Prana - Kundalini Physics

Dr Swami Satyamurti Saraswati, Ph.D., Belfast

In recent times much has been written about the awakening of kundalini and its effects on man's consciousness. Here, however, we will only be concerned with the actual physical mechanism in terms of ionic field theory in order to convey a general idea of what is actually ally happening in the kundalini awakening process.

Anatomy of Ida, Pingala and Sushumna

Ida, pingala and sushumna are the three major nadis or psychic energy channels responsible for the activation and rising of kundalini, known otherwise as the 'serpent power' or the potential ritual force in man. Ida nadi, which is more concerned with the mental function, has within it another finer nadi called the inter-ida nadi. Pingala nadi, which is more concerned with the vital functions, also has another finer nadi within it called the inter-pingala nadi. Within these finer nadis the ionic density is high, but outside and surrounding them is a region where the ionic charge is low. The implication is that the finer nadi is surrounded by a semi-permeable membrane which allows negative and positive ions respectively to enter but not to leave. This is similar to cellophane wrapping around food which allows moisture to enter but not to leave the food.

Concerning the sushumna nadi, the spiritual channel, there are many descriptions to choose from. Let us say simply that there are two nadis within sushumna: the finest one called brahma nadi and the one surrounding it called chitrini nadi. Please remember that they are not concrete physical entities, but are separate one from the other by virtue of differences in ionic concentrations. The nadi within sushumna which plays the most important part in the present discussion is the brahma nadi.

Ionic Field Theory of Mooladhara and Kundalini

Kundalini yoga declares that ida and pingala nadis first join the sushumna nadi at the lowest psychic centre called mooladhara. At mooladhara chakra, because of the principally electrical forces in operation when ida and pingala are in close proximity, we postulate that a discharge of energy takes place to a degree dependent on the concentration of ions in the nadis. To understand how this could be so, let us represent in a diagrammatic form the energy situation at mooladhara chakra.

Discussion: In the preceding diagram the inter-ida nadi and inter-pingala nadi are represented as being the channels through which flow the greatest concentrations of negative and positive ions respectively. They should not be thought of as tubes or pipes, but as localised inter-nadic flows with no rigid boundaries. The two inter-nadic flows of sushumna are also illustrated: chitrini nadi and inside it brahma nadi. Circling ida and pingala are the ionic fields, which should be thought of as extending in a circular fashion, like the ripples on the surface of a pond, throughout the whole body and even outside the body also.

At mooladhara chakra in the average individual, the inter-ida and the inter-pingala nadis are separated by a short distance, and are not yet capable of carrying a high ionic charge. This is because most people have never systematically tried to increase the ionic densities in ida and pingala. It is also due to faulty (i.e. negative, distracted, dissipated or dispersed.) thinking and un-rhythmic breathing. They have not had any opportunity to practice yoga which is the principal scientific means of realizing these phenomena and of exercising conscious willpower towards influencing them. After spiritual practices, especially meditation, pranayama, ajapa japa and prana vidya, the ionic densities and concentrations in ida, inter-ida, pingala and inter-pingala nadis increases, often quite rapidly. There are also specific foods and yoga postures which enhance this build up of energy. This is a reason why many people feel exhilarated and 'highly charged' after practicing asana and pranayama, etc.

With the energy build up in the body by the above methods, the ionic fields around ida and pingala increase and become more powerful. We shall consider in particular the force fields around the point of origin of ida and pingala nadis in the diagram. These force fields become parallel where ida and pingala curve into sushumna. This fact is very important because it qualifies the system to be considered as a type of condenser, a bio-condenser.

A condenser is an appliance which stores electrical energy up to a certain level of intensity; it can then discharge this energy in the form of a spark if the terminals are brought close enough to each other. Various factors influence the storage abilities of a condenser and the exact point at which it will discharge its energy across a predetermined gap. One such factor is the medium between the plates called the dielectric. The plates of the condenser here are the ionic fields. The dielectric may be either solid, liquid or gaseous.

In the region of mooladhara chakra, we have a parallel plate Condenser and a dielectric which is semi-solid in nature. Now, we can see that if the ionic potential in ida and pingala is increased, then the force fields of the two nadis at the junction point with the sushumna increases. The dielectric can act as an encouraging agent or a blocking agent for discharges between the plates. It has the function in this case of partially neutralizing the attraction which these fields have for one another. Its nature changes in such a manner as to allow, at the right moment (when spiritual practices are perfected) and only for a short instant, a powerful and incredibly intense discharge of energy across the gap between the ends of the inter-ida nadi and the inter-pingala nadi. The energy liberated at this time is conducted along the brahma nadi within sushumna for a certain distance depending on its amount. This, in the terminology of kundalini yoga, is known as the awakening of the kundalini or one's dormant potential energies, physical, mental and psychic.

We are now able to re-define some of the traditional terminology connected with the description of the 'mysterious' kundalini or serpent power. Firstly, we can say that ida and pingala nadis are activated by certain breathing techniques in such a way that their ionic flows are increased, concentrated and brought to a focus for the purpose of producing a discharge of a predominantly electrical nature.

This tremendous energy release is then absorbed into all parts of the body transmission through lattices or matrices. A matrix is like a three dimensional net which holds and constrains the different energies according to their potentialities like a cake of many layers or cloth of different colours which do not mingle with one another. These lattices exist in every part of the body and immediately reflect any change occurring in any part to all the other parts. This is why an illness or injury can affect parts of the body other than those directly concerned with it.

The energy released from the discharge is sufficiently subtle to permeate every fibre of the body and mind. It influences the mental functions in their entirety and can give rise to various mystical and transcendental experiences, associated with the functioning of the ultra and supra-sonic circuits of the brain.... the nine tenths to which we normally have no access.

Before proceeding further, we must examine the psychic centres located along the sushumna, their construction and colours etc. in the light of our present understanding.

Bionic Energy and the Psychic Centres

We shall call the energy liberated by the discharge between the inter-ida nadi and the inter-pingala nadi at the mooladhara chakra bionic or bio-electronic. It is postulated by investigators in this field that radiation of a similar type to gamma radiation is emitted and that this is accompanied by other high frequency/low amplitude radiations of great energy. Part of this energy is recognizable as being electromagnetic, and consequently can be influenced by appropriate electrical and magnetic fields. It is further postulated that discreet quanta or packets of energy are drawn through the brahma nadi in the sushumna by virtue of the strong magnetic field existing between the first two chakras (and between every two chakras). The magnetic field is most concentrated at the mid-point between any two chakras. Its presence is easily accounted for by considering our earlier description of the ida and pingala nadis as rotating coils.

It is a well known fact in electrodynamics that the strongest magnetic field exists at the centre of a coil. The strength of the field is measured by a compass needle's deflection. The coil can consist of about 50 to 100 coils. When a current is passed through the wires, a compass needle situated at the centre is deflected to a greater or lesser extent depending on the amount of current passed, the number of coils, and direction or angle at which the coil is aligned.

Similarly, if we consider the coil as being the ida and pingala nadis, the strongest field exists at the mid-point of any two chakras. This field is greatly intensified whenever the individual practices any mental or physical discipline such as asanas, pranayama, meditation, but normally it is of a low order of strength.

Thus, it can now be understood more clearly that the packets of energy liberated at the mooladhara chakra during yogic practices (and not only when the kundalini is 'awakened') are attracted upward by the magnetic pull of these fields. As well as this, sushumna may be considered as the core of a bionic magnet, assuming a north pole at mooladhara chakra. With these two effects operating simultaneously, this stream of energy packets or particles is drawn upward towards the head. There is also a natural tendency for the particles to move upward because the ionic densities are less and less as one moves upward through the different zones of prana (prana, apana, samana, etc.). This is the reason why hot air rises.


We have the following types of forces propelling the kundalini or other minor forms of energy upward:

  1. The attraction exerted by the high magnetic field between the chakras, the first two being mooladhara and swadhisthana.
  2. The high energy discharge produced, extending in all directions but particularly upward (towards the head), due to ionic fields generated by ida and pingala.
  3. The natural affinity of the particles for regions of less and less density.

The Kundalini

Thus kundalini is said to rise along the sushumna to the accompaniment of many physical, emotional, mental, psychic and spiritual experiences, These experiences include the feeling of great heat in the spine or a feeling of an electric current passing along the spine, shuddering, shivering, ecstatic visions, bliss, etc. The practitioner who awakens the kundalini energy under the correct circumstances experiences only these positive influences. It is truly the awakening of the spiritual consciousness in him and only a matter of time and sincere practice before all that energy is reabsorbed and completes the circuit from mooladhara to sahasrara. Thus, say the traditional texts on kundalini yoga, does the yogi gain emancipation.

Is it possible to scientifically account for all of the spiritual experiences which occur in the practice of kundalini yoga? We believe it is possible, at least in part, to explain many of the psychic and spiritual experiences in the light of our present understanding of prana. There are, however, many aspects belonging to the higher regions of spiritual practice which defy scientific discussion or dissection, as we will always be the first to agree.

Copyright: No part of this article may be reprinted without the author's permission.