Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

The Connectors

Hari OM

'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

[You are reminded that reviewing the previous week's posts will become essential as the meanings of the Sanskrit terms may not be repeated. There may come additional or alternative meanings, but all should be noted. As study progresses, the technical terms must necessarily become 'second nature' to the student. When the Sanskrit is used, the translation will fall easily into place - or likewise, if the English is used, the Sanskrit term must easily come forwards.]

Please revisit THIS post and chant the mangala-charana. Please use the TattvabodaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.

(The vid-clip includes chanting for next week's lesson also, as each chant is relatively brief.)

पञ्च-कोशाः  /pancha-koshaaH - the five sheaths, cont'd.

प्राणमय कोशाः /praanamaya koshaaH - the vital airs sheath.

प्राणमयः कः
प्राणाद्याः पञ्चवायवः
वागादीन्द्रियपञ्चकं प्राणमयः कोशः।

praaNamayaH kaH
praaNaadyaaH pa~nchavaayavaH
vaagaadIndriyapa~ncakaM praaNamayaH koshaH.

"what is praanamayaH  ?"
"The five physiological functions like praana and so on; and the five organs of action, like speech and so on; together form the vital air sheath."

The vital air sheath pervades the food sheath. It is subtler. The five modifications of air which control the main physiological functions of the body are called praanas. In brief they are;
Praana; respiration; breathing is governed by this. When the inhalation and exhalation are slow, deep, rhythmic and even, then the breathing is proper and good.
Apaanaelimination; waste removal. Were it not for its efficient functioning, toxic chemicals and waste would gather in the body, resulting in poor health.
Samaanadigestion; the transformation of gross food into its nutrient constituents for the body to utilise.
Vyaana; circulation; this is not just the oxygenation of the blood, but also other circulations in the body, providing nourishment and protection to the body.
Udaana; 'reversings'; as in forcible ejection. All reactions or reverse process are governed by this praana - eg vomiting, burping, crying, sneezing.  It is responsible for the mind rejecting one thought and taking another. It supplies the power for the subtle body to leave the gross body at time of death.

The pancha-praaana are vital to life. They function silently from birth to death even while we sleep.  If even one is not working at full function, we become ill and even may face death. Praanas are the connecting factor of the subtle body with the gross body.  It is for this reason that there is an entire school in the shaastra for praanaayaama  - the physical yoga with which many are familiar.

Normally the praanas function naturally and involuntarily (though it is known that advanced yogis are able to exert mind control over the praanas). It can be seen now how the various organs of action can only function in their turn as a result of the presence of the praanas. When the Self identifies with this kosha, it will say '"I" am hungry, "I" am thirsty' and so on.

If this explanation seems brief, be reminded that, although subtle, praana is still considered very much of the physical realm and again, whilst Vedanta addresses them in order to give a context for the physical 'Self', it does not linger. However, fret not, for the subject will keep being revisited with ever more depth of understanding developing. 

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