Prana and Kundalini: Aspects of Shakti
by Michael Bradford
For an individual who has gone through a Kundalini process, the task of trying to convey the reality of what has happened to someone who has not had the experience can be quite difficult. This is especially so in the case where the other person is firmly rooted in the scientific approach to understanding reality. The plain fact of the matter is that the concept of Kundalini is inconsistent with the paradigm of reality that science currently uses. How then can the phenomenon be presented in a logical and consistent way so that someone of this bent of mind may at least consider the possibility that something like Kundalini is real?
In the last 25 years of so, science has been confronted with the existence of two totally new forces of nature — dark matter and dark energy — that it had no knowledge of before. Both of these forces are so subtle that neither has been directly detected or measured so far. They can only be studied by the effect they have on light, and on ordinary matter. How then can the possible existence of a subtle medium, associated with mind and consciousness, be flatly denied?
If there were no mysteries still to be solved with regard to life and consciousness then science might be somewhat justified in ignoring such a possibility. But this is definitely not the case. Two of the most striking of these mysteries are psychic phenomena and instinct.
Despite the considerable amount of research done in the past several hundred years on psychic phenomena, no dependable method has yet been found to consistently reproduce any of them at will in an individual. There has been limited success in quantifying the occurrence of some of these phenomena, which at least tends to validate their existence. But despite all this research we still have no clear idea what causes them, or how they relate to the brain and mind.
The phenomenon of instinct exhibited by many species of animals is no less perplexing. For example, every year about half a billion Monarch butterflies fly from all over North America to a small valley in central Mexico, where they spend about 5 months till winter has passed. How do they know how to get to this location? Given that the maximum life span of a Monarch butterfly is about 8 weeks, the ones that fly to this valley are at least four generations removed from the ones that left there the previous spring. There is no contact from one generation to the next as butterflies die shortly after laying their eggs. How these creatures, with a brain the size of a grain of sand, know to fly to this one remote location from all over the continent is a total mystery. It is like a brand new computer disc drive arriving from the factory with an operating system already on it. 
There are countless other examples of phenomena in the natural world which defy explanation. How does a jellyfish, with no brain or nervous system, function as a cohesive whole? How does the collective mind of a swarm of creatures such as ants or termites, vastly superior to the mind of any of the individuals in the swarm, function at such a high level? There are some species of plants which change the color of their flowers, the scent they release, and the time of day the flowers open in order to combat predatory insects. What controls when and how these changes occur? And so on.
The existence of a subtle, intelligent medium associated with life, mind, and consciousness would go a long way to explaining all of these mysteries. Science is quite willing to posit the existence of subtle media such as dark matter and dark energy, but stubbornly refuses to entertain the possibility of a similar medium associated with phenomena like those mentioned above. The difference is that dark matter and dark energy are predictable forces that can be quantified mathematically, but a subtle medium of the sort being proposed is intelligent in its own right, and cannot be quantified in a similar way.
From the perspective of science, consciousness is simply a consequence of electro-chemical activity in the neurons of the brain, and can have no existence apart from it. But despite the strength of the arguments in its favor, the notion that consciousness can exist independently, apart from the physical body, has been consistently rejected by science.
This irrational attitude is a direct consequence of science’s long-standing struggle with faith to explain how the natural world functions. But this same attitude, which till now has enabled it to soar to previously undreamed-of heights of discovery, has become a shackle that is preventing it from making serious progress in the discovery and exploration of more subtle aspects of creation.
The basic issue in dispute is whether consciousness or physical matter is the base reality. Since science has limited its scope of inquiry to the study of measurable physical phenomena, it has no way to actually disprove the possible existence of subtle media of the sort being proposed here. As such, its belief in the primacy of matter is simply an unverifiable assumption.
Interestingly, one of the most compelling arguments against the primacy of matter comes from science itself. After 100 years or so, quantum theory has been enormously successful, and remains virtually unchallenged as a way of describing how matter behaves at the subatomic level. One of its primary tenets is that subatomic particles, like protons and electrons, have no actual existence until an observation of them is made. They have only a probability of existing at any particular location. This implies that at this level the observer is inseparable from the observed phenomenon, and essentially deprives matter of its status as an independent substance with a reality of its own.
The main reason why the dependence of matter on consciousness for its existence is for the most part ignored by science is its faith in the picture of reality that is presented to our mind by the senses. But when we perceive an object as having a particular size, shape, color, odor, taste or texture, what we are actually experiencing is a fluctuation in the electro-chemical patterns in our brain. We can never know what that object is in its essence.
Even classical physics calls the solidity of matter into question. If an atom were expanded until it was the size of a domed stadium, the nucleus, which contains almost its entire mass, would be about the size of a small pea. How do our senses perceive this almost total emptiness as solid? When we add to this the tenets of quantum theory, can there be any doubt that the picture of the phenomenal universe presented to us by the sense can by no means be considered as a totally accurate representation of the reality?
For a more detailed discussion of this subject, see my article The New Paradigm in the January 2010 issue of this newsletter (Volume 27 #1).
If we accept the possibility that consciousness is the primary reality, rather than matter, it is at once evident that the Indian spiritual tradition, with its more than 5,000 years of unbroken study of mind and consciousness, deserves serious attention. This is not a simple or easy task, as there have been at least half a dozen major philosophical traditions in this time, and they are certainly not in agreement with each other on many points. But if we examine these beliefs in the light of our current knowledge, many of the ones that are rooted in superstition, or are a consequence of a lack of understanding of the physical world, can be discarded. Following is a brief summation of some concepts that remain.
In the Vedas and the Upanishads, the ultimate reality is called Brahman. It is not an easy concept to grasp as it exists beyond time and space, and does not have any physical attributes by which we can know it — no size, shape, color, odor, taste, texture, etc. The Sanskrit roots of this word, brha and anda mean ‘swelling’ or ‘expanding’, and ‘egg’ respectively. Given current scientific theories about the origins of the universe, which supposedly began with the ‘Big Bang’ and is expanding at an accelerating rate due to dark energy, these meanings seem remarkably appropriate.
But profound though it is, the concept of Brahman does little to enhance our understating of how the physical creation is manifested. For this, we must look to some of the other concepts that permeate these ancient traditions.
The Indian adepts realized that the reality we live in, and indeed the way that we perceive it, are rooted in duality. In the external world we see electromagnetism and the nuclear force in protons and electrons, which binds atoms together, with positive and negative charge. A major proportion of life forms have a female and male gender. Internally, we conceptualize many things in dualistic terms, i.e. good and evil, hot and cold, left and right, light and dark, static and dynamic, subjective and objective, etc.
To make the idea of Brahman easier for our minds to grasp, they conceptualized it as having a dual aspect. The static or subjective aspect is pure consciousness — infinite, omniscient, unchanging, formless, beyond time and space. They personified it as the male deity Shiva. The dynamic or objective aspect is infinite omnipotent, omnipresent, creative power, having form and changing in time and space, personified as the female deity Shakti.
As Arthur Avalon writes in his seminal work The Serpent Power:
"The ultimate or irreducible reality is ‘Spirit’ in the sense of Pure Consciousness (Cit, Samvit) from out of which, as and by its Power (Shakti) Mind and Matter proceed. Spirit is one. There are no degrees or differences in Spirit. The Spirit which is in man is the one Spirit which is in everything. . . Spirit is infinite (Aparicchinna) and formless (Arupa). Mind and Matter are finite (Paricchinna) and with form (Rupa). Atma [Spirit] is unchanged and inactive. Its Power (Shakti) is active and changes in the form of Mind and Matter."
At another place, Avalon refers to Shiva and Shakti as Power Holder and Power. In essence they are one, as there can be no Power Holder without Power, and Power cannot create without a Power Holder. Shakti, as the power that brings the universe into manifestation, has a number of different aspects, which perform various functions in this process.
The most basic of these aspects is Maya-Shakti. Since Shiva is infinite consciousness, it cannot exist in an embodied form in time and space. It is Maya-Shakti that takes a spark of this infinite consciousness, contracts it to a point, and creates a sense of separation from the whole, which allows it to have finite, embodied experience as our limited human consciousness. In the same way that a drop of water from an ocean is of exactly the same chemical constitution as the ocean, but is not the ocean, our limited human consciousness is of the same essence as the infinite consciousness, but is not the infinite consciousness.
The term maya is often used in the sense of a veil that makes an illusory world seem real to the observer. It is, rather, the power of Shakti wrapped around the spark of consciousness in us that makes it perceive itself as separate from the ocean of infinite consciousness. As an ancient, well-known Sanskrit mantra states in this regard, referring to poorna — wholeness or completeness:
That is Completeness. This is Completeness.
From That Completeness, This Completeness arose.
Having removed This Completeness from That Completeness,
Completeness only remains.
Shakti and Physics
The next aspect of Shakti to come into operation is that which brings the physical universe into manifestation, including atoms and molecules, the forces that affect them, and all the laws that govern how matter is organized. Physics has made tremendous strides in its study of matter in the last 120 years or so, but despite this progress its basic nature is still very much a mystery. A great deal of energy has been focused recently on string theory as a way of explaining matter at its roots, but it is all totally theoretical at this stage, as strings are simply too small to detect.
As Albert Einstein showed with his famous equation e=mc2, physical matter is actually a form of condensed energy. In a discussion of how our brains perceive this fluctuating energy field that is the physical reality, Gopi Krishna writes in Yoga: A Vision of Its Future: 
Universal Consciousness (Brahman) with its Maya-Shakti, existing behind the energy-field of the universe, lies completely beyond the range of our observation, the real source of all creation, yet entirely aloof and unaffected by its constant movement and activity. The Law of Evolution springing from the Maya-Shakti of the Creator is operative at the finest levels of our organic structures, subtler than the neurons and their constituents or, in other words, in the invisible energy fields to which they owe their existence, shape and form.
The ‘Law of Evolution’ referred to here, is illustrated in the next two aspects of Shakti.
The next aspect to come into operation in the process of creation is Prana-Shakti, commonly referred to as just prana. This is the organizing principle behind all forms of life, taking the insentient atoms and molecules and forming them into discrete, self-contained, self-maintaining and self-replicating units, or life forms. It is said to be super-intelligent, controlling every aspect of biological function in all living beings, down to the cellular level. In his autobiography Living With Kundalini Gopi Krishna describes Prana-Shakti as follows: 
In order to explain the phenomenon of terrestrial life there is no alternative but to accept the existence of an intelligent vital medium which, using the elements and compounds of the material world as bricks and mortar, acts as the architect of organic structures. All show evidence of extraordinary intelligence and purpose, built with such amazing skill and produced in such profusion and in so many diverse forms as to falsify any idea of spontaneous generation or chance. The existence of this medium cannot be proved empirically; human ingenuity and skill have not yet attained the perfection where one can experiment with media of such subtlety.
In Yoga parlance, prana is life and life is prana. Life and vitality, in the sense used here, do not mean soul or the spark of the Divine in man. Prana is merely the life energy by which divinity brings into existence the organic kingdoms and acts on the organic structures, as it creates and acts on the universe by means of physical energy. It is not the reality, as sunshine is not the sun, and yet is essentially a part of it, assuming different shapes and appearances, entering into countless types of formations, building persistently the units or bricks to create the complicated organic structures in the same way that physical energy starts with electrons, protons, and atoms to raise the mighty edifice of the universe, all its activity governed by eternal laws as rigid and universal as the laws which rule the physical world.
Prana, starting with protoplasm and unicellular organisms, brings into existence the marvelous domain of life, endless in variety, exceedingly rich in shape and color, creating classes, genera, species, subspecies, and groups, using the materials furnished by the physical world and the environment to create diversity, acting intelligently and purposefully with full knowledge of the laws and properties of matter as well as of the multitudinous organic creations it has to bring into being.
Science, of course, does not recognize any such medium, but holds that life is simply a consequence of strict, predictable, known physical laws that operate on their own, without the need for any controlling medium. Because life is so common, we tend to overlook how amazing, and indeed, how nearly miraculous it is. But once we start to realize how complex the body actually is, and the enormity of the task of maintaining it, the implausibility of a purely mechanistic approach to life soon becomes evident.
As Prana-Shakti is said to be highly active at the cellular level, let us therefore take some of the processes happening in cells as examples of how this medium operates. The latest estimates for the number of cells in the average human body is 1013 to 1014 (between 10 and 100 trillion!) Every day, hundreds of millions, or even billions of these cells divide and make copies of themselves. This process of cell division is called mitosis.
The microscopic nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, consisting in total about 3.2 billion base pairs of molecules in the DNA double helix structure. If unraveled and laid out end to end, these strands would be about 2 meters long. Just prior to cell division, they are coiled, looped, twisted and wrapped over and over so that the entire 2 meter length fits into a microscopic volume in the nucleus of the cell.
During mitosis, the entire DNA chain in each chromosome is split into two halves, like a ladder being cut down the middle. Each half is reassembled or recombined into a new double helix, resulting in two copies of the original strand. This replication process is performed by several different proteins and enzymes. The enzyme or biological ‘machine’ which splits the double helix is called helicase, parts of which spin as fast as the fan in a jet engine. One of the split strands is reassembled directly, but the other is recombined backwards in whirling loops, one section at a time. A computer-generated visualization of the wrapping and replication processes can be seen on Youtube. The URL is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqESR7E4b_8
This amazing video is in several parts. The first shows how a DNA strand is wrapped up into a chromosome. The second part shows a functioning helicase ‘machine’ with associated enzymes and proteins splitting and recombining a DNA strand. The next two sections illustrate how the DNA code in a gene is used as a template for the construction of proteins and enzymes. But the video raises a number of questions that are not answered. For instance, with regard to the first section of the video, what agency does the actual wrapping of the DNA strand into a chromosome? What initiates and controls wrapping and unwrapping? In the video, it seems to just happen all by itself!
Each separate replication process involves at least 5 different enzymes and 5 proteins, some of which act as clamps, stabilizers and loaders. It is actually more complex than this video might suggest. For instance, as the double helix is pulled apart by the helicase, the unprocessed section of the strand gets twisted tighter and tighter. There is an enzyme that cuts the strand in two, lets the cut ends spin to relieve the tension, then joins them back together again. A more detailed visualization of the replication process can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27TxKoFU2Nw
This process is so sophisticated that the enzymes that do the recombining actually ‘proofread’ the finished strand right after it is assembled, to see that it has been done correctly. If an error in assembly has occurred, the whole process stops dead in its tracks while the replication enzyme tears out the base pairs, back to the error, fixes the error, and then goes forward again. How does this enzyme almost instantaneously signal all the other enzymes and proteins to stop their activity so that it can fix the error?
A cell like that from human skin takes about 24 hours to replicate, during which time about 6 to 8 hours is spent in splitting and recombining the DNA strands. This means that the poreins and enzymes are splitting and reassembling DNA at a rate of about 300,000 base pairs per second! There are many of these processes working simultaneously on each chromosome, and each one is processing about 1000 base pairs per second. What initiates these processes and ensures that each one has a complete set of proteins and enzymes to function correctly?
Also, what initiates and controls the intake and supply of raw molecules so that the recombination is not interrupted, which would cause serious errors in replication? It is estimated that the number of errors in an average mitosis is only about one per billion base pairs! How are all these activities continuously supplied with raw materials so that errors do not occur?
After replication, the two identical ‘sister’ strands are linked together at the middle in the characteristic ‘X’ shape. At this point, the cell nucleus wall, which surrounds the chromosomes, dissolves and fibers start to grow from opposite poles of the cell. They grab hold of the chromosome pairs from each side, line them up along the equatorial axis of the cell and pull them apart, ensuring that each of the two new or daughter cells has the full complement of 46 chromosomes. What causes the cell wall to dissolve? What controls the behavior of the fibers?
During the cell division cycle, there are at least 3 points at which the process pauses and the cell somehow checks or verifies that the step just finished has completed successfully. If there has been a serious error, the cell will usually stop replicating and eventually die. What agency controls all this checking and verification?
There is also the more general question of what controls the overall process of cell division. What causes a cell to divide in the first place? What determines when each phase of the process starts? At the end of the process, what causes the cell wall to squeeze together in the middle to split the cell into two? Although it is believed that various chemical triggers are responsible for activating and maintaining these processes, it is not clear what controls all these triggers and ensures that they happen at the correct time and in the proper sequence.
Protein and Enzyme Creation
The process by which helicase and other enzymes and proteins are themselves assembled from amino acids in a cell is just as amazing, as the third and fourth parts of the first video illustrate. A gene is a sequence of base pairs in a DnA strand that has a beginning and an ending marker. In between these two markers there are anywhere from about 100 to 1000 sets of base pairs in groups of 3, called codons. Each codon, depending on the sequence of the 3 base pairs in it, indicates one out of 20 possible amino acids that is to be used in the construction of a protein or enzyme.
The process is done in two steps, using RNA as a template or ‘messenger’. RNA is like DNA, except that it is a single strand rather than a double helix. This messenger RNA or mRNA is created by an enzyme called RNA polymerase. It splits a section of the DNA double helix, between the starting and ending gene markers, and copies one half of the helix into an mRNA strand.
Ribosome Assembling a Protein
This mRNA strand floats out of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm of the cell where another very complex enzyme called a ribosome performs the second step of the process. The cytoplasm is the fluidic substance between the cell nucleus and the cell’s outer wall, which is full of many different proteins, enzymes and amino acids. To facilitate the process, some of the amino acids are ‘held’ by a molecule called a transfer RNA or tRNA. There is one type of tRNA for each of the 20 different amino acids.
A ribosome grabs hold of the mRNA strand and ‘reads’ the first codon. It then grabs the correct tRNA molecule from the surrounding cytoplasm and breaks off the amino acid that it is holding on to. Holding this amino acid in place, it reads the next codon on the mRNA strand, gets the corresponding tRNA molecule, breaks off the amino acid and bonds it to the first. It repeats this process until all the codons on the mRNA strand have been processed. It then releases the resulting protein or enzyme, which folds up into its operating shape and floats off to do whatever its particular function is.
In this way, the cell is able to manufacture all the proteins and enzymes, such as helicase, that it needs to function and reproduce. But again, there are many unanswered questions about how this process is controlled. How does a ribosome actually ‘read’ the codons and then ‘recognize’ the correct tRNA molecule that it needs? What determines how many times a particular gene gets processed? Too many would be a waste of the cell’s resources, and might disrupt its function. Too few would affect the cell‘s ability to reproduce or perform its particular function.
Another amazing aspect of cell function is its ability to repair damaged DNA. Since it has a semi-stable molecular structure, DNA can be damaged in various ways, such as by UV light in skin cells, or by toxins imported into the cell from the blood stream. There may be as many as one million errors per day occurring in the DNA helix structure of each cell. If it were not repaired on a regular basis, the DNA would soon degrade to the point of being useless.
There are at least six different methods by which this repair process is accomplished, depending on the type of damage that has occurred. In general, errors in the DNA are detected and repaired by several different types of proteins and enzymes working together. For instance, in the case where there is a mismatch in a base pair, one type of protein identifies the mismatch, another is used to cut out a section of one strand of the double helix around where the error has occurred, then a particular enzyme is called in to replace the missing section with the correct molecules. Then another enzyme is called in to join up the replaced section at its ends with the rest of the strand.
This process is so sophisticated that in the case where it cannot determine which side of the base pair is in error, it has a way of recognizing which half of the strand was the original one during the last replication, and which side was the new one. It will then repair the new side. Again, what is making all these determinations, then coordinating and controlling these proteins and enzymes so that they operate in the correct sequence?
Science has made tremendous strides in the last few decades in discovering the physical mechanisms by which cells function and reproduce. But the critical question of how these complex processes are initiated, controlled and coordinated is still largely a mystery. If they were simple, slow, and linear, then there would be no need for an overall controlling agency. But as the preceding illustrations have shown, they are highly complex, incredibly rapid and extremely dynamic in nature. No doubt, some of the questions posed above will eventually be shown to have physical explanations, but there are just too many aspects of these processes that cannot be explained in purely mechanistic terms. It is almost inconceivable that such complex, dynamic, masterfully coordinated, self-correcting, and virtually flawless processes could occur without some kind of guiding and controlling agency.
As another example of its staggeringly complex nature, the average human body has about 40 billion blood vessels and capillaries in its circulatory system. If linked together, they would be about 100,000 kilometers in length. They dilate and constrict according to the needs of the body. When we eat, for example, more blood is sent to the stomach to accelerate the process of digestion. What controls this activity on such a massive scale, without our even being aware of it? If this control system is in the brain, then where exactly is it located?
Similarly, what controls and coordinates other complex, dynamic systems in the body such as the immune system, digestion, and healing? From a rational standpoint, it would make more sense that a medium such as Prana-Shakti is responsible for controlling and coordinating all these activities than it would be to say that these incredibly complex, dynamic systems just run themselves. If a factory were to be constructed with the same complexity, speed, coordination and accuracy that a cell displays, it would be extolled as a miracle of creative human intelligence. But when it is done by Nature, science just regards it as the result of random activity. It is only because science does not yet have the ability to detect and directly study this amazing, subtle medium that the more rational option is discounted.
At present, the only channel available for apprehending Prana-Shakti directly is the human brain. But in order for this to happen, the level of functioning of the normal human brain must be enhanced. As Gopi Krishna writes in Liiving With Kundalini 
According to the Yogis, however, the existence of the life energy as a deathless entity becomes subjectively apparent in the superconscious state of samadhi, and its flow through the nerves can be experienced even before that as soon as certain measures of success are attained in meditation. When that happens, a greater demand for it is felt in the concentrated condition of the brain, and to meet this, Prana, or vital energy, residing in other parts of the body, flows to the head, sometimes to such an extent that even vital organs like the heart, lungs, and the digestive system almost cease to function, the pulse and the breathing become imperceptible, and the whole body appears cold and lifeless.
It may also be possible to study this medium in a more indirect fashion. In a similar way to that in which the density of dark matter can be mapped by studying its effect on light, and on ordinary matter, it might be possible to detect or study the behavior of Prana-Shakti through the effect it has on certain micro-organisms. It is also to be hoped that at some time in the not-too-distant future, imaging technology will be developed that will enable us to study this medium in some more direct way.
The final aspect of Shakti to be considered here is Kundalini-Shakti. Whereas Prana-Shakti’s purpose is primarily to maintain the functioning of the body, Kundalini-Shakti’s mode of operation is more creative in nature. There are two spheres of influence in which it operates — in the individual and in the species as a whole. At the individual level, this activity takes two distinct forms.
The first is when a single cell — a fertilized ovum — divides, grows and develops in nine short months into a thinking, breathing, functioning human being, with more than a hundred billion cells of many different types, all working together in near-perfect harmony. Science holds that it is the coding in the DNA that accomplishes this task. But as we have seen in the section describing cell function above, DNA is not so much a blueprint for the construction of the body as it is a set of instructions for creating proteins and enzymes that maintain cell function and facilitate cell replication.
The construction of a human body is an unimaginably complex process. There are something on the order of 200 different types of cells that eventually form to make up a complete human body. The mechanism by which this is accomplished is called cell differentiation, and is achieved by the switching on or off of various genes in the DNA for that particular type of cell. This switching is accomplished by a complex set of chemical triggers passing between cells. This process is currently a topic of much research.
Each stage of development in the fetus must happen at a very specific point in this sequence, only after many other steps have been completed successfully. The construction of a protein or enzyme in a cell occurs in a very exact order specified by the codon sequence in the corresponding gene. Any set of instructions for specifying the sequence of construction of an entire human body must necessarily be vastly more complex than that used to create a protein or enzyme. Where, then, are these instructions located? Assuming that this large volume of instructions exist somewhere in the DNA, then what physical agency, like a ribosome assembling a protein, reads them and translates them into physical activity?
There can be no doubt that the DNA contains the master plan for how every type of cell in our body is maintained and replicated. Nor can there be any doubt that the constitution of our cells determines virtually every aspect of how our body functions. But the building of a fetus in the womb is a process many orders of magnitude greater in complexity than building a protein or enzyme in a cell. If no physical mechanism can be found that can coordinate and control this process, then the only conclusion that can be reached is that it is being done by a creative intelligence that is totally unknown to science at present.
In order to help put this process into perspective, let us consider what would be required to create a completely new construct with the same general capabilities and complexity of a human body. To do this, we go to a mechanical engineer and give the following specifications:
1. The construct must have more than 10 trillion separate parts, of many different types.
2. Most of these parts must have the ability to replicate themselves.
3. Each part must have a specific purpose and function, and work together with the other types of parts it is in contact with.
4. This construct must be self-maintaining, able to acquire all the raw materials it needs for it to survive and function.
5. This construct must be self-repairing, at least in the case of non-catastrophic damage.
6. This construct must be self-replicating, able to duplicate and perpetuate itself.
The response we would get from a mechanical engineer for such a request can easily be imagined! A project of this scope is so far beyond our current creative and engineering capabilities that it is difficult to even imagine how far we would have to progress in science and technology to be able to create a construct which rivals a human body. At present, we do not even have the skill to manufacture a single cell from constituent elements. And we do not even find it remarkable that this almost miraculous process can be initiated with virtually no skill or effort on our part!
The Spiritual Process
When a baby is born, this storm of creative activity subsides and the task of maintaining its body shifts to Prana-Shakti. But later in life, if the heredity is suitable, and the lifestyle is appropriate, Kundalini-Shakti can become active again in the form of a spiritual process. The same controlling influence that built the fetus in the womb now becomes active again and attempts to remodel the nervous system and the brain so that a new faculty of perception — higher consciousness or enlightenment — becomes possible.
In the vast majority of cases, however, the heredity, health and lifestyle of the individual are not conducive to the attainment of this lofty goal. Many people do, however, have mystical experiences of varying degrees of intensity, achieve an enhanced level of creative ability of some kind, experience an increase in psychic phenomena, or feel a powerful urge to devote their life to spiritual striving or service to humanity.
In other cases, though, due to adverse hereditary, lifestyle, health, or environmental factors, the process can go awry and create physical or mental health problems for the individual. Research into the Kundalini process and all the factors that affect it is essential so that those who are having these experiences can minimize the difficulties and maximize the benefits. No doubt, a project of this scope will require much time and effort, but the knowledge gained will greatly benefit many people.
It is not a coincidence that the spiritual process is often referred to as a ‘rebirth’. It is the same energy that builds the human being in the womb that now attempts to remodel it so that it can manifest a new faculty of perception — cosmic consciousness.
Kundalini-Shakti and Evolution
The other sphere of influence in which Kundalini-Shakti operates is in guiding the overall evolution of living species. Evolution is possibly the most disputed topic in all of science. The traditional, mechanistic, Darwinian view, which holds natural selection to be the driving force behind evolution, is rejected outright by those who see a divine influence in the process. And many scientists, who do not believe in a divine influence, view the theory as inadequate in explaining all aspects of evolution.
For instance, natural selection does not explain why life has proceeded, in a general but regular way over vast spans of time, from simple to more complex life forms with more advanced mental faculties. Species such as sharks or turtles have been around nearly unchanged for many millions of years longer than primates, and have survived quite successfully without advanced mental faculties.
As another example, in the development of a sophisticated physical attribute, such as the eye or ear, how do intermediate stages of development, which may offer little or no additional survival advantage, become a permanent feature of a species?
But the most important question that a mechanistic approach to evolution cannot answer is how life actually began in the first place.
These questions, and many more, could be answered by considering an agency such as Kundalini-Shakti as the primary controller of evolution, rather than natural selection. Further, the assumption that an intelligent agency such as this is in control of evolution suggests the possibility that there are predetermined goals for the creation of new species, and for the development of new traits in already existing species. This would go a long way towards answering the above questions. But how specifically does Kundalini-Shakti bring about such changes?
Since each species has a specific genome, and since closely related species have similar genomes, the conclusion is obvious that new species are created by changing the structure and functionality of the genome of an existing species. Interestingly though, the size of a species’ genome, or the number of active protein-encoding genes it contains do not correlate closely with that species complexity. For instance, the human genome has about 20,000 protein-encoding genes, roughly the same number as a fruit fly. And a marbled lungfish has about 40 times the amount of DNA in each of its cells as a human.  The mechanisms that control how genes are expressed seem to be more relevant to a species complexity, and these are currently the topic of much research.
The process by which genetic variation in offspring is accomplished is critically important in evolution. Each pair of the 23 chromosomes contains one from the mother and one from the father. If we passed them on in an unmodified state to our children, it would greatly limit genetic variation. In order to increase this variation, sperm and egg cells are created using a process that is somewhat different from mitosis (described in the earlier section on Prana Shakti). It is called meiosis.
Taking sperm cells as an example, the first step in cell division is for the 23 pairs of chromosomes to replicate into 46 pairs as they do in mitosis. But then a totally different phase begins. The chromosomes, which are X-shaped, join up at the center in matching pairs (one each from the mother and father). They then go through a phase called crossing over. When two corresponding genes are sufficiently dissimilar, they are each cut out of the chromosome in which they reside, exchange places, and are then spliced into the place on the other chromosome where the corresponding gene had been cut out.
After this, the cell divides, with one set of the 23 pairs of chromosomes going to each daughter cell. Then each daughter cell divides, but without chromosome replication, so that each of the four granddaughter cells has 23 single chromosomes. This results in a unique mix of genes from both parents in every chromosome in each of the four sperm cells. A similar process occurs with egg cells. An excellent video explaining this process in more detail can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqPMp0U0HOA
The preceding description raises a number of profound questions. As each of the 23 chromosomes is unique, what agency ensures that when it pairs up with one from the other set they do so with the one out of the 23 that correctly matches? What ensures that it does not pair up with the one that was just replicated from it, which would be identical to it? After matching, what agency analyzes the differences between corresponding genes and decides whether the variation is great enough to warrant a swap? What agency initiates the swap and controls the cutting, exchange and splicing phases?
So far, no answer has been found to these questions, and it is difficult to imagine how such sophisticated and complex processes could occur without some kind of controlling intelligence. The only rational explanation is that an agency such as Kundalini-Shakti is involved in every phase of meiosis.
This also explains how the genome of a species is altered so that new species can evolve. Since meiosis involves the subtraction and addition of genes to chromosomes, it is quite possible that new genes could be added to a chromosome during this phase.
In this view of evolution, natural selection still plays an important role as it ensures that mutations that actually occur due to cell damage are not passed on, preserving the health and survivability of a species. But the overall course of evolution is guided by Kundalini-Shakti.
The other method by which genetic variation can occur is with the activation or suppression of existing genes without changing the DNA sequence. This process is known as epigenetics. These changes are brought about by various chemical triggers that modify the starting marker of a gene to indicate whether that gene is switched on or off. When a fetus is developing, cell differentiation is controlled by these chemical triggers. But gene activation or deactivation can also be affected by various artifical agents. Some of the ones known to be capable of making epigenetic changes include heavy metals, pesticides, diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, hormones, radioactivity, viruses, bacteria, basic nutrients, and stress.
Although epigenetic changes are to a large degree limited to the organism in which they occur, and disappear when that organism dies, research indicates that they can also be passed on to offspring if they affect egg or sperm cells. In particular, the time when a female’s eggs are being formed (during the last trimester of her mother’s pregnancy), and the time when a male starts producing sperm (at puberty) are when individuals are particularly susceptible to epigenetic changes. Even the process of fertilizing an egg in vitro can cause epigenetic changes that may lead to a higher incidence of certain genetic disorders. The alarming proportion of negative epigenetic factors cited above that are a direct result of technology’s effect on us and our environment, are cause for grave concern.
Prior to the industrial age, the main epigenetic agents were nutrition, bacteria, viruses and stress. The last is particularly interesting as it clearly demonstrates that our mental state can have a direct impact on our genes, and hence our evolution. In a study of female survivors of the 9/11 disaster, who were pregnant in their last trimester at the time it occurred, it was found that their offspring displayed physical symptoms of stress trauma at the age of only one year. 
As noted above, cell differentiation during gestation is brought about by switching genes on or off by the means of chemical triggers. The only difference between a skin cell and a fat cell is the makeup of the set of genes that are active. Again, assuming that Kundalini-Shakti is intimately involved in cell differentiation during gestation, it would be a perfect opportunity to accomplish epigenetic changes by the modification of gene function via chemical triggers. Thus both avenues of genetic change — DNA alteration and gene function — would come under its influence.
The Origin of Life
The most profound question still to be answered in the field of evolution is how life began at its inception. The Darwinian concept of evolution driven by mutations or changes that give a survival advantage can only be relevant to something that can replicate itself. Therefore, this notion cannot be applied to whatever happened prior to the development of the first self-replicating life form. To date, no explanation involving purely mechanistic, chance processes has been proposed to explain how life came into being.
In 1953 Stanley Miller and Harold Urey performed their now famous experiment in which they took methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water vapor and passed an electric current through the mixture. This experiment was designed to simulate conditions in the primordial ‘soup’ that existed on the earth’s surface after it formed and cooled, billions of years ago. The result was the formation of a few amino acids. As these compounds are the building blocks of proteins, enzymes, ribosomes and other elements of cell structure, this experiment was hailed as a clear indication that life was the result of random, physical processes.
Although these results seem to support this view, there is a major problem with this conclusion: the gulf between amino acids and even the simplest self-replicating life form is simply too vast for such a conclusion to be justified. So far, no credible explanation has even been found to explain how amino acids combined to form the first proteins.
Proteins are composed of long chains of amino acids, assembled in a specific sequence. The average protein consists of thousands of these building blocks. Even the simplest ones are made up of more than 120.  As we have seen from the description given previously, in the section on Prana-Shakti, the process by which a protein is constructed in a cell, using a DNA gene sequence as a template, is quite sophisticated and complex. The mathematical probability of even the simplest proteins being repeatedly assembled in an exact sequence by some kind of random, chance process is so remote as to be virtually zero.
Even assuming that such a process did exist, and consistently assembled proteins in significant quantities, there is another major problem with this scenario, and that is chirality. All 20 of the amino acids that make up proteins have a carbon atom at their center, around which various other atoms and molecules are bonded. A carbon atom tends to form four bonds with other atoms, such as hydrogen, oxygen or nitrogen. These four bonds give carbon a tetrahedral (four pointed) shape. As a consequence of this shape, if a carbon atom forms bonds with four other specific elements, there are two possible ways that this can happen. These are called the left-handed and right-handed chiral forms. These forms are mirror images of each other, in the same way that our hands are (‘chiro’ means hand).
Chiral Forms of a Carbon Atom
When Miller and Urey performed their experiment, the various amino acids created had both the left- and right-handed forms, in roughly equal quantities, as would be expected from a random process. The problem with using the Miller / Urey experiment as an explanation for how proteins were formed is that all amino acids found in terrestrial life (that we know of), are composed of only the left-handed form. If the two forms of these amino acids were created in roughly equal numbers, how could a purely random process, which presumably built the first proteins, select only the one chrial form of amino acid in preference to the other?
Proteins fold up into a particular shape after they are assembled by a ribosome in a cell. If the protein contained any right-handed amino acids, the folded shape would be different. The shape of a protein is essential to how it functions. If the bucket of an earth-moving machine were put on backwards when it was assembled, it would render the machine unable to perform its function. Similar is the case with proteins.
Some scientists might argue that an unknown natural process, which ended long ago and has left no trace in the fossil record, was responsible for the creation of the first proteins. But even given this possibility, how did these proteins combine to form a self-replicating life form like a cell? This is an even greater gulf than the one that exists between amino acids and proteins. Science simply has no explanation for how either of these gulfs could have been bridged.
The Evolution of DNA
Another difficulty with the notion that life evolved through purely mechanistic processes involves the structure of DNA, and the mechanisms that repair and replicate it. DNA, like amino acids, has chirality, and it is this handedness that gives DNA its twisted, helical shape. But oddly, DNA is exclusively right-handed in its construction — the opposite of amino acids. If any left-handed base pair sequences were to occur in the helix, it would seriously disrupt the replication process. As with proteins, how could DNA have evolved through purely random processes with only right-handed elements?
A further issue that presents itself is the DNA repair mechanism, described in the section on Prana-Shakti. As discussed previously, DNA is not particularly stable, and without a regular repair mechanism would rapidly degrade to the point of being useless. This would imply that DNA and its repair mechanism must have evolved together.
The same must also be true for the DNA replication system described above. Since DNA base pair sequences are used to make the very elements that repair and replicate it, all three elements must have evolved concurrently. It is virtually inconceivable that such a development could have happened as a result of spontaneous, chance processes.
If blind, random chance is inadequate as an explanation for how the first self-replicating life forms came into being, then the only alternative is to admit that there must be an intelligent aspect to creation which somehow bridged the gulf between amino acids and the first cell.
In the sections on Prana-Shakti and Kundalini Shakti, many of the questions posed about how cell function is organized and controlled can only be answered by assuming the existence of an intelligent aspect of creation which can exert an influence on the behavior of the atoms and molecules that make up living organisms. It is this same super-intelligent controlling and organizing principle, working as Prana-Shakti and Kundalini Shakti, which must have bridged this gulf.
Although there is still no detailed answer as to how this was done, it would seem from the processes described above that these aspects of Shakti can manipulate amino acids, proteins and enzymes into certain forms of physical activity. They also seem to be able to control the release of chemical triggers. Perhaps research in the years to come will shed more light on how these aspects of Shakti work, and how they could have developed the first self-replicating life form.
Implications of Guided Evolution
The concept of predetermined goals for evolution, mentioned above, would have tremendous implications for understanding the next stage evolution will take in the human species. The prevailing attitude in science seems to be that evolution has reached its pinnacle with the human brain and can go no further. This attitude is obvious as science shows little or no expectation of further enhancements in our mental faculties, and considers the intellect the only possible channel for apprehending reality. But there is no reason whatsoever why more advanced faculties of mind should not develop in the human brain. Our inability to conceive of what form these faculties would take is one of the main reasons for this inconsistent attitude.
The development of the intellect gave us enormous power to study and control the phenomenal world. The potential development of additional faculties of mind necessarily implies that the scope of creation goes far beyond what is known to the intellect at present, and what it is capable of discovering in the future. The implication that the picture of reality that science has developed is extremely limited and incomplete is the second reason why it is in denial about the possibility of continued evolution.
Since the last major step in our evolution has been the development of the intellect — a more advanced faculty of mind — then it would stand to reason that a continuation of this trend would lead to the development of even more advanced faculties. But now there is a difference. As the study of epigenetics has shown, our mental state has a direct impact on that evolution and we have, in a sense, now gained the ability to directly facilitate or frustrate that process.
It is therefore incumbent on us to understand the consequences of pursuing lifestyles that cause epigenetic changes that are at variance with the development of evolving mental faculties. In the same way that impediments to physical growth cause distortions in the body, it may be the case that impediments to our evolutionary growth result in distortions in our overall mental health. If this is the case, and the situation is not remedied, the long-term consequences of such a situation would be dire.
The verification of a predetermined goal for evolution would mean that all aspects of our behavior and society, such as education, politics, health care, religion, workplace environments, and entertainment, would have to be examined for their effect on the evolutionary process. It is only to be hoped that such a revision of our behavior happens before we deviate too much further from the evolutionary path.
Prana-Shakti and Kundalini-Shakti are often referred to with the terms ‘force’ or ‘energy.’ This can be misleading, as both these scientific terms refer to something that is predictable, operates according to certain simple laws, and can be described in mathematical terms. In contrast, both these aspects of Shakti are super-intelligent to a degree that we cannot even remotely conceive of, and cannot be apprehended in such a simple way.
The existence of a subtle medium which not only gives us our very life, but makes our own intelligence seem insignificant in comparison, is a truly sobering and, to some, a very disturbing thought. It is also a huge blow to our ego. Science is quite proud of its discoveries and accomplishments and, as a consequence of this pride, has shown a marked tendency for most of its history to believe that it has discovered most of what there is to be known. This attitude is quite unjustified, as the history of science has also shown us time and time again that one single discovery, such as Einstein’s theories of relativity, quantum theory or dark energy, can revolutionize our understanding of reality in a way which was totally unforeseen. Our ability to anticipate future discoveries has always been, and continues to be, very poor at best. It will be no small step for science to admit the possibility that all that we have discovered so far is but a tiny fraction of what is still to be known.
This pride has also blinded science to its own shortcomings, and when a discovery such as quantum theory contradicts its basic ideas about the nature of reality, (such as the primacy of matter), it is simply ignored. It has also blinded science to the possibility that human evolution is not finished, and that there are other faculties of mind evolving in us that are as far beyond the intellect as intellect is from basic animal consciousness. Such new faculties of perception would bring into view aspects of creation that we have no conception of at present.
On the other side, certain aspects of faith have made science even more resistant to new ideas such as those being presented here. In particular, the notion that any revealed body of knowledge, such as the tenets of a faith, are complete, perfect, and inviolable is a major stumbling block to progress on the path of discovery. This belief has led some faiths to counter the shortcomings of science by trying to make known scientific fact conform to religious dogma. The result is a situation in which neither side is willing to entertain new ideas for fear that the other side will ‘win’ the debate.
It is important for the proponents of science to realize that the world view presented in this article, and the existence of media such as Prana-Shakti, do not imply the invalidation of any known physical laws. It should be viewed rather like moving from a black and white television picture to a high-definition color one. The picture being shown is the same in essence, but the level of accuracy, the amount of detail being conveyed, and closeness to reality of the picture are greatly enhanced.
It should also be realized that the intelligence of a medium such as Prana-Shakti is not anthropomorphic in nature, with an arbitrary will, human motivations and shortcomings. As Gopi Krishna remarks in The Biological Basis of Religion and Genius, "It is easy to infer, when viewed in the light of the fact that the physical universe is rigidly bound by laws from the movements of atoms to those of colossal suns and nebular systems, that there must also be a similar coherence and consistency in the spiritual realm."
Science’s accomplishments have earned it an unquestioning faith in a substantial proportion of the population. As such, it is extremely important that science differentiate between what it knows to be true, based on experimental verification, and what it believes to be true, based on unverifiable assumptions, such as a mechanistic explanation for life.
It is important for the proponents of faith to accept that there is nothing in nature that is static. Without exception, everything we see in the phenomenal universe evolves and changes — from galaxies to suns to human beings to bacteria. It must therefore be accepted that the core tenets of a faith, which specify how we should live our lives in order to ensure health, peace, and harmony, must also evolve to accomodate scientific discoveries, but will remain the same in essence.
The proponents of faith should also realize the benefits that would come from the confirmation of the existence of Kundalini-Shakti as the guiding principle behind evolution, and the existence of a predetermined goal to which humanity is evolving. Many of the socially acceptable behaviors that run counter to the tenets of most faiths will be shown to have a damaging effect on human evolution — an effect that can be measured in a physical manner. In the same way that the discovery of microbes and bacteria altered our behavior in order to preserve our physical health, the discovery of an evolutionary mechanism with a biological basis will give us firm guidelines for what types of behavior are inimical to our mental health.
The acceptance of the world-view being presented here, and the verification of the existence of media such as Prana-Shakti and Kundalini-Shakti, would not only end the current debate between faith and science, but would provide great benefits to both. Science would have whole new levels of creation to explore, and new laws to discover. Faith would gain the ability to prove that its basic tenets are necessary for the health and survival of the race.
It is only to be hoped that this acceptance comes sooner, rather than later, so that humanity can continue to evolve in health, peace and happiness.
- ^Swarms, Nature, PBS, May 21, 2014.
- ^The Serpent Power, Arthur Avalon, Dover Publications Inc., New York, Page 26. .
- ^Yoga: A Vision of Its Future, Gopi Krishna, Kundalini Research and Publication Trust, New Delhi, 1978, page 17. .
- ^Living With Kundalini, Gopi Krishna, Shambhala, Boston & London, 1993. .