Prana - Biomagnetism and the Chakras

Dr. Swami Satyamurti Saraswati, Ph.D. (Belfast)

Prana, multifaceted energy, was discussed in the January issue of Yoga by scientific justification of its various properties. Here these attributes are summarised and various deductions are made about prana, fields of magnetic force and the chakras.

Ida and pingala nadis, the mental and vital energy channels within the body, are composed of negatively and positively charged ions and ionic dipoles. They influence the complex integrated lattice or matrix of energies that we call prana. Prana can be thought of as ionic clouds of different densities. These are located in five principal zones of the body.

These zones are constantly moving and they intermingle with one another, producing as a natural consequence light, heat and sound energies of a subtle form. Discharges of an electrical nature occur between the ida and pingala nadis where they crisscross each other. All ionic phenomena can be influenced by pranayama, asanas, meditation or any yogic or related practice. They are also influenced by dieting, sudden shock, accident, traumatic experience, mental disturbances, and by scores of other 'intense' mental/physical experiences. This is because pranic energy is intimately related to mental, physical, emotional and psychic energies.

The Body as a Biological Magnet

As we know, ida and pingala nadis coil around the sushumna nadi. We shall consider this twisting movement as a type of coil. So, for the moment, let us call ida and pingala coils wrapped around a central core, the sushumna. Now, we can very reasonably assume that sushumna has the property of being affected by the ionic flows around it. If we look at the nadis in this way, those familiar with the principles of electrodynamics will realize that they resemble the arrangement for making an electromagnet.

A piece of iron becomes a magnet for as long as a current is passed around it in insulated copper wires. In the same way the sushumna nadi may be treated like a piece of iron which becomes a ‘bio-magnet’ or biological-body magnet when a sufficient current is passed around it. The poles of the bio-magnet are formed at either end of the sushumna: the south pole at mooladhara chakra and the north pole at sahasrara. The lines of force of this magnet Bow all around the body from the south pole to the north.

The Ida-Pingala Wave

Ida and pingala are not static entities; they are in a state of rapid excitatory movement in three dimensions. To clarify this concept, as children we have all played with a long piece of rope, tying one end to a post and moving the other end up and down. If we were lucky we could set up what is known as a 'standing wave', in which the string assumed the appearance of only two sections, if then, when the standing wave was produced, we rotated the whole of the rope clockwise, while still maintaining the 'double loop', we would have an idea of ida and pingala spinning in three dimensions around sushumna. Ida and pingala are ionic pathways capable of expansion and contraction as well as other modes of movement which involve assimilation or liberation of energy. These are known in physics as vibrational modes, rotational modes, and processional modes. These terms refer to the ways in which the ionic dipoles (composed of negative and positive charges) can behave.

The Chakras and their Ionic Field Correspondence

At the stationary points of each wave of ida and pingala, called nodes, there is a concentration of pranic energy which forms pulsating circular patterns in the horizontal plane. These are chakras. Let us consider the field created in the immediate vicinity of ids and pingala. Considering each separately, according to the laws of electrodynamics, let us look at a very small part of the ida and pingala nadis passing through an imaginary horizontal plane and examine the effects of the ionic flow upon that plane.

These are the types of force fields associated with ida and pingala when (In A&B) both are flowing upwards and (in C&D) both are flowing downwards (towards the base of the spine). If they are flowing in opposite directions, then their fields may be represented by the combination of A&D or B&C.

These force fields exist along the whole length of ida and pingala and are capable of expanding and contracting, depending upon different physical and mental activities. We say that the frequency of the field can both increase or decrease. If it increases, the wave becomes more penetrating and powerful, and if it decreases, the wave is weaker and less penetrating. Simultaneously, the amplitude (thickness of the wave) can also increase or decrease. The smaller the amplitude and the greater the frequency, the more powerful is the wave.....

Let us now think about how these fields interact, and the further implications of their interactions. First consider the interaction of fields A&B then C&D, A&D and B&C. It can be shown quite easily that in the case of interactions between A&B and C&D there is a cancellation effect of the field in the space between the nadis. In the case of A&D and B&C there is a reinforcement effect in this same area, i.e. a field of high intensity is created.

What this means is that at different times under different circumstances the ionic field intensity between the two nadis is constantly varying from a minimum energy condition to a high energy condition. It is, in fact, a pulsating energy flow which gives rise to the subtle circular patterns of light seen in meditation and recognized by yogis as the chakras or psychic centres.

The manifestation of the chakras in the form of light energy and sound is most likely to be experienced when there is a strong field intensity between ida and pingala, i.e. when A&D or B&C flows predominate or whenever ida and pingala nadis Row in the opposite direction. This condition occurs to a minor extent in normal breathing but much more in certain pranayama practices, especially nadi shodhana and also in meditation. This opposition of the flows is something which can be verified by experiential and introspective methods.

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