Sources and Power of Life [THE VITAL FORCE]


Here we will discuss about the topic related to Life force. 

The Vital Force (Prana)= Life (Breath of the Life).

Prana is Life force.

The scientific approach of Vedanta is the basis of the Prashna Upanishad, where the teacher and the students are engaged in an enquiry into the nature of Universe. [Prashna Upanishad (প্রশ্ন উপনিষদ) Part of the Atharva Veda.]   

In this Upanishad the aspirants ask questions to their Master (The Sage) to gain highest knowledge; from the known to the unknown, from the manifest to the unmanifest, from the grossly materialistic mind to the Supremely subtle, Absolute and Pure Consciousness.

 The student named Kausalya, raised these questions to his Master (Sage):

1.From whom does this Life take its birth?       

2. How does Prana get into body?                                     

3. How does Prana there after dividing itself?                                 

4. How does Prana get out of the body?                                     

5.How does Prana support all that is outside and all that is inside? 

প্রশ্ন উপনিষদ

কোথা থেকে জীবনের জন্ম হয়?

জন্মের সময় প্রাণ কিভাবে শরীরে প্রবেশ করেন?

শরীরে প্রবেশ করলে তা কিভাবে থাকে?

প্রাণ কিভাবে শরীর ত্যাগ করেন?

কিভাবে প্রাণ বাইরের বস্তু অর্থাৎ প্রাণী ও পদার্থসমূহ কে ধারণ করেন? ইন্দ্রিয় ইত্যাদি শরীরের সঙ্গে যুক্ত বিষয়গুলিই বা কিভাবে তাঁকে আশ্রয় করে থাকে?

প্রাণ কিভাবে শরীরে প্রবেশ করেন ও শরীর ত্যাগ করেন?

Difficult Questions:

Master replied: ” Indeed the questions are transcendental. You dig into the root. However, as you are an earnest seeker of “Brahman” (Supreme Consciousness-ব্রহ্ম : ब्रह्म ). Therefore, I shall explain it to you.”

 How does Prana come to abide in this Body?

 This Life (prana) is born of Atman (Self). Life falls from the Self as shadow falls from the man. By the action of the mind, it enters into this Body.  

Prana is the basic Energy of the Universe.

Prana originates from prana. Life originates from life. Prana has mind and wisdom. Prana decides to take birth.

It is the mind which makes the prana identify itself with a particular body only, and no other. Life and Self are interwoven, but Life comes into the body that the desires of the mind may be satisfied. [(Reason: – Causal! Ref: BG: 8.5-6)]

 Delegation of power by the Supreme Prana.

As the king portions out his kingdom under different officials, lordly Prana portions out and assign duties to his five other assistants to maintain respective departments.

 The Apana, prana and samana: the assistants:

Five Pranas: 

Apana: The organs of excretion and generation under the downward stream.  [ Relates with Earth~ gravitational pull for elimination] Prana: Sun maintains Prana of the eye. Functions of eye, ear, mouth and nostrils, where He lives himself under prana. Samana:  Air, filler of all. Lying in the middle of the body is responsible for swallowing the food, distributing nutrients equally and kindler of the seven flames (2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils and mouth). 

The Vyana: Governs circulatory system.

The Self lives in the heart. There are a hundred and one arteries, from every artery start one hundred veins, from every vein seventy-two thousand smaller veins. All these are under the Vyana. It governs the circulatory system.

The Udana: Leads energy from lower to upper level of consciousness.

The special nerve mentioned here is Sushumna Nadi. Climbing through one of those 72 crores nadis, the upward stream, Udana leads the meritorious man to his reward; the sinful man to his punishment; if his merit and demerit are mixed, back to the world. Leads from lower to upper levels of consciousness. Udana takes away the subtle body at the time of death.

 Coupling of inner with outer Upa-pranas.

Understanding the flow of Prana:

The SUN is verily the external counter part of the Prana that rises up in this body.  Rising Sun is the symbol of life. Sun maintains Prana of the eye. Earth draws down Apana. Air, filler of all maintains samana and external wind relates to vyana. That external Fire relates to this internal Udana. When light is out, sense dissolves in mind, man is born again. 

 How Does Prana Go Out?

Udana united to the mind’s desire at the moment of death, returns to life and life.  Udana lighting the way, brings the soul to whatever place it deserves. (According to desires)

The fruit of knowledge on prana:

The man who knows this, knows the meaning of life, his children are never lost. 

 A Summary:

“He who knows the sources and power of Life, how it enters, where it lives, how it divides itself into five, how it is related to the Self, attains immortality; yes!  attains immortality”

            It is believed that Prana controls the Universal energy. It moves the whole Universe. According to ancient Texts, the whole of the manifested Universe is divided into two:

1) Akasha [ Space]: the ultimate or basic stuff, out of which all the gross forms, from galaxies to atoms, from microscopic cells to the major animals and Human. Takes shape, and into which they resolve, and dissolve at the end to its pristine condition. Akasha, the matrix of all forms, cannot itself be perceived. It is experienced only as its gross effects or combinations.

Please visit the site: [ Particle physics of you***]

2) Prana: What works upon the Akasha and shapes it into all forms or manifestations is called prana.

“Prana” is vital energy and invisible to us. It is like Electric Power, which gives life to the machines and machines run, animates.  Same way this vital energy “Prana” animates us, the live bodies.  It runs the 1st layer the Physical body. This prana is external to further subtler energy which is Mind. The mind is so subtle and transparent, that mind can reflect consciousness. 

Prana (Breath) is verily the life of beings and hence it is called the Universal life. It is matter of common knowledge that life becomes possible only so long as the vital energy keeps the different organs of the organism alive. ” Though this vital life force makes the body animated and actions are performed but this is not the Real Self. This Prana separates life from death once the “Prana” leaves the body. Prana as a whole is composed of five Pranas (prana, Udana, vyana, samana, Apana). These pranas have their own importance to operate The Body perfectly. Through practice of Pranayama (pranayama is breathing exercise, part of Yoga as described in the ancient texts), we can transcend to the next layer. Pancha Kosha Tattva (Wisdom of five sheaths explains about the layers before and after Pranamaya kosha.  

Prana and Cosmic Vibration: 

To the Yogi, the whole Universe is his Body. The matter which composes his Body is the same that evolved the Universe. It is by the power of controlled prana; faith healing is possible due to certain state of vibration. Also, remote healing of others can be made by conveying similar vibration. It is also the secret of the power of the great men of the world. Thought is the highest expression of prana. Its expression is three-fold. Unconscious, Conscious and Super Conscious. All manipulations of the subtle forces of the body, which are different manifestations of the prana, give a push to the mind to assume vibrations, which reveal facts of subtle levels of existence. The whole Universe is one unbroken mass of matter in flux beaten into different states of vibration by the prana. When the action of prana on akasha is most subtle, it is mind. Mind is also one unbroken continuum. The Universal Mind. If one gets into that subtle vibration through the regulation of prana within oneself, then the whole universe is seen as composed of subtle vibrations of thought. Samadhi brings the individual’s mind to those vibrations which enable it to apprehend the facts of these subtle levels of existence. He who has grasped this Prana, has grasped the very core of cosmic life. Through Pranayama, Yogi controls the prana.

Conclusions: A Look: In the perspective of Modern Science:

Efficiency of the Human Body


Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite. **
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
  4. Commentary of Prashna Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. Prashna Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  6. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  7. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  8. Information available on internet.

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