All forces, all powers and prana spring from the fountain or common source, known as Atman (Soul). Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are manifestations of prana. It may be in either a static or a dynamic state. It is found in all forms from the highest to the lowest, from the ant to the elephant, the unicellular amoebae to man, from the elementary forms of plant life to the developed forms of animal life.
Whatever moves or has life is but an expression or manifestation of prana. It is prana that shines in your eyes. It is through the power of prana that the ear hears, the eye sees, the skin feels, the tongue tastes, the nose smells and the brain and the intellect perform their functions. The smile of a young lady, the melody in music, the power in the emphatic words of an orator, the charm in the speech of one’s beloved are all due to prana. Whatever you behold in this sense-world, whatever moves or works or has life, is but an expression or manifestation of prana.
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 inquire into the nature of Brahman.
Use of Prana
Prana is expended by thinking, willing, acting, moving, talking and writing. A healthy strong person has an abundance of prana (or nerve-force or vitality). It is supplied by food, water, air, solar energy, etc. The supply of prana is taken up by the nervous system. The prana in the air is absorbed by breathing. The excess is stored in the brain and nerve centres. When the seminal energy is sublimated or transformed it supplies an abundance of prana to the system. It is stored in the brain in the form of spiritual energy.
The yogi stores a great deal of prana through the regular practice of pranayama, just as the storage battery stores electricity. That yogi who has stored a large supply radiates strength and vitality all around. He is a big power house and those who come in close contact with him imbibe prana from him and receive strength, vigor vitality and exhilaration of spirits. Just as water flows from one vessel to another, prana actually flows like a steady current from a developed yogi towards weak persons. This can actually be seen by the yogi who has developed his inner yogic vision.
Control of Prana
A yogi can withdraw prana from any area of the body. That area gets benumbed, becomes impervious to heat and cold and has no sensation. A yogi can also send prana to any area and make it oversensitive; he can send it to the eyes and see distant objects; he can send it to the nose and experience divine aromas; he can send it to the tongue and experience super-sensuous taste.
By control of prana the yogi can also control the omnipresent manifesting power out of which all energies take their origin, whether concerning magnetism, electricity, gravitation, cohesion, nerve currents, vital forces or thought vibrations; in fact, the total forces of the universe, physical and mental. A comprehensive knowledge of prana and its function is absolutely necessary for pranayama.
1. The Science of Pranyama by Sri Swami Sivananda
Sanaka, Sananda, Sanathana and Sanatkumara, also called as ‘Kumaras’, were born from the mind of Lord Brahma. When Brahma ordered them to procreate, they rejected the orders of Brahma. They were very dispassionate and not interested in material things. They began to think about the reason for existence of something called “Creation”, and also the reason for their very own existence. Several questions sprang from their minds but there was none competent enough to answer their questions. They wandered for about one hundred years. The young Kumaras began to look old with grey hair as their quest for Truth intensified during the period.
The almighty and all merciful Lord Shiva who is the indweller of all beings decided to enlighten four Kumaras. He himself appeared as a sixteen year old youth under the Banyan tree. When the four elderly Sanakadi rishis first beheld the sixteen-year-old Sri Dakshinamurty sitting under the banyan tree, they were at once attracted by Him, and understood that He was the real Guru.
They approached Him, did three pradakshinas(circumambulation) around Him, prostrated before Him, sat at His Feet and began to ask shrewd and pertinent questions about the nature of reality and the means of attaining it. Because of the great compassion and fatherly love (vatsalya) which He felt for His aged disciples, the young Sri Dakshinamurty was overjoyed to see their earnestness, wisdom and maturity, and gave apt replies to each of their questions.
But as He answered each consecutive question, further doubts arose in their minds and they asked further questions. Thus they continued to question Sri Dakshinamurty for a whole year, and He continued to clear their doubts through His compassionate answers.
Finally, however, Sri Dakshinamurti understood that if He continued answering their questions, more doubts would arise in their minds and their ignorance (ajnana)would never end.
Therefore, suppressing even the feeling of compassion and fatherly love which was welling up within Him,He merged Himself into the Supreme Silence. Because of their great maturity (which had ripened to perfection through their year-long association with the Sadguru), as soon as Sri Dakshinamurti assumed Silence, they too automatically merged into Supreme Silence, the true state of the Self.”
By the grace of Lord Dakshinamurthy, the indweller of all, Kumaras have become free from all kinds of doubts. They have become Jnanis(enlightened). They realised that they are ‘Atman’ (‘Self’) alone. Having realized Atman(Shiva) the Kumaras freed themselves from all fetters. They said :
Om nama pranavarthaya,
Suddha jnanaika moorthaye nama,
Sri Dakshinamurthaye nama.
Gurave sara lokaanam,
Bishaje bhava roginaam,
Nidhaye sarva vidhyanam,
Sri Dakshinamurthaye nama.
“Salutations to that Dakshinamurthy, Who is the meaning of the pranava, “om”, Who is the personification of unalloyed wisdom(Jnana), Who is always Pure And who is the epitome of peace. Salutations to that Dakshinamurthy, Who is the teacher of the entire world, Who is the doctor to those afflicted by the disease of birth and death, And who is the treasure house of all knowledge.”
Origins of As Above so Below
The adage is traditionally attributed to the Emerald Tablets of Hermes Trismegistus. Nevertheless, all subsequent teachings that strove to explain man and his role in the universe acknowledged this truth. God creating man in his own image is a Biblical expression; self-government mirroring the government of a state is a Confucian one. This site hosts a compilation of some of the more profound expressions of as above so below.
As Above So Below As Within So Without
As above so below is often expressed alongside its synonym, as within so without. Teachings that expressed these instructions claimed it was impossible to study the universe without studying man, and vice versa, that it was impossible to study man without studying the universe. They stressed that, to study either man or the universe, one had to study both. This is one reason why ancient texts almost always dwell on both man and the universe alike. They rarely exclude the one or the other.
Man himself is obviously the nearest object to himself, far more observable than a microscopic atom or a telescopic galaxy. And yet, his inherent blindness to himself prevents him from seeing the obvious. Thus, to gain self-knowledge, man must often look outside of himself to another cosmos, and apply what he learns from the external to himself. Indeed, as above so below goes hand in hand with another ancient adage, Know Thyself.
As Above So Below Meaning
Teachings that instruct man to look without in order to see within point out another fact: man is an incomplete being, an unfinished world that only partially mirrors its neighboring cosmos. Hence, as above so below and as within so without outlines the direction of man’s evolution, the way to fulfill his potential and become a complete man— a complete cosmos. It is with this encouragement in mind that we have compiled this collection of sayings.