THE SCIENCE OF BREATH
PHILOSOPHY OF THE TATTVAS
TRANSLATED PROM THE SANSKRIT, WITH
INTRODUCTORY AND EXPLANATORY
NATURE’S FINER FORCES
REPRINTED FROM “THE THEOSOPHIST” WITH
PRASAD, M.A., F.T.S.
Its one absolute attribute, which is itself, eternal, ceaseless Motion, is called
in esoteric parlance the “Great Breath,” which is the perpetual motion of the
in the sense of limitless, everpresent Space.
—H. P. Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine
SECOND AND REVISED EDITION
PUBLISHING SOCIETY, 7, DUKE STREET. ADELPHI, W.C.
PATH, 144, MADISON AVENUE.
THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, ADYAR.
THE H.P.B. PRESS,
Henry Street, Regent’s Park,
to the Theosophical Society)
A word of explanation is necessary with regard to the book now offered
to the public. In the 9th and 10th volumes of the theosophist I
wrote certain Essays on “Nature’s Finer Forces”. The subject of these
essays interested the readers of the Theosophist so much
that I was asked to issue the series of Essays in book form. I found that in order to make a book they must be almost entirely
rearranged, and perhaps rewritten. I was, however, not equal to
the task of rewriting what I had once written. I therefore determined to publish a translation of the book in Sanskrit on the Science of the Breath and the Philosophy
of the Tatwas. As, however, without these Essays the
book would have been quite unintelligible, I decided to add
them to the book by way of an illustrative introduction. This accordingly has been done. The Essays in the theosophist have been reprinted with
certain additions, modifications, and corrections.
Besides, I have written seven more Essays in order to make the explanations
more complete and authoritative. Thus there are altogether 15
introductory and explanatory Essays.
I was confirmed in this course by one more consideration. The book
contains a good deal more than the essays touched upon, and I thought it better
to lay all of it before the public.
The book is sure to throw a good deal of light upon the scientific
researches of the ancient Aryans of India, and it will
leave no doubt in a candid mind that the religion of ancient India had a
scientific basis. It is chiefly for this reason that I have drawn my
illustrations of the Tatwic Law from the Upanishads.
There is a good deal in the book that can only be shown to be true by
long and diligent experiment. Those who are devoted to the
pursuit of truth without prejudice will no doubt be ready to wait before they form any opinion about such portions of the book. Others it is
useless to reason with.
To the former class of students I have to say one word more. From my own
experience I can tell them that the more they study the book,
the more wisdom they are sure to find in it, and let me hope that ere long I shall have a goodly number of colleagues, who will with me try
their best to explain and illustrate the book still better,
and more thoroughly.
Rama Prasad Merut (India) 5 November 1889
Nature’s Finer Forces & Their
Influence on Human Life & Destiny
I. The Tatwa………………………………………………………………………….. 3
III. The Mutual Relation of the
Tatwas and of the Principles….. 14
IV. Prana (I)………………………………………………………….. 19
V. Prana (II)………………………………………………………….. 30
VI. Prana (III)……………………………………………………….. 42
Prana (IV) 46
The Mind (I) 48
IX. The Mind (II)……………………………………………………. 61
X. The Cosmic Picture Gallery……………………………………… 63
XI. The Manifestations of Psychic
Yoga The Soul (I) 72
Yoga (II) 77
XIV.Yoga The Soul (III)………………………………….. 81
XV. The Spirit………………………………………………. 85
XV. The Spirit……………………………………………………………………….. 88
– THE TATWA
tatwas are the five modifications of the great Breath.
prakriti, this Great breath throws
it into five states, having distinct vibratory motions,
and performing different functions. The first outcome of the Evolutionary State of parabrahma is the akasa tatwa. After this come in order the vayu,
the taijas, the apas and the prithivi. They are variously known as mahabhutas. The word akasa is
generally translated into English by the word ether.
Unfortunately, however, sound is not known to be the distinguishing quality of ether in modern English Science. Some few
might also have the idea that the modern
medium of light is the same as akasa. This, I believe, is
a mistake. The luminiferous ether is the subtle taijas tatwa, and not the akasa. All the five
tatwas might no doubt be called ethers,
but to use it for the word akasa, without any
distinguishing epithet, is misleading. We might call akasa
the sonoriferous ether, the vayu the
tangiferous ether, apas the gustiferous ether, and prithivi the odoriferous ether. Just as there
exists in the universe the luminiferous ether, an element of refined mater
without which it has been found that the phenomena of
light find no adequate explanation, so do there exist the four remaining ethers, elements of refined matter, without
which it will be found that the phenomena of
sound, touch, taste and smell find no adequate explanation.
luminiferous ether is supposed by Modern Science to be Matter in a most refined
state. It is the vibrations of this
element that are said to constitute light. The vibrations are said to take
place at right angles to the direction of the
wave. Nearly the same is the description of the taijas tatwa given in the book. It makes this tatwa move in an
upward direction, and the center of the direction is, of course, the
direction of the wave. Besides, it says that one whole
vibration of this element makes the figure of a triangle.
Suppose in the figure:
AB is the direction
of the wave; BC is the direction of the vibration. CA is the line along which,
seeing that in expansion
the symmetrical arrangements of the atoms of a body are not changed, the
vibrating atom must return to its symmetrical position in the line AB.
The taijas tatwa of the Ancients is then exactly the
luminiferous ether of the Moderns, so far as the nature of the vibration is
concerned. There is no exception, however, of the four remaining ethers, at all events in a
direct manner, in Modern Science. The vibrations of akasa, the soniferous ether, constitute
sound; and it is
quite necessary to recognize the distinctive character of this form of motion.
The experiment of the bell in a vacuum goes to prove that the vibrations
of atmosphere propagate sound. Any other media, however, such
as the earth and the metals, are known to transmit sound in various degrees. There must, therefore, be some one thing in all these
media which gives birth to sound the vibration that
constitutes sound. That something is the Indian akasa.
But akasa is allpervading, just as the luminiferous ether. Why, then, is not
sound transmitted to our ears when a vacuum is produced in the
belljar? The real fact is that we must make a difference between the vibrations of the elements that constitute sound and light, etc.,
and the vibrations in the media which transmit these
impressions to our senses. It is not the vibrations of the ethers the subtle tatwas that cause our perceptions, but the ethereal vibrations transferred to
different media, which are so many modifications of
gross matter the sthula Mahabhutas. The luminiferous aether is
present just as much in a darkened room as in the space
without. The minutest space within the dimensions of the surrounding walls themselves is not void of it. For all this the
luminosity of the exterior is not present in the interior.
Why? The reason is that our ordinary vision does not see the vibrations of the
luminiferous ether. It only sees the vibrations of the media that the ether
pervades. The capability of being set into ethereal vibrations varies with
different media. In the space without the darkened room the ether brings the atoms of the atmosphere into the necessary state of visual
vibration, and one wide expanse of light is presented to our
view. The same is the case with every other object that we see. The ether that
pervades the object brings the atoms of that object into the necessary state of
visual vibration. The strength of the ethereal vibrations
that the presence of the sun imparts to the ether pervading our planet is not
sufficient to evoke the same state in the dead matter of the darkening walls.
The internal ether, divided from the eternal one by this
dead mass, is itself cut off from such vibrations. The darkness of the room is thus the consequence, notwithstanding the presence therein
of the luminiferous ether. An electric spark in the vacuum of a
belljar must needs be transmitted to our eyes, because the glass of the jar which stands in contact with the internal luminiferous ether has a
good deal of the quality of being put into the state of
visual vibration, which from thence is transmitted to the external ether and
thence to the eye. The same would never be the case if we were to
use a porcelain or an earthen jar. It is this capability of
being put into the state of visual vibrations that we call transparency in
glass and similar objects.
To return to the soniferous ether (akasa): Every form of gross matter has,
to a certain extent, which varies with various forms, what
we may call auditory transparency.
Now I have to say
something about the nature of the vibrations. Two things must be understood in
this connection. In the first place the external form of the
vibration is something like the hole of the ear:
It throws matter which is subject to it, into the form of a dotted
These dots are little points, rising above the common
surface so as to produce microscopic pits in the sheet. It is said to move by
fits and starts (sankrama), and to move in all directions (sarvatogame). It means to say that the impulse falls back upon itself along the
line of its former path, which lies on all sides of the direction
of the wave:
will be understood that these ethers produce in gross media vibrations similar
to their own. The form, therefore, into which the auditory vibrations throw the
atmospheric air is a true clue to the form of the ethereal
vibration. And the vibrations of atmospheric air discovered by Modern Science
we come to the tangiferous ether (vayu). The vibrations of this ether are described as being spherical in
form, and the motion is said to be at acute angles to the wave (tiryak). Such is the representation of these
vibrations on the plane of the paper:
The remarks about the transmission
of sound in the case of akasa apply here too, mutatis mutandis. The gustiferous ether (apas tatwa) is said to resemble
in shape the half moon. It is, moreover, said to move downward. This direction is opposite to that of the luminiferous ether.
This force therefore causes contraction. Here is the
representation of the apas vibrations on the plane of paper:
The process of contraction will be considered when I come to the
qualities of the tatwas. The odoriferous ether
(prithivi) is said to be quadrangular in shape, thus:
This is said to move in the middle. It neither moves at
right angles, nor at acute angles, nor upwards, nor downwards, but it moves
along the line of the wave. The line and the quadrangle are in the same plane.
are the forms, and the modes of motion, of the five ethers. Of the five
sensations of men, each of these gives birth to one, thus:
Akasa, Sonorifierous ether, Sound;
(2) Vayu, Tangiferous
ether, Touch; (3) Taijas, Luminfierous
Color; (4) Apas, Gustiferous
ether, Taste; (5) Prithivi, Odoriferous
the process of evolution, these coexisting ethers, while retaining their
general, relative forms and primary qualities, contract the qualities of the
other tatwas. This is known
as the process of panchikarana, or division
If we take, as
our book does, H, P, R, V and L to be the algebraic symbols for (1), (2), (3),
(4), and (5), respectively, after panchikarana the ethers assume the following forms:
One molecule of each ether, consisting of eight atoms, has four
of the originalprinciple ethers, and one of the remaining
The following table will show the five
qualities of each of the
tatwas after panchikarana:
It might be remarked here that the subtle tatwas exist now in the universe on four
planes. The higher of these planes differ from the lower in having a greater
number of vibrations per second. The four planes are:
Physical (Prana); (2) Mental
(Manas); (3) Psychic (Vijnana); (4) Spiritual (Ananda) I shall discuss, however, some of the
secondary qualities of these
(1) Space ~ This is
a quality of the akasa tatwa. It has been
asserted that the vibration of this ether is shaped like the hole of the ear, and
that in the body thereof are microscopic points (vindus). It follows evidently that
the interstices between the points serve to give space to ethereal minima, and
offer them room for locomotion (avakasa).
Locomotion ~ This is the quality of the vayu tatwa. Vayu is a form of motion itself, for motion in all directions is
motion in a circle, large or small. The vayu tatwa itself has the form of spherical motion. When to the
motion which keeps the form of the different ethers is added to the stereotyped
motion of the vayu, locomotion is
Expansion ~ This is the quality of the taijas tatwa. This follows evidently from the shape
and form of motion which is given to this ethereal vibration. Suppose ABC is a
lump of metal:
If we applyfire to it,
the luminiferous ether in it is set in motion, and that drives the gross atoms
of the lump into similar motion. Suppose (a) is an atom. This being impelled to assume
the shape of the taijas, vibration goes towards (a’),
and then takes the symmetricalposition of (a’). Similarly does every point
change its place round the center of the piece of metal. Ultimately the whole piece assumes the
shape ofA’B’C’. Expansion is thus the result.
Contraction ~ This is the quality of the apas tatwa. As has been remarked before, the
direction of this ether is the reverse of the agni, and it is therefore easy to understand that contraction
is the result of the play of this tatwa.
Cohesion ~ This is the quality of the prithivi tatwa. It will be seen that this is the
reverse of akasa. Akasa gives room for locomotion, while prithivi resists it. This is the natural result
of the direction and shape of this vibration. It covers up the spaces of the akasa.
(6) Smoothness ~
This is a quality of the apas
tatwa. As the atoms of any body in contraction come near each
other and assume the semilunar shape of the apas, they must easily glide over
each other. The very shape secures easy motion for the atoms.
This, I believe, is
sufficient to explain the general nature of the tatwas. The different phases of
their manifestation on all the planes of life will be taken up in their proper
II – EVOLUTION
will be very interesting to trace the development of man and the development of
the world according to the theory of the tatwas.
tatwas, as we have already seen, are
the modifications of Swara. Regarding Swara, we find in our book: “In the Swara are the Vedas and the shastras, and in the Swara is music. All the world is in the Swara; Swara is the spirit itself.” The proper translation of the
word Swara is “the
current of the lifewave”. It is that wavy motion which is the cause of
the evolution of cosmic undifferentiated matter into the
differentiated universe, and the involution of this into the primary state of
nondifferentiation, and so on, in and out, forever and ever. From whence does
this motion come? This motion is the spirit itself. The word atma used in the book, itself carries the idea of
eternal motion, coming as it does from the root at, eternal motion; and it may be
significantly remarked, that the root at is connected with (and in fact is simply another form of)
the roots ah, breath, and as, being. All these roots have for their original the sound
produced by the breathing of animals. In The Science of Breath the symbol for inspiration is sa, and for expiration ha. It is easy to see how these symbols are connected
with the roots as and ah. The current of lifewave spoken of above is
technically called Hansachasa, i.e., the
motion of ha and sa. The word Hansa, which is taken to mean God, and is made so much of in
many Sanskrit works, is only the symbolic representation of the eternal processes
of life ha and sa.
The primeval current of lifewave is, then, the same which
in man assumes the form of inspiratory and expiratory motion of the lungs, and
this is the allpervading source of the evolution and the involution of the
book goes on: “It is the Swara that has given form to the first accumulations of the
divisions of the universe; the Swara causes involution and evolution; the Swara is God Himself, or more properly the great Power (Mahashwara).” The Swara is the manifestation of the impression
on matter of that power which in man is known to us as the power that knows
itself. It is to be understood that the action of this power never
ceases. It is ever at work, and evolution and involution are the very necessity
of its unchangeable existence.
Swara has two different states. The
one is known on the physical plane as the sunbreath, the other as the
moonbreath. I shall, however, at the present stage of evolution designate them
as positive and negative respectively. The period during which this
current comes back to the point from whence it started is known as the night of
parabrahma. The positive
or evolutionary period is known as the day of parabrahma; the negative or involutionary
portion is known as the night of parabrahma. These nights and days follow each other without
break. The subdivisions of this period comprehend all the phases of existence,
and it is therefore necessary to give her the scale of time according to the
~ The Divisions of Time ~
shall begin with a Truti as the least
division of time. 262/3 truti = 1 nimesha
= 8/45 second.
= 1 kashtha = 31/5 seconds = 8 vipala.
kashtha = 1 kala = 13/5 minutes = 4 pala. 30 kala = 1 mahurta
= 48 minutes = 2 ghari.
mahurta = 1 day and night = 24 hours =
days and nights and odd hours = 1 Pitruja day and night = 1 month and odd hours.
months = 1 Daiva day and night
= 1 year = 365 days, 15″, 30′, 31”.
Daiva days and nights = 1 Daiva year. 4,800 Daiva years = 1 Satya yuga.
Daiva years = 1 Treta yuga.
Daiva years = 1 Dwapara yuga.
Daiva years = 1 Kali yuga.
Daiva years = 1 Chaturyugi (four yuga). 12,000 Chaturyugi = 1 Daiva
Daiva yuga = 1 day and
night of Brahma. 365 Brahmic
days and nights = 1 year of Brahma. 71 Daiva yuga = 1 Manwantara.
Brahmic years = 1 Chaturyuga of Brahma, and
yuga of Brahma = 1 day and night of parabrahma.
days and nights follow each other in eternal succession, and hence eternal
evolution and involution.
have thus five sets of days and night: (1) Parabrahma, (2) Brahma, (3) Daiva, (4) Pitrya, (5) Manusha. A sixth is
the Manwantara day, and the Manwantara night (pralaya).
days and nights of parabrahma follow each
other without beginning or end. The night (the negative period and the
day (the positive period) both merge into the susumna (the conjunctive period) and merge into
each other. And so do the other days and nights. The days all through this
division are sacred to the positive, the hotter current, and the nights
are sacred to the negative, the cooler current. The impressions of names and
forms, and the power of producing an impression, lie in the positive phase of
existence. Receptivity is given birth to by the negative current.
being subjected to the negative phase of parabrahma, Prakriti, which follows
parabrahma like a shadow, has
been saturated with evolutionary receptivity; as the hotter current sets in,
changes are imprinted upon it, and it appears in changed forms. The first imprint
that the evolutionary positive current leaves upon Prakriti is known as akasa. Then, by and by the remaining ethers
come into existence. These modifications of Prakriti are the ethers of the first stage.
these five ethers, as now constituting the objective phase, works on the
current of the Great Breath. A further development takes place. Different
centers come into existence. The akasa throws them into a form that gives room for locomotion.
With the beginning of the vayu
tatwa these elementary ethers are thrown into the form of spheres. This
was the beginning of formation, or what may also be called solidification.
into five takes place. In this Brahmic sphere in which the new ethers have good
room for locomotion, the taijas tatwa now comes into
play, and then the apas tatwa. Every tatwic
quality is generated into, and preserved in, these spheres by these currents. In
process of time we have a center and an atmosphere. This sphere is the
this sphere, according to the same process, a third ethereal state comes into
existence. In the cooler atmosphere removed from the center another class of
centers comes into existence. These divide the Brahmic state of matter into two
different states. After this comes into existence another state of matter whose centers
bear the names of devas or suns.
have thus four states of subtle matter in the universe:
(1) Prana, life matter,
with the sun for center; (2) Manas, mental matter, with the manu for center; (3) Vijnana, psychic matter, with Brahma for center; (4) Ananda, spiritual matter, with parabrahma as the infinite substratum.
higher state is positive with regard to the lower one, and every lower on is
given birth to by a combination of the positive and negative phase of the
Prana has to do with
three sets of days and nights in the above division of time: (a) Our ordinary days and
nights; (b) The bright and dark half of the month which are called the pitrya
day and night; (c) The northern and southern halves of the years, the day and
night of the devas.
three nights acting upon earthmatter impart to it the receptivity of the cool,
negative shady phase of lifematter. These nights imprint themselves on the
respective days coming in after it. The earth herself thus becomes a living
being, having a north pole, in which a central force draws the needle towards
itself, and a south pole in which is centered a for which is, so to speak, the
shade of the north polar center. It has also always a solar force centered
in the eastern half, and the lunar the shade of the former
centered in the western half.
centers come, in fact, into existence even before the earth is manifested on
the gross plane. So too do the centers of other planets come into existence.
As the sun presents himself to the manu there come into existence two states
of matter in which the sun lives and moves the positive and the negative. As
the solar prana, after having
been for some time subjected to the negative shady state, is subjected in
its revolutionary course to the source of its positive phase, manu, the figure of manu is imprinted upon it. This manu is, in fact, the universal mind, and all the planets
with their inhabitants are the phases of his existence. Of this, however, more
heareafter. At present we see that earthlife or Terrestrial Prana has four centers of force.
it has been cooled by the negative current, the positive phase imprints itself
upon it, and earthlife in various forms comes into existence. The essays on prana will explain this more clearly.
Manas: this has to
do with manu. The suns
revolve round these centers with the whole of their atmospheres of prana. This system gives birth to the lokas or spheres of life, of which the planets are one class.
These lokas have been enumerated by Vyasa in his
commentary on the Yogasutra (III. Pada, 26th
Sutra). The aphorism
meditation upon the sun is obtained a knowledge of the physical creation.”
this, the revered commentator says: “There are seven lokas (spheres of existence).”
The Bhurloka: this extends
to the Meru; (2) Antareikshaloka: this extends
from the surface of the Meru to the Dhru, the polestar, and contains the planets, the nakstatras, and the stars; (3) Beyond that is
the swarloka: this is
fivefold and sacred to Mahendra; (4) Maharloka: This is sacred to the Prajapati; (5) Janaloka; (6) Tapas loka, and; (7) Satya loka. These three (5, 6, and 7) are sacred
is not my purpose to try at present to explain the meaning of these lokas. It is sufficient for my present purpose
to say that the planets, the stars, the lunar mansions are all impressions of manu, just as the organisms of the earth are the
impressions of the sun. The solar prana is prepared for this impression during the manwantara night.
Vijnana has to do with the nights and
days of Brahma, and Ananda with those of Parabrahma.
will thus be seen that the whole process of creation, on whatever plane of
life, is performed most naturally by the five tatwas in their double modifications, the
positive and negative. There is nothing in the universe that the Universal Tatwic
Law of Breath does not comprehend.
After this brief exposition of the theory of tatwic
evolution comes a series of Essays, taking up all the subtle states
of matter one by one, and describing more in detail the working of the tatwic
law in those planes, and also the manifestations of these planes of
life in humanity.
III THE MUTUAL RELATION OF THE TATWAS AND OF THE
akasa is the most important of all the
tatwas. It must, as a matter of
course, precede and follow every change of state on every plane of life.
Without this there can be no manifestation or cessation of forms. It is
out of akasa that every
form comes, and it is in akasa that every
form lives. The akasa is full of forms
in their potential state. It intervenes between every two of the five tatwas, and between every two of
the five principles.
evolution of the tatwas is always part
of the evolution of a certain definite form. Thus the manifestation of the
primary tatwas is with the
definite aim of giving what we may call a body, a Prakritic form
to the Iswara. In the bosom
of the Infinite Parabrahma, there are
hidden unnumerable such centers. One center takes under its influence a
certain portion of the Infinite, and there we find first of all
coming into existence the akasa
tatwa. The extent of this akasa limits the
extent of the Universe, and out of it the Iswara is to come. With this end comes out of
this akasa the Vayu tatwa. This pervades the whole Universe and
has a certain center that serves to keep the whole expanse together, and
separate as one whole, from other universes (Brahmandas).
has been mentioned, and further on will be more clearly explained, that every tatwa has a positive and a negative
phase. It is also evident on the analogy of the sun that places more distant
from the center are always negative to those which are nearer. We might say that
they are cooler than these, as it will be seen later on the heat is not
peculiar to the sun only, but that all the higher centers have a greater amount of heat
than even the sun itself.
then, in this Brahmic sphere of Vayu, except for some space near the parabrahmic akasa, every atom of the vayu is reacted upon by an opposite force. The more
distant and therefore the cooler one reacts upon the nearer and therefore the
hotter. The equal and opposite vibrations of the same force cancel each
other, and both together pass into the akasic state. Thus, while some of this
space remains filled up by the Brahmic Vayu on account of the constant outflow of this tatwa from the parabrahmic akasa, the remainder is rapidly turned into akasa. This akasa is the mother of the Brahmic agni tatwa. The agni tatwa working similarly gives birth through
another akasa to the apas, and this similarly to the prithivi. This Brahmic prithivi thus contains the qualities of all the
preceding tatwas besides a fifth
of its own.
The first stage of the Universe, the ocean of psychic
matter has now come into existence in its entirety. This matter is,
of course, very, very fine, and there is absolutely no grossness in it as
compared with the matter of the fifth plane. In this ocean shines the
intelligence of Iswara, and this
ocean, with everything that might be manifest in it, is the selfconscious
this psychic ocean, as before, the more distant atoms are negative to the
nearer ones. Hence, except a certain space which remains filled with the
psychic prithivi on account of
the constant supply of this element from above, the rest begins to change into
an akasa. This second akasa is full of what are called Manus in their potential state. The Manus are so many groups of certain mental forms, the
ideals of the various genera and species of life to appear further on. We have
to do with one of these.
Impelled by the evolutionary current of the Great Breath, manu comes out of
this akasa, in the same
way as Brahma did out of the parabrahmic akasa. First and
uppermost in the mental sphere is the Vayu, and then in
regular order the taijas, the apas, and the prithivi. This mental
matter follows the same laws, and similarly begins to pass
into the third akasic state, which is full of innumerable suns. They come out
in the same way, and begin to work on a similar plan, which will be better
understood here than higher up.
Everybody can test here for himself that the more distant portions of the
solar system are cooler than the nearer ones. Every little atom of Prana is
comparatively cooler than the adjacent one towards the sun from itself. Hence
equal and opposite vibrations cancel each other. Leaving, therefore, a certain space near the sun as always filled up with the tatwas of Prana, which are
there being constantly supplied from the sun, the rest of the
Prana passes into the akasic state.
It might be noted down here that the whole of this Prana is made up of
innumerable little points. In the future I shall speak
of these points of as trutis, and might say here that it is these trutis that appear on
the terrestrial plane as atoms (anu or paramanu). They might
be spoken of as solar atoms. These solar atoms are of various
classes according to the prevalence of one or more of the constituent tatwas.
Every point of Prana is a perfect picture of the whole
ocean. Every other point is represented in every point. Every
atom has, therefore, for its constituents, all the four tatwas, in varying
proportions according to its position in respect of others. The
different classes of these solar atoms appear on the terrestrial plane as the various elements of chemistry.
The spectrum of every terrestrial element reveals the color or colors of
the prevalent tatwa or tatwas of a solar atom of that substance. The greater the heat to which any
substance is subjected the nearer does the element
approaches its solar state. Heat destroys for the time being the terrestrial
coatings of the solar atoms.
The spectrum of sodium thus shows the presence of the yellow prithivi, that of
lithium, the red agni and the yellow prithivi, that of
cesium, the red agni, the green admixture, the yellow prithivi, and the blue
vayu. Rubidium shows red, orange, yellow, green and blue, i.e., the agni, prithivi and agni, prithivi, vayu and prithivi, and vayu. These classes of solar atoms that
make up all put altogether, the wide expanse of the solar prana, pass into the
akasic state. While the sun keeps up a constant supply of these atoms, those that are passing into the akasic state pass on the other
side into the planetary vayu. Certain measured portions of
the solar akasa
naturally separate themselves from others, according to
the differing creation that is to appear in those portions.
These portions of akasa are called lokas. The earth itself is a loka called the Bhurloka. I shall take
up the earth for further illustration of the law.
That portion of the solar akasa that is the immediate
mother of the Earth, first gives birth to the terrestrial Vayu. Every element is now
in the state of the Vayu tatwa, which may now be called gaseous. The Vayu
tatwa is spherical in shape, and thus the gaseous planet
bears similar outlines. The center of this gaseous sphere
keeps together round itself the whole expanse of gas. As soon as this gaseous sphere comes into existence, it is subjected to the following influences
the nearer ones
and vice versa.
first influence has a double effect upon the gaseous sphere. It imparts more
heat to the nearer hemisphere than to the more distant one. The superficial air
of the nearer hemisphere having contracted a certain amount of solar energy, rises
towards the sun. Cooler air from below takes its place. But where does the
superficial air go? It cannot pass beyond the limit of the terrestrial sphere,
which is surrounded by the solar akasa through which comes a supply from the solar Prana. It therefore begins to move in a
circle, and thus a rotary motion is established in the sphere. This is the origin
of the earth’s rotation upon its axis.
as a certain amount of the solar energy is imparted to the gaseous terrestrial
sphere, the impulse of the upward motion reaches the center itself. Therefore
that center itself, and along with it the whole sphere, moves towards the sun.
It cannot, however, go on in this direction, for a nearer approach would destroy that
balance of forces that gives the earth its peculiarities. A loka that is nearer to the sun than our planet
cannot have the same conditions of life. Hence, while the sun draws the earth
towards itself, those laws of life that have given it a constitution, on
which ages must roll on, keep it in the sphere they have assigned
to it. Two forces thus come into existence. Drawn by one the earth would go
towards the sun; checked by the other it must remain where it is. These are the
centrifugal and the centripetal forces, and their action results in
giving the earth its annual revolution.
the internal action of the gaseous atoms upon each other ends in the change of
the whole gaseous sphere, except the upper portion, into the akasic state. This
akasic state gives birth to the igneous (pertaining to the agni tatwa) state of terrestrial matter. This
changes similarly into the apas, and this again
into the prithivi.
same process obtains in the changes of matter with which we are now familiar.
An example will better illustrate the whole law.
Take ice. This is solid, or what the Science of Breath
would call in the state of prithivi. One quality
prithivi tatwa, the reader
will remember, is cohesive resistance. Let us apply heat to this ice. As this
heat passes into the ice, it is indicated by the thermometer. When the
temperature rises to 78 degrees, the ice changes its state. But the thermometer
no longer indicates the same amount of heat. 78 degrees of heat have
us now apply 536 degrees of heat to a pound of boiling water. As is generally
known, this great quantity of heat becomes latent while the water passes into
the gaseous state.
let us follow the reverse process. To gaseous water let us apply a certain
amount of cold. When this cold becomes sufficient entirely to counteract the
heat that keeps it in the gaseous state, the vapor passes into
the akasa state, and
from thence into the taijas state. It is
not necessary that the whole of the vapor should at once pass into the next
state. The change is gradual. As the cold is gradually passing into the
vapor, the taijas modification
is gradually appearing out of, and through the intervention of akasa, into which it had passed during latency. This is
being indicated on the thermometer. When the whole has passed into the igneous
state, and the thermometer has indicated 536 degrees, the second akasa comes into existence. Out of this second akasa comes the liquid state at the same temperature,
whole heat having again passed into the akasa state, and therefore no longer indicated by the thermometer.
When cold is applied to this liquid, heat again begins to
come out, and when it reaches 78 degrees, this heat having come out of and
through the akasa, into which it
had passed, the whole liquid had passed into the igneous state. Here it again
begins to pass into the akasa state. The
thermometer begins to fall down, and out of this akasa begins to come the prithivi state of water ice.
we see that the heat which is given out by the influence of cold passes into
the akasa state, which becomes the
substratum of a higher phase, and the heat which is absorbed passes into
another akasa state, which
becomes the substratum of a lower phase.
is in this way that the terrestrial gaseous sphere changes into its present
state. The experiment described above points out many important truths about
the relation of these tatwas to each other.
of all it explains that very important assertion of the Science of Breath which
says that every succeeding tatwic state has the qualities of all the foregoing
tatwic states. Thus we see that as the gaseous state of water is being acted
upon by cold, the latent heat of steam is being cancelled and passing into the akasa state. This cannot but be the case, since equal and
opposite vibrations of the same force always cancel each other, and the result
is the akasa. Out of this
comes the taijas state of matter. This is
that state in which the latent heat of steam becomes patent. It will be
observed that this state has no permanence. The taijas form of water, as indeed any other
substance, cannot exist for any length of time, because the major part
of terrestrial matter is in the lower and therefore more negative states of apas and prithivi, and whenever for any cause any substance passes into the
taijas state, the surrounding
objects begin at once to react upon it with such force as at once to force it
into the next akasa state. Those
things that now live in the normal state of the apas or the prithivi find it quite against the
laws of their existence to remain, except under external influence, in the taijas (igneous) state. Thus an
atom of gaseous water before passing into the liquid state has already remained
in the three states, the akasa, the gaseous,
and the taijas. It must,
therefore, have all the qualities of the three tatwas, and so it no doubt has. Cohesive
resistance is only wanted, and that is the quality of the prithivi tatwa.
when this atom of liquid water passes into the icy state, what do we see? All
the states that have preceded must again show themselves. Cold will cancel the
latent heat of the liquid state, and the akasa state will come out. Out of this akasa state is sure to come the gaseous state. This
gaseous (Vayava) state is
evidenced by the gyrations and other motions that are set up in the body of the
liquid by the mere application of the cold. The motion, however, is not
of very long duration, and as they are ceasing (passing into the akasa state) the taijas state is coming out. This too,
however, is not of long duration, and as this is passing into the akasa state, the ice is coming into existence.
will be easy to see that all four states of terrestrial matter exist in our
sphere. The gaseous (Vayava) is there in what
we call the atmosphere; the igneous (taijas) is the normal temperature of earth life; the liquid (apas) is the ocean; the solid (prithivi) is the terra firma. None of these states, however,
exists quite isolated from the other. Each is constantly invading the domain of
the other, and thus it is difficult
find any portion of space filled up only with matter in one state. The two
adjacent tatwas are found intermixed with each other to a greater degree
than those that are removed from each other by an intermediate
state. Thus prithivi will be found
mixed up to a greater extent with water than with agni and vayu, apas with agni than with vayu, and vayu with agni more than with any other. It would thus appear from
the above, according to the science of tatwas, that the flame and other luminous bodies on earth are
not in the terrestrial taijas
(igneous) state. They are in or near the solar state of matter.
IV – PRANA (I)
Centers of Prana; The Nadis; The Tatwic Centers of Life;
The Ordinary Change of Breath
Prana, as already
expressed, is that state of Tatwic matter which surrounds the sun, and in which
moves the earth and other planets. It is the state next higher than matter in
the terrestrial state. The terrestrial sphere is separated from the solar Prana by an akasa. Thisakasa is the immediate mother of the terrestrial vayu whose native color is blue. It is on this account
that the sky looks blue.
at this point in the heavens, the Prana changes into akasa, which gives birth to the terrestrial Vayu, the rays of the sun that fall on the sphere from
without are not stopped in their inward journey. They are refracted, but move
onwards into the terrestrial sphere all the same. Through these rays the ocean of Prana, which surrounds our sphere, exerts upon it an
terrestrial Prana the
earthlife that appears in the shape of all the living organisms of our planet
as a whole, nothing more than a modification of the solar Prana.
the earth moves round her own axis and round the sun, twofold centers are
developed in the terrestrial Prana. During the diurnal rotation every place, as it is
subjected to the direct influence of the sun, sends forth the positive
lifecurrent from the East to the West. During the night the same place sends forth the
the annual course the positive current travels from the North to the South
during the six months of summer the day of the devas and the negative during
the remaining six months the night of the devas.
North and East are thus sacred to the positive current; the opposite quarters
to the negative current. The sun is the lord of the positive current, the moon of
the negative, because the negative solar prana comes during the night to the earth from the moon.
terrestrial prana is thus an
ethereal being with double centers of work. The first is the northern, the second the
southern. The two halves of these centers are the eastern and western centers.
During the six months of summer the current of life runs from the North
to the South, and during the months of winter the negative current goes the
every month, with every day, with every nimesha this current completes a minor course, and while this
current continues in this course the diurnal rotation gives it an eastern or
western direction. The northern current runs during the day of man from East
to West, and during the night from West to East. The directions of the other
current are respectively opposite to the above. So practically there are only two
directions the eastern and western. The difference of the northern and
southern currents is not practically felt in terrestrial life. These two
currents produce in the terrestrial prana two distinguishable modifications of the composing
ethers. The rays of either of these ethereal modifications proceeding from
their different centers run into each other the one giving life, strength, form and other
qualities to the other. Along the rays emerging from the northern center, run
the currents of positive prana; along those
emerging from the southern, the currents of negative prana. The eastern and western channels of these
currents are respectively called Pingala and Ida, two of the
nadis of the Tantrists. It will be better to discuss the other bearings of Prana, when we have localized it in the human body.
influence of this terrestrial Prana develops two centers of work in the gross matter that is
to form a human body. Part of the matter gathers round the northern, and part
round the southern center. The northern center develops into the brain; the
southern into the heart. The general shape of the terrestrial Prana is something like an ellipse. In this the northern
focus is in the brain; the southern in the heart. The column
along which the positive matter gathers runs between these foci.
line in the middle is the place where the eastern and western right and left
divisions of the column join. The column is the medulla oblongata the
central line is also susumna, the right and
left divisions the Pingala and Ida. The rays of Prana that diverge either way from these nadis are only their ramifications,
and constitute together with them the nervous system.
negative Prana gathers round
the southern center. This, too, takes a form similar to the former. The right and left
divisions of this column are the right and left divisions of the heart.
division has two principal ramifications, and each ramification again ramifies
into others. The two openings either way are one a vein, and one an artery,
the four opening into four chambers the four petals of the lotus of the
heart. The right part of the heart again, with all its ramifications, is called
Pingala, the left Ida, and the middle part susumna.
is reason to think, however, that the heart only is spoken of as the lotus,
while the three foregoing names are set apart for the nervous system. The
current of Prana works forward
and backward, in and out. The cause of this lies in the momentary of the being
of Prana. As the year
advances, every moment a change of state takes place in the terrestrial prana, on account of the varying strengths of the solar and lunar
currents. Thus, every moment is, strictly speaking, a new being of Prana. As Buddha says, all life is momentary. The
Moment that is the first to throw into matter the germ that will develop the two centers
is the first cause of organized life. If the succeeding Moments are friendly in
their tatwic effect to the first cause, the organism gains strength and
develops; if not, the impulse is rendered fruitless. The general effect of these
succeeding moments keeps up general life; but the impulse of any one moment
tends to pass off as the others come in. A system of forward and backward
motion is thus established. One Moment of Prana proceeding from the center of work
goes to the farthest ends of the gross vessels nerves and blood vessels of
the organism. The succeeding moment gives it, however, the backwards
impulse. A few moments are taken in the completion of the forward impulse, and
the determination of the backward one. This period differs in different
organisms. As the Prana runs forward, the
lungs inspire; as it recedes, the process of expiration sets in.
Prana moves in the Pingala when it moves from the northern center
towards the east, and from the southern towards the west; it moves in Ida when it moves from the northern center towards the
west, and from the southern center towards the east. This means that in the
former case the Prana moves from the brain,
towards the right, through the heart, to the left and back to the brain; and
from the heart to the left through the brain to the right back to the heart. In
the latter the case is the reverse. To use other terms, in the former case the Prana moves from the nervous system to the right through
of blood vessels to the left, and back again to the nervous system; or, from
the system of blood vessels to the left through the nervous system to the
right, and back again to the system of blood vessels. These two currents
coincide. In the latter the case is the reverse. The left part of the body containing the
nerves and the blood vessels may be called Ida, the right the Pingala. The right and left bronchi form as
well the part respectively of Pingala and Ida, as any other
parts of the right and left divisions of the body. But what is susumna? One of the names of susumna is sandhi, the place where the two Ida and Pingala join. It is really that place from which the Prana may move either way right or left
or, under certain circumstances, both ways. It is that place which the Prana must pass when it changes from the right to the
left, and from the left to the right. It is therefore booth the spinal canal and the
cardiac canal. The spinal canal extends from the Brahmarandhra, the northern center of Prana through the whole vertebral column (Brahmadanda). The cardiac canal extends from the southern center
midway between the two lobes of the heart. As the Prana moves from the spinal canal towards the
right hand to the heart, the right lung works; the breath comes in and out of
the right nostril. When it reaches the southern canal, you cannot feel the breath
out of either nostril. As, however, it goes out of the cardiac canal to the
left, the breath begins to come out of the left nostril, and flows through that
until the Prana again reaches
the spinal canal. There, again, you cease to feel the breath out of either
nostril. The effect of these two positions of Prana is identical upon the flow of breath, and, therefore, I
think that both the northern and southern canals are designated by susumna. If we may speak in this
way, let us imagine that a plane passes midway between the spinal and cardiac
canals. This plane will pass through the hollow of the susumna. But let it be understood that there
is no such plane in reality. It will perhaps be more correct to say that
as the rays of the positive Ida and Pingala spread either way as nerves, and those
of the negative as bloodvessels, the rays of susumna spread all over the body midway
between the nerves and blood vessels, the positive and negative nadis. The following is the description of susumna in the Science of Breath:
“When the breath goes in and out, one moment by the
left and the other by the right nostril, that too is susumna. When Prana is in that nadi the fires of death burn; this is called vishuva. When it moves one moment in the
right, and the other in the left, let it be called the Unequal State (vishamabhava); when it moves thorough
both at once, the wise have called it vishuva“
is susumna] at the time
of the passing of the Prana from the Ida into the Pingala, or vice versa; and also of the change of one tatwa into another.”
the susumna has two other
functions. It is called vedoveda
in one of its manifestations, and sandhyasandhi in the other. As, however, the right and left directions
of the cardiac Prana coincide with
the left and right of the spinal current, there are some writers who dispense
with the double susumna. According to
them, the spinal canal alone is the susumna. The Uttaragita
and Latachakra nirupana are works in this class. This method of
explanation takes away a good deal of difficulty. The highest
recommendation of this view is its comparative simplicity. The right side
current from the heart, and the left side current from the spine may both
be reckoned without difficulty as the left side spinal currents, and so may the
remaining two currents be reckoned as the right side spinal currents.
One more consideration is in favor of this view. The nervous system
represents the sun, the system of
vessels the moon. Hence the real force of life dwells in the nerves. The
positive and negative the solar and lunar phases of life matter are only
different phases of Prana, the solar
matter. The more distant and therefore the cooler matter is negative to
the nearer, and therefore, the hotter. It is solar life that manifests
itself in the various phases of the moon. To pass out of technicalities, it is
nervous force that manifests itself in various forms, in the system of blood
vessels. The blood vessels are only the receptacles of nervous force. Hence, in
the nervous system, the real life of the gross body is the true Ida, Pingala and susumna. These are,
in such a case, the spinal column, and the right and left sympathetics,
with all their ramifications throughout the body.
development of the two centers is thus the first stage in the development of
the fetus. The matter that gathers up under the influence of the northern
center is the spinal column; the matter that gathers up round the
southern center is the heart. The diurnal rotation divides these columns or
canals into the right and left divisions. Then the correlative influence
of these two centers upon each other develops an upper and lower division in each
of these centers. This happens somewhat in the same way, and on the same principle,
as a Leyden jar is charged with positive electricity by a negative rod. Each of
these centers is thus divided into four parts:
The right side positive, (2) the left side positive, (3) the right side
negative, and (4) the left side negative.
the heart these four divisions are called the right and left auricles and
ventricles. The Tantras style these four divisions the four petals of the cardiac
lotus, and indicate them by various letters. The positive petals of the heart
form the center from which proceed the positive blood vessels, the arteries; the negative
petals are the starting points of the negative blood vessels, the veins. This
negative prana is pregnant with
Prana, (2) Apana, (3) Samana, (4) Vyana, (5) Udana, (6) Krikila, (7) Naga, (8) Devadatta, (9) Dhavanjaya, (10) Kurma.
ten forces are called vayu. The word vayu is derived from the root va, to move, and means nothing more
than a motive power. The Tantrists do not mean to give it the idea of a gas.
Henceforth I shall speak of the vayu as the forces or motive powers of prana. These ten manifestations of Prana are reduced by some writers to the
first five alone, holding that the remaining ones are only modifications of the former,
which are the allimportant of the functions of prana. This, however, is only a question of division. From
the left side positive petal the prana gathers up into a nadi that ramifies within the chest into the lungs,
and again gathers up into a nadi that opens into
the right side negative petal. This entire course forms something like a circle (chakra). This nadi is called in modern science the pulmonary artery and
vein. Two lungs come into existence by the alternate workings of the positive
and negative prana of the eastern
and western powers.
from the right side positive petal branch several nadi that go both upwards and downwards in two directions,
the former under the influence of the northern, the latter under the influence
of the southern powers. Both these nadi open after a circular march throughout the upper and lower
portions of the body into the left side negative petal.
the left side positive and the right side negative petal is one chakra (disk). This chakra comprises the pulmonary artery, the
lungs, and the pulmonary vein. The chest gives room to this chakra, which is positive with respect to the lower
portions of the body, in which run the ramifications of the lower chakra, which latter joins the right side positive and
the left side negative petals.
the above chakra (in the cavity
of the chest) is the seat of prana, the first and most important of the ten
manifestations. Inspiration and expiration being a true index of the changes of
prana, the pulmonary
manifestations thereof have the same name. With the changes of prana we have a corresponding
change in the other functions of life. The lower negative chakra contains the principal seats of some
of the other manifestations of life. This apana is located in the long intestine, samana in the navel, and so on.
Also, udana is located in
the throat; vyana all over the
body. Udana causes
belching; kurma in the eyes
causes them to shut and open; krikila in the stomach causes hunger. In short, proceeding from
the four petals of the heart we have an entire network of these blood vessels.
There are two sets of these blood vessels side by side in every part of
the body, connected by innumerable little channels, the capillaries.
read in the Prasnopnisat:
the heart [ramify the] nadi. Of these
there are 101 principal ones (Pradhana nadi). Each of these branches into 100. Each of these again
Thus, there are 10,100 branch nadi, and 727,200,000 still smaller ones, or what are
called twignadi. The terminology
is imitated from a tree. There is the root in the heart. From these proceed
various stems. These ramify into branches, and these again into twig vessels; all
these nadi put together
of these the one is the susumna; the rest are
divided half and half over the two halves of the body. So we read in
the Kathopnishat, 6th valli, 16th mantra:
“A hundred and one nadi are connected with the heart. Of these one passes
out into the head. Going out by that one becomes immortal. The others become
the cause in sending the life principle out of various other
one that goes to the head, remarks the commentator, is the susumna. The susumna then is that nadi whose nervous substratum or reservoir of force is
the spine. Of the remaining principal nadis, the Ida is the reservoir of the life force that works in
the left part of the body, having 50 principal nadi. So also has the right part of the body 50
principal nadi. These go on
dividing as above. The nadi of the third degree
become so minute as to be visible only by a microscope. The ramifications of
the susumna all over the
body serve during life to carry the prana from the positive to the negative portions of the body, and vice versa. In case of blood these are the modern
Vedantins, of course, take the heart to be the starting point of this
ramification. The Yogis, however, proceed from the navel. Thus in The Science of Breath we read:
“From the root in the navel proceed 72,000 nadi spreading all
over the body. There sleeps the goddess
Kundalini like a
serpent. From this center (the navel) ten nadi go upwards, ten downwards, and two and two
number 72,000 is the result of their own peculiar reckoning. It matters little
which division we adopt if we understand the truth of the case.
these nadi run the
various forces that form and keep up the physiological man. These channels gather up into
various parts of the body as centers of the various manifestations of prana. It is like water falling from a hill, gathering
into various lakes, each lake letting out several streams. These centers are:
(1) Hand power centers, (2) Foot power centers, (3)
Speech power centers, (4) Excretive power centers, (5) Generative
power centers, (6) Digestive and absorbing power centers, (7) Breathing power
centers, and (8) the five sense power centers.
nadi that proceed to the outlets of
the body perform the most important functions of the body, and they are hence
said to be the ten principal ones in the whole system. These are:
Ghandari goes to the
left eye; (2) Hastijihiva goes to the
right eye; (3) Pasta goes to the
right ear; (4) Yashawani goes to the
left ear; (5) Alamhusha, or alammukha (as it is variously spelled in one ms.)
to the mouth. This evidently is the alimentary canal; (6) Kuhu goes to the generative organs; (7) Shankini goes to the excretive organs; (8) Ida is the nadi that leads to the left nostril; (9) Pingala is the one that leads to the right
nostril. It appears that these names are given to these local nadi for the same reason that the pulmonary manifestation
of prana is known by the
same name; (10) Susumna has already been
explained in its various phases and manifestations.
are two more outlets of the body that receive their natural development in the
female: the breasts. It is quite possible that the nadi Danini, of which no specific mention has been
made, might go to one of these. Whatever it may be, the principle of the
division and classification is clear, and this is something
moral and intellectual powers also exist in the system. Thus we read in the Vishramopnishat (The following figure will serve to
illustrate the translation):
“(1) While the mind
rests in the eastern portion (or petal), which is white in color, then it is
inclined towards patience, generosity, and reverence.
“(2) While the mind
rests in the southeastern portion, which is red in color, then it is inclined
towards sleep, torpor and evil inclination.
“(3) While the mind
rests in the southern portion, which is black in color, then it is inclined
towards anger, melancholy, and bad tendencies.
“(4) While the mind
rests in the southwestern portion, which is blue in color, then it is inclined
towards jealousy and cunning.
“(5) While the mind
rests in the western portion, which is brown in color, then it is inclined
towards smiles, amorousness, and jocoseness.
“(6) While the mind
rests in the northwestern portion, which is indigo in color, then it is
inclined towards anxiety, restless dissatisfaction, and apathy.
“(7) While the mind
rests in the northern portion, which is yellow in color, then it is inclined
towards love and enjoyment and adornment.
“(8) While the mind
rests in the northeastern portion, which is white in color, then it is inclined
towards pity, forgiveness, reflection, and religion.
“(9) While the mind
rests in the sandhi (conjunctions)
of these portions, then disease and confusion in body and home, and the mind
inclines towards the three humors.
“(10) While the mind
rests in the middle portion, which is violet in color, then Consciousness goes beyond the
qualities [three qualities of Maya] and it inclines toward Intelligence.”
any of these centers is in action the mind is conscious of the same sort of
feelings, and inclines towards them. Mesmeric passes serve only to excite these
centers are located in the head as well as in the chest, and also in the
abdominal region and the loins, etc.
It is these centers, together with the heart itself, that
bear the name of padma or kamala (lotus). Some of these are large, some
small, some very small. A tantric lotus is the type of a vegetable organism, a
root with various branches. These centers are the reservoirs of various powers,
and hence the roots of the padma; the nadi ramifying these centers are their various
nervous plexus of the modern anatomists coincide with these centers. From what
has been said above it will appear that the centers are constituted by
blood vessels. But the only difference between the nerves and the blood vessels
is the difference between the vehicles of the positive and negative prana. The nerves are the positive, and the blood
vessels are the negative system of the body. Wherever there are
nerves there are corresponding blood vessels. Both of them are indiscriminately
called nadi. One set has
for its center the lotus of the heart, the other the thousandpetalled lotus of
the brain. The system of blood vessels is an exact picture of the nervous
system; it is, in fact, only its shadow. Like the heart, the
brain has its upper and lower divisions the cerebrum and the cerebellum and
its right and
left divisions as well. The nerves going to very part of the body and
coming back from thence together with those going to
the upper and lower portions correspond to the four petals of the heart. This
system, too, has as many centers of energy as the former. Both
these centers coincide in position. They are, in fact, the same: the nervous
plexuses and ganglia of modern anatomy. Thus, in my opinion, the tantric padma are not only
the centers of nervous power the positive northern prana but
necessarily of the negative prana as well.
The translation of the Science of Breath that is now presented
to the reader has two sections enumerating the various actions
that are to be done during the flow of the positive and negative breath. They show nothing more than what can in some cases be very easily
verified, that certain actions are better done by
positive energy, and others by negative energy. The taking in of chemicals and
their changes are actions, as well as any others. Some of the
chemicals are better assimilated by the negative for example,
milk and other fatty substances), others by the positive Prana (other food,
that which is digested in the stomach). Some of our sensations
produce more lasting effects upon the negative, others upon the positive prana.
Prana has now
arranged the gross matter in the womb into the nervous and blood vessel
systems. The Prana, as has been seen, is made of the five
tatwa, and the nadi serve only as lines for tatwic currents
to run on. The centers of power noticed above are centers
of tatwic power. The tatwic centers in the right part of the body
are solar, and those in the left are lunar. Both these solar and lunar centers
are of five descriptions. Their kind is determined by what are
called the nervous ganglia. The semilunar ganglia are the
reservoirs of the apas tatwa. Similarly, we have the reservoirs of
the other forces. From these central reservoirs the tatwic
currents run over the same lines, and do the various actions allotted to them in physiological anatomy.
Everything in the human body that has more less of the
cohesive resistance is made up of the prithivi tatwa. But in this the various tatwas work imprinting
differing qualities upon the various parts of the body.
tatwa, among others, performs the functions of giving
birth to, and nourishing the skin; the positive gives us the positive, and the
negative the negative skin. Each of these has five layers:
(1) Pure vayu, (2) Vayuagni, (3) Vayuprithivi, (4) Vayuapas, (5) Vayuakasa. These five classes
of cells have the following figures:
(1) Pure Vayu ~ This is the complete sphere of the Vayu:
VayuAgni ~ The triangle is superposed over the sphere, and the cells
have something like the following shape:
VayuPrithivi ~ This is the result of the superposition of the
quadrangular Prithivi over the spherical Vayu:
(4) VayuApas ~ Something like an ellipse, the semimoon
superposed over the sphere:
(5) VayuAkasa ~ The sphere flattened by the superposition
of the circle and dotted:
examination of the skin will show that the cells of the skin have this
bone, muscle and fat are given birth to by the prithivi, the agni, and the apas. Akasa appears in various
positions. Wherever there is any room for any substance, there is akasa. The blood is a mixture of nutritive substances
kept in the fluidic state by the apas tatwa of Prana.
is thus seen that while Terrestrial Prana is an exact manifestation of the
Solar Prana, the human manifestation is an exact manifestation of either. The
microcosm is an exact picture of the macrocosm. The four petals of the lotus of
the heart branch really into twelve nadi (K, Kh, g, gn, n, K’, Kh’, j, jh, n, t, the).
Similarly the brain has twelve pairs of nerves. These are the twelve signs of
the Zodiac, both in their positive and negative phases. In every sign the sun
rises 31 times. Therefore we have 31 pairs of nerves. Instead of pairs, we
speak in the language of the Tantras of a chakra (disk or circle). Wherever these 31 chakra
connect with the 12 pairs (chakras) of nerves in the brain, pass throughout the
body, we have running side by side the blood vessels proceeding from the 12 nadis
of the heart. The only difference between the spinal and cardiac chakras is that
the former lie crosswise, while the latter lie lengthwise in the body. The
sympathetic chords consist of lines of tatwic centers: the padma or kamal. These centers
lie on all the 31 chakra noticed above. Thus from the two centers of work, the
brain and the heart, the signs of the Zodiac in their positive and negative aspects
a system of nadi branch off.
nadi from either center run into one another so much that one set is found
always side by side with the other. The 31 chakra are various tatwic centers;
one set is positive, and the other is negative. The former owe
allegiance to the brain, with which they are connected by the sympathetic
chords; the latter owe allegiance to the heart, with which they have various
connections. This double system is called Pingala on the right side, and Ida on
the left. The ganglia of the apas centers are semilunar, those of the taijas, the
vayu, the prithivi, and the akasa respectively triangular, spherical,
quadrangular, and circular. Those of the composite tatwa have composite
figures. Each tatwic center has ganglia of all the tatwa
Prana moves in this
system of nadi. As the sun
passes into the sign of Aries in the Macrocosm, the Prana passes into the corresponding nadi (nerves) of the brain. From thence it descends
every day towards the spine. With the rise of the sun it descends into the first
spinal chakra towards the
right. It thus passes into the Pingala. It moves along the nerves of the right side, at the
same time passing little by little into the blood vessels. Up to noon of every day
the strength of this Prana is greater in
the nervous chakra than in the venous. At noon they become of equal strength.
In the evening (with sunset), the Prana with its entire strength has passed into the blood
vessels. From thence it gathers up into the heart, the negative southern center.
Then it spreads into the left side blood vessels, gradually passing into the
nerves. At midnight the strength is equalized; in the morning (pratasandhia) the prana is just in the spine; from thence it
begins to travel along the second chakra. This is the course of the solar current of prana. The moon gives birth to other minor currents. The
moon moves 12 odd times more
the sun. Therefore, while the sun passes over one chakra (i.e., during 60 ghari day and night), the moon passes
over 12 odd chakra. Therefore we
have 12 odd changes of prana during 24
hours. Suppose the moon too begins in Aries; she begins like the sun in
the first chakra, and takes 58
min. 4 sec. in reaching the spine to the heart, and as many minutes from
the heart back to the spine.
these prana move in their
respective course along the tatwic centers. Either of them is present at any
one time all over the same class of tatwic centers, in any one part of the
body. It manifests itself first in the vayu centers, then in the taijas, thirdly in the prithivi, and fourthly in the apas centers. Akasa comes after each, and immediately precedes the susumna. As the lunar current passes from the
spine towards the right, the breath comes out of the right nostril, and as long
as the current of Prana
in the back part of the body, the tatwa changes from the vayu to the apas. As the current passes into the front part of the
right half, the tatwa changes back
from the apas to the vayu. As the prana passes into the heart, the breath is
not felt at all in the nose. As it proceeds from the heart to the left, the breath begins
to flow out of the left nostril, and as long as it is in the front part of the
body, the tatwa change from the
vayu to the apas. They change back again a before, until the prana reaches the spine, when we have the akasa of susumna. Such is the even change of prana that we have in the state of perfect health.
The impulse that has been given to the localized prana by the sun and moon forces that give active
power and existence to its prototype Prana, makes it work in the same way forever and ever. The working of
the human free will and other forces change the nature of the local prana, and individualize
it in such a way as to render it distinguishable from the universal Terrestrial
and Ecliptical prana. With the
varying nature of prana, the order of the tatwa and the positive and negative currents
be affected in various degrees. Disease is the result of this variation. In
fact, the flow of breath is the truest indication of the changes of tatwa in the body. The balance of the
positive and negative currents of tatwa results in health, and the disturbance of their harmony
in disease. The science of the flow of breath is therefore of the highest
importance to every man who values his own health and that of his fellow
creatures. At the same time, it is the most important, useful and
comprehensive, the easiest and the most interesting branch of Yoga. It teaches us how to guide our will so as to
effect desired changes in the order and nature of our positive and
negative tatwic currents. This it does in the following way. All physical
action is prana in a certain state. Without prana there is no action, and every action is
the result of the differing harmonies of tatwic currents. Thus, motion in any
one part of the body is the result of the activity of the vayu centers in that part of the body. In the same way,
there is activity in the prithivi
centers, we have a feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction. The causes of the
other sensations are similar.
find that while lying down we change sides when the breath passes out of that
nostril. Therefore we conclude that if we lie on any side the breath will flow
out the opposite nostril. Therefore, whenever we see that it is desirable to
change the negative conditions of our body to the positive, we resort to this expedient. An
investigation into the physiological effects of prana on the gross coil, and
the counter effects of gross action upon prana, will form the subject of the next
V PRANA (II)
Pranamaya Kosha (Coil of Life)
changes into three general states during day and night: the waking, the
dreaming, and the sleeping (jagrata,
swapna, susupti). These three changes produce corresponding changes in
the manamaya Kosha (the mental
coil), and thence arises the consciousness of the changes of life. The mind, in
fact, lies behind the prana. The strings
(tatwic lines) of the former instrument are finer than those of the latter; that
is, in the former we have a greater number of vibrations than in the latter
during the same space of time. Their tensions stand to each other, however, in
such a relation that with the vibrations of the one, the other of itself begins
to vibrate. The changes give to the mind, therefore, a similar appearance, and
consciousness of the phenomenon is caused. This, however, some time after. My
present object is to describe all those changes of prana, natural or induced, that make up the sum total of
our worldly experience, and which, during ages of evolution, have called the
mind itself out of the state of latency. These changes, as I have said, divide
themselves into three general states: the waking, the dreaming, and the sleeping.
Waking is the positive, sleeping the negative state of prana; dreaming
is the conjunction of the two (susumna sandhi). As stated in the foregoing essay, the solar current
travels in a positive direction during the day, and we are awake. As night
approaches the positive current has made itself lord of the body. It gains so
much strength that the sensuous and active organs lose sympathy with the external
world. Perception and action cease, and the waking state passes off. The excess
of the positive current slackens, as it were, the tatwic chords of the different
centers of work, and they accordingly cease to answer to the ordinary ethereal
changes of external nature. If at this point the strength of the positive current
passed beyond ordinary limits, death
ensue, prana would cease
to have any connection with the gross body, the ordinary vehicle of the external tatwic
changes. But just at the moment the prana passes out of the heart, the negative current sets in, and
it begins to counteract the effects of the former. As the prana reaches the spine, the effects of the
positive current have entirely passed of, and we awake. If at this moment the
strength of the negative current passes the ordinary limit by some cause
or other, death would ensue, but just at this moment the positive current sets
in with midnight, and begins to counteract the effect of the former. A balance of the
positive and negative currents thus keeps body and soul together. With excess
in the strength of either current, death makes its appearance. Thus we see that
there are two kinds of death: the positive or spinal, and the negative or
cardiac. In the former the four higher principles pass out of the body
through the head, the brahmarandhra, along the
spine; in the latter they pass out of the mouth through the lungs and the
trachea. Besides these there are generally speaking about six tatwic deaths. All these
deaths chalk out different paths for the higher principle. Of these, however,
more hereafter. At this stage, let us investigate the changes of prana more thoroughly.
are certain manifestations of prana that we find equally at work in all three states. As I
have said before, some writers have divided these manifestations into five heads.
They have different centers of work in different parts of the body, from whence
they assert their dominion over every part of the physical coil.
Positive: (1) Prana, right lung; Negative: Prana, left lung. Prana is that manifestation of the life coil which draws
atmospheric air from without into the system.
Positive: (2) Apana, the apparatus that passes off feces, long
intestine, etc.; Negative: Apana, the
apparatus. Apana is the
manifestation that throws, from the inside, out of the system, things that are not wanted
Positive: (3) Samana, stomach; Negative: Samana, duodenum. Samana is that manifestation which draws in and
carries the juice of food to every part of the body.
Positive: (4) Vyana, all over the body, appearing in varying states
with different organs (on the right
side); Negative: Vyana, all over the body (on the left side). Vyana is that manifestation which inclines the currents
of life back to the centers the heart and the brain. It is, therefore, this
manifestation that causes death, local or general.
Positive: (5) Udana, at the spinal and cardiac centers (right side),
and the region of the throat; Negative: Udana, the spinal and cardiac centers (left side).
Prana recedes from any part of the
body (for some reason or other), that part loses its power of action. This is
local death. It is in this way that we become deaf, dumb, blind, etc. It is in
this way that our digestive powers suffer, and so on. General death is
similar in its operations. With the excess of the strength of
either of the two currents, the prana remains in the susumna, and does not pass out. The acquired power
of work of the body then beings to pass off. The farther from the centers (the
heart and the brain), the sooner they die. It is thus that the pulse first ceases
to be felt in the extremities, and then nearer and nearer the heart, until we
find it nowhere.
it is this upward impulse that, under favorable conditions, causes growth,
lightness, and agility.
the organs of the body already mentioned or indicated, the manifestation of vyana serves to keep in form
the five organs of sense, and the five organs of action. The organs of the
gross body and the powers of prana that manifest themselves in work have both the same names.
Thus we have:
Active Organs &
Powers: (1) Vak, the coal organs and the power of speech; (2) Pani, the hands and the
manual power; (3) Pada, the feet and
the walking power; (4) Payu, anus; (5) Upastha, the generative organs and the
powers that draw these together.
Sensuous Organs &
Powers: (1) Chaksus, eye and ocular power; (2) Twak, skin and tangiferous power;
Srotra, ear and sonoriferous power;
(4) Rasama, tongue and
gustatory power; (5) Cobrana, nose and odoriferous
The real fact is that the different
powers are the corresponding organs of the principle of life. It will
be instructive to trace the tatwic changes and influences of these various
manifestations of life.
Prana: During health
prana works all over the system in one
class of tatwic centers at one time. We thus see that both during the course
of the positive and negative current we have five tatwic changes. The color of prana during the reign of the positive and
negative current is pure white; during that of the positive,
reddish white. The former is calmer and smoother than the latter.
The tatwic changes give to each of these five new phases of color. Thus:
Positive ~ reddish white/
Negative ~ pure
The vayu tatwa, blue; (2)
The agni tatwa, red; (3) The
prithivi, yellow; (4) The apas, white; (5) The akasa tatwa, dark
is evident that there is a difference between the positive and negative tatwic
phases of color. There are thus ten general phases of color.
positive current (reddish white) is hotter than the negative (the pure white).
Therefore it may be generally said that the positive current is hot, and the
negative cool. Each of these then undergoes five tatwic changes of temperature.
The agni is the hottest,
the yellow next to it; the vayu becomes cool,
and the apas is the coolest.
The akasa has a state
that neither cools nor heats. This state is the most dangerous of
all, and if prolonged it causes death, disease and debility. It is evident
that, if the cooling tatwa does not set
in to counteract the accumulated effect of the latter in due time, the
functions of life will be impaired. The just color and the just temperature
at which these functions work in their vigor will be disturbed, and disease,
death and debility are nothing more than this disturbance in various degrees. The
case is similar if the heating tatwa does not set in in due time after the cooling one.
will be easy to understand that these changes of tatwic colors and temperatures
are not abrupt. The one passes of easily and smoothly into the other, and the
tatwic mixtures produce innumerable colors as many, in fact, as the solar prana has been shown to possess. Each of
these colors tend to keep the body healthy if it remains in action just as long
as it ought, but no sooner does the duration change than disease
results. There is a possibility, therefore, of as many and more diseases as
there are colors in the sun.
any one color is prolonged, there must be some one or more that have given the
period of their duration to it; similarly, if one color takes less time
than it ought to, there must be some one or more that take its place. This
suggests two methods of the treatment of diseases. But before speaking of these, it will
be necessary to investigate as fully as possible the causes that lengthen and
shorten the ideal periods of the tatwas.
To return at present
to Prana: This pulmonary manifestation of the principle of
life is the most
of all, because its workings furnish us with a most faithful measure of the
tatwic state of the body. It is on this account that the name prana has been given by preeminence to this
as the prana works in the
pulmonary taijas centers (i.e.,
the centers of the luminiferous ether), the lungs are thrown into a triangular
form of expansion, atmospheric air runs in, and the process of inspiration is
complete. With every truti, a backwards
impulse is given to the currents of prana. The lungs are thrown into their stationary state with
this returning current, and the excess air is expelled. The air that
is thus thrown out of the lungs bears a triangular form. To some extent, the
water vapor that this air contains furnishes us with a method of testing
this truth by experiment. If we take a smooth, shining looking glass, put it
under the nose, and breath steadily upon its cool surface, the water vapor of the air will
be condensed, and it will be seen that this bears a particular figure. In the
case of pure agni, this figure
will be a triangle. Let another person look steadily at the looking glass
passes off rather quickly.
the course of the other tatwas
the lungs are thrown into their respective shapes, and the looking glass gives us
the same figures. Thus, in apas we have the
semimoon, in vayu the sphere, and
in prithivi the quadrangle.
With the composition of these tatwas we may have other figures: oblongs, squares,
spheroids, and so on.
may also be mentioned that the luminiferous ether carries the materials drawn
from the atmospheric air to the centers of the luminiferous ether, and thence
to every part of the body. The other ethers also carry these materials to their
respective centers. It is not necessary to trace the working of the other manifestations
one by one. It may, however, be said that although all the five tatwas work in all the five manifestations,
each of these manifestations is sacred to one of these tatwas. Thus in prana the vayu tatwa prevails, in samana the agni, in apana the prithivi, in vyana the apas, in udana the akasa. I may remind the
reader that the general color of prana is white, and this will show how the apas tatwa prevails in Vyana. The darkness of akasa is the darkness of death, etc., caused by the
manifestation of udana.
life these ten changes are always taking place at the intervals of about 26
minutes each. In waking, in sleep, or in dream, these changes never cease.
It is only in the two susumnas or the akasa that these changes become potential for a moment,
because it is from these that these tatwic manifestations show themselves on the
plane of the body. If this moment is prolonged, the forces of prana remain potential, and in death the prana is thus in the potential state. When those causes
that tended to lengthen the period of i, and thus cause death, are removed,
this individual prana passes out of the
potential into the actual, positive, or negative state as the case may be. It
will energize matter, and will develop it into the shape towards which its
accumulated potentialities tend.
may now be said about the work of the sensuous and active organs.
may be generally said that all work is tatwic motion. This work is capable of
being carried on during the waking state, and not in sleep or dream. These ten
organs have ten general colors, generally thus:
Sensuous Organs: (1) Eye, agni, red; (2) Ear, akasa, dark; (3) Nose, prithivi, yellow; (4) Tongue (taste), apas, white; (5) Skin, vayu, blue;
Active Organs: (1) Hand, vayu, blue; (2) Foot, i, yellow; (3) Tongue (speech), apas, white; (4) Anus, akasa, dark; (5) Genitals, i, red.
these are the generally prevalent tatwas in these various centers, all the
other tatwas exist in a subordinate
position. Thus in the eye we have a reddish yellow, reddish white, reddish
dark, reddish blue, and similarly in the other organs. This division
into five of each of these colors is only general; in reality there is an
almost innumerable variation of colors in each of these.
every act of every one of these ten organs, the organ specially and the whole
body generally assumes a different color, the color of that particular
tatwic motion which constitutes that act.
All these changes of Prana constitute the sum total of our worldly
experience. Furnished with this
apparatus, prana begins its human pilgrimage, in company
with a mind, which is evolved only to the extent of connecting
the “I am” of the ahankara or vijnana, the fourth principle
from below, with these manifestations of prana. Time
imprints upon it all the innumerable colors of the universe. The visual, the tangible, the gustatory, the auditory, and the olfactory appearances
in all their variety gather into prana just as our daily
experience carries many messages at one and the same time. In the same way do
the appearances of the active organs, and the five remaining general functions
of the body, gather up in this prana to manifest
themselves in due time.
few illustrations will render all this clear:
~ Sexual Relations ~
The generative agni tatwa of the male is positive, and that of
the female is negative. The former is hotter, harsher, and
more restless than the latter; the latter is cooler, smoother, and calmer than
the former. These two currents tend to run into each other, and a feeling of
satisfaction is the result if the two currents are
allowed to take their course; if not, a feeling of uneasiness is the result.
The genesis of these feelings will be my subject under
the head of the manomaya kosha (mental principle). Here I shall
only speak of the coloration of prana by the action or
inaction of this organ. The positive agni tends to run into the negative,
and vice versa. If it is not allowed to do so, the repeated impulses of this tatwa turn upon
themselves, the center gains strength, and every day the whole prana is colored
deeper and deeper red. The centers of the agni tatwa all over the body become stronger in their action, while all the others contract a general tinge of the red. The eyes and the
stomach become stronger. This, however, is the case only within
certain limits and under certain circumstances. If the agni gains too much strength, all the other centers of the remaining tatwas become
vitiated in their action by an overcoloration of agni, and disease
and debility result. If, however, man indulges in this luxury more often than
he should, and in more than one place, the male prana gets colored
by the female agni, and vice versa. This tends to weaken all the centers of this tatwa, and gives a
feminine color to the whole prana. The stomach becomes cooled down, the
eyes grow weak, and virile manly power departs. If, however, more than one individual female agni takes possession of the male prana, and vice
versa, the general antagonistic tatwa becomes deeper
and stronger. The whole prana is vitiated to a greater extent,
greater debility is the result, and spermatorrhea, impotence, and
other such antagonistic colors take possession of the prana. Besides, the
separate individualities of the male or female agni that has taken
possession of any one prana will tend to repel
~ Walking ~
Suppose now that a man is given to walking. The prithivi tatwa of the feet gains strength, and the yellow color pervades
the whole prana. The centers of the prithivi all over the body begin to work more briskly; agni receives a mild and wholesome addition
to its power, the whole system tends towards healthy
equilibrium, neither too hot, nor too cold, and a general feeling of
satisfaction accompanied with vigor, playfulness, and a relish
of enjoyment is the result.
~ Speech ~
Let me take one more illustration from the operation of Vak (speech), and
I shall be done with the organs of action. The
power (Sakti) of speech (Vak, saraswati) is one of the most important
goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. The apas tatwa is the chief ingredient of prana that goes towards
the formation of this organ. Therefore the
color of the goddess is said to be white. The vocal chord with the larynx in
front form the vina (musical instrument) of the
In the above figure of the vocal
apparatus, AB is the thyroid, a broad cartilage forming the projection of the
throat, and much more prominent in men than in
women. Below this is the annular cartilage C, the crecoid. Behind this, or we
say on this, are stretched the chord a and b.
Atmospheric air passing over these chords in the act of breathing sets
these chords in vibration, and sound is the
result. Ordinarily these chords are too loose to give any sound. The apas tatwa, the milkwhite goddess of speech, performs the
allimportant function of making these chords tense. As the
semilunar current of the apas tatwa passes along the
muscles of these chords, they are as it were shriveled up and curves are formed in the chords; they become tighter.
The depth of these curves depends upon the strength of the apas current. The
deeper these curves, the tenser are the chords.
The thyroid serves to vary the intensity of the voice thus produced. The
thyroid serves to vary the intensity of the voice
thus produced. This will do here, and it is enough to show that
the real motive power in the production of voice is the apas tatwa or Prana. As will be easily understood, there are
certain ethereal conditions of the external world that excite the centers of
the apas tatwa; the current passes along the vocal
chords, they are made tense, and sound is produced. But
the excitement of these centers also comes from the soul
through the mind. The use of this sound in the course of evolution as the vehicle of thought is the marriage of Brahma (the Vijana mayakosha, the soul) with Saraswati, the power of speech as located in man.
is modified according to the circumstance by the composition of the other
tatwas in various degrees. As far as human ken reaches, about
49 of these variations have been recorded under the name of swara. First, there are seven general notes. These may be positive and negative
(tivra and komala), and then each of these may have three subdivisions. These notes are
then composed into eight raga, and each raga has several ragini. The simple ragini may then be
compounded into others, and each ragini may have a good many arrangements of notes. The variations of sound thus
become almost innumerable. All these variations are caused by the
varying tensions of the vocal chords, the Vina of Saraswati, and the tensions vary by the varying strength of the apas current,
caused by the superposition of the other tatwas.
Each variation of sound has a color of its own that affects the whole prana in its own way;
the tatwic effect of all these sounds is noted in books of
music. Various diseases may be cured, and good or bad tendencies imprinted on the prana by the power of sound. Saraswati is an allpowerful goddess, and controls our prana for good or
evil as the case may be. If a song or note is colored by the agni tatwa, the sound colors the prana red, and similarly the vayu, the apas, the akasa, and the prithivi, blue, white, dark, and yellow. The red colored song causes heat; it may cause anger,
sleep, digestion, and redness of color. The akasa colored song
causes fear, forgetfulness, etc. Songs may similarly give our prana the color of love, enmity, adoration, morality, or immorality, as the case
Let us turn to another key. If the words we utter bear the color of the agni tatwa anger, love, lust our prana is colored red, and this redness
turns upon ourselves. It may burn up our substance, and we may look lean and
lank and have 10,000 other diseases. Terrible retribution of angry words! If
our words are full of divine love and adoration, kindness and
morality, words that give pleasure and satisfaction to whoever hears them the colors of the prithivi and the apas we become
loving and beloved, adoring and adored, kind and moral,
pleasing and pleased, satisfying and ever satisfied. The discipline of speech itself the satya of Patanjali is thus one of the
highest practices of Yoga.
Sensuous impressions color the prana in a similar way. If we are given to
too much of sightseeing, to the hearing of pleasant sounds,
to the smelling of dainty smells, etc., the colors of these tatwas will be overly strengthened, and will gain a mastery over our prana. If we are too
fond of seeing beautiful women, hearing the music of their
voices, heaven help us, for the least and most general effect will be that our pranas will receive the feminine coloration.
If it were only for the love of women, man should avoid this overindulgence, for feminine qualities in men do not obtain
favor in the eyes of women.
These illustrations are sufficient to explain how the tatwic colors of
external nature gather up in prana. It may be
necessary to say that no new colors enter into the formation of prana. All the
colors of the universe are present there already, just as they
are in the sun, the prototype of prana. The coloration I have spoken of
is only the strengthening of this particular color to an extent that throws the
others in shade. It is this disturbance of balance that in
the first place causes the variety of human prana, and in the second those
innumerable diseases to which flesh is heir.
Ordinarily it is under similar tatwic conditions of the external
universe. This means that if the agni tatwa has gained strength in
any prana at any one particular division of time, the strength will show itself when that particular division of time recurs again. Before
attempting a solution of this problem, it is necessary to
understand the following truths:
The sun is the chief lifegiver of every organism in the system. The
moment that a new organism has come into existence, the sun changes his
capacity in relation to that organism. He now becomes the sustainer of positive life in that organism. Along with this the moon
begins to influence the organism in her own way. She
becomes the sustainer of negative life. The planets each establish their own
currents in the organism. For the sake of simplicity, I
have as yet spoken only of the sun and moon, the respective
lords of the positive and negative currents of the right and left halves of the
body, of the brain and the heart, of the nerves and the blood
vessels. These are the two chief sources of life, but it must be remembered that the planets exercise a modifying influence over
these currents. The real tatwic condition of any moment is
determined by all the seven planets, just like the sun and the moon. Each planet, after determining the general tatwic condition of the
moment, goes to introduce changes in the organism born at
that moment. These changes correspond with the manifestation of that color of prana that rose at
that time. Thus, suppose the red color has entered prana when the moon
is in the second degree of the sign of Libra. If there is no
disturbing influence of any other luminary, the red color will manifest itself whenever the moon is in the same position; in
the other case, when the disturbing influence is removed. It may
show itself in a month, or it may be postponed for ages. It is very difficult to determine the time when an act will have its effect.
It depends a good deal upon the strength of the impression. The strength of the
impression may be divided into ten degrees, although some writers have gone further.
(1) Momentary: This degree of strength has its effect then and there;
(2) 30 degrees strength: In this case the effect will show itself when each
planet is in the same sign as at the time of the
(3) 15 degrees strength: Hora; (4) 10 degrees strength: Dreskana; (5) 200
degrees strength: Navaansha; (6) 150 degrees
strength: Dwadasansa; (7) 60 or 1 degree strength: Trinsansa; (8) 1″
strength: Kala; (9) 1’’’ strength: Vipala; (10) 1’’’’ strength:
Suppose in any prana, on account of any action, the agni tatwa obtains the strongest possible prevalence consistent
with the preservation of the body, the tatwa will begin to have its effect then
and there until it has exhausted itself to a certain extent. It will then
become latent and show itself when at any time the same
planets sit in the same mansions. Examples will illustrate better. Suppose the following advancement of the planets at any moment denotes the tatwic
condition when any given color has entered the prana:
The 3rd of April, Tuesday ~
It is at this time, we suppose, that the act above referred to is
committed. The present effect will pass off with the two
hours’ lunar current that may be passing at that time. Then it will become
latent, and remain so till the time when these planets are in
the same position again. As has been seen, these positions might be nine or
more in number.
As soon as the exact time passes of when a color has obtained
predominance in prana, the effect thereof on the gross body
becomes latent. It shows itself again in a general way when the stars sit in
the same mansions. Some of the strength is worn off at this
time, and the force becomes latent to show itself in greater minuteness when at any time the halfmansions coincide, and so
on with the remaining parts noticed above. There may be any
number of times when there is only an approach to coincidence, and then the effect will tend to show itself, though at that time it will
remain only a tendency.
These observation, although necessarily very meager, tend to show that
the impression produced upon prana by any act, however
insignificant, really takes ages to pass off, when the stars coincide in position to a degree with that when the act was committed. Therefore, a
knowledge of astronomy is highly essential in occult Vedic religion. The
following observation may, however, render the above a little more intelligible.
remarked, the prana mayokosha is an exact picture of the
Terrestrial Prana. The periodical currents of the finer
forces of nature that are in the earth pass according to the same laws in the principle of life; just like the Zodiac, the prana mayakosha is subdivided into mansions, etc. The northern and
southern inclinations of the axis give us a heart and a brain. Each of these
has 12 ramifications branching off from it; these are the 12
signs of the Zodiac. The daily rotation than gives us the 31 chakras spoken of
previously. There is the positive semimansion and the negative semimansion. Then we have the onethird, the oneninth, the onetwelfth, and
so on to a degree, or the divisions and subdivisions
thereof. Each chakra, both diurnal and annual, is in fact
a circle of 360 degrees, just like the great circles
of the heavenly spheres. Through the chakra a course of seven
descriptions of lifecurrents is established:
(1) Solar, (2)
lunar, (3) Mars, agni, (4) Mercury, prithivi, (5) Jupiter, vayu, (6) Venus, apas, (7) Saturn, akasa.
It is evident that the real state of prana is determined by the position of these localized currents. Now
if any one or more of these tatwic currents is strengthened by any act of ours,
under any position of the currents, it is only when we have to a degree the same
position of the currents that the tatwic current will makes it
appearance at full strength. There may also be appearances of slight power at various
times, but the full strength will never be exhausted until we have the same
position of these currents to the minutest division of a degree. This takes
ages upon ages, and it is quite impossible that the effect should pass off in
the present life. Hence rises the necessity of a second life upon this earth.
accumulated tatwic effects of a life’s work give each life a general tinge of
its own. This tinge wears off gradually as the component colors pass off or
weaken in strength, one by one. When each of the component colors is one by
one sufficiently worn off, the general color of a life passes off. The gross
body that was given birth to by this particular color ceases to respond to the
now generally different colored prana. The prana does not pass
out of the susumna. Death is the
~ Death ~
already said, the two ordinary forms of death are the positive through the
brain, and the negative through the heart. This is death through the susumna. In this all the tatwas are potential.
Death may also take place through the other nadis. In this case there must always
be the prevalence of one or more tatwas.
prana goes towards different regions
after death, according to the paths through which it passes out of the body.
The negative susumna takes it to
the moon; (2) the positive susumna
takes it to the sun; (3) the agni of the other nadi takes it to the hill known as Raurava (fire); (4) the apas of the other nadi takes it to the hill known as Ambarisha, and so on, the akasa, the vayu, and the prithivi take it to Andhatanusra, Kalasutra, and Maha kala (See Yoga Sutra, pada 111, Aphorism 26, commentary).
negative path is the most general one that the prana takes. This path takes it to the moon
(the chandraloka) because the
moon is the lord of the negative system, and the negative currents, and the negative susumna the heart, which therefore is a
continuation of the lunar prana. The prana that has the general
negative color cannot move but along this path, and it is transferred naturally
to the reservoirs, the centers of the negative prana. Those men in whom the two hours’ lunar current is
passing more or less regularly take this path.
prana that has lost the intensity of
its terrestrial color energizes lunar matter according to its own strength, and
thus establishes for itself there a sort of passive life. Here the mind is in a
state of dream. The tatwic impressions of gathered up forces pass before
it in the same way as they pass before it in our earthly dreams. The only difference
is that in that state there is not the superimposed force of indigestion to
render the tatwic impressions so strong and sudden as to be terrible. That
dreamy state is characterized by extreme calmness. Whatever our mind has
in it of the interesting experiences of this world, whatever we have
thought, heard, seen or enjoyed, the sense of satisfaction and enjoyment, the
and playfulness of the apas and the prithivi tatwa, the languid sense of love of the agni, the agreeable forgetfulness of the akasa, all make their appearance one after the other in
perfect calm. The painful impressions make no appearance, because the
painful arises when any impression forces itself upon the mind that is out of
harmony with its surroundings. In this state the mind lives in Chandraloka, as will be better understood when I
come to speak of the tatwic causes of dreams.
roll on in this state, when the mind has, according to the same general laws
that obtain for prana, worn out the
impressions of a former life. The intense tatwic colors that the ceaseless
activity of prana had called
into existence now fade away, until at last the mind comes upon a chronic level
with the prana. Both of them
have now lost the tinge of a former life. It may be said of prana that it has a new appearance, and of the mind
that it has a new consciousness. When they are both in this state, both very weak, the
accumulated tatwic effects of prana begin to show themselves with the return of the stars to
the same positions. These draw us back from the lunar to the terrestrial prana. At this stage, the mind has no
individuality worth taking account of, so that it is drawn by prana to wherever its affinities carry it. It comes
and joins with those solar rays that bear a similar color, with all those
mighty potentialities that show themselves in the future man remaining quite
latent. It passes with the rays of the sun according to the ordinary laws of
vegetation into grain that bears similar colors. Each grain has a separate
individuality, which accounts for its separate individuality from others of its
brothers, and in many there may be human potentialities giving it an
individuality of its own. The grain or grains produce the virile semen, which
assumes the shape of human beings in the wombs of women. This is rebirth.
do human individualities come back from the five states that are known as
hells. These are the states of posthumous existence fixed for those men
who enjoy to an excessive and violent degree the various impressions of each of
the tatwas. As the tatwic intensity, which disturbs the balance and therefore
causes pain, wears off in time, the individual prana passes off to the lunar sphere, and
thence undergoes the same states that have been described above.
the positive path through the brahmarandhra pass those prana that pass beyond the general effects of
Time, and therefore do not return to the earth under ordinary laws. It is Time
that brings back prana from the moon,
when he is even the most general, and the least strong tatwic condition comes into play with
the return of identical astral positions; but the sun being the keeper of Time
himself, and the strongest factor in the determination of his tatwic
condition, it would be impossible for solar Time to affect solar prana. Therefore, only that prana travels towards the sun in which there is almost no
of any tatwic color. This is the state of the prana of Yogin alone. By the constant practice of the
eight branches of Yoga, the prana is
purified of any very strongly personifying colors, and since it
is evident that on such a prana Time can have
no effect, under ordinary circumstances, they pass off to the sun. These prana have no distinct personifying colors; all of them
that go to the sun have almost the same general tinge. But their minds are
different. They can be distinguished from each other according to
the particular branch of science that they have cultivated, or according to the
particular and varying methods of mental improvement that they have followed on
earth. In this state the mind is not dependent, as in the moon, upon the
impressions of prana. Constant
practice of Yoga has rendered
an independent worker, depending only upon the soul, and molding the prana to its own shapes, and giving it its
own colors. This is a kind of Moksha.
the sun is the most potent lord of life, and the tatwic condition of prana now has no effect upon the prana that has passed
to the sun, the planetary currents still have some slight effect upon it, and there are
times when this effect is very strong, so that the earthly conditions in which
they have previously lived are called back again to their minds. A desire to do the
same sort of good they did the world in their previous life takes possession of
them, and impelled by this desire they sometimes come back to earth.
Snakaracharya has noticed in his commentary of the Brahmasutra that Apantaramah, a Vedic rishi, thus appeared on earth as Krishnadwaipayana,
about the end of the Dwapara and the
beginning of the Kaliyuga.
VI. PRANA (III)
As it is desirable that as much as possible should
be known about Prana, I give below
some quotations on the subject from the Prasnopnishat. They will give additional interest to the subject, and
present it in a more comprehensive and far more attractive garb.
things are to be known about Prana, says the Upanishad:
who knows the birth (1), the coming in (2), the places of manifestation (3),
the rule (4), the macrocosmic appearance (5), and the microcosmic
appearance of Prana becomes
immortal by that knowledge.”
Practical knowledge of the laws of life, i.e., to
live up to them, must naturally end in the passing of the soul out of the
shadowy side of life into the original light of the Sun. This means
immortality, that is, passing beyond the power of terrestrial death.
to go on with what the Upanishad
has to say about the six things to be known about Prana:
The Birth of Prana ~
Prana is born from the Atma; it is caused in the atma, like the shadow in the body.
human body, or any other organism, becomes the cause of throwing a shade in the
ocean of prana, as it comes
between the sun and the portion of space on the other side of the organism.
Similarly, the prana is thrown as a
shade in the macrocosmic soul (Iswara) because the macrocosmic mind (manu) intervenes. Briefly the prana is the shade of Manu caused by the light of the Logos, the macrocosmic center. The
suns are given birth to in this shade, by the impression of the macrocosmic
mental ideas into this shade. These suns, the centers of Prana, become in their turn the positive starting point
development. The manus throwing their shade by the intervention of the suns,
give birth in those shades to planets, etc. The suns throwing their
shades by the intervention of planets, give birth to moons. Then
these different centers begin to act upon the planets, and the sun descends on
the planets in the shape of various organisms, man included.
~ The Macrocosmic Appearance ~
prana is found in the macrocosm as the
ocean of life with the sun for its center. It assumes two phases of
existence: (1) the prana, the solar,
positive lifematter, and (2) the rayi, the lunar, negative lifematter. The former is the
northern phase and the eastern; the latter is the southern phase and the western. In
every Moment of Terrestrial life, we have thus the northern and southern
centers of prana, the centers
from which the southern and northern phases of lifematter take their start at
any moment. The eastern and western halves are there too.
every moment of time i.e., in every truti there are millions of truti perfect organisms in space. This might
require some explanation. The units of time and space are the same: a truti.
any one truti of time. It is
well known that every moment of time the tatwic rays of prana go in every direction from every point to every
other point. Hence it is clear enough that every truti of space is a perfect picture of the whole
apparatus of prana, with all its
centers and sides, and positive and
relations. To express a good deal in a few words, every truti of space is a perfect organism. In the ocean of Prana that surrounds the sun there are
innumerable such truti.
essentially the same, it is easy to understand that the following items will
make a difference in the general color, appearance, and forms of these trutis:
(1) distance from the solar center; (2) inclination from the solar axis.
the earth for illustration. That zone of solar life, taking into consideration
both the distance and the inclination in which the earth moves, gives birth to
earthlife. This zone of earthlife is known as the ecliptic. Now every truti of space in this ecliptic is a
separate individual organism. As the earth moves in her annual course, i.e., as
the truti of time
changes, these permanent truti of space
change the phases of their life. But their permanency is never impaired. They retain
their individuality all the same.
the planetary influences reach these trutis always, wherever the planets may be
in their journey. The changing distance and inclination is, of course, always
causing a change of lifephase.
This truti of space, from its permanent position in the ecliptic,
while maintaining its connection with all the planets, at the same time sends
its tatwic rays to every other quarter of space. They also come to the earth.
is a condition of earth life that the positive and negative currents, the prana and the rayi, be equally balanced. Therefore, when the two
phases of life matter are equally strong in this ecliptical truti, the tatwic rays that come from it to the
earth energize gross matter there. The moment that the balance is disturbed by
the tatwic influence of the planets, or by some other cause, terrestrial death
ensues. This simply means that the tatwic rays of the truti that fall on earth cease to energize
gross matter, although they do fall there all the same, and although the truti is there all the same in its permanent
ecliptical abode. In this posthumous state, the human truti will energize gross matter in that quarter of space
laws of relative, negative and positive predominance coincide with that state.
Thus, when the negative life matter, the rayi, becomes overly strong, the energization of the truti is transferred from the earth to the
moon. Similarly it may pass to other spheres. When the terrestrial balance is
restored again, when this posthumous life has been lived, the energization
is transferred to the earth again.
is the macrocosmic appearance of Prana, with the pictures of all the organisms of the earth.
The Coming In Of Prana ~
does this prana maya kosha this truti of the macrocosm come into this body?
Briefly, “By actions at whose root lies the mind”, says the Upanishad. It was explained previously how every
action changes the nature of the prana maya kosha, and it will be explained in the essay on the
“Cosmic Picture Gallery” how these changes are represented in
the cosmical counterpart of our lifeprinciple. It is evident that
by these actions change is produced in the general relative nature of the prana and the rayi, which has been spoken of previously. It is hardly
necessary to say that the mind the human free will lies at the root of
those actions that disturb the tatwic balance of the lifeprinciple. Hence,
“The prana comes into this
body by actions, at whose root lies the mind.”
~ The Places of Manifestation ~
the paramount Power appoints its servants, telling, ‘Rule such and such
villages’, so does the Prana. It puts its
different manifestations in different places. The apana (this discharges faces and urine) is in
the Payu (anus) and the upastha. The manifestations known as sight and
hearing (Chakahus and Srotra) are in the eye and ear. The prana remains itself, going out of mouth and nose.
Between (the places of prana and apana, about the
navel) lives the Samana. It is this
that carries equally (all over the body) the food (and drink) that is
thrown in the fire. Hence are those seven lights (by means of prana, light of knowledge is thrown over
color, form, sound, etc.)
“In the heart is of course this atma (the pranamaya kosha) and in it, of course, the other coils. Here there are a
hundred and one nadi. Of these
there are a hundred in each. In each of these branch nadis there are
72,000 other nadi. In these
moves the vyana.
one (the Susumna) going
upward, the udana carries to good worlds by means of goodness, and to bad ones
by means of evil; by both to the world of men.
“The sun is, of course, the macrocosmic prana; he rises, and thereby helps the eyesight. The
Power that is in the earth keeps up the power of apana. The akasa (the ethereal matter) that is between heaven and earth, helps
ethereal lifematter (independent of its being between heaven and earth) which
fills macrocosmic space, is vyana.
taijas the luminiferous ether is
udana; hence he whose natural fire
is cooled down approaches death.
the man goes toward the second birth; the organs and senses go into the mind;
the mind of the man comes to the Prana (its manifestations now ceasing). The prana is combined with the taijas; going with the soul, it carries her
to the spheres that are in view.”
different manifestations of Prana in the body,
and the places where they manifest themselves have been dwelt
upon. But other statements of interest appear in this extract. It is said that
this atma, this prana maya kosha, with the other coils of course, is
located in the heart. The heart, as has been seen, represents the
negative side of life, the rayi. When the positive prana impresses itself upon the rayi the heart and the nadis that flow from it the
forms of life and the actions of man come into existence. It is therefore,
properly speaking, the reflection in the heart that works in the world, i.e.,
is the proper lord of the sensuous and active organs of life. If this
being of the heart learns not to live here, the sensuous and active organs both
lose their life; the connection with the world ceases. The being of the brain that has
no immediate connection with the world, except through the heart, now remains
purity. This means to say that the soul goes to the suryaloka (the Sun).
The next point of interest is the description of
the functions of the External Prana, which lie at the root of, and help the working of the
individualized prana. It is said
that the Sun is the Prana. This is
evident enough, and has been mentioned man times before this. Here it is meant
to say that the most important function of life, inspiration and expiration, the
function of which, according to the Science of Breath, is
One Law of existence in the Universe on all the planes of life, is brought into
existence and kept in activity by the sun in himself. It is the solar breath
that constitutes his existence, and this reflected in man producing matter
gives birth to human breath.
Sun then appears in another phase. He rises, and as he does, he supports the
eyes in their natural action.
the power that is in the earth sustains the apana manifestation of prana. It is the power that draws everything towards
the earth, says the commentator. In modern language, it is gravity.
more might be said here about the udana manifestation of prana. As everybody knows, there is a phase of microcosmic prana that carries everything, names, forms,
sight, sounds, and all other sensations, from one place to another. This is
otherwise known as the universal agni, or the Tejas of the text. The localized manifestation of Prana is called udana, that which carries the lifeprinciple from one place
to another. The particular destination is determined by past actions, and this
universal agni carries the prana, with the
soul, to different worlds.
VII PRANA (IV)
This Prana is then a mighty being, and if its
localized manifestations were to work in unison, and with temperance, doing their own duty, but not usurping the time and place of
others, there would be but little evil in the world.
But each of these manifestations asserts its sole power over the
bewildered human soul. Each of these claims the whole life
of man to be its own proper domain:
“The akasa, the vayu, the agni, the prithivi, the apas, speech,
sight and hearing all of them say clearly that they are the sole monarchs of
the human body.”
The principal prana, he whose manifestations all these
are, tells them:
“Be not forgetful; it is I who sustain the human body, dividing
myself into five.”
If the five manifestations of Prana with all their minor subdivisions
revolt against him, if each begin to assert its own lordship and cease to work
for the general benefit of the lord paramount, the real life, misery makes its sad appearance to harass the poor human soul. “But
the manifestation of prana, blinded by
ignorance,” would not “put forth” in the admonitions of their
lord. “He leaves the body, and as he leaves, all the
other minor pranas leave it too; they stay there as he stays.” Then their
eyes are opened. “As the bees follow the queen bee in
every posture, so does prana; these, speech, the mind, the eye, the ear, follow him with devotion, and thus praise him.”
“He is the agni, the cause of heat; he is the sun (the giver of
light); he is the cloud, he is the Indra, he is the Vayu, he is the prithivi, he is the rayi, and the deva, the sat, and the asat, and he is
[Rayi and asat are the negative, deva and sat the positive phases of
“Like the spokes in the nave of a wheel, everything is sustained in prana: the hymns of
the Rik, the Yajur, and the Sama Veda, the sacrifice, the Kshatriya, and the Brahmin, etc.
“Thou art the Progenitor; thou movest in the womb; thou art born in
the shape of the father or the mother; to thee, O Prana, that puts up
in the body with thy manifestations, these creatures offer presents.
“Thou art the carrier of offerings to the deva, thou art the carrier
of oblations to the fathers; thou art the action and the power
of the senses and other manifestations of life.
“Thou art, O Prana, in power the great lord, the Rudra [the
destroyer] and the Preserver; thou movest in the sky as the
sun, thou art the preserver of the light of heaven.
“When thou rainest, these creatures are full of joy because they
hope to have plenty of food.
“Thou art Prana, pure by nature; thou art the
consumer of all oblations, as the Ekarshi fire [of the Atharva; thou art the
preserver of all existence; we are to thee the offerers of food; thou art our
father as the Recorder [or, the Lifegiver of the Recorder].
exists in the three heavens, all of it is in the power of prana. Protect us like a mother her offspring;
give us wealth and intellect.”
this I conclude my description of prana,the second principle of the universe, and the human body.
The epithets bestowed upon this mighty being in the above extract will be easy
of understanding in the light of all that has gone before. It is now time to
trace the working of the universal Tatwic Law of breath on the next higher plane
of life, the mind (manomayakosha).
VIII THE MIND (I)
theory of the life of the Universe is at once so simple and so grand as the
theory of breath (Swara). It is the
one universal motion, which makes its appearance in maya by virtue of the unseen substratum of the Cosmos,
the parabrahma of the
Vedantins. The most appropriate expression for Swara in English is the
“current of life”. The Indian Science of Breath investigates and
formulates the laws, or rather the one Universal Law, according to which this
current of life, this motive power of Universal Intelligence, running (as
Emerson so beautifully puts it) along the wire of thought, governs evolution
and involution and all the phenomena of human life, physiological, mental
and spiritual. In the whole length and breadth of this universe there is no
phenomenon, great or small, that does not find its most natural,
intelligible, most apposite explanation in the theory of the five modes of
manifestation of this universal motion: the five elementary tatwas. In the foregoing essays I have tried to explain
generally how every physiological phenomenon was governed by the five tatwas. The object of the present essay is to briefly run
over the various phenomena relating to the third higher body of man the manomaya kosha, the mind and note how symmetrically and universally
the tatwas bring about
the formation and work of this principle.
~ Knowledge ~
is what is in general language called knowledge that distinguishes the mind
from physiological life (prana), but it will
be seen on a little consideration that different degrees of knowledge might
very well be taken as the distinguishing characteristics of the five states of
matter, which in man we call the five principles. For what is knowledge but
a kind of tatwic motion of breath, elevated into selfconsciousness
by the presence, in a greater or lesser degree, of the element of ahankara (egoism)? His is no doubt the
view taken of knowledge by the Vedantic philosopher when he speaks of
intelligence as being the motive power, the first cause of the universe.
The word swara is only a
synonym of intelligence, the one manifestation of the One descending into prakriti.
see something” means, according to our view of knowledge, that my manomaya kosha has been put into visual
vibration. “I hear” means that my mind is in a state of auditory
vibration.”I feel” means that my mind is in a state of tangible
vibration. And so on with the other senses. “I love” means that my mind is in a
state of amatory vibration (a form of attraction).
first state, that of the anandamaya, is the state
of the highest knowledge. There is then but one center, the substratum for the
whole infinity of parabrahma, and the
ethereal vibrations of his breath are one throughout the whole expanse
of infinity. There is but one intelligence, but one knowledge. The whole universe
with all its potentialities and actualities is a part of that knowledge. This
is the highest state of bliss. There is no consciousness of self here, for the
I has only a relative existence, and there must be a Thou or a He before there can
be an I.
ego takes form when, in the second plane of existence, more than one minor
center comes into existence. It is for this reason that the name ahankara has been given to this state of matter.
impulses of those centers are confined to their own particular domain in space,
and they differ in each center. They can, however, affect each other in
just the same way as the individualized ethereal impulses of one man are
affected by those of others. The tatwic motion of one center of Brahma is carried along the same universal lines
to the other. Two differing motions are thus found in one center. The stronger
impulse is called the I, the weaker the Thou or the He as the case may be.
comes manas. Viraj is the center, and manu the atmosphere of this state. These centers are
beyond the ken of ordinary humanity, but they work under laws similar to those
ruling the rest of the cosmos. The suns move the virats in the same way as the planets move
around the sun.
~ The Functions of the Mind ~
composition of the manu is similar to
that of prana: it is
composed of a still finer grade of the five tatwas, and this increased fineness endows the tatwas
with different functions.
five functions of prana have been
given. The following are the five functions of manas, as given by Patanjali and accepted by Vyasa:
Means of knowledge (Pramana), (2) False
knowledge (Viparyaya), (3) Complex
imagination (Vikalpa), (4) Sleep (Nidra), (5) Memory (Smrite).
the manifestation of the mind fall under one or another of these five heads.
Thus, Pramana includes:
Perception (pratyaksha), (2)
Inference (anumana), (3)
Authority (Agama). Viparyana includes:
Ignorance (avidya, tamas), (2) Egoism
(asinita, moha), (3)
Retention (raja, mahamoka), (4) Repulsion (tamisra, dwesha), (5) Tenacity of life (abhinwesha, andhatamisra).
remaining three have no definite subdivisions. Now I shall show that all the
modifications of thought are forms of tatwic motion on the mental plane.
~ Pramana (Means of
word pramana (means of
knowledge) is derived from two roots, the predicative ma, and the derivative root ana, with the prefix pra. The original idea of the root ma is “to go”, “to move”, and hence “to
measure”. The Prefix pra gives the root
idea of fullness, connected as it is with the root pri, to fill. That which moves exactly up or down to
the same height with any other thing is the pramana of that thing. In becoming the pramana of any other thing, the first thing
assumes certain qualities that it did not have before. This is always
brought about by a change of state caused by a certain kind of motion, for it
is always motion that causes change of state. In fact, this is also the exact
meaning of the word pramana, as applied to a particular manifestation of
is a particular tatwic motion of the mental body; its effect is to put
the mental body into a state similar to that of something else. The mind can
undergo as many changes as the external tatwas are capable of imprinting upon
it, and these changes have been classified into three general heads by
~ Pratyaksha (Perception) ~
is that change of state which the operations of the five sensuous organs
produce in the mind. The word is a compound of “I”, each, and “aksha“, sensuous power, organ of
sense. Hence is that sympathetic tatwic vibration that an organ of sense in
contact with its object produces in the mind. These changes can be classified
under five heads, according to the number of the senses.
eye gives birth to the taijas vibrations, the
tongue, the skin, the ear, and the nose respectively to the apas, the vayu, the akasa and the prithivi vibrations. The pure agni causes the perception of red, the taijasprithivi of yellow, the taijasapas of white, the taijasvayu of blue, and so on. Other colors are
produced in the mind by mixed vibrations in a thousand varying degrees. The apas gives softness, the vayu roughness, the agni harshness. We see through the eyes not only color,
but also form. It will be remembered that a particular form has been
assigned to every tatwic vibration, and all the forms of gross matter
answer to corresponding tatwic vibrations. Thus, form can be perceived through
every sense. The eyes can see form, the tongue can taste it, the skin can
touch it, and so on. This may probably appear to be a novel assertion, but it
must be remembered that virtue is not an act. The ear would hear form, if the
more general use of the eye and skin for this purpose had not almost stifled it
pure apas vibrations
cause an astringent taste, the apasprithivi a sweet, the apasagni hot, the apasvayu acid, and so on. Innumerable other vibrations of taste
are caused by intermediate vibrations in various degrees.
case is similar with the vocal and other changes of vibration. It is clear that
our perceptive knowledge is nothing more than a veritable tatwic motion
of the mental body, caused by the sympathetic communications of the
vibrations of prana, just as a
stringed instrument of a certain tension begins to vibrate
spontaneously when vibration is set up in another similar instrument.
~ Anumana (Inference) ~
word anumana has the same
roots as the word pramana. The only
difference is in the prefix. We have here anu, “after”, instead of pra. Inference (anumana) is therefore aftermotion.
When the mind is capable of sustaining two vibrations at one and the same
time, then if any one of these vibrations is set up and perceived, the second
vibration must also manifest itself. Thus, suppose a man pinches me. The complex
vibrations that make up the perception of the action of man pinching me are
produced in my mind. I recognize the phenomena. Almost simultaneously
with these vibrations another set of vibrations is produced in me. I call
this pain. Now here are two kinds of tatwic motion, one coming after the other.
If at any other time I feel similar pain, the image of the man pinching will be
recalled to my consciousness. This aftermotion is “inference”. Induction
and deduction are both modifications of this aftermotion. The sun always
appears to rise in a certain direction. The concept of that direction becomes
forever associated in my mind with the rising of the sun. Whenever I think of
the phenomenon of sunrise, the concept of that direction presents itself.
Therefore I say that, as a rule, the sun rises in that direction.
Inference is therefore nothing more than a tatwic motion coming after another
Agama (Authority) ~
The third modification of what is called the means of knowledge (pramana) is authority
(agama). What is this? I read in my geography, or hear from the
lips of my teacher that Britain is surrounded by the ocean. Now what has connected these words in my mind with the picture of
Britain, the ocean, and their mutual relations? Certainly it is
not perception, and therefore not inference, which must by nature work through sensuous knowledge. What then? There must be some third
The fact that words possess the power to raise a certain picture in our
minds is one of very deep interest. Every Indian philosopher
recognizes it as a third modification of the mind, but it receives no recognition at the hands of modern European philosophy.
There is, however, little doubt that the color corresponding to this
mental modification differs from that corresponding to
either perception or inference. The color belonging the perceptive
modifications of the mind is always single in nature. A
certain phase of the taijas vibration must always prevail in the visual modification, and similarly the vibrations of other tatwas
correspond to our different sensuous modifications. Each
manifestation has its own distinctive color. The red will appear as well in the
visual as in the auditory or any other vibration, but the red of the visual
will be bright and pure; that of the organ of smell will
be tinged with yellow; that of the organ of touch with blue, and the soniferous
ether will be rather dark. There is, therefore, not the least
likelihood that the vocal vibration will coincide with the pure perceptive vibration. The coal vibrations are double in
their nature, and they can only (if at all) coincide with
the inferential vibrations; and here, too, they can only coincide with the
auditory vibrations. A little consideration will, however,
show that there is some difference between the vocal and inferential
vibrations. In inference, a certain modification of sound in our mind is
followed by a certain visual picture, and both these vibrations retain an
equally important position in our mind. We place two precepts
together, compare them, and then say that one follows the other. In the verbal
modification there is no comparison, no simultaneous consciousness, no placing
together of the two precepts. The one causes the other, but
we are not at all conscious of the fact. In inference the simultaneous presence for some time of both the cause and the effect
brings about a change in the color of the effect. The
difference is less great in the vocal as compared with the inferential
vibration. Axiomatic knowledge is not inferential in the
present, tough it has no doubt been so in the past; in the present it has become native to the mind.
~ Viparyaya (False Knowledge) ~
This is the second mental modification. This word also is derived from a
root meaning motion: i or ay. “to go”, “to
move”. The prefix pari is connected with the root pra, and gives the same
radical meaning as pramana. The word Paryaya has the same
radical meaning as pramana. The word Viparyaya therefore means “a motion removed from the motion that coincides
with the object”. The vibrations of pramana coincide in nature
with the vibrations of viparyaya. Certain acquired conditions of the
mind imprint on the precepts a new color of their own, and thus
distinguish them from the precepts of pramana. There are five
modifications of this manifestation.
~ Avidya (Ignorance) ~
is the general field for the manifestation of all the modifications of false
knowledge. The word comes from the root vid, “to know”, the prefix a, and the suffix ya. The original meaning of the vidya is, therefore, “the state of a
thing as it is”, or expressed in terms of the mental plane in one word, “knowledge”.
As long as in the face of a human being I see a face and nothing else, my
mental vibration is said to be vidya. But as soon as I see a moon or something else not a
face, when it is a face I am looking at, my mental vibration is no longer said
to be vidya, but avidya. Avidya (ignorance) is
not a negative conception; it is just as positive as vidya itself. It is a great mistake to
suppose that words having the privative prefixes always imply abstractions and
never realities. This, however, is by the bye. The state of avidya is that state in which the mental
vibration is disturbed by that of akasa, and some other tatwas, which thus result in the production of false
appearances. The general appearance of avidya is akasa, darkness,
and this is why tamas is a synonym of this word.
general prevalence of darkness is caused by some defect in individual minds,
because, as we find from daily experience, a given object does not excite the
same set of vibrations in all minds. What, then is the mental defect? It is to
be found in the nature of the storedup potential energy of the mind. This storingup of
potential energy is a problem of the deepest importance in philosophy, and the
doctrine of transmigration of souls finds its most intelligible explanation in this.
The law might be enunciated as follows:
~ The Law of Vasana ~
anything be set in any particular kind of tatwic motion, internal or external,
it acquires for a second time the capability of easily being set in motion, and of
consequently resisting a different sort of motion. If the thing is subjected to
the same motion for some time, the motion becomes a necessary attribute of
the thing. The superposed motion becomes, so to speak, “second
if a man accustoms his body to a particular form of exercise, certain muscles
in his body are very easily set into motion. Any other form of exercise that
requires the use of other muscles will be found fatiguing on account of the
resistance set up by muscular habits. The case is similar with the mind. If I have a deeprooted
conviction, as some do to this day, that the earth is flat and the sun moves
around it, it may require ages to dislodge it. A thousand examples might be cited of
such phenomena. It is, however, only necessary in this place to state that the
capacity of turning easily to one mental state and offering
resistance to another one is what I mean by this storedup energy. It is
variously called vasana or Sansakara in Sanskrit.
word vasana comes from the
root vas, “to
dwell”. It means the dwelling or fixing of some form of vibratory
motion in the mind. It is by vasana that certain truths become native to the mind, and not
only certain socalled truths, but all the socalled natural tendencies,
moral, physical, spiritual, become in this way native to the mind. The only
difference in different vasana
is their respective stability. The vasana that are imprinted upon the mind as
the result of the ordinary evolutionary course of nature never change.
The products of independent human actions are of two kinds. If actions result
that check the evolutionary progressive tide of nature, the effect of the
action exhausts itself
in time by the repellant force of the undercurrent of evolution. If,
however, the two coincide in direction, increased strength is
the result. The latter sort of actions we call virtuous, the former vicious.
It is this vasana, this temporary dominion of the
opposite current, that causes false knowledge. Suppose the positive generative current has in any man the strength a, if too it is
presented a negative female current of the same degree of
strength a, the two will try to unite. An attraction that we term sexual love will
then be set up. If these two currents are not allowed to unite, they increase
in strength and react on the body itself to its injury;
if allowed to unite, they exhaust themselves. This exhaustion causes a relief to the mind, the progressive evolutionary current asserts
itself with greater force, and thus a feeling of satisfaction is
the result. This tatwic disturbance of the mind will, as long as it has sufficient strength, give its own color to all perceptions and concepts.
They will not appear in their true light, but as causes
of satisfaction. Thus they say that true lovers see all things rosecolored.
The appearance of a face we love to see causes a partial
running of currents into one another, and a certain amount of satisfaction is the result. We forge that we are seeing a face:
we are only conscious of some cause resulting in a state of
satisfaction. That cause of satisfaction we call by different names. Sometimes we call it a flower, at others we call it a moon. Sometimes we
feel that the current of life is flowing from those
dear eyes, at others we recognize nectar itself in that dear embrace. Such are
the manifestations of avidya. As Patanjali says, avidya consists in
the perception of the eternal, the pure, the pleasing, and the
spiritual instead of or rather in the noneternal, the impure, the painful, and
the nonspiritual. Such is the genesis of avidya, which, as
has been remarked, is a substantial rality, and not a mere negative conception.
This mental phenomenon causes the four remaining ones.
Asmita (Egoism) ~
Egoism (Asmita) is the conviction that real life
(purusha swara) is one with the various mental and physiological modifications, that the higher self is one with the lower
one, that the sum of our percepts and concepts is the real ego, and that there
is nothing beyond. In the present cycle of evolution and in the previous ones,
the mind has been chiefly occupied with these percepts and concepts. The real
power of life is never seen making any separate appearance,
hence the feeling that the ego must be the same with the
mental phenomena. It is plain that avidya, as defined above,
lies at the root of this manifestation.
~ Raga (Desire to Retain) ~
feeling of satisfaction above mentioned under avidya is the cause of this
condition. When any object repeatedly produces in our mind
this feeling of satisfaction, our mind engenders the habit of falling again and again into the same state of tatwic
vibration. The feeling of satisfaction and the picture of the
object that seemed to cause that satisfaction tend to appear together, and this
is a hankering after the object, a desire not to let it escape us that is to
~ Pleasure ~
may investigate more thoroughly the nature of this feeling of satisfaction and
its opposite: pleasure and pain. The Sanskrit words for these two
mental states are respectively sukha and dukkha. Both come
from the root khan, “to
dig”; the prefixes su and dus make the difference. The former prefix
the idea of “ease” and it derives this idea from the unrestrained
easy flow of breath. The radical idea of sukha is, therefore, unrestrained digging
digging where the soil offers but little resistance. Transferred to
the mind, that act becomes sukha, which makes
an easy impression upon it. The act must, in the nature of its vibrations,
coincide with the then prevailing conditions of the mental vibrations.
Before any percepts or concepts had taken root in the mind, there was no
genesis of desire and what is called pleasure that is, the sense of
satisfaction caused by the impressions produced by external objects begins
with certain percepts and concepts taking root in the mind. This
taking root really is only an overclouding of the original set of impressions
arising out of evolutionary mental progress. When contact with the
external object momentarily removes that cloud from the clear horizon of the
mind, the soul is conscious of a feeling of satisfaction that avidya
the external object. This, as shown above, gives birth to desire.
~ Pain & Dwesha ~
genesis of pain and the desire to repel (dwesha) is similar. The radical idea of dukkha (pain) is the act of digging
where a good deal of resistance is experienced. Transferred to the mind, it
signifies an act that encounters resistance from the mind. The mind
does not easily give place to these vibrations; it tries to repel
them with all its might. There arises a feeling of privation. It is as if
something of its nature was being taken away, and an alien phenomenon
introduced. The consciousness of privation, or want, is pain, and the repulsive
power that these alien vibrations excite in the mind is known by the name of dwesha (desire to repel). The word dwesha comes from the root dwesh, which is a compound of du and ish. Ish itself appears
to be a compound root, i and s. The final s is connected to the root su, “to breath”, “to be in one’s
natural state”. The root i means “to go”, and the root ish, therefore, means to go toward one’s
natural state. Transferred to the mind, the word becomes a synonym of raga. The word du in dwesh performs the
same function as dus in dukkh. Hence dwesh comes to mean “a hankering after
repulsion”. Anger, jealousy, hatred, etc., are all modifications of this,
as love, affection and friendship are those of raga. By what has been said above, it is easy to follow
up the genesis of the principle of “tenacity of life”. I must now try
to assign these actions to their prevailing tatwas.
The general color of avidya is, as already said, that of akasa, darkness. Otherwise, the agni tatwa prevails in anger. If this is
accompanied by vayu, there will
be a good deal of motion in the body, prithivi will make it stubborn, and apas easily manageable. Akasa will give a tinge of fear.
same tatwa prevails in
love. Prithivi makes it
abiding, vayu changeable, agni fretting, apas lukewarm, and akasa blind.
Akasa prevails in
fear; it tends to produce a hollow in the veins themselves. In prithivi the timid man is rooted to the
spot, with vayu he runs away,
with apas he succumbs to
flattery, and agni tends to make one vengeful.
~ Vikalpa ~
Vikalpa is that
knowledge which the words imply or signify, but for which there is no reality
on the physical plane. The sounds of nature connected with its
sight have given us names for precepts. With the additions
or subtractions of the percepts we have also had additions and subtractions of
the sounds connected therewith. The sounds constitute our
two or more precepts are added together in such a way as
to give birth to a concept having no corresponding reality
on the physical plane. This is a necessary result of the universal law of visana. When the mind is habituated to a perception of more phenomena than one,
all of them have a tendency to appear again; and whenever two or more such
phenomena coincide in time, we have in our mind a picture of a third something.
That something may or may not exist in the physical plane. If it does not, the
phenomenon is vikalpa. If it does, however, we call it Samadhi.
~ Nidra (Sleep) ~
This also is a phenomenon of the manomaya kosha mind. Indian
philosophers speak of three states in this connection: waking,
dream, and sleep.
~ Waking ~
This is the ordinary state when the principle of life works in
connection with the mind. The mind then receives impressions
of the external objects through the action of the senses. The other faculties
of the mind are purely mental, and they may work in the waking as
in the dreaming state. The only difference is that in dreams the
mind does not undergo the perceptive changes. How is this? These changes of
state are always passive, and the soul has no choice in being
subjected to them. They come and go as a necessary result of
the working of swara in all its five modifications. As has
been explained in the articles on Prana, the different
sensuous organs cease to respond to external tatwic changes when the positive current gains more than ordinary strength in the body. The
positive force appears to us in the shape of heat, the
negative in the shape of cold. Therefore I may speak of these forces as heat
~ Dreams ~
says that in dreamless sleep the soul sleeps in the blood
vessels (nadi), the pericardium (puritat), the hollow
of the heart. Has the system of blood vessels, the negative center of Prana, anything to do with dreams also? The state of dream, according to the
Indian sage, is an intermediate one between waking and sleeping, and it is but
reasonable to suppose that there must be something in this system that accounts for both these phenomena. What is that
something? It is variously spoken of as the pitta, the agni, and the sun. It is
needless to say that these words are meant to denote one and the same thing. It is the effect produced on the body by the solar breath in
general, and the agni tatwa in particular. The word pitta might mislead
many, and therefore it is necessary to state that the word does not necessarily always mean lull. There is one pitta that Sanskrit
physiology locates specifically in the heart. This is called
the sadhaka pitta. It is nothing more or less than cardiac temperature, and it is with this that we have to do in sleep or dream.
degrees. This and nothing more is the meaning of
the Vedic text that the soul sleeps in the pericardium, etc. All the
functions of life are carried on properly as long as we have a perfect balance
of the positive and negative currents, heat and cold. The mean of the
solar and lunar temperatures is the temperature at which the prana keeps up its connection with the gross body. The
mean is struck after an exposure of a whole day and night. Within this period
the temperature is subjected to two general variations. The one is the extreme
of the positive; the other the extreme of the negative. When the positive
reaches its daily extreme the sensuous organs pass out of time with the
is a matter of daily experience that the sensuous organs respond to external
tatwic vibrations within certain limits. If the limit is exceeded either way, the
organs become insensible to these vibrations. There is, therefore, a certain
degree of temperature at which the sensuous organs can ordinarily work; when this limit
is exceed either way, the organs become incapable of receiving any impression
from without. During day the positive life current gathers strength in the
heart. The ordinary working temperature is naturally exceeded by this gathering
up of the forces, and the senses sleep. They receive no impression
from without. This is sufficient to produce the dreaming state. As yet the
chords of the gross body (sthula sharira) alone have slackened, and the soul sees the mind no
longer affected by external impressions. The mind is, however, habituated to
various precepts and concepts, and by the mere force of habit passes into
various states. The breath, as it modifies into the five tatwic states, becomes the
cause of the varying impressions coming up. As already said, the soul has no
part in calling up these visions of its own free will. It is by the working of a
necessary law of life that the mind undergoes the various changes of the
waking and the sleeping states. The soul does nothing in conjuring up
the phantasms of a dream, otherwise it would be impossible to explain horrible
dreams. Why, indeed, if the soul is entirely free in dreaming does it sometimes
call into being the hideous appearances that, with one terrible shock, seem to
send our very blood back to our heart? No soul would ever act thus if it could
fact is that the impressions of a dream change with the tatwas. As one tatwa easily glides into the other, one
thought gives place to another. The akasa causes fear, shame, desire, and anger; the vayu takes us to different places; the taijas shows us gold and silver, and the prithivi may bring us enjoyment, smiles,
dalliance, and so on. And then we might have composite tatwic vibrations. We
might see men and women, dances and battles, councils and popular
gatherings; we might walk in gardens, smell the choicest flowers, see the most
beautiful spots; we might shake hands with our friends, we might deliver speeches, we
might travel into different lands. All these impressions are caused by the
tatwic state of the mental coil, brought about either by (1) physical
derangement, (2) ordinary tatwic changes, (3) or some other coming natural
change of state.
there are three different causes, there are three different kinds of dreams.
The first cause is physical derangement. When the natural currents of prana are disturbed so that disease results,
or are about to be so disturbed, the mind in the ordinary way undergoes these
tatwic changes. The sympathetic chords of the minds are excited, and we dream
of all the disagreeable accompaniments of whatever disease may be within
our physical atmosphere in store for us. Such dreams are akin in their nature
to the ravings of delirium; there is only a difference in strength and violence.
When ill, we may in a similar
way dream of
health and its surroundings.
second kind of dream is caused by ordinary tatwic changes. When the past, the
present, and the future tatwic condition of our surroundings is uniform in its
nature, when there is no change, and when no change is in store for us, the
stream of dreams is most calm and equable in its easy flow. As the atmospheric
and the healthful physiological tatwas glide smoothly one into the other, so do
the impressions of our minds in this class of dreams. Ordinarily we cannot
even remember these dreams, for in them there is nothing of special excitement
to keep them in our memory.
third kind of change is similar to the first; there is only a difference in the
nature of the effects. These we call the effects of disease or health, as the
case may be; here we might group the results under the general
name of prosperity or calamity.
process of this sort of mental excitement is, however, the same in both. The
currents of life, pregnant with all sorts of good and evil, are sufficient
in strength while yet potential and only tending towards the actual, to set the
sympathetic chords of the mind in vibration. The purer the mind, and the freer from
dust of the world, the more sensitive it is to the slightest and the remotes tendency
of prana towards some
change. Consequently we become conscious of coming events in dreams. This
explains the nature of prophetic dreams. To weigh the force of these dreams,
however, to find out exactly what each dream means, is a most difficult
task, and under ordinary circumstances quite impossible. We may make 10,000
mistakes at ever step, and we need nothing less than a perfect Yogi for the right understanding of even our own dreams,
to say nothing of those of others. Let us explain and illustrate the
difficulties that surround us in the right understanding of our dreams. A man
in the same quarter of the city in which I live, but unknown to me, is about to
die. The tatwic currents of his body, pregnant with death, disturb the
atmospheric tatwas, and through their instrumentality are spread in various degrees all
over the world. They reach me, too, and excite the sympathetic chords of my
mind while I am sleeping. There being no special room in my mind for that man,
my impression will be only general. A human being, fair or ugly, male or
female, lamented or not, and having other similar qualities, will come into the
mid on his deathbed. But what man? The power of complex imagination, unless
strongly kept in check by the hardest exercise of yoga, will have its play, and it is almost certain that
a man who has previously been connected in my mind with all these tatwic qualities
will make his appearance in my consciousness. It is evident that I shall be on
the wrong track. That someone is dead or dying, we may be sure,
but who or where is impossible for ordinary men to discover. And not only does
the manifestation of vikalpa
put us on the wrong track, but all the manifestations of the mind do
that. The state of samadhi, which is
nothing more than putting one’s self into a state of the most perfect amenability to
tatwic surroundings, is therefore impossible unless all the other
manifestations are held in perfect check. Patanjali says, “Yoga is keeping in check the manifestations of the
~ Sleep ~
dreamy state is maintained as long as and when the cardiac temperature is not
strong enough to affect the mental coil. But with increasing positive strength,
that too must be affected. The manas and the prana are made of the same materials and are subject to the same
laws. The more subtle these
materials are, however, the stronger must be the forces that produce
similar changes. All the coils are tuned together, and
changes in the one affect the other. The vibrations per second of the first one
are, however, larger in number than those of the lower one, and
this causes its subtlety. The higher are always affected
through the immediately lower principles. Thus the external tatwas will affect prana immediately,
but the mind can only be affected through the prana and not directly. The
cardiac temperature is only an indication of the degree of heat
in prana. When sufficient strength is gathered up there, the prana affects the
mental coil. That too now passes out of tune with the soul. The mental vibration can only work at a certain temperature; beyond that it must go
to rest. In this state we have no more dreams. The only
manifestation of the mind is that of rest. This is the state of dreamless
I pass on now to the fifth and last mental manifestation.
Smrite (Retention, Memory) ~
As Professor Max Muller has remarked, the original idea at the root smri (from which smrite) is “to make soft, to melt”. The process of making soft or melting consists
in the melting thing assuming a consistency nearer
and nearer to the tatwic consistency of the melting force. All change of state
is equivalent to the assumption on the part of the thing changing,
of the state of tatwa that causes the change. Hence the secondary idea of the root, “to love”. Love
is that state of mind in which it melts into the state of
the object of love. This change is analogous to the chemical change that gives
us a photograph on a sensitive plate. As in this phenomenon
the materials on the sensitive plate are melted into the state
of the reflected light, so the sensitive plate of the mind melts into the state
of its percepts. The impression upon the mind is
deeper, the greater the force of the imprinting rays and the greater the sympathy between the mind and the object perceived. This sympathy is
created by stored up potential energy, and the perceptive rays
themselves act with greater force when the mind is in a sympathetic state.
Every percept takes root in the mind, as explained above. It is nothing
more than a change of the tatwic state of the mind, and what is left behind is
only a capacity for sooner falling into the same state again. The mind falls back into the same state when it is under the influence of
the same tatwic surroundings. The presence of the same thing
calls back the same mental state.
The tatwic surroundings may be of two descriptions, astral and local. The
astral influence is the effect upon the individual prana of the condition of
the terrestrial prana at that time. If this effect appears as
the agni tatwa, those of our concepts that have a
prominent connection with this tatwa will make their appearance in the mind. Some of these are a hankering after wealth, a
desire for progeny, etc. If we
have the vayu tatwa, a desire to travel may take
possession of our minds and so on. A minute tatwic analysis of all of our
concepts is of the greatest interest; suffice it to say here that the tatwic
condition of prana often calls up into
the mind objects that have made the objects of perception in similar previous conditions. It is this power that underlies dreams of one class.
In the waking state too this phase of memory often acts as
memory proper (smrite). Here the
object comes first into the mind, and afterwards the act and the surroundings
of perception. Another very important kind of memory is what is called buddhi, literary memory. This is the power by which we
call to mind what we have learned of scientific facts. The process of
storing up these facts in the mind is the same, but the coming back into
consciousness differs in this, that here the act first comes into the
mind and then the object. All the five tatwas and the foregoing
mental phenomena may cause the phenomenon of memory. Literary memory has a good
deal to do with yoga, i.e., the
exercise of free will to direct the energies of the mind into desirable
channels. While those impressions that take root in the mind on account of natural
surroundings make the mind the unwilling slave of the external world, buddhi may lead it to bliss and freedom. But
will these tatwic surroundings always bring related phenomena into
consciousness? No! This depends upon their correlative strength. It is well known
that when the vibrations per second of akasa (sound) pass beyond a certain limit either way, they do
not affect the tympanum. It is, for example, only a certain number of vibrations per
second of the taijas tatwa that affects
the eye, and so on with the other senses. The case with the mind
is similar. It is only when mental and external tatwic tensions are equal that
the mind begins to vibrate as it comes into contact with the external world. Just
as the varying states of the external organs make us more or less sensitive to
ordinary sensation, so different men might not hear the same
sounds, might not see the same sights, the mental tatwas might not be affected
by percepts of the same strength, or might be affected in different
degrees by percepts of the same strength. The question is, how is the variation
of this mental tatwic strength produced? By exercise, and the absence of exercise. If
we accustom the mind, just as we do the body, to any particular precept or
concept, the mind easily turns to those percepts and concepts. If,
however, we give up the exercise, the mind becomes stiff and ceases by degrees to
respond to these percepts and concepts. This is the phenomenon of forgetting.
Let a student whose literary exercises is just opening the buds of his mind,
whose mind is just gaining strength enough to see into the causes and effects
of things, give up his exercise. His mind will begin to lose that nice
perception. The stiffer the mind becomes the less will the casual relation affect him, and
the less he will know of it, until at last he loses all his power.
influence and activity of one sort being impossible in the ordinary course of
time, every impression tends to pass away as soon as it is made. Its degree of
stability depends upon the duration of the exercise. But although activity of
one sort is impracticable, activity of some sort is always present in the mind.
With every action the color of the mind changes, and one color may take so deep
a root in the mind as to remain there for ages upon ages, to say nothing of
minutes, hours, days and years. Just as time takes ages to demolish the
impressions of the physical plane, just as marks of incision upon the skin may not
pass away even in two decades, so also it takes ages to demolish the
impressions of the mind. Hundreds and thousands of years may this be spent in devachan in order to wear away those antagonistic
impressions that the mind has contracted in earthly life. By antagonistic
impressions, I mean those impressions that are not compatible with the
state of moksha, and have
about them a tinge of earthly life.
every moment the mind changes its color, whether the impression be adding or
subtracting. These changes are temporary. But there is at the same time a
permanent change going on in the color of the mind. With every little act of
our worldly experience, the evolutionary tide of progress is gaining
and passing into variety. The color is constantly changing. But the same general
color is maintained under ordinary circumstances, during one earthly life. Under
extraordinary circumstances we might have men having two memories. Under such
circumstances as in the case of approaching death, the accumulated forces of a
whole life combine into a different color. The tension, so to speak, becomes
different from what it was before. Nothing can put the mind into the same state
again. This general color of the mind differing from that of other minds, and yet
retaining its general character for a whole life, gives us the consciousness of
personal identity. In every act that has been done, or that is, or might be
done, the soul sees the same general color, and hence the feeling of personal
identity. In death the general color changes, and although we have the same
mind, we have a different consciousness. Hence no continuance of the feeling of
personal identity is possible through death.
is a brief account of the manomaya
kosha, the mental coil in the ordinary state. The influence of the higher
principle (the vijnana maya kosha) through the
exercise of yoga induces in the mind a number of other manifestations. Psychic
manifestations show themselves in the mind and the prana, in the same way as mental manifestations
are seen influencing and regulating the prana.
IX THE MIND (II)
has been seen, the universe has five planes of existence (which may also be
divided into seven). The forms of the earth, which are little pictures of the
universe, also have the same five planes. In some of these
organisms the higher planes of existence are absolutely latent. In man, in the
present age, the Vijnana maya kosha and the lower
principles make their appearance.
have had an insight into the nature of the macrocosmic prana, and we have seen that almost every point in this
ocean of life represents a separate individual organism.
case is similar with the macrocosmic mind. Every truti of that center takes in the whole of
the macrocosmic mind in the same way. From every point the tatwic rays of
the mental ocean go to every point, and thus every point is a little picture of
the universal mind. This is the individual mind.
Univesal mind is the original of all the centers of Prana, in the same way as the solar prana is the original of the species of
earthlife. Individual mind, too, is similarly the original of all the
individual manifestations of the prana maya kosha. Similarly the soul, and the individual spirit on
the highest plane, is the perfect picture of all that comes below.
the four higher planes of life there are four different states of
consciousness, the waking, the dreaming, the sleeping, and the Tureya.
these remarks the following extract from the Prasnopnishat will be intelligible and instructive.
Sauryayana Gargya asked him, ‘Sir, in this body, what sleeps, and what remains
awakened? Which of these luminous beings sees dreams? Who has this rest? In whom
do all these [manifestations] rest in the potential unmanifested state?’
answered him, ‘O Gargya, as the rays of the setting sun are all collected in
the luminous shell, and then go out again, as he rises again and again, so all
that is collected in the luminous shell of mind beyond. For this reason then,
the man does not hear, does not see, does not smell, does not taste, does not touch, does
not take, does not cohabit, does not excrete, does not go on. They say that he
sleeps. The fires of prana alone remain
awakened in his body. The apana is the Garhapatya fire; the Vyana is the right hand fire. The prana is the ahavanurya fire, which is made by the Garhapatya. That which carries equally everywhere
the oblations of food and air, is the samana. The mind (manas) is the sacrificer (vajmana). The Udana is the fruit of the sacrifice. He carries the sacrificer
every day to Brahma. Here this
luminous being [the mind] enjoys great things in dreams. Whatever was seen, he sees again as
if it were real; whatever was experienced in different countries, in different
directions, he experiences the same again and again the seen and the
unseen, the heard or the unheard, thought or not thought upon. He sees all,
appearing as the self of all manifestations.
he is overpowered by the taijas, then this
luminous being sees no dreams in this state; then there appears in the body
this rest [the dreamless sleep].
this state, my dear pupil, all [that is enumerated below] stays in the ulterior
atma, like birds that resort to a
tree for habitation the prithivi
composite and the prithivi
noncomposite; the apas composite and
the apas noncomposite;
the taijas composite and
the taijas noncomposite;
and the vayu noncomposite;
the akasa composite and
the akasa noncomposite;
the sight and the visible, the hearing and the audible, the smell and the
smellable, the taste and the tasteable, the touch and the tangible, the speech and
the utterable, the hands and whatever might be grasped, the generative
organ and the excrements, the feet and that which may be gone over, the faculty
and the object of doubt, the faculty and the object of egoism, the faculty and
the object of memory, the light and that which might be enlightened,
the prana and that which
keeps it together.
soul is the Vijnana atma, the seer,
the toucher, the hearer, the smeller, the taster, the doubter, the ascertainer,
the agent. This soul [the Vijnana
atma] stays in the ulterior, unchangeable atma [the ananda].
there are four atma the life, the
mind, the soul, the spirit. The ultimate force that lies at the root macrocosmic
Power of all the manifestation of soul, mind, and the life the principle, is
composite is meant that tatwa which has come
into existence after the division into five, noticed in the first essay. The
noncomposite means a tatwa before the
division into five.
principal interest of this quotation lies in presenting in authoritative
fashion the views that have already been propounded. The next essay explains
one of the most important functions of the macrocosmic Power and Mind, that of
recording the human actions, and touches upon some other rather
X THE COSMIC PICTURE GALLERY
are directed by our Guru in the
philosophy of tatwas to look into vacant space toward the sky, when the sky is
perfectly clear, and fix your attention there with the utmost possible
are told that after sufficient practice we shall see there a variety of
pictures the most beautiful landscapes, the most gorgeous palaces of the world,
and men, women and children in all the varying aspects of life. How is such a
thing possible? What do we learn by this practical lesson in the science of attention?
think I have described with sufficient explicitness in the essays, the ocean of
prana with the sun for its center, and have given a hint sufficiently
suggestive of the nature of the macrocosmic mental and psychic
atmospheres. It is of the essential nature of these atmospheres that every
point therein forms a center of action and reaction for the whole ocean. From
what has already been said, it will be plain that each of these
atmospheres has a limit of its own. The terrestrial atmosphere extends only to
a few miles, and the external boundary line of this sphere must, it
will be readily understood, give it the appearance of an orange,
just like that of the earth. The case is the same with the solar prana, and the higher atmospheres. To begin with the
terrestrial Prana, which has
the measured limits of our atmosphere. Every little atom of our earth, and the
most perfect organisms, as well as the most imperfect, makes a center of
action and reaction for the tatwic currents of terrestrial Prana. The prana has the capability of being thrown into the shape of every
organism or, to use a different language, the rays of prana as they fall upon
every organism are returned from that organism according to the wellknown laws
These rays, as is again well known, carry within themselves our pictures.
Bearing these within them, they go up to the limit of the terrestrial prana noted above. It will be easy to conceive that within the
imaginary sphere that surrounds our terrestrial prana, we now have a magnified
picture of our central organism. Not one organism only, but all the smallest points,
the most imperfect beginnings of organized life, as well as the most perfect
organisms all are pictured in this imaginary sphere. It is a magnificent
picturegallery; all that is seen or heard, touched, tasted or smelled on the
face of the earth has a glorious and magnified picture there. At the limit
of this terrestrial prana, the
pictureforming tatwic rays exercise a double function.
they throw the sympathetic tatwic chords of the solar prana into similar motion. That is to say, these pictures
are now consigned to the solar prana, from whence in due course they reach step by step to the universal
these rays react upon themselves, and turning back from the limiting sphere,
are again reflected back to the center.
is these pictures that the attentive mind sees in its noonday gaze into
vacancy, and it is these pictures, seen in this mysterious way, that give
us the finest food for our imagination and intellect, and supply us with a
farreaching clue to the nature and working of the laws that govern the life of
the macrocosm and the microcosm. For these pictures tell us that the
smallest of our actions, on whatever plane of our existence,
actions that may be so insignificant to us as to pass unnoticed even by ourselves,
are destined to receive an everlasting record, as the effect of the
past and the cause of the future. These pictures
again tell us of the existence of the five universal
tatwas that play so important a part in the universe. It is these
pictures that lead us to the discovery of the manifold constitution of man and
the universe, and of those powers of the mind that have not yet received
recognition at the hands of the official science of the day.
these truths have found place in the Upanishad may be seen from the following quotation from the Ishopnishat, mantra 4:
Atma does not move: is one: is faster
than the mind: the senses reach it not: as it is the foremost in motion. It goes
beyond the others in rapid motion while itself at rest, in it the Recorder
preserves the actions.”
the above quotation it is the word Matarishwa that I translate “Recorder”. Ordinarily the
word is translated as
air, and so far as I know, the word has never been understood clearly in the
sense of the “Recorder”. My view,
therefore, may be further explained with advantage.
word is a compound of the words matari and swah. The word
matari is the locative case of matri which ordinarily means mother, but which is rendered here
as space, as the substratum of distance, from the root ma, to measure. The second word of the compound means
the breather, coming as it does from the root Swas, to breathe. Hence the compound means “he who
breathes in space”. In explaining this word the commentator Sankaracharya
goes on to say:
“The word ‘Matarishwa’, which has been derived as above,
means the Vayu [the mover]
which carries in it all the manifestations of prana, which is action itself, that which is the
substratum of all the groups of causes and effects, and in which all the causes
and effects are held like beads in a thread, that which is given the name of sutra [the thread] inasmuch as it holds in
itself the whole of the world.”
It is further said that the “actions” in
the above quotation which this matarishwa holds in itself are all the movements of the
individualized prana, as well as
the actions of heating, lighting, ruining, etc., of the macrocosmic
powers known as Agni, etc.
Now such a thing can by no means be the atmospheric
air. It is evidently that phase of prana which acts as carrying the pictures of all actions, all
motions from every point of space to every other point and to the limits of
the surya mandala. This phase of
prana is nothing more or less than the
Recorder. It holds in itself forever and ever all the causes and effects,
the antecedents and consequents of this world of
is action itself. This means that all action is a change of phase of prana.
It is said in the above quotation that this Recorder lives
in the atma. Inasmuch as
the atma exists, this Power always
performs its function. The prana draws its life
itself from the atma, and
accordingly we find a similarity between the dualities of the two. It is
said of the atma in the above extract that it does not move, and
yet it moves faster than the mind. These appear to be contradictory qualities
at first sigh, and it is such qualities that make the ordinary God of
commonplace theologians the absurd being he always looks to be. Let us, however,
apply these qualities to prana, and once
understood on this plane, they will be quite as clearly understood on the highest
plane, the atma. It has been said more than once
from every point of the ocean of prana the tatwic rays fly in every direction,
to every point within the surya
mandala. Thus the ocean of prana is in eternal motion. For all this, however,
does one point of this ocean ever change its place? Of course not. Thus
while every point keeps its place, every point at the same time goes and shows
itself in every other point.
is the same simple way that the allpervading atma is in eternal motion and yet
always at rest.
case is similar with all the planes of life; all our actions, all our thoughts,
all our aspirations, receive an everlasting record in the books of Matarishwa.
must now notice these pictures in a little more detail. The science of
photography tells us that under certain conditions the visual pictures can be
caught on the plane of the sensitive film. But how can we account for
the reading of letters at a distance of 40 miles or more? Such phenomena are a
matter of personal experience to me. Very recently, while sitting abstracted, or it
may be in a kind of dream, about 4 o’clock in the morning, I read a postcard
written by a friend to a friend about me, the very same night, at
a distance of almost 30 miles. One more thing must be noticed here, I think.
Almost half the card spoke about me, and the rest referred to other matters that
might have a passing interest for me, but could not be engrossing. Now this
rest of the card did not come before my eyes very clearly, and I felt that with
all my effort I could not even keep my eye upon those lines or a sufficiently
long time to understand them, but was irresistibly drawn towards the
paragraph that spoke of me, and which I could read very clearly. Four days
after this, the addressee showed it to me; it was exactly the same, sentence by sentence
(so far as I could remember), as I had seen before. I mention this phenomenon
in particular, as in it the various prerequisites for the production of
these phenomena are clearly defined. We learn from an analysis of this
incident the following facts:
When he was writing, the writer of the card meant that I
should read the card, and especially the paragraph that concerned me.
I was very anxious to know the news about me that the card
In the frame of mind mentioned above my friend wrote the
card. What happened? The picture of his thoughts on the card, both on the
physical and the mental plane, flew in every direction along the tatwic rays of the
macrocosmic prana and mind. A
picture was immediately made on the macrocosmic spheres, and from thence it
bent its rays towards the destination of the postcard. No doubt all minds in
the earth received a shock of this current of thought at the same time. But my
mind alone was sensitive to the card and the news it contained. It was, therefore,
on my mind alone that any impression was made. The rays were, as it were,
refracted into my mind, and the result described above followed.
follows from this illustration that in order to receive the pictorial rays of
the prana we must have a mind in a state of sympathy, and not of antipathy; that
is to say, a mind free from all action or intense feeling for the
time being is the fittest receptacle for the pictorial representations of the
cosmos, and so for a correct knowledge of the past and the future. And
if we have an intense desire to know the thing, so much the better for us. It is
in this way that the divine occultist reads the records of the past in the book of
nature, and it is on this road that the beginner of this science must walk
according to the direction of our Guru.
must be understood that everything in every aspect that has been or is being n
our planet has a legible record in the book of nature, and the tatwic rays of the prana and the mind are constantly bringing the outlines of
these pictures back to us. It is to a great extent due to this that the past
never leaves us, but always lives within us, although many of its most
magnificent monuments have been forever effaced from the face of our planet for
the ordinary gaze. These returning rays are always inclined toward the center that
originally gave them birth. In the case of the mineral surroundings of terrestrial
phenomena these centers are preserved intact for ages upon ages, and it is
quite possible for any sensitive mind, at any time, to turn these rays towards
itself by coming into contact with any material remains of historic phenomena. A
stone unearthed at Pompeii is pictured as part of the great event that
destroyed the city, and the rays of that picture naturally are inclined
towards that piece of stone. If Mrs. Denton puts the stone to her
forehead, a sympathetic and receptive condition is the only prerequisite for
the transference of the whole picture to her mind. This sympathetic state of
mind may be natural to a person, or it may be acquired. It may be mentioned that
what we are in the habit of calling natural powers are really acquired, but they
have been acquired in previous incarnations. Shiva says:
are some to whom the tatwas become known, when the mind is purified by
habituation, either by the acquired velocity of other births or by the kindness
of the Guru.”
seems that two pieces of granite, the same to all intents and purposes
externally, may have an entirely different tatwic color, for the color
of a thing depends to a very great extent upon its tatwic surrounding.
It is this occult color that constitutes the real soul of things, although the
reader must by this time know that the Sanskrit word prana is more appropriate.
is no myth to say that the practiced yogi might bring the picture of any part of the world, past or
before his mind’s eye with a single effort of his will. And not only visual
pictures, as our illustration might lead the reader to think. The
preservation and formation of visual pictures is only the work of the
luminiferous ether, the taijas
tatwa. The other tatwas perform their functions as well. The akasa or soniferous ether preserves all the sounds that
have ever been heard or are being heard on earth, and similarly
the remaining three other preserve the records of the remaining sensations. We
see, therefore, that combining all these pictures, a yogi in contemplation might have before his mind’s eye any man at any
distance whatsoever and might hear his voice also. Glyndon, in Italy, seeing
and hearing the conversation of Viola and Zanoni in their distant home, is therefore
not merely a dream of the poet; it is a scientific reality. The only
thing necessary is to have a sympathetic mind. The phenomena of mental
telepathy, psychometry, clairvoyance and clairaudience, are all phases of this
tatwic action. Once understood, it is all a very simple affair. It may be
useful in this place to offer some reflections as to how these
pictorial representations of a man’s present go to shape his future. I shall
first attempt to show how complete the record is. At the outset I may remind
the reader of what I have said about the tatwic color of everything. It is this
that gives individuality even to a piece of stone.
pictorial whole is only the cosmic counterpart of the individual prana maya kosha (the coil of life). It is
possible that anyone who may not have thoroughly understood the manner of the
storing up of tatwic energy in the individual prana may more easily comprehend the
phenomena in its cosmic counterpart. In fact, the macrocosmic and microcosmic
phenomena are both links of the same chain,
both will conduce to the thorough understanding of the whole. Suppose a man
stands on a mountain, with the finest prospect of nature stretched out before his
eyes. As he stands there contemplating this wealth of beauty, his picture in this
posture is at once made in the ecliptic. Not only is his
external; appearance pictured, but the hue of is life receives the fullest
representation. If the agni tatwa prevails in him at that moment, if
there is the light of satisfaction in his face, if the look in his eyes is calm,
collected and pleasant, if he is so much absorbed in the gaze as to forget
everything else, tatwas separate or in composite will do their duty, and
all the satisfaction, calmness, pleasure, attention or inattention
will be represented to the finest degree in the sphere of the ecliptic. If he
walks or runs, comes down or jumps up or forward, the tatwic rays of prana picture the generating and the generated colors
with the utmost faithfulness in the same retentive sphere.
man stands with a weapon in his hand, with the look of cruelty in his eye, with
the glow of inhumanity in his veins, his victim, man or animal, helpless or struggling
before him. The whole phenomenon is instantly recorded. There stands the
murderer and the victim in their truest possible colors, there is the solitary
room or the jungle, the dirty shed or the filthy slaughterhouse; all are there
as surely and certainly as they are in the eye of the murderer r the victim
us again change the scene. We have a liar before us. He tells a lie, and
thereby injures some brother man. No sooner is the word uttered than the akasa sets to work with all possible activity. There we
have the most faithful representation. The liar is there from the reflection
that the thought if the injured person throws into the individual prana; there is the injured man also. The words are
there with all the energy of the contemplated wrong. And if that contemplated
wrong is completed, there is also the change for the worse that his mendacity
has produced in the victim. There is nothing of the surroundings,
the antecedent and the consequent postures the causes and effects that is
not represented there.
scene changes, and we come to a thief. Let the night be as dark as it may, let
the thief be a circumspect and wary as he can; our picture is there with
all its colors well defined, though perhaps not so prominent. The time, the
house, the wall, the sleeping and injured inmates, the stolen property, the subsequent
day, the sorrowful householders, with all the antecedent and consequent
postures, are pictured. And this is not only for the murderer, the thief,
or the liar, but for the adulterer, the forger, the villain who
thinks his crime is hidden from every human eye. Their deeds, like all deeds
that have ever been done, are vividly, clearly, exactly recorded in
nature’s picture gallery. Instances might be multiplied, but it is
unnecessary. What has been said is sufficient to explain the principle, and the
is useful and not very difficult. But now we must bring our pictures back from
have seen that time and space and all the possible factors of a phenomenon
receive an accurate representation there, and these tatwic rays are united to
the time that saw them leaving their record on the plane of our pictorial
region. When, in the course of ages, the same Time throws its shade again upon the
earth, the pictorial rays, stored up long since, energize manproducing matter,
and shape it according to their own potential energy, which now begins
to become active. It will be readily conceded that the sun dives life to the
earth to men as well as to vegetables and minerals. Solar life takes human shape in the
womb of the mother, and this is only an infusion of some one set of our
pictorial rays into
sympathetic life that already shows itself on our planet. These rays thus
produce for themselves a gross human body in the womb of the mother, and then
having the now somewhat different and differing maternal body, start on their
terrestrial journey. As time advances, the pictorial representation changes it
tatwic postures, and with it the gross body does the same.
the case of the rebirth of the man we saw gazing on the mountains, the calm,
watchful, contented attitude of the mind that he cultivated then has its
influence upon the organism now, and once more the man enjoys the
beauty of nature and so is pleased and happy.
now take the case of the cruel murderer. He is by nature cruel, and he still
yearns to murder and destroy, and he could not be restrained from his horrible
practices; but the picture of the ebbing life of his victim is now part and
parcel of his constitution, the pain, the terror, and the feeling of despair
and helplessness are there in all their strength. Occasionally he feels as if
the blood of life were leaving his very veins. There is no apparent cause, and
yet he suffers pain; he is subject to unaccountable fits of terror, despair and
helplessness. His life is miserable; slowly but surely it wanes away.
the curtain fall on this stage. The incarnated thief now comes on the stage.
His friends leave him one by one or he is driven away from them. The picture of
the lonely house must assert its power over him. He is doomed to a lonely
house. The picture of somebody coming into the house through some unfrequented
part and stealing some of his property, makes its appearance with the fullest
strength. The man is doomed to eternal cowardice. He draws towards
himself the same grief and heartrending that he caused to others long ago.
This posture of heartrending grief has its influence upon him in the ordinary way,
and it creates its surrounding under the same influence.
illustrations are sufficient to explain the law according to which these cosmic
pictures govern our future lives. Whatever other sins may be committed under
the innumerable circumstance of life, their tatwic effects can be traced easily
through the pictorial representations of the cosmos.
is not difficult to understand that the picture of each individual organism
upon the face of the earth is pictured in prana, and it is these pictures, in my opinion, that
correspond to the ideas of Plato on the highest plane of existence. A very
interesting question arises at this point. Are these pictures of eternal existence, or
do they only come into existence after formations have taken place on the
terrestrial plane? Ex nihilo nihil fit is a wellknown
doctrine of philosophy, and I hold with Vyasa that the representations (what we
now call pictures) of all objects in their generic, specific, and individual capacities have
been existing forever in the universal mind. Swara, or what may be called the Breath of God, the
Breath of Life, is nothing more or less than abstract intelligence, as has been
explained, or intelligent motion, if such an expression is better understood.
Our book says:
the swara are pictured,
or represented, the Vedas and the Sastras, in the swara the highest Gandharvas, and in the swara all the three worlds; the swara is atma itself.”
is not necessary to enter more thoroughly into a discussion of this problem;
the suggestion is sufficient. It might be said, however, that all formation
in progress on the face of our planet is the assuming by everything under the
influence of solar ideas of the shape of these ideas. The process is quite similar
to the process of wet earth taking impressions of anything that is pressed upon
it. The idea
of anything is
souls (prana maya kosha) exist in this
sphere just like the souls of other things, and are affected in that home of
theirs by terrestrial experience in the manner mentioned above.
the course of ages, these ideas make their appearance in the physical plane
again and again, according to the laws hinted at previously.
have also said that these pictures have their counterparts in the mental and
the higher atmospheres. Now it might be said that just as these solar pictures
recur again and again, there are times at which these mental pictures also
recur. The ordinary deaths known to us are terrestrial deaths. This means to say that the
influence of the solar pictures is withdrawn for some time from the earth.
After some time, the duration depending upon the colors of the picture,
they throw their influence again upon the earth, and we have terrestrial rebirth.
We may die any number of terrestrial deaths, and yet our solar life might not be extinct.
men of the present manwantara might die solar
deaths under certain circumstances. Then they pass out of the influence of the
sun and are born again only in the region of the second Manu. Men who now die solar deaths will remain in the
state of bliss all through the present manwantara. Their rebirth might also be delayed for more than one manwantara. All these pictures remain in the bosom
of Manu during the manwantarapralaya. In the same way, men might undergo
higher deaths, and pass their time in a state of even higher and more enduring
bliss. The mental coil may be broken, too, just as the gross, the terrestrial,
and the solar might be, and then the blessed soul remains in bliss and unborn
until the dawn of the second day of Brahma. Higher still and longer still is the
state that follows Brahmic death. Then the spirit is at rest for the remaining
Kalpa and the Mahapralaya that follows. After this it will be
easy to understand the meaning of the Hindu doctrine, that during the night of
Brahma the human soul and the whole of
the universe is hidden in the bosom of Brahma like the tree in the seed.
XI THE MANIFESTATIONS OF PSYCHIC FORCE
Force is the form of matter known as vijnana in active connection with the mental and life matters. In
the quotation given above from the Ishnopnishat, it has been said that the deva the macrocosmic and microcosmic
manifestations of prana do not reach
the atma, inasmuch as
it moves faster than even the mind. The tatwas of prana move with a
certain momentum. The mind has greater velocity, and psychic matter greater
still. In the presence of the higher, the lower plane always appears to be at rest,
and is always amenable to its influence. Creation is a manifestation of the
various macrocosmic spheres with their various centers. In each of these spheres
the prana, the manas, and the vijnana the universal tatwic rays give birth
to innumerable individualities on their own planes. Each truti on the plane of prana is a lifecoil (prana maya kosha). The rays that give existence to each
these truti come from each
and all of the other truti, which are
situated in the space allotted to each of the five tatwas and their innumerable admixtures, and
which represent therefore all the possible tatwic manifestations of life.
the plane of manas each mental truti represents an individual mind. Each
individual mind is given birth to by mental tatwic rays from the other quarter.
These rays came from all the other truti situated under the dominion of each of the five tatwas and their innumerable admixtures and
representing therefore all the possible tatwic phases of mental life.
the psychic plane, each truti represents an
individual soul brought into existence by the psychic tatwas flying from every point to every other
point. These rays come from every truti situated under the dominion of each of the five tatwas and
their innumerable admixtures, and thus representing all the possible
manifestations of psychic life.
latter class of truti on the various
planes of existence are the socalled gods and goddesses. The former class
are coils that manifest themselves in earthly life.
psychic truti is thus a
little reservoir of every possible tatwic phase of life that might manifest itself on the
lower planes of existence. And so, sending its rays downward just like the sun,
these truti manifest
themselves in the truti of the lower
planes. According to the prevalent phase of tatwic color in these three
sets of truti, the vijana (psychic) selects its mind, the mind
selects its coil, and in the end the lifecoil creates its habitation in the
first function of the individual truti vijana is to sustain in the life of the mental truti just as the macrocosmic vijana sustains the life of the macrocosmic
mind. And so also does the mental truti sustain the life of the individual truti of prana. In this state, the souls are conscious only of
their subjectivity with reference to the mind and the prana. They know that they sustain the lower truti, they know themselves, they know all the other
psychic truti, and they
know the whole of the macrocosm of Iswara, the tatwic rays reflecting every point into their
indvidual consciousness. They are omniscient; they are perfectly happy because
they are perfectly balanced.
When the prana maya kosha enters the habitation of earth, the
soul is assailed by finitude for the first
This means a curtailment, or rather the creation of a new curtailed
consciousness. For long ages
soul takes no note of these finite sensations, but as the impressions gain
greater and greater strength they are deluded into a belief of identity with
these finite impressions. From absolute subjectivity consciousness is
transferred to relative passivity. A new world of appearances is created. This
is their fall. How these sensations and perceptions, etc., are born, and how
they affect the soul, already has been discussed. How the soul is awakened out
of this forgetfulness and what it does then to liberate itself will come
will be seen at this stage that the soul lives two lives, an active and a
passive. In the active capacity it goes on governing and sustaining the
substantial life of the lower truti. In the passive capacity it forgets itself and
deludes itself into identity with the changes of the lower truti imprinted upon them by the external
tatwas. The consciousness is transferred to finite phases.
whole fight of the soul upon reawakening consists in the attempt to do away
with its passive capacity and regain this pristine purity. This fight is yoga, and the powers that yoga evokes in the mind and the prana are nothing more than tatwic manifestations of the
psychic force, calculated to destroy the power of the external world on the
soul. This constant change of phase in the new unreal finite coils of existence is
the upward march of the life current from the beginnings of relative
consciousness to the original absolute state.
is no difficulty in understanding the how of these manifestations. They are
there in the psychic reservoir, and they simply show themselves when the lower
trutis assume the state of sympathetic polish and tatwic inclination. Thus the
spectrum only shows itself when certain objects assume the polish and form of a
Ordinarily the psychic force does not manifest itself
either in the prana or the mind in
any uncommon phase. Humanity progresses as a whole, and whatever manifestations
of this force take place, they take in races as a whole. Finite minds are
therefore slow to recognize it.
all the individuals of a race do not have the same strength of tatwic phase.
Some show greater sympathy with the psychic force in one or more of its
component tatwic phases. Such organisms are called mediums. In them the
particular tatwic phase of psychic force with which they are in greater sympathy than
the rest of their mind, makes its uncommon appearance. This difference of
individual sympathy is caused by a difference of degree in the commissions and
omission of different individuals, or by the practice of yoga.
this way, this psychic force might manifest itself in the shape of all the
innumerable possibilities of tatwic combination. So far as theory is concerned,
these manifestations might cover the whole domain of tatwic
manifestations in the visible macrocosm (and also in the invisible, which,
however, we do not know). These manifestations may violate all our present
notions of time and space, cause and effect, force and matter. Intelligently
utilized, this force might very well perform the functions of the vril of “The Coming Race”. The
following essays will trace some of these manifestations on the plane of the mind.
XII YOGA THE SOUL (I)
have described two principles of the human constitution: prana and manas. Something also has been said about the nature and
relations of the soul. The gross body was omitted as needing no special
five manifestations of each of the two principles (the prana and the manas), it may be mentioned, may be either fortunate or
unfortunate. Those manifestations are fortunate which are consonant with our true
culture, which lead us to our highest spiritual development, the summum bonum of humanity. Those that
keep us chained to the sphere of recurring births and deaths may be called
unfortunate. On each of the two planes of life (prana and manas) there is a possibility of double existence. We might have a
fortunate and an unfortunate prana, a happy and an unhappy mind. Considering these two to
the number of principles of the human constitution might be raised from five to
seven. The unhappy intelligences of the one plane ally themselves with the unhappy
ones of the other, the happy ones with the happy, and we have in the human
constitution an arrangement of principles something like the
The gross body (sthula sarira), (2) the
unhappy prana, (3) the
unhappy mind, (4) the happy prana, (5) the happy
mind, (6) the soul (vijana), and (7) the
The fundamental division in the fivefold division is
upadhi, the particular and distinct state of matter (prakriti) in each case; in the sevenfold
division it is the nature of Karma with reference to its effect upon human
the sets of these powers, the blessed and the unhappy, work upon the same
plane, and although the blessed manifestations tend in the long run towards the
state of moksha, that state
is not reached unless and until the higher powers (the siddhi) are induced in the mind by the
exercise of yoga. Yoga is a power of the soul. Therefore it is
necessary to say something about the soul and Yoga before the higher powers of the mind can be
intelligibly described. Yoga is the science
of human culture in the highest sense of the word. Its purpose is the
purification and strengthening of the mind. By its exercise is filled with high
aspirations, and acquires divine powers, while the unhappy tendencies die out.
The second and third principles are burnt up by the fire of divine knowledge, and
the state of what is called salvation in life is attained. By and bye the
fourth principle too becomes neutralized, and the soul passes into a
state of manwantaric moksha. The soul may
pass higher still according to the strength of her exercise. When the mind too
is at rest, as in sound sleep (sushupti) during life, the omniscience of the vijnana is reached. There is still a higher
state: the state of ananda. Such are the
results of yoga. I must now
describe the nature of the thing and the process of acquirement.
far as the nature of Yoga is concerned, I
may say that mankind has reached its present state of development by
the exercise of this great power. Nature herself is a great Yogi, and humanity has been, and is being,
purified into perfection by the exercise of her sleepless will. Man need only
imitate the great teacher to shorten the road to perfection for his individual self.
How are we to render ourselves fit for that great imitation? What are the steps
on the great ladder of perfection? These things have been
discovered for us by the great sages of yore, and Patanjali’s little book
is only a short and suggestive transcript of so much of our past
experiences and future potentialities as is recorded in the book of nature. This little book uses the word Yoga in a double signification. The
first is a state of the mind otherwise called samadhi; the second
is a set of acts and observances that induce that state in the mind. The
definition given by the sage is a negative one, and is applicable only on the
plane of the mind. The source of the positive power lies in
the higher principle; the soul Yoga (it is said) is the keeping in
check of the five manifestations of the mind. The very wording
of the definition is involved in the supposition of the
existence of a power that can control and keep the mental manifestations in
check. This power is familiar to us as freedom of the will.
Although the soul is deluded by the manifestations of egoism (asmita) on the mental plane into regarding herself as a slave of the second
and third principles, that is not the fact, and the awakening
takes place as soon as the chord of egoism is slackened to a certain extent. This is the first step in the initiation by nature herself of the
race of man. It is a matter of necessity. The sidebyside
working with each other of the second and third and the fourth and fifth principles weakens the hold of natural mental asmita upon the soul.
“I am these, or of these mental manifestations”,
says Egoism. Such a state of affairs, however, cannot last long. These manifestations
are double in nature; the one is just the reverse of the
other. Which of them is one with the ego: the unhappy or the
blessed? No sooner is this question asked than the awakening takes place. It is
impossible to answer any of these questions in the
affirmative, and the soul naturally ends in discovering that she
is a separate thing from the mind, and that although she has been the slave,
she might be (what she naturally is) the Lord of the mind. Up to this time the
soul has been tossed this way or that in obedience to the tatwic
vibrations of the mind. Her blind sympathy with the mental manifestations gives her unison with the mind, and hence the tossing.
The chord of sympathy is loosened by the waking. The stronger
the nature, the greater the departure from unison. Instead of the soul being tossed by the mental vibrations, it is now time that the mind
should vibrate in obedience to the vibrations of the soul. This assumption of
lordship is the freedom of the will, and this obedience of the mind to the
vibrations of the soul is Yoga. The manifestations evoked in the mind by the
must now give way to the stronger motion coming from the
soul. By and bye the mental colors change their very
nature, and the mind comes to coincide with the soul. In other words, the
individual mental principle is neutralized, and the soul is
free in her omniscience.
Let us now trace the acquirements of the mind step by step up to samadhi.
Samadhi, or the
mental state induced by the practice of Yoga, has two descriptions. As long
as the mind is not perfectly absorbed in the soul the state is
called samprajnata. That is the state in which the discovery of new
truths follows labor in every department of nature. The second is the state of
perfect mental absorption. It is called asamprajnata. In this there is no knowing, no discovering of unknown things. It is a state of intuitive omniscience. Two questions are
naturally suggested at the awakening stage:
“If I am these manifestations, which of them am I? I think I am none
of them. What am I then? What are these?”
the nature of samadhi, a word about
habituation and apathy. These two are mentioned by Patanjali as the two
means of checking mental manifestation, and it is very important to understand
them thoroughly The manifestation of apathy is the reflection in the mind of
the color of the soul when she becomes aware of her free nature and consequently
is disgusted at the mastery of the passions. It is a necessary
consequence of the awakening. Habituation is the repetition of the state so as
to confirm it in the mind.
confirmation of the mind in this state means a state of ordinary mental
inactivity. By this I mean that the five ordinary manifestations are at rest
for the first time. This being so, the mind is for the time being left free
to receive any influences. Here for the first time we see the influence of the
soul in the shape of curiosity (Vitarka). What is
this? What is that? How is this? How is that? This is the form in which
curiosity shows itself in the mind. Curiosity is a desire to know, and a
question is a manifestation of such a desire. But how does man become familiar
with questions? The mental shape of curiosity and question will
be understood easily by paying a little attention to the remarks I have made on
the genesis of desire. The process of the birth of philosophical curiosity is similar
to that of the birth of desire. In the latter the impulse comes from the
external world through Prana, and in the
former, directly from the soul. The place of pleasure in this is supplied by
the reflection into the mind of the knowledge of the soul that self and
independence are better than nonself and the enslaving cords thereof. The strength of
the philosophical curiosity depends upon the strength of this reflection, and
as this reflection is rather faint in the beginning (as it generally is in the
present state of the spiritual development), the hold of philosophical curiosity
upon the mind bears almost no comparison in strength with the hold of desire.
curiosity is then the first step of mental ascent towards Yoga. To begin with, we place before our mind
every possible manifestation of nature, and try to fit in every possible phase
of it with every related manifestation. In plain language, it is to apply ourselves
to the investigation of all the branches of natural science one by one.
is the natural result of curiosity. By this attempt to discover the relations
already existing or possible, essential or potential, among the phenomena of
nature, another power is induced in the mind. Patanjali calls this power vichara, meditation. The radical idea of the
word is to go among the various relations of the portions that make up
the whole subject of our contemplation. It is only a deeper hold on the mind of
the philosophical curiosity noticed above. The third state of this samadhi is what is called ananda, happiness or bliss. As long as there
is curiosity or meditation, the mind is only assuming the consistency of the
soul. This means to say that as yet the vibrations of the soul are only making way
into the mind; they have not yet entirely succeeded. When the third stage is
arrived at, however, the mind is sufficiently polished to receive the full and clear
image of the sixth coil. The mind is conscious of this image as bliss.
Every man who has devoted himself to the study of nature has been in that coveted
state for however short a time. It is very difficult to make it intelligible by
description, but I am sure that the majority of my readers are not
strangers to it.
whence does this bliss come? What is it? I have called it a reflection of the
soul. But first of all, what is the soul? From what I have written up to this
time, the reader will no doubt surmise that I
the soul to be only a picture of the gross body, the prana, and the mind, so far only as its constitution is
have mentioned that in the macrocosm the sun is in the center, the prana the atmosphere of the second principle, and
that the ecliptic marks the shape of this principle. I have also mentioned that
the individual human principle is only a picture of this macrocosmic whole. I
have mentioned again that in the macrocosm virat is the center and manu the atmosphere of second principle. This atmosphere
of the five universal tatwas, just like prana, the only difference being that the
mental tatwas undergo a
greater number of vibrations per second than the tatwas of prana. I have also said that the individual mind
is an exact picture of the macrocosmic mind, the aspect differing with the
surroundings of time, just as in the case of prana.
I have to say the same with regard to the soul. In the macrocosm there is Brahma for the center, and vijana for the atmosphere of this principle.
As the earth moves in prana, as the sun
moves in manu, as the manu (or virat) breathes in vijana, so the soul breathes in the highest atmosphere of ananda. Brahma is the center of spiritual life, as
the sun is the center of prana, and virat the center of mental life. These
centers are similar in luminosity to the sun, but ordinary senses cannot
perceive them because the number of tatwic vibrations per second is
beyond their power.
soul of the universe (the vijana
maya kosha), with Brahma for its center, is our psychic ideal.
tatwic wires of this sphere extend over what we call a Brahmanda. This they do in a way similar to the tatwic
rays of prana with which we
are familiar through the medium of gross matter. This center with this universe
forms the selfconscious universe. All the lower centers exist within the bosom
the influence of gross matter the mental macrocosm registers the external
pictures; that is to say, it gains the power of manifesting itself in the
five ways I have described in the essay on mind. Under the Brahma, however, the mental macrocosm (Manu) attains the higher powers under discussion. This
influence changes, after a time, the nature of Manu itself. The universe has, as it were, a new mind after
every manwantara. This change
is always for the better. The mind is ever spiritualizing. The later the Manu the more spiritual. A time will come
when the present macrocosmic mind will be entirely absorbed into the soul. The
same is the case with the microcosm of man. Thus Brahma is by nature omniscient. He is
conscious of a self. The types of everything that was or is to be in the
process of time are but so many varying compositions of his tatwas. Every phase of the universe, with its
and consequents, is in him. It is himself, his own selfconsciousness. One mind
is absorbed in him in the space of fourteen manwantara. The motion of the mental tatwas is so much accelerated that they
become spiritual. By the time that this takes place in the Universe the
vibrations of the tatwas of prana too are being accelerated under the
influence of Manu until the prana itself is turned into the Manu of the next period. And again, while this is being
done, the gross matter is similarly developing itself into prana.
This is the process of involution, but for the present let us leave it
here and resume the subject.
human soul is an exact picture of this macrocosmic principle. It is omniscient
like its prototype, and has the same constitution. But the omniscience of the
human soul is yet latent on account of her forgetfulness. The sixth principle
(absolute) has developed only a little. Humanity in general has only a very dim
notion of infinity, of Godhead, and of all such subjects. This means that the
rays of the infinite are only just evoking our sixth principle into active life
at this stage of our progress. When in the process of time the rays of the
infinite gather sufficient strength, our soul will come out in her true light. We
might accelerate this process by vairagya (apathy), which gives strength to Yoga, as we have seen.
The means of strengthening Yoga deserve separate consideration. Some of them help
to remove those influences and forces that are antagonistic to progress;
others, such as the contemplation of the divine principle, accelerate the
process of development of the human soul, and the consequent absorption of the mind in the
soul. At present I have simply to discover the nature of the blissful samadhi, which I spoke of as being caused by
the reflection of the soul in the mind.
reflection simply means the assumption by the mind of the state of the soul.
The mind passes from its own ordinary state to the state of the higher energy
of the soul. The greater number of tatwic vibrations per second make their way
in the matter of a lower number of tatwic vibrations per second. The English
language recognizes this rising up of the mind, this passing out of itself, as
elation, and this is the meaning of the word ananda as qualifying the third state of the samprajnata samadhi. The ananda maya kosha takes its name from its being the state
of the highest upheaval. Every moment of ananda is a step towards the absorption of the mind as it
changes its nature, passing forever into a higher state of consistency. That state
which in ananda only appeared
in the moment of triumph now becomes part and parcel of the mind. This
confirmation of the higher energy is known by the name of Asmita, which may be translated by the word
egoism, but means making part and parcel of self.
XIII. YOGA (II)
object in view in this article is to mark the stages along the road of mental
matter to its final absorption in the soul. In the last essay I brought the
mind to the state of samprajnata samadhi. It is in this state that
the mind acquires the power of discovering new truths, and seeing new
combinations of things existent. As this state has been attained in the long
cycle of bygone ages, man has acquired a knowledge of science to its present
stage of development, and the attainment of this quantum of knowledge has
been the means of raising our minds to our present pitch of perfection, when we
have learned to say that these great powers are native to the human mind. As I
have shown, these powers have become native to the mind only after long submission
of the mind to the influence of the soul.
the constant exercise of this samadhi the mind learns to incline towards those cosmic influences
that are in their very nature antagonistic to those bad powers of our constitution
that check our progress. These powers tend to die out naturally. The ultimate goal
of this march is that the state of mind when its manifestation become entirely
potential. The soul, if she pleases, might propel them by her inherent power into the
domain of the actual, but they lose all power to draw the soul after them.
this state is reached, or when it is about to be reached, certain powers begin
to show themselves in the mind, which in the present cycle are by no means
common. This state is technically called paravairagya, or the Higher Apathy.
word vairagya usually is
rendered into English as apathy, and is looked upon with disfavor by modern
thinkers. This is, I believe, owing to a misconception of the meaning of the
word. It is generally understood that misanthropy is the only indication, or
perhaps the highest perfection, of this mental state. Nothing can be further
from the intention of those sages who put vairagya down as the highest means of the
attainment of bliss. Vairagya or apathy is
defined by Vyasa in his commentary on The Aphorisms of Yoga as the
“final state of perfected knowledge”. It is that state in which the
mind, coming to know the real nature of things, would no longer be
deluded into false pleasure by the manifestations of avidya. When this upward inclination becomes
confirmed, when this habit of soaring towards the divine becomes
second nature, the name of paravairagya
is given to the complementary mental state.
state is reached in many ways, and the road is marked by many clearly defined
stages. One way is the practice of samprajnata samadhi. By the constant practice of this samadhi, to which the mind runs of itself when
it once tastes the bliss of the fourth stage of that state, the mind is
habituated to a state of faith in the efficacy of the pursuit. This faith is
nothing more than a state of mental lucidity in which the yet unknown
truths of nature begin to throw their shadows before them. The mind begins to
feel truth in any and every place, and drawn by the taste of bliss (ananda), sets to work out the process of its evolution
with greater and greater zeal. This faith has been called Sraddha by Patanjali, and he calls the consequent zeal
in this zeal and working on, the manifestation of memory comes in naturally.
This is a high state of evolution. Every truth becomes present before
the mind’s eye at the slightest thought, and the four stages of samadhi make their appearance again and again
till the mind becomes very nearly a mirror of Nature.
This corresponds to the state of paravairagya, which in the second place would also
be attained by the contemplation of the High Prototype of the Soul. This is
the Iswara of Ptanjali,
the macrocosmic soul that remains forever in that entity’s soul of pristine
purity. It is this Iswara of that I have
spoken as the selfconscious universe.
Iswara, as I conceive it, is only a
macrocosmic center, similar in nature to the sun, though higher in function.
the sun with his ocean of Prana
is the prototype of our lifeprinciple, prana maya kosha, so Iswara is the great prototype of our souls.
What is the sixth principle of not only a phase of the existence of this great
being prolonged as a separate phase into the lower principles, yet destined to
emerge again into its own true self? Just as I have shown that the
principles of life live in the sun after our terrestrial death, to recur
again and again into actual life, so too the soul lives in the Iswara in a similar fashion. We may look
upon this entity as being the group of all the liberated souls, but at the same
time we must remember that the unliberated souls also are his
undeveloped reflections, destined in the long run to attain their
original state. It is therefore necessary to assume the independent existence
of Iswara, and of other souls
macrocosmic psychic center, this ideal of the sixth principle in man, is the
great reservoir of every actual force in the universe. He is the true type of the
perfection of the human soul. The incidents of mental and physical existence
which, however perfect in themselves, are to His more comprehensive nature mere
imperfections, find no place in Him. There is no misery for Him the five
comprehensive miseries of Patanjali are enumerated above for misery can arise
only in the retrograde process of the first awakening of the mind, only being
caused by sensation, and the human sixth principle not yet gaining
sufficient strength in the process of time to draw the mind towards itself and
out of the domain of the senses, to make it what its prototype originally
is, the rod of dominion, and not as sensation has made it, the
instrument of slavery.
this conemplation of the sixth principle of the Universe, a sympathy is
established naturally between it and the human soul. That sympathy is only
necessary for the Universal Tatwic Law to work with greater effect.
The human soul begins to be cleansed of the dust of the world and in its turn
affects the mind in a similar way, and therein the yogi becomes conscious of this influence by the
slackening of the fetters forged by Prakriti, and a daily, hourly strengthening of heavenward
human soul then begins to become a center of power for its own little universe,
just as Iswara is the center
of power in His universe. The microcosm then becomes a perfect little picture
of the macrocosm. When perfection is attained, all the mental and physiological
tatwas of the microcosm, and to a certain extent of the surrounding world,
become the slaves of the soul. Whitherso it may incline, the tatwas are at its back. He
may will, and the atmospheric Vayu tatwa, with any amount of strength he pleases or is capable of
centering, will set in motion any piece of furniture within the reach of his
will. He may will, and at the instant the apas tatwa will slake your thirst,
cure your fever, or in fact wash off the germs of any disease. He
may will, and any and every tatwa on either of
the lower planes will do its work for him. These high powers do not wait to
come in all of a sudden, but show themselves gradually, and
to the special aptitudes in special forms.
But a description of these powers is not my
present business. My only purpose is to show in what way, according to
the universal law of nature, by contemplation of the macrocosmic sixth
principle, that the human soul becomes the means for the mind attaining the
state called paravairagya.
Besides these two, the author of The Aphorisms of Yoga enumerates five more ways in
which the minds of those who are already by the power of previous karma inclined towards the divine, are seen
to work out their way to the sate of paravairagya.
first way is the habituating of the mind to the manifestations of pleasure,
sympathy, elation, and pity toward the comfortable, the miserable, and the
vicious respectively. Every good man will tell us that the
manifestation of joy at the comfort of another is a high virtue. Why, what harm
is there in jealousy? I think no other science except the philosophy of the tatwas explains with any amount of satisfaction
the reason why of such questions.
have seen that in a state of enjoyment, comfort, pleasure, satisfaction, and
the like, the prithivi or the apas tatwa
prevails in the prana and the mind.
It is evident that if we put our minds in the same, we induce either
of the two tatwas in our life and mental principles. What will be the result? A
process of purification will set in. Both the principles will being to be cleansed
of any trace of defect that the excess of any remaining tatwas may have given to our constitution.
those physiological or mental causes that induce inattention in the mind are removed.
Bodily distempers take their leave for they are the result of the disturbance of
the balance of the physiological tatwas, and comfort, pleasure and enjoyment are foreign to
these. The one induces the other. As the balance of the tatwas brings comfort and enjoyment of life,
so the sense of comfort and enjoyment that colors our prana and mind when we put ourselves in
sympathy with the comfortable, restores the balance of our tatwas.
when the balance of tatwas is restored,
what remains? Disinclination to work, doubt, laziness and other feelings
of that kind can no longer stand, and the only result is the restoration of the
mind to perfect calmness. As Vyasa says in his commentary, the White Law makes
its appearance in the mind. Such and in a similar way is the result of the
manifestation of the other qualities. But for such a result to beachieved,
there must be long and powerful application.
next method is Pranayama, deep
expiration and inspiration. This too conduces to the same end and in the same
way. The drawing of deep breaths in and out has to some extent the same effect
as running and other hard exercise. The heat that is produced burns down
certain elements of disease, which if it desirable should be burnt. But the
practice in its effects differs for the better from hard exercise. In hard exercise the susumna begins to play, and that is not good
for physiological health. Pranayama, if properly
performed, however, is beneficial from a physiological as well as from a mental
point of view. The first effect that is produced in pranayama is the general prevalence of the prithivi tatwa. It is unnecessary to remind the
reader that the apas tatwa carries the
breath lowest down, and that the Prithivi is the next. In our attempt to draw deeper breaths than
usual, the prithivi tatwa cannot but be introduced,
and the general prevalence of this tatwa, with the consequent golden tinge of the circle of
round our heads, can never fail to cause fixity of purpose and strength of
attention. The apas tatwa comes in next. This is the silvery hue
of innocence that encircles the head of a saint and marks the attainment
next is the attainment of the twofold lucidity the sensuous and the
cardiac. The sensuous lucidity is the power of the senses to perceive the
changes of prana. The
previously trained attention, according to special aptitudes, is centered on any
one of the five senses or more. If centered in the eyes, one can see
the physiological and atmospheric colors of prana. I can affirm this by personal experience. I
can see the various colors of the seasons. I can see the rain coming an hour,
two hours, and sometimes even two days before an actual shower. Bright sheets of the
green washed into coolness and purity by the white make their appearance
anywhere about me in the room, in the heavens, on the table before
me, on the wall in front. When this happens, I am sure that rain is in the air
and will come down soon. If the green is streaked with red, it takes some time
to come, but it is surely preparing.
remarks are enough for color. The power can be made to show itself by a
sustained attempt to look into space, or anything else, as the moon, a star, a
jewel, and so on. The remaining four senses also attain similar powers, and
sounds, smells, tastes and touches that ordinary humanity cannot perceive begin to be
perceived by the Yogi.
The cardiac lucidity is the power of the mind to feel and
also that of the senses to perceive thoughts. In the article on Prana, I have given a chart of the head, specifying the
places and giving the colors of the various kinds of mental manifestations.
These colors are seen by anyone who has or acquires the power, and they
constitute the surest book in which to read the thoughts of any man. By
sustained practice one will recognize the finest shades.
can also feel these thoughts. The modifications of thought moving along the
universal tatwic wires affect any and every man. They each impart a distinct
impulse to the prana maya kosha, and thus a
distinguishable impulse to the throbs of the brain and the more easily
perceivable throbs of the heart. A man who studies these throbs of the
heart and sits with his attention centered into the heart (while it is of
course open to every influence) learns to feel every influence there. The
effect on the heart of the mental modifications of other people is a fact
that, so far as quality is concerned, may be verified by the commonest
sensuous or cardiac lucidity, as the case may be, once attained kills
skepticism, and in the end conduces to the state of paravairagya.
the next place, one may rely upon the knowledge obtainable through dreams and
sleep. But this will do for the present.
XIV YOGA THE SOUL (III)
five ethereal currents of sensation are focused in the brain, and motion is
transmitted to the mental principle from these five centers of force. These
various foci serve a connecting links between the mental and the
lifeprinciples. The visual currents produce in the mind the capability of
becoming conscious of color. In other words, they produce eyes in the mind.
Similarly, the mind gets the capability of receiving the impressions of the
four remaining sensations. This capability is acquired after the
exposure of ages. Cycles upon cycles pass, and the mind is not yet capable of
receiving these tatwic vibrations. The wave of life begins its organized
journey upon earth with vegetable forms. Since that time external currents
begin to affect the vegetable organism, and this is the beginning of what we call
sensation. The modifications of the external tatwas through the individualized
vegetable life strike the chords of the latent mind, but it will not yet
respond. It is not in sympathy. Higher and higher through
vegetable forms the lifewave travels; greater and greater is the force with
which it strikes the mental chords, and better and better is the capability of
that principle to respond to the tatwic calls of life. When we reach the animal
kingdom the external tatwic foci are just visible. These are the sensuous organs, each of
which has the capability of focusing its own peculiar tatwic rays into itself.
In the lowest forms of animal life they are just visible, and this is a
sign that the mental principle is then in a comparatively high state of
perfection: it has begun to respond somewhat to the external tatwic call. It might be
remarked here that this is the superposed relative mind, and not the absolute
original mental truti, both of which
I have already described. It is the uprising of this evolutionary finite
structure on all the planes of life that has led a German philosopher to
the conclusion that God is Becoming. This is true of course, but it is only
true of the finite Universe of names and forms and not of the absolute towards which
it is moving.
To resume: The exposure
of this animal life to the external tatwas is longer and longer, and the
greater and greater in their various foci, the formation of these foci becomes
higher and higher, the external call upon the mind is stronger and stronger, and
the mental response is more and more perfect. A time comes in the progress of
this mental evolution when the five mental senses are perfectly developed, as
is marked by the development of the external senses. We call the action of the five mental
senses the phenomenon of perception. On the manifestation of this perception is
raised the mighty fabric of perception of those mental manifestations that I have
discussed in the essay on Mind. The way in which this evolution takes
place is sketched there too.
external tatwas of gross matter create gross foci in a gross body from whence
to send their currents. The soul does the same. The tatwic currents of the
external soul, Iswara, create
similar centers of action in connection with the mind. But the tatwic vibrations
of the soul are finer than those of the lifeprinciple. The mental matter takes
a longer time to respond to the call of Iswara than it does to answer to the call of Prana. It is not till the lifewave reaches humanity
that the vibrations of the soul begin to show themselves in the mind.
The foci of psychic currents are located in what is called the vijnana maya kosha, the psychic coil. At the time of the
beginning of human life, the psychic foci go on gaining strength, race after
race, till we reach the point that I have called the awakening of the soul. That process
ends in the confirmation of the state of paravairagya. From this state there are only a few
steps to the power of what has been called ulterior or psychic
perception. Our former perception may now be called animal
perception. And just as the mighty fabric of inference and verbal authority has
been raised on the basis of animal perception, a more mighty fabric of
inference and verbal authority has been raised on the basis of
psychic perception by ancient Aryan sages. We shall come to that by and bye.
confirms the state of paravairagya in the Yogi’s mind, it gets the
most perfect calm. It is open to all sorts of tatwic
influences, without any sensuous disturbance. The next power that consequently shows itself is called samapatti. I define this word
as that mental state in which it becomes capable of
receiving the reflection of the subjective and the objective worlds, and the
means of knowledge at the slightest motion, however imparted.
Intuition has four stages: (1) Sa vitarka, verbal, (2) Nir vitarka, wordless, (3) Sa vichara, meditative, (4) Nir vichara, ultrameditative.
The state of intuition has been likened to a bright, pure, transparent,
colorless crystal. Place whatever you will behind such
a crystal, and it will show itself in the color of that object. And so does the
mind behave in this state. Let the tatwic rays that constitute
the objective world fall on it, and it shows itself in the colors of the
objective world. Remove these colors, and it is again as pure as crystal, ready
show in itself any other colors that might be presented to it. Think of
the elementary forces of Nature, the tatwa, think of the
gross objects where they work, think of the organs of sense and their genesis
and the method of their operations, think of the soul,
liberated or bound, and the mind readily falls into each of these states. It retains no particular color that might oppose or
vitiate any other color entering it. The first stage of
intuition is verbal. It is the most common in this age and therefore the most
easily intelligible. Let the reader think of a mind in which no
color is evoked at the sound of scientific words. Let him think of thousands of those men in whose minds the sounds of
their own language, full of high and great ideas, is as strange as Hebrew. Take
an uneducated English peasant and teach him to read Comus. Do you think those beautiful words will carry to him all they are
intended to convey? But why an uneducated peasant? Did the
great Johnson himself understand the beauties of Milton? Take again a common schoolboy, and read to him in his own language the truths of
philosophy. Does that language, even if you gave him its lexicographic meaning,
convey any idea to his mind? Take the Upanishad, and read it to any pandit who can understand Sanskrit reasonably
well. Does anyone doubt (I do not) that he does not understand
all that those noble words convey? With such a mind, let him compare the mind
of a really educated man, a mind that almost intuitively
takes in the true sense of words. To take in the full sense that words are
intended to convey is not an easy task, even for the highly educated.
Prejudice, deepseated antagonistic theories, the strength of
one’s own convictions, and perhaps some other characteristics of the mind prove
to be an insurmountable obstacle. Even a John Stuart Mill could not properly understand the philosophy of Sir William Hamilton. One of the
greatest Oriental scholars says that Patanjali’s
system is no philosophy at all! Another has expressed himself to the effect
that Patanjali’s Aphorisms on Yoga are mere fanaticism!
There are many tantras of which, though we might translate them into any language, very few of us really know the
meaning. This is a very grave
shortcoming, and sometimes much to be regretted.
It disappears only with the manifestation of verbal intuition. In this state
the Yogi is at once en rapport with the author of the book, and this
is because his mind is free from every blinding prejudice, and is in fact
a pure, bright, colorless crystal, ready to show any phase of color that might
come in contact with it.
The next stage of intuition is wordless. In this you no
longer stand in need of books to initiate yourself into the
secrets of nature. Your mind becomes capable of serving these truths from their
fountainhead: true pictures of everything in every state of the
objective word which through the agency of prana are represented in the universal
mind, pictures that are the souls of these things, their own true selves,
pregnant with every state in which the thing has passed,
or has to pass, the realities of the various and varying phases of the phenomenal
world, the thing which in a table, a glass, a pen, and in fact any and every thing,
is hard or soft, long or short, white or black.
state have for their object the gross phenomenal world. The next two stages of
intuition have for their object the world of forces that lies at the root of
the changes of the gross world, the world of subtle bodies. The
meditative intuition has for its object only the present manifestation of the
currents of the subtle body, the forces that are already showing or going
to show themselves. In this state, for example, the Yogi knows intuitively the present forces of the
atmospheric Prana as they are
gathering strength enough to give us a shower of rain or snow, but he does not
know what has given them their present activity, or whether the potential will
ever become the actual, and if yes, to what extent. He knows the forces that
are working at the present moment in that tree, that horse, that man, the
powers that keep these things in the state they are in, but he does not
know the antecedents and consequents of that state.
next state has for its object all the three states of subtle bodies. The
present state is know of course, but with it the Yogi draws in the whole history of the object from
beginning to end. Place before him a rose, and he knows its subtle principle
in all this states, antecedents and consequents. He is familiar with the little
beginnings of the bush and its growth in various stages; he knows how the
budding began, how the bud opened, and how it grows into a beautiful flower. He
knows what its end shall be, and when. Put before him a closed letter, and he
knows not only what that letter contains, but he can trace those
thoughts to the brain whence they proceeded, to the hand that wrote the letter,
to the room in which they were written, and so on. It is in this state too that the
mind knows mind, without the medium of words.
four states constitute what is called the objective trance (savija samadhi).
these powers show themselves in many minds. But that simply shows that the
favored mortal is on the right track. He must make sure of the point if he would
the last stage of this samadhi
is confirmed in the mind, our psychic senses gain the power of that amount of
certain knowledge which is the portion of our animal senses. The authority of
these senses is supreme with us, so far as the gross world is concerned.
In a similar way there is no room left for us to doubt the truth of the
knowledge that our psychic senses bring us. The high power of knowing every supersensuous
truth with perfect certainty is known as Ritambhara, or psychic perception.
The knowledge that psychic perception gives us is by no means to be
confounded with the knowledge
through inference, imagination, or the records of others’ experience.
imagination, and verbal authority, based on animal perception, can only work
upon knowledge obtained through animal senses. But psychic perception and
inference based upon that has for its object things of the supersensuous world,
the realities that underlie the phenomenal existence with which we
are familiar. That perception takes in the fact of the existence and the nature
of Prakriti, the most subtle
state of matter, just as animal perception takes in gross matter.
perception draws the mind towards gross matter, the world that has given it
birth. So does psychic perception draw the mind towards the soul. The
practice of objective samadhi destroys
itself. The mind takes in so much of the higher energy of the soul that it loses
its mental consistency. Down goes the entire structure of unreal names and
forms. The soul lives in herself, and not in the mind as now.
this the greater part of my work is done. It is now clear that what we call man
lives chiefly in the mind. The mind has two entities to affect it. The one is
the lifeprinciple, the other the psychic principle, the once producing certain
changes in the mind from below, the other from above. These changes have
been recorded, and it has been found that the dominion of the soul is more
desirable than that of the life principle. When the mind loses itself entirely
in the soul, man becomes God.
object of these essays has been roughly to portray the nature, function and
mutual relation of the principles; in other words, to trace the operation of the
universal tatwic law on all the planes of existence. This has been briefly done.
A good deal more remains to be said about the powers latent in the Prana and the mind, which show themselves in
special departments of the progress of man. That need not, however, form part of
the present series, and therefore I close this series with some description of
the first and last principle of the cosmos: the Spirit.
XV THE SPIRIT
is the anandamaya kosha, literally
the coil of bliss of the Vedantins. With the power of psychic perception, the
soul knows the existence of this entity, but in the present stage of human
development it has hardly made its presence directly felt in the human
constitution. The characteristic difference between the soul and the spirit is the
absence of the “I” in the latter.
is the dawn of the day of evolution. It is the first settingin of the positive
current of the great breath. It is the first state of cosmic activity after the
night of Mahapralaya. As we have
seen, the breath in every state of existence has three states: the positive,
the negative, and the susumna. The susumna
with either of the two states. This is the state that is described in the Parameshthi sukta of the Rig Veda as neither Sat (positive) nor Asat (negative). This is the primary state
of parabrahma, in which the whole
universe lies hidden like a tree in the seed. As billows rise and lose
themselves in an ocean, the two states of evolution and involution take
their rise in this state, and in due time are lost in the same. What
is Prakriti itself in this
state of potential omnipotence? The phenomena of Prakriti owe their origin and existence to
the modifications of the great breath. When that great breath is in the state of susumna, can we not say that Prakriti itself is held in that state by susumna? It is in fact parabrahma that is all in all. Prakriti is only the shadow of that substance,
and like a shadow it follows the modifications of His great breath. The
first modification of the great breath is the setting in of the evolutionary
(positive) current) In this state, Prakriti is ready to modify into the ethers of the first degree, which
make up the atmosphere from which Iswara draws life. In the first state of evolution, the Subject (parabrahma) whose breath causes these
modifications of Prakriti, is known as Sat, the fountainhead of all existence. The I
is latent in this state. Naturally enough, because it is the differentiation
that gives birth to the I. But what is this state? Must man be annihilated
before he reaches this state of what from the standpoint of man is called nirvana or paranirvana? There is no reason to
suppose that it is the state of annihilation any more than a certain amount of
latent heat is annihilated in water. The simple fact is that the color
that constitutes the ego becomes latent in the spirit’s higher form of energy.
It is a state of consciousness or knowledge above self, not certainly destroying it.
individual spirit bears the same relation to the Sat which the individual soul bears to the Iswara, the individual mind to the Virat, and the individual lifeprinciple to
the Prana. Each center
is given birth to by the tatwic rays of that degree. Each is a drop in its own
ocean. The Upanishad explains this state under
many names. The Chhandogva, however, has a
very comprehensive dialogue on this subject between Uddalaka and his son
Max Muller has made some very questionable remarks on certain assertions in
this dialogue, calling them “more or less fanciful”. These
remarks could never have fallen from so learned a man had he known and
understood something of the ancient Science of Breath and the Philosophy of the
Tatwas. The Upanishad can never be
very intelligible without this comprehensive science. It must be remembered that
the Upanishads themselves have
in many places clearly laid down that a teacher is wanted for the
proper understanding of these divine words. Now the teacher taught nothing else
but the Science of Breath, which is said to be the secret doctrine of all secret
doctrines. It is, in fact, the key to
all that is taught in the Upanishad. The little book that tries to
explain these essays to the world appears from its very arrangement to be a
compilation of various couplets on the same subject, inherited from various
esoteric circles. In fact, this handful of stanzas has its chief value as a key
to Aryan philosophy and occult science, but even this little book will hardly
serve to dispel the gloom of ages.
To return, however,
to the dialogue between the father and the son: it is contained in the sixth Prapathaka of the Chhandogya Upanishad.
the beginning, my dear, there was only that which is one only, without a
second. Others say in the beginning there was that only, which is not one
only, without a second, and from which is not, that which is was
is the translation of Professor max Muller. Notwithstanding the authority of
his great name, and real scholarship, I venture to think that the sense of the
Upanishad is totally lost
sight of in this translation. The words of the original are:
“Sad eva saumyedamagre asit.”
cannot find any word in the translation giving the sense of the word idam in
the original. Idam means “this”,
and it has been explained as meaning the phenomenal world. This that is
perceived, etc. Therefore real translation of the text would be:
(world) was Sat alone in the
in the translation of Professor Muller the word “there” is printed by
mistake for “this”. If this is the case, the defect in the translation
is at once cured.
text means that the first state of the world before differentiation was the
state known as Sat. From what comes
afterwards, it appears that this is the state of the Universe in which all its
phenomena, material, mental and psychic, are held in posse. The word eva, which in the translation stands for the word
“alone” or “only”, signifies that in the beginning of the
Day of Evolution the universe had not all the five, or even two or more of the
five planes of existence together. Now such is the case, but in the beginning the Sat existed alone.
The Sat is one only, without a second. There is no qualification
of time in these two epithets. The Sat is one alone, not like the Prana, the Virat, and Iswara, having all
three existing simultaneously, a shadowy side of existence.
next sentence goes on to say that in the beginning there was Asat alone. As Professor Muller renders it,
“There [?] was that only which is not.”
this carries no meaning, notwithstanding the Greek accompaniment. That the word
Asat is used in the sense of
“that which is not” or briefly “nothing”, there is no
doubt. But there is also no doubt that such is not the meaning of the Upanishad. The words are used here in the same
sense in which they are used in the “Nosad asit” hymn of the Rigveda.
there was neither the Sat nor the Asat.”
of course is a state quite other than the Sat of the Upanishad. It is nothing more than the susumna of the Brahmic breath. After this in
the beginning of evolution the Brahma became Sat. This is the positive potential phase. The Asat is nothing more than the cooler negative life
current that rules during the night of Maha pralaya. When the shadowy Prakriti has undergone the preparatory
influence of the negative current, the day of evolution sets in with the
beginning of the positive current. The dispute as to beginning
is merely of a technical nature. In reality there is no beginning. It is all a
motion in the circle, and from this point of view we may put whatever
state we like in the beginning.
the Asat philosopher
argues that unless the Maya undergo the
preparatory influence of the Night, there can be no creation. Hence, according
to him, we must put Asat at the
sage Uddalaka would not consent to this. According to him, the active
impressive force is in the Sat, the positive
state, just as all the lifeforms take their origin from Prana (the positive life matter) and not from Rayi (the negative life matter) see the Prasnopnishat. It is only impressibility that exists
the Asat; the real
names and forms of the phenomenal Universe do not exist there. In fact, the
name Asat has been given
to the primary state of the evolving universe for this very reason. If we would
these two w