Hatha Yoga, the Way to Your Soul, Odic Prana

Merging with Siva


Through hatha yoga develop humility and a deep feeling of the realities of life, forming within consciousness a solid foundation for meditation. Use of the subsuperconscious mind brings forth a great wisdom and affectionate detachment as greater love flows in through actinic understanding. Find yourself more alive consciously and subconsciously through correct practice of hatha yoga which burns out congested seeds of desire as the odic forces become adjusted, balanced and controlled. Prana is the sum total of energy, the whole material universe is in a sense manifested from it. "Energy, awareness and willpower are one and the same."

Master Course Trilogy, "Merging with Siva," Lessons 45, 214, 215.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

We're continuing our series from "Merging with Siva" going thru the inspired talks in chronological order and we're on Chapter 31, "The Physical and Pranic Bodies," a talk given in 1960.

"When we live in our personality, we are limited, but our individuality reigns supreme. A balance of actinic and odic forces running through the physical body bursts forth into individuality within the aspirant on the spiritual path. This cherished individuality, the feeling that you are the center of the universe, and your created world revolves around you, does not make one egotistical, but rather forms within the consciousness a deep humility, or a deep feeling of the realities of life, thus laying a solid foundation for meditation.

"Hatha yoga is a science of perfecting the physical body through the use of certain postures, or asanas. In a deeper sense, it is a system of handling the physical body so that you are able to gain a conscious, actinic control of the odic forces of your subconscious mind. When the body is tuned up to a rhythmic pitch, you can single out the seeds of basic odic desires and destroy them.

"The practice of hatha yoga places the physical body in different asanas in a regular, routine arrangement, so that the nerve currents in the body area are tuned to a perfect pitch. No stretching, no straining, no pulling, no stresses. Once you have memorized the correct postures of hatha yoga in their progressive order, you will find that after practicing them for only a few minutes, your mind will be able to concentrate itself without any effort whatsoever. You will be in an automatic state of subconscious concentration because you will have no nerve strain to distract your mind or bottle up the odic force. You will find yourself more alive consciously, and much more alive subconsciously, than you have ever been before. A child can do most of the hatha yoga postures quite naturally. When you can, too, you will have that youthful freedom of mind flow again.

"Hatha yoga, practiced correctly over a period of time, makes the mind so acute that you become able to 'single out the seed of desire by disregarding all other corresponding erroneous thoughts.' In other words, in the practice of this science alone, the yoga student begins to burn out congested seeds of desire from within without even thinking about them. As you become more and more perfected in hatha yoga, the odic forces, both passive and aggressive, become adjusted, balanced and controlled.

"Through the practice of hatha yoga, the physical body becomes a perfect vehicle for the mind to live in. The tensions which have been built up through the years become fleeting, and the mind becomes actinically alive. This enables the yoga student, as he presents himself to the yoga master for personal training, to single out the seed of desire and, in the light of understanding, destroy it. This retroactively brings forth a great wisdom through the conscious use of the subsuperconscious mind. When this happens, you don't have to think to know. You know, and thinking is the result. Affectionate detachment from friends and relations is automatically accomplished, and a greater love for them flows in through actinic understanding."

Then we have my commentary.

In our modern world hatha yoga is commonly presented as a system of exercise with purely physical benefits. There is a typical description of what is being taught. Like most yoga styles a 'vinyasa' practice can lower anxiety and manage stress. "I can even help you quit smoking." However some popular approaches to hatha yoga do emphasize the spiritual aspect.

Here is a quote from B.K.S. Iyengar:

"I use the body to discipline the mind and to reach the soul. Asasnas when done with the right intention will help to transform an individual by taking the person away from an awareness of just the body toward the consciousness of the soul. Indeed, I often say: 'Body is the bow, asana the arrow and the soul is the target.'"

This Iyengar approach definitely has similarities to Gurudeva's description I just read. In Gurudeva's terminology we learn to utilize the subsuperconscious state of mind.

To quote Gurudeva:

"This retroactively brings forth a great wisdom through the conscious use of the subsuperconscious mind. When this happens, you don't have to think to know. You know and thinking is the result. Affectionate detachment from friends and relations is automatically accomplished, and a greater love for them flows in through actinic understanding."

And back to the text:

"There is a classic question: What way is there to control our desires and thus stay balanced? Years ago in 1950 I answered this concisely in an aphorism in 'Cognizantability' which you can read in "Merging with Siva."

Here is that aphorism:

"The seed of desire is a false concept in relation to corresponding objects. The conscious mind throws into its subconscious a series of erroneous thoughts based upon a false concept. This creates a deep-rooted desire or complex. Single out the seed of desire by disregarding all other corresponding erroneous thoughts. Then destroy that seed through understanding its relation in itself and to all other corresponding thoughts. The deep-rooted desire or complex will then vanish."

And a simple example. Simple example is when, in your twenties you repeatedly see a T.V. commercial of a successful executive driving a Mercedes Benz. You have associated success with owning a Mercedes Benz and later in life when you can afford to purchase a Mercedes Benz that is the car you always purchase. Subconsciously you have been impressed that owning this car will make you successful. This is of course a false concept. Realizing this causes the desire to only own Mercedes Benz cars vanish.

And then back to the text:

"In the West we have only a few close equivalents for the Sanskrit word prana, and they are odic force, actinic force and energy. But prana is not really a form of energy or a force; it is the sum total of all energy, all force, in its various manifestations. Science has proven that all matter is in vibration, that the difference in these vibrations are what gives matter its form. At one time scientists believed the atom to be the smallest unit within matter, but progressively smaller units have been discovered. When the smallest subdivision of matter is reached, prana, or pure energy, remains. Prana is the sum total of energy, because the whole material universe is, in a sense, manifested from it.

"The odic pranic sheath is the health body, pranamaya kosha, hovering just within and through the physical body, extending out from the physical body about two to five inches. Odic prana is physical vitality. Actinic prana and willpower are one and the same.

"You have probably read of cases of suspended animation, men buried alive for hours or days without air or food. When this actually occurs and it is not faked, it is usually due to the control of prana. After extensive training, odic force can be stored in a static state in the body and then used in the absence of air or food, for it is the essence of air or food. Some animals that hibernate do this as well. Frogs have been found buried in earthen mounds in the United States and are said to have been hibernating there hundreds of years without food, water, or air, yet once liberated they showed every sign of life. And man can do it, too, with proper training over a long period of time. This, of course, is not a complete unfoldment of the meaning of life. It is only the conquest of the second aspect of man, odic prana.

"Breathe deeply in and out, in and out, in and out. As you breathe in, feel as though you are pulling odic prana into you as well as air. As you breathe out, feel as though you are sending out the air, but keeping the odic prana in the body, all the time storing it in the solar plexus. Soon you should begin to feel full of energy, solid and stable.

"Here is another exercise. Select a dimly lit place that you can use as a background against which to view your hand, such as a closet. Open your right hand, in which you have been storing odic prana, and hold it against the dark background. With your eyes half open, gaze at your hand relaxed. Don't try too hard. You should be able to see the odic prana around each of your fingers. It will be seen as a cloudy, vaporous substance. If you are in perfect health, the odic prana will be clearer and more readily apparent. Some sensitive yoga students can see the odic prana around the physical body of people."

Then we have commentary which is our lexicon definition of prana, it's very precise one:

"Prana: Vital energy of life principle. Literally 'vital air,' from the root pran, 'to breaths.' Prana in the human body moves in the pranamaya kosha as five primary life currents known as vayus, 'vital airs or winds.' These are prana (outgoing breath), apana (incoming breath), vyana (retained breath), udana (ascending breath) and samana (equalizing breath), and five auxiliary vayus: naga, kurma, krkara, devadatta and dhananjaya. Each governs crucial bodily functions, and all bodily energies are modifications of these. While prana usually refers to the life principle, it sometimes denotes energy the interrelated odic and actinic forces, the power or the animating force of the cosmos, the sum total of all energy and forces."

So Gurudeva's statement earlier was: "Odic prana is physical vitality. Actinic prana and willpower are one and the same."

So our definition there was mainly about odic prana and then in terms of actinic prana Gurudeva's full statement is:

"Energy, awareness and willpower are one and the same."

He gives an exercise on this in Lesson 45:

"Work with willpower, awareness and energy as three separate items first. Feel awareness and discover what it is. Use willpower and discover what it is. Feel energy and analyze energy and discover what it is. Then separate the three of them in your intellectual mind and experiential pattern. Then, after you've gotten that done, you will begin to see inside yourself that the three are one and the same..." Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.