(pra - foreword or before ana - breath) Nothing exists before prana. It is the first sound: OM. Prana is what gives energy the power to be energy. Prana is not seen or unseen, yet it is observable by its actions. The whole Universe is derived through the subtle element of prana it is the cosmic principal of eternal movement. It is everywhere empowering the ever changing universe. Nothing can exist before or without prana it is the Infinite all pervading energy of the Universe a subtle element that cannot be seen so small, so etheric it cannot be perceived by any kind of instrument created to date.
Akasha (space, ether) is the Infinite material of the Universe it is the substance the universe is made of, from space to ether to air to solid (?) rock. Akasha exists from the energy of prana and is expressed as the infinite specific manifestations of prana or energy wavelets and clusters. Different vibrational rates are expressed as physical matter rocks, water, air and us as well as the powers of the mind thoughts, feelings, energy, etc… it even exists in a vacuum or a void. The stuff water is made of is akasha the movement of the water, currents and ever changing shape of the water is prana.
Even modern science supports that prana exists and that our seemingly solid world vibrates in an eternal rhythmic dance of swirling atoms (matter and energy). These in turn consist of even smaller and smaller particles, which finally turn out to be pure energy densified higher dimensional energy, manifesting on this plane as prana.
Prana animates, sustains, and energizes the body of all living organisms from the fine electro chemical movements of the nerves in a living body to lightening the gross electricity of the planet and all physical energies such as heat, light, gravity and magnetism are among the many specific manifestations of prana. It is physical, mental, intellectual, sexual, spiritual and all creative cosmic energy enabling us to think, to feel and to hear. It is energy which creates, protects and destroys. It is a power that operates in everything and can be seen through living things.
In the Upanishads prana is equated with atman (the all-pervading soul of the universe or god). Though this refined foundation of life is inseparably connected to spirit it is not itself the Atma or even the Jiva (individual immortal essence of a living being). Prana is witnessed by the Jiva which is floating in prana in the heart cavity. The Jivas freedom is limited by the triple bond of anava (ego), karma (action) and maya (illusion). Individual personal souls or Jiva Atmas exist as maya, the illusion of the physical mental reality our consiousness has become entangled. Jiva is subject to maya and is responsible to hold the soul into the body. A jiva that is free of maya is not tied to a body or earthly existence in any way and is then called Atma.
Prana was written about 5,000 years ago by the Rishis (Sage) of the solar age. Some of the oldest surviving texts are the Vedas which many Hindus believe are apaurusheya (eternally existing) and were not written by anyone not even God. Historians believe that the Vedas were written down between 1500 and 500 BCE.
The Upanishads (upa- near, ni- down, sad - sit or sitting down near a spiritual teacher (guru in order to receive instruction) are a culmination or essence of the Vedas. They are mystic or spiritual interpretations on the Vedas known as Vedānta (the end of the Vedas).
by Nykol West 2004 Copywright 2006 all rights reserved