Knowledge of prana is not a new thing to scientific circles. It has been known and recorded by scientifically inclined persons throughout the ages. Unfortunately their discoveries have generally been shunned and ridiculed and their ideas not taken seriously. For example, Mesmer, who was one of the people who introduced modern man to hypnotism, called the psychic field enveloping the physical body animal magnetism. Reichenbach, an eminent industrialist and inventor of creosote did a lot of research on this subject and named the energy odic force after the Norse god Odin. Paracelsus, Keely, Eeman, Van Helmont, etc. are all down to earth non-mystical people, who have reported the existence of this pranic body. Yet no one took much notice of them, so busy were they in pursuing more concrete studies of science and technology.
Even when a renowned professor of neuro-anatomy at Yale University in America, called Dr. Harold Burr, announced the existence of this energy sheath in 1935 little notice was taken. He established that all humans, all animals, all plants, in fact all organic matter, all life, is enveloped by an energy or pranic body. He clearly stated that this pranic body, though he called it an electrodynamic field, regulates the functions of the physical form, controls growth, shape and decay of the cells, tissues and organs. Further studies in the same university showed that there was an intimate link between the mind and this pranic body. Disturbances of the mind interfered with the pranic body. Yet still no serious attention was given to this phenomenon. People preferred to bury their heads in the sand.
It is only fairly recently in Russia, Czechoslovakia and a few other countries that serious investigations on this subject have been started. And their findings sound more mystical than scientific. It is almost as though the scientists involved had been transformed into mystics, and in a way they have.
The most astounding and revealing investigation into the phenomenon of the energy body was initiated over thirty years ago. This paved the way for the research that is now being conducted in various quarters. It opened the normally closed eyes and minds of some scientists to new possibilities. Without this initial path-finding research there would still be an atmosphere of disbelief surrounding the subject of the energy body. The research was not carried out in universities or by scientists, but by an ingenious technician in his own house, aided by his wife. His name was Kirlian and he lived in the city of Krasnodar near the Black Sea.
In his research, Kirlian gave conclusive proof of the energy or pranic body. Many people will not believe anything unless they can see it. And this is exactly what the Kirlians did; they provided photographs of the pranic body. Moreover, they were able to produce photographs of the pranic body for anyone who cared to visit them. This photograph was not the result of some fluke of nature. The pranic body of all organic objects could be photographed at any time as required.
They used equipment in which organic objects were placed in a high frequency electric field. For this reason the technique is known as 'Kirlian high frequency photography'. The system utilizes an oscillator which can emit up to 200,000 electrical impulses every second. This electrical oscillator is connected to an assortment of instruments including photographic and optical equipment, together with two plates which create a high frequency electric field in the space between them. An object to be photographed is placed between the two plates. The object can be anything animate, such as a leaf, a flower, or any part of an animal or human organism. What happens when an object is photographed under these circumstances? Strange and complex patterns of light are seen to pervade and are emitted from the object. The object is seen to vibrate with life. Processes, movements, signals, flares and beautiful iridescent colours throb throughout the whole object. Untold beauty is seen to exist within organic objects about which we were previously totally ignorant. We are normally incapable of comprehending this pulsating, living phenomenon occurring within and around us.
The human hand was seen to appear like a firework display, with lights of all colours bursting into activity, some fading quickly away and others remaining in their glory for longer periods of time. In some areas of the hand there was intense activity, while in other areas there was almost lethargy in comparison. The lights, the movements and the different areas of activity seem to bear no relationship whatsoever with the different physical aspects of the hand. There was some kind of order in the multifarious show, but it was not linked to any known physiological process.
What did the scientists conclude? They decided that they were seeing a new form of energy. It is not electrical in nature; it is not magnetic nor is it heat energy. It defied classification into the normal, known forms of energy. Eventually, the scientists came to the conclusion that this phenomenon was related to the biological aspect of nature. They called it bioplasmic energy. The bioluminescence which was given off by this energy was the manifestations of ionized atomic particles. But the phenomenon was not a haphazard inner process that one would normally associate with the emission of atomic particles. The photographs showed that there were definite patterns and structures which suggested order and unity in the organism.
There were further surprising facts to be discovered. The bioluminescence is a sure indication of the state of health of the organism. In fact the energy body indicates that a disease will occur before it actually happens. Each organism, whether plant, animal or human has a characteristic pattern when it is in a healthy condition. When the organism is unhealthy the pattern changes. This was discovered one day when the Kirlians were presented with two physically identical leaves and asked to photograph them. This they did and were surprised to discover that the patterns were different. This contradicted previous extensive experiments. Then the person who presented them with the leaves told them that one of the leaves was infected. They tried this experiment with various other diseased objects, including the human body, and found the same thing: the energy body differed to that of the same organism when in a healthy state.
The pattern of the energy body is a definite indicator of illnesses that are to come in the physical realm. It was concluded from their discoveries that a disease is manifested in the bioplasmic body long before it is in the physical body. What happens in the physical body seems to be determined by the energy body. The energy body is intimately tied up with the material body and directs its activities on a physiological level. Though this contradicts modern physiology and thereby modern medical practice, it offers vast prospects for correct diagnosis of diseases. It offers the possibility of foretelling that a disease will occur before it does and therefore will allow pre-ventative measures to be taken.
Actually, in the future, it seems probable that we will revert to the old system of curing disease which was practised in ancient China. The system was such that a doctor received payment from his patients as long as they contracted no illness. As soon as they were stricken with a disease the doctor was obliged to start paying his ailing patient. The doctor's duty was to prevent illnesses, not specifically to cure them or patch them up as is modern medical practice. A good doctor was a person who prevented the onset of diseases. The doctors were able to give this guarantee to patients because of their intimate knowledge and understanding of these psychic or pranic energies. This discovery of something that was widely known thousands of years ago opens up new possibilities for the relationship between the doctor and his patients.
It was also discovered that the bioplasmic body of animals and humans is very much influenced by the state of mind. This is something that is well known in yoga, and of course the converse is also true, that change in the bioplasmic or pranic body brings about corresponding changes in the mind. This is the main reason why the pranic flow is manipulated in the yogic practices of prana-yama to bring about positive changes in the mind.
Kirlian photography showed that mental or emotional stress tends to blur the bioluminescence surrounding the human and animal body or any part of it that was photographed. The inner movements and flashing luminescence seemed chaotic; it certainly lacked the order that could normally be detected. This tension, of course, has negative repercussions on the physical body. This is scientific confirmation of one of the basic tenets of yoga - that the way we think has vast influence on our physical body. Our emotions and thoughts, mental problems and fatigue are reflected in the physical body via the pranic body as well as the nervous system. A relaxed emotional and mental approach to life allows the pranic body to remain in balance and consequently the physical body to remain in the best possible health. As a slight digression, it is worthwhile pointing out that this close relationship between the physical and pranic bodies and the mind is the reason why pranayama practices are so effective in bringing about vibrant health of one's whole being. Prana-yama brings the physical and pranic bodies into harmony. Pranayama gives many benefits that are not easily explainable in physiological terms. This is because the influence is applied through the pranic body which is not even included in physiological terminology.
The research of the Kirlians brought many other curious results. Scientists were shocked to find that if a part of the physical organ under test was removed it still retained its bioplasmic body. In other words, if a small part of a leaf was torn the energy body was not affected. The same applied to humans who lost a leg or an arm or any limb; though the physical form had gone, the bioplasmic body still retained its shape. We will not dwell on the implications of this revelation.
Researchers have found that the bioplasmic body gives off its own electromagnetic field which can be detected and measured by sensitive instruments. It has been found that this field changes according to the mood of the individual. We are all highly sensitive to fear, friendliness, aggression, etc. in other people. We generally feel this on a subconscious rather than on a conscious level. If a group of people are relaxed and harmonious it gives off a different electromagnetic pattern to that which can be detected if there is tension within the group. If another person enters the group then again the electromagnetic field changes. The good or bad health of individuals also influences the pattern, which indicates just how sensitive we are to bad health in others.
This electromagnetic field is also influenced by other fields such as those emitted from machinery and vibrations that we receive from the sun, moon and other cosmic bodies. The last factor ties in with the age old contention of astrologers that our lives are influenced by the heavenly bodies. Occurrences such as solar magnetic storms and eruptions of distant stars cause disturbances throughout the whole universe. They also interact with our bioplasmic body and in turn our mind and physical body.
While on the subject it is interesting to note that researchers in Canada have artificially created energy waves which cause different responses in individuals or groups of people. These waves or vibrations interfere and interact with the electromagnetic field of the bioplasmic body. They have managed artificially to produce waves that an extremely anxious person would emit. These have drastically and quickly changed the mood of groups of people when subjected to them. The whole group tended to become depressed. Waves that induce calmness have also been artificially created.
The Soviet scientists made a most important discovery that has vast implications with regard to the practice of pranayama and its influence on the pranic or bioplasmic body. As we will shortly explain, pranayama practices seek to affect pranic flow by controlling the flow of breath. How can there be any connection? How can manipulation of the breathing have repercussions on the pranic body? According to various eminent scientists in Russia, the energy body requires continual replenishment. This is obtained from the air that we breathe. The oxygen in the air breathed gives up some of its surplus supply of free electrons and quantum energy to the bioplasmic body. This is not merely a hypothesis - scientists have actually seen this process in action. This is why correct breathing is so vital for our health. Not only does the breath maintain the health of the physical body as is known in traditional scientific circles; it also revitalizes and is the source of sustenance to our subtle bioplasmic or pranic body. This further confirms the knowledge of ancient yogis who regarded pranayama as an important part of life. The yogis knew intuitively ofthe existence of the pranic body. This further shows prana, and its control by pranayama, is more than a convenient and fanciful idea.
This bioplasmic body is definitely linked with life. Both animate and inanimate objects have been photographed by the Kirlian process and they have clearly shown distinctive differences. Inanimate objects are also permeated with energy or prana, but the luminescence is of a constant intensity. It lacks the iridescence, movement and life that can be clearly seen in animate objects. What happens when something dies? This was also investigated. It was found that as life slowly oozed out of the organism the intensity and orderliness of the bioplasmic body slowly reduced. Blobs of energy were seen to be ejected out of the bioplasmic body and away into the surroundings. Eventually the bioluminescence disappeared completely. This seemed to be the stage when the organism was truly lifeless. This is the reason why this energy has been widely known as vital energy or life force.
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