The Science of Breath & the Philosophy of the Tatvas
(Translated from the Sanskrit with 15 Introductory & Explanatory Essays on Nature's Finer Forces)
The Theosophical Publishing Society, London (1890)
Essays 1 to 4
01. The Tatvas
03. The Mutual Relation of the Tatvas & Principles
04. Prana (1)
05. Prana (2)
06. Prana (3)
07. Prana (4)
08. The Mind (1)
09. The Mind (2)
10. The Cosmic Picture Gallery
11. The Manifestations of Psychic Force
12. Yoga ~ The Soul (1)
13. Yoga (2)
14. Yoga (3)
15. The Spirit
A word of explanation is necessary with regard to the book now offered to the public. In the 9th and 10th volumes of the theosophist I wrote certain Essays on "Nature's Finer Forces". The subject of these essays interested the readers of the Theosophist so much that I was asked to issue the series of Essays in book form. I found that in order to make a book they must be almost entirely rearranged, and perhaps rewritten. I was, however, not equal to the task of rewriting what I had once written. I therefore determined to publish a translation of the book in Sanskrit on the Science of the Breath and the Philosophy of the Tatvas. As, however, without these Essays the book would have been quite unintelligible, I decided to add them to the book by way of an illustrative introduction. This accordingly has been done. The Essays in the theosophist have been reprinted with certain additions, modifications, and corrections. Besides, I have written seven more Essays in order to make the explanations more complete and authoritative. Thus there are altogether 15 introductory and explanatory Essays.
I was confirmed in this course by one more consideration. The book contains a good deal more than the essays touched upon, and I thought it better to lay all of it before the public.
The book is sure to throw a good deal of light upon the scientific researches of the ancient Aryans of India, and it will leave no doubt in a candid mind that the religion of ancient India had a scientific basis. It is chiefly for this reason that I have drawn my illustrations of the Tatwic Law from the Upanishads.
There is a good deal in the book that can only be shown to be true by long and diligent experiment. Those who are devoted to the pursuit of truth without prejudice will no doubt be ready to wait before they form any opinion about such portions of the book. Others it is useless to reason with.
To the former class of students I have to say one word more. From my own experience I can tell them that the more they study the book, the more wisdom they are sure to find in it, and let me hope that ere long I shall have a goodly number of colleagues, who will with me try their best to explain and illustrate the book still better, and more thoroughly.
5 November 1889
& Their Influence on Human Life & Destiny
The tatvas are the five modifications of the great Breath. Acting upon prakriti, this Great breath throws it into five states, having distinct vibratory motions, and performing different functions. The first outcome of the Evolutionary State of parabrahma is the akasa tatva. After this come in order the vayu, the taijas, the apas and the prithivi. They are variously known as mahabhutas. The word akasa is generally translated into English by the word ether. Unfortunately, however, sound is not known to be the distinguishing quality of ether in modern English Science. Some few might also have the idea that the modern medium of light is the same as akasa. This, I believe, is a mistake. The luminiferous ether is the subtle taijas tatva, and not the akasa. All the five subtle tatvas might no doubt be called ethers, but to use it for the word akasa, without any distinguishing epithet, is misleading. We might call akasa the sonoriferous ether, the vayu the tangiferous ether, apas the gustiferous ether, and prithivi the odoriferous ether. Just as there exists in the universe the luminiferous ether, an element of refined mater without which it has been found that the phenomena of light find no adequate explanation, so do there exist the four remaining ethers, elements of refined matter, without which it will be found that the phenomena of sound, touch, taste and smell find no adequate explanation.
The luminiferous ether is supposed by Modern Science to be Matter in a most refined state. It is the vibrations of this element that are said to constitute light. The vibrations are said to take place at right angles to the direction of the wave. Nearly the same is the description of the taijas tatva given in the book. It makes this tatva move in an upward direction, and the center of the direction is, of course, the direction of the wave. Besides, it says that one whole vibration of this element makes the figure of a triangle.
Suppose in the figure:
AB is the direction of the wave; BC is the direction of the vibration. CA is the line along which, seeing that in expansion the symmetrical arrangements of the atoms of a body are not changed, the vibrating atom must return to its symmetrical position in the line AB.
The taijas tatva of the Ancients is then exactly the luminiferous ether of the Moderns, so far as the nature of the vibration is concerned. There is no exception, however, of the four remaining ethers, at all events in a direct manner, in Modern Science. The vibrations of akasa, the soniferous ether, constitute sound; and it is quite necessary to recognize the distinctive character of this form of motion.
The experiment of the bell in a vacuum goes to prove that the vibrations of atmosphere propagate sound. Any other media, however, such as the earth and the metals, are known to transmit sound in various degrees. There must, therefore, be some one thing in all these media which gives birth to sound -- the vibration that constitutes sound. That something is the Indian akasa.
But akasa is all-pervading, just as the luminiferous ether. Why, then, is not sound transmitted to our ears when a vacuum is produced in the bell-jar? The real fact is that we must make a difference between the vibrations of the elements that constitute sound and light, etc., and the vibrations in the media which transmit these impressions to our senses. It is not the vibrations of the ethers -- the subtle tatvas -- that cause our perceptions, but the ethereal vibrations transferred to different media, which are so many modifications of gross matter -- the sthula Mahabhutas. The luminiferous ether is present just as much in a darkened room as in the space without. The minutest space within the dimensions of the surrounding walls themselves is not void of it. For all this the luminosity of the exterior is not present in the interior. Why? The reason is that our ordinary vision does not see the vibrations of the luminiferous ether. It only sees the vibrations of the media that the ether pervades. The capability of being set into ethereal vibrations varies with different media. In the space without the darkened room the ether brings the atoms of the atmosphere into the necessary state of visual vibration, and one wide expanse of light is presented to our view. The same is the case with every other object that we see. The ether that pervades the object brings the atoms of that object into the necessary state of visual vibration. The strength of the ethereal vibrations that the presence of the sun imparts to the ether pervading our planet is not sufficient to evoke the same state in the dead matter of the darkening walls. The internal ether, divided from the eternal one by this dead mass, is itself cut off from such vibrations. The darkness of the room is thus the consequence, notwithstanding the presence therein of the luminiferous ether. An electric spark in the vacuum of a bell-jar must needs be transmitted to our eyes, because the glass of the jar which stands in contact with the internal luminiferous ether has a good deal of the quality of being put into the state of visual vibration, which from thence is transmitted to the external ether and thence to the eye. The same would never be the case if we were to use a porcelain or an earthen jar. It is this capability of being put into the state of visual vibrations that we call transparency in glass and similar objects.
To return to the soniferous ether (akasa): Every form of gross matter has, to a certain extent, which varies with various forms, what we may call auditory transparency.
Now I have to say something about the nature of the vibrations. Two things must be understood in this connection. In the first place the external form of the vibration is something like the hole of the ear:
It throws matter which is subject to it, into the form of a dotted sheet:
These dots are little points, rising above the common surface so as to produce microscopic pits in the sheet. It is said to move by fits and starts (sankrama), and to move in all directions (sarvatogame). It means to say that the impulse falls back upon itself along the line of its former path, which lies on all sides of the direction of the wave:
It will be understood that these ethers produce in gross media vibrations similar to their own. The form, therefore, into which the auditory vibrations throw the atmospheric air is a true clue to the form of the ethereal vibration. And the vibrations of atmospheric air discovered by Modern Science are similar.
Now we come to the tangiferous ether (vayu). The vibrations of this ether are described as being spherical in form, and the motion is said to be at acute angles to the wave (tiryak). Such is the representation of these vibrations on the plane of the paper:
The remarks about the transmission of sound in the case of akasa apply here too, mutatis mutandis. The gustiferous ether (apas tatva) is said to resemble in shape the half moon. It is, moreover, said to move downward. This direction is opposite to that of the luminiferous ether. This force therefore causes contraction. Here is the representation of the apas vibrations on the plane of paper:
The process of contraction will be considered when I come to the qualities of the tatvas.
The odoriferous ether (prithivi) is said to be quadrangular in shape, thus:
This is said to move in the middle. It neither moves at right angles, nor at acute angles, nor upwards, nor downwards, but it moves along the line of the wave. The line and the quadrangle are in the same plane.
These are the forms, and the modes of motion, of the five ethers.
Of the five sensations of men, each of these gives birth to one, thus:
- Akasa, Sonorifierous ether, Sound;
- Vayu, Tangiferous ether, Touch;
- Taijas, Luminfierous ether, Color;
- Apas, Gustiferous ether, Taste;
- Prithivi, Odoriferous ether, Smell.
In the process of evolution, these co-existing ethers, while retaining their general, relative forms and primary qualities, contract the qualities of the other tatvas. This is known as the process of panchikarana, or division into five.
If we take, as our book does, H, P, R, V and L to be the algebraic symbols for (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5), respectively, after panchikarana the ethers assume the following forms:
One molecule of each ether, consisting of eight atoms, has four of the original principle ethers, and one of the remaining four.
The following table will show the five qualities of each of the tatvas after panchikarana:
|(2)||P||very light||cool||acid||light blue||acid|
It might be remarked here that the subtle tatvas exist now in the universe on four planes. The higher of these planes differ from the lower in having a greater number of vibrations per second. The four planes are:
- Physical (Prana);
- Mental (Manas);
- Psychic (Vijnana);
- Spiritual (Ananda)
I shall discuss, however, some of the secondary qualities of these tatvas.
(1) Space ~ This is a quality of the akasa tatva. It has been asserted that the vibration of this ether is shaped like the hole of the ear, and that in the body thereof are microscopic points (vindus). It follows evidently that the interstices between the points serve to give space to ethereal minima, and offer them room for locomotion (avakasa).
(2) Locomotion ~ This is the quality of the vayu tatva. Vayu is a form of motion itself, for motion in all directions is motion in a circle, large or small. The vayu tatva itself has the form of spherical motion. When to the motion which keeps the form of the different ethers is added to the stereotyped motion of the vayu, locomotion is the result.
(3) Expansion ~ This is the quality of the taijas tatva. This follows evidently from the shape and form of motion which is given to this ethereal vibration. Suppose ABC is a lump of metal:
If we apply fire to it, the luminiferous ether in it is set in motion, and that drives the gross atoms of the lump into similar motion. Suppose (a) is an atom. This being impelled to assume the shape of the taijas, vibration goes towards (a'), and then takes the symmetrical position of (a'). Similarly does every point change its place round the center of the piece of metal. Ultimately the whole piece assumes the shape of A'B'C'. Expansion is thus the result.
(4) Contraction ~ This is the quality of the apas tatva. As has been remarked before, the direction of this ether is the reverse of the agni, and it is therefore easy to understand that contraction is the result of the play of this tatva.
(5) Cohesion ~ This is the quality of the prithivi tatva. It will be seen that this is the reverse of akasa. Akasa gives room for locomotion, while prithivi resists it. This is the natural result of the direction and shape of this vibration. It covers up the spaces of the akasa.
(6) Smoothness ~ This is a quality of the apas tatva. As the atoms of any body in contraction come near each other and assume the semi-lunar shape of the apas, they must easily glide over each other. The very shape secures easy motion for the atoms.
This, I believe, is sufficient to explain the general nature of the tatvas. The different phases of their manifestation on all the planes of life will be taken up in their proper places.
It will be very interesting to trace the development of man and the development of the world according to the theory of the tatvas.
The tatvas, as we have already seen, are the modifications of Swara. Regarding Swara, we find in our book: "In the Swara are the Vedas and the shastras, and in the Swara is music. All the world is in the Swara; Swara is the spirit itself." The proper translation of the word Swara is "the current of the life-wave". It is that wavy motion which is the cause of the evolution of cosmic undifferentiated matter into the differentiated universe, and the involution of this into the primary state of non-differentiation, and so on, in and out, forever and ever. From whence does this motion come? This motion is the spirit itself. The word atma used in the book, itself carries the idea of eternal motion, coming as it does from the root at, eternal motion; and it may be significantly remarked, that the root at is connected with (and in fact is simply another form of) the roots ah, breath, and as, being. All these roots have for their original the sound produced by the breathing of animals. In The Science of Breath the symbol for inspiration is sa, and for expiration ha. It is easy to see how these symbols are connected with the roots as and ah. The current of life-wave spoken of above is technically called Hansachasa, i.e., the motion of ha and sa. The word Hansa, which is taken to mean God, and is made so much of in many Sanskrit works, is only the symbolic representation of the eternal processes of life -- ha and sa.
The primeval current of life-wave is, then, the same which in man assumes the form of inspiratory and expiratory motion of the lungs, and this is the all-pervading source of the evolution and the involution of the universe.
The book goes on: "It is the Swara that has given form to the first accumulations of the divisions of the universe; the Swara causes involution and evolution; the Swara is God Himself, or more properly the great Power (Mahashwara)." The Swara is the manifestation of the impression on matter of that power which in man is known to us as the power that knows itself. It is to be understood that the action of this power never ceases. It is ever at work, and evolution and involution are the very necessity of its unchangeable existence.
The Swara has two different states. The one is known on the physical plane as the sun-breath, the other as the moon-breath. I shall, however, at the present stage of evolution designate them as positive and negative respectively. The period during which this current comes back to the point from whence it started is known as the night of parabrahma. The positive or evolutionary period is known as the day of parabrahma; the negative or involutionary portion is known as the night of parabrahma. These nights and days follow each other without break. The sub-divisions of this period comprehend all the phases of existence, and it is therefore necessary to give her the scale of time according to the Hindu Shastras.
The Divisions of Time ~
I shall begin with a Truti as the least division of time.
26-2/3 truti = 1 nimesha = 8/45 second.
18 nimesha = 1 kashtha = 3-1/5 seconds = 8 vipala.
30 kashtha = 1 kala = 1-3/5 minutes = 4 pala.
30 kala = 1 mahurta = 48 minutes = 2 ghari.
30 mahurta = 1 day and night = 24 hours = 60 ghari.
30 days and nights and odd hours = 1 Pitruja day and night = 1 month and odd hours.
12 months = 1 Daiva day and night = 1 year = 365 days, 15", 30', 31.
365 Daiva days and nights = 1 Daiva year.
4,800 Daiva years = 1 Satya yuga.
3,600 Daiva years = 1 Treta yuga.
2,400 Daiva years = 1 Dwapara yuga.
1,200 Daiva years = 1 Kali yuga.
12,000 Daiva years = 1 Chaturyugi (four yuga).
12,000 Chaturyugi = 1 Daiva yuga.
2,000 Daiva yuga = 1 day and night of Brahma.
365 Brahmic days and nights = 1 year of Brahma.
71 Daiva yuga = 1 Manwantara.
12,000 Brahmic years = 1 Chaturyuga of Brahma, and so one.
200 yuga of Brahma = 1 day and night of parabrahma.
These days and nights follow each other in eternal succession, and hence eternal evolution and involution.
We have thus five sets of days and night: (1) Parabrahma, (2) Brahma, (3) Daiva, (4) Pitrya, (5) Manusha. A sixth is the Manwantara day, and the Manwantara night (pralaya).
The days and nights of parabrahma follow each other without beginning or end. The night (the negative period and the day (the positive period) both merge into the susumna (the conjunctive period) and merge into each other. And so do the other days and nights. The days all through this division are sacred to the positive, the hotter current, and the nights are sacred to the negative, the cooler current. The impressions of names and forms, and the power of producing an impression, lie in the positive phase of existence. Receptivity is given birth to by the negative current.
After being subjected to the negative phase of parabrahma, Prakriti, which follows parabrahma like a shadow, has been saturated with evolutionary receptivity; as the hotter current sets in, changes are imprinted upon it, and it appears in changed forms. The first imprint that the evolutionary positive current leaves upon Prakriti is known as akasa. Then, by and by the remaining ethers come into existence. These modifications of Prakriti are the ethers of the first stage.
Into these five ethers, as now constituting the objective phase, works on the current of the Great Breath. A further development takes place. Different centers come into existence. The akasa throws them into a form that gives room for locomotion. With the beginning of the vayu tatva these elementary ethers are thrown into the form of spheres. This was the beginning of formation, or what may also be called solidification.
These spheres are our Brahmandas. In them the ethers assume a secondary development. The so-called division into five takes place. In this Brahmic sphere in which the new ethers have good room for locomotion, the taijas tatva now comes into play, and then the apas tatva. Every tatwic quality is generated into, and preserved in, these spheres by these currents. In process of time we have a center and an atmosphere. This sphere is the self-conscious universe.
In this sphere, according to the same process, a third ethereal state comes into existence. In the cooler atmosphere removed from the center another class of centers comes into existence. These divide the Brahmic state of matter into two different states. After this comes into existence another state of matter whose centers bear the names of devas or suns.
We have thus four states of subtle matter in the universe:
(1) Prana, life matter, with the sun for center; (2) Manas, mental matter, with the manu for center; (3) Vijnana, psychic matter, with Brahma for center; (4) Ananda, spiritual matter, with parabrahma as the infinite substratum.
Every higher state is positive with regard to the lower one, and every lower on is given birth to by a combination of the positive and negative phase of the higher.
(1) Prana has to do with three sets of days and nights in the above division of time: (a) Our ordinary days and nights; (b) The bright and dark half of the month which are called the pitrya day and night; (c) The northern and southern halves of the years, the day and night of the devas.
These three nights acting upon earth-matter impart to it the receptivity of the cool, negative shady phase of life-matter. These nights imprint themselves on the respective days coming in after it. The earth herself thus becomes a living being, having a north pole, in which a central force draws the needle towards itself, and a south pole in which is centered a for which is, so to speak, the shade of the north polar center. It has also always a solar force centered in the eastern half, and the lunar -- the shade of the former -- centered in the western half.
These centers come, in fact, into existence even before the earth is manifested on the gross plane. So too do the centers of other planets come into existence. As the sun presents himself to the manu there come into existence two states of matter in which the sun lives and moves -- the positive and the negative. As the solar prana, after having been for some time subjected to the negative shady state, is subjected in its revolutionary course to the source of its positive phase, manu, the figure of manu is imprinted upon it. This manu is, in fact, the universal mind, and all the planets with their inhabitants are the phases of his existence. Of this, however, more heareafter. At present we see that earth-life or Terrestrial Prana has four centers of force.
When it has been cooled by the negative current, the positive phase imprints itself upon it, and earth-life in various forms comes into existence. The essays on prana will explain this more clearly.
(2) Manas: this has to do with manu. The suns revolve round these centers with the whole of their atmospheres of prana. This system gives birth to the lokas or spheres of life, of which the planets are one class.
These lokas have been enumerated by Vyasa in his commentary on the Yogasutra (III. Pada, 26th Sutra). The aphorism runs thus:
"By meditation upon the sun is obtained a knowledge of the physical creation."
On this, the revered commentator says: "There are seven lokas (spheres of existence)."
(1) The Bhurloka: this extends to the Meru; (2) Antareikshaloka: this extends from the surface of the Meru to the Dhru, the pole-star, and contains the planets, the nakstatras, and the stars; (3) Beyond that is the swarloka: this is fivefold and sacred to Mahendra; (4) Maharloka: This is sacred to the Prajapati; (5) Janaloka; (6) Tapas loka, and; (7) Satya loka. These three (5, 6, and 7) are sacred to Brahma.
It is not my purpose to try at present to explain the meaning of these lokas. It is sufficient for my present purpose to say that the planets, the stars, the lunar mansions are all impressions of manu, just as the organisms of the earth are the impressions of the sun. The solar prana is prepared for this impression during the manwantara night.
Similarly, Vijnana has to do with the nights and days of Brahma, and Ananda with those of Parabrahma.
It will thus be seen that the whole process of creation, on whatever plane of life, is performed most naturally by the five tatvas in their double modifications, the positive and negative. There is nothing in the universe that the Universal Tatwic Law of Breath does not comprehend.
After this brief exposition of the theory of tatwic evolution comes a series of Essays, taking up all the subtle states of matter one by one, and describing more in detail the working of the tatwic law in those planes, and also the manifestations of these planes of life in humanity.
The akasa is the most important of all the tatvas. It must, as a matter of course, precede and follow every change of state on every plane of life. Without this there can be no manifestation or cessation of forms. It is out of akasa that every form comes, and it is in akasa that every form lives. The akasa is full of forms in their potential state. It intervenes between every two of the five tatvas, and between every two of the five principles.
The evolution of the tatvas is always part of the evolution of a certain definite form. Thus the manifestation of the primary tatvas is with the definite aim of giving what we may call a body, a Prakritic form to the Iswara. In the bosom of the Infinite Parabrahma, there are hidden unnumerable such centers. One center takes under its influence a certain portion of the Infinite, and there we find first of all coming into existence the akasa tatva. The extent of this akasa limits the extent of the Universe, and out of it the Iswara is to come. With this end comes out of this akasa the Vayu tatva. This pervades the whole Universe and has a certain center that serves to keep the whole expanse together, and separate as one whole, from other universes (Brahmandas).
It has been mentioned, and further on will be more clearly explained, that every tatva has a positive and a negative phase. It is also evident on the analogy of the sun that places more distant from the center are always negative to those which are nearer. We might say that they are cooler than these, as it will be seen later on the heat is not peculiar to the sun only, but that all the higher centers have a greater amount of heat than even the sun itself.
Well then, in this Brahmic sphere of Vayu, except for some space near the parabrahmic akasa, every atom of the vayu is reacted upon by an opposite force. The more distant and therefore the cooler one reacts upon the nearer and therefore the hotter. The equal and opposite vibrations of the same force cancel each other, and both together pass into the akasic state. Thus, while some of this space remains filled up by the Brahmic Vayu on account of the constant outflow of this tatva from the parabrahmic akasa, the remainder is rapidly turned into akasa. This akasa is the mother of the Brahmic agni tatva. The agni tatva working similarly gives birth through another akasa to the apas, and this similarly to the prithivi. This Brahmic prithivi thus contains the qualities of all the preceding tatvas besides a fifth one of its own.
The first stage of the Universe, the ocean of psychic matter has now come into existence in its entirety. This matter is, of course, very, very fine, and there is absolutely no grossness in it as compared with the matter of the fifth plane. In this ocean shines the intelligence of Iswara, and this ocean, with everything that might be manifest in it, is the self-conscious universe.
In this psychic ocean, as before, the more distant atoms are negative to the nearer ones. Hence, except a certain space which remains filled with the psychic prithivi on account of the constant supply of this element from above, the rest begins to change into an akasa. This second akasa is full of what are called Manus in their potential state. The Manus are so many groups of certain mental forms, the ideals of the various genera and species of life to appear further on. We have to do with one of these.
Impelled by the evolutionary current of the Great Breath, manu comes out of this akasa, in the same way as Brahma did out of the parabrahmic akasa. First and uppermost in the mental sphere is the Vayu, and then in regular order the taijas, the apas, and the prithivi. This mental matter follows the same laws, and similarly begins to pass into the third akasic state, which is full of innumerable suns. They come out in the same way, and begin to work on a similar plan, which will be better understood here than higher up.
Everybody can test here for himself that the more distant portions of the solar system are cooler than the nearer ones. Every little atom of Prana is comparatively cooler than the adjacent one towards the sun from itself. Hence equal and opposite vibrations cancel each other. Leaving, therefore, a certain space near the sun as always filled up with the tatvas of Prana, which are there being constantly supplied from the sun, the rest of the Prana passes into the akasic state.
It might be noted down here that the whole of this Prana is made up of innumerable little points. In the future I shall speak of these points of as trutis, and might say here that it is these trutis that appear on the terrestrial plane as atoms (anu or paramanu). They might be spoken of as solar atoms. These solar atoms are of various classes according to the prevalence of one or more of the constituent tatvas.
Every point of Prana is a perfect picture of the whole ocean. Every other point is represented in every point. Every atom has, therefore, for its constituents, all the four tatvas, in varying proportions according to its position in respect of others. The different classes of these solar atoms appear on the terrestrial plane as the various elements of chemistry.
The spectrum of every terrestrial element reveals the color or colors of the prevalent tatva or tatvas of a solar atom of that substance. The greater the heat to which any substance is subjected the nearer does the element approaches its solar state. Heat destroys for the time being the terrestrial coatings of the solar atoms.
The spectrum of sodium thus shows the presence of the yellow prithivi, that of lithium, the red agni and the yellow prithivi, that of cesium, the red agni, the green admixture, the yellow prithivi, and the blue vayu. Rubidium shows red, orange, yellow, green and blue, i.e., the agni, prithivi and agni, prithivi, vayu and prithivi, and vayu. These classes of solar atoms that make up all put altogether, the wide expanse of the solar prana, pass into the akasic state. While the sun keeps up a constant supply of these atoms, those that are passing into the akasic state pass on the other side into the planetary vayu. Certain measured portions of the solar akasa naturally separate themselves from others, according to the differing creation that is to appear in those portions. These portions of akasa are called lokas. The earth itself is a loka called the Bhurloka. I shall take up the earth for further illustration of the law.
That portion of the solar akasa that is the immediate mother of the Earth, first gives birth to the terrestrial Vayu. Every element is now in the state of the Vayu tatva, which may now be called gaseous. The Vayu tatva is spherical in shape, and thus the gaseous planet bears similar outlines. The center of this gaseous sphere keeps together round itself the whole expanse of gas. As soon as this gaseous sphere comes into existence, it is subjected to the following influences among others:
(1) The superposed influence of the solar heat; (2) The internal influence of the more distant atoms on the nearer ones and vice versa.
The first influence has a double effect upon the gaseous sphere. It imparts more heat to the nearer hemisphere than to the more distant one. The superficial air of the nearer hemisphere having contracted a certain amount of solar energy, rises towards the sun. Cooler air from below takes its place. But where does the superficial air go? It cannot pass beyond the limit of the terrestrial sphere, which is surrounded by the solar akasa through which comes a supply from the solar Prana. It therefore begins to move in a circle, and thus a rotary motion is established in the sphere. This is the origin of the earth's rotation upon its axis.
Again, as a certain amount of the solar energy is imparted to the gaseous terrestrial sphere, the impulse of the upward motion reaches the center itself. Therefore that center itself, and along with it the whole sphere, moves towards the sun. It cannot, however, go on in this direction, for a nearer approach would destroy that balance of forces that gives the earth its peculiarities. A loka that is nearer to the sun than our planet cannot have the same conditions of life. Hence, while the sun draws the earth towards itself, those laws of life that have given it a constitution, on which ages must roll on, keep it in the sphere they have assigned to it. Two forces thus come into existence. Drawn by one the earth would go towards the sun; checked by the other it must remain where it is. These are the centrifugal and the centripetal forces, and their action results in giving the earth its annual revolution.
Secondly, the internal action of the gaseous atoms upon each other ends in the change of the whole gaseous sphere, except the upper portion, into the akasic state. This akasic state gives birth to the igneous (pertaining to the agni tatva) state of terrestrial matter. This changes similarly into the apas, and this again into the prithivi.
The same process obtains in the changes of matter with which we are now familiar. An example will better illustrate the whole law.
Take ice. This is solid, or what the Science of Breath would call in the state of prithivi. One quality of the prithivi tatva, the reader will remember, is cohesive resistance. Let us apply heat to this ice. As this heat passes into the ice, it is indicated by the thermometer. When the temperature rises to 78 degrees, the ice changes its state. But the thermometer no longer indicates the same amount of heat. 78 degrees of heat have become latent.
Let us now apply 536 degrees of heat to a pound of boiling water. As is generally known, this great quantity of heat becomes latent while the water passes into the gaseous state.
Now let us follow the reverse process. To gaseous water let us apply a certain amount of cold. When this cold becomes sufficient entirely to counteract the heat that keeps it in the gaseous state, the vapor passes into the akasa state, and from thence into the taijas state. It is not necessary that the whole of the vapor should at once pass into the next state. The change is gradual. As the cold is gradually passing into the vapor, the taijas modification is gradually appearing out of, and through the intervention of akasa, into which it had passed during latency. This is being indicated on the thermometer. When the whole has passed into the igneous state, and the thermometer has indicated 536 degrees, the second akasa comes into existence. Out of this second akasa comes the liquid state at the same temperature, the whole heat having again passed into the akasa state, and therefore no longer indicated by the thermometer.
When cold is applied to this liquid, heat again begins to come out, and when it reaches 78 degrees, this heat having come out of and through the akasa, into which it had passed, the whole liquid had passed into the igneous state. Here it again begins to pass into the akasa state. The thermometer begins to fall down, and out of this akasa begins to come the prithivi state of water --- ice.
Thus we see that the heat which is given out by the influence of cold passes into the akasa state, which becomes the substratum of a higher phase, and the heat which is absorbed passes into another akasa state, which becomes the substratum of a lower phase.
It is in this way that the terrestrial gaseous sphere changes into its present state. The experiment described above points out many important truths about the relation of these tatvas to each other.
First of all it explains that very important assertion of the Science of Breath which says that every succeeding tatwic state has the qualities of all the foregoing tatwic states. Thus we see that as the gaseous state of water is being acted upon by cold, the latent heat of steam is being cancelled and passing into the akasa state. This cannot but be the case, since equal and opposite vibrations of the same force always cancel each other, and the result is the akasa. Out of this comes the taijas state of matter. This is that state in which the latent heat of steam becomes patent. It will be observed that this state has no permanence. The taijas form of water, as indeed any other substance, cannot exist for any length of time, because the major part of terrestrial matter is in the lower and therefore more negative states of apas and prithivi, and whenever for any cause any substance passes into the taijas state, the surrounding objects begin at once to react upon it with such force as at once to force it into the next akasa state. Those things that now live in the normal state of the apas or the prithivi find it quite against the laws of their existence to remain, except under external influence, in the taijas (igneous) state. Thus an atom of gaseous water before passing into the liquid state has already remained in the three states, the akasa, the gaseous, and the taijas. It must, therefore, have all the qualities of the three tatvas, and so it no doubt has. Cohesive resistance is only wanted, and that is the quality of the prithivi tatva.
Now when this atom of liquid water passes into the icy state, what do we see? All the states that have preceded must again show themselves. Cold will cancel the latent heat of the liquid state, and the akasa state will come out. Out of this akasa state is sure to come the gaseous state. This gaseous (Vayava) state is evidenced by the gyrations and other motions that are set up in the body of the liquid by the mere application of the cold. The motion, however, is not of very long duration, and as they are ceasing (passing into the akasa state) the taijas state is coming out. This too, however, is not of long duration, and as this is passing into the akasa state, the ice is coming into existence.
It will be easy to see that all four states of terrestrial matter exist in our sphere. The gaseous (Vayava) is there in what we call the atmosphere; the igneous (taijas) is the normal temperature of earth life; the liquid (apas) is the ocean; the solid (prithivi) is the terra firma. None of these states, however, exists quite isolated from the other. Each is constantly invading the domain of the other, and thus it is difficult to find any portion of space filled up only with matter in one state. The two adjacent tatvas are found intermixed with each other to a greater degree than those that are removed from each other by an intermediate state. Thus prithivi will be found mixed up to a greater extent with water than with agni and vayu, apas with agni than with vayu, and vayu with agni more than with any other. It would thus appear from the above, according to the science of tatvas, that the flame and other luminous bodies on earth are not in the terrestrial taijas (igneous) state. They are in or near the solar state of matter.
The Centers of Prana; The Nadis; The Tatwic Centers of Life; The Ordinary Change of Breath
Prana, as already expressed, is that state of Tatwic matter which surrounds the sun, and in which moves the earth and other planets. It is the state next higher than matter in the terrestrial state. The terrestrial sphere is separated from the solar Prana by an akasa. Thisakasa is the immediate mother of the terrestrial vayu whose native color is blue. It is on this account that the sky looks blue.
Although at this point in the heavens, the Prana changes into akasa, which gives birth to the terrestrial Vayu, the rays of the sun that fall on the sphere from without are not stopped in their inward journey. They are refracted, but move onwards into the terrestrial sphere all the same. Through these rays the ocean of Prana, which surrounds our sphere, exerts upon it an organizing influence.
The terrestrial Prana -- the earth-life that appears in the shape of all the living organisms of our planet -- is, as a whole, nothing more than a modification of the solar Prana.
As the earth moves round her own axis and round the sun, twofold centers are developed in the terrestrial Prana. During the diurnal rotation every place, as it is subjected to the direct influence of the sun, sends forth the positive life-current from the East to the West. During the night the same place sends forth the negative current.
In the annual course the positive current travels from the North to the South during the six months of summer -- the day of the devas -- and the negative during the remaining six months -- the night of the devas.
The North and East are thus sacred to the positive current; the opposite quarters to the negative current. The sun is the lord of the positive current, the moon of the negative, because the negative solar prana comes during the night to the earth from the moon.
The terrestrial prana is thus an ethereal being with double centers of work. The first is the northern, the second the southern. The two halves of these centers are the eastern and western centers. During the six months of summer the current of life runs from the North to the South, and during the months of winter the negative current goes the other way.
With every month, with every day, with every nimesha this current completes a minor course, and while this current continues in this course the diurnal rotation gives it an eastern or western direction. The northern current runs during the day of man from East to West, and during the night from West to East. The directions of the other current are respectively opposite to the above. So practically there are only two directions -- the eastern and western. The difference of the northern and southern currents is not practically felt in terrestrial life. These two currents produce in the terrestrial prana two distinguishable modifications of the composing ethers. The rays of either of these ethereal modifications proceeding from their different centers run into each other -- the one giving life, strength, form and other qualities to the other. Along the rays emerging from the northern center, run the currents of positive prana; along those emerging from the southern, the currents of negative prana. The eastern and western channels of these currents are respectively called Pingala and Ida, two of the celebrated nadis of the Tantrists. It will be better to discuss the other bearings of Prana, when we have localized it in the human body.
The influence of this terrestrial Prana develops two centers of work in the gross matter that is to form a human body. Part of the matter gathers round the northern, and part round the southern center. The northern center develops into the brain; the southern into the heart. The general shape of the terrestrial Prana is something like an ellipse. In this the northern focus is in the brain; the southern in the heart. The column along which the positive matter gathers runs between these foci.
The line in the middle is the place where the eastern and western -- right and left -- divisions of the column join. The column is the medulla oblongata the central line is also susumna, the right and left divisions the Pingala and Ida. The rays of Prana that diverge either way from these nadis are only their ramifications, and constitute together with them the nervous system.
The negative Prana gathers round the southern center. This, too, takes a form similar to the former. The right and left divisions of this column are the right and left divisions of the heart.
Each division has two principal ramifications, and each ramification again ramifies into others. The two openings either way are one a vein, and one an artery, the four opening into four chambers -- the four petals of the lotus of the heart. The right part of the heart again, with all its ramifications, is called Pingala, the left Ida, and the middle part susumna.
There is reason to think, however, that the heart only is spoken of as the lotus, while the three foregoing names are set apart for the nervous system. The current of Prana works forward and backward, in and out. The cause of this lies in the momentary of the being of Prana. As the year advances, every moment a change of state takes place in the terrestrial prana, on account of the varying strengths of the solar and lunar currents. Thus, every moment is, strictly speaking, a new being of Prana. As Buddha says, all life is momentary. The Moment that is the first to throw into matter the germ that will develop the two centers is the first cause of organized life. If the succeeding Moments are friendly in their tatwic effect to the first cause, the organism gains strength and develops; if not, the impulse is rendered fruitless. The general effect of these succeeding moments keeps up general life; but the impulse of any one moment tends to pass off as the others come in. A system of forward and backward motion is thus established. One Moment of Prana proceeding from the center of work goes to the farthest ends of the gross vessels -- nerves and blood vessels -- of the organism. The succeeding moment gives it, however, the backwards impulse. A few moments are taken in the completion of the forward impulse, and the determination of the backward one. This period differs in different organisms. As the Prana runs forward, the lungs inspire; as it recedes, the process of expiration sets in.
The Prana moves in the Pingala when it moves from the northern center towards the east, and from the southern towards the west; it moves in Ida when it moves from the northern center towards the west, and from the southern center towards the east. This means that in the former case the Prana moves from the brain, towards the right, through the heart, to the left and back to the brain; and from the heart to the left through the brain to the right back to the heart. In the latter the case is the reverse. To use other terms, in the former case the Prana moves from the nervous system to the right through the system of blood vessels to the left, and back again to the nervous system; or, from the system of blood vessels to the left through the nervous system to the right, and back again to the system of blood vessels. These two currents coincide. In the latter the case is the reverse. The left part of the body containing the nerves and the blood vessels may be called Ida, the right the Pingala. The right and left bronchi form as well the part respectively of Pingala and Ida, as any other parts of the right and left divisions of the body. But what is susumna? One of the names of susumna is sandhi, the place where the two -- Ida and Pingala -- join. It is really that place from which the Prana may move either way -- right or left -- or, under certain circumstances, both ways. It is that place which the Prana must pass when it changes from the right to the left, and from the left to the right. It is therefore booth the spinal canal and the cardiac canal. The spinal canal extends from the Brahmarandhra, the northern center of Prana through the whole vertebral column (Brahmadanda). The cardiac canal extends from the southern center midway between the two lobes of the heart. As the Prana moves from the spinal canal towards the right hand to the heart, the right lung works; the breath comes in and out of the right nostril. When it reaches the southern canal, you cannot feel the breath out of either nostril. As, however, it goes out of the cardiac canal to the left, the breath begins to come out of the left nostril, and flows through that until the Prana again reaches the spinal canal. There, again, you cease to feel the breath out of either nostril. The effect of these two positions of Prana is identical upon the flow of breath, and, therefore, I think that both the northern and southern canals are designated by susumna. If we may speak in this way, let us imagine that a plane passes midway between the spinal and cardiac canals. This plane will pass through the hollow of the susumna. But let it be understood that there is no such plane in reality. It will perhaps be more correct to say that as the rays of the positive Ida and Pingala spread either way as nerves, and those of the negative as blood-vessels, the rays of susumna spread all over the body midway between the nerves and blood vessels, the positive and negative nadis. The following is the description of susumna in the Science of Breath:
"When the breath goes in and out, one moment by the left and the other by the right nostril, that too is susumna. When Prana is in that nadi the fires of death burn; this is called vishuva. When it moves one moment in the right, and the other in the left, let it be called the Unequal State (vishamabhava); when it moves thorough both at once, the wise have called it vishuva"
"[It is susumna] at the time of the passing of the Prana from the Ida into the Pingala, or vice versa; and also of the change of one tatva into another."
Then the susumna has two other functions. It is called vedo-veda in one of its manifestations, and sandhyasandhi in the other. As, however, the right and left directions of the cardiac Prana coincide with the left and right of the spinal current, there are some writers who dispense with the double susumna. According to them, the spinal canal alone is the susumna. The Uttaragita and Latachakra nirupana are works in this class. This method of explanation takes away a good deal of difficulty. The highest recommendation of this view is its comparative simplicity. The right side current from the heart, and the left side current from the spine may both be reckoned without difficulty as the left side spinal currents, and so may the remaining two currents be reckoned as the right side spinal currents.
One more consideration is in favor of this view. The nervous system represents the sun, the system of blood vessels the moon. Hence the real force of life dwells in the nerves. The positive and negative -- the solar and lunar -- phases of life matter are only different phases of Prana, the solar matter. The more distant and therefore the cooler matter is negative to the nearer, and therefore, the hotter. It is solar life that manifests itself in the various phases of the moon. To pass out of technicalities, it is nervous force that manifests itself in various forms, in the system of blood vessels. The blood vessels are only the receptacles of nervous force. Hence, in the nervous system, the real life of the gross body is the true Ida, Pingala and susumna. These are, in such a case, the spinal column, and the right and left sympathetics, with all their ramifications throughout the body.
The development of the two centers is thus the first stage in the development of the fetus. The matter that gathers up under the influence of the northern center is the spinal column; the matter that gathers up round the southern center is the heart. The diurnal rotation divides these columns or canals into the right and left divisions. Then the correlative influence of these two centers upon each other develops an upper and lower division in each of these centers. This happens somewhat in the same way, and on the same principle, as a Leyden jar is charged with positive electricity by a negative rod. Each of these centers is thus divided into four parts:
- The right side positive
- the left side positive
- the right side negative
- the left side negative.
In the heart these four divisions are called the right and left auricles and ventricles. The Tantras style these four divisions the four petals of the cardiac lotus, and indicate them by various letters. The positive petals of the heart form the center from which proceed the positive blood vessels, the arteries; the negative petals are the starting points of the negative blood vessels, the veins. This negative prana is pregnant with ten forces:
These ten forces are called vayu. The word vayu is derived from the root va, to move, and means nothing more than a motive power. The Tantrists do not mean to give it the idea of a gas. Henceforth I shall speak of the vayu as the forces or motive powers of prana. These ten manifestations of Prana are reduced by some writers to the first five alone, holding that the remaining ones are only modifications of the former, which are the all-important of the functions of prana. This, however, is only a question of division. From the left side positive petal the prana gathers up into a nadi that ramifies within the chest into the lungs, and again gathers up into a nadi that opens into the right side negative petal. This entire course forms something like a circle (chakra). This nadi is called in modern science the pulmonary artery and vein. Two lungs come into existence by the alternate workings of the positive and negative prana of the eastern and western powers.
Similarly, from the right side positive petal branch several nadi that go both upwards and downwards in two directions, the former under the influence of the northern, the latter under the influence of the southern powers. Both these nadi open after a circular march throughout the upper and lower portions of the body into the left side negative petal.
Between the left side positive and the right side negative petal is one chakra (disk). This chakra comprises the pulmonary artery, the lungs, and the pulmonary vein. The chest gives room to this chakra, which is positive with respect to the lower portions of the body, in which run the ramifications of the lower chakra, which latter joins the right side positive and the left side negative petals.
In the above chakra (in the cavity of the chest) is the seat of prana, the first and most important of the ten manifestations. Inspiration and expiration being a true index of the changes of prana, the pulmonary manifestations thereof have the same name. With the changes of prana we have a corresponding change in the other functions of life. The lower negative chakra contains the principal seats of some of the other manifestations of life. This apana is located in the long intestine, samana in the navel, and so on.
Also, udana is located in the throat; vyana all over the body. Udana causes belching; kurma in the eyes causes them to shut and open; krikila in the stomach causes hunger. In short, proceeding from the four petals of the heart we have an entire network of these blood vessels. There are two sets of these blood vessels side by side in every part of the body, connected by innumerable little channels, the capillaries.
We read in the Prasnopnisat:
"From the heart [ramify the] nadi. Of these there are 101 principal ones (Pradhana nadi). Each of these branches into 100. Each of these again into 72,000."
Thus, there are 10,100 branch nadi, and 727,200,000 still smaller ones, or what are called twig-nadi. The terminology is imitated from a tree. There is the root in the heart. From these proceed various stems. These ramify into branches, and these again into twig vessels; all these nadi put together are 727,210,201.
Now, of these the one is the susumna; the rest are divided half and half over the two halves of the body. So we read in the Kathopnishat, 6th valli, 16th mantra:
"A hundred and one nadi are connected with the heart. Of these one passes out into the head. Going out by that one becomes immortal. The others become the cause in sending the life principle out of various other states."
This one that goes to the head, remarks the commentator, is the susumna. The susumna then is that nadi whose nervous substratum or reservoir of force is the spine. Of the remaining principal nadis, the Ida is the reservoir of the life force that works in the left part of the body, having 50 principal nadi. So also has the right part of the body 50 principal nadi. These go on dividing as above. The nadi of the third degree become so minute as to be visible only by a microscope. The ramifications of the susumna all over the body serve during life to carry the prana from the positive to the negative portions of the body, and vice versa. In case of blood these are the modern capillaries.
The Vedantins, of course, take the heart to be the starting point of this ramification. The Yogis, however, proceed from the navel. Thus in The Science of Breath we read:
"From the root in the navel proceed 72,000 nadi spreading all over the body. There sleeps the goddess Kundalini like a serpent. From this center (the navel) ten nadi go upwards, ten downwards, and two and two crookedly."
The number 72,000 is the result of their own peculiar reckoning. It matters little which division we adopt if we understand the truth of the case.
Along these nadi run the various forces that form and keep up the physiological man. These channels gather up into various parts of the body as centers of the various manifestations of prana. It is like water falling from a hill, gathering into various lakes, each lake letting out several streams. These centers are:
- Hand power centers
- Foot power centers
- Speech power centers
- Excretive power centers
- Generative power centers
- Digestive and absorbing power centers
- Breathing power centers
- The five sense power centers.
Those nadi that proceed to the outlets of the body perform the most important functions of the body, and they are hence said to be the ten principal ones in the whole system. These are:
- Ghandari goes to the left eye;
- Hastijihiva goes to the right eye;
- Pasta goes to the right ear;
- Yashawani goes to the left ear;
- Alamhusha, or alammukha (as it is variously spelled in one ms.) goes to the mouth. This evidently is the alimentary canal;
- Kuhu goes to the generative organs;
- Shankini goes to the excretive organs;
- Ida is the nadi that leads to the left nostril;
- Pingala is the one that leads to the right nostril. It appears that these names are given to these local nadi for the same reason that the pulmonary manifestation of prana is known by the same name;
- Susumna has already been explained in its various phases and manifestations.
There are two more outlets of the body that receive their natural development in the female: the breasts. It is quite possible that the nadi Danini, of which no specific mention has been made, might go to one of these. Whatever it may be, the principle of the division and classification is clear, and this is something actually gained.
Centers of moral and intellectual powers also exist in the system. Thus we read in the Vishramopnishat (The following figure will serve to illustrate the translation):
- While the mind rests in the eastern portion (or petal), which is white in color, then it is inclined towards patience, generosity, and reverence.
- While the mind rests in the southeastern portion, which is red in color, then it is inclined towards sleep, torpor and evil inclination.
- While the mind rests in the southern portion, which is black in color, then it is inclined towards anger, melancholy, and bad tendencies.
- While the mind rests in the southwestern portion, which is blue in color, then it is inclined towards jealousy and cunning.
- While the mind rests in the western portion, which is brown in color, then it is inclined towards smiles, amorousness, and jocoseness.
- While the mind rests in the northwestern portion, which is indigo in color, then it is inclined towards anxiety, restless dissatisfaction, and apathy.
- While the mind rests in the northern portion, which is yellow in color, then it is inclined towards love and enjoyment and adornment.
- While the mind rests in the northeastern portion, which is white in color, then it is inclined towards pity, forgiveness, reflection, and religion.
- While the mind rests in the sandhi (conjunctions) of these portions, then disease and confusion in body and home, and the mind inclines towards the three humors.
- While the mind rests in the middle portion, which is violet in color, then Consciousness goes beyond the qualities [three qualities of Maya] and it inclines toward Intelligence."
When any of these centers is in action the mind is conscious of the same sort of feelings, and inclines towards them. Mesmeric passes serve only to excite these centers.
These centers are located in the head as well as in the chest, and also in the abdominal region and the loins, etc.
It is these centers, together with the heart itself, that bear the name of padma or kamala (lotus). Some of these are large, some small, some very small. A tantric lotus is the type of a vegetable organism, a root with various branches. These centers are the reservoirs of various powers, and hence the roots of the padma; the nadi ramifying these centers are their various branches.
The nervous plexus of the modern anatomists coincide with these centers. From what has been said above it will appear that the centers are constituted by blood vessels. But the only difference between the nerves and the blood vessels is the difference between the vehicles of the positive and negative prana. The nerves are the positive, and the blood vessels are the negative system of the body. Wherever there are nerves there are corresponding blood vessels. Both of them are indiscriminately called nadi. One set has for its center the lotus of the heart, the other the thousand-petalled lotus of the brain. The system of blood vessels is an exact picture of the nervous system; it is, in fact, only its shadow. Like the heart, the brain has its upper and lower divisions -- the cerebrum and the cerebellum -- and its right and left divisions as well. The nerves going to very part of the body and coming back from thence together with those going to the upper and lower portions correspond to the four petals of the heart. This system, too, has as many centers of energy as the former. Both these centers coincide in position. They are, in fact, the same: the nervous plexuses and ganglia of modern anatomy. Thus, in my opinion, the tantric padma are not only the centers of nervous power -- the positive northern prana -- but necessarily of the negative prana as well.
The translation of the Science of Breath that is now presented to the reader has two sections enumerating the various actions that are to be done during the flow of the positive and negative breath. They show nothing more than what can in some cases be very easily verified, that certain actions are better done by positive energy, and others by negative energy. The taking in of chemicals and their changes are actions, as well as any others. Some of the chemicals are better assimilated by the negative for example, milk and other fatty substances), others by the positive Prana (other food, that which is digested in the stomach). Some of our sensations produce more lasting effects upon the negative, others upon the positive prana.
Prana has now arranged the gross matter in the womb into the nervous and blood vessel systems. The Prana, as has been seen, is made of the five tatva, and the nadi serve only as lines for tatwic currents to run on. The centers of power noticed above are centers of tatwic power. The tatwic centers in the right part of the body are solar, and those in the left are lunar. Both these solar and lunar centers are of five descriptions. Their kind is determined by what are called the nervous ganglia. The semi-lunar ganglia are the reservoirs of the apas tatva. Similarly, we have the reservoirs of the other forces. From these central reservoirs the tatwic currents run over the same lines, and do the various actions allotted to them in physiological anatomy.
Everything in the human body that has more less of the cohesive resistance is made up of the prithivi tatva. But in this the various tatvas work imprinting differing qualities upon the various parts of the body.
The vayu tatva, among others, performs the functions of giving birth to, and nourishing the skin; the positive gives us the positive, and the negative the negative skin. Each of these has five layers:
(1) Pure vayu, (2) Vayu-agni, (3) Vayu-prithivi, (4) Vayu-apas, (5) Vayu-akasa. These five classes of cells have the following figures:
(1) Pure Vayu ~ This is the complete sphere of the Vayu:
(2) Vayu-Agni ~ The triangle is superposed over the sphere, and the cells have something like the following shape:
(3) Vayu-Prithivi ~ This is the result of the superposition of the quadrangular Prithivi over the spherical Vayu:
(4) Vayu-Apas ~ Something like an ellipse, the semi-moon superposed over the sphere:
(5) Vayu-Akasa ~ The sphere flattened by the superposition of the circle and dotted:
A microscopic examination of the skin will show that the cells of the skin have this appearance.
Similarly, bone, muscle and fat are given birth to by the prithivi, the agni, and the apas. Akasa appears in various positions. Wherever there is any room for any substance, there is akasa. The blood is a mixture of nutritive substances kept in the fluidic state by the apas tatva of Prana.
It is thus seen that while Terrestrial Prana is an exact manifestation of the Solar Prana, the human manifestation is an exact manifestation of either. The microcosm is an exact picture of the macrocosm. The four petals of the lotus of the heart branch really into twelve nadi (K, Kh, g, gn, n, K', Kh', j, jh, n, t, the). Similarly the brain has twelve pairs of nerves. These are the twelve signs of the Zodiac, both in their positive and negative phases. In every sign the sun rises 31 times. Therefore we have 31 pairs of nerves. Instead of pairs, we speak in the language of the Tantras of a chakra (disk or circle). Wherever these 31 chakra connect with the 12 pairs (chakras) of nerves in the brain, pass throughout the body, we have running side by side the blood vessels proceeding from the 12 nadis of the heart. The only difference between the spinal and cardiac chakras is that the former lie crosswise, while the latter lie lengthwise in the body. The sympathetic chords consist of lines of tatwic centers: the padma or kamal. These centers lie on all the 31 chakra noticed above. Thus from the two centers of work, the brain and the heart, the signs of the Zodiac in their positive and negative aspects -- a system of nadi branch off. The nadi from either center run into one another so much that one set is found always side by side with the other. The 31 chakra are various tatwic centers; one set is positive, and the other is negative. The former owe allegiance to the brain, with which they are connected by the sympathetic chords; the latter owe allegiance to the heart, with which they have various connections. This double system is called Pingala on the right side, and Ida on the left. The ganglia of the apas centers are semi-lunar, those of the taijas, the vayu, the prithivi, and the akasa respectively triangular, spherical, quadrangular, and circular. Those of the composite tatva have composite figures. Each tatwic center has ganglia of all the tatva surrounding it.
Prana moves in this system of nadi. As the sun passes into the sign of Aries in the Macrocosm, the Prana passes into the corresponding nadi (nerves) of the brain. From thence it descends every day towards the spine. With the rise of the sun it descends into the first spinal chakra towards the right. It thus passes into the Pingala. It moves along the nerves of the right side, at the same time passing little by little into the blood vessels. Up to noon of every day the strength of this Prana is greater in the nervous chakra than in the venous. At noon they become of equal strength. In the evening (with sunset), the Prana with its entire strength has passed into the blood vessels. From thence it gathers up into the heart, the negative southern center. Then it spreads into the left side blood vessels, gradually passing into the nerves. At midnight the strength is equalized; in the morning (pratasandhia) the prana is just in the spine; from thence it begins to travel along the second chakra. This is the course of the solar current of prana. The moon gives birth to other minor currents. The moon moves 12 odd times more than the sun. Therefore, while the sun passes over one chakra (i.e., during 60 ghari -- day and night), the moon passes over 12 odd chakra. Therefore we have 12 odd changes of prana during 24 hours. Suppose the moon too begins in Aries; she begins like the sun in the first chakra, and takes 58 min. 4 sec. in reaching the spine to the heart, and as many minutes from the heart back to the spine.
Both these prana move in their respective course along the tatwic centers. Either of them is present at any one time all over the same class of tatwic centers, in any one part of the body. It manifests itself first in the vayu centers, then in the taijas, thirdly in the prithivi, and fourthly in the apas centers. Akasa comes after each, and immediately precedes the susumna. As the lunar current passes from the spine towards the right, the breath comes out of the right nostril, and as long as the current of Prana remains in the back part of the body, the tatva changes from the vayu to the apas. As the current passes into the front part of the right half, the tatva changes back from the apas to the vayu. As the prana passes into the heart, the breath is not felt at all in the nose. As it proceeds from the heart to the left, the breath begins to flow out of the left nostril, and as long as it is in the front part of the body, the tatva change from the vayu to the apas. They change back again a before, until the prana reaches the spine, when we have the akasa of susumna. Such is the even change of prana that we have in the state of perfect health. The impulse that has been given to the localized prana by the sun and moon forces that give active power and existence to its prototype Prana, makes it work in the same way forever and ever. The working of the human free will and other forces change the nature of the local prana, and individualize it in such a way as to render it distinguishable from the universal Terrestrial and Ecliptical prana. With the varying nature of prana, the order of the tatva and the positive and negative currents may be affected in various degrees. Disease is the result of this variation. In fact, the flow of breath is the truest indication of the changes of tatva in the body. The balance of the positive and negative currents of tatva results in health, and the disturbance of their harmony in disease. The science of the flow of breath is therefore of the highest importance to every man who values his own health and that of his fellow creatures. At the same time, it is the most important, useful and comprehensive, the easiest and the most interesting branch of Yoga. It teaches us how to guide our will so as to effect desired changes in the order and nature of our positive and negative tatwic currents. This it does in the following way. All physical action is prana in a certain state. Without prana there is no action, and every action is the result of the differing harmonies of tatwic currents. Thus, motion in any one part of the body is the result of the activity of the vayu centers in that part of the body. In the same way, whenever there is activity in the prithivi centers, we have a feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction. The causes of the other sensations are similar.
We find that while lying down we change sides when the breath passes out of that nostril. Therefore we conclude that if we lie on any side the breath will flow out the opposite nostril. Therefore, whenever we see that it is desirable to change the negative conditions of our body to the positive, we resort to this expedient. An investigation into the physiological effects of prana on the gross coil, and the counter effects of gross action upon prana, will form the subject of the next essay.