Swami Satyamurti Saraswati

Prana has now become one of the most important phenomena to all those concerned with yoga, parapsychology, and other related sciences, such as acupuncture, psychotronics, electrobiology, psychometrics and psi-plasmic studies, e.g. telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis and Kirlian photography.

The scientists are now looking at the physical world through the eye of the metaphysician. They are realizing the truth of the age-old maxim, 'As above, so below', the macrocosm in the microcosm. They are now, more than ever before, recognizing the possibility of new forms of energy which are not explicable by the use of the orthodox parameters of mathematical or physical sciences.

These new forces or forms of energy have long ago been recognized and researched by the great yogis and saints of the east and west. However we have more information about them from the Indian subcontinent where they have been preserved in a more or less intact form.

The energy which is talked about by the scientists of today, this new psi-plasmic energy, which can be photographed by means of a special Kirlian photographic apparatus, is none other than the energy known to the saints and realized men for many thousands of years as prana.

In yoga, the science of pranayama is consequently receiving much attention because, as its name tells us, it is the method for controlling, maintaining and harmonizing the force of prana, and is not simply breathing practice.

At this point, we may briefly define the yogic and scientific idea of prana, as the two are in great agreement. Prana is a form of energy which is cloud like in appearance. It emits light of different wave lengths, frequencies and amplitudes. Prana can expand and contract. It is subject to internal and external influences, and is in constant flowing motion throughout every part of the body.

The yogis say that prana is located in a subtle body, within the physical body. This body is called the pranamaya kosha and is intrinsically linked to the physical body, the mental body and two other bodies also. This viewpoint is not in conflict with any of the recent discoveries in the para-psychological sciences. Thus, by the law of mutual interdependence it follows that prana, being in intimate contact with the different mental faculties, is influenced by thought, feelings, emotions; and they are also influenced by prana.

First of all let us consider the references to prana made both directly and indirectly in the Bible. An example of an allegorical reference to prana is the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. In understanding this we will also learn something about the psychic physiology of yoga. In kundalini yoga, man's dormant psychic and spiritual energies are portrayed as a serpent, because they are lying coiled up, unused or unawakened as does a sleeping serpent. Now when these psychic and other abilities begin to manifest, they are supposed to do so according to a systematic and scientific method. The impulses should travel along a particular pathway called the sushumna nadi, which is inside the spinal cord. Now, circling the sushumna nadi, there are two other nadis of lesser importance, they are ida and pingala. Ida may be thought of as the negative wire of an electric circuit and pingala as the positive. Ida may also be thought of symbolically as the cool or the feminine nadi, therefore, we here equate it with Eve. The pingala nadi is warm and masculine; we equate it here with Adam. The serpent represents the dormant potential energy or kundalini. The tree of knowledge represents the sushumna nadi, the nadi along which the true awakening should take place. Eve partaking of the fruit of the tree symbolically meant that the awakening of kundalini took place in ida, and similarly when Adam took the fruit, the awakening was transferred to pingala. This is one type of pranic awakening which takes place in kundalini yoga, but it is not the true or the highest awakening, for it was only along ida and pingala, rather than up sushumna which alone leads to the final awakening. When the kundalini rises through either ida or pingala various mental conditions similar to those experienced by Adam and Eve inevitably follow.

Other references to prana are many, such as Christ healing the sick by the laying on of hands. This concerns the technique of prana vidya and the expansion of the pranic energy equivalent to the expansion of the psi-plasmic field. Similarly the raising of Lazarus is another example. Walking on water another, because in pranayama, one gains the ability to vary the density of his body according to the environment. The transformation of water into wine is another example. The feeding of 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and two small fishes is still another example of the great reservoir of pranic energy which Christ had. No doubt he was a great yogi.

In all the great books and oracular literature of the world there are references given often allegorically and often lucidly which all point to the one unmistakable fact that there is a tremendous and effulgent source of energy within us which has only to be correctly awakened, developed and channelled. Through the correct application of this energy we will be able to achieve the heights of spiritual, psychic and physical existence. It is for these reasons that the scientists, doctors, researchers and all sincere seekers after truth are turning towards a fuller and more encompassing view of prana.