Discussion in 'Spiritual Forum' started by Speechless world, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    (From the Author's book - Yoga From Confusion To Clarity -- written by Professor Satya Prakash Singh and Yogi Mukesh)

    There is an anecdote in the Kaustaki Upanishad (III.1-8), which throws light on the Vedic view of the relationship between life and consciousness. Pratardana, the son of Divodasa, reached the palace of Indra struggling with all his might. Indra was happy with his achievement and offered Pratardana any boon of his choice. Unable to decide by himself, Pratardana requested Indra to bestow upon him whatever was most beneficial for him from the human viewpoint. Accordingly, he said to Pratardana, “Know myself.”

    Having suggested this to Pratardana, he further observed, “I am pranawhich is consciousness.” Explaining prana, he points out that prana is life and life is prana. In support of this equation, he referred to the fact that one keeps alive only while prana is there in one’s body. Anticipating the question of diversity of pranas likely to have been raised by Pratardana at this juncture, he stated further that overall, prana is only one. In support of this contention, he referred to the behaviour of a living being, particularly in regard to the fact that the being concerned has in the focus of its attention at a given moment, the function of only one of its sense organs, including mind. It indicates, Indra pointed out, that which ever sense organ the prana supports at a given moment, becomes functional for the time being. He further pointed out that one can remain very well alive having lost any of his senses such as eye, ear, taste, touch or smell and even without having developed the mental capacity, as is the case with newly born children. People surviving without arms and legs, he observed, testify to the fact that it is not the organ of action which manages the weight of the body but the prana itself.

    Indra further reminded Pratardana that prana is not only life but also consciousness in its potential form, while inversely consciousness is the potentiality of prana. It is due to the intimacy in their relationship, he observed, that both dwell together, no matter manifestly or potentially. To illustrate this point, he referred to the case of the dreamless sleep in which the function of all the senses, including the mind, gets suspended leaving only prana to keep coming inside and going outside. Suspension of the function of the senses and mind, he assumed, does by no means amount to the total loss of potentialities of seeing, thinking, etc. It simply means withdrawal of those capabilities to prana itself. This is evident from the fact that immediately after waking from sleep, the person concerned gets all his sensory, motor, cognitive, conative and affective functions restored automatically, he pointed out. In his view, restoration of all these functions is accomplished by prana itself. To elucidate the point, he referred to the analogy of fire whose spark, howsoever, tiny and covered with ash, is capable of assuming the form of a holocaust, if fuelled duly. It is out of theprana, he pointed out, that the powers of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, knowing, feeling and doing, emerge and make the person concerned have before him unfolded the entire vista of the world from physical up to the Divine.

    The mutual convertibility of prana and consciousness as presented in this discourse is intended for explaining the possibility of Pratardana realizing himself as Indra. The virility Pratardana displayed in waging war against adversaries and facing the obstacles coming his way while going to heaven, obviously, indicates that he was a man of power which in itself was the product of prana. It was through his pranic energy, so to say, that he gained proximity to Indra, the embodiment of prajna, super consciousness. Having reached that height, what he further needed was the realization of himself as the same super consciousness which Indra represented. Thus, the whole episode in its form as well as content is suggestive of the convertibility of prana into consciousness.

    This idea is the central to the entire Vedic vision and thought concerning the relationship between consciousness and life.

    Practically speaking, prana is what we breathe in and breathe out. What we breathe in and breathe out, in its turn, is obviously nothing but the air we have around us. The invisibility of air, in contrast to water and food, the other means of substance of life, adds to the mystery of its role in our lives. Its invisibility has duly been taken note of in a Rigvedic mantra seen by Anila Vatayana. Its invisibility, however, is not just incidental. This is evident from the additional features brought out by the seer’s statement. At the top of all the details he gives in regard to air, is his characterization of it as the Atman of gods, besides the womb of creation operating as the dynamics of becoming (Rigveda X.168.4). Characterisation of air as the womb of creation and Atman of gods by this seer has played the most significant role in its association with the idea of prana. To put the same thing in a better perspective, as distinct from the commonsense view of air, the seer has gone deep into the very essence of air in the total framework of the Reality. For him, air is not just what surrounds the tiny planet earth as its atmospheric skin. In his deep, insight, the air surrounding the planet is only an outermost manifestation of the air which essentially goes deep to the bedrock of the Reality. If characterization of it by him as the womb or foetus of creation bears out its deep involvement in the act of the universal creation, the same as the Atman of gods brings it close to its acceptance as the soul of organic beings.

    Indeed, air has been visualised by the seer as the principle of force operating on all levels of being beginning from the physical to the spiritual. On the one hand, it touches the heaven and on the other it shows its effect down on the earth, though remaining all the time invisible in itself. It would be only a tautology to point out that while earth is symbolic of matter to the seer, heaven represents consciousness. Accordingly, in course of pointing to the mighty actions and effects of air, when Anila Vatayana observes that it goes on producing sound, creating devastation and scattering dust on earth, he is not to be taken as giving just a poetic account of the gust of wind he might have come across incidentally, but as visualising and reflecting on the effect of force on things material, since, at the moment, he is speaking not in the capacity of a poet but in that of a seer going deep into the ultimate nature of things, as is evident from his description of the air as scatterer of dust on the one hand and the womb or foetus of the creation, as also the Atman of gods on the other. As per the context, therefore, air’s role in scattering dust on earth is to be taken in the sense of the role of force vis-á-vis matter as such. This amounts to stating that the force, though remaining invisible, is understood in its operation through the effect it produces on the matter up to the last particle of dust by displacing it as also by producing the sound which creates stir in things (Rigveda X.168.1), howsoever, stationary. Giving a poetic touch to his deep vision, he observes that even whatever are stationary, are made by air to move and accompany it like a group of women moving towards a place of gathering. Air is also said to behave like a monarch of the world (Ibid., X.168.2). As the monarch is held responsible for all activities, events and incidents taking place in his territory, even so characterisation of air as the monarch of creation must amount to visualisation of its role in stirring the whole of it from the smallest to the largest.
  2. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member


    That the Vedic view of air is not only universalistic but goes deep down to the very root of things in terms of their creation itself is evident not only from its characterisation as the womb, foetus and monarch of the creation as a whole, but also from its association with Rta, the principle of universal dynamics and that also not in any secondary sense, but positively as the first product of it, as also the primary field of its operation. This is obvious from Anila Vatayana’s third mantra in the hymn describing how air moving incessantly in the intermediate space, is the first born of Rta, the field of operation of Rta besides being the friend of waters. Indeed, in this broader perspective, offers a sense of finality, as may be the case with anything in the universe, if, however, inquired into back to its origin at least in the universal context. (Rigveda, X.168.3)

    The fundamentality of air in the hierarchy of creation has also been pointed to by Narayana in the Hymn to Purusa. Detailing the origin of a few basic objects in the creation, the seer observes that while the moon is born out of the mind of the Purusa, the sun out of His eye, Indra and Agni out of His mouth, air is born out of His prana (Ibid, X.90.13). By getting associated with the breath of the Ultimate Being, air automatically rises high up in the hierarchy of creation, as high, of course as the moon, the sun, the fire and Indra. This fundamentality of air as also its association with prana gets confirmed by a cognate statement of the Satapatha Brahmana. It observes that prana, indeed, is the same as blows there in the form of air. Satapatha Brahmana, X.3.3.7). The Jaiminiya Brahmana goes a step further in stating that it is the Creator Himself who, having assumed the form of air has entered into His creatures as their prana. This statement of the Brahmana gives a greater amount of cardinality to air than what is according to it by Narayana even. If Narayana’s statement recognises air as a product of the breath of the Supreme Being, the Jaimini’s statement regards it as the Creator Himself having assumed the form of air in the process of creation. The difference between the two statements, however, is only apparent in view of the fact that the Vedic concept of creation is organic rather than mechanical. When even the Rigvedic seer observes that air was born out of the mouth or breath of the Purusa, he amounts to suggest that it is the Purusa Himself who has assumed the form of air by getting it produced out of His breath. It is cognisance of this order of cardinality of breath or prana of the Supreme Being which has led to the sage of the Prasna Upanisad to observe thatprana itself has assumed the form of the sun, fire, cloud, air, earth and indeed, of whatever is there in the creation, manifest or unmanifest. Accordingly, he assigns to Prana figuratively the position of the axle of the wheel around which are obliged to move all the spokes fixed to it. (Prasna Upanisad, II.5.6.)

    In fact, in the hierarchy of beings, as envisaged by the Vedic seers, there is a significant difference between the Supreme Being and the Creator conceived respectively as Purusa and Prajapati. The Purusa, as conceived in the Hymn to Purusa, is what in the Upanisads is envisaged as Atman, while Prajapati, as recounted particularly in the Brahmanas, is the prana of the same Atman, so to say. The close but hierarchical difference between the two is brought out by Satapatha Brahmana through characterisation of prana as the swing of Atman, riding which it not only keeps itself sustained in its new role of creatorship but also undertakes the task of creation of it as a whole (VI.7.1.20). Bringing the same equation down to the level of the individual, the Kena Upanisad makes the highly searching query in regard to the agency which, besides giving impetus to mind and senses, give the initial start to prana which later on throughout the whole life of the person concerned keeps coming in and going out incessantly until he breathes his last. By way of answering the query, the Upanisadic sage himself characterises Atman as the prana of prana besides ear of ear, mind of mind, speech of speech and eye of eye and observes at the same time that it is by isolating that most fundamental principle from the psycho-physical mechanism that wise people throughout the ages have been attaining immortality (Kena Upanishad, I.2). The idea of sense of senses, mind of mind and prana ofprana refers to the original source of the cognitive and vital mechanism the individual is provided with for making life possible. In spite of all the functional diversity and exclusiveness the senses have amongst themselves, as also from mind and prana, the common source of their respective capabilities has been traced by the sages back to Atman, points out the Prasna Upanisad, that prana is born. As regards the mode of birth or production, the Upanisad conceives of it in the form of an individual crafting his own shadow, the individual concerned has no role from his side to play except for maintaining his own being in a certain frame of space-time. The spatio-temporal frame itself gets his shadow formed on its canvas automatically without the person playing any active role from his side. Even then, however, there is a certain element of necessity in the formation of the shadow. By virtue of his tangible presence alone the individual can get his shadow formed around him. Similar must be the role of Atman in letting prana, etc. be cast out, formed or produced from it (Prasna Upanisad, III.3). The Mundaka Upanisad develops the idea further by visualising Atman as the source not only ofPrana but also of mind, senses, space, air, light, water and earth.(Mundaka Upanisad, II.3)

    In the whole spectrum of things born of Atman, the Chandogya Upanisad lays its priority particularly on prana. It does so not in any arbitrary way but on the basis of a practical experiment made by Sanatkumara on Narada. When Narada approached him with his problem of self-realisation, the sage made him proceed right from where he stood at the moment with all his learning. In course of regression from learning, Narada was led backward along word, speech, manas, determination, citta, meditation, consciousness, force, food, water, heat, space, memory and hope toprana eventually. In the final enumeration also, what he named first to have evolved from Atman is prana followed by hope, space, heat, etc., in the reversed order (VII.26.1). Obviously, this order is formed on the basis of primacy of prana over all other factors in the human life next only to Atman. While the learned man reaches this conclusion through the process of regression, a newly born child starts its life right from this point and develops by and by into the man of learning with all the possibility of culminating in one of self-realisation.

    This idea has been brought home by the Upanisads through several stories concerning the primacy of importance amongst senses, mind and prana. The particular point on which all these stories have been concluded is that one can live as a blind man, deaf and dumb, insensate and even unconscious throughout one’s life but not even for a moment if made bereft of one’s prana. In one of such stories with rivalry amongst senses, mind and prana as its motif, what happened is that when senses and mind left the body one by one, nothing crucial did happen with the individual concerned except for getting impaired in regard to the sense or mind involved in the experiment. But, when theprana left it, all the senses and mind were forced to get rooted out and accompany it like pegs and ropes accompanying a mighty horse after it happens to pull them out and run away along with them. The conclusion drawn from the contest with common concurrence of senses and mind was that it is prana which is not only primary amongst all these but is also the common source of them all. (Chandogya Upanisad, V.1.15)
  3. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    The same is the message of the famous story of Janasruti and Raikva as narrated in the same Upanisad. Janasruti, the king, became envious of Raikva, a simple cart-puller, when a swan flying in the sky told its companion that Raikva was much more glorious than the king. The otherwise unknown and insignificant Raikva was searched out somehow in the king’s territory scratching his back below his cart. The king approached him with an offer of six hundred cows, a necklace and a chariot and requested him to instruct him in what he had mastered and by virtue of which he had become so glorious. On Raikva’s refusal to accept the offer, the king came back with a still richer present comprising a herd of one thousand cows, a necklace, a chariot and the proposal to marry his daughter to him. It was in exchange for such a rich present offered from the side of the king that Raikva conceded to his request and taught him what had made him so glorious. What Raikva imparted to the king at the cost of such a rich present was theprana vidya consisting in the realisation of a twofold significance of air in the process of being universal and individual. On the universal scale, Raikva told him that it was air which was the point of merger of water, fire, sun and moon. On the individual scale, on the other hand, it wasprana which was indicated by him as the point of merger of the power of speech, sight, hearing and making and unmaking of determinations, as is evident from what happens in the state of sleep.( Chandogya Upanisad, IV.3.1-4)

    Prana, as the basic principle of life, as also of universal existence, operates in the organic body, particularly in the human, in various ways. The two of its primarily differentiated forms are prana and apana. Vedic seers were fully aware of the significance and respective roles of these two from the very beginning. Significantly, enough, they associated these two forms of prana with the course of movement of the sun. The sun’s rising in the morning and ascension to the meridian are visualised as a determinant of the function of prana while his declining after the meridian until his setting is supposed to play its vital role in determining the function of apana. This is evident from a Rigvedic hymn seen by Sarparajni and dedicated to Surya or Atman as its deity. While moving in the sky, the sun is said to face both the heaven and the earth as also to make his lustre operate in the individual in the form of prana and apana (Rigveda, X.189.2). When the sun is the real source of life on this planet, precisely from the scientific viewpoint, there is nothing surprising if it is the determinant of the arrangement of the basic vital functions in the organic body. There is no doubt about it that any organic body on this planet has necessarily arranged in it, the role of the vital into breathing and expiration in some form or the other. The entire biological world is governed by this polarity of pranas. Incidentally, it is interesting to note here that this hymn also has a mention of a thirty muhurtas into which the twenty four hours of day and night are divided in Indian astronomy and this division was found so convenient as to have been used gainfully not only in astrology but also in astronomy in measuring the time the sun’s rays take in reaching the earth.(Rigveda, X.189.3)

    The Yajurveda mentions all the five forms of prana is supposed to take in the human body for the sake of maintenance and continuance of life in it. These are prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana. In the mantra concerned, the seer prays to gods to make life a success by means of sacrifice. This prayer is followed by an identical statement made with reference to the five pranas in place of life. After the pranas, he comes to eye, ear, speech, mind, Atman, Brahman and Light (Yajurveda, XXII.33). Obviously, the mantra takes care of all the basic components of personality. Prana is what operates in the upper part of the body while the field of operation of apana is the lower part of it beginning from the navel. Vyana is that form of prana which moves throughout the body discharging various functions including circulation of blood, perspiration, digestion and reflex actions. Smana also, on the other hand, has the whole body as its field of operation, though not by way of discharging specific functions but by way of maintaining equilibrium of the psycho-physical organism. Lastly, udana is the pranaoperating from the saggital suture at the top of the human head down to heart and to some extent even down to the navel. In yet another mantra of the Samhita, there is some variation in the denomination of the factors of the personality. Here samana and udana are replaced byasu and atman, Brahman and jyoti by adhita, daksa and bala(Yajurveda, XXVIII.2 ). The variation is fairly adjustable within the range of the factors mentioned in the mantra referred to earlier. This is just to show how the philosophy of five pranas had become fully established by the time of the Samhita against the states of consciousness as represented by manas, atman, and adhita. Further, if adhita and jyotiare mentioned here to characterise consciousness, daksa and balamay be taken to do the same in regard to prana.


    Thus, there is a close correspondence between the pranas and the centres of consciousness. The correspondence becomes clearer if we take into account certain instances of convertibility of one into the other. The Satapatha Brahmana, talks of as many as ten pranas as varieties of a single prana which it identifies in the form of air. It observes thatprana is simply what blows outside as air. Though blowing uniformly as a single entity, the air, the Brahmana observes, having entered the human body, becomes operative in as many as ten forms so as to sustain the individual in his life (Satapatha Brahmana, V.2.10). There is no doubt about it that the number ten in regard to pranas could easily have been reached by putting together the five main pranas as mentioned so frequently in the Samhitas and Brahmanas, as also by adding to them the five subsidiary pranas as made out subsequently in the form of krikala, dhananjaya, etc. Even if the latter five were not available by the time of the Brahmanas, the number could have been completed by adding the five senses to the five primary pranasthemselves. But, interestingly enough, what has happened in the Brahmanas is that the ten pranas in their enumeration are not inclusive of the pranas at all. Instead of the ten pranas, what they have counted under this heading are the nine apertures in the human body besides alternatively the navel or manas as the tenth one as also atman as the eleventh. Out of the nine apertures, seven are covered by the four sense organs excluding the organ of touch while the remaining two operate as organs of action. As regards the navel or manas, while the former may be treated as an organ of action, the latter is obviously an organ of sense or centre of consciousness. Thus the Vedic sage’s enumeration of the organ of sense including even manas, as well as those of action, under the heading of prana is indicative of their cognisance of the convertibility of prana into consciousness as generated by senses and processed by manas.
  4. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    The convertibility of prana into consciousness is not anything adventitious. It is owing to two factors. In the first place, as per the Vedic assumption, air, forming the source of prana, is not anything inert. On account of being in its own right the prana of the Supreme Being coming out of His mouth, as the Hymn to Purusa tells us, it cannot but be the principle of life potent with consciousness of all possible grades. After coming out of the mouth of the Being, if it turns into a cosmic principle, that does not amount to total annulment of consciousness from it. It only means objectification of the subjective which does not necessarily involve forfeiting its basic character, that is, consciousness. The same air, with all its potentiality of consciousness latent in it, when made subjective again through inhalation by an organism, has every possibility of getting its latent consciousness manifested from within it. Whether that consciousness gets actually manifested or not through inhalation by the organism, depends on the mechanism of the organism itself. This may be understood from the extreme variation in the intensity of consciousness from individual to individual on the human level itself. Though all humans are broadly alike, they differ enormously in their intellectual capabilities as also in their emotional sensitivity. This difference is, obviously, owing to difference in the mental setup of the individuals concerned, the setup in itself comprising inherent as well as acquired traits. When the same set up is looked into in the broader perspective of species much beyond the human world, it is sure to expand enormously in the degree of variations obtaining from one species to another. Animals also, for instance, have been provided with brain and senses as well as with breath like humans, and yet they are much inferior to the latter in almost all respects so far as consciousness is concerned. It is not that the air they inhale is anyway different from what we breathe in and yet the same air, by way of being vitalised and getting converted into consciousness through the mechanism they are provided with for the purpose, produces something which is no match to that of the humans, at least in higher reflection and application. Interestingly enough, the Maitrayani Samhita institutes a comparison between animals and humans in this respect. According to it, animals have only ten pranasand regard these pranas themselves as their deities while humans have an additional one in the form of Atman (Maitryani Samhita, III.9.8). The ten pranas in animals, as referred to here, are obviously the nine openings and the sense mind serving only as coordinator of the functions of senses and organs of action. Their whole consciousness, therefore, remains confined to sensory perception, coordination of the perceptions and translation of those perceptions into action. Thus, whatever they achieve remains confined to these functions. Man, on the other hand, has got evolved in him, by passing through the life of vitality, a central core of consciousness called Atman. It is by virtue of this singular development that he has distinguished himself to such an extent from animals, though living almost side by side.


    Development of Atman in humans cannot but be the result of accentuation in the power of concentricity inherent in consciousness. While animals feel satisfied only with satiation of their vital needs, man has the capacity to dive deep within himself and remain there self-absorbed and quite oblivious of even his physical and vital needs, resulting automatically in the withdrawal of senses and sense mind from the outside world where otherwise they get stuck for their satiation. It is this tendency of the human mind which has made it qualitatively different from the animals, leading eventually the development of self in him. His ego is only a replica of that self thriving negatively in the concentricity of consciousness involved in the making of the self. When the concentricity of consciousness gets reflected in the vital, comprising prana, senses and sense mind, it tends to form out of itself a centre of being, exclusive of all else, except for what is involved in its formulation. The concentricity, as operative from within that exclusive formation of the vital, begins to feel itself as a being in itself, tending to assert its individuality at the cost of all else. This development is peculiar to man, although a shadow of it is to be found in animals also. Trace of it in animals is indicative of its necessity in the natural scheme of things particularly for the maintenance of the individual of beings which otherwise have every likelihood of getting merged in the universal. When, however, it begins to usurp more to itself than what it might have been provided for, as is the case with the humans, it invites perversity to itself amounting to encroachment on the area of the self which it hence onward begins to masquerade rather than to represent. Masquerading for the original concentricity of consciousness on the part of the human ego is the real source of evil in human life whereas a distant reflection of the concentricity in the sub-human beings, including even vegetations, serves as the source of their sustenance in their individuality and diversity.

    As regards the concentricity of consciousness in its original form, it has been sought to be defined particularly in the Upanisads in various ways. The Svetasvatara Upanisad, for instance, describes it as of the size of ten thousandth part of the point of a hair having, however, the capacity of expanding into the infinity (Svetasvatara Upanisad, V.9). The Prasna Upanisad calls that concentricity as jévaghana capable of being located in the depth of the psycho-physical frame through meditation on pranava and realised eventually out of that infinitesimal form expanded into the all-comprehending Transcendent Being (Prasna Upanisad, V.5). Yajurveda describes it as the Creator Himself condescending to be born from within the womb of all, no matter human, animal or botanical without Himself getting involved in the process at all. When the same infinitesimal concentricity of the creative consciousness gets meditated on well within him by the wise, adds the Samhita, it allows itself to be realised as the all-comprehending being having comprehended within it the whole of the world (Yajurveda, XXXI.19).

    The original concentricity of consciousness has come from the Supreme Being Himself. He in the capacity of the Creator is responsible for its manifestation. In fact, its coming, as also going, has nothing to do with travelling or covering space either way. It is simply a matter of manifestation. When the original concentricity comes to evolve around it the psycho-physical and vital mechanism, it is called jiva with all its potentiality to return to its original purity of form as the concentricity of consciousness. This is what the Yajurveda asserts in the mantra presenting the bio-data of the individual as an emanation of the Creator getting fed by products of earth and water and as having the possibility of being evolved eventually into the Divine. (Yajurveda, XXXI. 17)

    That the source of the mechanism through which consciousness manifests itself in its concentricity as individuals is not in itself shorn of consciousness, is also envisaged by seers and sages. For instance, in course of his teaching to his son, Aruni cites the example of the tree under which he was sitting at the moment. He points out that if the tree were to be struck at its root, it would exude juice, if it were to be struck somewhere in the middle, it would again exude juice and if it were to be struck at its top, then also it would exude juice, if, however, it is alive as at the moment it is. The juice, he suggests, is the juice of life by means of which the tree stands in all its joy. If the same life, he points out, were to desert anyone of its branches, the same would get dry. If it were to desert another one, that also would get dry and eventually if it were to desert the tree would get dry amounting to death. Having said, he concludes this part of his lesson with the remark that it is jiva whose association keeps anyone alive and inversely whose dissociation makes him dead (Chandogya Upanisad, VI.11.1-3). The jiva does so by projecting and transforming itself into the principle of vitality which, in turn, draws the vitality from even what originally is supposed to be lifeless.
  5. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member


    To illustrate how the physical is transformed into the vital and mental and thus gets imbued with consciousness, Aruëi refers to the food, water and heat absorbed by humans in their bodies and serving as the source of consciousness. The grossest ingredient of food we take, he observes, turns into excreta, the medium into flesh while the subtlest gets transformed into mind. Similarly, of the water that we drink, the grossest ingredient is drained out in the form of urine, the medium turns into blood while the subtlest is transformed into prana. So, according to him, happens with the heat we absorb in our daily life. The grossest ingredient of it turns into bone, the medium into marrow while the subtlest part of it is transformed into speech. Thus, he concludes that mind is formed out of food, prana out of water and speech out of heat. (Chandogya Upanisad, VI. 5.1-4)

    It is needless to point out that prana, speech and manas produced out of water, heat and food respectively, as per Aruëi’s are intimately connected with consciousness. Out of these, mind is connected with consciousness most intimately. It is the basic instrument of consciousness, while organs of sense and action are only its accessories. As regards prana and speech, if the former vitalises the organs of sense and action, speech is a product of one of the organs of action itself. Thus, if by virtue of vitalising the senses and mind, pranamakes mind operative in its consciousness, speech in turn serves as the means of articulation of the same consciousness.

    Formation of manas out of an ingredient of food as also energising of it by prana, a product of the water that we take and the air we inhale, as the Upanisad maintains, must have a telling effect on the mode of functioning of consciousness manifested through manas. The Upanisadic sage’s awareness of this significant point is evident from the famous statement occurring both in the Chandogya and Kath Upanisads to the effect that the purity of food, we take, brings purity to our intellect while purity of intellect helps in the restoration of the original nature of consciousness inherent in us and that finally with the restoration of the original nature of consciousness we are sure to get all our complexes dissolved (Chandogya Upanisad, VII.26.2). This is the significant key to the understanding of the relationship between life and consciousness as also between matter and consciousness as visualised by Vedic seers and sages.

    Consciousness in its pure form, as emerging from the purified intellect, is redeemed of all its complexes. It is pure and transparent, as pure and transparent, of course, as may be the purest possible water or light. Or rather water and light of even this degree of purity are a distant echo, in similitude, of the purity and transparency of consciousness. But the same consciousness, when trapped in physical and biological bodies, becomes dormant, as dormant, of course, as the physical energy when trapped in matter. Just as the dynamics of the energy trapped in matter becomes practically a total stasis, even so consciousness, when trapped in physical and biological bodies, becomes almost totally inconscient. On the testimony of the Veda, we are now in a position to say that consciousness itself comes to assume the form of matter via its transformation into energy. As such, matter has every possibility of getting restored to consciousness as well as to energy. The mechanism of restoration, however, must be biological and not sheer mechanical. A mechanical devise of any degree of complexity can, at its best, restore a piece of matter to a certain quantum of energy. The biological device, on the other hand, can restore it to consciousness as well as use it to produce energy. Moreover, while the mechanical devise turns matter into energy by dynamising it to the requisite extent of velocity, as dynamism is the basic trait of energy, the biological device has to assimilate matter to itself subjectively so as to transform it into consciousness, since subjectivity is the characteristic feature of consciousness. This is what happens with the food we take. What out of it is not assimilable to the body goes down as the refuse. What, on the other hand, is assimilable to the body, turns into flesh. Lastly, what is assimilable to the subjective being of the biological device, that is, the person concerned, goes to his mind obviously as the food of the fire of consciousness kindled in it and thus becomes the consciousness itself as also a part of the mechanism of consciousness, i.e., mind.


    Consciousness turning into matter via energy and getting restored to itself through the medium of the biological device comes to develop certain traits which otherwise are entirely foreign to it. One of such traits is the distinction of the subjective and the objective resulting in the development of the fear psychosis. When consciousness is everything with self-concentricity as its fundamental feature, there is no question of the existence of anything beside it. But, when, through some sort of reversal in its nature, it gets itself reduced to energy and matter, it obviously has to become other than itself. Everything begins to look as entirely different from oneself in this state of being. This attitude towards everything other than oneself is bound to generate fear followed by the emergence of the tendency for self-protection. This is what has taken the form of the instinct of self-protection as the most fundamental trait of consciousness embodied in us. This feature of consciousness along with its root cause has been noted by the sage of the Taittiriya Upanisad. Having realised oneness of all in consciousness, the sage looks back to the basic scenario of the human psychology and explains the sense of fear lurking in it as due to its removal from the original state of oneness. (Taittiriya Upanisad, II.7)
  6. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    If we try to understand the significance of this statement in the broader perspective of the pattern of behaviour of living beings, conscious or semi-conscious, we find in it the best possible explanation of the emotion of fear they all suffer instinctively. Every living being emerging from matter through the biological device gets concentrated to itself in keep with the principle of concentricity inherent in consciousness. Since the organic matter still weighs heavily over its emergent consciousness, the latter is not as yet in a position to have recovered its complementary trait of extensity and hence is bound to suffer form the feeling of its total otherness from everyone else except for those who have somehow realised their affinity with it. Leaving sub-human creatures apart, the human child suffers most from fear at least since it becomes self-conscious of the impending harms to itself. If it has any confidence in anyone initially, it is its mother. This confidence has been developed in it due to her proximity to it right from the very beginning. Were she to be separated from it quite for sometime right at the time of its birth, the child would be afraid of her also and would take time to build up the confidence. As the child grows, the sense of fear continues to recede back owing to its learning of affiliations with persons and things around it. The sense of fear gets removed wholly, however, only when the child concerned gets awakened in the sagacious wisdom of the oneness of all consciousness irrespective of its formulations in diverse modes as beings actually are. Apart from that awakening, sheer learning in this regard, no matter howsoever profound, can by no means lead to that state of fearlessness which seer and sages have reached and still practically evince in living forms even today. This also has been noted by the Upanisadic sage, as is evident form his observation in the same continuation that the same sense of fear continues to lurk in the mind of those also who, though learned in all these things, have not reached the state of realisation where everything turns into Brahman or Atman, the consciousness supreme (Taittiriya Upanisad, II.7). This statement of the sage exposes the limitation of the modern psychology inasmuch as it explains the state of fearlessness as wholly a matter of learning rather than as one based on the oneness of consciousness along with the possibility of reaching that state of oneness through self-realisation by the individual. Had consciousness not been uniformly one and self-identical, such a realisation, as also access to the state of complete fearlessness through self-realisation, would have been a total impossibility.

    Next to self-protection is the instinct of procreation. While looking into the Vedic view of consciousness from this angle, one cannot bypass Freud, the scion of the psychology of sex, in the modern age. While giving primacy to sex over all other instincts, Freud considers the instinct of self-protection also as subservient to it. He has reached this conclusion on the basis of data gathered from his patients suffering form obstacles in the fulfilment of their desire for sex. Obviously, this is an extremely partial view of the phenomenon associated with the inclination to sex obtaining from the top to the bottom in the hierarchy of beings.

    The Vedic view, on the other hand, is different. It traces the inclination of the humans to sex back to the creativity of consciousness itself as represented in its concentricity of Atman as also in its extensity of Brahman. Atman alone was there in the beginning, observes the Upanisad and continues to state that, on account of not feeling enjoyable its loneliness, it divided itself into two, the man and the woman. As man and woman are just parts of one and the same integral being, points out the Upanisad, they naturally feel attracted to each other and find their greatest fulfilment in embracing each other. This is how, observes the Upanisad, the humans were born. The homogeneity of the pair was a matter of shame particularly for the female, continues the Upanisad, and, as such, she turned herself one after another into different species such as cow, mare, she-ass, goat, ewe, etc., until into the smallest possible insect but even then she happened to be paired by her counterpart having assumed the form of the male partner of the corresponding female.(Brihadaranyaka Upanisad, I.4.3)

    This legend begins the story of creation via pairing of the human male and female in view of its approach being psychological rather than biological. In its own way, what it amounts to suggest is that the real fascination of sex lies in getting as easily as instinctively restored to the same approximating the original homogeneity of consciousness out of which have emerged both the male and the female. It explains the element of shame involved in the act of sex in terms of the original homogeneity having been made to pass through the state of heterogeneity. Thus, as per the Upanisad, the so-called instinct of sex is really the instinct of procreation formed by the inherent tendency of consciousness to keep itself self-realised in all possible modes and states of being in its eternal stasis as well as universal dynamics. If either of the sex-partners seeks the company and embrace of its counterpart, that is not for the act of sex itself but for the joy of restoration to the original state of oneness not only for the time being but also for all time to come through procreation. Of course, when the Upanisad notes that the organ of generation is the object of all enjoyments uniformally (Brihadaranyaka Upanisad, IV.5.12), it amounts simply to suggest that the joy generated by the act of sex is the highest on the instinctive level, as it results in tracing sex back, in its own way, to the original state of the unity of consciousness.


    There is a complete hymn in the Rigveda which, for all practical purposes, deals with the contradiction as also possibility of reconciliation between the aspiration for attaining the pure state of consciousness on the one hand and the need for fulfilment of the imperative of the instinct for sex on the other. The hymn is the dialogue between seer Agastya and his wife Lopamudra. Agastya is an accomplished seer of eminence of Vasiñöha, both of them having born of Mitra and Varuna as a consequence of stimulation from the heavenly damsel Urvashi. Though married to an elegant lady, namely, Lopamudra, Agastya chose to follow the path of celibacy and remained firm on it for a considerably long period until Lopamudra became impatient on account of decline in her youth without having been obliged by her husband. She felt the compelling necessity of getting the contact of her husband even at that late stage of life. She was a quite enlightened lady and knew it well that even such great seers of the past who cooperated with gods in the fulfilment of the demand of the principle of universal dynamics and always spoke the truth, could not succeed in observing celibacy up to the last point and had to give it up eventually. Having listened to her pleas, Agastya felt compelled to oblige her. What he has observed in this connection is highly significant. He has pointed out that while he was busy in articulating the Vedic wisdom, whose acquisition had required him to observe complete celibacy, desire for sex came to him partly from his proximity to his wife and partly from somewhere else as a consequence of which, in spite of all his determination to remain celibate throughout his life, had to allow his impatient wife to get the best of him.

    This dialogue between the husband and the wife was overheard by one of his pupils. The pupil felt guilty for having heard it. As a consequence, he began to lose his balance. He had to take the device of yoga for keeping him straight on the path of self-restraint. He felt how vulnerable is man’s mind to infatuation. It is said of Agastya, on the other hand, that digging the ground by means of spades with the desire to have a long lineage of progeny as also power, he proved instrumental in fulfilling the requirements of both stages of his life by coming true to the expectations of gods.(Rigveda, I.179.1-5)
  7. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    This dialogue has embedded in it a number of significant ideas concerning the contrariety between the life-force and consciousness as embodied in man. It indicates that there was a long and well-established tradition of observance of celibacy particularly among those aspiring for entering into higher states of consciousness and seeing the Reality by their own eye of wisdom. Agastya fell in the same line and kept himself so much in control that he did not have any contact with his wife for a long time. His wife Lopamudra also seems to have cooperated with him in his vow of celibacy to a very great extent until it became too much for her to endure any further, though she herself was definitely a person of high order of restraint. This is evident from the latitude she gave her husband to take to the arduous course of celibacy to such an extent as seers of earlier ages had done. But since those also were not successful in observing it infallibly up to the last point of perfection, she felt that in view of impossibility of observance of perfect celibacy in the true sense of the term, her husband also ought not to go for it any further and that also the cost of the pleasure of the household life. On the other hand, Agastya’s gets involved to fulfil the wishes of his wife under a twofold motivation is also interesting. His giving way to the motivation from the side of his wife is quite understandable. After all, he was a seer of high sensibility and hence his conceding to the wishes of his devoted wife was but natural, his strong will-power and determination notwithstanding. The motivation coming from the side of gods, however, is something extraordinary. It shows that besides the local stimulant, there was some universal force serving as an imperative in stimulating him to concede to the urge for sex in him. That force is identifiable in the form of god Marut acting as prana or life-force in organic beings. It is owing to the imperative of the life-force that sub-human beings get inclined to sex even unconsciously. Owing to his developed consciousness, man, however, is in a position to exercise, some restraint on this instinctive drive. Life of Agastya is an excellent example of it. He remains constant in his pursuit of the higher consciousness in all its purity under the circumstance of his young wife waiting for fulfilment of the demand of life-force on her through him. This sygyzy of the spiritual and the vital in him is reflected, to a great extent, in a number of mantras seen by him. out of all the twenty seven hymns seen by him, as preserved in the Rigveda, as many as fifteen are addressed to Indra and Martus exclusively indicating how virtually a tug-of-war is going on in him between the contesting forces of spirituality and vitality. This becomes absolutely clear from the concluding hymn of the group in which his wife herself is brought to the fore with her pent up emotions and indomitable cravings to have union with him. After the seer concedes to her demand as indicated towards the end of the hymn, both the contesting forces, that is, Indra and Martus, disappear from the scene leaving place for gods and goddesses of practical utility in life such as the Asvina, Dyava-Prthivi, Visve-Devah, Anna, etc.

    If Agastya and Lopamudra come to reconciliation in this last hymn on the important issue of balance between pursuit of higher consciousness and carrying out of the duties of the householder, that perhaps is the result of the same reconciliation struck between their representative divine beings, i.e., Indra and Maruts in an earlier hymn of the same group. The hymn begins with Indra’s complaint against his devotee Agastya for backing out from his promise obviously to devote himself exclusively to the deity. It shows that long before the time the complaint was made, Agastya had become devoted to sheer consciousness quite away from the pull of the vital. But somehow, perhaps under the stimulation from the side of Lopamudra, he was necessitated suddenly to step down from his singular pursuit to cater for his vital also. This idea is reflected in the second mantra of the hymn where he sides with the Maruts and prays to Indra not kill them as embodied in himself since they are his brothers and therefore deserve reconciliation with him. Indra immediately concedes to his prayer and getting reconciled to Maruts comes round to charge Agastya himself as to why he is delaying his offering to be made to both the orders of deities together as a token of the newly forged bond of friendship between Indra and Maruts in Agastya’s psyche. In response to Indra’s concession, Agastya, in the next mantra, resolves forthwith to get the sacrificial pit prepared, the fire kindled, and the oblation made with the object of perpetuating the consciousness of sacrifice. Further, he prays to Indra to remain reconciled to Maruts forever and relish the sacrificial as per the imperative of the principle of universal dynamics.

    If the god of the vital was instrumental in fulfilling his desire for progeny, Indra proved helpful in empowering him with the force of consciousness by virtue of which he not only became a seer of eminence but also was capable of undertaking the arduous journey to the south and remaining there still surviving by his message as also perhaps by his progeny, as the tradition goes. It is in keeping with the ideal set by this powerful seer, rsirugrah, as his pupil characterises him, that the conjugal life, particularly in regard to the act of sex, has been looked upon under the Vedic ethos, as a sacrifice in itself. This is evident from the Brihadaraëyaka Upanisad’s detailed equation of it with sacrifice in its concluding section. As per this ideal, the act of sex is meant not for enjoyment but for the promotion of the progeny in a balanced way in response to the imperative of the Divine.


    Another manifestation of the coordination between life and consciousness is the instinct for possession. On the primary levels of life, as in vegetations and smaller insects, there is no tendency to possession at all, as is the case with human infants also up to a few months of life. But, with the development of consciousness to a certain extent, the instinct gets activated with the result that the being concerned, no matter an insect, bird or animal, begins to take to hoarding but in a limited measure and that also as per the requirement of its survival. Coming up to humans, however, it goes on asserting itself more and more inordinately beyond all the urgency of actual needs of life and thus gets more and more coincided with the expanse of consciousness itself. Eventually, there comes a stage where, in the mad rush for possession, the actual needs of life take a backseat leaving consciousness to operate only for possession.

    This is not only a recent phenomenon but is ingrained in the very nature of things so far as coordination of the vital with consciousness is concerned. Wherever consciousness is dominated by the vital, it is difficult to get it redeemed of the instinct for possession. In such a situation, consciousness ends up serving as a tool of the craving of the vital for as much possession as possible. The more effectively consciousness works under the thumb of the vital; more inordinate it tends to become in its sense of possession. The domineering tendency of mankind today is the most glaring example of it. Everything tends to be commercialised these days for the fulfilment of the desire for possession of persons concerned at the cost of all social, moral and spiritual values. This abnormal growth in the tendency is due to use of consciousness mainly as a tool of the vital, as is the case with animals due to limitations of the range of their consciousness.
  8. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    The thinking of Vedic seers on the point is entirely different. This is due to their vision of consciousness as completely liberated form the clutches of the vital. Due to their realisation of consciousness as the most fundamental principle of existence and of life as a sheer state of its manifestation, they accorded the prime importance to the consciousness treating life, on the other hand, as a mere tool deployed to serve it in the course of its manifestation. It is this marked difference in the status of consciousness and life which motivated them to stake so easily their lives for getting the requirements of consciousness fulfilled, as is exemplified by Dadhyan who allowed the Asvins to cut his head just for the sake of propagation of his wisdom through them. It is from this standpoint that could be possible for the seer to preach to one and all not to covet for the wealth of anyone but to remain fully contented with whatever is produced from one’s own labour. As is well known, the standpoint lies n the realisation of the world, with all its proneness to change, as essentially an abode of the Divine, the supreme centre of consciousness. (Yajurveda, XL.1)

    It is from the same standpoint that has been envisioned the famous gambler’s hymn in the Rigveda by seer Kavasa Ailusa. It is to show in a dramatic way how the desire for grabbing the wealth of others in a surreptitious way ends in the forfeiture of one’s own to the extent of total destitution, disintegration of the family life and compulsion for self-extinction.

    Arati, Dasyau, Pani, Anarya, etc., so much condemned in the Veda throughout, are kinds of people governed by the tendency for inordinate possession in all possible manners, howsoever surreptitious.

    That possessiveness remains a characteristic feature of life until one grows in one’s awareness of things beyond the range of life, forms the central theme of another Rigvedic hymn seen by Bhiksu Angirasa. What has come to the seer’s perception is that people tend to go on getting richer and richer without sharing with the needy and friendly even a small fraction of their riches under the impression that they would remain in possession of their entire wealth for all time to come. Blinded by the sense of possession, they fail to visualise that a time will come when death would necessarily make them dispossessed of all what they take as exclusively their own at the moment. This attitude of the people, the seer suggests, would undergo a sea of change if they were to realise that death comes to the rich as well as to the poor and that there are pleasures infinitely higher and more beatific than what is derivable from possession of wealth, no matter in whatever measure. Those pleasures, the seer indicates, lie in treading the path which by all accounts is wider than one being treaded by man in the normal course of his life irrespective of the measure of the wealth supportive of that life. Thus, in view of the perishability of life, perishability of wealth as also availability of a path of life much more spacious than the vital, one is advised to share one’s wealth with the needy so that one may not only be respected in the society but also can see the higher path and make oneself worthy of moving on it conveniently (Rigveda, X.117.1;
  9. Prana:

    Prana is a symptom of the presence of the living entity. Prana is also referred to as the living energy, air of life, life air and vital force.


    Consciousness is the sign of the living entity, or the soul. The existence of the soul is manifest in the form of consciousness, called jnana-shakti. The activity of consciousness is performed through the air of life, which is of ten divisions. The airs of life are called prana, apana, udana, vyana and samana and are also differently qualified as naga, kurma, krkara, devadatta and dhananjaya. The consciousness of the soul becomes polluted by the material atmosphere, and thus various activities are exhibited in the false ego of bodily identification.

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