Prana – The Cosmic Thread that Connects Us
Sankhya philosophy(1) explains that in order to understand existence, one must consider the origin of the universe from a physical perspective. The twenty-four principles of manifestation in the system of Sankhya represent a progressive framework of evolving consciousness into matter; from the most subtle to the most dense.
Sankhya states that before there was a universe, Brahman (the Absolute) existed as the unmanifested state of pure awareness. In this unmanifested state, there is Purusha (cosmic consciousness) and Prakruti (cosmic energy). It is the potential energy of Purusha and the creative will of Prakruti that forged non-material energy into material expression. It is the will of creation to manifest into the countless expressions of nature. The means of this expression is prana, life force energy. Prana is the medium through which Purusha and Prakruti merge. Prana is the cosmic vibration that underlies all manifestation. It is through the pulsations of cosmic prana that consciousness becomes matter.
In the cosmic pulse of prana, the first expression of creation is cosmic intelligence or Mahat. Then Ahamkara or individual ego manifests to experience existence as “I am”. Next, consciousness diversifies into the three universal qualities or Gunas. These gunas are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. All three gunas make essential contributions throughout the design of material creation. The influences of the three gunas lead to the creation of the mind, the five sensory faculties, the five motor faculties, the five objects of sensory perception and the five great elements. Ayurveda, the science of life, establishes the building blocks of the natural world to be the five great elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth. The five elements pair-up in three combinations to form the primary forces of nature called Doshas(2).
“As Ayurveda teaches us to honor our individual nature and the unique nature of others, it reminds us that we all originate from the same cosmic source and prana is the ever-existing thread that binds us.”
According to Ayurveda, we are made of all five elements, but the unique arrangement and quantity of Vata, Pitta and Kapha is determined by the doshic makeup, lifestyle, diet, and emotional state of our parents at the moment of our conception. The environment around our parents at the time of our conception and our developmental experience in the womb also contributed to our nature. Our individual body type, behaviors, needs and predispositions are known as our Prakriti; our constitutional nature or metabolic type. Ayurveda explains that our prakriti is of no coincidence; instead, it is a divine gift. It is ours to experience this life in exactly the way we need to expand, to evolve, to serve, and ultimately to give back to the cosmic source of all beginnings. Ayurveda teaches that we came in to this physical world at a particular time, in a specific place, and with our individual characteristics for our unique purpose. Our purpose is our Dharma. Dharma is the divine path that establishes the reason for our existence.
As Ayurveda teaches us to honor our individual nature and the unique nature of others, it reminds us that we all originate from the same cosmic source and prana is the ever-existing thread that binds us. Ayurveda reveals to us the perfection of each other’s distinct qualities while honoring the pranic light that makes us all one. Namaste’
(1) Developed by the Indian sage Kapila in 500 BCE, Sankhya philosophy is the oldest of the six philosophical interpretations of the Vedas (Shad Darshana.)
(2) The Doshas are Vata (ether & air), Pitta (fire & water) and Kapha (water & earth.)
Disclaimer: This article was written for educational purposes only and is based on the tradition of Ayurveda. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe or heal any health condition or to replace standard medical treatment or advice.