Years Ago - in 1984

Swami Satyananda Saraswati, II Ciocco, Italy, 25.5.84

Throughout the universe there is a great force which is known as the life force. In Yoga we call this force prana. If we analyse this great force, prana, then we come to a point, a particle of energy. Even as you have particles of light and atomic particles, in the same way you have particles of prana, or the life force.

Prana is manifest as well as unmanifest. When there is no creation, then the pranas are in an unmanifest state. When the whole of creation is dissolved (the state of pralaya), the pranas go back to their own source. At that time, the pranas remain in the form of particles. Somehow, when these pranas in the universe begin to explode and to manifest themselves, they change into the form of waves. This happens with all forms of energy, including pranic energy.

This prana which I am talking about is called universal prana or the universal life force. However, in the universe, there are many things, many objects, many livings being and other things, which are all comprised of the same life force. Therefore, prana has two dimensions known as micro cosmic and macro cosmic.

Prana permeates the macro cosmos in the form of a unified field. This energy field may be called a universal life-field, bio-plasmic field or pranic field. A 'field', in modern science, is a section, or a dimension through which energy flows. Just as you have a radioactive field or an electromagnetic field, in the same way you have a pranic field. Therefore, prana is not just the air you breathe in. What you breathe in every day is oxygen. This oxygen has positive and negative ions, and it can stimulate the pranic system.

In micro cosmic bodies, that is ourselves, prana is present throughout the body. It is present in the physical body in the form of waves, and it is created, or it comes into being, or it is in you, from the time your mother conceives you in the womb. Therefore, everybody is born with prana, and we are born with a definite quantity of prana, according to the quality or nature of our father and mother. It is the inherent quality of all matter in this universe, including semen and ova which are pregnant with this life force.

In this whole universe what is the structure of prana, and what are its laws? They have not been properly defined by the teachers of Yoga, because most Yoga teachers talk about prana in relation to the oxygen which you breathe, in the form of inspiration and expiration.

If you study ancient yogic and tantric literature you will come across two terms, prana and maha prana, that is, the life force and the great life force. In this physical body there are two centres for these two types of force. The seed of prana is in manipura chakra and the seed of maha prana is in mooladhara chakra.

Some people are born with an excess of pranic energy. Due to the excessive pranic energy, they manifest some kind of healing power or capacity. They always radiate a quantity of magnetism and transmission from a particular part of their body. This fact has been endorsed and verified by many scientific observations using Kirlian photography. Some people have a shrunken pranic field and some people have a very wide pranic field. Therefore, you can also understand that this prana is not only a life force, but it is the quality of radiance.

Many years ago a man called Mesmer used to heal people through his touch. This practice of healing came to be known throughout the world as Mesmerism. This gentleman must have been born with an excess of pranic energy, or he must have practised some Yoga techniques, or have been in touch with some of the pre-Christian tantric rituals through which pranic energy is improved. Besides this, we find thousands of people throughout the world who have the capacity of healing other people. In India there are such healers in practically every community. They can transfer their pranic energy through any part of the body.

For thousands of years, this pranic healing has been continuing in every part of the world. However, there was a time when people of Western countries misunderstood this faculty. They thought it was a kind of 'black magic'. Therefore, these healers were penalised, persecuted and sometimes even executed. In fact, many times the pranic healers themselves could not explain what was happening. They themselves believed that it was a magical power. They could not explain that prana is a force which can suppress the disease elements in the physical body.

Just as you get comfort when you bring your freezing body into contact with fire, in the same way, the sick body is healed when it comes into contact with the pranic force. Of course, I am not going to talk about how to heal others in this lecture. This is just a general introduction about the importance of the pranic force. At the same time, it is very important for us to know that we are not individual beings, we are not separate entities but a part of the universal life force.

Now, let us analyse what Yoga says about prana. In order to understand, let us just revert to Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is a part of tantric technology. It tells us that in the spine you have three nadis. These three nadis emanate from mooladhara chakra and terminate in ajna chakra. The word 'nadi' needs a little explanation. Nadi means channel, but more specifically it means flow. Therefore, 'flow of energy' is the meaning of the word nadi.

These three nadis are responsible for conducting three energies or forces in the physical body. From the left side of mooladhara chakra, ida nadi begins to flow and from the right side pingala nadi begins. Then both of them cross each other at four junctions in the body. They cross each other in swadhisthana chakra, manipura chakra, anahata chakra and vishuddhi chakra. Ida nadi represents the negative force of the energy, and pingala nadi represents the positive force of the energy. Pingala nadi is the conductor or carrier of pranic force.

Now, if you imagine how the pingala nadi flows within the framework of your spine, you will understand it. It emanates from mooladhara chakra, flows towards the right, makes a curve, crosses at swadhisthana, flows to the left, makes a curve; crosses at manipura and goes to the right, makes a curve; then crosses at anahata, goes to the left, makes a curve; crosses at vishuddhi chakra and goes to the right, makes a curve and terminates in ajna chakra. In each chakra it passes through a junction and from these junctions the pranic force is distributed to various centres in the physical body. We have, therefore, six distributing centres which are connected with various organs in the body.

Mooladhara chakra is the pranic distribution centre for the genitourinary and ovarian centre. Swadhisthana chakra distributes this energy to the kidneys, the bladder and the urethra. From manipura chakra, pranic energy is distributed to the large and small intestines and also to the duodenum and pancreas, where insulin is produced. Manipura chakra, therefore, is the distributor for the whole digestive system, or you can say the gastric system. From the junction of anahata chakra, pranic energy is supplied to the heart and lungs, which is the cardiovascular system. From vishuddhi chakra, pranic energy is distributed to the ears, the eyes, nose, throat and thorax. From ajna chakra, prana is distributed to the higher centres in the brain. This is a very gross description of the system of distribution.

Exactly the same distribution has been indicated in our modern medical sciences. If you study the books of modern science you will find that the distribution of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to each and every organ of the body is exactly the same as the one I have spoken about on the basis of Kundalini yoga. If you have read Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gherand Samhita, Hatha Yoga Ratnavali or Goraksha Samhita, you will understand better what I am telling you. There are many other important texts on Hatha yoga, but these four are considered to be the most authentic.

In these books, and also in other tantric texts, it is said that there are 130,000 nadis which carry the energy of prana throughout the body. Out of these 130,000 nadis, 72,000 nadis converge in the cardiovascular system. Now, you understand that more than half the number of nadis alone supply prana to the heart, because the heart needs more prana to look after the bodily functions. In Chinese philosophy they say exactly the same thing. In fact, Chinese and Indians were very close both culturally and philosophically for thousands of years. Both Indian and Chinese philosophy talk about the universal and micro cosmic forces.

In Yoga we call these two forces ida and pingala, and we believe that they are conducted throughout the body, to each and every pore, through thousands and thousands of channels or nadis. One is cold and the other is warm. Ida is considered to be the cold energy, and pingala is considered to be the hot or warm energy. Therefore, the ida force is known as lunar and the pingala force is known as solar.

It is on this basis that the Hatha yoga system has developed. The word Hatha is made up of two sounds, ha and tha. Ha literally represents the beeja mantra hum; tha literally represents the beeja mantra turn. Hum is the beeja mantra for the moon; turn is the beeja mantra for the sun. Therefore, hum represents ida nadi and turn represents pingala nadi. Union between the lunar force and the solar force is Hatha yoga. Therefore, sometimes when we say we practise physical Hatha yoga exercises, do you not think that we make a technical mistake in our expression? It is illogical to say that we practise Hatha yoga.

In Chinese philosophy they talk about yin and yan, and the explanation is exactly the same. We call them chakras, or plexuses in English, but they are also called meridians. These two types of energy flow everywhere in the body. That means prana is an omnipresent force in an object. If there is no prana in a particular part of the body then that part is sick or dead. If there is no prana in one part of your ear it is sick, or dead. So long as this energy or prana flows equally and harmoniously in each and every part of your body, you will never get sick and you will not die.

Tantric technology developed a mental technique of controlling, supplying, redistributing and managing this pranic force in the physical body. They found many techniques by which you can withdraw the prana to a particular part of the body or supply a little more prana to a certain area.

This kind of supplying, distributing and withdrawing of prana was taught through a mental technique know as Prana Vidya which teaches us how to raise the quantum of prana and distribute it to the different organs of the body. The same system was developed in China through the technology of acupuncture. It is exactly the same system, the only difference is that while the yogi tries to control prana through the mind, the Chinese control prana through needles.

In ancient days, in the medicinal system of ayurveda in India, they also taught how to control prana by means of pricking particular parts of the body with a sharp point. It was exactly like acupuncture, and of course we know that acupuncture is a very successful science.

I teach pawanmuktasana basically. This pawanmuktasana series of exercises is very, very easy. Many of you will not be impressed by it. I have organised these exercises on the basis of the pranic flow. They are not joint exercises, they are exercises of energy meridians. There are thousands of chakras in every part of the body from which energy flows to other parts of the body. These are meridians. This has been established by scientific study of pawanmuktasana and its relation to the meridians.

There was a yogi by the name of Ramananda who practised kapalbhati pranayama. Kapalbhati is forced expiration and is considered to be one of the six kriyas or shat karmas of Hatha yoga. When yogi Ramananda practised kapalbhati he was connected to modern scientific instruments. It was found that the reactions or the processes within the physical body were happening in exactly the same way as in a natural acupuncture operation.

Now, I will just relate a very short experiment to you. A girl was put into a sound proof and magnetic proof chamber where she meditated on mooladhara chakra and the pathway of pingala nadi for half an hour. The room was one hundred per cent dark. A video camera was focused on her upper and lower abdomen. In the next room, modern computer machines were registering the condition of the body, and the condition of the happenings in the body of the girl. There was EEG, ECG, etc.

After half an hour she was brought out and the video film, which I have seen, was shown. After fifteen minutes of that film, suddenly a small light flashed. (I am trying to explain what pranic explosion is.)

This fluorescent light was not round in shape. It was as small as the light of the glow-worm. The screen was completely dark, but at one particular point that light was coming up, and going down and vanishing, again reappearing, going to the right, then going to the left, going to the centre, coming down, disappearing - like some kind of dance.

For about fifteen minutes this little fluorescent spark of light kept trying to rise in some way, but it could not do so. It went in another direction, then disappeared again, and again reappeared and tried to go up, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left it appeared, and finally disappeared. This video film is in the institute of Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama and the little spark of light that I am talking about is the concentrated pranic force. This is the force which you have to create in Prana Vidya, but how can this be done?

There is a practice where, when you rotate prana a number of times, it gains momentum. When you rub your palms together fifty times, heat is produced. In the same way, when you raise the prana consciously up and down, up and down, forty times, this light will be generated.

The girl in the experiment was not really doing the proper technique. She concentrated on mooladhara chakra which does not have enough prana and which is the seat of kundalini. Manipura chakra is the seat of prana. If she had concentrated on manipura chakra there would have been a wave of light, not a particle of light. It is from manipura chakra that you find how pingala nadi moves to ajna chakra.

In Prana Vidya you practise psychic breathing in the form of ujjayi pranayama from manipura chakra, up and down, forty times. Every time you do it you will have a better experience and you will have more conscious control over the pranic force. After doing it forty times you stop the breath by concentrating on ajna chakra. From ajna chakra you then distribute the prana to that particular part of the body which is suffering. This distribution can be done once or twice in one retention, because you cannot retain the breath for a long time.

As long as you can retain, maybe half a minute or one minute, you take the prana from ajna chakra to that particular part of the body which is sick. Do it in shavasana. You can even do it in padmasana or siddhasana, but not on an easy chair.

Finally, before I close my incomplete speech on Prana Vidya, I must say a few more things. I am not an orthodox man, I do not hold any views on vegetarian or non-vegetarian diets. I teach according to the necessity of the person. Therefore, I must tell you that those people who want to practise Prana Vidya for healing their own sickness should be totally vegetarian because food is a very important factor in connection with prana. When I say vegetarian diet I am also excluding milk and dairy products, because that contains animal protein. It is necessary for the body, but here I am talking about a sick person who is trying to heal himself.

I have lots of documents from Tasmania where one of my disciples teaches Prana Vidya in her Yoga Healing Clinic and she has made tumours disappear. She has treated cancer.

You should raise the quality of your prana. If you run your tape recorder on an old battery what will the sound quality be? Either you recharge the battery or you fix a new battery. Nobody likes to fix a battery; they like to recharge it. Prana Vidya is a system of recharging your flat battery.