Prana & The Etheric
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I would recall to your minds the knowledge that the aura which each of you has created around the central nucleus of your incarnated self or soul is a fragment of the over-shadowing soul which brought you into manifestation. This aura is (as you well know) composed of the emanations of the etheric body, and this in its turn embodies three types of energy for which you are individually responsible. These three types are (when added to the energy of prana which composes the etheric vehicles):

  1. The health aura. This is essentially physical.
  2. The astral aura, which is usually by far the most dominant factor, extensive and controlling.
  3. The mental aura, which is in most cases relatively small but which develops rapidly once the disciple takes his own development consciously in hand, or once the polarization of the personality is upon the mental plane. The time will eventually come when [98] the mental aura will obliterate (if I may use such an inadequate term) the emotional or astral aura, and then the soul quality of love will create a substitute, so that the needed sensitivity does not entirely disappear but is of a higher and far more acute nature.

In this threefold aura (or more correctly, fourfold, if you count the etheric vehicle) every individual lives and moves and has his being; it is this living, vital aura which is the recording agent of all impressions, both objective and subjective. It is this "agent of sensitive response" which the indwelling self has to control and use in order to register impression or to direct etheric or mental impression out into the world of men. Astral impression is purely selfish and individual and, though it may affect a man's surroundings, is not directed as are the other energies registered. It is the aura which predominantly creates the effects which a person has upon his associates; it is not primarily his words which produce reactions even though they are supposed to embody his reactions and his thinking but which are, in reality, usually expressions of his emotional desires. TEV p97 / 98

TEV - The Basis of Non-Separateness p 154 / 155


The word "prana" is almost as much misunderstood as are the words "etheric" or "astral." It is this loose connotation which is responsible for the great ignorance prevalent in occult circles.

Prana might be defined as the life-essence of every plane in the sevenfold area which we call the cosmic physical plane. It is the LIFE of the planetary Logos, reduced within limits, animating, vivifying and correlating all the seven planes (in reality the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical plane) and all that is to be found within and upon them


TEV p 150 / 151

Students have been apt to speak simply of the etheric body as an entire integral entity and as constituted solely of etheric substance, forgetting that the etheric body is the medium for the transfer of many types of energy. They forget the following facts: [151]

  1. That the etheric body is itself composed of four types of substance, each of which is definitely specialized and found on one or other of the etheric levels.
  2. That these substances, functioning actively in any particular etheric body, create a network of channels; they produce fine tubes (if I may use so inappropriate a word) which take the general form of the dense material or tangible form with which they may be associated. This form underlies every part of the physical body and can be seen extending for a certain distance outside of the recognizable form. This etheric body is not in reality an ovoid (as the older occult books teach) but usually takes the form or general outline of the physical vehicle with which it is associated. When, however, the head center is awakened and functioning, then the ovoid appearance is far more frequent.
  3. These channels or tubes - according to the type of energy they carry - pass to certain areas of the body, via three main stations:
    1. The seven major centers, of which you have heard much.
    2. The twenty-one minor centers, which I outlined for you earlier. (A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Vol. IV., pp. 72-73.)
    3. The forty-nine focal points, scattered all over the body.
  4. All these centers and focal points for the transmission of energy are connected each with each by larger channels than the mass of channels which constitute the etheric body as a whole, because many lesser channels and lines of force or energy merge and blend as they near a center or a focal point. [152]
  5. The mass of the smaller channels or the channeling tubes of energy eventually create in all forms that layer of corresponding nerves which are not yet recognized by medical science but which are like an intermediary web or network. These relate the etheric body as a whole to the entire two-fold nervous system (cerebro-spinal and the sympathetic nervous systems) which science does recognize. It is this system underlying the nerves which is the true response apparatus and which - via the brain - telegraphs information to the mind or, via the brain and the mind, keeps the soul informed. It is this system of nadis which is used in full consciousness by the initiate who has related the Spiritual Triad and the soul-infused personality, and has therefore seen the soul-body, the causal body or the egoic lotus totally disappear, being no longer of any true importance. There is a peculiar and at present inexplicable relation between this system of nadis and the antahkarana when it is in process of creation or is created.
  6. The physical body, therefore, like so much else in nature, is itself triple in design. There is:
    1. The etheric body.
    2. The substantial nadis.
    3. The dense physical body.

These form one unit and in incarnation are inseparable.

  1. The centers in their totality and the many focal points of contact found in the etheric body are responsible for the creation and preservation of the endocrine glandular system in a form either limited and inadequate, or representative of the spiritual man and entirely adequate. The nadis, in their turn, [153] are responsible for the creation and precipitation of the twofold nervous system. This is a point most carefully to be borne in mind and is the clue to the problem of creativity.
  2. The type of the etheric substance "substanding" any form is dependent upon two factors:
    1. The kingdom of nature concerned. Basically the four kingdoms draw their pranic life each from one or other of the four levels of etheric substance, counting upwards from the lowest:
      1. The mineral kingdom is sustained from plane 1.
      2. The vegetable kingdom is sustained from plane 2.
      3. The animal kingdom is sustained from plane 3.
      4. The human kingdom is sustained from plane 4.

That was the original condition; but as evolution proceeded and there was an interacting emanation established between all the kingdoms, this automatically changed. It was this "esoteric emanating change" which, aeons ago, produced animal-man. I give this as an illustration and a key to a great mystery.

    1. Curiously enough, in the human kingdom (and only in the human kingdom) the etheric body is now composed of all four types of etheric substance. The reason for this is that eventually (when mankind is spiritually developed) each of these four planes or types of etheric substance will be responsive to the [154] four higher levels of the cosmic physical plane - the etheric levels, to which we give the names: the logoic level, the monadic, the atmic level and the buddhic. This will happen as a result of conscious growth and initiation.
  1. It must also be remembered that the substance of which these etheric channels or channeling tubes are composed is planetary prana, the life-giving, health-giving energy of the planet itself. Through these tubes, however, may flow all or any of the possible energies - emotional, mental, egoic, manasic, buddhic or atmic, according to the point in evolution which the man concerned has reached. This always means that several energies are pouring through these tubes, unless the point in evolution is exceedingly low or unless one is dealing with a cleavage; these various energies are fused and blended together but find their own focal points in the etheric body when entering directly within the circumference of the dense physical body. Just as it can be said of the soul or of the Deity, so it can be said of the energetic or vital etheric body or entity: "Having pervaded this whole universe with a fragment of myself, I remain."

3. The energy of prana, or the etheric force of the vital body. This energy, by an act of the will and under the pressure of the magnetic power of love, responds to or is receptive to the dual energies mentioned above. The idea, thought-form. or mental impression which must be recorded in the brain consciousness of the recipient opens a way in the pranic fluids and so controls their activity (which is as ceaseless as the thought-form-making propensities of the chitta) that the brain becomes responsive in two ways:

  1. It is rendered passive by the impact of the three types of energy, blended and fused into one stream of force.

It becomes actively responsive to the idea, impression, thought-form, symbol, words, etc., which are being swept into the area of its conscious activity.

TEV 27

The Soul and its Mechanism - Soul, Ether and Energy


Srinivasa Iyengar makes the following postulates and states that all the schools of thought, except the school of crude Nihilism accept them.

  1. Man is a complex of consciousness, mind and body.
  2. The Atma (self) is of the nature of the consciousness and is immutable.
  3. Mind, though an inner organ, is material, and is other than the atman.
  4. All energy in the universe is personal, i.e., bound up with consciousness.
  5. This energy is prana, which is intermediate between mind and matter.

"Hindu philosophy regards Prana and not motion as the fundamental energy of the cosmos. Prana is conceived as a power coming from or started by the Purusha (Spirit aspect - A.A.B.) and acting on matter."

"All the energy of animals is nervous energy till it leaves the muscles and acts on outside objects. This nervous energy is called Prana. Western Science has for a hundred years unsuccessfully tried to explain nervous energy as a form of mechanical motion; Eastern Philosophy reverses the process and derives [105] mechanical motion from Prana, of energy accompanied by consciousness.

Prana corresponds to the Psychikon pneuma, animal spirits, of Greek philosophy, a category which is intermediate between spirit and matter, and brings them into relation with each other."

- Iyengar, P. T. Srinivasa, Outlines of Indian Philosophy, pp. 58. 59.

The Soul and its Mechanism - Soul, Ether and Energy p 97


Vivekananda, who did so much to reveal the soul of India to the West, says:

"According to the philosophers of India, the whole universe is composed of two materials, one of which they call Akasha. It is the omnipresent all penetrating existence. Everything that has form, everything that is the result of the compounds, is evolved out of this Akasha. It is the Akasha that becomes the air, that becomes the liquids, that becomes the solids; it is the Akasha that becomes the sun, the earth, the moon, the stars, the comets; it is the Akasha that becomes the body, the animal body, the planets, every form that we see, everything that can be sensed, everything that exists. It itself cannot be perceived; it is so subtle that [97] it is beyond all ordinary perception; it can only be seen when it has become gross, has taken form. At the beginning of creation there is only this Akasha; at the end of the cycle the solids, the liquids, and the gases all melt into the Akasha again, and the next creation similarly proceeds out of this Akasha.

By what power is this Akasha manufactured into this universe? By the power of Prana. Just as Akasha is the infinite omnipresent material of this universe, so is this Prana the infinite omnipresent manifesting power of this universe. At the beginning and at the end of a cycle everything becomes Akasha, and all the forces that are in the universe resolve back into the Prana; in the next cycle, out of this Prana, is evolved everything that we call energy, everything that we call force. It is the Prana that is manifesting as motion; it is the Prana that is manifesting as gravitation, as magnetism. It is the Prana that is manifesting as the actions of the body, as the nerve currents, as thought force. From thought, down to the lowest physical force, everything is but the manifestation of Prana. The sumtotal of all force in the universe, mental or physical when resolved back to its original state, is called Prana...
- Vivekananda, Swami, Raja Yoga, pp. 29, 30.

The spleen is the organ in which planetary prana or vitality is received and passed. This enters in through "the open gateway" of the splenic force center, and passes to the heart. There it merges with the individual life principle. Through the splenic center also passes the conscious life of the sum total of the bodily cells, which are, in their turn, the recipients of the energy of the consciousness aspect or principles of all atoms and forms within the fourth kingdom of nature.

EP11 p65

The Yoga Sutras … Book 3 p 328 /9

Pervading the whole body is that sum total of nervous force, called by the Hindu, prana. It is controlled by the mind via the brain; it is the vitality which brings into activity the sense-organs and produces the outward-going life of the man; its medium of distribution is the nervous system through certain great distributing centers called plexi, or lotuses…..

One term applied to this energy is the "vital airs." Prana is fivefold in its manifestation, thus corresponding to the five states of mind, the fifth principle and to the five modifications of the thinking principle. Prana in the solar system works out as the five great states of energy which we call planes, the medium of consciousness; these are:

  1. The atmic or spiritual plane,
  2. The buddhic or intuitional plane,
  3. The mental plane,
  4. The emotional, astral or kamic plane,
  5. The physical plane.

The five differentiations of prana in the human body are:

  1. Prana, extending from the nose to the heart and having special relation to the mouth and speech, the heart and lungs.
  2. Samana extends from the heart to the solar plexus; it concerns food and the nourishing of the body through the medium of food and drink and has a special relation to the stomach.
  3. Apana controls from the solar plexus to the soles of the feet; it concerns the organs of elimination, of rejection and of birth, thus having [330] special relation to the organs of generation and of elimination.
  4. Upana is found between the nose and the top of the head; it has a special relation to the brain, the nose and the eyes, and when properly controlled produces the coordination of the vital airs and their correct handling.
  5. Vyana is the term applied to the sum total of pranic, energy as it is distributed evenly throughout the entire body. Its instruments are the thousands of nadis or nerves found in the body, and it has a peculiar definite connection with the blood channels, the veins and arteries.

The devas of the ethers carry on their foreheads a translucent symbol in the form of a crescent moon, and by this they may be distinguished from the astral devas by those able to see clairvoyantly.

As we consider the devas of the ethers, we find that they fall naturally - as far as manifestation is concerned - into two main groups. Each group is represented on each of the four subplanes, and this grouping must be considered as but one method of differentiation out of the many possible. These groups are, first, those devas who are the transmitters of prana to all forms of life; they are a group of intermediary devas, and may be regarded as the energy providers in their various differentiations; secondly, those devas who form the etheric bodies of every form in manifestation. These constitute the bulk of the lesser devas.

TCF 915

1. Solar Prana

This is that vital and magnetic fluid which radiates from the sun, and which is transmitted to man's etheric body through the agency of certain deva entities of a very high order, and of a golden hue. It is passed through their bodies and emitted as powerful radiations, which are applied direct through certain plexi in the uppermost part of the etheric body, the head and shoulders, and passed down to the etheric correspondence of the physical organ, the spleen, and from thence forcibly transmitted into the spleen itself. These golden hued pranic entities are in the air above us,……..

These solar devas take the radiatory rays of the sun which reach from its center to the periphery along one of the three channels of approach, pass them through their organism and focalize them there. They act almost as a burning glass acts. These rays are then reflected or transmitted to man's etheric body, and caught up by him and again assimilated. When the etheric body is in good order and functioning correctly, enough of this prana is absorbed to keep the form organized. This is the whole object of the etheric body's functioning, and is a point which cannot be sufficiently emphasized. The remainder is cast off in the form of animal radiation, or physical magnetism - all terms expressing the same idea. Man therefore repeats on a lesser scale the work of the great solar devas, and in his turn adds his quota of repolarized or remagnetized emanation to the sumtotal of the planetary aura.

TCF 90 / 91