The mystic functions of the unconscious mind, aura of one’s vital energy and inner strength does not depend on the condition and activities of the gross body. The same can be said for the functioning of the endocrine systems and the transmission of hereditary (genetic) information, the pineal gland,the development of an embryo and the high-potential cells too. Through research in anatomy and physiology of human body has been able to provide only partial information about some of these aspects, such specificity, cannot be associated with any subtle or astral bodies.Elucidation of the vast field of this deep knowledge and realization of the associated intrinsic properties and functions has been the focus of spiritual experiments (sadhana) since the time of yore. Modern science too has begun to search for the subtle aspects of the above mentioned characteristics of human life.
Experts of neurochemistry consider the pineal and the pituitary glands to be the most important glands in the endocrine system. The hormones like androgen secreted by the pituitary gland are found to control not only the sex related activities but also the decision making capabilities of a person, soundness of thinking and space-time based perceptions of an individual. The savants of yoga-vidya associate the pituitary gland with the topmost extrasensory center (chakra) of eheric energy – namely, the sahastrara chakra. The consciousness of an individual is described to be linked with the omnipresent supreme consciousness through the medium of sahastrar.
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The pineal gland is considered to be A linkage between the body and the mind. Renowned French philosopher, Rene Descartes describes this gland as a connection between the jada (material) components of the body and the chetana (conscious) powers of the mind. Divine consciousness inspires one’s mind from the center.Anatomically, the pineal gland happens to be the smallest functional component of human body. This tiny gland is conical in shape like a granule of gram, it is about 0.25 inch long and weighs around 100 mg. This gland is located between the cerebellum and thalamus and is connected to the upper layer of the third ventricle. Interestingly, this gland, which was until recently considered by the modern scientists as an unnecessary component in the human body and was attributed as a remnant of the early phase of evolution of the human body, has now become the major focus of front-line research on human brain.
Melatonin – a hormone secreted by the pineal gland is supposed to react with darkness and thereby maintain the circadian biorhythms which are associated with the cyclic transitions of day and night. It is also found that this hormone affects the activities of the neurons, which participates in controlling the process of sleeping.
Sensitivity to light appears to be its main property.
A remarkable consonant in the linkage between the pineal gland and the agya chakra (third eye) has been described in the scriptures of yoga sadhana as well.
A Greek Physiologist, Herophibas has described (some time in 400 BC) this gland as the center of restraining power which controls the flow of our thoughts. Seers of esoteric knowledge have also found it as the center of origin and source of orderly expression of discerning intelligence. Modern scholars consider it as center of divine potentials.
The size of a pineal gland is bigger in children as compared to that in the adults. Among adults, women – who are in general, emotionally more sensitive than men, are found to have bigger pineal glands than that of men.
Every human is free from the entangling thraldoms of ego, selfishness and worldly affairs in the childhood. Very few people enjoy the same purity of inner self, fairness and truth of mind in the later phases of life. This is the reason why in most people the pineal gland shrinks gradually as and when people grow. One’s emotional level has great impact on the development and activities of this gland.Dr. Crookshak’s research work has made significant contribution in identifying the effects of the endocrine glands on physiology and psychology. He refers to these pineal glands as ‘magical glands’. In his view, the physical and mental health of an individual and his inherent tendencies could be assessed in terms of the level and pattern of hormonal secretions in his endocrine system.
The pineal and pituitary glands are termed as master glands because of their predominant- role in the endocrine system. The functions of pineal gland were partly recognized by the medical scientists as long ago as 400 BC. The Greek thinker Herophibas, who was known at that time for his analysis of some physiological functions, had also expressed views on the role of this gland.However, in the absence of a visible identification of this gland, his views raised controversies and couldn’t materialize into anything. For him, this gland was like a link between the physiological and mental functions. Dr. H.W. Graft and Dr. E. Waldvene Spensor – both micro anatomists, had carried out research on pineal glands in the late 19th century. Their results showed that this gland responds to the optical signals (light) received directly from the surroundings or transmitted through the nervous system as perceived by the eyes. This finding resembles the interpretations of the third eye described in the yoga scriptures. Major results of the modern research on the pineal gland concern the extraction and analysis of the hormones, melatonin and serotonin secreted by this gland. These have elucidated some latent features of the gross body, which were unknown until recently.
Around the middle of this century, in 1958 Dr. Morton B. Learner of the Yale medical school extracted melatonin from the secretions of pineal gland. This hormone is found to be responsible for photo-reactive effects of change in the skin color of frogs and fishes. In humans, it is considered to regulate emotional changes and excitations generated by fear and anger. The secretions of this hormone has major roles in puberty during the commencement of teenage. As a child passes through this transition period, the size of the pineal reduces gradually and the charge of controlling the sex related hormonal secretions is transferred to the pituitary gland.
The master gland – pineal is considered to be directly connected with the agya chakra (third eye). Awakening of agya chakra results in rousing viveka – prudence, discreet intelligence, righteous thinking and divine insight. If a person canalizes his creative talents and various potentials with the support of viveka,he can achieve diamonds and pearls of the hidden treasures of our unconscious mind.
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Awakened agaya chakra purifies and illuminates the mana, buddhi, chitta and ego. This is a fundamental step in the sadhana of manomaya kosa.The Puranas’ statement that – “the burning of Kamadeva because of the opening of the third eye of Lord Siva” – is an allegoric representation. It implies that opening (activation) of the subtle center of the pineal gland controls the erogenous secretions from the pituitary and thus restrains stimulation of the genitals. It also implies that the agile mind can be restrained and refined by the sadhanas of opening of the agya chakra and the consequent spark of viveka.
Refinement of the power of this center and the inter-linked functional units of the master glands of the endocrine system opens up the ways of sublime transformation. The vast difference between the wretched (vile) and the elevated (elite) levels of personalities are born from the underdeveloped or waned and the actively refined states of this center. This is because the activities of this center shape up the mental status, attitude and flow of thoughts of a person, which in turn govern his deeds.
Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Kreman has separated another hormone from the brain tissues. This hormone named serotonin is densely present in the pineal gland and the junction cells. The pineal gland is a reservoir of serotonin, which is distributed by the junction cells to the other parts of the body. Further research work has shown that serotonin is an elementary form of melatonin and its richness activates reasoned thought process. Another significant result was that, the atomic structure of serotonin matches with LSD 25 (Lisurgic Acid Diethylamide) – a narcotic drug, which is prepared by the extractions from a grass called rai.
Small amounts of LSD induce intense intoxicating effects on our conscious mind. Hippies and youngsters consume it for ‘spiritual joy’.Medical Science has got something else to say. The medical experts , advice against its use because this drug can neutralize the activation of serotonin. The so-called feeling of attainment of higher levels of consciousness by consuming LSD is an artificial and illusive state of mind, because the suppression of serotonin activities by LSD blocks the natural flow of thoughts and one feels ‘thoughtless’ or ‘trippy’ as if he is in a state of trance. This chemically induced suppression of brain-functions is risky as it prevents the natural hormonal processing of brain functions and thereby destroys the harmony between the brain (mind) and the body.
The pineal gland is considered to be a gross center for the manifestation of consciousness that regulates the cycle of biochemical activities in an individual. The spiritual level of one’s consciousness has direct impact on the regulatory activities of pineal and pituitary glands – especially on their roles in inducing and controlling the emotional and physical functions associated with sex. The greater the natural control of pineal on pituitary and the collective control of both on the genitals, better is the possibility of – awakening of the otherwise dormant centers of consciousness inside the body and a corresponding rise in one’s spiritual potentials to attain sublime levels of chetana.
Appropriation of the serotonin concentration and a natural harmonious control over its activity is a challenging task, which is essential for spiritual achievements. The excessive level of serotonin triggered by erogenous thoughts in an individual transpires the vicious cycle of mutually supporting activities driven by concupiscence and related endocrine secretions which leads to a decline in the possibilities of spiritual evolution. Yoga is a systematic method for focused awakening of the pineal gland followed by natural control over the entire endocrine system.
Every human being is bound within the world created by his own emotions, thoughts and deeds. His character is the creation of his internal world too. It is in his own hands to come out of this barrier, blocking the empowerment and sublimation of his consciousness – reflected in the functions of his brain and body. The sadhana of opening of the agya chakra has direct positive impact on the pineal gland and thus on the endocrine system too. The success of these sadhanas arouses one’s viveka and induces elevated flow of his prana. The life histories of great personalities across the world show that they were empowered by the internal energy of chetan and they had used their talents for higher ideals with the help of this radiant viveka. As a result, their lives were endowed with a large number of accomplishments that can be compared with divine boons.
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