This physical body is a storehouse of pranic energy, a dynamo, with infinite types of electrical currents passing throughout. The ordinary eyes see this body as a combination of flesh, blood and bones, but yogis and scientists have seen a great force behind this physical body. The prana of the body is more subtle than the nucleus of an atom, and we have not yet been able to harness it. For most people, prana means breath, oxygen, ions and so on. But scientific experiments are coming closer to the truth. Scientists are discovering the energy link between the physical and psychic bodies. They have arrived at the conclusion that energy or pranic force is convertible into material force and material force is convertible into pranic force.
You know the famous equation of Einstein: E = mc2, that is, the matter is energy in its potential state. There is a small scientific experiment which we can use to illustrate this more clearly. If you look at a piece of bone with your naked eye, all you see is a bone. But if you look at the same piece of bone under a super microscope, what do you see? First you see molecules, then atoms, and later the nucleus of the atom. Ultimately, you discover the fantastic behavior of energy.
The piece of bone, which ‘appeared to be dead matter, was not really dead at all; only our eyes were incapable of detecting the energy within it. Scientists who have gone into the study of energy fields maintain that the so-called dead matter is also permeated with pranic energy. Therefore, prana does not only mean life, it means existence as well. The etymological meaning of prana is ‘life in existence’. Where there is mobility and stability combined, there is prana. If an object is devoid of prana, it will disintegrate.
Distribution of Prana Energy
Each and every fibre of the body is connected with this pranic current through a complex system of energy channels or flows known as nadis. The nadis have been researched and their function can be compared to that of an electrical system. Energy is distributed in our physical body in the same way as the electrical system distributes energy from the generating station to your room.
Mooladhara chakra is the generating station. From here, the energy is distributed through three high tension wires – ida, pingala and sushumna nadis, to the various chakra points or substations situated along the spine. From the chakra points, the energy is distributed through the main poles or major nadis to the different organs and parts of the body. From the major nadis another distribution takes place through thousands of minor nadis which carry the energy to each and every cell of the body.
Where there is no electricity, there is no light; where there is no energy, there is no life. You know what happens when there is a short circuit in the electrical system- the lights go off for a minute. Or sometimes, due to overload, the voltage falls very low and all the lights go dim.
In this physical body also, the prana shakti sometimes undergoes a lot of alterations and depressions. From the different chakras, prana is distributed to all the major organs and parts of the body. At some stages there is an excess of energy and at others there is an energy drop. Everyone has experienced energy loss from time to time.
Some people frequently enter into states of depression in which their energy is so low that everything appears miserable and clouded and they do not like anything. Sometimes, although the major nadis are conducting prana, there is a failure in the minor nadis. Then the body does not work properly. Major disturbance, blockage or imbalance in the energy channels results in what is termed in medical language as a ‘nervous breakdown’. So, all these conditions of depression, breakdown, energy blockage, excessive energy, etc. are due to the various states of pranic energy.
Many people say that all diseases are created in the mind. This is correct, but not in the absolute sense. The origin of disease is not only in the mind, it is in the body also. Many diseases originate in the mind and travel into the body. They are known as psychosomatic diseases. When diseases originate in the body and travel into the mind, they are known as somato-psychic diseases.
Body is the base and prana is the force. We know that the body and mind cannot exist without prana. Therefore, in hatha yoga as well as in tantra, we talk about somato-psychic illness, and when we supply prana to the different parts of the body, we are treating this type of illness.
Many years ago, I was of the opinion that every disease originated in the mind. I used to tell everyone that their disease was mental, not physical. But when I saw people get better by practising hatha yoga, pranayama, and other techniques, I was obliged to change my way of thinking.
Prana is the base of human health and illness. Even a psychological illness can be treated by supplying prana. Therefore, in yoga the hypothesis is that all diseases are caused by improper distribution of prana in the physical body. Even those diseases which are regarded as psychological in nature are actually caused by an imbalance in the pranic distribution.