The concept of Prana is the esoteric concept of Hatha Yoga. It has been focussed in all Yogic concepts that man obtains his Prana as well as nourishment from his food. Prana as well as a cleansing effect from the water he drinks. Prana as well as oxygen from the air he breathes and so on. The subject of Prana is interwoven with the entire Hatha Yoga Philosophy. It has been said that Prana is the universal principle of energy or force, and that all energy or force is derived from that principle, or, rather, is a particular form of manifestation of that principle. In fact, it has been said that "Prana" is that concept which distinguishes a living being from a lifeless one. It is the active principle of life or the vital force. It is found in all forms of life, the amoeba to man from the most elementary form of plant life to the highest form of animal life. Prana is all pervading. It is found in all things having life and as the occult philosophy teaches that life is in all things in every atom the apparent lifelessness of some things being only a lesser degree of manifestation. Prana is everywhere, in every thing.
Prana must not be confounded with the Ego, the bit of Divine Spirit in every soul, around which clusters matter. Prana is merely a form of energy used by the Ego in its material manifestation. When the Ego leaves the body, the Prana being no longer under its control, responds only to the orders of the individual atoms, or group of atoms, forming the body, and as the body integrates and is resolved to its original elements, each atom takes with it sufficient Prana to enable it to form new combinations, the unused returning to the great universal store-house from which it came. With the Ego in control, cohesion exists and the atoms are held together by the Will of the Ego.
Prana is the name by which the universal principle is designated. This universal principle is the essence of all motion, force or energy, whether manifested gravitation, electricity, the revolution of all forms of life, from the highest to the lowest. It may be called the soul of Force and Energy in their forms, and that principle which, operating in a certain way causes that form of activity which accompanies Life.
Prana, the great principle is in all forms of matter yet it is not matter. It is in the air, but it is neither the air nor one of its chemical constituents. It is in the food that one eats, and yet it is not the same as the nourishing substances in the food. It is in the water men drink, and yet it is not one or more of the chemical substances combining which water are made. It is the sunlight, but yet it is not the heat or the rays. It is the "energy "in all these things acting merely as a carrier. Rather it can be said that Prana is in these things fulfilling the great law of Nature, and mans ability to extract a portion of it to use is merely an incident.
Prana is in the atmospheric air, but it is also elsewhere and it penetrates where the air cannot reach. The oxygen in the air plays an important part in sustaining animal life, and the carbon plays a similar part with the plant life, but Prana has its own distinct part to play in the manifestation of life, aside from the physiological functions.
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