Dr Alex Hankey gained a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he gained a Triple First in Natural Sciences. In 1973 he gained a PhD in theoretical physics from MIT, specializing in particle physics and critical phenomena. After a year at Stanford, he joined the faculty of Maharishi International University, where he studied connections between the Vedic Sciences and modern science. He has published over 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is now Professor of Yoga and Physical Science at S-VYASA, the Yoga University in Bengaluru, India.
Naveen Varshneya’s Work from a Scientific Perspective
Naveen Varshneya is a very experienced and highly successful practitioner of healing, as medical records, he has accumulated testify. His speciality is healing mental illness, from mildest to most severe, from anxiety and depression, through obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In addition to healing patients, he also runs a wellness program in which he trains participants to become healers like himself. He claims that the process is simple enough to be learned from a book with practical, guided learning sessions.
Naveen can do this because he understands the process of healing disease as one of restoring the quality of subjectively experienced energy in the body and mind – the ‘subtle’ energy. Recent research has shown that subtle energy is strongest when the physiology of the body and mind are at their peak of functional performance. Restoring the subtle energy to its optimal level is thus a precise means to restore health and well being.
Proper levels of subtle energy are associated with the state of optimal physiological function equated with health for profound reasons. The optimal function of tissues and organs produces health of the body, while optimal function in the brain and nervous system support a healthy mind. Subtle energy helps maintain the quality of regulation, so appropriate levels of subtle energy are essential to maintain optimal regulation and thereby optimize function. Having adequate subtle energy to optimize regulation and function, and thus optimize health, supports a subjective experience of well being. ‘Feeling well’ in a positive sense is a sign of health. For that reason, we combine them and speak of ‘health and well being’ as we do.
The ancient health systems of India and China both present a clear understanding of subtle energy in its various forms. In India, it is called ‘prana’ and deemed to flow through special pathways in the body called ‘nadis’. In China, it is called ‘qi’, and ‘meridians’ is the term used to designate its pathways. While the two systems have evolved to emphasize different aspects of the subtle energy and its pathways, they agree on basic principles. Subtle energy comes in two different forms, one more masculine, known variously as ‘prana’ and ‘Yang Qi’, and the other more receptive and feminine, known as ‘shakti’ and ‘Yin qi’.
In the 1950s and 60’s workers in Japan, France and Germany discovered that skin conductivity is higher at the Chinese acupuncture points on the various meridians. They showed that the levels of conductance corresponded to higher levels of subtle energy so that measuring the conductance of the skin at acupuncture points could be adopted as a scientific method of measuring levels of subtle energy in the corresponding nadi-meridian. Based on this pioneering work, many different instruments have been designed to measure skin conductance at acupuncture points, and so assess levels of subtle energy in patients.
In India and China, many popular systems aim to promote health and healing by restoring the levels of subtle energy in various organs and corresponding regions of the body. Both Yoga from India and Qigong in China represent systems with this goal among their overall aims. In both countries, the systems are taught by ‘Masters’, both male and female, who have attained high levels of balanced subtle energies, and can help others to attain them and gain mastery over them. It is well recognized that being close to a person with high levels of subtle energy can increase levels of subtle energy in those fortunate to be with them. One person’s level of well being can help another person feel well.
In India, for example, the subtle energy is said to flow from the heavens through the crown of the head and exit at the feet; followers touch their teacher’s feet as a means of increasing their level of subtle energy to that of their teacher. Less appreciated is that a person with a high level of subtle energy can directly transmit that energy to other people simply by directing his or her attention to them in an appropriate way. In India, the effect of the Master’s gaze is known as ‘darshan’, a much sought after benefit of visiting a sage or holy man.
Naveen Varshneya is at such a level of mastery. The first aim of his work is to help others attain optimal levels of subtle energy, and dispel disease of all kinds, both physical and mental, particularly the latter. He also aims to help patients and pupils maintain and disseminate optimal levels of subtle energy not only to their own body and mind, but to friends, relatives, and others whom they meet. For a forest to be green, each tree should be green. Enlivening subtle energies in each individual makes the whole society healthier, happier and more fulfilled.