What is prana? Why does this universal life force or bio-energy attract thousands who believe in its power to heal?
Its potent call was evident in the 2,250-strong, pan-Indian attendance during Philippines-born Grand Master Choa Kok Sui's 54th birthday celebration at Bangalore's Christ College auditorium on August 15, 2006. The founder of Modern Pranic Healing and Arthatic Yoga spent Independence Day interfacing with practitioners during an unusual third Indian visit this year.
The gathering included practitioners from among 90,000-plus Indian pranic healers, including 12,000 based in Karnataka alone. The attendees were drawn from 16 healing foundations across Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi. That's besides international participants from Australia, Canada, Dubai, France, Italy, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Master Choa's discourses drew a significant IT and BPO presence.
On August 16, over 520 pan-Indian pranic healers met him at Bangalore. At Kolkata, close to 1,000 people attended Master Choa's meeting on August 21.
The spiritual guru, whose 19 books, translated into 72 languages, have been published in 72 countries, is a big draw. He has been an annual visitor to India since 1991, when he taught an initial course at Kottayam.
This year, he also led the 7th World Pranic Healers' Convention at Mumbai from May 12 to 14. Today, Bangalore's M.S. Ramaiah Hospital has a Department of Pranic Healing, while the Apollo Speciality Hospitals in Chennai and Kolkata have pranic healing clinics.
To the uninitiated, what is pranic healing? It is an ancient no-touch system that uses the activated energy chakras in the human palm, known as chi in acupuncture, ruah or breath of life in the Old Testament, to self-repair the body. How? By revitalising the life force in the affected being or body part through its aura or electromagnetic field. An effective practitioner is re-energised while healing others.
Some facts seem significant. That pranic healing is intended to complement, not replace, allopathy. That healers are not medical doctors, but doctors can practice healing. That healers should not interfere with prescribed medications or treatments. Among participants at Bangalore, Kombli Rajagopal, 67, is managing director of the Planetary Peace Movement, which she co-founded with the guru in 1999. She teaches one of his popular works on meditation at Bangalore schools like Bishop Cotton's for Girls, Innisfree, New Horizons, and others. "To me, pranic healing is about a whole way of life. About positive attitudes which regard each problem as a challenge," she says in a telecon.
Way back in 1994, hers was a different perspective. Diagnosed with a major heart condition, allopathic practitioners had given her six months to live.
But Kombli learnt pranic healing from her 18-year-old son. "Once I healed myself, it gave me great self-confidence in my ability to be self-sufficient," she adds.
Challa Srishant, 23, a Hyderabad-based coffee exporter, was another attendee. His story is as dramatic: "Between the ages of 11 and 13, my parents used to take me to a pranic healer in case of any health problem. I called him a `magic doctor' because, with a mere wave of his hands, I'd feel better. When I turned 13, my mother asked me if I wanted to learn to heal others. I agreed, in anticipation of learning magic tricks! That was my introduction to spirituality. There's been no turning back since then."
How does Master Choa regard the overview? Some answers emerge from an e-mail interview with him.
When did he first feel the call of the spiritual? "At about 12 years, I had a natural attraction to paranormal and spiritual subjects. I graduated as a chemical engineer, then partially followed my family's tradition of business. Later, I shifted focus towards my spiritual mission," he responds.
Why did the ancient practice need a new lease of life? Master Choa says, "It could only be practised by an elite few. My job was to develop a very effective healing system, which ordinary people could learn in just a short period. Anybody can practise pranic healing now. The knowledge of being able to deal with simple ailments is quite empowering."
His spiritual gurus included Lord Mahaguruji Mei Ling, and his disciple Chohan Jig Mei Ling. By degrees, Master Choa has gone on to expand consciousness in multiple ways including the current disciplines of Arthatic Yoga, Crystal Healing, Pranic Self-Defence and Superbrain Yoga.
What makes pranic healing stand apart from other alternative medical practices? "It is faster and more effective. It is non-invasive and does not require physical contact with the patient. The use of colour pranas at the advanced levels is unique; its techniques are more scientific," he stresses.
Why do some pranic healers often experience symptoms like vomiting, tummy upsets, heavy sweating, and so on? Master Choa clarifies, "Some healers do not follow the prescribed pranic healing procedure and end up absorbing some of the negative or dirty energies from their patients, thus causing their bodies to get sick. But such healers probably constitute less than five per cent of the practitioners."
Is modern pranic healing a distillation of other existing systems such as Chinese Chi Kung, Reiki, Christian `laying on of hands,' or the Tibetan healing arts? He says, "Yes, you could say it is a synthesis of the important points from each system. Healing was an art then, not a science. Our spiritual thesis was to develop the healing art into a fully developed healing science. The preparatory work began when I was a teenager. It took more than 18 years to develop Modern Pranic Healing."
In our age of scepticism, has it been tough to find global acceptance? "The closed-mindedness of people has been a major obstacle. Where people are willing to learn new things, pranic healing was easier to teach and propagate," Master Choa states.
Does he feel our world is ready for a major shift in consciousness? Master Choa says, "Evolution is inexorable and continuous. There will be not just one but most likely several more major shifts in consciousness, over the years. Greater awareness of energy healing systems is one such sign."
Can that be the last word? Perhaps not until each of us is in touch with the healing touch of prana within.
(The Hindu Business Line, 2006)