The Science of Breath
& the Philosophy of the Tatwas
(Translated from the Sanskrit with 15 Introductory &
Explanatory Essays on Nature’s Finer Forces)
The Theosophical Publishing Society, London (1890)
I. The Tatwas
III. The Mutual
Relation of the Tatwas & Principles ~
IV. Prana (I)
V. Prana (II)
VI. Prana (III)
VII. Prana (IV)
VIII. The Mind
IX. The Mind (II)
X. The Cosmic
Manifestations of Psychic Force
XII. Yoga ~ The
XIII. Yoga (II)
XIV. Yoga (III)
XV. The Spirit
The Science of
Breath & The Philosophy of the Tatwas
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
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.
5 November 1889
Nature’s Finer Forces
& Their Influence on Human Life &
The tatwas are the five modifications of the great
Breath. Acting upon 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 subtle 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.
The 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 all-pervading, just as the luminiferous
ether. Why, then, is not sound transmitted to our ears when a
vacuum is produced in the bell-jar? 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 ether 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 bell-jar 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
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
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
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:
It 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 are similar.
Now 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 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.
These are the forms, and the modes of motion, of the five
Of the five sensations of men, each of these gives birth to
(1) Akasa, Sonorifierous ether, Sound; (2)
Vayu, Tangiferous ether, Touch; (3) Taijas,
Luminfierous ether, Color; (4) Apas, Gustiferous ether,
Taste; (5) Prithivi, Odoriferous ether, Smell.
In the process of evolution, these co-existing 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 into
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,
the ethers assume the following forms:
One molecule of each ether, consisting of eight atoms, has four
of the original principle ethers, and one of the remaining four.
The following table will show the five qualities of each of the
tatwas after panchikarana:
light blue acid
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:
(1) Physical (Prana); (2) Mental (Manas); (3)
Psychic (Vijnana); (4) Spiritual (Ananda)
I shall discuss, however, some of the secondary qualities of
(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
(2) 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 the
(3) 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
If we apply fire 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 symmetrical position of (a'). Similarly does
every point change its place round the center of the piece of
metal. Ultimately the whole piece assumes the shape of A’B’C’.
Expansion is thus the result.
(4) 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.
(5) 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 semi-lunar shape of the apas, they must easily glide
over each other. The very shape secures easy motion for the
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 ~
It will be very interesting to trace the development of man and
the development of the world according to the theory of the tatwas.
The 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 life-wave". 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 non-differentiation, 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 life-wave 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 life-wave is, then, the same which in
man assumes the form of inspiratory and expiratory motion of the
lungs, and this is the all-pervading source of the evolution and
the involution of the universe.
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.
The Swara has two different states. The one is known on
the physical plane as the sun-breath, the other as the
moon-breath. 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
sub-divisions of this period comprehend all the phases of
existence, and it is therefore necessary to give her the scale
of time according to the Hindu Shastras.
The Divisions of Time ~
I shall begin with a Truti as the least division of
26-2/3 truti = 1 nimesha = 8/45 second.
18 nimesha = 1 kashtha = 3-1/5 seconds = 8 vipala.
30 kashtha = 1 kala = 1-3/5 minutes = 4 pala.
30 kala = 1 mahurta = 48 minutes = 2 ghari.
30 mahurta = 1 day and night = 24 hours = 60 ghari.
30 days and nights and odd hours = 1 Pitruja day
and night = 1 month and odd hours.
12 months = 1 Daiva day and night = 1 year = 365 days,
15", 30', 31".
365 Daiva days and nights = 1 Daiva year.
4,800 Daiva years = 1 Satya yuga.
3,600 Daiva years = 1 Treta yuga.
2,400 Daiva years = 1 Dwapara yuga.
1,200 Daiva years = 1 Kali yuga.
12,000 Daiva years = 1 Chaturyugi (four yuga).
12,000 Chaturyugi = 1 Daiva yuga.
2,000 Daiva yuga = 1 day and night of Brahma.
365 Brahmic days and nights = 1 year of Brahma.
71 Daiva yuga = 1 Manwantara.
12,000 Brahmic years = 1 Chaturyuga of Brahma, and so
200 yuga of Brahma = 1 day and night of parabrahma.
These days and nights follow each other in eternal succession,
and hence eternal evolution and involution.
We 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
The 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.
After 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
Into 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
These spheres are our Brahmandas. In them the ethers
assume a secondary development. The so-called division 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 self-conscious universe.
In 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.
We 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
Every 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 higher.
(1) 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.
These three nights acting upon earth-matter impart to it the
receptivity of the cool, negative shady phase of life-matter.
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.
These 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,
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 earth-life or
Terrestrial Prana has four centers of force.
When it has been cooled by the negative current, the positive
phase imprints itself upon it, and earth-life in various forms
comes into existence. The essays on prana will explain
this more clearly.
(2) 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 runs thus:
"By meditation upon the sun is obtained a knowledge of the
On this, the revered commentator says: "There are seven lokas
(spheres of existence)."
(1) The Bhurloka: this extends to the Meru; (2) Antareikshaloka:
this extends from the surface of the Meru to the Dhru,
the pole-star, 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 to Brahma.
It 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
Similarly, Vijnana has to do with the nights and days
of Brahma, and Ananda with those of Parabrahma.
It 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.
Mutual Relation of the Tatwas and of the Principles ~
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.
The 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).
It 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.
Well 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 one 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 self-conscious
In 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
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 among others:
(1) The superposed influence of the solar heat; (2) The
internal influence of the more distant atoms on the nearer ones
and vice versa.
The 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.
Again, 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.
Secondly, 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.
The same process obtains in the changes of matter with which we
are now familiar. An example will better illustrate the whole
Take ice. This is solid, or what the Science of Breath would
call in the state of prithivi. One quality of the 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 become latent.
Let 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.
Now 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, the 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.
Thus 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.
It 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.
First 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.
Now 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.
It 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 to 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)
The 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.
Although 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 organizing influence.
The terrestrial Prana -- the earth-life that appears in
the shape of all the living organisms of our planet -- is, as a
whole, nothing more than a modification of the solar Prana.
As 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
life-current from the East to the West. During the night the
same place sends forth the negative current.
In 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.
The 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.
The 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 other way.
With 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 celebrated
nadis of the Tantrists. It will be better to discuss the other
bearings of Prana, when we have localized it in the
The 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
The 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.
The 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.
Each 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
There 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.
The 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 the system 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 blood-vessels, 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"
"[It 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."
Then the susumna has two other functions. It is called
vedo-veda 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 blood 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.
The 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:
(1) The right side positive, (2) the left side positive, (3)
the right side negative, and (4) the left side negative.
In 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 ten forces:
(1) Prana, (2) Apana, (3) Samana, (4) Vyana,
(5) Udana, (6) Krikila, (7) Naga, (8) Devadatta,
(9) Dhavanjaya, (10) Kurma.
These 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 all-important 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
Similarly, 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.
Between 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
In 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
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
We read in the Prasnopnisat:
"From the heart [ramify the] nadi. Of these there are
101 principal ones (Pradhana nadi). Each of these
branches into 100. Each of these again into 72,000."
Thus, there are 10,100 branch nadi, and 727,200,000
still smaller ones, or what are called twig-nadi. 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 are 727,210,201.
Now, 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 states."
This 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 capillaries.
The 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 crookedly."
The 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.
Along 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.
Those 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.
(1) 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.)
goes 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
There 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 actually gained.
Centers of 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
"(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,
"(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
"(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
When 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.
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 branches.
The 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 thousand-petalled 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 semi-lunar 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.
The vayu 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) Vayu-agni, (3) Vayu-prithivi,
(4) Vayu-apas, (5) Vayu-akasa. These five
classes of cells have the following figures:
(1) Pure Vayu ~ This is the complete sphere of the Vayu:
(2) Vayu-Agni ~ The triangle is superposed over the
sphere, and the cells have something like the following shape:
(3) Vayu-Prithivi ~ This is the result of the
superposition of the quadrangular Prithivi over the
(4) Vayu-Apas ~ Something like an ellipse, the
semi-moon superposed over the sphere:
(5) Vayu-Akasa ~ The sphere flattened by the
superposition of the circle and dotted:
A microscopic examination of the skin will show that the cells
of the skin have this appearance.
Similarly, 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
It 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. The 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
semi-lunar, 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 surrounding it.
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 than 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.
Both 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
remains 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 may 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, whenever there is activity in the
prithivi centers, we have a feeling of enjoyment and
satisfaction. The causes of the other sensations are similar.
We 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
V. Prana (II)
The 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 would 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.
There 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. Thus:
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
urinary apparatus. Apana is the manifestation that
throws, from the inside, out of the system, things that are not
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).
If 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.
Again, it is this upward impulse that, under favorable
conditions, causes growth, lightness, and agility.
Besides 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; (3)
Srotra, ear and sonoriferous power; (4) Rasama,
tongue and gustatory power; (5) Cobrana, nose and
The real fact is that the different powers are the
corresponding organs of the principle of life. It will now 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
Positive ~ reddish white/ Negative ~ pure white:
(1) The vayu tatwa, blue; (2) The agni tatwa,
red; (3) The prithivi, yellow; (4) The apas,
white; (5) The akasa tatwa, dark
It is evident that there is a difference between the positive
and negative tatwic phases of color. There are thus ten general
phases of color.
The 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.
It 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.
If 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 important 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 pre-eminence to
Now, 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
because the impression passes off rather quickly.
With 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
semi-moon, 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.
It 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.
During 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.
Something may now be said about the work of the sensuous and
It 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,
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.
Although 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.
With 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.
A 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 over-coloration 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
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.
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 goddess.
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 may 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 milk-white goddess of speech,
performs the all-important function of making these chords
tense. As the semi-lunar 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.
The apas tatwa of the vocal apparatus, although it is
the chief motive power in the production of sound, 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 all-powerful
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 may be.
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 sight-seeing, 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
over-indulgence, 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.
From this point it is evident that every action of man gives
his prana a separate color, and the color affects the
gross body in turn. But when, at what time, does the particular
tatwic color affect the body? 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 life-giver 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
(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
(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: Truti.
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 half-mansions 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.
As often 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 semi-mansion and the
negative semi-mansion. Then we have the one-third, the
one-ninth, the one-twelfth, 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 life-currents is established:
(1) Solar, (2) lunar, (3) Mars, agni, (4) Mercury, prithivi,
(5) Jupiter, vayu, (6) Venus, apas, (7) Saturn,
It is quite possible that along the same chakra there
may be passing all or any one or more of these differing
currents at one and the same time. The reader is reminded of the
telegraph currents of modern electricity. 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.
The 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 result.
As 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.
The prana goes towards different regions after death,
according to the paths through which it passes out of the body.
(1) 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).
The 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.
The 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 bliss 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.
Ages 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
Similarly 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.
Along 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 preponderance 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 it 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.
Although 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
Krishna-dwaipayana, 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.
Six things are to be known about Prana, says the Upanishad:
"He 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
But to go on with what the Upanishad has to say about
the six things to be known about Prana:
The Birth of Prana ~
The Prana is born from the Atma; it is caused
in the atma, like the shadow in the body.
The 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 of further 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,
The Macrocosmic Appearance ~
This 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
life-matter, and (2) the rayi, the lunar, negative
life-matter. 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 life-matter take their start at
any moment. The eastern and western halves are there too.
At 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.
Take 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 negative 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.
While 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.
Take 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 earth-life. This zone
of earth-life 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.
All 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
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.
It 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 whose 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.
Such is the macrocosmic appearance of Prana, with the
pictures of all the organisms of the earth.
The Coming In Of Prana ~
How 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 life-principle.
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
life-principle. Hence, "The prana comes into this body
by actions, at whose root lies the mind."
The Places of Manifestation ~
"As 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.
"By 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
"The ethereal life-matter (independent of its being between
heaven and earth) which fills macrocosmic space, is vyana.
"The taijas -- the luminiferous ether -- is udana;
hence he whose natural fire is cooled down approaches death.
"Then 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."
The 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 in unrestrained 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 the 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.
The Sun then appears in another phase. He rises, and as he
does, he supports the eyes in their natural action.
Similarly, 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.
Something 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
life-principle 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
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 the immortal.
[Rayi and asat are the negative, deva
and sat the positive phases of life-matter.]
"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
Life-giver of the Recorder].
"Make healthy that appearance of thine which is located in the
speech, the ear, the eye, and that which is stretched towards
the mind; do not fly away.
"Whatever 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."
With 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 pane of life, the mind (manomayakosha).
VIII. The Mind (I) ~
No 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, most 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.
It 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
self-consciousness 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.
"I 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
The 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.
The 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. The ethereal 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.
Then 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 ~
The 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
The five functions of prana have been given. The
following are the five functions of manas, as given by
Patanjali and accepted by Vyasa:
(1) Means of knowledge (Pramana), (2) False knowledge (Viparyaya),
Complex imagination (Vikalpa), (4) Sleep (Nidra),
(5) Memory (Smrite).
All the manifestation of the mind fall under one or another of
these five heads. Thus, Pramana includes:
(1) Perception (pratyaksha), (2) Inference (anumana),
(1) Ignorance (avidya, tamas), (2) Egoism (asinita,
moha), (3) Retention (raja, mahamoka), (4)
Repulsion (tamisra, dwesha), (5) Tenacity of life (abhinwesha,
The 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 Knowledge) ~
The 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
Pramana 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) ~
This 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.
The 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 taijas-prithivi of yellow, the taijas-apas
of white, the taijas-vayu 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 into inaction.
The pure apas vibrations cause an astringent taste, the
apas-prithivi a sweet, the apas-agni hot, the apas-vayu
acid, and so on. Innumerable other vibrations of taste are
caused by intermediate vibrations in various degrees.
The 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
Anumana (Inference) ~
The 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 after-motion. 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 after-motion
is "inference". Induction and deduction are both modifications
of this after-motion. 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 related one.
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
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
Avidya (Ignorance) ~
This 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 therefore 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.
This 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 stored-up potential energy of the mind. This
storing-up 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 ~
If 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 nature".
Thus, 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 deep-rooted 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
stored-up energy. It is variously called vasana or Sansakara
The 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
so-called truths, but all the so-called 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 in tendencies 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 rose-colored. 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
non-eternal, the impure, the painful, and the non-spiritual.
Such is the genesis of avidya, which, as has been
remarked, is a substantial rality, and not a mere negative
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
Raga (Desire to Retain) ~
The misleading 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 say, Raga.
Here 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 conveys 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 desire, no pleasure. The 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
connects with the external object. This, as shown above, gives
birth to desire.
Pain & Dwesha ~
The 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.
The 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
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 words.
In vikalpa 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.
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 and cold.
The Upanishad 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.
According to the Indian philosopher, it is the cardiac
temperature that causes the three states in varying 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 external
It 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 help it.
The 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
As 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.
The 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.
The 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
The 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 mind."
The 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
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 reminiscence.
Local surrounding are constituted by those object which the
mind has been accustomed to perceive together with the immediate
object of memory. This is the power of association. Both these
phenomena constitute 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.
Ceaseless 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.
With 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
strength 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.
Such 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) ~
As 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
We 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.
The 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.
The 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 earth-life. 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
With the four higher planes of life there are four different
states of consciousness, the waking, the dreaming, the sleeping,
and the Tureya.
With these remarks the following extract from the Prasnopnishat
will be intelligible and instructive.
"Now 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?’
"He 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.
"’When 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].
"’In 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
non-composite; the apas composite and the apas
non-composite; the taijas composite and the taijas
non-composite; the vayu composite and the vayu
non-composite; the akasa composite and the akasa
non-composite; 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.
"’The 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].
"’So 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 the spirit.’"
By composite is meant that tatwa which has come into
existence after the division into five, noticed in the first
essay. The non-composite means a tatwa before the
division into five.
The 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 important
X. The Cosmic Picture
We 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
We 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
I 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
well-known laws of reflection. 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 picture-gallery; 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 picture-forming tatwic rays exercise a double function.
Firstly 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 intelligence itself.
Secondly, these rays react upon themselves, and turning back
from the limiting sphere, are again reflected back to the
It 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 far-reaching
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.
That these truths have found place in the Upanishad may
be seen from the following quotation from the Ishopnishat,
"The 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."
In 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.
The 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 ours.
It 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 that 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
It is the same simple way that the all-pervading atma is in
eternal motion and yet always at rest.
The 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.
I 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:
(1) When he was writing, the writer of the card meant that I
should read the card, and especially the paragraph that
(2) I was very anxious to know the news about me that the card
(3) 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.
It 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.
It 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
pre-requisite 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
"There 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."
It 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
It is no myth to say that the practiced yogi might
bring the picture of any part of the world, past or present,
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.
This 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, and 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.
A 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 himself.
Let 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.
The 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 application is useful and not very difficult.
But now we must bring our pictures back from our gallery.
We 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
man-producing 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 the 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.
In 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.
But 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
Let 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
heart-rending that he caused to others long ago. This posture of
heart-rending grief has its influence upon him in the ordinary
way, and it creates its surrounding under the same influence.
These 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.
It 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 well-known 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
"In 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."
It 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 its
Human 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.
In the course of ages, these ideas make their appearance in the
physical plane again and again, according to the laws hinted at
I 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
But 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 ~
Psychic 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 life-coil (prana maya kosha). The rays that give
existence to each of 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.
On 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.
On 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.
The latter class of truti on the various planes of
existence are the so-called gods and goddesses. The former class
are coils that manifest themselves in earthly life.
Each 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 life-coil 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
When the prana maya kosha enters the habitation of
earth, the soul is assailed by finitude for the first time. This
means a curtailment, or rather the creation of a new curtailed
consciousness. For long ages the 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 further on.
It 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.
The 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
There 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 prism.
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.
But 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.
In 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) ~
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 handling.
The 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 be four, 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 following:
(1) 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 spirit (ananda).
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 evolution.
Both 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
So 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 side-by-side 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 external tatwas 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
Let us now trace the acquirements of the mind step by step up
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 second question is solved in the samprajnata samadhi,
the first in the other. Before entering further into 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.
The 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).
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
non-self 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
Philosophical 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.
This 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.
But 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 understand the soul to be only a picture of the
gross body, the prana, and the mind, so far only as its
constitution is concerned.
I 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 is made 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.
Now 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
The soul of the universe (the vijana maya kosha), with
Brahma for its center, is our psychic ideal.
The 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 self-conscious
universe. All the lower centers exist within the bosom of this
Under 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 double 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 antecedents and consequents, is in
him. It is himself, his own self-consciousness. 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.
The 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.
This 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) ~
The 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.
By 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.
When 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.
The 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.
This 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 Virya.
Confirmed 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 self-conscious universe.
This Iswara, as I conceive it, is only a macrocosmic
center, similar in nature to the sun, though higher in function.
As the sun with his ocean of Prana is the prototype of
our life-principle, 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 in Iswara.
This 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.
By 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 aspirations.
The 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 according to the special aptitudes in
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.
This 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.
We 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
All 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.
And 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.
The 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 light 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 of paravairagya.
The next is the attainment of the two-fold 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.
These 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.
One 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 experience.
This sensuous or cardiac lucidity, as the case may be, once
attained kills skepticism, and in the end conduces to the state
In the next place, says Patanjali, one may rely upon the
knowledge obtainable through dreams and sleep. But this will do
for the present.
XIV. Yoga The Soul
The 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 life-principles. 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 life-wave 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 strength becomes 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.
The 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 life-principle. 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 life-wave 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.
As practice confirms the state of paravairagya in the Yogi’s
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, ultra-meditative.
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 to 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, deep-seated
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
These 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
The 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.
These four states constitute what is called the objective
trance (savija samadhi).
Occasionally 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 win.
When 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
The knowledge that psychic perception gives us is by no means
to be confounded with the knowledge obtained through inference,
imagination, or the records of others’ experience.
Inference, 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.
Animal 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.
With 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 life-principle, 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.
The 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
XV. The Spirit ~
This 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.
It is the dawn of the day of evolution. It is the first
setting-in 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 is pregnant 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.
The 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
life-principle 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
Professor 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
"In 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 born."
This 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
"Sad eva saumyedamagre asit."
I 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:
"This (world) was Sat alone in the beginning."
Perhaps 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.
The 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
The 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."
Now 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.
"Then there was neither the Sat nor the Asat."
This 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
But 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 life-forms 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 I 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
translate these two words into English, we would have to coin
two very unique compounds: Sat (that-in-which-is) and Asat
It is only such a rendering that would carry the true idea, and
hence it is advisable to retain the Sanskrit words and explain
them as well as one can.
That actually existing state in which the names and forms do
not exist cannot very properly stand as the cause of the names
and forms that do not exist. Hence the Sat alone was in
the beginning, etc.
The individual spirit has the same relation to the Sat as the
soul has to the Iswara.
That will do for now. It is enough to show that there is no
annihilation anywhere in the Universe. Nirvana simply
means the enlightenment (which is not extinction) of the
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