Page 2 of 10Prana
Spiritual Masters are not frozen in the physical body like ordinary souls. They know the prana, and use it to move inward and outward in their consciousness. Of course, the mind is responsible for the movement of the prana – its thoughts, its intelligence, its ego. So the mind must be under control and in awareness of all knowledge.
The healers know a little about the prana in the body; the shamans know about it in accord with life-force; but the yogis know it fully and utilize it. They use it to meditate, to enter samadhi, to leave the body at death, and to assist others in the quest for Enlightenment.
The pranas connect to the four fold mind in an inward direction and to the tanmatras in the outward trajectory. Having full mastery over the prana then places one in a very advantageous position in spiritual life.
The yamas and niyamas are all about dealing with sensual appetites, i.e., acquiring, owning, coveting, and so forth. The nadis, subtle nerves, have been clogged with pleasure and pain. Remove the blockages with observances and practices and energy of all kinds — physical vigor, subtle life-force, and dynamic power — will flow again.
Souls are getting dammed up against the first three chakras.
One must get a hold of or find that channel (prana) that allows one to attend upon higher states of consciousness. When you do, it is like having a divine destination to seek, an infallible inner map to guide you there, and your very own Garuda parked in the cosmic garage.
If you have no prana, no sense of it even, then you have no life-force to get you beyond birth, life, and death. Once you secure your life-force under your control, then you can think properly, and discriminate. Soon thereafter, you have to give up the thinking mind, and as soon as you give up thoughts, then you can meditate. It is a razor's edged path, this way of embodiment. First your parents tell you to put your thinking cap on and quit being lazy; then your meditation teacher comes along and tells you to take off your thinking cap and quit being crazy!
"Man does not live by bread alone" – this means he lives by prana. Life-force must be controlled and mastered, and it should also be directed away from the desire for rebirth, and given towards the aspiration for spiritual realization.
We have all these physical nerves. The Indian scriptures tell us that inside each one of them are 100,000 subtle nerves that cannot be seen by the eyes. Prana flows through these. When one goes to sleep, prana leaves the senses and takes consciousness to different realms within. Not knowing about the prana, much less how to operate it, is like having a fine car parked in the driveway and not knowing how to drive it and get it onto 100,000 freeways.
We must make a distinction between mind and brain. When one practices pranayama, breathing exercises, one is not only opening up channels of air for the lungs and brain, but is also opening up channels for prana to flow into the mind and soul. This finer energy must be utilized to practice the four Yogas, for they will set you free.