DR. NITIN UNKULE, Pune, India
All forces of the Universe, like those of the human mind, from the highest consciousness to the depths of the subconscious, are modifications of Prana (bio-energy), and were subject to investigation by our ancient Acharyas (masters) and Munis (sages), and yogis (yoga practitioners) and rishis (saints) of the ancient India. I did my own discoveries though I do not fall into any of above categories of Sadhakas (aspirants). I shall try to give you a peep into the unplumbed secret caves and treasure-houses of meaning-wealth that lie so beautifully concealed behind vedantic texts.
Well, the word ‘Prana (Bio-energy)’ can therefore not be equated with the physical breath, though breathing or respiration Prana (in the narrower sense) is one of the many functions in which this universal and primordial force manifests itself. Whenever I practice prana-nayma (pranayama or breathing techniques), my body too, participates in this gigantic dance. My mind supervises the activity, my brain records the vibrations, like storing a data in Window-word file of my brain, and the real me in me, remain at the level of the programmer. Many a times, either I participate or become a mute observer; I have kept choice in my hands. Every time, when ever I practice pranayama (breathing techniques), first I open those files from my brain, I read and go through the file first which is based on my previous encounters with prana (bio-energy), and then I edit the file with new experiences and keep a back up in the subconscious mind. Many a times I found that the mind seemed to act independently of the brain in the same way a programmer acts independent of his computer, however much he may depend upon his computer. The ‘functionalism’ school of thinking considers consciousness as the software or the operator behind hardware of the entire physical brain complex. Consciousness is an actual phenomenon at whose dictate the brain works. It is beyond our body but works through it and controls its voluntary and involuntary functions.
If Life is lived in its totality, the priest is not needed at all, what is the need of a mediator between you and existence. You are directly in contact with existence through Pranayamic breathing and related Meditation, then you are living in existence, breathing in existence, existence is pulsating in you. The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment, it is not in luck or fluke or in any chance, or the help of others, it is at your disposal all the time. The concept of a biological evolution is “outdated”. Now the talk is about the “evolution of consciousness”. “Awareness” is the raw material in this evolutionary process and the Rishis (saints) and sages of ancient India have already known map lying out the evolutionary journey of man. In this information age we expect an overthrow of the “superstition” of materialism. Quantum physics and the Vedas are bringing to the realization that the material realm is unreal. The senses do not provide an accurate picture of reality. We are in the throes of a discovery that the essential nature of the material world is not “material” after all.
The medical story of evolution is the evolution of increasingly complex cerebral and associated organisms generating even more complex contents of consciousness.
Though, in the highest sense, akasa (space) and prana (bio-energy) cannot be separated, because they condition each other like ‘above’ and ‘below’, or ‘right’ and ‘left’, it is possible to observe in deep meditative states and to distinguish the preponderance of the one or the other principles in the realm of practical experience.
All dynamic qualities, all that causes movement (may be sometimes at gross body level), change or transformation (at mind, brain and sense complex level), reveal the nature of prana (bio-energy) and also the nature of the individual. If this were not so, the (healthy) interaction of body and mind, of spiritual and material forces, of matter and consciousness, sense-organs and sense-objects etc. would be impossible. It is precisely this interaction of which the Yogin or the individual aspirant like me make use, and upon which the technique of meditation is built on the edifice of perishable body.
“Pure for Sure”, is the slogan we find in India at almost all petrol pumps (gas stations). It means consumers will get the product (petrol or gas) in the purest form. Similarly, those who practice pranayama (breathing techniques) regularly they get bio-energy (prana-shakti) in its’ purest form, and the body and the yoga-asana acts as a refinery to convert raw or crude products in pure form as we get diesel, petrol and gas from the refinery. Pranayama (breathing techniques) and the yogasanas, together, deal with the subtle functioning of the breath and of the filtration of the crimson colored fluid—the Life Force—with unchecked flow through the network of channels (nadis) and the subtle centers (chakaras). Asana and Pranayama (breathing techniques) induce cellular quietening, thus inducing a state of hibernation. If the ancient Indian saying is true, that the body is the instrument provided for the fulfillment of the right law of our nature, then any final recoil from the physical life must be turning away from the completeness of Divine Wisdom and a renunciation of its aim in earthly manifestation. It can, therefore, no integral Yoga which ignores the body or makes it annulment or its rejection, indispensable to a perfect spirituality according to Vedanta.
Time has come to think seriously about our efforts at different diseases’ and disorders’ management, now lest our future generation should not club us with our forefathers who used to brand every conceivable disease with red hot iron. The future generation might not forgive us for this sin. It is somewhere between intensive care and the crematorium.
What is true for the prevention of illness is equally true for the art of healing the sick. We in India, have many such effective methods of cancer and other diseases’ management where the stress is on strengthening the patient’s immune system. The leading claimants are Ayurveda and Siddha systems where there are many immune boosters that could effectively suppress cancer growth aided and supplemented by the mind tranquility methods of Yoga and Praanaayaama.
The attempt of the ‘Upanishads’, is to express the inexpressible, to paint the Formless, prana (bio-energy) is one such element, and though we cannot see it, still we call it an element just because we just feel it. The finite words are no instruments to reach the roaring silence of the all-full Spiritual Perfection that comes after the practice of meditation in which the prana (bio-energy) permeates the entire body from within and I could see (feel) it with my eyes closed. Here feeling is knowing and in few cases, seeing also, in other words. From this it should not be concluded that the experience of the Infinite (including Prana (Bio-energy)) cannot be conveyed and is not available for the teachers to teach.
Life is from moment to moment; and its perfection depends upon our ability to maintain such a perfect balance of the vital forces, on which we have just no control, those harmonious vibrations, without, shall find their affinity within. When all the motions of the body have become perfectly rhythmic, the body has, as it were, become a gigantic battery of will.
Research paper written by Dr. Nitin Unkule, Chief Co-coordinator, Reversal of Heart Disease Program, Poona Hospital and Research Center, Pune; India. Director, Kaivalya Yoga Institute, Pune; India; Bramhavidya Research Foundation.