Chakras DeMystified – Part 2 – Prana: The Universal Life Force

If ‘steadfast awareness or super subtle pure conscious’ is the quintessence that permeates everything in the observable universe and beyond, then Prana is its universal principle of energy or force. It is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe, all the forces in nature and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us.

Swami Sivananda Saraswati says:

Prana is force, magnetism and electricity. Radio waves travel through prana. That which moves the steam engine of a train and a steamer, which causes the motion of breath in lungs, that which is the very life of this breath itself, is prana. It is prana that pumps the blood from the heart into the arteries or blood vessels. Through prana digestion, excretion and secretion take place. Prana digests the food, turns it into chyle and blood, and sends it into the brain and mind. The mind is then able to think and enquire into the nature of Brahman.

Prana is the link between the astral and physical body. When the slender thread-link of prana is cut, the astral body separates from the physical body. Death takes place. The prana that was working in the physical body is withdrawn into the astral body.

How is Prana related to the Chakras?

In the pranic body, prana flows through nadis, energy channels, and is stored in chakras, energy vortices. According to some researchers, the electromagnetic energy in prana gives rise to radiation in which the waves of electric energy and magnetic energy are at ninety degrees to each other, resulting in what looks like a spiral. Indeed, the spiral radiation structure around chakras has been seen, described and drawn by sages and savants from all parts of the world at different times.
At the pranic level, in their initial stages the practices of pranayama clear up the nadis, energy pathways in the body. The scriptures say there are over 72,000 nadis or pathways of prana in the pranic body and six main chakras. However, in the average individual, many of these pathways are blocked and the chakras release energy only partially. In other words, we do not utilize our full potential in terms of energy, mind and consciousness. The negative conditions we experience, whether physical or mental, are the cause as well as the consequence of the blockages. The state of our nadis and chakras are defined by our samskaras, conditionings carried in seed form, as well as purushartha, self-effort and anugraha, grace. When these pathways of energy are gradually freed so that prana moves through them smoothly.

3 thoughts on “Chakras DeMystified – Part 2 – Prana: The Universal Life Force

  1. I would suggest that not only pranayama helps free the energy and clear the nadis, but all eight petals of yoga do (among which pranayama is just one). All the petals work together in synergy, harmony, like strings on a guitar. Playing just one string limits the music we can play. I love Swami S’s book, but find Light on Pranayama (by BKS Iyengar) to be the most practical and effective. Looking forward to more posts by you on this (and related subjects)… : )

    • I can only agree with you. 🙂 Pranayama is ofcourse just one way, or as you put it one string. Then there are many instruments as well.
      The understanding of what one has to do, can be developed through various texts, but practicing it and reaching one’s own experience, is the next step, which comes with diligence in practice and the will of a spiritual Guru (external or internal). The text, the method, the body, them mind and ultimately even the Guru are just a nimmita.

      Shri Shyamacharan Lahari states:

      Attachment cannot completely be relinquished with the help of the present kinetic mind because as long as Prana remains dynamic, the mind remains kinetic. As long as the mind is kinetic, attachments will prevail till then. Passion, anger, greed, illusion, arrogance, envy, mind, intelligence, intellect, pride, hunger, thirst, sleep, sloth, visualisation, audition, olfaction, thoughts, anxieties, attachment, love, affection, vanity, body consciousness etc. all types of physical and mental propensities and dispositions which are existent have all been derived from the dynamic Prana. In a word, all that can be observed in a living state, have all originated from the vibratory Prana. Immediately after birth, Prana becomes active and breathing commences. As long as Prana will remain dynamic, till then breathing will continue and a living being will remain alive.

      Therefore as long as Prana remains vibratory or breathing continues, till then all the aforementioned types of physical and mental propensities and dispositions will be prevalent. Again the more Pranakarma is practised, the more Prana will progress towards stillness. The more progress is made towards stillness the more those propensities and dispositions will decrease. In this manner when Prana becomes completely still or there is a cessation of vibration, then none of them will exist as, in a still Prana any type of propensity or body-consciousness does not prevail. This is the true purification of the elements. After vibration has been exterminated, this five-elemental body becomes purified. Therefore the dead loses all kinds of differentiation. Again this is the real Upavasa (fasting). Upa means near. When Prana becomes still, settlement occurs near the soul. Abstinence from food is not the actual fasting or Upavasa, again Prana is the Purohita, (Puro means body-abode and hita means benefaction) because He is the only One to dwell in this body-abode and when He becomes still the actual benefit or welfare to a living being occurs, therefore He is regarded as the living being´s Benefactor. Prana maintains an equilibrium on either side, one is dynamic, the other still. If one side increases, the other side decreases.

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