Yoga, which is practiced in India since thousands of years, became now very popular all around the world. Many researches have confirmed the benefits of yoga. But surprisingly, many facts that are only being discovered by science can be found in yoga scriptures dated to thousands of years ago.
Let us take, for example, the so-called scheme of the subtle body, which stands at the basis of the yoga concept. According to yoga, there are three main energy channels: left, right and central, and seven energy centers, called chakras. The founder of Sahaja Yoga, doctor of medicine and philosophy Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi explains that this energy system corresponds to the central nervous system in our body. Thus the left and right channels are manifested physically as the left and right sympathetic nervous system, and the central channel is manifested as the parasympathetic nervous system. The seven energy centers (chakras) are manifested in our body as the seven nervous plexuses (starting from the pelvic plexus and ending with the limbic area on the crown of the head). In fact, one does not need to be a doctor to see the striking similarity between this scheme, coming from the ancient India, and the modern medical knowledge. For example, now everybody knows that the left hemisphere of our brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa. But this is exactly what yogis know about the left and right energy channels. They pass through a crossing point at the sixth chakra (Optic Chiasma) and come to the opposite side of the brain. Moreover, as we know from physiology, the right hemisphere of human brain is responsible for emotions, while the left one controls our mental and logical activity. Exactly the same knowledge can be found in yoga: the left energy channel, which ends up at the right side of the brain, controls our emotional life, and the right channel provides energy for thinking and physical activity. But what is really surprising is that this subtle knowledge was known in India since many thousands of years (there are archeological findings showing this, dated as early as 3000 BC, but even much more ancient indications can be found in Vedas – Indian basic philosophical scriptures – whose origin goes back to 10000 BC or even earlier). So, yogis had this knowledge thousands of years before it was discovered in medicine. They had it because in the state of meditation they could feel the flow of energy in their body, they could feel the work of these subtle centers and channels.
In the ancient times this knowledge was kept secret and was revealed only to very few spiritual aspirants. Really few of them could achieve the ultimate goal of yoga – to awaken the spiritual energy called Kundalini that lies dormant in the Sacrum bone at the base of the spine. Recently, due to a new discovery of Shri Mataji (which she called Sahaja Yoga), awakening the Kundalini energy has become much easier. Yogis of the old times were mostly working with the left and the right channels. Thus Hatha Yoga, for example, means the yoga of the Sun (Ha) and the Moon (Tha), which are the symbols of the hot right and the cold left channels. So, in modern words we can say that old yoga techniques use the sympathetic nervous system, while Sahaja Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system. One of the most important functions of this system is to give us relaxation. So, the practice of Sahaja Yoga gives one a very peaceful and relaxed state. But most importantly, Kundalini connects one to the all-pervading power of the universe (called by Young the Collective Unconscious). That is, the inner energy of an individual becomes connected to the energy of the entire Universe. In that state one feels a part and parcel of the whole, and one gets all the self-knowledge just by putting one’s attention inside in the state of meditation. This is the way how all this ancient knowledge about our subtle energy system was discovered. However, in the old times only very few great spiritual masters could awaken the Kundalini energy. But today, due to Shri Mataji’s discovery, this experience became available to millions.
So today, due to the discovery of Shri Mataji, traditional Indian yoga (not just some westernized gymnastics which many people identify with yoga) became very wide spread and accessible practically to everyone. Many researchers have studied scientifically the effects and benefits of Sahaja Yoga. Sahaja Yoga health and research centers function in India, England, Australia, Russia. In several countries there are Sahaja Yoga hospitals where people are treated without the use of medication. And results are often outstanding, including complete success in the treatment of cancer, diabetes, asthma, etc. In India several PhD works in medicine were done on using Sahaja Yoga for treating various deceases. For example, in a study of the role of Sahaja Yoga in the prevention of stress several parameters characterizing stress, like the galvanic skin resistance, the heart rate, the blood pressure, the concentration of the blood lactic acid were measured before and after meditation for two groups of people: those practicing Sahaja Yoga for 12 weeks and a group of experienced Sahaja yogis (2-6 years of practice). Both groups showed a significant improvement of all the parameters after meditation. The improvement shown by the second group was stronger and more stable. In another study, done in Russia, the effect of Sahaja Yoga meditation on the adaptive abilities of human brain was investigated. Electroencephalographic maps have shown that different parts of the brain of Sahaja yogis work in a much more correlated way, when they were solving a problem, compared to the control group of people not practicing Sahaja Yoga meditation. One more example, a study carried out in Ukraine, shows the effect of Sahaja Yoga meditation and vibrations (the energy which one receives when meditating) on the immunological parameters of blood. Activity of the Thymus gland (the TSA parameter), which is the central organ of the immune system, was compared for three groups of people: (1) control group of healthy people, (2) patients with Ischaemic Heart Disease, (3) children who came from the zone of Chernobil Nuclear Plant catastrophe. It was found that, while the TSA level of healthy people does not change after meditation, the TSA level of those from groups (2) and (3) increased considerably and became close to the normal value.
Let us now look at something completely different – quantum chemistry. Each energy center (chakra) has a corresponding element. The element of the first chakra – Mooladhara – is carbon. Let us look at the electronic structure of the carbon atom. If one looks from different directions at the configuration of the wave function of the valency electrons (more precisely, the lines of the maximal amplitude of this function), very surprisingly one can see different symbols related in the Indian philosophy with the Mooladhara chakra. From one side one can see Swastika, which is a symbol of the four qualities of Mooladhara chakra: purity, innocence, wisdom and joy. From another direction the electron clouds look like Omkara – the symbol of creation, which starts from Mooladhara chakra. This similarity is remarkable! One can only think about (or meditate upon) how the sages of ancient times could go so deep that they could directly feel all this subtle knowledge in meditation.
In the end let us give one more example, which shows that even the composition of water can be changed when it is treated by vibrations. In the experiment done in the Russian Academy of Sciences normal tap water was placed for a few hours in front of Shri Mataji’s photograph during a collective meditation. Concentration of various impurities, as well as some physical and chemical parameters of the water, were measured before and after the meditation. Obtained results show that the effect of vibrations has changed all the characteristics. According to the measurements, the purification effect was between 10% and 70%. It is remarkable that the most strong effect occurred for the parameters which initially exceeded the allowed value, such as the content of iron and ammonia, the water turbidity. Due to the effect of vibrations all the parameters came within the safety limits.
In this short review we could give only a few examples of scientific research in Sahaja Yoga and connection between yoga and science. In fact, yoga and science represent two different ways of learning. Scienece uses and outward logical approach and a yogi learns through his individual inner experience. Probably the time has come now for us to understand that these two ways do not contradict each other. On the contrary, they compliment each other. So both ways have to be used together to understand our world and to see its beauty.
Leonid Sinichkin studied yoga in India and has been giving yoga classes since over 15 years. He himself has experienced a lot of benefits of Sahaja Yoga practice. Visit www.sahajayoga.org to learn more about Sahaja Yoga and find classes close to you. A full version of this article with figures and references can be downloaded at Sahaja Yoga Portal.