The most interesting and challenging topics of research in the recent times have been focusing on the mysteries of human body. Apart from the scientists and researchers of the modern age, the ancient sages and seers had delved even deeper into the marvels and intricate workings of the inner realms of the living human organism.
The modern age cutting edge biological researches have successfully made it possible to decode the human DNA sequence. However, despite the dedicated efforts of the geneticists, biophysicists, biochemists, and other researchers of the biomedical sciences, and despite the successful experiments on cloning genes and organisms and the synthesis of some bio-molecules in the laboratories, the mystery of the origin and ultimate end of life remains unresolved. No theory of evolution has yet been able to scientifically elucidate the origin and manifestation of consciousness in living organisms or capture the moments of transition between life and death.
The essence of what the Upanishadic seers describe about the living system implies that the structure and functions of the human organism have not evolved in stages, as claimed by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Rather, this highly evolved system has always existed as a perfect creation of the Almighty. For instance, a hymn in the "Ishopanishad" cites that the entireness of Brahma - the Supreme Creator of the universe - is immanent in his infinite creation. Everything existing in the universe therefore is as complete and vast (in its subliminal world) as the cosmic expansion. The following mantra in the "Chhandogyopanishad" proclaims the underlying unity of all phenomena in the ultimate source and substance of creation- the atma.
Satya eshoani maitdayatymidam sarvam|
Tatsayem sa atma tatvamasi shvetaketo ||
Meaning: The spirit is the only and the ultimate source of all phenomena that exist in this universe. The spirit is the Absolute Truth and ’Oh! Svetaketu (addressing to the disciple), you are nothing but that eternal spirit.’
The ancient Indian scriptures also throw light upon the fundamental principles for the physical manifestation of consciousness. A human being is described here as - "A superb individual concretization of the subtle dynamic impulses that perpetually flow in the limitless expansion of the cosmos". The principle of underlying unity of the subtle structures of the cosmos and the microcosm of a human organism, and the eternal conjugation between the vital powers and energy currents within and beyond the living system of the human body, provide a scientific basis of the subliminal existence of the universe in the latter.
What is known or perceivable about the structure and function of the human body (including the brain) itself is so astounding that there remains little doubt about the validity of above assertions. A complex, subliminal and limitless ocean of electromagnetic waves, neurochemicals, and vital energy indwells in this visibly small but functionally omnipotent system. Noting that the Indian Philosophy and Science of Spirituality and Life had focused on the conscious as well as the material existence of Nature, a fresh look at the inherent import of the scriptural texts in the light of the new scientific discoveries might be useful in deciphering the mysterious realms operating within the living human organisms. The authentic descriptions and implications of the Upanishad texts may be regarded as theorems or conjectures for this purpose requiring theoretical and experimental research according to present day scientific methodology to prove, resolve, or verify the truth of their insights.
The eleventh mantra of the "Ishopanishad" says - "One who learns from the known (perceivable) as well as the unknown (subliminal), transcends the knowledge of death and eternity". This indeed gives an important clue in the present context indicating that the integration of the material based modern scientific research with the science of spirituality and the subliminal world of consciousness would indeed offer in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the astonishing world of conscious energy process operating inside the deeper levels of human organism.
In continuation of the advancing research on human genes, neuropeptides and other biochemicals, the molecular biologists, neuroscientists and biophysicists have also discovered some macromolecules responsible for bioelectrical functioning in the human body. It is found that a powerful electrostatic field exists in almost every tissue of our body. These electrical fields activate the neurons in the brain under the energized control of small amounts of certain neurotransmitters and these also affect the cell membrane potentials and hence the inter-cellular communication in other parts of the body.
Because of the enormous bioelectrical processing in it, our body functions like a dipole magnet whose north pole resides in the central core of the brain and the south pole in the bottom center of the genitals. Scientific observations show that its polarization process is similar to that of the earth and that this polarization begins at the level of a zygote itself. The meiotic process of chromosome synthesis and distribution in gametes occurs after this polarization.
An electro-sensitive micron image of even a child’s body shows dense halo of light near the brain and the genitals. The locations of the north and the south poles of the grand bioelectrical magnet of the human body match respectively with those of the sahastrara (extrasensory center in the reticular activating system) and the muladhara (extrasensory center beneath the lowermost end of the spinal column). These subtle energy centers are referred in the yoga-scriptures in the context of the galaxy of vital electric and spiritual powers hidden in the Kundalini1. These two extrasensory centers respectively are said to be the subliminal inlets and outlets or the two ’channels’ for the continuous flow of cosmic energy, vital currents and bioelectrical communication in the body’s micro-universe.
Dr. Harold Saxton Burr (b1889-d1973), a distinguished scientist at the Yale Medical School had carried out extensive work on the bioelectrical roots of life-energy. In his book entitled "The Field of Life" (John Wiley, 1972) he remarks that the high magnitude of the (bio) electrical potentials between the two poles of a tiny zygote is indeed astounding. This (bio) electromagnetic property naturally has a crucial role in enabling multi-cellular development of this single cell into the marvelous human body. In fact, as Dr. Burr describes, sperm itself is a dipole in which the upper pole carrying the nucleus is the center of information and the lower pole, the tail, contains electrical energy for transmitting this information. These poles are functionally active in the DNA and RNA of the cells in the offspring.
The continuous and controlled flow of electrical currents between the involved cellular dipoles plays vital role in embryogenesis and complete development of the body. According to Dr. Jean Mark (Science, issue no. 1, 1981) electrophoresis is fundamental to various cellular processes occurring inside a living body. The balanced circulation and optimal activities of the Red Blood Corpuscles (RBC) and the White Blood Corpuscles (WBC) also rely on the ionic secretions through the membranes of these cells.
Significant work in the areas of electro-physiology is reported on the cardiac pacemaker and the conducting tissues, which control the pumping action of the heart and hence the healthy blood circulation. Electrophysiological phenomena have also been studied microscopically in the spinal cord (around the sushumna nadi) and the connecting sympathetic and parasympathetic ganglions. Transport of calcium ions across the cell membrane is important in the bioelectrical and biomagnetic properties of the cells and hence in the active transport across the cell-membrane and for intercellular communication too.
The terrestrial magnetic lines of force enter through the Geo North Pole and exit from the Geo South Pole. The reception and transmission (or dissipation) of cosmic rays also is most intensive at these poles. The electrically charged ultra fast solar rays are always concentrated and focused at the receiving center (North Pole) and are most dispersed at the exit center (South Pole). The South Pole works as the exit door for the dissipation of excessive heat, global pollution, unabsorbed radiation, etc. This natural flow of energy from the north to South Pole becomes possible because of polarization. The polarization in the human body is equally important for the bioelectrical, physiological and biochemical processing. The vital charging and evolution of energy fields around the two poles of the body’s magnet emit specific aura that is brighter and intense around the upper pole.
The spinal cord is the connecting channel of bioelectrical power transmission from the brain to the central nervous system and to all the sensory organs in fractions of a second. The spinal cord is made up of collagen tissues constituted by a compact assembly of these stable protein molecules. The upper end of this cord (covering the bundles of nerves) is positively charged and the lower end is negatively charged. In terms of tissue structure, this cord forms a coiled cluster at the lower end and spreads at the upper end as an elliptical surface in the reticular activating system of the brain. This core is the central repository or powerhouse of immense (bio) electricity, part of which is also used in the bodily activities from cellular to organ levels. Most of this storage remains subliminal. Further, due to the continuous flow of positive and negative currents and mutual reactions and consumption of ionic concentration in the varieties of processes going on simultaneously in the sensory operations, electrophysiological, metabolic, and motor activities, etc, it is difficult to measure the charge of this power field by electroencephalograph (EEG). The EEG can record only about 13% of the bioelectrical activities of the brain on an average.
As described earlier, the reticular activating system, the central region of the pineal, pituitary and the hypothalamus in the brain are given immense importance in the yoga-scriptures. The associated vital and latent energy domains and extrasensory power centers are referred here as the brahmarandhra and the sahastrara. The sahastrara being the ’north (upper) pole’ of the body’s magnet receives cosmic signals and subliminal transmissions.
Yoga sadhanas of successive refinement, activation and control of sahastrara bestow the potentials of attracting and absorbing the desired supernormal energies and impulses of cosmic consciousness through this extrasensory center. The necessary disposal of the vices (of the body and mind) and pernicious effects become possible through the muladhara cakra (the south pole of the body’s magnet). The quality and intensity of the cosmic energy received by the upper end (the brahmrandhara and sahastrara) of the dipole (bio) magnet of the spinal cord depends upon the mental enlightenment and spiritual elevation of the yogi.
As mentioned earlier, the cosmic radiations are received by the geo-north pole on the earth; and the untoward effects, and the excess or wastage after the consumption of the desired energy is discarded through the geo-south pole. This process is similar to the subliminal process of the attraction and absorption of cosmic signals (of the eternal prana indwelling the cosmos) by the sahastrara and disposal (after necessary consumption by the extrasensory centers along the endocrine column) through the muladhara. In the context of kundalini sadhanas the yoga-scriptures liken the muladhara to a deep pond and the sahastrara to the majestic Himalayan peak of the Kailash mountain. The synchronicity and vital linkage of these two cakras (extrasensory centers) is realized through the electrification of kundalini and results in ultimate bliss. The individual self, the soul, unites with its eternal origin - (God) and attains self-realization.
The active level of spiritual charge in the sahastrara determines the intensity and glow of the aura around one’s face (especially the head). The mythological depiction of bright halo around the faces of the idols of deities or divine characters symbolizes this fact. The two volumes on "Psychic Discoveries behind Iron Curtain" by Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schneider (published by Bantam Books, New York in 1970s) mention a great deal about the aura of vital energy around living beings. A technique called Kirilian photography is said to have made it possible to photograph and analyze the aura as clearly as the polar spectrum at the terrestrial North Pole. Dr. Narendran, a neurologist at the Madras Medical College is reported to have recorded the halos of ’light’ (vital energy zones) around different parts of the body including the fingers.
The Kirilian technique of sensing and recording of micro-ionic energy domains has been a remarkable scientific breakthrough towards the development of Thermographs and Electromagnetographs in the second half of the 20th century.
According to Dr. Narendran, the intensity of the aura increases with vital energy. It exists in plants, trees and even in the inanimate matter but it is difficult to photograph it due to its low intensity. A high voltage projection recording with the help of a modified design of Dr. Kilner Walter’s instrument (invented in 1949) is used for recording the aura around human beings.
Researchers in this field opine that the measurement of aura and the analysis of its spectra would be useful in understanding the mental state of patients and would therefore provide better means for the diagnosis and management of psychosomatic disorders. Some of them express the view that the knowledge about this rather new field of bio-energy was available since ages but was largely hidden due to misinterpretation of the scriptural texts and unscientific practices like those of hypnotism, holography, etc.
Dr. Kilner had shown, using a dicyanin screen, that the distribution of ions around our body is affected by the number of dead cells being disposed off through the skin and that the extent and rate of decay is associated with the level of our vital energy. The aura is supposed to be formed in the intense ionic zones around the body. Hence a relation between the appearance of an aura and vital energy exists. He mentions in his book "Human Atmosphere" that the charged particles in the aura remain invisible due to their nano-structure and dispersed distribution. The glow of the aura around most people therefore remains dim or dull. However, people with supernatural powers and elevated spiritual energy can visualize and measure the aura around anybody.
The scientific methods of recording and analyzing the aura around the human body, and the scriptural reviews on the origin and knowledge of the subliminal fields of vital energy and the spiritual force associated with its glow, are discussed in detail in volume 17 of "The Complete Works of Pandit. Shriram Sharma Acahrya". The present discussion gives only a glimpse of some related aspects of the astounding living organism of the human body that have been deciphered in the modern laboratories. The subliminal world living inside the human beings is far more vast and mysterious than the perceivable world around it. The sukshmikarana sadhana - supreme spiritual endeavor of sublimation of the life force - is a consistent and phased process of the realization, expansion, transmutation and unification of the individual consciousness with the supreme cosmic consciousness.
As scientific research proceeds with discovering the subtler realms of life and consciousness in the human body, newer dimensions of supernatural powers would begin to unfold in this natural system. The principles and attainments of sukshmikarana would also then become more explicit and convincing and will inspire a greater number of people to undertake and benefit from the marvelous results of spiritual sadhanas.
Integration of science and spirituality would help in unveiling the subtle mechanism and depth of the universe of life in our body. This would also lead to an integrated scientific vision of the superiority of the power of consciousness over all other powers in the physical world and thus enhance our faith in its omnipotent eternal origin. This elevated reverence for its Supreme Creator should also educe our faith in the dignity of human life and humanity.
Notes and References:
1. Kundalini:(also known as the gigantic ’serpentine fire’ in the science of "Tantra") symbolizes the sublime source of absolute life-force, vital spiritual energy and the latent reservoir of supernatural powers. It is also regarded to be the governing power of maya. This limitless force normally remains hidden and dormant and could be stimulated and elevated through arduous sadhanas of Kundalini-Yoga.
2. "Prana Shakti - Eka Divya Vibhuti" (Hindi text): Vol. 17 of "Pt. Sriram Sharma Acharya Vangmaya".