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Prana Pratishtha: Manifesting Cosmic Energy in Deities

Energy is the stuff that our universe is made of. We breathe, live, and move in a heaving ocean of energy. Every sign of existence in this universe, from the throbbing of life in our bodies to the mighty Cosmic forces that roll the galaxies, is nothing but the movement of energy.

Seen through the eyes of the physicist, planets, plants, and people are just energy vibrating at different frequencies. All we are is energy – and yet, we are also the wonder of form! Form brings beauty and romance into our lives.

Man has always been fascinated by the delightful play of color, size, and shape that creates our lovely universe. The extraordinary richness of Creation reveals to us that God is indeed an artist. Just as the rainbow reveals to us the colors hidden in pure light, the innumerable forms of the world reveal to our eyes the existence of the Formless Lord.

The ancient cultures of the world were by nature pantheistic, worshipping the Creator through his creation. In the legendary Vedic civilization of India, everything in the world was considered sacred, a spark of the flame of the Divine. Trees, mountains, and animals were equally revered as expressions of the Divine, as were the forces of Nature like wind and water.

The Rg Veda, the most ancient of the Vedic texts invokes upon humanity the grace of Indra, the god of Lightning, Agni, the god of Fire, Varuna, the god of the Oceans, and Maruta, the god of the Wind, among thousands of other gods.

But although they appeared similar, the philosophy of the Vedas was far from the simplistic faith of the pantheist. This civilization, flourishing millennia ago along the banks of the divine river Sarasvati in India was the most advanced that our planet has ever seen. They gifted to the world the sciences of mathematics, astronomy, natural medicine, yoga, grammar, and above all, the sacred science of the Self.

The Vedic civilization upheld a non-dualistic or Advaitic view of life that easily encompassed the dimensions of Einsteinian relativity, quantum physics, and beyond – making it the most elevated philosophy that the human mind has ever conceived.

It also evolved a precise cosmogony, whose tenets modern science is only just beginning to comprehend. Millennia before science proposed the theory of the vibratory universe, the Vedas were already describing how the universe began as a spanda, a subtle vibration, in the Divine mind.

Rippling out to encompass space and time, swirling into denser vortices of energy, and finally condensing into the gross expressions of matter, this Cosmic energy went on to become the stars, the earth, the oceans – and ourselves.

As mentioned earlier, the renowned Vedic text, the Taittiriya Upanishad, symbolically describes the descent of the Divine into the world of form.

The concept of ‘many gods’ unique to the Vedic tradition stems from this view that everything in the world, including oneself, can be a worthy vessel for Divine energy. To commune directly with this energy is not easy for the average human mind, but to connect with it through a beloved form is a joy for the devotee. When the Hindu worships his ishtadevata (chosen deity), he is hardly worshipping the idol itself. Instead, he is in direct communion with the Divine energy expressed through that idol – a subtle truth that many miss who condemn the worship of idols in the Vedic tradition.

The 330 million deities that make up the Hindu pantheon of gods symbolize this very idea: that the Divine lies hidden in everything, everywhere – awaiting only the touch of awakening. This process of awakening is known in Sanskrit as ‘prana pratishtha’, literally meaning, the establishing of life-breath.

A qualified Hindu priest may perform ‘agama pratishtha’ or ‘mantra pratishtha’, invoking the deity’s energy through sacred chants and proper ceremonies, and inviting it to enter into the idol. But significantly, only an Avatar or an enlightened being is authorized to perform prana pratishtha, which is the direct infusion and permanent establishment of life force in matter.

When an Avatar performs prana pratishtha on an idol, He not only brings it to life, but transmits to it His enlightened state of being. Such an idol, now rightly called an archavatar or living deity, becomes an independent intelligence, a direct vehicle of Cosmic energy, capable of answering prayers, healing ailments, and granting boons.

Every day, thousands around the world are witnessing the powers of prana pratishtha in the living idols energized by Paramahamsa Nithyananda. With a word of blessing or a wave of his hand, Paramahamsa Nithyananda empowers these deities from thousands of miles away to heal and bless devotees, and even to materialize sacred items like rudraksha beads and holy ash.

The science behind Prana Pratishtha

Modern science and astrophysics have already established that the entire universe is made up of only 4% quantifiable matter. The remaining 96%, as yet only mathematically postulated, is called dark matter and dark energy.

But in reality, dark matter is neither dark nor is it matter as we understand it. It is a form of as yet unmanifested energy. And even the 4% matter is nothing but energy which has been perceived or scientifically labeled as matter!

At the very gross level, matter can be considered either insentient (non-living) or sentient (living). For example, a piece of rock is considered non-living, whereas plants, animals, and humans are considered as living.

But at an atomic level or even sub-atomic level, all that exists in matter are subatomic particles, which look and behave the same in non-living and living matter. They are indistinguishable from each other. It is only the level of life energy that is different in rock and plants and humans.

Amongst all living beings, only humans carry the possibility of accessing Cosmic energy and storing it in their bodies as Kundalini energy.

An Avatar, as a storehouse and channel of this universal energy, can transfer it to another being (through initiation), or into a so-called insentient structure, such as a deity made of stone, metal or other materials.

The suffusion of Cosmic energy into the deity excites the atomic structure and moves the electrons into higher orbitals. This is nothing but the spanda or subtle vibration of Cosmic energy which is now on the verge of manifestation (Shakti).

A devotee who enters this space is instantly able to connect to this energy of the deity and is thus able to realign his bio-memory with this infusion of Cosmic energy.

What exactly happens during Prana Pratishtha?

This deeply mystical process can be explained to some extent by the principle of quantum entanglement. Entanglement is a term used in quantum theory to describe the way that particles of energy or matter can become correlated to predictably interact with each other, regardless of how far apart they are.

This means the state and actions of one of these particles can instantaneously influence the state and actions of other particles with which it is entangled, through the process of interference.

Entanglement is one of the many mysterious truths that Newtonian science could not even have imagined, for it questions the concepts of time, space, and reality itself.

The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Nithyānanda Paramashivam says:

Each deity that goes through the prana pratishtha process is in entanglement with the higher Truth. Just as somebody whose kundalini is awakened is in entanglement with me, in the same way, the deity is also in entanglement with me. It is in entanglement with that aspect of the Cosmic energy that it represents.

A colossus of extraordinary yogic powers, Paramahamsa Nithyananda has the rare ability to subtly force matter to enter into entanglement with His own superconscious energy, and thus become an alive, conscious power. Once the cycle of entanglement is established, the idols energized by Paramahamsa Nithyananda practically become extensions of Himself, no matter where they are located physically. By being in entanglement with the Avatar, they become pure channels of Cosmic energy, functioning with independent intelligence, yet in instantaneous contact with His own superconscious space. Thus, even in the physical absence of the Avatar, a devotee can connect to the Cosmic energy via the deity.

Process of Prana Pratishtha

Installation of Cosmic energy or prana pratishtha is done by bringing this energy down through the five elementary energies of Nature or Pañca Mahabhuta.

The energy is first brought into the Space element (akasha) through meditation (visualization), into the Air element (vayu) through mantras (chanting), down to the Fire element (Agni) through homas (fire offerings), down to the Water element (apas) in the kalasha (water pot), and finally to the Murti, the Earth element (prithivi).

The Avatar can choose the manifestation of the energy that He wishes to install in a particular deity. He can choose to empower the deity with wealth energy, health energy, completion energy, karma-exhausting energy, or any other type of energy. Since time immemorial, Avatars and enlightened masters have installed various aspects of the divine energy in various deities to fulfill the needs and desires of humanity.

There are various reasons for choosing the material of the deity as well. Materials like granite can hold and radiate energy for thousands of years. On the other hand, deities made of a combination of five sacred metals or panchaloha can hold and radiate much more energy than granite, but they can hold the energy only for a few hundred years.

The precise structure of the temple and the geometrically harmonious form of the deity also help in the process of entanglement, along with the subsequent pujas (offering of gratitude) and the kriya pada, sacred rituals, which are techniques given by Avatars as per the agamas to tune our internal energies to those of Existence.

Wish-fulfillment through deities

The energies of an ordinary human being get exhausted whenever they are repeatedly expressed. For example, grief or joy exhausts when expressed through tears; the pitta (fire element) of the body exhausts itself through anger; the lust energy exhausts itself through sexual acts, the power of speech exhausts itself in his very saliva the moment words are uttered. All these energies of expression become exhausted as soon as one uses them.

An Avatar’s energy of expression cannot be exhausted through any of these means (or any means), because He is the inexhaustible Source of energy in human form. That is why He is the ultimate human form fit to perform prana pratishtha.

Once a deity has been ‘awakened’ through the process of prana pratishtha, it becomes a concentrated energy. Whatever action we perform in this space is very intense, due to the presence of this concentrated energy.

Whenever a person creates a thought or sankalpa (conscious resolution) in the presence of concentrated energy, that thought is projected onto the world as Reality. This process can be compared to placing a film strip in front of a projector light. When projected onto the screen, it appears as reality before our eyes. This is why we say that whatever we wish for in front of a deity comes true.

Only a being who can function without the help of His body is capable of creating a true sanctum, one that will bless, heal, and manifest miracles in exactly the way He does. Because Avatars do not need a body to execute their work, they can continue to do the things they do, even after they leave their physical body. The sanctum and deities created and energized by them radiate inexhaustible energy and nurture everybody who seeks it.


In a world diseased with doubt and challenged by the epidemic of spiritual impoverishment, in a world struggling to escape the confines of ordinary human existence through addiction, illusion, and death, mystic phenomena like these serve to remind us that whether we accept it or not, believe it or not, know it or not, we inhabit a planet showered with Grace, where humanity can aspire to touch divinity, and where everything that exists – as the Isha Vasya Upanishad tells us – are indeed a thousand forms of the one all-embracing Consciousness.


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