Ajna Chakra Swami Nityabodhananda Swami Nityabodhananda Saraswati disciple of Swami Satyananda Saraswati The Bihar School of Yoga, 1973.
Ajna chakra is the best known of all the chakras. Its most common point of contact through man’s awareness is at the eye brow centre. As it is a subtle centre in the body it defies vivisection and incision by the doctor’s scalpel, and for this reason the skeptic can always deny the possibility of the existence of such a subtle centre.
For each important subtle centre in the body there is an equivalent gross manifestation. With ajna chakra the physical equivalent is the pineal gland, which has long baffled doctors and scientists as to it precise function. For more than 2000 years the pineal gland has been the subject of intense philosophical speculation. Now however, in the light of the most recent medical discoveries, there is no doubt about the role the pineal gland plays in the psychic faculties of man. Of all the organs in the body, no other organ has been subject to as many changes and developments it the course of evolution as the pineal gland. Research on fossils from previous eras have revealed light acted as a 3rd physical eye which was sensitive to light and dark. This is evident in extinct species such as the brontosauras and other ancient amphibiate vertebrates. Even in the lower animals of today such as the frog the pineal gland senses light. In the course of evolution from reptiles to birds, to animals and finally to man the eight sensor cells of the pineal have been replaced by a much more functional intricate cell (parenchyma cell), and in the highest vertebrates such as man no light receptive cells remain in the pineal gland.
The pineal gland is to be found buried nearly in the center of the brain of any mammal. It is a white structure shaped like pine cone. In man it is roughly long and weighs about 100 mgm It is the only unpaired organ in the brain. After puberty this gland hardens by a process of calcification which does not affect its functioning.
Early scientists found that young boys.with tumors around the pineal gland exhibited precocious growth of the genital organs, whereas boys with pineal tumors showed delayed development of pubic characteristics. This is because the pineal gland’s function is inhibited by tumors around it, but when the gland itself is tumoral it is overactive and thus delays pubic growth. J. Axlerod, a world renowned physiologist, has shown in the laboratory that the pineal gland is a sensitive biological clock which uses daily rhythms of nervous energy to stimulate endocrinal secretions. This pineal stimulating nervous activity is generated by light. Additionally, he has discovered that the pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin, which is not produced by any other physical organ. Melatonin, he further noted, decreases the size of the ovaries in women and increases the length of the menstrual cycle. Generally speaking it depresses the sexual function in man. Also, the pineal gland to the brain but to the sympathetic nervous system.
In darkness the pineal gland produces melatonin only. After 6 hours of darkness the size of the pineal gland increases and it is activated into the production of melatonin. When light returns, the melatonin production falls off. This is similar to the function of the pituitary gland which produces ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone), a supra-renal gland activator, between the hours of 3 and 6 a.m. .The pineal gland, which in modern times has ceased functioning as a light sensing organ, is now controlled by light and d~rkness through the eyes which affect the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn activates or deactivates the pineal gland.
In addition the pineal gland has been found to synthesize another hormone called serotonin. This hormone is produced during conditions of light. Under conditions of constant light the pineal gland ceases to produce melatonin but consistently produces large quantities’ of serotonin. On the other hand, in constant darkness serotonin production continues at its maximum in the daytime and its minimum in the night, even though for the whole time it is dark. Furthermore, it has been found that removing the eyes of rats or severing the sympathetic nervous system has the same effect as plunging the rat into constant darkness. The daily rhythm of scrotonin production, however, continues normally under these conditions.
The daily light cycle also plays an important part in the glandular cycles of many lower animals. The increase of sunlight during springtime triggers the gonadal growth and breeding cycles of many birds and mammals which breed yearly. The daily cycle of light and darkness synchronizes a variety of daily rhythms in mammals such as the cycle of adrenal sex steroid secretions. This correlates with the sun-moon theory in yoga philosophy: the centre of the moon is ajna chakra and the centre of the sun is manipur. These chakras correspond to the physical pineal and adrenal glands respectively.
It is believed by many experienced practitioners of meditation that the pineal gland, and the higher nervous system with which it is intimately connected, go through a functional change after the long-term practice of meditation. This has been recently borne out by many scientific investigators who have been doing research on the electrical impulses of the brain. They have found that when a man is in an ordinary waking conscious state the electrical waves, known as beta waves, produced by the cerebral cortex of the brain are characteristically small and rapid. When he closes his eyes, however, and maintains a relaxed but aware state of mind as is done through the basic yoga practices of japa and antar mouna, there is an immediate change in these wave formations, which become larger and slower. These waves are known as alpha waves, and their presence has been noted in both beginning and advanced practitioners of meditation.
Yogis and Zen Buddhist monks and other experienced meditators have been found to experience an even larger, slower type of wave which is called the theta wave. It is interesting to note that these theta waves are normally found only in epileptics, at the time when they are having grande mal seizures. One possible explanation for this is that when epileptic fits occur the lower nervous system takes over complete control of the body, and the higher mind remains completely relaxed, as it is during the states of deep meditation. The state of meditation also brings about many other physiological changes which are measured side by side with the E.E.G. brain wave measurements. The influence of a state of meditational consciousness emitting alpha waves is to lower the ‘heartbeat, decrease oxygen consumption by the body cells, reduce CO2 elimination, slow down metabolism and relax the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The blood lactate falls most dramatically, and this is characteristically high in the people suffering from nervous tension and neurosis, In meditation, that is, in the state during which the mind emits alpha waves, a process which opposes the mechanisms of the adrenaline secretory system comes about. This enables the body to operate in a less tense manner.
Another group of researchers have been investigating psychic phenomena in man, particularly the relation of extrasensory perception to alpha wave activity. An experiment was run where many people had to guess what card was inside a closed box. The scientists found, using statistical tests, that when a man closes his eyes and concentrates on any object his alpha waves increase, and those people who emit more alpha waves were able to recognize, most often, the cards inside the box. When alpha wave emission was low, however, as it is normally with many people or when the eyes are opened, the card-guessing was just chance. The subjects of the experiment also described their state of mind when alpha activity was predominant. They all agreed that it was a rather pleasant feeling with the mind vacant, and they experienced an attitude of separation from the surroundings. When the subjects happened to open their eyes under these conditions they could see that environment objects were disconnected from themselves. This describes the yogic meditational state of pratyahara or sense withdrawal, and the increase in psychic capacities shown under these conditions correlates with the capacities of a person who has awakened his ajna; who has the capacity to see distant objects with his divine eye.
The panacea for most modern diseases is the alpha brain wave, which restores the body and mind to a peaceful condition and opposes the anachronistic emergency reactions which are still going on in our bodies. In the modern society, life is no more subjected to attack by wild animals or by savage tribes; however the ancient adrenaline secretory mechanism which guards the body against such emergencies reacts to modern dangers in the same age old way. Today, man’s dangers are usually in the form of fear of financial crisis, fear of loss of position, and family troubles etc. Though these tensions of modern society are unreal dangers to life, to the tense mind they appear to be real. As these modern day dangers are limitless and never ending many people’s bodies react continuously, and in so doing drain energy, pipe up tensions, and cause physiological and mental diseases. In addition, through over use man s greatest defense mechanism is becoming worn out, and many people find themselves unable to cope when any really dangerous situation occurs. This fact is evident from the risin number of victims of shock brought about by having to suddenly face truly dangerous situations to which they are unaccustomed What the doctors and scientists are now saying is that ‘meditatio is the only cure for these conditions.
From ancient times rishis, munis and yogi have been saying that meditation leads to peace of mind, and: has always been associated with the spiritual quest. Yogis, who ar scientists of the subtle mind, have always spoken of telepathy as siddhi, a psychic power for thought communication an clairaudience etc. The medium of such siddhis is ajna chakra, an its physical terminus is the pineal gland, which is connected to th brain. It has been stated by great yogis such as Swami Sivanand that the pineal gland is the receptor and sender of the subtl vibrations which carry thoughts and psychic phenomena throughout the cosmos. The pineal gland converts brain waves into subtle electrical traveling faster than the speed of light, which are stored in the-individual brain. Persons who_have developed such faculties as subtle hearing and sight have done so by virtue of ajna chakra’s transmutation of their increased alpha wave activity
Modern man is intellectual and prefers to base his life on scientific facts rather than beliefs in ancient culture, ancient scriptures and teachings by pundits, monks, rabbis and priests of religions. Today, the only accepted fact is a scientific fact and this scientific experiment proves that it is not a coincidence but actual fact that some people, who have a meditative mind, whose brain waves are predominantly alpha can predict and have knowledge of outer and inner events which are beyond the reach of the senses These psychic powers which so many people strive to attaii through the various practices of meditation; e.g. mantra repetition and other types of sadhana, are the very first signs of a spiritual aspirant moving on the path. Although the pure spiritual aspirant denies himself the use of these powers, lest they lead to his downfall, these inner faculties are in each and every one of us. We only have to do the practices for awakening the higher centres in the brain which are associated with ajna chakra in order to open the doorway to new experiences.
Thus the ajna chakra. and the pineal gland act as the channel through which the subtle vibrations are sent out into the cosmos or are best known and most respected chakra. People have always held this area in high esteem and, probably, the best known practices of meditation are designed to awaken ajna chakra and increase the activity of the pineal gland. It is also well known that persons who enjoy excessive sexual enjoyment will have more difficulty in attaining siddhis and may have trouble in maintaining the siddhis they have attained. This fact is well known amongst all spiritual aspirants and is in harmony with recently discovered effect of the pineal gland regulating the activity of the sexual.