|Year : 2019 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 27-28
Exploration of Prana: The future of yoga research
Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, 19, Eknath Bhavan, Gavipuram Circle, K.G. Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 019, Karnataka, India
|Date of Web Publication||17-Oct-2019|
Mr. H R Nagendra
Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, 19, Eknath Bhavan, Gavipuram Circle, K.G. Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 019, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Nagendra H R. Exploration of Prana: The future of yoga research. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2019;7:27-8
Science developed in the western part of the globe has grown to a great height in fathoming reality of the physical world. Starting from the classical Newtonian mechanics featured by determinacy to the Quantum mechanics characterized by probabilistic features attempts to explain various dimensions of the universe. The famous equation E = mc2, which portrays the underlying unity between matter and energy, is nothing less than a great awe for humanity. In a sense, we have fathomed the complete knowledge about the physical universe, and hence, we have had great success in all challenges related to the physical world. This has made science and technology acceptable to one and all. However, is that all we had to fathom or anything else still remains enigmatic for us, which calls our attention?
The modern multidimensional challenges of stress, noncommunicable diseases, etc., which are unresolved, have necessitated deeper understanding of our universe. It is in this context that the ancient texts of the Indian philosophy (Upanishads) and Yoga are attracting the attention of the top contemporary scientists and researchers. As Capra wrote, a time has come to go beyond to understand the deeper and subtler dimensions of our universe. Hence, we are in a transition phase to go beyond the physical world, grounded on the matter-based paradigm by turning our tables toward consciousness-based paradigm as mentioned by Prof. Goswami.
Science has moved slowly and steadily over centuries to unfold the deeper and deeper secrets of our physical world and trying to understand more and more about other physical worlds such as planets, stars, and galaxies through various powerful instruments such as ultramodern telescopes and space satellites. Science is also trying to understand the functioning of microscopic particles through sophisticated microscopes. Using these instruments, biological systems starting with a single cell are being studied, trying to understand how they have the capacity to move and replicate by themselves without any external interventions, marking the beginning of life processes. While probabilistic mechanics brought to light the fact that the laws of subtle world of molecules and atoms do not follow the laws of classical mechanics, we need to find out the laws and the structure that govern the life entities which do not appear to follow all the physical laws.
In India, having a tradition of thousands of years, the ancient seers and sages were not only able to track the structure and laws of biological systems but also the dimensions of human systems, superhuman beings until they found the Reality in its purest form going beyond Space-Time and Causation having infinite power, freedom, bliss, and knowledge. We discuss here in our editorials, the key features of those dimensions as found and written in ancient books of Yoga (Patanjali Yoga Sutras) and Philosophy (Upanishads) which fathom the dimensions of Parapsychology and beyond too.
Just as we have found energy as the basic fabric of everything in the physical world, Yoga texts call Prana as the basic fabric of all biological systems as mentioned in Prashnopanishad. Then, what is the difference between energy and Prana? Prana, in contrast to energy, can change by itself by the processes of expansion and contraction (svayameva prasarati svayam sankocameti) as postulated in Yoga Vasishtha. While the electromagnetic field spreads all over the physical world, Pranic field spreads over all biological entities (Pranamaya Kosha) as mentioned in Taittiriya upanishad. We may call it a bioplasmic field. This field forms the basis of all the physiological processes that happen inside the body, and it can also be modulated by the mind. Hence, this bioplasmic field forms a crucial link between mind and body. However, how such a fundamental factor escaped the attention of modern scientists and still this is not a subject of exploration in mainstream science, is really surprising. Is it for the want of knowledge or suitable means of investigation?
Science always progresses with technological tools that help in measurement and quantification. It is important to have suitable tool to empirically elucidate Prana. Is it possible to measure Prana as we measure energy? How do we photograph Prana as we do with the physical systems using modern gadgets? Prana being very subtle and intangible in nature, its measurement is indeed a great challenge. However, its manifestations at physical and near-physical levels may be measured and quantified. The earlier works of the Kirlians is considered a seminal work in this area, where they demonstrated coronal discharge due to the application of high-frequency and high-voltage electric pulse around various objects. Later, more sophisticated equipment such as Gas Discharge Visualization was developed to photograph these coronal discharges of various animate and inanimate objects, and they were also extensively correlated with health status of human systems. Some works have also attempted to replicate one of the strongly critiqued phantom leaf effects. Continuous development of such equipment is going on to discover more and more features of biological systems. The rationale behind assuming that these Kirlian-based images can possibly measure manifested effects of Prana is that these images are formed due to the electronic excitation of surface and near-inner surface of the study objects. Since electrons and photons form the most fundamental aspect of physical measurement, we can assume that these images obtained during this process of electronic excitation can give the best estimate of pranic activities as well. Some efforts to catch such aura round the physical and living entities are pursued using infrared camera. Here, it is assumed that the change in temperature gradient around a body is a function of the pranic activity.
In this context, it is worth mentioning that the ancient Yoga masters were able to feel the aura around a body by their refined mind and sharpened sense of touch. Some were able to see the aura around the leaf and even human bodies by sensitizing their eyes beyond the normal range of vision. However, they all are considered as subjective experiences and strongly critiqued by scientists, on the one side, and admired by supporters of such phenomena, on the other side. This mixed emotion around this unconventional and gray area of research will remain in the future too. Need of the hour is an amalgamation of insights from intuitive experiences of subtle phenomenon and empirical investigation of such phenomena using the best available tools with strict control over confounding factors. This calls for tremendous grit, skill, and intuitive insights in researchers working in this area of pranic research. This is an area which has tremendous scope to answer some of the unresolved mysteries of modern science. More research is needed to understand several dimensions of Prana in biological systems starting from plants, animal world, human beings, and the possible unknown superhuman systems. We invite all such experiments and theoretical dimensions as articles in this journal.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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