By itself the Prana or vital force principle is one only but in a creature’s body based on its function it is divided into many classes. The chief organs of the body are made up of flesh, muscles etc but due to differences in the union their shape etc are different. On this very basis its naming and description are varied. In the human body the vital force too has to shoulder different responsibilities. On their basis their naming is varied and designing/qualities too are different. But at the root of these variations there exists unity. Vital force is one and not many. Electricity is one but based on various technology and apparatus it is used variedly. While using heaters, coolers, fans, tube lights etc its energy and nature appears different. Keeping in mind utility and aim differences maybe perceived yet we know that it is but the multifaceted functioning of single electricity. With reference to vital force this too is the case. Scriptural scholars have classified them in many parts, many names have been assigned and many modes of description have been given. Despite it being appropriate we must not fall under the illusion that vital force is of many types and that they are different and separate. The classification of vital force can be said to be a manifestation of ‘Ekoham bahusyama…’ i.e. ‘I was one and desired to become many.

In the human body the vital force has been demarcated in 10 ways. In that 5 are vital force and the remaining five are sub vital forces. The Vital Force Sheath comprises of these 10 put together. There are 5 chief vital forces 1) Apan 2) Saman 3) Prana 4) Udan 5) Vyan. The sub vital forces are 1) Devadatta 2) Krukul 3) Kurma 4) Naag 5) Dhananjaya.

In the bodily arena what are the functions of these vital forces? This has been elucidated in the Ayurved scriptures as follows:

1) APAN: Apan is that vital force which has the capacity to throw out dirt from the body. For example it throws out feces, urine, sweat, phlegm, sperm, helps in fertilization of ovum, sperm etc.

2) SAMAN: It carries bodily juices in an apt manner to appropriate places and distributes them. It produces digestive juices and maintains its wholesome quality. In the Patanjali Yoga Sutra (3rd leg, aphorism 40) it is said that via Saman the energy and functioning of the body is kept active.

3) PRANA: It circulates inhalation/exhalation and food and also energy in the body. While talking about vital force Prana word is used predominantly.

4) UDAN: It keeps the body on its toes, keeps it hard and does not allow it to fall down. Many visible and subtle upward movements in the body take place because of it.

5) VYAN: It is spread out in the entire body. It controls the body via blood circulation, breathing process, nerves etc. It aids the voluntary bodily movements of the subtle mind.

FIRST PRANA: Thus the function of the first vital force inhalation/exhalation’s work arena is the chest. The experience of this element in one’s meditation practice is of yellow color and during piercing of Chakras it influences the Anahat Chakra.

SECOND APAN: It removes dirt from various parts of the body and its work arena is the anus. It can be experienced as orange in color and influences the Mooladhar Chakra.

THIRD SAMAN: It helps in the maturing of food, bodily juices, blood etc and its work arena is the navel. It is of green color and influences the Manipur Chakra.

FOURTH UDAN: Its function is to imbibe attraction and accept food, water, breath, education etc into the body. Rest after deep sleep or death is possible because of it. Its arena is the throat and color is dark purple. It influences the Vishudha Chakra.

FIFTH VYAN: Its function is blood circulation and transportation. Its work arena is the entire body. Its color is pink and influences the Swadhishthan Chakra.

Just as ministers have assistants so do the chief 5 Pranas have sub Pranas. Nag is connected to Prana. Kurma is connected to Apan. Krukul is connected to Saman. Devdatta is connected to Udan and Dhananjay is connected to Vyan. Nag’s function is air circulation, burping, flatulence from anus. Kurma’s function is connected to the eye movements, Krukul’s function is hunger/thirst, Devdatta helps in yawning etc and Dhananjay helps clean each and every bodily part. In reality they are not limited to such small tasks only. It contributes towards manage optimally the functions of the chief vital forces. If we wish to understand more deeply the difference between the chief vital force and the sub vital force we will have to note the relationship between the 5 elements and the 5 sense organs of knowledge. Ears accept sound object, eyes imbibe forms, tongue imbibes taste, nose imbibes smell and the skin imbibes touch. In the same way sub vital forces transform the subtle experiences generated by the chief vital forces into gross experiences. We must of course remember this classification is made simply so as to understand and make others understand facts. Just like 10 individuals with different appearances and natures they should not be looked upon as 10 different powers. In fact a single person is called father, son, brother, friend, enemy, asleep, awake, vile, clean etc based on different circumstances. Similarly we must look upon the sub division of Prana or vital force.

In Indian scriptures one finds a detailed description of not only the presence of body oriented vital force centers but also details of its qualities, functions, activities and influence. For many years material science scoffed at these facts but the more they delved deeper into anatomy and physiology research they had to accept the existence of vital force centers. The gross technology of material science has been able to ‘catch’ this subtle principle and that too with necessary proof.

Russia’s electronic scientist Emion Kirlian has invented such a photographic apparatus which captures electrical movements surrounding individuals. This proves that along with the physical body there exists a subtle body and it is made up of such matter that in comparison to gross objects made of electrons it is of a different stature and more mobile too.

Once, England’s Dr Kilner was examining his patients in a hospital. While examining a patient on his death bed he found that on the lens of his microscope a strange colored light gathered which to date had never been seen. Next day when he examined the clothes removed from the body of this particular patient Dr Kilner was dumbstruck. He saw that the light seen previously by him now appeared as waves on his microscope lens. Surrounding the patient’s body (6-7 inch circumference) that light had spread and within that were many light particles of rare bio-chemicals. He saw that when the light dimmed the patient’s body and pulse became weak. In a short time the light blows out. Now when he put his hands on the pulse he found that the patient was dead. Apart from getting this incident published in various newspapers, magazines etc Dr Kilner declared that in whichever object possesses life’s original quality it is more subtle than that object. It is impossible that it perishes.

The vital force principle is called live or conscious energy. According to modern material science energy is of 6 kinds: 1. Heat 2. Light 3. Magnetism 4. Electricity 5. Sound and 6. Friction or Mechanical. One type of energy can be converted to any other type. Bodily conscious energy despite being different from the above 6 energies can be understood/realized via these six as mediums.

The scientific belief regarding energy is that it does not get destroyed and that it is only inter changeable. It is also believed that energy can be conjoined to any gross matter. Despite this its existence is separate and that it can be transferred from one object to another. The same view regarding vital force is held by Indian Rishi seers. Today even Western scientists have started accepting this.

Regarding this Thomas Edison, inventor of the phonograph and bulb of light throws wise light by writing: The existence of creatures remains as high stature electric particles/network even then when they get separated from the body. Post death although these particle clusters are not well cohesive yet some sort of a bond exists amongst themselves. They do not get scattered but over and above flying in space they enter the cycle of life by taking a new birth. Its designing is something akin to the nest of a honeybee. The honeybee simultaneously leaves the old nest and makes a new one. In the same way clusters of high stature electric particles by taking along with themselves material of the gross body plus its faith and aspirations remains immortal despite undergoing innumerable births and deaths.

From this data proof we will have to accept conjoining of Vital Force Sheath to the bodily Food Sheath although of course the former has its own separate existence. On an average there is proof of the existence of 6 energies like heat etc as mentioned by modern science. Despite this the nature of the Vital Force Sheath which pervades the entire body can be deeply understood only in the form of Bio Electricity.

Within research on Anatomy and Physiology a lot of studies are conducted today on Cosmic Electricity. Doubtlessly some centers of the body are accepted as electricity generators/producers. Chief amongst them are: Head, heart and eyes. The electricity producing center of the head or brain region is called ‘Reticular Activating System’. Some brain parts situated in the deep recesses of the central part of the brain create electrical impulses and spread out in the entire head region. These electrical onrushes controls and keeps conjoined various centers of the brain. Electro Encephalograph or EEG used by medical science measures various electrical flows in the brain. On its basis diseases pertaining to the brain and head are diagnosed. At various points in the head region are placed cards. Electrical potential measured with it comes to around 1mm volt.

To manage heart functions about 10 wires of electrical energy are required. This electricity is produced in the heart region only. The area in the heart where this electrical impulse is generated is called pace maker. The moment this electrical impulse is generated within about 0.8 seconds it spreads out in the entire heart of a mature human being. In this time span the heart beats once. Because of heart beats and its control this very electricity vibrates. It influences are measured by ECG or Electro Cardiogram. In order to diagnose heart diseases these electrical impulses are made its basis.

According to scientists there is an arrangement of photoelectric cells in the eyes. The special characteristic of photoelectric cells is that they convert light to electrical waves. Scientists accept the potential of our eyes to generate electricity in the above manner. In order to diagnose and classify eye related diseases the electrical impulses generated by eyes are measured via an ERG or Electro Retinograph.

From this data it is proved that along with the generation of electrical impulses in certain centers of the body they are circulated in the entire body too. Via EEG the impulses of brain cell electricity of every part of the head can be recorded. Not only this but that many a times its influence can be felt clearly in the parts below the neck too. The influence of heart’s electricity can be measured via an ECG on the feet too. In the near most and very far off parts of the heart this impulse is measured in an equally potent manner.

Medical doctors have great faith in the diagnosis of diseases via the medium of bodily vital force stream or Prana flow. Electro Myograph is used in vital force diagnosis methods wherein inactivity of flesh and diseases of muscular centers are diagnosed. The crystal clear proof of the functioning and presence of electrical energy in the muscle and fat of every region of the body is in a very thin layer like the bodily skin has its own kind of electricity. In the testing of skin medical experts make use of the method of Galvanic Skin Response which measures electricity.

Apart from this scientific proof even in ones day to day social transactions right from the brain to the skin proof of electrical potential is available. Sometimes we get attracted to someone and sometimes we experience revulsion. All this is but a reaction of the sameness or difference in bodily electricity. When 2 friends meet, see each other, embrace each other etc there exists a give and take of electrical potential. Great Yogis of India are known to transfer electricity from their own bodies to those of others via power of resolve or Sankalpa Shakti. Yet even with ordinary touch a partial give and take of bodily electricity does take place. That impulse experienced via touch, fondling, hand shaking, embracing etc is but a give and take of electrical onrushes. This fact is now being wholeheartedly accepted by modern day scientists.

Indian opinion is that it is vital force that maintains the body’s existence, nourishes it, recreates it, evolves it and transforms it. The Vital Force Sheath that pervades the Food Sheath manages and directs the latter. Today modern science accepts the existence of vital electricity in the tiniest unit of the body. Every cell of the body has an electric charge. Apart from this extremely miniscule genes responsible for procreation that are found in the nucleus of the cell too are said to be associated with pactis. The gist of all this is that even in the most subtle unit of the body unearthed by modern science there exist vital force principle in the form of electrical onrush.

Many talk of the fact that every activity of the body is directed by the vital force. In Yogic texts that vital principle which controls various bodily activities has been given many names. They are said to be the 5 Pranas or Vital Forces. In the same way vital force active in various innermost activities of the body are said to be sub vital forces. Today’s anatomy researchers have described the inner bodily functions on the basis of electrical circulation cycle. That circulation program, which covers one end of the body to the other, takes place via the medium of the electrical transport system. In the circulatory cells negative and positive charges keep going in and out and because of this various circulatory cycles occur. In scientific parlance it is called ‘depolarization’ and re-polarization’. According to Indian belief this function takes place according to ‘Vyan’ which is one of the 5 vital forces.

In the stomach and intestines the food after getting digested is transformed into juices suitable for the body. These juices pass out from the intestinal walls and thus spread out into the entire body. Some bio-chemical juices mix with blood via ordinary circulatory cycles but some juices require that the body uses its energy. The latter mode is called Active Transport. Via this transport that electrical process which takes place in intestines is called Sodium Pump by modern scientists. Sodium ions change their charges (positive and negative) and thus juices are transported from the inside of the walls of cells to the exterior region. Due to its contact the bodily nourishing principles (glucose etc) can pierce the walls of the cells more easily and thus they too get circulated. Within the 5 vital forces Prana performs this function in the body (as per Indian spirituality).

This process goes on in every cell. Every cell absorbs its required nourishment and transforms it into heat energy. Heat energy is continuously produced in the body and is circulated too. Digestion takes place not only in the stomach but also in every cell of the body. For this juices are transported to every cell. That vital force used for this process is called Saman by Indian seers of Prana principle. In the same way electro chemical activities are responsible for the fecal matter eradication during maturing of the juices of cells and destruction of old cells. In Prana Science it is called process of Apan.

Amongst the 5 Pranas one of them is Udan too. Its function is to make bodily organs stiff. In modern scientific terms it is called Electrical Stimulization. Due to bodily electrical impulses the cells of the Food sheath become stiff or soft for any activity.

Within the body how do various inner activities take place thus? Unfortunately modern scientists are unable to fully answer this question. For this no doubt they have put forth many gross principles. Amongst them are Sodium Potassium Cycle, Potassium Pump, ATF, ADF, cyclic AMP etc. Its functioning mode can be correctly understood only by specialist of Chemistry and yet it is but Electrical Chemical Principle. According to this principle in a solution the positive and negative charges of a chemical gets partitioned into many particles. They are called ions. The capacity to transport and circulate is very great in these ions. After desired transport the positive negatively charged ions unite become neutral from the standpoint of electricity. It is on this basis that various activities of the body like digestion, purification, evolution and procreation are executed. If looked at spiritually it is very clear that the existence and activity of Prana (vital force) in bodily centers is obvious.

After noting these gross activities when we march ahead and analyze the body’s subtle functioning we will observe the control and influence of body oriented vital force principle. Everyone knows the amazing workings of hormones and enzymes of the human body. The functioning of both these has the potential to bring amazing changes and energy circulation in the body. Within the science of procreation and genetics a lot of interest is there amongst modern day scientists regarding small units called genes. Scientists accept that the potential of influencing genes via electromagnetic impulses. To date they have been unable to do so yet they firmly believe in it and are conducting intense research for the same. It is hoped that if such a technique come their way mind boggling miracles will be seen with reference to the human body.

After gaining detailed data on vital force principle Indian seers got interested in generation and utility of this great element. Hence they designed many spiritual practices for the same. Amongst these Pranayam (Yogic breathing exercises) is a relatively very means for people of all walks of life.

A superficial outlook says that Pranayam an exercise of inhalation and exhalation. It is said to be an exercise of the lungs within the arena of health benefits. Health experts limit benefit of Pranayam to this only. Many inhalation/exhalation exercises are well known that correct problems in breathing and weakness/disease of lungs. All these must be imbibed and is very good for health. Despite this it is but akin to kindergarten studies. This is because Pranayam should be looked upon as a special skill which attracts vital force of the cosmos in desired measure and is then imbibed by the Yoga aspirant. Our breath cannot be called vital force. It is one thing to say that breath is mixed with vital force, that vital force can be attracted by the breath and it is another thing to inhale and exhale. Within Pranayam intense power of resolve called Sankalpa Shakti has to be imbibed. With its magnetic force of attraction we can imbibe vital force from space. Further without our intense power of resolve we cannot send this imbibed vital force to desired regions and attain desired results. Thus Pranayam is a combination of breathing air alongwith intense power of resolve. Thus the Science of Prana tells us that it is this inseparable combination that gives us desired results.

Author's Bio: 

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