Shimmering, incandescent energy cascades from the fingertips of a psychic healer, its colours changing to reflect the owner's moods. A small, strangely shaped metal object is placed near the temple of a man and is then shown to speed up the precipitation of dirt in a glass of muddy water, to make a plant grow faster, to power a windmill. A young man named Uri Geller demonstrates his ability to bend metal objects with his mind. These are all examples of recent discoveries in science, which are uncovering new facts about man, his energy and his potential. The first concerns the energy within man visualised by Kirlian photography; the second concerns man's ability to energise his environment via psychotronic generators; and the third is the power of man's mind to act, independent of matter, on matter.

Science has surely come a long way since the discovery of the electron and the X-ray in 1895. Today physicists are splitting atoms, liberating enormous quantities of energy, and sending minute subatomic particles at speeds approaching that of light. But the mysteries of nature remain unsolved. Though we have harnessed the power of electricity, the eel has been using it for thousands of years before man even existed. Recently we have discovered that man too produces electricity in his body, though in minute amounts, and that this energy can be used as an indicator of states of consciousness.

We are entering into a new age of discoveries. Science is beginning to make the necessary connections between the general laws of nature and those of our own inner being. Nature and man are being exposed as more than just earth, fire and water, flesh and bone, but as the conjunction of forces beyond our present ability to fully comprehend. Professor Alexander Dubrov, one of the highest ranking scientists in Russia, told those assembled at the First International Conference in Psychotronics, held at Prague in June 1973, that when a cell divides, we can see, through the medium of technology, light and high frequency ultrasonic waves emanating from it and the liquid within the cell turning into crystal. Dubrov claims that the energy liberated could account for such phenomena as telepathy, psychokinesis and other paranormal phenomena.

These discoveries make up what is called fringe science. They are on the border of man's knowledge, at the periphery of his experience, and constitute a new opening into, as yet, unexplored fields of discovery. Although many scientists still have their heads in the confined sands of materialism and the 'old ways', a new breed of scientists is awakening. They see humanity as children, playing on the shores of a dark and awesome universe, whose forces and energies are at once around and within us.

As their view changes so must ours, for physics and other sciences are at the root of our whole understanding and world view, having exerted a profound influence on almost all levels of human society. There are few industries which do not make use of the results of atomic physics, and the influence of atomic energy on politics is well known. Yet the physicists and philosophers who brought about such wide ranging changes in the structure of our society are realising that science is heading towards a view of the world similar to that held for thousands of years by yoga, Taoism, Buddhism and other eastern mystical traditions.

The people taking part in these changes include some of the most famous men in science today, such as Niels Bohr and Julius Robert Oppenheimer. Bohr, who had a yin-yang symbol on his coat of arms, has said:

"For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory - (we must turn) to those kinds of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like the Buddha and Lao Tzu have been confronted, when trying to harmonise our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence."

Oppenheimer, in a similar vein, has stated: "The general notions about human understanding... which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought, a more considerable and central place. What we shall find is an exemplification, an encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom."

The parallels the physicists speak about can be found in the Vedas of India, the I Ching of China, the Buddhist sutras and the Sufism of Ibn Arabi.

The recent discoveries of physics overlap with the ancient discoveries and experiences of yogis in the areas of time, space, object, matter, and energy as the basis of matter. Yoga has as its basis the development of energy within man so as to expand his awareness to the point where his internal energy fuses with the forces of nature resulting in an experience of cosmic consciousness. Awareness transcends time and space and a new phase of evolution begins.

In studying body energy, one of the most important breakthroughs has been in Kirlian photography. Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, the Russian scientists who invented the high voltage Kirlian device, describe the energy they are photographing as "electrons and ions of the discharge flux in motion,.. This electronic structure is not constant since it depends on the condition of the organism... (and) by studying the geometric shapes, their spectra and the dynamics of their development, it is apparently possible to judge the biological state of an organism." That is, by photographing the energy of a human being we may be able to tell if he is sick or not, and other relevant facts about his physical condition.

The description of energy, photographed in both inanimate as well as animate objects, agrees with the physicists' theory of plasma, a fourth state of matter which exists throughout the universe and is the substance of which the sun is composed. Both are in accord with the yogic concept of prana, which infuses and sustains the universe.

The areas of divergence between science and yoga are that science is theoretical while yoga is purely practical. Each one seeks to make their knowledge concrete, to infuse matter with higher knowledge. Science aims to make the world a better place to live from the technological viewpoint, whereas yoga aims to make it better from the spiritual point of view. Both are necessary to expand our potential and to fulfil our destinies. We need to know about life and at the same time practise spiritual life with the aid of yogic techniques.

Scientists are inventing machines to measure the subtle forces within man and these machines, in turn, will be useful. Kirlian photography, for example, may help in the early diagnosis and treatment of disease, biofeedback machines will help us to become aware of the subtle forces of the autonomic nervous system, bringing them under our control so that we can be more relaxed, less dissipated and out of control. Many of these scientists are also exponents of yoga and inner discipline. Yoga practice is the means for them to tune into the higher, creative fields of energy, to learn about themselves, to develop better, more relevant and more practical experiments, and to understand the results in a more enlightened way.

What these changes will mean in terms of the whole structure and function of our society remains to be seen. However, we can well understand that a unification of science and yoga will have vast ramifications for mankind. A science based on spirituality and spirituality based on science is the formula for a higher and more creative stage of living, for a society based on knowledge of both the inner and outer spheres of existence rather than on ignorance. It is the basis for a society that is more relaxed, less ambitious and destructive, less prone to disease, frustration, war and social and economic inequality. It is a step upward for us all.