By Swati Chopra July 2003 There have always existed some places on earth that have a special energy about them. These are places we pilgrimage to, that we believe provide access to the mystical. What gives these places their power? Do they form through human faith, or are they a property of the earth? “Different places on the face of the earth have different vital effluence, a different vibration of chemical exhalation, a different polarity with the stars; call it what you like. But the spirit of a place is a great reality.”—D.H. Lawrence, 20th century writer Diviner of EnergyThat the earth emits energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation has long been known. But now, there is an instrument that can pick up this energy and even measure it. Based on the principle of measuring energy with folded rods, pioneered by Austrian- German physicist Ernst Lecher in 1890, the ‘Lecher antenna’, as it is known, was developed by German physicist Reinhard Schneider in 1975. The Lecher antenna has been able to detect the earth’s energy grid, thought to be made of magnetic lines of varying widths and intensities. The antenna also allows one to read and verify vibrations of the human body. Since its invention, the antenna has been used by dowsers to divine energy patterns, and by healers to detect disease causing negative energy within and outside the human body. Architects are beginning to make use of the antenna too, since it helps identify energy lines on a plot, thereby making it possible to construct walls on negatively-charged energy to prevent humans from interacting with it. In India, vastu experts Delhi-based Ajay Poddar and Pondicherry-based Prabhat Poddar have improved upon the Lecher antenna and are using it to detect health-related problems. They use it in conjunction with principles of vastu and ayurveda to suggest remedies for physical, emotional and spiritual problems. The Lecher antenna can detect even subtle energy fields affecting the body’s aura, thereby giving clues to what’s causing these problems. The Lecher antenna functions on the principle of resonance. It determines energy impulses based on the principle that anything that vibrates faster will have a shorter wavelength. The length of the antenna rods is selected on the basis of half-wavelengths or their multiples. According to Ajay Poddar, a person can use the antenna to determine and realign his own energies. Sunit Bezbaroowa Create Your Own To find your power spot, close your eyes allowing your inner self to guide you. You may sense a strong glow from a particular spot. On finding your spot, mark the centre, calling upon the earth and the sky simultaneously. Place markers in four directions and crystals in the centre to amplify energy. Other ways of concentrating energy to create your personal power spot are: • Feng Shui: This Chinese technique believes in utilising the chi, energy, for healing and bringing good fortune. It provides an ‘energy map’ that divides a space into eight segments, each representing an aspect of life. Feng shui uses symbolic elements, like the three-legged frog, tortoise, mandarin ducks, wind chimes, mirrors and artwork placed in the eight corners to enhance a specific segment of one’s life. The whole house can then be compartmentalised in accordance to energy spots. • Merkaba: Merkaba activation yantras are modern visual and energetic interpretations of ancient Egyptian pyramids used to create protected portals of energy to higher dimensional realms. The yantras work on the principle that when you change the energy vibration patterns, you can change the way matter manifests, matter being a form of energy. • Crystals: Healers believe that crystals possess dormant energy due to their origin from the earth’s crust. Wearing them with skin contact helps to release their energy. Simply holding crystals in your palm gives the feel of energy synthesizing. A stone and crystal garden is ideal for meditation. A flowing crystal waterfall at home is said to increase the healing potential of stones manifold. • Pyramid yantras: ‘Pyra’ refers to the universal life energy, little wonder then that pyramids are known to harness cosmic energy. Etymologically, ‘mid’ refers to the middle, indicating that the energy harnessed is preserved in its bosom. Exposure to the vibrations of the pyramid affects one’s aura which is a field of electromagnetic energy. Pyramid yantras in homes and offices enhance auras. Even miniature pyramids harmonies the space where they are kept. Arundhati Bhanot Sacred as Social Strategy Though we usually think of the sacred as related to God, it could also be a great social strategy. The sacred is what we revere and cherish. In all ancient traditions, rivers, mountains, the land, forests and trees were considered sacred in recognition of their vital role in sustaining life. Their private ownership was inconceivable, since these formed part of the ‘commons’—they sustained everyone and all had a responsibility to care for and protect them. By considering natural resources as common, there formed a relationship of use marked by respect and care. These were not to be spoilt, but to be revered and be grateful for. Even when private ownership of land occurred, this culture continued to recognize the dependence of humans on nature and there remained forests, lakes, springs and rivers that villages shared. It is a fact of social history that making them sacred encouraged people to care for them. The forests in India were common land cared for by tribes and villages. Nobody cleared away forests for timber; each tree was cut with a prayer only when it was absolutely necessary. Our rivers were goddesses, our springs often Devi shrines. The mountains were made abodes of saints and gods. We sanctified these common resources and assets and formed relationships with them where it was a sin to harm them and a blessing to look after them and use them worshipfully. This strategy of making natural resources sacred is now deeply eroded. Monotheistic cultures saw nature as being there for man’s use, and a river became water, just another element to be manipulated at the whim of God’s chosen ones. Science, the great reductionism, went even further from the sacred by reducing water to just H2O—two atoms of one element and one of another, something inert that could be used heartlessly and mindlessly. Then, with the deluge of globalisation and the market economy, all commons disappeared. Nature came to be owned by individuals, corporations or governments. The great mother goddesses Ganga and Narmada could now, at human will, be dammed and damned. No need to keep the river clean, for Ganga water could be owned by a private water company that would purify it with modern technology and sell under a registered brand name. In a sense, with the loss of the ‘commons’, there was no need now to regard these natural resources as sacred. I quite like sacred stories of river goddesses and mountain gods. And whether or not there was something innately ‘sacred’ in them, they were sacred to us and to life. Losing them is more than the loss of tales and a belief system; it is the loss of a social strategy that effectively protected our environment for centuries. The sacred feeling may be an old human response to Life: its mystery, beauty and complex interconnectedness. Maybe we should hold on to it for environmental and social reasons too. Shakti Maira For all of history, and as far back as human memory can reach, there have existed in almost every region of every continent places specially revered and regularly visited. Their magnetic charm has drawn billions of people into their bosom since the dawn of time. Across the planet, these ‘power spots’ exist in the form of sacred mountains, healing springs, oracular caverns, enchanted forest glens, and places of divine revelation. The passage of time and the onslaught of rational modernity seem to have diminished none of the charisma of these places, nor their ‘effectiveness’. For these places often lie at the climax of arduous pilgrimage, and in hosting ‘greater powers’ that grant wishes and blessings, represent for many the fruits of faith. Even today, reports of extraordinary experiences of healing and grace appear routinely, as if inspired just by being within the area of influence of these places. For an example we don’t have to look far; the red and yellow threads tied to walls and railings of ancient ‘wish-fulfilling’ shrines across India testify to the enduring promise of benediction that sacred sites hold out. Centuries of intense devotion and awe, often coupled with mythological connections, have lent an air of the unexplainable to power spots, which makes it easy to brand them as ‘exotica’. The danger is when a place alive with energy becomes ossified as an archaeological case study, or worse, as an entertainment theme park for first world tourist traffic. This is largely what has happened to the Native American culture, with traditionally sacred lands either built over and rendered unrecognizable, or turned into tourist attractions. Other cultures on display are of the Australian aborigines and the Hawaiians, where sacred dances and rituals are performed on demand, and tourists taken on guided tours of sites worshipped for centuries. While there is nothing wrong with sightseeing per se, using sacred sites as entertainment fodder does seem a bit of a travesty. In a world where the truly sacred is retreating from all spaces physical and mental, it is worthwhile to re-evaluate sites and spots that still afford some access to mystical experience. To do so, we need to question what gives these places the power they obviously have
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