At a superficial level blood appears to be the principal regulator of the activities of the body and the internal body functions. If we look a little deeper at physiological, cellular and molecular levels, we find that the enormous functions of the body are run with the help of a specific bio-electrical energy, which is generated in the brain and supplied to all the parts and organs of the body through a fine network of nerves. This source of energy is as vital for the sustenance of the vivid activities of the body as the dynamo-battery for a motor. Under this analogy, blood is like petrol and bioelectricity is like the electrical energy of the motor (of the body system). A continuous supply and distribution of both together advance the flow of life.
The body-electricity is different from the electricity that we see being used around us in a variety of domestic machines and technological gadgets. The bio-electricity flowing in the brain and the entire body, which makes the uncountable physiological and bio-chemical and physical functions possible, is a manifestation of pranic energy. The prana1 indwelling in our body is a fraction of the eternal, cosmic prana. The active presence of this pranic energy in the body could be enhanced by mental and vital strength. Focused willpower and determined efforts enable outstanding performance of sportsmen, wonders of skilled talents, adventurous expeditions, etc. In a similar way, adept yoga-sadhanas effectuate a significant rise in the pranic electricity level at will. The enhanced level of prana
also arouses the will power and the external and internal vigor of the sadhaka2.
The power of a small battery or dry cell is a tiny fraction of the enormous electrical power that could be produced in a grand powerhouse. A battery can be used for lighting a torch or for equivalent small jobs. But, if we need to run a big machine in a factory or lighten up a city, a huge power generator would be essential. Similarly, the ordinary level of prana
may be sufficient for the sustenance of the routine physiological, metabolic and other normal functions of the body. It would be substantial for one’s life if it simply revolves around eating, sleeping and reproducing. Should we require elevation from this animal nature of our life, we would need to elevate, protect and creatively channelize our pranic energy. Still higher presence of the cosmic prana
would be required for still greater, august purposes. Specific kinds of yoga-sadhanas are needed to attain the desired charging of pranic energy as per the specific aim.
The spiritual masters of the esoteric knowledge of the science of prana
transmit their pranic energy into the deserving disciples and thus enlighten and empower their personalities with exceptional potentials. In the ancient times, people used to go with serene faith to the holy ashrams (hermitages) of the rishis and benefit from their blessings and the pranic energy pervading around them.
The shaktipata (transmission of the spiritually elevated prana
of a guru) bestowed by a noble guru
upon his deserving disciple used to transform the latter’s personality into a remarkably brilliant, sagacious, vigorous and talented one. The radiant spiritual transmutation of Aruni blessed by Rishi
Dhaumya, of Jabali by Rishi
Gautam, Arjuna by Lord Indra and Nachiketa by Lord Yama, are well known examples of shaktipata cited in the scriptures. This noble tradition was followed by the sages of the later ages too. The shaktipata bestowed by Paramhansa Ramakrishna upon Narendra transformed the latter into the globally revered Swami Vivekanand. Sister Nivedita and several other disciples of Swamiji later on received his pranic energy by a similar process. Maharshi Sri Aurobindo had invited the Mother Mirra Alfassa of France through telepathic signals of his prana
sent from India while she was living in Paris. She then became aware of the spiritual light of her great soul and came to the Maharshi’s Ashram. Sri Aurobindo endowed her with a deep knowledge of yoga
and Indian Philosophy, along with the divine radiance of his spiritual attainments.
It is said with reference to the epic "Ramayana" that when Lord Ram was living in exile in the forest, with Sita and Lakshman, the latter used to transmit the message of their well-being and specific news of the week to his wife Urmila with the help of his transmuted pranic energy. Thousands of kilometers away, Urmila used to receive it in a state of meditation and then used to convey the message verbally to the other family members. Thus, without having any wireless, radio set or telephonic facility, they were able to communicate quite easily.
An episode in the Puranas
describes the angelic pranic force of Sati Anusuiya. Once the Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh went to her Ashram to test the spiritual strength of her piety. They reached the Ashram in the form of little children when her husband Rishi
Atri was away. But the aura of her pranic energy instantly experienced their divine glow and she made no mistake in recognizing the Gods.
Prince Pratardan, the son of King Divoda, had once offered his dedicated services to Lord Indra. In recognition of his worthiness and piety of the purpose, the deity taught him Prana
Vidya – the deep science of prana. He preached – "Prana is Brahm. The great rishis and yogis awaken it in their inner selves and use it for the welfare of the entire world".
In the second chapter of the Kaupitaki Brahmanopanishad, the secret of telepathic communication via pranic energy is described as under –
"Atha Khalu Sa Detmevoktha Mupasita |
Yo Vai Pranah Sa Prajna Ma Va Prajna Sa Pranah|
Sa Yada Pratibuddhate Sthaagnervisphulinga |
Vipratithante Pranebhyo Devebhyo Loka ||"
(Different currents of prana, responsible for different faculties of the sense-organs, are referred as "anya prana" here.) When the mind is engrossed in deep thinking then all the anya pranas are also absorbed with it in that process. When the eyes are focused on something then the anya pranas also do the same. Similarly, when something is being thoroughly expressed verbally then all the (currents of) pranas are linked with the voice. All the anya pranas are synchronicity with every function of the (principal) prana.
The above quote implies the predominant role of prana
in mental functions. The mental concentration and the intensity of the spiritual force of prana
create majestic compounded effects and enhance the corresponding faculty or function in gigantic proportions.
The human body is like a grand powerhouse. From head to toe, the interconnected efferent and afferent nerves circumvent every millimeter of its structure. Dr. Brown, a noted neuro-physiologist of yester years, had once remarked in a popular talk that the amount of electrical power consumed in the daily functioning of the human body and mind is so much that it would be sufficient to run a big factory for the same duration of time. The electricity in the body of a small child alone would be sufficient to run an engine of a train.
Neuroscientist Dr. Karl Leisley has demonstrated that the electrical stimulation of certain portions of the brain could activate specific memory of specific time period of the past. Dr. Roger Sperry of the California Institute of Technology has successfully experimented on certain electrically stimulated centers in the brain to help in weeding out some inclinations and accumulated habits and substituting new behavior patterns. Dr. Holger Hoyden of Sweden has shown that in certain cases, variation in the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) helps varying the conscious activities (bioelectricity) of the brain.
The currents of prana
are of significant importance in Spiritual Healing. Before we elucidate this point, it would be necessary to consider the power of mind in the living body. Every radio set has a special crystal transistor to catch the radio signals of a specific frequency range. With respect to the transmission and reception of the waves of spiritual energy, our mind plays the role of this crystal in our body. The sound waves of what we speak are spread in the ocean of the etheric element in the cosmic space. Their flow and impact is insignificant in the normal course. But, if amplified and converted by electrical energy, the same sonic waves would expand with greater force. A radio set catches these waves in the frequency range compatible with its crystal and broadcasts the filtered sound waves, which can be heard at long distances. The conversion of specific sound waves into amplified electromagnetic waves and re-conversion into original sound becomes possible with the help of electricity. In the sublime processes of telepathy and spiritual healing, this mediating (connecting) role is played by the pranic electricity of the human mind.
We usually conceptualize and experience the mind as a distinct subtle unit embedded in the body but that is not the case. Scientifically speaking, every cell in the body has its own subtle ‘mind’ (pranic core). The ensemble of all these collectively constitute our (total) mind.
Every component, every unit of the body has its own domain of independent and interactive activities but each is under the overall control of the mind. For instance, suppose the cells in the genitals secrete the biochemicals that participate in sexual arousal and reactions. But if the (total) mind does not desire to have this excitation at that moment then it would stop the secretions instantly and pacify the concupiscence. Every individual organ or subsystem in the body often expresses its own will but the total mind adjusts and governs it for the overall regulation and follow-up of its own (collective) will. It suppresses the activities that are against its present conditioning and the current state of the entire system and supports or accelerates the ones in concordance.
As mind is not a single unit, rather, a collectivity of the individual impulses of the subtle ‘minds’ of the many units, it is referred to in the spiritual literature as Manomaya Kosha (the mind sheath of consciousness). In the state of complete coherence and consonance of all the individual units of the mind and the anya pranas with the total mind, the power of the mind is amplified to magnificent levels; it creates wonders in any direction it is focused on.
Because of the concentrated force of pranic energy, when the conscious mind is engrossed at a specific point with inner determination, all the components of the brain at the organ, cellular and subtler levels work in complete harmony under focused mental control. The compounded power thus generated can also alter the inter- and the intra cellular communication and cure the ailments of the body and enhance its vitality and resistance; if motivated and focused at an external aim, this could also be used to send the mental signals or waves of prana
to the target for the desired effects.
Treatment of incurable diseases and undiagnosed complications by spiritual healing has been quite common for the saints across the globe. It is said about Saint Macarius, who used to live in the deserts of Egypt around the fourth century A.D., that he used to cure severe diseases including psychological abnormalities by the mere touch of his hand. Once a young man was brought to him with a complaint of some ‘ghost problem’. He just kept one hand on the head and one on the chest of the patient and started praying in silence. The young man’s body started inflating gradually and almost started floating in the air. Then suddenly he screamed and vomited some watery substances. With this, he was completely cured and became normal. Similar examples of spiritual healing are known about the power of the prayers and blessings of Saint Augustine, Saint Andrews of Milan, Saint Martin of France, etc.
This healing gift of saints has continued over the centuries and has also helped retain people’s faith and reverence towards religion. Saint Francis and Saint Bernard are among the honored saints of this tradition in the twelfth century A.D. The names of Saint Catherine in the fourteenth century and Saint Francis Xavier in the sixteenth century are immortal in this glorious list of spiritual healers, who relieved the sufferers from dreaded diseases. George Fox, the founder of the "Society of Friends" in the seventeenth century A.D., also treated a large number of people in England through this sublime healing power. His experiences of spiritual healing and different types of cases cured by him are reported in his unpublished thesis entitled "Book of Miracles".
Since the time of Saint Paul, the clothes of great saints, spiritual masters and the enlightened martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for noble aims and welfare of others, were used after their death for the purpose of spiritual treatment of severe patients. The ailing part of the patient’s body used to be covered and gently pressed by the Scarf, Apron or other clothing of the great departed-soul. In order to protect the sacred belongings (which are supposed to have absorbed the subtle radiation of the elevated prana
of the great souls), these began to be kept in special Churches and Cathedrals rather than in the graves. The sacred remains of the body of Saint Stephen have been known to offer miraculous healing effects. The remains of several religious sages and saints of later times are also said to be used for such miraculous effects.
The crown of thorn, kept on the sacred head of Jesus Christ at the time of crucification, is worshipped for its healing effects. Touching it with deep and intense fervor is supposed to remove all ailments and pains. Many of the sacred graves of saints have become monuments of tribute (samadhis). Hundreds of patients are said to have been cured by spending one or two nights in their proximity with devout faith. All these are the effects of the concentrated aura of the prana
of the angelic, saintly souls, which, unless weakened by the sinful acts in the surroundings, remains alive and effective long after they have left the physical body.
The awakened radiance of prana
in a person is the source of his exceptional strength and extraordinary talents. Even with an ordinary physique and insignificant education, people endowed with the awakened energy of this life-spark often accomplish miraculous feats. The radiance and greatness of one’s personality depends upon the grandeur of his prana.
The enhanced level of pranic energy plays wonders wherever and in whichever area of life it is applied. The following examples are quite interesting and peculiar in this regard. John Miller of Amstamize lived a healthy life for 124 years. He married several women. His last marriage was with an eighteen years old girl when he himself was about eighty years old. He had ten children from that marriage. Moreover, his silver white hair had begun to grow black few years before his death.
A Chinese farmer of the state of Zhiyangi had to face the ordeal of getting childhood teeth again at the age of 101 years. Bearing all the pain he finally got sixteen fresh teeth in the lower jaw and eleven in the upper. This unbelievable news was published in the Chinese daily "Venhu Vhao" a few decades ago.
Maxis was a celebrity weightlifter of Germany. His own body-weight was about 147 pounds. In one of his shows, a man of 187 pounds (forty pounds heavier than Maxis!) sat on one of his hands; Maxis stood up with this weight and lifted this hand up above his own head about sixteen times, while holding a glass full of water in the other hand. The water in the glass remained still, demonstrating that there was no external force to pull his hand upwards.
James Bean Colloney was the first American athlete to win the Olympic medal. He participated in a Step-and-Jump competition in 1896 and won it. Surprisingly he had never undergone any professional training or practice in athletics. Facing lot of difficulties, through his own efforts and the demonstration of his capabilities, he was able to get a place in the official team of his country. All he had was a strong inclination towards athletics and an inner zeal. After winning the Olympic award he simply said that it was a pleasant coincidence that his dearest hobby (of running) since childhood got a boosting chance that day.
Thirty-eight years old Joe Giradley had made news in England around the year 1818 because of her fireproof body. During one of the demonstrations, she put some nitric acid in her mouth for few minutes without feeling any burning sensation. When she spat it out on an iron sheet, people could see the flames of fire leaping out of the iron sheet. In a similar show, she easily gulped boiling oil; not only that, when she spat out the boiling oil after holding it in her mouth for some time, the oil was still extremely warm. She could keep melting wax in her mouth and even sealed her lips with it. What is more, she converted hot, melting zinc into a smooth coin by chewing it for some time!
Joe was born in Italy. Since childhood she used to jump on red-hot iron grids; could even lick them without getting any wound or blister on her tongue; used to tattoo her body by a burning stick and even tried to burn her hair several times. She was able to mold heated iron rods in any desired shape by hitting them with her feet. In some instances she had kept her hands on the flames of eight candles in such a position that flames could pass through in between her fingers. Although smoke would blacken her fingers, there were no signs of burns anywhere. Investigations showed when her skin was touched with hot metal rod there were no signs of reddishness or wounds. That means there was some insulating aura that kept the heat or fire away from her skin and tissues! According to Joe herself, she had several times entered fire with pieces of flesh in her hand. The flesh pieces would be charred but she would come out without any burn marks on her body.
These are some factual instances of the supernormal physical effects of higher pranic energy. Its expressions in the mental domains are more astonishing. We shall look at them in some more articles in future. What we should note here is that the super-energy of prana
is present in all of us but mostly remains dormant and underutilized. We all can protect and enhance the potency of our pranic energy through strong will and steadfast dedicated endeavors.
1. Prana: The source of liveliness, consciousness
and vitality; the vital spiritual energy that grants us the ability to move, work, think and access wisdom.
2. Sadhana: Devout spiritual endeavor aimed at inner refinement and elevation.
3. Sadhaka: Who sincerely performs a sadhana