Shafica Karagulla, M. D., and Dora van Gelder Kunz
Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, IL, 1989; paperback, 243 pages.

This is a peculiar book, in the sense that it speaks to a concept of transformation and transmission of human energy systems that reaches back into the far history of understandings of human livingness, an understanding that arose in Eastern cultures, but the authors use one of the most sophisticated of scientific rationales of modem Western culture, neuropsychiatry, to describe the functions and activities of these superphysical centers. The descriptions of these energy vortices, called chakras in Sanskrit, are not merely theoretical; their authoritative bases are in the validity of clinical observations by one of the most percipient seers of our time, Dora van Gelder Kunz. Ms. Kunz, who was born with clairvoyant abilities. has made the study of the functional and therapeutic uses of human energies her life work. Her co-author, Dr. Shafica Karagulla, was a specialist in neuropsychiatry. After Dr. Karagulla's untimely death, Kunz completed the, manuscript for publication with the editorial assistance of Emily Sellon, editor for many years of Main Currents in Modern Thought.

Karagulla and Kunz worked together for over two decades as researcher and observer (respectively) of superphysical human energies, and sought to clarify the complex networks of interconnected energetic processes that appear to vitalize and define a human being. For the studies that form the core of their book, they systematically analyzed patients at a large and well-known medical center in New York City.

Primarily they studied the relationship between the physical energy field, called the etheric field, which transmits and thereby vitalizes the anatomical organs and structures, and the vortices within that energy field, the chakras, that are operative in transforming universal energy systems so that they are usable by the human being. These assessments were done in reference to the corresponding endocrine glands of the patient under consideration. Where relevant to the case studies, they also observed effects in the emotional and mental energy fields. The specific characteristics that they examined were in detailed reference to color, brightness, or luminosity of the energy patterns, movement and angle of energy flow, and form, elasticity, and texture of the substance of the energy field. To provide baselines for this unique study, they studied healthy persons first to determine patterns of natural human energy flow. After two years they turned their attention to examining persons who were ill.

Among the major findings of their study was the recognition that specific energetic patternings of the chakras are indicative of predispositions to particular disease processes that would appear later on in time. They also found circumstances under which some illnesses may be but the physical manifestations of pathologies that have their origins in the deeper reaches of the emotional and/or mental energy fields.

Throughout, they give ample background so that the interested layperson can clearly understand both the bases for their discussions of the data on the dynamics of the human energy fields and their relation to consciousness, and the nature of clairvoyant investigation. The net result is to give the reader a challenging insight into human potential and a discerning grasp of the decisive role that consciousness plays in health and disease and in growth and change.

To the reader with a professional interest in the human energy field, this book offers the astute inquirer several provocative questions for future research: Are there significant relationships between the human energy patterns and the genetic code? What are the inferences for genetic bioengineering? . . . hereditary illnesses?. . . therapeutic interventions?

There seem to be at least three major energy fields concerned with the physical, emotional, and mental human functions'; how are these three energy fields related in the individual? Several levels of organization are apparent in each of these three energy fields. In the emotional energy field, the coarser feelings are perceived to settle in the lower portions of this field in the individual, while the more aspiring or selfless emotions are perceived to be higher in the field, around the area of the heart. Therefore, one wonders: Are the universal laws of gravity effective in this domain?

Kunz theorizes that “. . . the astral solar plexus acts as a shock absorber between the intake of astral (emotional) energy and its dispersal through the body.” Can relevant biochemistries be tagged to test this theory? According to clairvoyant observation, severe abnormalities in the rhythmic flow and structural qualities of the chakras can presage disease; are there ways of modifying the energy patterns of individuals with such impairments to intercept progress of the disease?

Along with ideas for future research, readers with a special interest in therapeutics will find in Kunz and Karagulla's book a wealth of suggestions overflowing from these authors' careful studies of the effects on humans of environmental stimuli, such as sound and light, of the ingestion of drugs, and of surgical excision of various organs of the body.

The unusual perspective from which the context of this book derives, and the rigorous discipline that the authors forced upon themselves to present such rare information in a coherent manner that is readily understandable and yet rigorously substantiated, is exemplary for future books on these topics. It lays an excellent foundation of information about the human condition that will challenge the reader to further study of his/her personal self, as well as more formal and objective research into these phenomena. For either or both, this book is most highly recommended.


Autumn 1989