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The Upanishads by Swami Nikhilananda

Intersting Books I Read

  • God Speaks to Arjuna

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Pancha Prana

Pancha is five and Prana is called as Vayu. The Prana is divided into five types based on their activity.

Prana: This moves upward.

Apana: helps in the ejection of unassimilated food and drinks. This moves downward.

Vyana: moves in all direction and pervades the entire body as nervous current.

Udana: Which operates in the throat, is to help the soul and subtle body pass out at the time of death.

Samana: Helps in digestion; it also carries nutritions through the body.

The physical body is not the eater of food. It is the Pancha Prana that takes the food. Thus, taking food also can be converted into an act of Yoga or sacrifice by offering it to the Pancha Prana. 


  1. Thanks nice one. Does prana translates exactly to Air (Vayu) ? or is it something more than Air ?

    If its air then how does it explain the pranic energy which is so vital for life. Is this also just air ?

    1. Hi Chanveda : nice question

      vayu is air but air can be anything like oxygen, carbon dioxide and so on...
      This vayu is seen in every living being
      for human at lungs,
      for frog at throat etc
      u can find them in all living beings
      And we can not say vayu is most important then other elements
      Yes it is important but they all are equal as other elements like akash-sky, agni-fire, jala-water, bhoomi- earth
      They are divided equally according to birds, animal, humans
      Hope u got your answer Chanveda..!
      For any other query my mail I'd

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  3. "Prana" is the Life Force or Life Energy. The five types of 'Vayu' represent the gaseous state of the matter I.e. the subtle body. Our body is composed of five layers called "Kosha" namely 'annamaya' kosha which is our physical body constructed out of food we eat; 'pranamaya' kosha which is made of subtle energy matter; 'manonmaya' kosha that is even more subtle energy called "Chitta" or "Mind" or "Manas"; the fourth is 'vignanamaya' kosha and the last is called 'anandamaya' kosha. Only the first body is gross or dense matter of the all pervading energy called "Shakti". Remaining four are subtle or sukshama levels or low dense matter. Please dont mix physical science with spiritual science which will fuel confusion and prevent clarity of thought. Our human body is literally made out of pancha bhoothas such as earth (solid state), water (liquid state), fire, air (gaseous state), and space (akash or emptiness). It is only the first two koshas (bodies) of annamayaa and praanamaya need to be fed food for them to generate energy. Of this, annamaya kosha (annam is food) takesnphysical food composed of pancha boothas and uses physical digestive system to extract its energy in the form of glucose. Since the food we eat is grown out of earth, our food represents 'earth'. As you eat the food, the second body of praanamaya kosha extracts the energy it needs through our eyes. That's the reason that we must look at the food as we eat instead of doing somebthing else. If interested let me know and I write about how these two koshas intake the remaining four elements of pancha bhoothas. This is spiritual science that was discovered by the spiritual scientists called yogis and rishis through their process of meditation. The pancha vayus of prana (don't confuse with prana shakti), apaana, vyaana, udhaana, and samaana are not to be equated to air or other gas. Just like you have taken oxygen, nitrogen and other gases existence for granted, understand and accept that these five vaayus exist.

    1. interested to know.... how these two(aanamay, pranmay) koshas intake the remaining four elements of pancha bhoothas.