Subtle Principles too should be given importance as gross ones

Jul 26


Yuga Rishi Shriram Sharma

Yuga Rishi Shriram Sharma

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Modern scientists especially anatomists and physiologists have unfolded a great deal of information of the external and internal physical body. And yet it is most required that they now focus their research on the subtle and causal body that has infinitely more potential than the gross body.


Whatever man perceives in this external material cosmos is but the manifestation of the invisible subtle world. In fact not even a billionth aspect of the subtle world manifests as the gross world. Whatever man perceives and experiences with his 5 sense organs (eye,Subtle Principles too should be given importance as gross ones Articles ear, nose, skin and taste bud) is but a very infinitesimal portion which is a manifestation of the subtle world. The sun’s fire element is but a very infinitesimal fraction of the fire element that pervades the entire cosmos. The heat in turn experienced by us emitted from solar rays too is an extremely minor portion of the total heat/light of the sun.

When a patient gets fever the body becomes hot. And yet it is but a miniscule glimpse of the billions of germs, bacteria, viruses etc in our body which are responsible for illnesses once they go on ‘rampage’. These germs invisible to our eye create a lot of havoc in our body but its manifestation is but a little bit if heat on our body labeled fever by us. As against this the heat within our body (in organs, cells etc) due to illness is not known at all by the patient. Take for example the human body. Despite being so tall and heavy in weight it is but the manifestation of an embryo (sperm + ovum) that has genes made up of DNA in its nucleus. In fact great scientists and geneticists opine that a very minor portion of the total DNA present manifests various characteristics in our body. Thus the gene has infinite potential and characteristics but a very miniscule portion actually manifests in the physical body of bones, blood etc. Those major potentials of the gene that do not manifest exist in our DNA albeit in a latent state.

The visible gigantic cosmos is but a partial manifestation of a Subtle Conscious Principle and they are called Para and Apara Prakriti (gross and subtle nature). In a very natural manner our mind grasps the knowledge of this subtle principle but in an extremely miniscule form. In the close vicinity of whatever is visible an invisible limitless flow of energy streams exist. This is applicable to forests, mountains, oceans, rivers etc., that are seen everywhere in the world. Man’s physical body is even more ‘strange’. Its sensitive nature and magnetic aura is very gigantic. Despite this a layman’s grasping power or the capacity to imbibe subtle energy is so weak that he fails to make apt and optimum use of these infinite powers of the subtle world. Ere man augments this power of grasping by leaps and bounds he can make apt use of these divine powers and transform both his material and spiritual life. Ultimately he/she can become an instrument for the advent of a bright future in the 21st century.

Modern scientists especially anatomists and physiologists have unearthed a great deal of information of the external and internal physical body. And yet it is most required that they now focus their research on the subtle and causal body that has infinitely more potential than our gross body. No doubt in ancient times a lot of information was unfolded regarding the subtle/causal bodies and yet for unfathomable reasons this research petered away to naught. Hence it is most required that modern scientists continue these research studies preferably on a war footing. This is because knowledge and wisdom are like a vast infinite ocean and hence it knows no limit (One great scientist said: Knowledge is like the vast ocean and I am yet counting pebbles on the shore). If man’s prowess/potential is compared to the cosmos’ limitlessness it is only apt that we do not rest content with knowledge made available so far. Instead we must strive to research more and more into the mysteries of the gross and subtle universe.

We must indeed take appropriate help of ancient seer-scientists in order to research into the state, energy principles, potentials and utility of the subtle and causal bodies. We must continue with our research studies especially keeping in mind the changes noted in the subtle flow of interstellar space and transformations in the human physical body.

The activities of the visible gross body are limited to this material world (Bhu Loka). The subtle bodily activities are limited to the subtle world (Bhuvaha Loka). The causal bodily activities are limited to the causal world (Svaha Loka). Generally people wrongly conclude that these Lokas are nothing but galaxies, planets etc. It is important to note that Lokas and planets are 2 different entities. Planets are gross whereas Lokas are subtle & invisible in nature. This material world harbors within it 2 subtle Lokas i.e. Bhu Loka and Bhuvaha Loka. These subtle worlds are very much different in nature than the gross material world. The gross visible world is predominantly material in nature. The joys/sorrows experienced by us are due to these materials enjoyed by human beings. Whatever we desire or attain is nothing but materials. Since our physical body is made up of various materials it can ‘grasp’ only that which related to this material world. Bhuvaha Loka or subtle world encompasses experiences, energies, capabilities, potentials etc since it is ‘thought’ predominant. Hence its state of progress is dependent on the level of our psyche and intellect. The more sacred and focused is ones psyche/intellect the more advanced and potent is ones subtle body.

Savaha Loka is the emotional/sentimental world. Sentiments ooze with affectionate love. We all are aware how a mother is emotionally attached to her baby, a husband to his wife, one friend to another etc. But over here union is joyful and separation is very painful. It is only a person who is inwardly one with others who can gauge the joy of union and pain of separation in the lives of his fellow beings. This nature of sentiments/sensitivity is so intense that it can ‘drag’ the body and mind in any special direction. With faith and self belief demigods manifest and desired boons can be availed of. All these are miracles of the emotional/sentimental world called Bhava Loka. A question maybe asked: Do demigods exist and if so do they have the capacity to bless us with boons? In order to understand the principle underlying this one will have to understand the intense potential of man’s sensitive and emotional (Bhava) nature. Man’s potential of faith is endless and hence deeper his faith, deeper ones true belief, the more intense ones will power/ power of resolve (Sankalpa Shakti) and the more profound ones devotion to God, demigods definitely manifest as per ones inner belief. It is only to that extent that the demigod will possess Divine Powers and will give us desired boons.

It goes without saying that the more anything is subtle the more powerful it becomes. Mud is not as powerful as the energy present in its atom which in turn is so subtle in nature. Air is not as powerful as ether. Steam is more powerful than water. We are all aware of the characteristics and nature of the gross body. Like other creatures the human gross body too performs only limited functions. Hence all those extraordinary qualities like radiance, divine potential and zeal can manifest only in the subtle and causal body of mankind. Externally each individual looks similar (i.e. they have hands, legs, eyes etc) and yet because each ones mental make up varies greatly they differ inwardly a great deal. The difference is not with reference to flesh, blood etc of the gross body but it is due to the different levels of power of lack of it in the inner conscious state of the subtle body. Our gross body made up of 5 elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) and flesh, bones, blood etc is made more potent via good food habits, exercise, medical aid etc. Similarly Yoga practices (Sadhana) help make more potent and powerful our subtle body. It is because of a potent will power and mental resolve that many brilliant people are seen in various professions like medicine, engineering, art, sport etc. All this manifests because of their powerful subtle body. Spiritual practices aim at augmenting this power by leaps and bounds.

Today man devotes a major chunk of his time in beautifying his body, attaining mental satiation and material advancement. It is most required that we human beings realize the folly and dire consequences of not paying due heed to the nourishment of our subtle body. Hence if we make optimum efforts in this direction we can attain both material and spiritual prosperity which in turn will glorify our lives. We all are aware of the material advancement and material pleasures of this gross material world. Hence our entire life is spent in chasing them relentlessly. If only we realize that even infinite more bliss lie in our subtle and causal worlds we would make great efforts in attaining them. Yoga practices aim at making mankind both materially and spiritually powerful.


The fundamental unit of man’s physical body is called a cell by anatomists. We can say that our body is a network of various types of cells. These cells can be divided into 2 sections: 1) Cytoplasm 2) Nucleus. Cytoplasm is the cell’s chemical aspect and nucleus is its imprint aspect. Life’s major consciousness is present in the nucleus as light, heat, magnetism, electricity, sound and mobility. Thus this second network of group of units spread out in the body as gross atoms is called subtle body in spiritual parlance. In Indian Yogic Science this principle is called Prana (vital force) and the subtle body made from it is called Pranamaya Kosha or Vital Force Sheath. In the previous chapter that Biological Plasma Body discussed is indeed this Vital Force Sheath.


 In the human body mind’s consciousness is said to be the conscious aspect of the group of 5 elements (earth, water, fire, wind and space). Despite obtaining light from the soul it is said to be a part of the material body and not that of the soul. In the same way the collective consciousness of cosmic 5 elements and great elements is called Prana. Prana is life force or vital force. Although it pervades wind and space yet it is separate from them. What we call material nature is actually not inert. This is because a miniscule aspect of vital force pervades it. An object totally devoid of vital force is not only totally useless but gets destroyed too. Without vital force no object can maintain its form and nature and that their natural qualities too cannot remain steady.

 Vital force or Prana can be called a type of living electrical force and is present like wind, space, heat and ether in the cosmos. The more this force exists in a creature the more it is zestful, full of aura, daring and mighty. This force spread out in our body is called life force and Ojas too. When this very principle manifests in the psyche we call it a radiant/brilliant personality. When this electrical force is in excess in the sperm Brahmacharis become divinely radiant and brilliant in character. In its absence even if the skin is fair, body is beautiful/handsome man remains dull, sad, wilted and virtually lifeless. That radiance and loveliness of beauty which attracts the mind is nothing but the radiance of Prana (vital force). It is Prana which gives us joy when we see lovely trees, plants, babies, youth etc. This power can be seen in the beauty of the face, sweet voice, talent, intellect, artistry, devotion and other forms.

In the spiritual world this principle is worshipped as Goddess Durga. This is that very energy. In the Durga Saptashati in the verses ‘Ya devi sarvabhuteshu shakti rupena tishthati’ etc this very principle in various forms is eulogized by saying ‘Namastasye namastasye namastasye namo namaha’. In the form of Vijayadashmi’s Shakti Puja this vital principle is eulogized and imbibed. This Prana embedded in the cosmos on becoming weak in potency initiates a lowly/downfallen era. All creatures including mankind become weak, with short life spans, with weak intellects and lowly in emotions. But when Prana is potent everything in this cosmos is rendered great. The difference between the Golden age and Dark Age depends on the youthfulness or withered nature of Prana. When in this cosmos the vital force nears its death stage the world enters the state of Pralaya or annihilation. Two atoms are joined by the force of attraction which is vital force. If this vital force perishes atoms also get scattered like dust. All names and forms of the world get destroyed. It is called world annihilation. After a long time span when this vital force wakes up from long ‘sleep’, so as to attain a new life the creation of the world commences again. Creatures get a chance to imbibe the covering of spiritual and material nature and again they are seen as mobile living beings.

Some creatures attain more of this Prana principle because of past lives’ positive psychic imprints (Sanskars) and good merits (Punya). This is ofcourse their good fortune, but those who have less of it should not despair. Via intense efforts of wholesome stature this vital principle can be imbibed in great measure. Those who have less of it can imbibe in any measure without obstruction from the Cosmic Prana that pervades the entire world. Those who have lots of it too can imbibe that much more to augment their inner radiance and skills.

Indian Yogis with reference to the above have conducted experiments of deep import. All miracles of Yogic Sciences have their roots in the activities of this Prana (vital force) principle. This world is divided into Para (subtle) and Apara (gross) creation. One is inert and the other is conscious in nature. The subtle form of inert world is atoms which unite to form gross objects. Conscious world is Prana from which the subtle body is created. In the body this vital force is present as the subtle body. As a result movement and activity manifest and various creatures move about due to this. In its absence the intellectual consciousness cannot be perceived. Great scriptural scholars talk of Prana in a varied manner as follows:

I am Prana as Prajna (divine intellect). By looking upon me as life span and nectar, meditate on me. As long as vital force exists life too exists. In this world the basis of attaining immortality is Prana only.


The fire aspect of Prana is depiced as follows:

Verily this vital force of the body gets heated by imbibing the fire aspect. It is sun, moon, clouds, wind, earth and beings. It is also existence/non-existence and immortal Brahman (God).

………………………PRASHNOPANISHAD (2/5)

Before creation of this world there was ‘non-existence’. What is ‘non-existence’? As an answer it is said they were Rishis. Who were these Rishis? As an answer it was said they were vital force. Vital Force is Rishi.

………………….SHATPATH (6/1/11)

Over here non-existence does not mean absence but means unmanifested. Before creation Prana existed. When visible objects were created Prana was seen active. This seeing is ‘manifest’.

Prana is called elder and great as follows:

Before creation Prana existed and hence is called elder. It is great because in all bodies and objects its varied activities are noted. In actuality Prana term is used as life.

…………………..CHANDOGYA (5/1/1)

When Prana leaves any body or object they wither away.

…………………….BRIHADARANYAKA (13/16)

The ten senses and the 11th mind that dwell in human beings are all vital force or Prana.

…………………….BRIHADARANYAKA (3/6/4)

Despite this it cannot be called wind, sense organs or psyche. In reality it is a life force that works in all these.

This vital force is neither wind nor sense organs. In scriptures it is described variedly.

…………………..BRAHMASUTRAS (2/4,6)

In the following lines greater clarity is given:

That mature vital force told the mind and sense organs: Do not get deluded. I have taken 5 forms and imbibed this body.


This vital force is neither wind nor is it the activity of sense organs.


This vital force is different from mind and wind.

…………………..MUNDAKOPANISHAD (2/1/3)

We bow down to that vital force which controls everything. It is the substratum of all beings (Pranis). It exists in everything and everything exists in it.

…………………….ATHARVAVEDA (11/6/1)

In Sanskrit language the word Prani is made from ‘Pra’ and ‘Un’. ‘Un’ means life force or consciousness. Thus Prana means life force or vital force. It is hence that creatures are called Pranis. The words Prana and life are used synonymously. Prana is a characteristic of Atman or soul. It comes from Paramatman or God. The soul is an inseparable part of Almighty God. Although it is a part of God yet all qualities of God are present in it. When a creature who imbibes individual vital force matures it becomes all encompassing just as a drop of water on entering the ocean becomes the ocean itself.

Energy in the inert world is spread out as waves and from activity standpoint it is as vital force principle. In the conscious world it is called thought process and sensitivity. In living beings it works as desire, knowledge and activity. All living beings remain alive because of it. The more one possesses this vital force the more one is energetic. The all pervasive existence of consciousness exists in the entire cosmos. Consciousness is called Prana or vital force. When with effort a part of it is imbibed by a living being it is called Great Prana. It is seen as mobility in material inert objects and alertness in conscious beings. Since it is the supreme energy of the animate/inanimate world it is called ‘elder’ and ‘great’.

This principle is timeless and infinite. Creation merges and manifests from it.

…………………….CHANDOGYA UPANISHAD (5/1/1)

What was there before creation of this world? The answer is:

That Brahman (cosmic consciousness or God) created Prana. From Prana manifested faith, intellect, mind and space, wind, light, water and earth (5 elements). Only then food was created.

In Vedic parlance the term ‘wind’ is added to Prana or vital force. At many places it is called Pranavayu. It does not mean oxygen, nitrogen etc but it means that stream which is analyzed and discussed by modern material scientists in the form of mobile electric waves. At the root of atomic radiations, heat, sound etc energy streams it is called the all pervasive substratum. If it is to be described spiritually it can be called Latent Light or divine Light wherein one finds divine light in it.

Swami Vivekananda calls Prana as ‘Psychic Force’. Grossly it can be called mental power. At a gross level it becomes a brain like activity. And yet Prana is cosmic in nature. If macrocosm is called mind’s power/energy or given the name cosmic conscious force only then its meaning is apt. The potential of the primary mental power of individual brain cannot be in the form of Prana. Possibly Swamiji meant the cosmic potential of the cosmic psyche/mind.

In the form of mental and bodily potential one can visualize/experience vital force manifesting and becoming intense. And yet deep down it is much more subtle than all the descriptions given so far.

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