It depends on which angle we are coming from as to how we might define the word `aura`.
One definition is `An aura is a collection of electro-magnetic
energies of varying densities which are exiting from the physical, vital, etheric, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies.`
From `You and Your Aura` by Joseph Ostrom, The Aquarian Press, 1987.
The science of aura interpretation is a complex one, and one which I do not claim to know anything about.
For detailed study I suggest you consult authorities more appropriate than me. However, briefly,
we are told that the colour and quality of the aura reflects the state of being of the individual. Whether
disturbed, happy, ill or healthy our aura will show the condition. Spiritually enlightened individuals
are said to show particular auras. In tradition the saints of Christianity were shown with an aura surrounding
I prefer to go back to
the Upanishads, and to think where this `aura` might be coming from. In general we can think of an aura
as being that field of energy which surrounds all things in one form or another. The aura of a candle in
a darkened room can easily be seen by anyone. We know from our school day physics lessons that the Earth
has a gravitational field. We may not be able to see it but it is a subtle field surrounding a physical
In the same way the human
body also has a field of energy associated with it, which brings in the subject of `prana`. Prana is the
vital life force or energy which pervades everything, and from which everything is made. Rather than calling
it an electromagnetic energy, I prefer to think of it as an electro-spiritual energy. For yogis the whole
of creation is a manifestation of that energy and brings into consideration the question of who/what is
God/the Divine/the Ultimate/the Creative Force etc.
If we think of a river slowly flowing towards the sea, within the water of the river may be small movements, tiny
whirlpools. I like to think of each whirlpool as being briefly separate and identifiable from the main
body of water, but still water. The centre of the whirlpool is easily seen, but as we look beyond the centre
it becomes impossible to see where it finally ends and becomes once again a part of the river.
In the same way we can think of the whole of creation
as one infinite field of energy. At the time of the `Big Bang` the energy which forms the universe expanded
and within the whole of space `whirlpools` of energy condensed to form the stars, the planets and eventually all objects of
creation. If we think of each human being as an individual whirlpool, then we too will have a centre, a
focus of energy. Close to that centre we can identify the physical body, but beyond that we move to those
more subtle bodies mentioned above right through to the spiritual body.
The energy which forms the aura of the physical body
extends only a short distance beyond the skin, and of all the levels of aura is the one which the eye can most easily be trained
to see. But as we become more subtle, so our aura also becomes more subtle, and like the whirling water
extends further and further from the centre of our being. The spiritual aura finally extends outwards until
it too merges with the infinite field of energy.
In yoga we are aiming to `realise` that source of creation, or God. It is our human
tendency to look beyond our self, perhaps to look for the white haired figure sitting on a cloud! Thinking
of the analogy of the whirlpool should perhaps suggest to us an opposite search. The Upanishads (ancient
writings of yoga), tell us `There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond the heavens.
This is the light that shines in our heart.` And in the Chandogya Upanishad `Then in the small palace
of the shape of a lotus that stands in this city of Brahman, there is a small space. That which is inside that (heart space) is to be sought for.`
This small space in Sanskrit is known as the `dahara akasa`, and is the source of all our levels
of existence and the radiating auras which are associated with them.
Thus we should think of our aura not being simply a field of energy that `surrounds` us, but as being an expression
of the energy that pervades every part of our being. Then when we practise our yoga, and focus on the energy
which is experienced, we can come into an understanding of pranic force that we are made of.
Derek Osborn Swami Shiv Giri
05 09 27