The Breath of Life

March 9, 2016

Prana burns as fire; it shines as the sun;
It rains as the cloud; it blows as the wind;
It crashes as the thunder in the sky.
It is the earth; it has form and no form;
Prana is immortality.

Prana is born of the Self. As a man
Casts a shadow, the Self casts prana
Into the body at the time of birth.

O prana, all the world depends on you.
It is you who gives us the breath of life.

The main prana dwells in eye, ear, mouth, and nose;
Apana, the downward force, in the organs
Of sex and excretion. Samana,
The equalizing force in the middle,
Digests food and kindles the seven fires.
Vyana, distributor of energy,
Moves through the myriad vital currents
Radiating from the heart, where lives the Self.
At the time of death, through the subtle track
That runs upward through the spinal channel,
Udana, the fifth force, leads the selfless
Up the long ladder of evolution,
And the selfish down.

The sun is the prana of the universe,
And it rises to bring light to our eyes.
The earth draws the lower fire of apana;
The space between sun and earth is samana,
And the moving air is vyana.
Fire is udana. When that fire goes out,
The senses are drawn back into the mind
And the person is ready for rebirth.
Whatever the content of consciousness
At the time of death, that is what unites us
To prana, udana, and the Self,
To be reborn in the plane we have earned.

Those who realize this go beyond death.
Their children too follow their footsteps.
Those who perceive how prana rises,
Enters the body, and becomes fivefold
To serve the Self, they die not; they die not.

(Prashna Upanishad, translation by Eknath Easwaran)

prana-breathprana-life-energy18

Advertisements