Preksha Dhyana: Perception Of Psychic Centres ► [2] Psychic Centres: Philosophical Version

Posted: 19.02.2010

Duality of our existence

Philosophy teaches us that we exist in duality, i.e. we are made up of two elements. One is our consciousness, i.e. soul or spirit and the other is our material body. This duality of existence continues until the conscious element achieves emancipation, i.e. until we realise purest state of consciousness. In the mundane dual existence, the conscious element (spirit) must have a physical or material body to function (and perform in).

In fact, there is not only one—the gross physical body, but there are a couple of subtle bodies also. The composition of our personality is extremely complex. We can try to understand this diagrammatically thus—the nucleus of our personality is the conscious element, i.e. the conscious stuff or the soul. Completely surrounding the nucleus is the more subtle body called karmic body. This produces the envelope of passions and emotions. Radiations from the nucleus have to emerge out through this envelope to manifest the conscious activity. This manifestation of the activity is called the conscious field—adhyavasãya. The karmic body is itself enveloped by another less subtle one called taijas body. The conscious activity ultimately manifests itself in the gross physical body via the taijas body, i.e. the bio-electrical body which energizes the brain and the nerves.

Thus our life processes lie almost wholly within ourselves and are amenable to be controlled by our spiritual self. Our primal drives, animal impulses and carnal desires can be controlled and subdued by developing our reasoning mind and wisdom. It is the spiritual self which gives the strength of subjugating the passions by developing wisdom.

Endocrine System

Now, as soon as we accept the duality of our existence, we realise that there must be some means of communication between the subtle spiritual self and the gross physical body; that is, there must be some built-in mechanism within the body through which the former can exercise its power and authority and control the grosser elements of blood, bones and bodily organs. This mechanism must translate the code of intangible and imperceptible spiritual forces into a form of crude power which is material enough to work through flesh, nerves and other material chemical constituents of our body. These inter-communicating transformers between the most subtle spiritual and the gross physical selves are our endocrine or ductless glands which produce and distribute (through blood-circulation) chemical substance called hormones.

Endocrine and Psychic Centres

Philosophers, scientists and doctors unanimously agree that these endocrines profoundly influence emotions and mental attitudes of a person.

Dr. M.W. Kapp, M.D. writes in his book—GlandsOur Invisible Guardians—"Our jealousies, hates, fears, struggles for wealth, power, position, our lusts and superstitions—all call upon the reserve supply of adrenal secretions—the fighting or energising secretion—until the glands are exhausted...... "

Other glands also become distorted by overwork.

All passions and emotions are expressions of the endocrine glands. Their arousal due to recorded past will overload the system, and their work is disintegrated. Excess secretion produces psychological distortions and weaken the glands. It is, therefore, necessary that we control and regulate the passions and emotions. The emotional impulses must be resolved by conscious reasoning to avoid the overloading and disfunctioning of the system.

Psychic Centres in Acupuncture and Ayurveda

"Savveṇaṃsavve" is an ahporism in Bhagavatī Sútra. It means that all the innumerable points of our conscious element are psychic centres. However, in certain parts of the body, there is greater concentration of the conscious element than in the other parts. This can be expressed in other words thus: The whole body comprises of an electro­magnetic field, but the intensity of the electro-magnetism in some specific parts is many times more than that in other parts. Our brain, sense-organs and the endocrines are such specific centres. Ayurveda calls these centers "vital centres" (marma-sthãna) and they have identified 107 vital centres. These are, therefore, the important centres where the conscious field is more intense. There is remarkable coincidence in the location and significance of the psychic centres identified in the Preksha meditation system and the vital centres identified by the Ayurveda system.

Techniques of acupressure have identified more than 700 centres in our body. These centres are pressed suitably or are stimulated by silver needles to relieve pain and cure many diseases. This system claims to cure some difficult cases. It is believed that all the vital organs including the brain are reflected in the sole of our feet and palms of our hands. Thus, the vital centres, acupressure points and the endocrines are associated with our psychic centres and profoundly influenced by them.

Psychic centres vitalise all important organs including the sense organs and the mind. An important purpose of meditational practice is to establish a more balanced equilibrium in the functioning of these organs. Preception of psychic centres can do this efficiently.

Centre of Wisdom and Centre of Sex

The physical body can be divided into two divergent fields and psychic activities. The portion above the navel, upto the top of the head is the field of wisdom and that below the navel is the field of passions and sex. The conscious action is concentrated sometimes in one field and sometimes in the other. The flow of vital energy generally follows the conscious action. The field of passion is the main source of creative energy or libido and the conscious action of man is normally more concentrated in this field than in the field of wisdom. This is because libido is a primal drive and the average man today is constantly subjected to tremendous sexual excitement. Thus most of the time the conscious action is concentrated in the nether field. According to the psychologists, sexual urge is the most powerful and the most persistent of all instincts in man. The stress of other instincts is much less frequent—at times fear, sometimes anger, occasionally jealousy and haughtiness and so on, but he is never entirely free from the stress of sexual excitement and the resultant tensions are very deep-rooted.

Besides pleasure, the field of passion is also the centre for misery and cruelty. One suffers misery due to loss of some beloved possession or due to undesirable association. Pleasant and unpleasant sensations are produced in this centre.

Suffering from pain, efforts to remove pain, cruelty, jealousy, hatred are all expressions of this centre.

Intrinsic Level of Consciousness

Mind is not the intrinsic level of consciousness. Our instincts and impulses such as anger, conceit, jealousy and greed constitute the intrinsic level of consciousness. Ill health emanates from there. Our character also emanates from there; it does not emanate from the brain. Character depends upon emotions and the latter emanate from the endocrines which are not located in the brain. So far, brain was believed to be the seat of emotions and was the most important organ. Similarly, heart and kidneys were also believed to be vitally important organs. But recent advancement and research has proved that the most important organs of our body are ductless glands—endocrines. Endocrine secretion does not flow out from a duct. It is disributed and reaches the target through the bloodstream. Impulses, urges and evil behaviour are all expressions of the endocrines. The vitiated and distorted tendencies of man cannot be purified unless one modifies and transmutes the endocrine production. Goodness of character and honesty cannot be achieved and psychological distortions cannot be eradicated without influencing the endocrine system. The tool for achieving inner harmony is transmutation of hormone-secretion and not preaching. This fact has been proved by experience [1] and applies to 95% of people. Only a very few who have developed higher level of consciousness could be exception to the rule that to establish and enhance moral value, transmutation of the endocrine output is essential.

Interaction of Feeling and Behaviour

Instincts not only generate feelings but also command appropriate action to satisfy the need. This is true for all animals including men. The most basic feelings—primal drives are the unlearned instincts such as hunger, sex, anger, fear and aggression. Animals just act out instinctive rituals of eating, courtship and fighting. As for man, hundreds of other emotional responses based on powerful feelings, not necessarily instinctual but learned, interact with primal drives, either reinforcing or countermanding it. He can control his responses to the insistence of the instinctive drive, because he has the reasoning mind. He can modify his behaviour; he may, for example, channel an erotic mood on to another creative action. This capacity of modification of behaviour distinguishes man from beast, which is incapable of controlling its responses to the command of instinctive drives. Because it does not possess a reasoning mind, a beast will always remain a beast and its behaviour will be bestial. Man, on the other hand, is capable of coutermanding his bestial feelings and subjugate his carnal desires.

Uniqueness of Man

In many respects, no doubt, man is also an animal like any other. He does feel angry, hungry, beset with fear and sexually aroused, because he, like others, also possesses the primal drives—the unlearned instinct—of aggression, hunger and sex. To eat, to work, to fight and to reproduce are common to man and other animals. He is bound by his needs. Hate, love, desires and lusts dominate his actions. But there is a level of consciousness within man that is higher than that in other animals, and possession of some basic human characteristics makes him a very peculiar, and, in many ways, a unique animal. According to the theory of evolution, man represents the culmination of the process of evolution. Human mind and personality are unique and constitute the highest product yet achieved by the cosmos. This is because man alone, by means of his inherent conscious reason, along with its chief offspring science, has the power of setting higher standards and values for his progress. Lower organisms do not possess a reasoning mind; mere survival—capacity for adaptation to only immediate circumstances—is inherent in them.

They (the animals and plants) go on, generation after generation, living as their progenitors have done. The unique characteristics of man are biological as well psychological. A review of the formar ones, though can make interesting reading, is rather irrelevant for our discussion.

The characteristic which concerns us the most is Man's capacity for rational, conceptual and conscious judgement. Man has two minds: the conscious (or reasoning mind) and the sub-conscious mind. This subconscious consciousness is the impelling force in man and is expressed in the endocrine system. Our emotions are the actions of the endocrines. The reasoning mind itself has no emotions.

Scriptural Version

Modern scientific research has greatly deepened our knowledge of neuro-endocrine system. One remains a dwarf while another becomes abnormally tall; one is ugly, while another is beautiful; one is healthy and robust, another is sick and a weakling; one is intelligent, another is ignoramus. All these depend on the hormone and neuro-hormone secretions and their synthesization. They co-ordinate and regulate all important functions such as birth, growth, development of brain-cells and metabolism. Let us review these discoveries of science in the light of scriptural wisdom.

One of the eight branches of karma is called nãma karma. It governs many important functions of the gross body by its various sub-branches. One is dwarf or tall according to the dictates of saṃsthãna nãma karma. Similarly, beauty and ugliness, popularity and unpopularity and many other qualities are governed by various departments of this karma. It is clear that this karma is mainly responsible for the different parametres of the physical body.

It is obvious from the above that the ancient philosophy and the modern science reveal the same factual knowledge, though in different terminology. Science describes the process by the words like "hormones", "chemical messengers", "feedabck system", etc. Scriptures disseminate the same kn­owledge by such technical term as fruition and subsidence of "karma", "bondage", etc.

Yoga and Physiology

Yoga emphasizes the location of various chakras and kamalas (lotus) in the body: physiology tells us about endocrine glands. Surgeons may declare that we have dissected the whole body into minute bits, but we have not seen any chakra or lotus anywhere within the body. Conventional surgical operations can never discover the existence of chakra etc. Let us ignore the existence of naval-lotus; let us not argue whether ãjña-chakra exists or not, but we cannot negate the existence of pineal, pituitary, thyroid etc. If we are prepared to ignore the myths, legends and superstitions and if only we can adopt a comparative attitude, it can be seen that there is no real or significant divergence between yoga and physiology. In the past, we have been taught almost exclusively by exhortations; we can now be taught by facts proved by science.

We can safely assume that philosophy and science can together pave the way for higher wisdom for the benefit of the mankind. All that is necessary is that the ancient terminology and their interpretations be expanded, modified and restated in terms that encompass newly discovered aspects by science.

In the following chapters we shall discuss the function of psychic centres, the benefits which can be derived by the perception of these centres and the technique for such an exercise.

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Published by:
Jain Vishva Bharati
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Editor: Muni Mahendra Kumar

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Fourth Edition: July, 2001

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