Ajna Chakra – Swami Nityabodhananda






Ajna Chakra
Swami Nityabodhananda
Swami Nityabodhananda Saraswati
disciple of Swami Satyananda Saraswati
The
Bihar School of Yoga
, 1973.


Chapter 2

PSYCHO-PHYSIOLOGICAL
ASPECT

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 at 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 ey3 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 fron 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been replaced by a much more functional intricate cell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 suci 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 tumorsaround 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
over active 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 ghtnd
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 (adrenocortico-trophic
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 scrotonin.
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 scrotonin. On the other hand, in constant
darkness scrotonin 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 med itation 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 siezures. 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 thepeople 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 extra sensory 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 suddenl 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 througout the
cosmos. The pineal gland converts brain waves into subtle
electrical travelling 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 scrip tures 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
coincidence but actual fact that some people, who have a
meditative mind, whose brain waves are predomihantly alpha
can predict and have knowledg 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 repetitiol and
other types of sadhana, are the very first signs of a
spiritua aspirant moving on the path. Although the pure
spiritual aspirant denies himself the use of these powers,
lest they lead to his down fall, these inner faculties are
in each and every one of us. We only have to do the
practices for awakening the higher centres in th brain which
are associated with ajna chakra in order to open thes door
way 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.


Introduction/chapter
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2
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Chapter
3
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Chapter
4
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Chapter
5