the other hand more practical and concrete and the subtle flows were considered to have a connection with the physical organs.

The theosophical tradition (after C. W. Leadbeater and A. Besant) formed it´s own opinion on how the chakras work and from here today´s general knowledge of the chakras emanates, above all from Leadbeater´s books "The inner Life" and "The Chakras".
The information in these books was built upon Leadbeater´s own experiences and his interpretation of the chakras accordig to Helena P. Blavatsky´s tradition. He meant that they were energy transformers that shaped the levels of the various subtle bodies of energy. His books were published at a time when interest in other religions than Christianity was increasing in intellectual circles and they were to become immensely popular and paved the way for our new idea of what Man is.

The idea that each chakra is connected to a colour in our visible spectrum (like a rainbow) actually dates back only to the second half of the 20th century but is today considered to be one of the "truths" about the chakras. Most writers of popular chakra books, like Barbara Brennan and Caroline Myss, follow this tradition which consequently shapes our knowledge.