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Title

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THE WORLD AS POWER


POWER AS

LIFE

BY

SIR

JOHN WOODROFFE

PUBLISHERS

GANESH &

Co.,
1922

MADRAS

FOREWORD
TAKE

the opportunity given by the publication of the second volume of this series to deal
I

with a criticism on the


I

"

first

which

affects

am

all.

"

"

therein described as an
adherent of
"
"
"
Shaktaism
and as
the
commending

acceptance of such doctrine, .to others. It is


true that I think that this doctrine has been

misunderstood and has been the subject (on


the whole) of unjust judgments.
I think also
that

it

is,

in its highest presentment, a grand

and inspiring system (by which


that

do not

mean

the only one, or that it is without


otherwise probably I should not have

is

it

defect)

concerned myself with it. I desire however to


"
"
say here that I do not write as an adherent
or any other philosophical system or
religious sect whatever, but as a free-thinker
"

of this,

and
nor

Neither Burgundian
free-companion
Nullius addictus jurare
Armagnac."

in verba

where

magistri.
in

But, as

describing

have said

else-

Shakta teaching and

VI

Vedanta
do

I,

my

pace

make

critic,

give us the truth

which

is

it

in

that

Itself,

its

and

still

efficacy

within the system of

But the Truth as

a part.

beyond that system

light of,

Reason or

less deny, the utility of


to

Nor

write from that standpoint.

is directly

lies

it

realised as

it is

beyond Mind not by Reason

is

but by a Full Experience (Samadhi) which is


"
"
not a
sleep
except to the gross world and
is

an awakening in the supersensible world.

Those who

knowledge

in this fashion

talk

of their

highest praise

is

own

Scripture.

of

There the

bestowed on reason.

instance the Chapter on

for

show want

See

Vichara in the

Moreover Vedanta does not


accept the intuitionalism which discards intelYoga-Vashishtha.

On

the

contrary the Brihadaranyaka


Upanishad says that the Self must be thought

lect.

upon and deeply pondered (Afantavyo, Nidhidhyasitavyah}. What else is the meaning of
Jnana- Yoga ?
Nor, notwithstanding my personal views
of

the

anyone.
their

What

affair

in

"

do

commend "

it

to

others choose to believe

is

Scripture,

which

interfere unasked.

One

have no desire
of the

manv

to

notions.

Vll

which we are indebted

for

thought of India,
of

Competency

make

the

there

is

mental

subject

profound

the fundamental doctrine

or Adhikara

That

volumes.

is

to the

one

of

of

which
this

hope

to

series

of

Doctrine involves this

that

mental as well as physical food a


as well as physical stomach and
a

digestion.

Talking
here (see

Moderne

"

of

food

curious to note
"
La Science
Picard
is

it

Professeur
245) that

living Matter such as

all
its

the characteristics of
equilibrium, chemical

and anatomic organisation are now regarded


by the great majority of Biologists as secondary
comparison with nutrition which
considered by them to be the essential attri-

qualities in
is

bute

of

Life.

It

is

noteworthy that in

this

ancient Indian doctrine also, emphasis is laid


on the physiology of Nutrition, all the main

Vayus except Udana being concerned with


this function of

"

"
living

substance.

Indirectly and on the whole, man tends to


the Truth, but directly and immediately what
he holds to or seeks is not the truth, but the

which he wants. It is the cravings of


his psychical being which he satisfies.
This

truth

VUl
is
If

"
the meaning of the phrase will to believe ".
there be a really detached search for truth

He is a foolish and
excessively rare.
inconsiderate man who would deprive others of
the meal of food, material or intellectual, which
it

is

satisfies

them, though

it

may not please

him.

German Theosophist was I believe


commonly wont to commence his addresses
"
with the observation
I am now going to tell
celebrated

you a story
It

interests

".

Well

me

but

am telling a story.
am the last person

also
I

persuade others to accept it if they be


themselves indifferent or unwilling. I am not
"
"
"
"
seeking converts nor trying to prove that
"
any one is wrong ". If, in answering an in-

to

can please others besides


the better. My account of the

ternal urge to write,

myself so much
main Indian Concepts

may

be of use either to

who are disposed to think the same way,


or to those who simply want to know the facts.
If the books are of use to any one in either way
those

that

is

enough

for

me.

Should anyone think

that they are of no use, that also


I

is

enough

will not dispute the point with him.

own

If

for

his

theories held in good faith really satisfy


"
him, I will certainly not "commend to him any

IX

Each will answer the speculative queswhich all ask, particularly to-day, accord-

other.

tions

ing to their general theoretic views, the product

make-up and temperament.

of their intellectual

As regards

this, all that is

required

is sincerity,

good faith and that openness of mind which

is

necessary for a progressive self-development


But all can with confidence become adherents
of

the

it

for

themselves and others and relieving their


Whole or Puma.
ferings. Health = Hale

suf-

of

Religion

Health,

procuring

To

be whole physically, psychically, and spiritually


is
to be well.
The contrary of wholeness
is

(Apurna)

And

Disease.
"

so

it is

said

Apurnam-

the sense of imperfection,


manyata Vyadhi
55
that is want of wholeness, is Disease
In, with,
.

or as

the Whole,

So one

after.

Shrlyantra

man

called

life

here and here-

Chakras in the great

the

of

is

has

Sarvarogahara or the

Destroyer of all Disease which is Adharma.


"
Shiva is called Mrityunjaya or Conqueror of

Death

As such above

".

his head

Moon shedding streams

of

is

shown

Nectar [Amrita

Deathlessness) over His upright body.


all

it

counts.

is

what

The

notion

man
that

is

the

After

and does which

mere cleverness

is

enough

Hindu

not a

is

one.

What

talking of the At ma and so on

And

no one.
in

others,

if

the use of

is

one has helped

so in the Shakta Scriptures, as

emphasis

is laid

on Kriya (action)

which however may be given a more extended sense than that in which it is there
ordinarily used.
-

To pass

matter

to the subject

personally (like indeed,

book

suppose, most people)

do not believe that Life

Bernard said

of this

merely as Claude

is

"

fermentation," or that a true


can be based on the now (with some)
a

theory of it
"
fashionable
colloidal solution
said

that,

for

".

It

has been

the majority of Biologists, vital

phenomena are merely physico-chemical phenomena.

Nevertheless the Vitalist School

a truer track.

If I

remember

rightly

English Chemist

who

more Matter

studied the clearer

that

it

is

is

it

is

on

was an

lately observed that the

away from Matter

(as such)

it is

seen,

and in the

opposite direction that the solution, if any, of


Life will be found.
As regards the subject of
"
c
this Volume I believe in the
solusimplist
*

tion that Life, as

Life of
shakti}.

we know

all lives) of

J.

power (as the


the Supreme Power (Parait,

is

H. Fabre, the celebrated Naturalist

XI

and incomparable observer

him)
see

said

Him.

can't say

Without

Him

without
is

"

not so

Him

all is

much

Darwin

(as

believe in

called

God.

understand nothing

darkness."

the existence of

The question
God but what

Philosophers and scientists would


less grudgingly give to this Power the name of
"
"
ridiculous and
for the
sort of God.

were

God

not

it

crude,

even hateful notions which the

beliefs of

some

have associated with this word. Merely physical explanations have availed nothing and will
The Vedanta has dealt with
avail nothing.
the question very profoundly in distinguishing
the Vital Body [Pranamaya Kosha] from the

Physical

making

(Annamaya Kosha] and in


lower Mind-Body (Manomaya

Body
the

Kosha} which

is

the vehicle of

all

the animal

instincts, the essence of the former.

instinct

are

Life and

wondrous things the sight

of

which evoke the sentiment of worship. Neither


The explanation must be
results from Matter.
sought not below but above
Intelligence
J.

it

in the

Supreme

which they emphatically proclaim.

H. Fabre conceived the relation between

and organ as analogous to that between


and Body. Instinct is an incorporeal

instinct

Soul

Xll

element characterised by a native,


irresistible impulse,

as

well

as

to

infallible

and

superior to the organism

though

sensibility,

not

is

it

separate from, or completely independent, of


these.

As regards

evolution also,

would

it

think

say that the separate creation of species is a


truer notion than the theory that a higher
For each
species evolves from a lower one.
species
Shakti}.

is

form

If

of

Divine Power

example A, B,

for

{Daivi
be three

C,

an ascending scale from A to


which produces B, nor B which

distinct species in

C,

it is

not

produces C, but

it

is

the one

which produces A,
Power which has appeared

B and

shakti}

as

Power

(Mafia-

That

C.

as A, appears also

B, and will next appear

as C.

as an

ascending type does not owe its ascent to A


the lower type, but is a fresh pulsing-forth

Power, with a view

[Prasarti] of

Consciousness

which appeared

to

as

liberate

A,

now
Some

appears as B, and will appear as C.


"
"
in
liberal
Christian writers claim to be

what they call the "crude" view


according to which the Creator is perpetually
repudiating

"

"
interfering

with His work.

But

in

my

xm
it

opinion

is

more

true to say that every act of

creation, maintenance, and dissolution in past,

present or future

is

way

to

link

is futile

it

"

In the same
"
for the
missing

directly His.

search

as a lost form intermediate

B and

and

The

C.

between

real link is the

Power which produces

each.

So

A and

Supreme

in a tree,

one

main branch does not derive from another but


from a trunk common to both. This view is
any disrespect for Matter, which
as much a form of the Supreme Power in

not based on
is

this

doctrine

fessor P. N.

as

Life or

is

Mukhyopadhyaya

his Note appended to this

who see

formal,

except

when

the All

Matter

vitalised,

If

them

or

is

to those

no difference,

materialised or

when

Spirit is

when

materialised or again
tualised ".

so well says in
"

volume

(Puma] there
when Life is

is

As Pro-

Mind.

everything is spirithere has been any People who,

have seen things as


"
"
it
is the
whole
they are and seen them
Hindus.
taking

It

is

not

all

in

all,

enough

to

dispose of a solution

"

materialistic ". The difsay that it is


ficulty in the way of the acceptance of such
to

a solution arises

from the nature

of

Matter

XIV

we

say, as

Professor Tyndall did,


that Matter contains the potency of all Life,
we are using the word " Matter " in a sense
If

itself.

which

not the ordinary one and trying to say

is

something which

is

stated

much

better in this

Indian Scripture, according to which Matter a


such, that is as the crust or end of the involving
process

which

not as such potent to produce Life

is

is

part of the evolving process.

the Power, of which Matter


festation,

into

the

which
"

"
living

form, which

way towards
keys

to
is

liberation

a gross mani-

to

Matter

organise
the

first

stage on

from Matter and

Pure Experience.

thus towards
chief

able

is

is

It is

One

of the

of

Indian

an understanding

Philosophy is to remember that all its schemes


Creation, evolution
begin with everything.
or whatever

be called,

only the
appearance in subtle and gross forms of an
inherent tendency in pure Being Consciousness, as the nidus of all the manifested tendenelse

cies or Sangskaras.

it

is

On<* cannot get out of a

bag more than has been put into

it.

If it is

not put there in the beginning, it will not be


Thus Life manifests in
got out in the end.

form. Life has no origin except as manifesting

XV
a

in

particular

no

self,

But

form.

origin, for

Life

has,

in

it-

but a limited aspect of

it is

Being in all Its fullness. ConsciousIt is graness again has not itself evolved.
Eternal

liberated

dually
notion.

not

It is

assumed

found

which

is

quite

different

not a product of Matter.


in the beginning

at the end.

If it

be

will not be

it

Its

existence

\Sangkocha]
Mind
with
and
Matter.
association

through

is

as

It is eternal.

contraction

with these

last

two.

As

And

so

constituting shapes

they appear and pass away. But in the form


a potency in
of a potency to appear as such
the Cosmic Will
they had never, according
Vedanta, a beginning as they will never
have an end.

to

The

practical

effect

of

philosophy or

In this
primary importance.
case the aim is Wholeness and Power and that
is

religion

is

of

the effect of practical working or SadhanA

as distinct

Sadhana

from mere theorising.

The high

there are several degrees) is selfpurification and the worship of God as Shaktiman or the Supreme Possessor of Power. I

hope

(for

to deal

\Shakti

with Sadhana in a future volume.

means "Power" and

a Shakta

is

XVI
of

worshipper

it

in Its

following this, entry

which

is

Supreme form. Then


made upon the highest

Jnana-yoga or religious philosophising by him whose mind and body have


been purified and perfected by Sadhtuia.
stage

is

The Shaktisanggama Tantra says


was promulgated
doctrine of Slink

that the
to esta-

//"

blish unity

amongst worshippers. For what-

name

ever might be the


particular
"

His

form

feminine

writer,

known

now
as

"

of

God

of the

worship,

aH

deceased,

he should

who
be,

is

admitted

aspect as Power.

of their

not

Bengali
well

so

namely Bhudeva

Mukhyopadbyaya stated in one of his books


(on what authority however 1 do not know)
that Shakta teaching was also promulgated
with the political aim of hardening the power
of resistance in the Hindu to foreign aggression.
However this may be the doctrine is in fact
powerful and power-giving.
that

those

who

truly

It is

realise

not possible

essential being they are the self-same

Power which
contact

in

that

their

Supreme

created the universe, or in actual

therewith, can be ever weak.

been said that

it

was

told the individual

that

has

which first
he was of worth.

Christianity

man

It

XV11

how can

But

that be, seeing that

hundreds

of

years before the incarnation of the Christ the


"
That thou art ". That is, man
Rishi had said
is

not only of worth, but he

abode
a

is

Deralaya or

Power itself.
power which is weakened or
the Divine

of

Life itself

increased

individual as he has ability to resist,

in the

and

is

and progresshis essential oneness with,

increase through faith

to

ive realisation

of,

in,

Whole, which, while timeless


represented in time by a principle

the enduring
in

itself,

of

conservation within the limits of the

of

is

an universe.j Abundant

life is

successful undertaking of

How
in

to

gain

it

is

the

all

work

needed

human

life

for the

activity.

of Sadha-nii.

Bui

rightly stressing the necessity of practice,

has sometimes been forgotten, in the reaction


"
Dogma," that practice must be
against
it

backed

reasons for
gestion

is

doctrine

by

read for instance that auto-sug-

now

being practised by the mere

it.

the
is

like.

the use of saying

lieve

"

words I am becoming better


every day and in every way/' and
But unless one believes this what

repetition of the

and better

which supplies the

it

Some appear

to be-

without reason but with good results.

xvm
But

not

will

others

believe

this

without

having been given first a reason to show


why such belief is well founded and will
Be they sound
therefore have good result.
or not, Shakta doctrine does give

when

it

and inner being

Whole (Puma)
contraction or

implied in

all

the

that

says

of
of

each

its

ultimate
self is

which the

reasons
Reality

the unlimited

individual

is a

form, deriving the limitation


form by the operation of those

Powers which are Mind and Matter and the


function of which is to- negate the Whole or
Consciousness {Nishedha-vyfipara-rupaShaktili)
as Yogamuni finely says in his Commentary on

Abhinava Gupta's Paramarthasara. That Really Real is the Inner Self and unlimited Being of
which life in Mind and Matter is a limited form.
It is unbroken {A khan da)
It is Hale or Whole.
Bliss of

which

fragment.

It

all
is

happiness in the world is a


unlimited Power in itself as

the Transcendent Will. Limited

Power exists in

the form of the individual wills of living forms

and the physico-chemical powers of Matter.


But all these forms of contraction are due
The
to, and take place in, Mind and Matter.
one

Spirit,

which

is

changeless Bliss,

is

the

XIX

From this
each form may make contact

essential being of all these forms.


it

follows that

which

with, and then realise, the whole,

own

essential Self,

which

is

Source, infinitely joyous, of

and

life

all

itself,

limited

his

the

power

-Pranah prauasya as the Upanishad


"

says or the

beneficial

all

Health

is

however it
Mind and

Life of
to

all lives

its

results

To understand

itself.

necessary to

is

"with

know

this

the nature of

and therefore the

operations

the old saying in the Upanishads


What a man thinks that he becomes ". If
"
If the
this be doubted the answer is
try ".

meaning

of

"

objector refuses to try a system

which pro-

mises particular results, he cannot complain


Just as in
that he has had no benefit from it.
the

West one

finds advocates of the Cult of

Power, so others, both here and there, are


opposed

to

it

because of

its

abuses.

It is

true

Power may be wrongly used but that


need not be so. The objection is not to the
Cult of Power (which is not the same thing

that

as the Cult of material

when

force) but the use of

same way loose


thinking makes a distinction between Might
and Right as though Might was wrong. There

it

obtained.

In

the

XX
is

nothing

The

necessarily

true distinction

is

service of Right and

In

Wrong.

the

wrong about Might.


between Might

Might

same way

in the

in the service of

objection has been

taken to the Shakta doctrine because

it

teaches

Yoga through Enjoyment or Bhoga, as distinct


from Yoga by Renunciation which but very
few are willing to try, and are still less
capable

which

of

achieving

Bhoga

they did.

if

both Enjoyment, and Suffering is not


"
Beer and
limited, in the former case, to
"
"
or to be more up-to-date
Skittles
Cinema and
is

Dancing Teas
like

".

everything

the sincere but

It

else,

sound principle but,


susceptible of abuse by

is

weak on

the one hand, and the

hypocritical pretender on the other.

It is

an

doctrine in this line of thought that perfection can best be attained if each seeker of

old

it

perfects

himself in

all

common human

own particular
However humble

functions, and in his

whatever

it

him only

place

functions

Whole,
strength.
in

be.

himself,

and

actions

when

they

The

in

his

and with the Universal

relation

Life.

be

it

with

life

acquire
individual life

avocation
let

all its

with the

meaning and
is

then lived

But

it

must

XXI

known what

bo

Life

volume attempts

To

is.

to

this question this

shortly the Indian

give

answer.

What is

called the

Power

Doctrine of

West.
in

"

"

"

Philosophy

is

now

New Thought"

as

of Life

"

and

in

vogue in the

it is

called (so akin

some respects to Shakta


Within you is the Power

doctrine) says
"
".
Spiritual

"

is
healing
taught and practised by the
"
"
followers of what is called Christian Science

to

whom

mind

man's

and the world

matter

of

"

is

mortal mind

a kind of

is

"

Maya.

Great changes are taking place in Psychology.


The debt of Theosophy to India is well known
as also (though in another sense] of India to

Theosophy
liie

value

which
of

his

re-called

cultural

to

An American

the books which

Indian

is

establishing

reviewing one of
have published on Tantra
critic

Shastra spoke of this Scripture as being

haps

the

most

elaborate
"

suggestion in the world


did not consider to be to
suggestion, in
stood

by him.

its

In

inheritance.

Medical science. Psycho-therapy


itself.

the

system
a fact

its

of

"

perauto-

which he

credit

for auto-

was

not under-

Indian sense,

XX11

movements

All these western

instances

now

the

of

are further

approximation,

which

is

modern western and


ancient Indian thought to which I have
often referred, as in the first volume of this
"
Series on
There is no reason
Reality ".
however for any racial bumptiousness on
taking

either

place,

of

These

side.

are based on notions


old in India.

and practices

doctrines

which are

it is

true very

are the product of Ancient


India, of that Great India which thought for

and did not wait

itself

kind
it

They

to

be spooned out

the

is

to

West which

for cultural food of


it

is

any

by strangers. To-day
great not only politic-

ally but in its intense original life, in its


of

worship
in its Art, Science and
its keen
research and

Power and Beauty,

Philosophy,

and

elaboration of

in

There, even the

fresh ideas.

smallest peoples with no great past history


are respected Selves.
India has not yet recovered from the state which laid her open
to the

how

to

say
will be the starting

This

She
which

foreign invader.
" "
I

point

of

is still

learning

if

be

it

her

said

activities.

not to deny the existence of great evils


or that the present European civilization carries
is

XX111

within

it,

death.

Moreover, though

like

else, the seed of its

everything
I

think the East has

influenced the West, as the


possible that similar ideas

is

it,

any

other.

It

others that

of

is

If

it

may have sprung

a theory has

in respect of the absurdities

we more

information.
"

for

"

it

the East,

any truth
may be discovered without help from

up independently.
in

West

often require to wait

Probably

no

really

new

There is much truth in


the Ancient Wisdom which is being represented to-day, sometimes with a richer content
and in most cases with an objective proof
Truth

is

true.

which was previously wanting.


'The Upanishads (some of which are more
than 2,000 years old) teach the essentials of
the lines

of

such

that

as

thought

to

which

have referred,

man's essential being

is

the

one Spirit that that being is pure Consciousness and Bliss of immeasurable power, that
:

Mind and Matter


as

such one with

are two of
it,

for

powers and
power (Shakti] and
its

Power (Shaktiman} are one,


man makes himself what he is and he
make himself what he will that (to

the possessor of
that

can

use the words of the Chandogya Upanishadj

XXIV
"

what a man thinks that he becomes/' that


the Power is within, being known as the
"
"
Inner Controller
{Antaryamin}, that Mind
is active and goes forth as a Ray to meet the
excitations of matter,

and

matter,

may

that

it

possess

has power over


various siddhis

without physical
moving
connection and others, and that mind can
influence mind by telepathy and hypnotism
The
{Vashlkaranam} and in other ways.
recent theory, for instance, of the American
Dr. Abrams that there is vibration {Span da] of
;;uch

the

"

matter

as

ultimate

"

electric

units of matter, that

specific rates of vibration are associated with

definite

or

pathological

tissue,

conditions of

the blood

and that these conditions

may

be

cured by electric waves possessing a periodicity enabling


of

the

them

disease

suffering,

is

to control the

vibrations

from which the patient

strongly

reminiscent

theory of Mantra, which by

its

of

is

the

sound-vibra-

and regulates the psychical and


physical sheaths. In a recent book by a Bengali
author it is observed (not with approval for
tions

affects

he rejects the Vedanta and adopts the notions


of

Modern Western Theism)

that

it

appeared

XXV

him

"

old

modern speculations the


philosophers seem to have been winning

all

along the line

to

may

that

in these

"

An Indian
says
that the speculations of

He

".

well feel proud

his age-old philosophers so long ridiculed

by

Europeans are adopted by the newest sci"


"
but he finds that it is
difficult to
ence
;

resist

which

smile

the

naturally give rise to


smile.

No one

".

Let

such

speculations

him

not resist the

will begrudge

him

for

that,

smiles and laughter spell health, nor will he


perhaps demur to the amusement of others for

own.

a reason quite contrary to his

those Indians

do not think

and philosophy

religion

be

who

Naturally
of the

much

of their ancestors will

amused (though the kindly ones

will

be

Europeans who
(as they think) are picking up ancient Indian
errors and putting
them forward as new
saddened)

Western

at the sight of those

truths.

Others
likely be

of a different

way

of

thinking will

opinion that if modern western


scientific theories tend to square with ancient
of

Indian teaching,
for the latter.

But
first said

after

what.

all

then

it

The

some case
does

not

question

is

is

made

matter
is it

out

who

true and

XXVI
therefore useful

a question

which we should

approach without prejudice.

My

friend Professor P. N.

Mukhyopadhyaya

good enough, at my request, to


supply me with the valuable Appendix which
will be found at the conclusion of this

has

been

book which will be followed by two volumes,


which I have prepared with his help, or.
Shakti as Mind and Sliakti as Matter.
Purl
30th May, 1922.

J.

W,

THE WORLD AS POWER


POWER AS

LIFE

(PRANASHAKTI)
I

"
Life
\Saho"
The Life of
vacha Prano'smi}.
"

"

He

all

'

said

lives

'

am

pranasya

Me

who am

pranali]

[Sa
Adore

Life"

(Prano'swi,

"

Mam

itpasasva}.

Kaushitaki Up.,

IN the West,
into that
ised,

the
"

which

latter

non-living,
"
"

"

and

laid

was

on

Kena-Up.

2.

divided

commonly

and unorgancalled living, and

organised

former being

characteristic of

these

is

is

the

inert

thus

matter

32;

dead

substance,
matter.

"

As

brute
is

Western Thought, emphasis


difference

and

An

being apparent.
created between the two

"

so
is

discontinuity,
absolute gulf
the greatest

The World as Power

2
of all gulfs

and what

more

or

namely
is

alive.

less

between what

that

"

"

Organisation

is

dead

means

arrangement
a whole suited

systematic

relatively separate parts in

of
to

any sort of function. According to the


"
old meaning of the term
organic," an organic
body is one, whether living or not, in which
fulfil

heterogeneous elements make up a composite


whole. After Leibnitz two elements in the
conception (that of composition of parts and of
relation of means and end) are intimately

connected and Kant welds them together in


his definition of the organic, as that in which

means and ends


Thus
the whole.

the parts are reciprocally

all

one another

to

and

to

historically the identification

the living comes

which has

last,

of

organic with

and the term means that

whether animal or vegetable


as opposed to inorganic or inanimate. Organism in biology means a discrete body of which
life

the essential constituent

The term

is

living protoplasm.

originally indicated the recognition

of organisation as essential to life


to

site

unorganised or

See Baldwin. Phil. Diet.

"

dead

"

and as oppomatter.

An

Power as Life

own
common to

organism has the inherent principle


systematic process.

It

is

thus

of its

speak of organised matter in connection with


life.
But all matter is now held to be in a
state of organisation, that is systematic arrange-

ment

of

relatively separate parts in a

suited to fulfil

be

to

sort of function.

any

whole

It is

said

complicated structural
the molecules and atoms are

constituted

of

elements, and
described in fact as miniature solar systems.

The supposed,
atoms

these

units

self-moving, electric
constitute

distinct

of

structural

arrangements, varying in number and position


in the varied forms of so called elementary
matter.

soon as

And
we lift

so inert in

its

so

it

has been said

that

"

as

the veil of appearances, matter

outward aspect

is

seen to possess

an extremely complicated organisation and an


So again mineral being is
intense life '.
5

characterised

by its beautifully geometrical


crystalline form as the living being is characIn short all
terised by its anatomical one.
matter, every thing
It is

which

exists is organised.

therefore not organisation but degree and

Le Bon

"

Evolution of Matter

".

The World as Power

nature of organisation which distinguishes so


called living and non-living substance.
inert.

Accoiding to
Sangkhya and Monistic Vedanta all matter is
a compound of derivates from one primordial

Nothing

is

again

Energy

Substance

This and

shakti.

its

modes are

movement For activity

is

in

perpetual
the essential charac-

ultimate

the

of

and Mava-

called Prakriti

Substance-Energy.
For this reason the Hindus call the world
"
"
"
"
which means the
moving thing
Jagat

teristic

because everything
less

Spirit

or

is in

movement

Consciousness,

phenomenal world

all

is

the ethereal continuum.

that

common

and

unmoving

distinction,

between
[A char a]

in the

moving here and

in

exists

change-

just as

there

parlance,

in

It

in

moving
things,

is

true

ordinary

[Chara]
but

this

refers to the appearance only of gross matter

and even

to

living plants without locomotive

movement. This notion of the inertness


matter was due to superficial observation

of

of

molar masses apparently at rest and set in


As above
motion by force from without.
stated,

according

to

the views

now

held, the

ultimate particles of the atoms of matter are

Power as Life

movement and

in

constant

reservoir

of

the atom

tremendous energy.

itself is

has

It

therefore been rightly observed that the whole

question

of

motion,

as related

to living

view

not-living being, requires re-statement in

modern ideas

of

relating to

2nd

an ultra-physical nature
intra-atomic activities and to moleof

movement.
There is no Indian equivalent of the phrase
"
"
"
The term " Jada generally
dead
matter.
means anything without locomotive movement

cular

(Achara} a stationary thing. In this sense a


plant may be Jada though there is movement
the plant

in

may

itself.

moving thing (Chara)


Thus a man who is

be relatively Jada.

numbed with

cold

is

said to be in the

is

state

ot

feels incapable or disinclined

mental action.

One
Jada when he

said to be Jadasada.

for physical or

Jada* means without

move-

ment {Nihspanda} effortless (Nirudyoga}. It


also means unconscious (Achetana}.
But a
thing which is Achetana is not necessarily
and absolutely without consciousness.

In fact

See Prakritivada Diet, of Ramakamala Vidya-

langkara.

The World as Power

form

Everything in Vedanta

that.

is

nothing

is

consciousness [Chit].
Everything
as
its
material
again,
regards
body, is Mayashakti or the finitising principle, Creatrix of
of

the world of forms or

shakti

as

ground

of

everything there

is

in itself

Again Mayais

appearance

Gunas (Triguitamayl}*

three

of

Consciousness.

is

(Svarupd]

Power which

constituted

That

is

in

the Factor Sattva (for the

three Gnnas or factors of the Natural Principle

never

exist

Sattva

is

apart

from one another), and

that aspect of the Natural Principle

which manifests Consciousness


menon,

veiled though

in differing

conscious

degrees.
or

is

any phenoConsciousness be

What

then

we

call

having the appearance

as

unof

only that in which Conscimost obscured to the finite observer.

unconsciousness
ousness

that

in

is

nothing which does not manifest


it
in some
Thus the response of
degree.
matter to stimuli is evidence of the Sattva-

But there

guna and

is

of

the Chit

which

it

reflects.

In

popular language Achetana (unconscious) may


be applied to man who is Achetana to some
4

See

"
Reality

"

by the Author.

Power as Life

What may

things and Chetana to others.

one condition Achetana

in

be Sachctana

Thus

another.

in

(conscious)

may

be

Achetana

(unconscious) may be applied to a man who


is not expert or quick about anything, incapable, worthless, in a state of fascination,

dumb,

any one who remains without


5
action and etfort.
How little a Hindu looks
on anything as being absolutely dead, and
an

blind,

idiot,

how words
illustrated

who

told

statue

are used in an analogical sense

is

by the case of an Orissan sculptor


me that he was unable to make a

wanted out

of

an old stone which

"

"

that is it
dead
gave him because it was
had ceased to be able to be worked upon.
;

From

a philosophical point of view then all

unmoving Consciousness veiled


varying degree by continually moving Mind

is

essentially

in

and

Matter,

and

and

less

most veiled in
less

who

veiled

in

gross

matter,

plants,

animals

Yoga becomes complete


Consciousness and
else.
nothing
Again
the vehicle of mind and matter is the

and man,

in

Dakshata, Satvarata, Akshamata,


Mohita, etc., see Prakritivada Diet.

Akarmanya

The World as Power

8
manifestation

the

of

sciousness, that

is

(Shakti) of Con-

Power

Consciousness as Power.

The term Consciousness must be understood


ordinary Western sense but as an
approximate term for Chit* All matter again
is composed of Sattvaguna as well as of the
not in

other

its

Gunas which

efficiency,

and

are

the

resistance

or

principles
inertia

in

of

There is no vehicle of Conphenomenon.


sciousness which is not in perpetual movement There is no vehicle which does not in
varying degree display Consciousness.
Neither then organisation, motion, nor consciousness

are

Motion exists

peculiar
in

both

to

living

forms

of

substance.

substance,

though it is what is called mechanical and


determined in one, and apparently free and

undetermined

in

the

other.

exists in both cases, though

complex

in living substance.

Organisation

more and more


Consciousness

the essence of both, though so obscured in

is

what is called inorganic matter that the latter


is
deemed unconscious.
Yet even here
6

"

See
Shakti and Shakta," by the author. Chapter on Chit-Shakti.

Power as Life

science corrects crude observation.

was supposed

tability

to

Thus

irri-

be a fundamental

property of living substance. It is however


now known that " non-living " matter reacts
to external stimuli.
Thus its reaction to acid

we

For knowledge in this direction


are indebted, as all know, to experiments

of

the

a spasm.

is

distinguished

Jagadish

Bose.

By

Indian

scientist

Sir

taking as basis the fact

that the most general and delicate sign in life

the

is

electric

this

response, he has shown that


response is the reaction of an

electric

obscured

form

of

Consciousness in

matter.

He

has thus shown by his ingenious experiments the fatigue of metals and its disap-

pearance after rest and the action on these


same metals of excitants, depressants and
poisons.

Whilst

mind

it

is of

course true that self-conscious

which

only in high manifestations of


is also the fact that in the response
inorganic matter makes to external

stimuli

we

Life,

exists
it

see

the

most rudimentary form

which when developed is called


Matter
sentiency a form of Consciousness.

of

that

is

of

extreme

mobility

and

it

has

been

The World as Power

10
"

said

endowed with an unconscious sensibility

which cannot be approached by the conscious


The author cited
sensibility of any being ".
"

This sensibility

matter so contrary to
what popular observation seems to indicate is
becoming more and more familiar to physiadds

This

cists.

is

why

of

such an expression as the

'

of

matter/ utterly meaningless twentyfive years ago, has come into common use.
life

The study

of

mere matter

yields ever increas-

has properties which were


formerly deemed the exclusive appanage of
The analogies discovered are,
living beings.

ing proof that

it is

likely,

it-

due

to

the fact that nature does not

greatly vary her procedure, and constructs all


beings from mineral to man with similar
materials,

common
Then
ent in

whence they are endowed with

properties
is

the substance

what

is

answer

is

matter

which
of

Le Bon

we

living and

call

is

in

living

substance.
matter.
"

matter differ-

not living ?

in the negative.

non-living

kinds

".

It

is

the

The
same

substance as in

There

are

not

two

The chemico-mechanical

Evolution of Matter," 249 (1907).

II

Power as Life

school stand for the continuity of evolution

between non-living and living substance. The


Vitalists say that there is no difference as to
matter, but that, when viewing life, we are in
"
"
the presence of
something else (not matter)
in addition to

from

mineral

The

materials.

is

found existing in non-

Nature

living bodies.

beings

what

manner they

fact

constructs all

man

with similar

in
to

exists

difference

the

in

are worked up to display the

Consciousness which

is

their

essence.

greater the display of consciousness the

complex the structure.


The various " elements "

of

matter

The
more

may by

combination give birth to bodies of increasing'


complexity from the forms of inorganic matter
to the

compounds forming the

beings.

living

being

is

tissues of living

made up

of

an

aggregate of chemical compounds formed by


8
the combination of a small number of elements
so associated as to

The human body

compose molecular

edifices

is about 75 per cent water,.


and bones. The nerves and brain cells
are 80 per cent or 85 per cent water. The Colloids
are, it is said, the underlying fabric of many of the

rest

jelly

processes of

life.

The World as Power

12
of

very

great

mobility.

particularly

complex but structureless homogeneous undifferentiated

Protoplasm
"
"

chemical substance
is

the substance out of

things,

living

known

as

which

all

whether Plants, Animals or

This elementary life-stuff


possesses even in minute portions all the properties seen in the most complicated living

Men, are formed.

structures such as assimilation, growth, consensitivity, reproduction.

tractility,

built

up the

with

its

it

is

complicated structure

walls and nucleus.

constitute

plexity

cell, itself a

Of

in

Inorganic forms
molecular edifices of small comstructure,

whereas

compounds

elaborated within the tissues of living beings


are admittedly extremely difficult of inter-

So long as chemistry had only to


study very simple mineral or organic compretation.

pounds, elementary laws were sufficient, but


closer examination showed that substances
existed to

which none

of the

known laws

of

carbon hydrogen, oxygen nitrogen


minute quantity of other elements notably
phosphorus. It is however so complex chemically
as to defy exact analysis.
Moreover it is dead
which
of
protoplasm
chemistry speaks.

and

Contains
a

Power as Life

13

chemistry could be applied and these substances

which play a preponderating


A great
part in the phenomena of life.
number of chemical compounds, of which the
are just those

aggregate constitutes a living being, possess a

and properties

structure

laws

to

which none

of the

No
chemistry are applicable.
formula can express their composition and no

old

of

On them
theory explains their properties.
depend the majority of the phenomena of life.
The

albuminoid Protoplasm, which is


the fundamental substance of the cells, never
viscid

appears to change, though by its presence it


determines the most complicated chemical

The writer

reactions.

above speaks

the

of

10

from

the

whom we

quote

chemical edifices

the humble cells perform comprise


operations not only the most skilful in the

which

many more skilful still which


to imitate.
By means unknown

laboratories but

man

is

the

cells

unable

compounds
bodies.

"

construct complicated and varied


and decompose the most stable

All these operations so

admirably adapted
10

See Le Bon. Op.

to

precise so

one purpose are directed

cit.,

293295.

The World as Power

14

by forces of which we have no conception


which act exactly as if they possessed a poiver of
clairvoyance very superior to reason.

What

they accomplish every moment of our existence is far above what can be realised by the

most advanced science."

living being

is,

these cellular lives.

we

call

is

it

it

the

as

aggregate,

What

be

life,

which

as body, the aggregate of

What

then

is

that

which

in the cells or the cellular

plant,

animal, and

man?

constitutes the distinction

between that we call life and non-living substance ? For it must be admitted that there are
obvious differences between the two, otherwise
man would not have made the distinction. It
is sometimes forgotten, in the desire to unify
the characteristic of phenomenal Reality that it is made up of differences

all things, that

it

is

and apparent discontinuities. For it is only


these which can constitute a world. If all were
static and homogeneous there would be no
world at all. Continuity only exists as regards
the original Substance-Energy (Shakti)of which
apparent diversities and continuities are
modes. Nevertheless, whilst admitting diverall

sity,

we may

discern elements of sameness or

Power

15

as Life

correspondence which are the phenomenal indications of the unity of Creative Reality Itself.

Varying definitions have been given of


"
Life such as
the special activity of organised
"

beings

which

tells

us

Life

nothing.

is

generally defined as a process and we are


told what Life does rather than what Life is.

Thus living substance is said


which is born, breathes, moves,

be that

to

assimilates,

grows, adapts itself to environment, repairs


and reproduces itself and dies. Whilst it is
true that these are fundamental properties of
living substance,

rate

all

popularly

of

it

cannot be said that,

them, are properties

called

"
living

any
what is

of

substance

at

"

alone.

Perhaps in some degree none are. To be


born and to die are only particular ways of
coming into and leaving a passing form of
We cannot equate the behaviour
existence.
that of artificial machines.
of bodies with
Thus the atom of matter does not depend on
external impulse for
not provided
store of

its

movements.

from without with

energy which

it

is

gigantic

carries within

keeps itself going until


This dissociation is the death
It

its

It

itself.

dissociates.

it

of

the atom

The World as Poiver

16

which there must have been,

for

as regards

any particular atom, a corresponding birth.


Nor can we say that one is self-moved and
not the other.

In

gross matter there

is intra-

atomic and molecular movements, though as a


mass it is moved only by the application of
"
"
Brownian movement may
external force.

be a reaction of external molecular conditions

upon a small mass of matter, resulting in


mechanical motions, but it is yet a movement
"
"

Even
movement

of transport.

so called

animal

may

be

Some

are of opinion that

external conditions.
there

is

the

Then

reaction

to

no spontaneous or voluntary movement

and that
in

self-initiated

all

movement

is

the result of tactisms

nature of a chemico-physical reaction.


what of the admittedly living

Except as an independent organism it


may be incapable of movement of transport.
Thus only the white cells of the blood have
amaebic movement. Some cells have ciliary

c^ll.

Others, such as the living


have no movement of transport at all.

movement
cells,

only.

yet living and form part of a


All admittedly living subliving organism.
stance breathes. And hence the word Prdni

These

cells are

17

Power as Life
or

leaves.

The plant does so


Even in an animal, the

cannot

see the process of respi-

breathing creatures.

through

its

Amaeba,

we

It is therefore supposed
taking place.
that the interchange of gases which constitutes the breathing process takes place all over

ration

the creature, there being no


It may not be too
special organ.

surface of

the

apparent

fanciful to suppose that

some such interchange

place, through attraction

takes

(principles

of

and repulsion,

operation) in the
"
Whether " non-living

universal

interstices of matter.

matter can assimilate depends on the question

whether
is

it is

capable of growth.

some measure chemical,

in

The
for

process

chemical

changes and operations take place^ during its


All matter is capable of crystalliprogress.
sation,

thus individualised by
of elements borrowed from the

and matter

incorporation

medium with

is

Cells and crystals have

itself.

show evident

been said

to

crystalline

form corresponds

The

one.

successive

material

to the

molecules

transformations

crystalline form, being

way,

affiliation.

to

anatomical

go

through

assume the

a representation, in a

of tissue in the course of evolution.


2

The

All

The World as Power

18

deny that there are


differences between the growth of crystals
"
"
bodies.
So again
and of so called
living
with self-repair which is a mark of living
this

of

course

is

not

to

Like the animal or plant a mutiIn


lated crystal can repair its mutilation.
substance.

fact

healing or righting

this

merely present

is

in individual bodies, but is

characteristic

essential

tendency

not

an

the universe as a

of

an aspect of the universal Law or


Dharma under which all abnormality, injury

whole

and wrong are in due time righted.


as regards generation.

So again

In certain conditions

they have first


In other cases
received a crystalline germ.
only

liquids

crystallise

spontaneous

crystallisation

observed.

The

produced

by

identical

ture

in

with

Adaptation,

if

appears

crystalline bodies

admitted

vital

to

be

which are

activities

are

composition and molecular struc"


"
crystals of
inorganic
origin.
that
is
the
various
meeting

with which any living being is


confined, may ultimately be reduced to Attraction
{Rag a} and Repulsion (Dves/ia), and

conditions

changes in environment, whether


the reaction be due to mere chemical changes

response

to

Power

as Life

19

in the composition of a thing, or


is

also

an element

of

whether there

purposiveness in them.

Matter responds by expansion to heat, and by


contraction to cold under rigid law.
Lower

organisms are also largely subject to such


law but as they rise in the scale of being the
element of freedom manifests. In all cases
purpose is served
organism conscious of
a

in
it.

some only

the

is

All forms of Matter

Mind

act

Sangskaras

or

their

ends,

though only in some bodies

that

tendency

and

according

to

their

innate tendencies

presented

as

inherent
to

realise

to

object

is

its

The form is adapted to the


accomplishing what the organism is

consciousness.

end

of

by nature

fitted to

the action

is

the

accomplish.
realisation

In some cases
of

a chemico-

physical law, in others by instinct, in some


others again by conscious willing process.
Every centre acts according to the degree
of
it.

freedom which evolution has accorded


It

is

in fact

distinguishing

in

freedom that

characteristic

of

we

to

find the

living

sub-

cannot be said that either organic


or inorganic matter is altogether free.
For

stance.

It

each form exists and operates according

to the

The World as Power

20

laws which govern it.


behaviour or Dharma.

Each has

its

normal

But living matter

shows increasing will and purposive action.


If we then examine the differences which
exist between so called inorganic and organic

we

matter,

the

in

find that they

may

be

statement

generalised

summed up
that

living-

endowed, in greater and greater


Exdegree, with freedom and individuality.
ternal control is never wholly absent but
Instead
there is increasing freedom from it.

matter

of

is

a rule imposed on simply-organised subject

biologically
in

forms

of

living

described

as

an organism rich

the

material,

matter are

with internal self-regulating


Chemical and physical processes are

organisation

control.

and unvarying and a particular behaviour may be expected with accuracy, We do


not anticipate any departure from the regular
rigid

events involved in any chemical or


On the other hand an
physical process.
n
has said
opponent of the Vitalistic theory

lines

of

that

an

11

animal never does twice the same

See Le Dantec

Life".

"

The Nature and Origin

of

Power as Life
thing

21

whole course

the

in

Freedom and

its

existence.

individuality is thus the funda-

mental characteristic

of living matter.

we might expect, seeing

And

this

that the initial creative

an impulse towards individualisa-

is

process

of

impulse which continues to gain


strength with the evolution of forms. ^
The fact that gross matter exhibits (though
tion

an

rudimentary form) the properties of living


substance is regarded by some as proof that all
matter is either, in an obscure sense, alive or

in

has within

Either
the potency of life.
view is apt to introduce confusion and obliteLife is a term which
rate real differences.
it

expresses a distinction.

If

we

call all

matter

we

thereby give to the word life a


meaning which renders it meaningless. If
again we say that matter as such contains

alive

the potency of life, we are again giving to


the term matter another sense than that in

which

it

is

ordinarily understood,

sense which places


Life and Mind.

doctrine

sound.
unity.

is in
It

To

it

The

namely

in contrast with both

position taken

this matter, as in so

by Shakta

many others,

recognises both difference and


the holders of chemico-mechanical

The World as Power

22

theories of the production of Life by Matter,


it

says that Matter as such

On

Life.

the contrary Life

is

not the cause of

is

Power,

of

Consciousness which directs matter.

it

is

But

say that the cause of Life is


in matter as the Power which

right to

immanent

To the

manifests as both Matter and Life.

whether

Vitalist,
is

torm

or new,

old

right in affirming that Life

says that he

it

is

not a product

Matter as such, but wrong when he says


"
"
that there is
something else in living sub-

of

stance which

absent in non-living substance.


For the one Power is present in both, but
"
"
manifests either as so called
dead
matter

with

its

is

and

regulated

and behaviour, or

<

in

motions

calculable
"

matter in which

live

the gradual freeing of consciousness and will


"
"
self-initiated
introduces
purposive action

which

is

and

less

practical purposes
is

it

less calculable,

becomes

until

incalculable.

not in short to matter as such that

look

for the

Power

appearance

(Shakti)

matter and

life.

which
This

important a point that


greater

of
is

is

life,

the

It

we must

but to

cause

examined

detail, after a short historical

the

of both

so fundamental

it is

for

and

later in

review

Power as Life

23

of the theories held in

nature of Life and

its

East and

West

as to the

so called origin.

Indian materialists (Charvakas, Lokayatas) Life, as well as Consciousness,

According

to the

was spontaneously generated (Abiogenesis)

as

chemical combination, under


the influence of heat and moisture, of the
a result of the

four

kinds of matter
the

as

liquors

12

in organic forms, just

property of spirituous
the result of the fermentation of

intoxicating
is

rice

unintoxicating

The

and molasses.

in-

movements of the newly-born organism were held to be mechanically due to

stinctive

external stimuli, as
closing

of

much

as the opening and

the lotus at different hours of the

day or night or the movement

of iron

the influence of the lodestone.

It is

under

common

ground however in the Nyaya-Vaisheshika,


Sankhya Patanjala and Vedanta schools that
Consciousness

13

transcends

product of matter.
12

Vayu, Tejas, Ap,

and

not

the

The Naiyayikas held

that

Prithivi.

The

is

fifth

Akasha

was not admitted


See Seal, 239

as not being subject of perception.


91, Positive Sciences of the Hindus.

This is not mind. The latter


Chaitanya.
and unconsciousness.
consciousness
intermingled
13

is

The World as Power

24

psychical and vital processes are immaterial


14
The
and could not be resolved into motion.

two

Matter are, as all


15
sciousness
forms

from

which

else,

of

tinguished

Mind and

held that both

schools

latter

motion,

one

is

not con-

but

are

dis-

in

that

the

another

Vedanta holds that Life

is

also

a separate

substantive principle which the Sangkhya, on


the ground of economy of categories, does not

admit.

Both held that consciousness

motion and cannot be the resultant


tions of inorganic matter.

ness of the

self,

Nor

is

of

is

not a

the mo-

the conscious-

or of the organism as a whole,

the resultant of supposed consciousnesses vested


in the constituent particles of the body. There

one central abiding Consciousness.

is

Life

16

17
or
according to the Sangkhya is not a Vayu
bio-mechanical force nor any mere mechanical

impulsion

resulting

from the impulsion

of

14

Parispanda. Ljfe. It is a Guna, jivanayoniyatna


or activity of the Atman.
15

As

either the Sangkhyan Purusha or Vedantic


Both are transcendent, immaterial, and at
all else moves.

Atma.
rest

16

Seal, 241.

17

Vayu comes from

the root

Va

to

move.

Power as Life
Vayu. Life is a reflex activity, a resultant of
the various concurrent activities of the mind

and senses. 18
disturbing

This,

effect

it

on the

is

said,

explains the

vitality of pleasurable

The Sangkhyas accept


the substantive existence of Mind 19 but resolve
Life into a mere resultant activity of the mind
and senses. Whilst therefore for them Life
was not a bio-mechanical force nor evolved
from inorganic matter 20 it was only a complex
and painful emotions.

reflex activity resulting from the operations of

the psycho-physical principles or forces in the


21
whilst agreeing
organism. The Vedantists

with the Sangkhyas that Life is neither a biomechanical force, nor the result of its operation,

deny

that

it

is

merely the result

of the con-

current sensori-motor, emotional, and apperLife is


ceptive reactions of the organism.
prior

to

the

senses,

for

it

regulates the

18
That is Ego (Ahangkara), the emotional (Manah)
and sensori-motor (Jnanendriya and Karmendriya)

relations of the organism.


19

Manas, as derived, co-ordinately with the Tanmatra, from Ahangkara or individualised Prakriti.
20
Bhuta.
21

Seal, oj.cif.,242.

The World as Power

26

development

of the fertilised living. ovum

from

which the senses subsequently develop. The


sensations do not explain life.
Moreover the
deprivation of any one or more of the senses
does not

mean

deprivation

of

The

life.

Vedantists therefore hold Life, which

is

called

22

Prana, as a separate, substantive, quasimaterial Principle, pervasive of the organism,

which

is

not a gross natural force or material

energy but a form of regulative activity or


motion guiding such energy phenomenally and,
as the western Scholastics said, immersed in
Matter,

which

(jn

the

exists

or Shakti

is

which

Shakta system, everything


a form of Supreme Power
is in Itself

Consciousness and

manifests as Consciousness-unconsciousness. 23

This word comes


breathe "-f-pref ix Pra.
23

from

the root

An

*'

to

Neither the 24 nor the 36 Tattvas give Life as a


separate substantive Principle or Tattva, as does the
Mayavada scheme. Life is here, as in the Sangkhya,
merely a complex reflex activity resulting from the
operation of the psycho-physical Principles. It is a
form of the Supreme Power which produces them,
though possibly (for the point is at present not
That is
clear) after the manner of the Sangkhya.
Life as Cause is Power, though the mode by which
it works may be that which the Sangkhya indicates.

Power as Life
That Power
Action.

power

The

is

27

Knowledge or

either of Will,

Lite Principle

[Kriya-shakti}.

form

is a

But the

of active

Powers are

never entirely separated the one from the other.

Wherever

there

is

the one, there

is

the other.

In particular manifestations, one or other may


be predominant * 4 Therefore there is present
both Will and Knowledge and all these are
manifestations of the one Consciousness.

The

ultimately as all else Consciousness, in this case active to produce and


sustain living substance and all its functions.
Vital

Principle

is

Living substance is a form


Prana has been defined 25

to

Atma with

relation of the

of

God
be

"

organises or builds
55

having experience

24
25

the special

certain form of

matter which by this relation the


Self)

as Power.

2tma

up as a means

Prana

in

its

(or
of

general

Pradhana.
"

Hindu Realism,"

In the
J. C. Chatterjee.
the Devi as Life-Principle is depicted
of a red colour in a boat floating on a sea of blood.

Tantras

The
is compounded of A-fat+man.
means All-spreading just as Brahman does.
"
"
According to some the root is As " to be ( Asmi,
Sum, I am) or An to breathe the Spirit," which
has the same significance.
26

This term

root At

28

The World as Power


"

sense as the

nor

is

Breathing

is

an attribute

festations of Life,

stance.

is

It

"

not breath,

is

except in a secondary
only one of the mani-

breathing

it

sense.

Life Principle

of living sub-

manifestation of

the

Life-

simply the circumambient


The form of the
air inhaled and expelled.

Breath

Principle.

is

Life-Principle or Prana, as manifested function,


is breathing. Life, as the vital principle, bears

the same

name

as

its

chief characteristic

the

mark
And
of vegetable, animal, and human nature.
"
"
thus the word
means
literally
Spirit
breath.
Man must speak in terms of material
existence, and he here selected what
seemed to him the least material, the most
unsubstantial.
A breath may be felt. The

breathing which, in various forms,

is

the

physical action of breathing may be seen and


known. When breathing ceases Life ceases
:

and so the Kaushitakl Upanishad calls Prana


"
the Life-duration of all ". But That which is
unseen, of which its functioning is seen, is
Spirit or Brahman as the Life and source of
all lives,

Prana
atter

is

the
is

the

Prana

of all

Pranas.

either individual or cosmic.

Brahman

as Prana.

The

The

special

29

Power as Life
relation,

above mentioned, constitutes the in-

Prana in the individual body. The


individual Prana is limited to the particular
body which it vitalises, and is a manifestation
dividual

in all breathing creatures called


life-giving

the

of

activity

Pranl

the

of

The

Brahman.

cosmic Prana which pervades and vitalises

all

breathing creatures [Pranl] is the Brahman as


the collectivity of all individual Pranas, and
the source of the individual and collective

Breathing

is

life.

microcosmic manifestation

of

which the whole


universe moves and according to which it

the macrocosmic

Rhythm

to

appears and disappears. And so it is said that


the life of Brahma, the Creative-consciousness
in

is of

any universe,

going breath,

27

His inbreathing

The body

is

of

the duration of the out-

28
the Lord as Time.

all

worlds are withdrawn.

divided by the Vedanta into

five sheaths,

which are

we

inward,

proceed

food or matter,

27
28

With

life,

less

and

less gross as

namely the sheaths of


lower and higher mind

Nishvasa.

Kala See Introd. Prapanchasara Tantra, Vol.


Tantrik Texts.

3.

The World as Power

30

and

of

differs
30

food

bliss.

which

geneous,
the

The Pr ana may a

or

it

made up

But the

vital

undivided whole,
34

It

body.
35

regions,

as

is

The

vitalises.

self

33

30

32

is

of

latter is hetero-

of distinct or

gross physical self

sical

or life-body

from the gross outer body or body


31

parts.

2'

well defined

which

within

lies

an homogeneous

permeating the whole phy-

is

not cut

off

into

distinct

the microcosmic cosmic physi-

Unlike the
body known as the Pinda.
it
has no specialised organs each
latter
is an
It
discharging a special function.

cal

homogeneous unity, present in every part of


the body which it ensouls as its inner vital

A new life appears with

self.

the seed

of

3t]

in

breathing

the germination
creatures.

into

29

Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya, Anandamaya.


30

Annamaya.

31

Parichchhinna.

32

Pranamaya Atma.

33

Sadharana.

34

35
36

Sarvapindavyapin.
Asadharana.
In

the viviparous

Placental

(no

a-placental

animals were known) or Jarayuja, the oviparous


animals or Andaja, vegetable organisms or Udvijja.

Power as Life

Prana

seed

this

goes,

31

that

when

is

When

enters.

the

breathe, the organism

their

may

cells

Prana

organism ceases

which the

ciple holds together disintegrates,

time the

the

to

Vital Prin-

though

continue a sort of

for a

life of

own.

Prana

metaphorically called Vayu in the


sense of universal vital activity. It is itself
one,

is

but on

entry into each body manifests

itself in

ten different

names,

of

Apana^

ways under

which the

five chief are

Vyana

Samana,

ten different

Prana,

and

Udana

like

all

later

explained.

Prana
stitutive

or

Ayuh

principles of the

aspects namely as

the

first

Brahman
It

(Life)

Prana
as

is

Universe has two

cause and as
a

name

the Cause

of,

was commonly believed

other con-

effect.

for the

that

is

In

Supreme
Power

the

that the fourth class

Svedaja or Usmaja were spontaneously or a-sexually generated from inorganic matter through the
action of moisture and heat such as maggots in
corrupting flesh. See Raghava Bhatta Comm. on

Sharada Tilaka,

1, 27, 29.

But the view was

also

taken that inorganic matter without seed (Bijaj


could not give rise to animal life. See Seal, Ob. cit.
177,181.
37
Ayuh is Prana. Kaushitaki-Up., 32.

The World as Power

32

which produces, the life of individual


Numerous Texts establish this " He
being.
said 'I am Prana (Prano'smi)
"Thou art
"
"
"
39
Prana is Brahman
Ay uh
{Ayustvam}
(Prano brahma].^ Here Praua means Parabrahman 4l beyond Mind and Speech.
Hence
God is enjoined to be worshipped as Life.
"
Adore Me who am Life (Ayith] and
(Shakti)

'

43

Eternal.

"

35 43

He who worships Me

as Life

and Immortality obtains in this world all Life


*4
45
Worship of life is done with life.
(Ayuh}"

38

Kaushltaki-Up.,
Brahmeti). Ib. 21.
39

Maitri-Up.,

32:

is

Brahman (Prano

51.

40

Chhandogya-Up.,
2-2.
41

Prana

4105.

Brihadaranyaka-Up., 4

Kaushitaki,

21,

3.

Kaushitakl-Up., 2 2. Here Prana is indicative


(Lakshanartha) only. As the Parabrahmasvarupa
or transcendental Brahman It is beyond Prana. Cf.
42

"Thou

He who

art

Devatas and
43
44

Who

Kaushitaki-Up., 3
Ib.

(He who

is

Prajnatma).

get life (Ayuh) who worship


Taittirlya-Up., 2 3 1.
is the third Pada of the Gayatri,
Taitt.
Cf.

Brahman
Prana

other than Prana and the


Kaushitakl-Up., 1 6.

is

art both."

"They

as

Prana."

1-5-3.
45

Up.,

"

I
1.

do Tarpana of Ayuh with Ayuh.

"

Shiro-

Power as Life

33

Prana, as the Supreme Cause, which


46
He is thus the Life of
gives life as Effect.
It is this

3547

The Kanva 48 says "The Devas


worship that which is the Deathless One
{Amrita\ which is truly Itself Life, and the
The Agama also says " As
Light of Lights."
lives.

all

4i)

we two

(Shiva and Shakti) are the Self of the


Two are one with it. By reason
World/
of Our oneness with one another we are at all

We

times the Life

of the

World (Jagatprana}

".

What is vitalised is so vitalised by Prana.


And He is the Vitaliser or Prana in chief. 53
from

is

It

this

Supreme

Life that

51

52

all

beings
issue, enjoy their individual lives, and then
54
It is thus the Cause of the
re-enter into it.
4(5

47

Pranah pranaya dadati, Chh.-Up., 715.


Sa u pranasya pranah. Kena.-Up., 2.

4S

One

19

Cited in

of the recensions of the

Comm.

to v. 1 to

Brihad.-Up.
Kamakalavilasa*

50

Jagadatmatvat.

51

Cited by Natanandanatha in

Comm.

to v. 12 of

Kamakalavilasa.
52

Pranena abhipranitah. Ait.-Up., 3

53

Mukhyah Pranah.

Prana

is

Chh.-Up.,

the fourth Pada of

11.

123

15-3.

Brahman. Chh.-Up.,

3-184.
54

1115.

Prana is Ra because
Chh.-Up.,
12
all beings enjoy (Ramante) Br.-Up., 5

Prana

in
1.

The World as Power

34

As such.

universe.

this universe.

also

endless,
itself.

56

Life

As

eternal.

is

55

Life eternal

It

it is

is

an

constant and changeless Persistence


It is also eternal as universe, in the

sense that, whilst particular systems come and


now
go, the universal process is eternal

dropped and

now resumed.

Prana

is

Para-

that is Supreme Being


watma, Antaratma
beyond and in bodies as their Controller and
Director. It is Kala the force which urges on
M " Fire "
all things and is viewed as Time
is

{Agui) (which

60

the builder of forms)

59
;

exhi61

beyond matter.
Eternal Life is the persistent and true 62 which
63
is enshrined by all name and form.
It is
bited in matter,

55
56
57

58
59

Up.,

*
cl

though

itself

Prano va amritam. Br.-Up.,


Prano 'sau lokah. Br.-Up.,

3.

154.

Maitri-Up.,
Maitri-Up.,
Ibid.,

69, 61,
45.

69.

It

(as

68 and 77.

Brahman)

is

Tejomaya. Br.-

2-5-4.
Ibid. ,6
It

is

11.

Amritamaya.

Br.-Up., 2

54

yatma, that is above Daiva and Bhuta.


amritam. Br.-Up.,
62
Prana vai satyam. Br.-Up.,

163.

2120.

63

Ib. 9

163.

and AdhPrano va

35

Power as Life
formless. 64

have

All

Supreme Brahman

is

form but It. 65 The


formless, and so also is

the organising principle of bodies, though


takes on the forms of the matter in which

immersed.

is

its

causal sense,

Supreme Power

the

it

66

then, in

ITife

it

is

[Shakti] in

the originator of individual lives.

its

name

for

aspect as

That Power

Consciousness {Chit}. This consciousness is immersed in matter and is there

is in itself

veiled and appears as the director, guide, regulator,

is, it is

Fran a

or

about.

04

65

53 67

of its material energies.

material

not matter.
is

and

leads

"

not

is

It

that

and controller

said

guides

to

"

in the English sense,

On

the contrary Life


"

be so called

because

it

[Pranayanat] and moves

Leads and guides what ? The answer

Atha amurtam pranah. Br.-Up., 2 3 5.


4. Idam eva
murtam yad anyat
Ibid.,

23

Pranat.

Vayu, by which name Prana is metaphorically


Vayu is a form of gross material
Energy which Prana is riot) belongs to the formless
(Amurta) division of the Bhutas (sensible matter).
66

called (in so far as

67

Pranayanat prakramanat prana

because

it

tion of Life.

builds

The

iti

abhigiyate.

word may also mean


up (matter) which is also a func-

(Prakritivada Diet.).

first

The World as Power

36
Matter

which

the last product of


the involution of Consciousness cannot, as such,
is

for this

guide and direct


distinguishes,

in

is

The Vedanta

itself.

clearly

doctrine of the sheaths

its

(Koshas] of the Spirit, Matter which is the


outermost and most gross sheath, from the

body which is the next inner and more


subtle sheath, within which again are the
vital

sheaths of lower and higher mind and within


the last the Self.
The gross body is the

sheath of matter or food


vital or

the

68
,

and within

it is

the

69

which, with Mind, are


This latter is
the Self.

Pranic sheath

subtle

body of
Consciousness, and Mind, Life, and Body are
forms of its Power (Shakti}.
If

it

be remembered that

all

is in

essence

Consciousness, veiled in varying degree by its


Power as Mind and Matter, the nature of Life
will

be clearly

mind

70

understood.

of

itself.

veiled and most

The lower mind

68

Annamaya Kosha.

69

Pranamaya Kosha.

70

Vijnanarnaya Kosha.

71

Manas

of the

is least

the higher

Judgment and

functioning as Reason,

so forth, Consciousness

aware

In

Manomaya Kosha.

71

which

Power as Life

37

attends directs and synthetises the functioning


of the senses is more veiled.
Animal instinct

again is a veiled form of consciousness. Another form of the mental principle is Prana or
Life. Though not specifically called mind, it is
nevertheless

that

wholly immersed
consciousness of
body.

For

soever

way

to limit, regulate, control in


is

the

function

operation

is

is

in all matter,

living or not

living

material energies in

of

the patient of such


is

present

whether we

when it
such a way as
;

what-

mental

the

Consciousness

Matter.

work

but

call

Prana or the

And

to build

in

Principle

is

food,

the

72

the

lower

Maitri-Up.,

of

72

is

it is

sums up these

that

the

the

Life-

Matter (and

matter which sustains

is

Lower Mind
the

statement

the essence

which

Principle,
of

the

of

life),

essence of the Life

Higher Mind

is

the essence

mind, whilst the Self in

613.

up

Vital Principle or Force.

so the Maitri-Upanishad

relations

it

directs the

and sustain breathing creatures [Prani]


called

is

the material energies of the

and that which

at

mind which

matter as the directing

in

principle,

and

of

aspect

its

The World as Power

38

body of Bliss
Mind. 73

The

the essence of the

manifests

Vital

Principle
All
functions.

various

may

is

reduced

be

to

in matter

and

centripetal

centrifugal, attraction and repulsion,

in

itself

movement
the

Higher

which are

psychically, like [Raga] and dislike (Dvesha)

and

physically

and

cohesion

on

affinity

the one hand, and their opposites on the other.


Cohesion which links together the elements of

manifests in the mutual actions of the

bodies

molecules.

Affinity operates between particles

determining the majority of


chemical reactions. Gravitation is an immense
of different bodies

form

of

attraction

and volcanic action

repulsion on a large scale.

is

In osmotic pheno-

74

mena, molecular attraction and repulsion are


most clearly shown, there being produced two
currents in a converse direction called exos-

mose and endosmose.


attractions

73

and

repulsions,

acting

in

Prano va annasya raso, manah pranasya,

nam manasah, anandam


74

These simple molecular


the

vijna-

vijnanasya.

All substances which possess the property of


dissolving in a liquid attract the solvent and are
conversely attracted by it

Power as Life

bosom

39

govern a great number of


vital phenomena and are, it has been said,
perhaps one of the most important causes
of

of

liquids,

the formation of living beings.

All

such

attractions and repulsions can act only at a certain distance.


The term " Field of Force "

given to the space in which they are


"
"
exercised and that of
Lines of Force
to

is

the

directions

in

which are produced the

and repelling effects.


Prana, as a general term for Life, manifests in
various ways and is thus given various names

attracting

75
according to the functions.

name

Prana

is

also the

of the chief of these functions.

Prana

in the latter sense is the specific vital function

which

is

appropriation or injection.

representative

of

the centripetal

It is

the vital

movement

of

matter and of the psychical principle which is


Like or Attraction or Raga. Leading instances
of appropriation

or injection are inspiration,

76

swallowing food or drink, absorption by the


75
The chief of these are five and so in Pranagnihotra Up., 2. Prana Agni==Paramatma surrounded
by the five Vayus Prana, Apana, Samana, Vyana,

Udana.
76

Shvasa.

See Brihad.-Up.,

137

5-143.

The World as Power

40

skin, either naturally, or in the case of medica-

by skin absorption. On the macrocosmic


1
scale Prana is gravity. Commonly P ran away it?
78
But
is said to include the outgoing breath.
tion,

Pranavayu as appropriation and init would seem properly to come under

treating
jection,

the next head or Apana.

The
which

latter

the

is

function

vital

specific

the vital representative of


centrifugal movement in matter and of the
psychical principle which is Dves/ia, or reis

and

pulsion

and

priates

and

by

what

ejection,

is

The organism approwhat it likes and wants

dislike.

injects

or

ejection

not needed.

rid

of

instanced by

all

excretion
It

is

gets

expulsion such as
defecation, urination, sweating, nasal and aural

forms

of

elimination, and

excretion,

semination,

the last case the seed

by Pranavayu and
Apanavayu.
77

On

parturition.
is

received in the

in

womb

expelled as the child by


the macrocosmic scale we see
is

Vayu which comes from

the root

Va^to move is

here moving vital force in the form


also with Apanavayu and the rest.
78

Thus

Nishvas2, as in Yajnavalkya
described as Shvasanishvasarupa.

of

Prana.

where Prana

So
is

41

Power as Life
in operation in volcanic eruptions

it

and oozing

moisture from the rocks and the

of

like.

It

would be possible to resolve all


two Prana and Apana, but with

vital functions

into these

greater particularity, vital functions are classified under three additional classes.

The

third

Vayti is

Samana, the function

of

which is assimilation. By this food is selected


and rejected, broken up, metamorphosed in
digestion and then assimilated.
Vyana is in general terms the function of
What has been appropriated by
distribution.
Prana and is not subject of ejection by Apana
what has been assimilated by Samana, is dis;

by Vyana. It includes conveyance of


fluid blood produced from digested food, as also
bodily movements as a whole, such as jumping
throwing and any function not included in the
tributed

foregoing or the next.

Udanavayu

is

concerned in the exhibition

voice-function, utterance as talking, singing,

of

shouting, utilising for this purpose the air


inhaled by Prana?* It is to be here observed
that the physical air inbreathed
79

is

not

Prana

See generally Charaka (Sharlrakasthana, 13).


Sushruta, Chakradatta, Shivasanghita, Jnanasangkalinl Tantra and Gaurikanjalika Tantra, Sharada
Tilaka with Raghava Bhatta's Comm., 145.

42

The World as Power

nor
is

the breath expired Prana.


the vital function by which
is

Pranavayu
the

air

is

indrawn.
Five subsidiary Vayus are also enumerated,
concerned in the functions of belching, eyelid

movement, hungering and thirsting, yawning


and hiccup, 80 the last of which is a tonic contraction or spasm which takes place if there is
no corresponding expansion and may perhaps
be

also

with the

rigor mortis?
there are others,

identified

Besides these gross Vayus


the Yoga Shastra speaking of forty-nine.
The term Prana is used also in a general

way

as

limbs,

being

83

speech
84

offspring,

82

vitality

in

the

the principle of movement, 85

80

Naga, Kurma, Krikara, Devadatta, Dhananjaya.


To these some add others.
81

body even after death.


it
is called Laukika
Vayu (Raghava Bhatta, Comm. on Sharada, 145) as
in the body when all the other vital
it remains
forces have abandoned it.

On

said not to leave the

It is

this

82
83

Br.-Up.,

1-3-27.

lb. 9

13-19.

Ib.,

1-4-17.

85

account apparently

Vayu, as

where

in

Brihad.-Up.,

1.

Vatah pranah;

said to be the third part of Purusha, the


other two being Fire (Agni) and Water (Jala), these
three being the Doshas of the body in the Vaidya
Shastra. See also Mundaka Up., 2 1
4, Mahanarait

yana Up.,

is

141.

Power
86

food,

43

as Life

and the Sun which

source of

all

earthly

life.

The abovementioned
have each a centre
are

commonly

is

material

the

87

special vital functions

of operation

which centres

said to be, as regards the first

Vayus, in the throat (Udana\


heart {Prana}, navel (Samatia), anus (Apana),
and the whole body ( Vyana\. It is however
five

principal

a mistake to identify the seats of these vital


forces with these gross physical bodily regions.

What

is

thereby indicated are the five subtle

centres or Chakras in the spinal column called

Vishuddha, Anahata, Manipura, Svadhishthana


and Muladhara of which the Tattvas are

"Ether,"

"Air,"

"Water"

"Fire,"

and

"

Earth," respectively, these being names for


various motions and densities of matter. 88 Thus,
in utterance, the physical throat is involved but
Maitri Up., 613. By food Prana and by Prana
strength ; by the Pranas Manas
MahanarayanaAnna is both food and matter.
Up., 23 1.
86

15

87

it is the
Aditya is Prana. Prashna-Up.,
outer Prana (Vahih prana), Ib. 38.
"
88
See A. Avalon's
Serpent Power ". These are
the five physical centres.
are not here concerned with the sixth or mental Ajna chakra. The
"
" "
"
words
ether
air
are not to be understood in
the English sense of the terms. See 0/>. cit.
9

We

44

77/6'

the subtle vital centre

is

World as Power

in the spine.

The

physical heart is merely a pumping machine,


not directly concerned in breathing, though

energy expended in utterance may affect the


cardiac movements.
The navel has nothing
to do with assimilation, the centre of which is
at

that

portion

of

which passes
Apaua is not in

the spine

through the navel region.


physical anus but in the Svadhishthana

the

Chakra

in the

Vyana

is

lower part of the spinal column.


"
"
said to be
in
in the whole body

the sense that

its

operation

is

over the whole

body, from its seat in the lowest spinal centre


the Muladhara. The production of the Jwa

from

is

this

though the

process of
reproduction namely semination is from the
urethra governed by the Svadhishthana tract. 89
centre,

The Tantras, on the Yoga side, give the


colours of the several vital forces observable
by Yogic

vision.

90

These colours are (following

89

As regards the minor Vayus, Naga, Kurma,


Krikara, Devadatta, Dhananjaya, their places are
given in Raghavabhatta, Comm. to vv. 44, 45 of Ch. I
Sharadatilaka.
90

Yogadrishti. Prana Tattva is in Vedanta derived


collectively from the Rajas or activity aspect of the
"
"
Tanmatras or infra-sensible
matter one of such
Tanmatras heing colour nnd form. All Tanmatras

Power as Life
the order of the

Pr anew ay us

given) emerald

(Prana) red like evening sun (Apami) milky


(Samaria] white like Dhatura flower (Vyana}
colour of fire and lightning (Udana}?

has been observed that the Yoga Shastra


speaks of forty-nine Vayus. The Six Chakras are
It

and Tattvas or Principles

seats of the Letters


of

Mind and

Matter.

The

sixth

is

the subtle

psychic centre, and the remaining are subtle


It is clear that
centres of physical function.
the first is more subtle than the remaining
five.

and
is

It

is

also clear that these five are less

less subtle

made from

between themselves as descent


the

fifth

to

the first centre or

Chakra, for they are the seats of Akasha,


Vayu, Agni, Ap and Prithivi, the five forms of
go to make up sensible
matter perceived by the five senses. Each of
these is more material or gross than that which

movement

which

This greater materialisation


preceded it.
as we descend is due to the increase of
the

except

Prana

is

first

form

of

two are

with
Kriya Shakti.

form

(Murta).

91

The colours of the subsidiary Vayus are dark


cloud (Naga) collyrium black (Kurma) scarlet like
the China rose (Krikara) white like crystal (Devadattaj,

white like Dhustura flower (Dhananjaya).

The World as Power

46

Tamas

The

Mass.

or

slows with each increase


the

highest

number

movement
Mass and thus

pulse of
of

vibrations

of

in the

is

highest centre and these gradually decrease


"
"
Earth
until the last or
centre is reached.
In

each

these

there are certain

centres

50 in number

letters,

in

of

we

if

include Ksha,

Ajna or psychical centre, or 49

the

if

we

exclude Ksha as being a letter compounded of


two other letters (Ka and Sha) appearing in the

subsequent series. The letters are themselves


each forms of movement of varying intensity

which we become
sensible by reason of the Dhvani or Sound
which is their revealer. Thus Dhvani is not
or

the

rate

vibration

of

letter

but

surrounding

The

it.

producing

"

and

is

caused

is

sound-waves

itself

(Varna)

movement, which
93

92

the vocal organs and the

of

air

letter

revealer

its

by the contact

of

known

as

is

in

eternal

"the

9a

sound

"

Garland of Letters by the author.


M In this and other similar cases " eternal " means
during the life period of each cosmic system ; these
being infinite it is eternal, though appearing and
disappearing with the dissolution of the particular
Sec

system. The true Eternal or


appear and disappear.

Brahman does

not

47

Power as Life

which

not

is

the

produced by

striking

of

"

(Anakata Shabda\ and which


revealed as gross sound to the gross ear

things together
is

The vibrations of the


letters are the same as those of the Tattva of
the centre in which they are in fact the letter
is the movement of the Tattva manifested to
Dhvanl.

through

the Ear as Letter

when, on

a proper

94

For

Varna].

initiation, a

this reason,

Mantra

is

given,

on examination, found to be
constituted in such a way that any Tattva is
if

the disciple

is,

excess or deficient, then the Mantra of that


Tattva is given to him with the instruction to

in

repeat

in

if

it,

[Uchchh-vasa],
ejected,

or

if

ing [Shvasa],
injected,

lines that

when

so

much

in deficiency

when

so

of the Tattva is

with the inbreath-

much

of the

Tatfva

is

which proceeds on the


the Tattva and its Mantra are one
practice

and the same. 95


94

excess with the outbreathing

The

object

is

to

obtain an

Apparently many, if not most, initiations mean


nothing nowadays, owing to the ignorance and
apathy of both Guru arid disciple.
05
The Bija Mantra ends with the Anusvara breath"
Sun " of
ing or the letter Ma (M) as in this the
letters the Tattvas or Principles are considered to
be in equipoise.

The World as Power

48
equipoise,

as near as

may

be, of

the Tattvas

which are variously predominant in various


At the same time Pranayama regubodies.
the psychic movements [Vritti\ for
lates
breathing and thinking-movements synchroThe letters are distributed as follows,
nise.
2 (consonants), 16 (vowels),

12,

10, 6, 4 con-

sonants in each of the Chakras respectively.


After the first psychic centre the order of the
five Pranas, relative to the Chakras, are, as
stated,

in

Praua

the second,

in the

Samtlna in the fourth, Apana in the

third,
fifth,

Udana

and Vydna in the lowest or

sixth.

From

follows that Vyana should be (as is in


fact the case) the grossest of the five Vayus,

this

it

and Udana which is


is the most subtle,
rations

of

called the

Supreme Vayu

after of

course the vib-

the psychic

centre

which

are

more subtle than any of the vibrations and


That
movements of physical functions.
these centres govern

and regulate the

vital

them is obvious from


A matter however which rethe scheme.
quires enquiry is the answer to the query what
is the significance of the number of the letters
functions assigned

in

to

each Chakra relative

to the vital function

Power as Life
governed by
starting

49

from the

letters increases

above scheme

last
4,

2,

observed that

be

will

It

it.

Chakra the number


2,

To

4.

of

perfect the

would apparently have to be


shown that Vyana bad four forms of moveit

ment, manifested collectively or separately, in


the functions assigned

in

Apana had

it;

There are thus 49 forms

and so on.
tion

to

which

six

of vibra-

Vital Force exhibits itself

and

the Letters are Life-forces revealed to us by


"
In short the
Garland of
gross sound.

Letters" represents
to the

making

all

of the

the Forces which go

universe

made known

to

us as Dhvani, just as they are manifest to us


in

other

ways through other

above account will also explain

senses.

why

The

there can

be such a thing as medical and spiritual treat-

ment, by sound and Mantra.

by

touch,

as

through the skin

in
;

We

treat disease

massage, and medication


96
through the eye by colour,

96
The colour treatment has been tried for several
diseases and the effect of various colours on the

mind

is

well known.

The World as Power

50

by the tongue through medicine placed on it


and gross drugging; by the nose through
chloroform inhalation and olfaction generally.

The

influence of harmonious sound as Music

Shastra lettered sound


it

stands for a

the

of

thereby.

Yoga-

operative also, since

movement which

constitution

affected

is

the

In

invariably acknowledged.

is

exists also in

the person sought to be

Akasha

is

operative

in

Mantric treatment, Vayn in electric treatment,


that

Tejas in

in Hydropathy,
solid

and

form

of

This

last

medical treatment.

fact

light,

Ap

and Prithim in drugging with

liquids.

unnatural then

be in

by radium heat and

is

is

the grossest

How

gross and

the modern treatment

(if it

such) by injection into the body of

vaccines, serum, colloid preparations and the

like?

The appended diagram


explain the

The

will

more

clearly

matters described in the Text.

which gradually contracts,


as matter becomes more and more gross, is
spiraline coil

Kundalin! Shaktl.

51

Power as Life
Ajna centre.. Ha

Ksha.

Psychic function
or Antahkarana-

(external)
region (eye-

vritti

brows)
16 vowels

Vishuddha chakra (throat)

Udana form of
vital force

(Utterance)

Anahata chakra

Prana

12 consonants

form

j
1

(heart)

vita

force

(Injection)

Samana form

Manipura chakra
(stomach)

of

vital force
(Assimilation)

Svadhisht ha na
chakra

Apana

form

of

vital force

(geni-

(Ejection)

tals)

Muladhara chakra (Perinaeum)

Vyana form o f
vital force

'

(Distribution)

The Ayurveda and

other medical Shastras

treat of three Forces in

Vata or Vayu,
as

"

"
Air,"

the organism called

Kapha usually translated


"
"
and
Phlegm over which

Pitta,

Bile

"

some merriment

is

made, as over so many

other things by the non-understanding.

The

or

physical body is composed of five


forces and the forms of material substance
gross

which they constitute. The first of these five


or
is Akasha
Ether,
though the former
term is not to be altogether identified as

The World as Power

52

sometimes done with the Western physical


For the moment 97 it may be defined
Ether.

is

continuum

as

the

of

individual

which the

in

centres

move.

plurality

The

last

is

"

"

Earth
which is literally translated
but really means any matter in solid state.
Prithivi

Ayurveda

does not deal in this connection

with Ether but with the centres which are


interpenetrated by it, nor does it deal separately with Prithivi because, for its practical
it

purposes,

The

solids.

which

translated

"

Air

".

error of supposing that

the
is

is

regards both liquids and solids as


remaining three are first Vayu

Vayu.

carbon
things.

Air

Many are under


the air we breathe

composed of oxygen, nitrogen,


dioxide, vapour and various other
It is

is

not a gas or chemical compound,

but a mechanical combination of various gases

and
It

floating matter in

cannot be accurately defined, for the nature

of air,
It

mechanical combination.

is

in this sense, varies at different places.

not the

same

in a

nor in the country as

97

deal

town
at

the seaside, nor in a

with the subject in

(Bhuta Shakti).

as in the country,

"

Shakti as Matter

"

Power as Life

53

valley as on a mountain height.


air

but

the

menstruum

in

Vayu

which

is

air,

not

the

mechanical combination, exists and by which


it is
held together. Vayu comes from the
root

Va which means

primary

"

to

move

sense, motivity.

"

and

A kasha

in its

Possibly as a sub-

stance constituted by such motivity


electric fluid just as

is,

or

may be
Vyoma may in
it

the gross plane be ethereal fluid.


In the body it is exhibited as nerve force

and as also any kind of electro-motor or molecular force and is in fact the power whereby
the other principles of the body move. For
"
In
without it they are said to be
cripples ".
short

it

is

as Sushruta says the force

which

98

whole organism in motion.


It is the
principal factor which determines the genesis,
continuance and disintegration of the living
sets the

body. This Vayu is classified according to its


function as Prana, Apana and the rest above
described with five subdivisions of each.

The

other two principles are Pitta which literally


98

See Introduction by A. Avalon to Prapanchasara


Vol. 3. Tantrik Texts and the English
in Calcutta)
of Sushruta
translation (published
Samhita by Kaviraja Kunjalala Bhishagratna.
Tantra,

The World as Power

54

means

Kapha which

Bile and

literally

means

Phlegm. But these are not either, except


under those conditions in which they are
transformed into Malas or

fit

to

be ejected; but
in those planes

they are not Bile and Phlegm


of their functions which determine the genesis,
growth and continuance of the organism as
well as

The

death, decay, and disintegration.

its

function

of

Pitta

or Agni

(Fire)

is,

amongst others, metabolism and the bodily


heat which is the product of the latter. One
important functions is digestion, metaand assimilation.
There are said
plasia,
" "
"
to be 5 chief
in the body each
Fires
of

its

four

of

again

subdivisions

as in

the case

the next Principle or Shleshma.


or Shleshma which is similarly divided
of

that

is

moisture principle. The watery


The
keeps in check the last.

the

principle

equipoise of these
health.
99

100

See

Kapha
is Apa

If

Keat

principles

(Pitta)

is

essential

to

predominates the body

Ibid.

Thus Pachaka

Pitta which is digestive heat is


divided into one digestive fire of the mouth, two
digestive fires in the stomach namely peptic and
hydrochloric acid and two in the intestine namely
Pancreatic and Bile secretions.

Power
dries

heat

55

as Life

Moisture (Kapha) predominates


extinguished and if Motivity predomi*
if

up,
is

nates there

These

irregularity everywhere.

is

three principles embrace the whole sphere of


These three principles are
organic existence.
lnl

which is
All Life as movement arises under
affected.
conditions of heat and moisture which as the
called

Doshas

and Dushya

that

is

102

manifestation

of

Divinity

are

the objects of

worship in the Vedas.


There is as yet no general agreement on
the fundamental problem of the nature of
Instinctive
behaviour has been
Instinct.
defined by Dr. Lloyd

on

Morgan

as that

which

is,

occurrence, independent of prior


experience, which tends to the well-being of
the individual and preservation of the race,
its

first

and which

members

of

is

similarly performed by

the

which may be

same group

subject

of

all

animals, and

to modification

the guidance of experience.


not uncommonly described

Instinct

as

102

See Prapanchasara

15,

under
is

also

race-habit.

101
Literally Faults because of the diseases to
their disharmony leads.

substances, skin, blood,

the

which

namely, the Dhatus or

fat, etc.

The World as Power

56

organised expression of what


goes on in the unconscious. It is however
now thought that animals are not altogether
Instinct is an

perfect in their instinctive functioning. Instinct


is

a Sangskara or tendency

festing

as

Power

vital

and aptitude mani-

On

in Prana.

its first

occurrence in any individual it is independent


of prior experience as had in that particular
form, but

it

but

is

the

whole series

commence
now patent, in

does not actually then

tendency,

now

of

latent

which the
The
belongs.

evolution

individual

displaying instinct

behaviour

of

inorganic matter

to

is

apparently
fixed and calculable and seems mechanical.

This fixedness

behaviour though less rigid


appears in living substance as instinct. But
not only is there a relatively greater freedom
but the instinct may become modified and

from out

this

consciousness

of

basis of instinctive action self-

and

self-directed

movement

arise.

Heat, light and moisture are the generating


conditions of all life evolved by the life-giving
principle.

It

is

heat and

moisture diffused

throughout nature which fosters life in all its


forms.
This Heat and Moisture like all else

Power as Life
exist in

gross,

57
subtle

and causal form.

Agni,

Varuna and Soma are with others, names of


"
the One
That which is one the wise call it
103
When then it is said in
by various names,"
104
Veda
that in the beginning there was the
Causal Water in which the One developed by
the power of, or out of, Tapas and Desire 105 reference

is

not

made

to material

Heat but

to that

intensive creative brooding thought and will

which

which one
its gross transformations is material Heat
many forms some subtle, some gross. Fire
projects the universe, in

of

in
is

seen in the heavenly bodies, flaming masses


of molten viscous or earthy matter, in light106
ning which liberates a kind of light and heat

and vapours lo:


as the ordinary domestic and sacrificial
108
108
liberates it from wood or fuel.
Fire is

latent in the aqueous particles


just
fire

103
104

105
106

Rig- Veda,
X. 129.

Kama
Tejas.

I.

that is

"

64.

Ichchha or creative

will.

Son of the Waters ". The lightning


Agni is
flashes from the celestial cloud-ocean.
108
The flame of burning wood (Indhana) is not
pure Tejas for there is chemical union with earthparticles acted on by energy when the light and heat
107

The World as Power

58
stored

up

in

the igneous rocks and exists as

There are

the various stores of animal heat.

thus said to be ten Agnis or fires in the body. 109


In short heat, light, moisture as everything
else which is manifested are various modes of
the motion or activity of the supreme source
For the
activities or Power.
of all such

Vedantists resolve

all activity,

and psychical into modes


motion.

It

which

is

not

physical, vital,

subtle

cosmic

however the heat

or mois-

of

and alone generate life.


They are merely the conditions under which
Supreme Power as Prana Shakti manifests

ture

itself.

Whilst
all

directly

That Supreme Power


all

manifestation

manifestation

is

manifested.

is

movement, whilst
transformation of one
is

and the same material Cause, yet differing

names are given

to

particles latent therein


not that the fire which

the differing manifested

come

forth as flame.

It is

seen is there unseen but


the potential energy which, given the necessary
conditions, manifests as the seen fire.
109
Three are immanent in the Doshas and seven
in the Dushyas (see Introd.
Prapanchasara Tantra,
Vol. Ill, Tantrik Texts Ed., by A. Avalon). Pitta
is
viz.
fivefold,
Pachaka, Ranjaka,
Sadhaka,
Alochaka, Bhrajaka as also Kapha, viz. Shleshmaka
Kledaka, Bodhaka, Tarpaka, Avalambaka.
is

Power as Life

59

forms. These denote the functioning or Power.


It

that

is

Power which manifests

as

both

and

unorganised matter but the


organisation of it is not by matter but by and
as the Power Itself in Its aspect as the orga-

organised

niser of matter, to be the receptacle of all the

What

then are these grades ?


Given the fact that all beings and things

grades of

life.

have their origin


cause

of

in

one and the same material

which they are transformations,

necessarily follows that

things are essenThey are one as to

all

and ultimately one.

tially

it

the general Energy-Substance (Shnktt] of which


they are manifestations which Energy-Substance

Mind

is

or

active to reveal the static Reality as


to

obscure

it

as Matter.

Energy or Power has various modes.


are

the

varied

forms

of

it,

But

this

These

displaying

the

generic and specific qualities of things. The


qualities of things are modes of Power (Shakti\
acting

in

These forms
an order or law of succes-

these collocations.

appear according to
sion under conditions

and mode and hence

of causality, space,

in the

world

not manifest themselves at once.

time

all effects

do

So-called in-

organic matter and organic matter as vegetable

The World as Power

60
110

however differing as
or animal organisms
forms are thus essentially and ultimately
one

in

Substance- Energy.

respect of their

Metaphysical continuity

of forms.

graded continuity
evolution there

is

is

111

indicated

in

the

At each stage

a going forth

of

(Prasara) of

Power (Shakti] which stores up its Energy in


some relatively stable form. There is then
another push of Power to form a fresh equiliThese

brium.

points

of

relatively

stable

equilibrium constitute stages in the evolution-

The

ary process.

redistribution of

energy which occurs


constitute

the

at

various

mass and

each of such stages


forms of chemical,

no
Organic compounds are either vegetable (Sthavara or Achara Bhuta or immoveables) or animal
(Asthavara or Chara or Jangama Bhuta). Both are
compounded of the five forms of sensible matter
(Bhuta) in greater or less proportions.
111
See Seal Of), cit., 17, 55. on the Sangkhya
So it
citing Patanjala Sutras and Vyasa Bhashya.
said Jalabhumyoh parinamikam rasadivaishvarupam sthavareshu drishtam. Tatha sthavaranam
jangameshu jangamanam sthavareshu (the evolved
properties of Rasa and the like are seen in immoveis

ables that

And

these properties of
in animals and
these properties of animals are seen in vegetables
is

vegetables.

immoveables or vegetables are seen


that

is

immoveables).

Power as Life

no
The

animal species. There


matterless mind nor mindless matter.

vegetable and

is

question

whether

is

(the Cause, being trans-

formed into inorganic matter), the power to


organise the latter so as to display the phenomena of life comes directly from the inherent
of

power

the effect as such, or must be attri-

buted to the Cause as a special form of functioning which is Prana or the Life Principle.
transformation of Energy due to
collocations of the threefold tendencies of the
All change

is

material cause in

varied

its

The

products.

potential energies of infra-sensible matter

112

are

actualised as the five forms of gross sensible

matter.

113

The

latter

is

compound

former and undergoes a change

of state.

of

the

From
made

the five forms, compound substances are


and so the variety of all substances in the

world

is

produced.

These material substances

go to the up-building of the bodies of


of organic life.

These show

vital

all

forms

phenomena

as birth, assimilation of food, growth, death,

sentiency,

waking and

112

Tanmatra.

113

Bhuta.

sleep,

health, disease

The World as Power

62

re-production, response and movement within


114
limits.
Plants 115 have a sort of dormant or

and

consciousness

latent

and

pleasure

116

pain.

Bhanumat! speaks

of

are

capable

of

Chakrapani in the
such consciousness as

being of a stupified sort, that is darkened or


comatose 117 as also Udyana who speaks of
their very dull dormant consciousness. 118 In a
;

known

well

passage from the Shantiparva of

the Mahabharata, it is said that plants have a


{rudimentary) sense of hearing, touch, sight,
smell and

taste.

114

Seal 169

115

See as

plant
116

life,

119

They

feel pleasure

and pain

where some authorities are given.


to Hindu ideas concerning plants and

Seal

Of), cit., 169.

Antah-samjna bhavantyete sukhaduhkhasamanvitah (these have inner consciousness consisting of pleasure and pain).
117
Vrikshastu chetanayanto'pi tamashchhannajnanataya shastropadesha-vishaya eva. (Trees though
possessed of consciousness by reason of their consciousness being overspread by Tamas are esteemed
Ib.

objects according to Shastric teaching.)


118

Atimandantahsamjnitaya iti (because


with a low degree of inner consciousness).
119

The

illustrations given are

vested

It is affected by thunder
it dries up under the
touch of heat; the creeper finds its way and is
therefore not eyeless it drinks through its root and
;

63

Power as Life
and when cut down they
is said) I

see Jlva, that

There

it.

The

is

die.

is

"Therefore

(it

living organism, in
12

no unconsciousness there."

next

evolutionary stage (however


brought about) is the lowest, lower, and then

the higher forms of animal

The

life

and

lastly

man.

differences between plant and animal

life

have always been regarded by the Hindus as


being one not of kind but degree.
Moisture and Heat are essential factors in
the generation of

all

animated matter which

is

divided into four chief divisions of which the


plant

life

is

the first and lowest.

through moisture and

m
heat
"

and

It is
is

born

called
"

from
pierces up
Udbhijja that is that which
the ground such as grasses, creepers and other
These spring from seeds. Lifeplant forms.
merely contained in the
seed but in the seed and environing conditions.
not

potentiality

is

The animal

seed

is

knows whether water

developed in the egg or in

is healthy and has therefore


Various odours free it from disease so that
it bears flowers and so it has sense of smell.
120
Jivam pashyami achaitanyam na vidyate.
"
"
"
121
Heat " not
sweat as
Svedaja or Ushmaja.
some absurdly translate it.

taste.

The World as Power

64

the case of viviparous animals the mother's

body.

The mother's body,

plant-seed,

is

in

the case of the

the earth, subject to the play of

warmth and moisture. 122


The next class is called Svedaja

air,

or

Ushmaja,

These conditions
are common to plant life and the followIt was supposed
ing forms of animal life.
by some of the ancients both in the East
and West that there was a sort of spontanemoisture

or

heat-born.

generation of the lowest forms


from moist and heated inorganic

ous

such as rotten wood and excreta.

of

life

matter

Not im-

probably the reason for this was the minute


character of the seed or germ and lack of

knowledge as regards generation by fissure or


gemmation. The opinion however was also
held that Svedaja animals must be included
there under the oviparous or plant-seed class
;

the idea being that though vegetable organisms

pass off into animal there cannot be

may
122

Raghava Bhatta (Comm. on Sharada

Tilaka,

says that "when the earth is thus prepared it


"
seedness (Bljatva). The seed is
gets the state of
planted and watered and then the seed attains the
root-stage (Mulabhava) and then sprouts and continues to grow.
1.27),

65

Power as Life

123
or ovum, and ingeneration without seed
organic matter without either of these cannot
,

rise

give

The

to

next

animated matter in any form.

was

124

the

Andaja or
oviparous animals and the highest and last the
division

Jarayuja the viviparous or placental. An


ancient author's 125 classification is based on the

number of senses possessed by animals, such


number determining its place in the series. As
none

of the

senses are wholly absent in any


form of living matter, probably only well developed and active senses were alone intended ;
rudimentary or dormant senses being not

reckoned. This classification has the advantage


of distinguishing man from other mammalia

which

him are viviparous by the former's

like

possession of five well-developed and active


senses and all the mental operations based
thereon.

123
124

Bija.

Seal Op.

181, citing Chhandogya Upanishad.


Part 3 and Shangkara Comm. on
same where the classification of animals is on this
basis of their Bija, that is seed or ovum.

Prapathaka

125

cit. 9

6.

Umasvati, the author of the Jaina work Tattvarthadhigama. Seal Op. cit., 188.

The World as Power

66

The

constituents

of

the

physical body are

which there are seven namely

called Dhatu, of

Chyle (Rasa) derived from food, Blood (Rakta)


derived from chyle, Flesh (Mangsa) derived
from blood, Fat (Meda) derived from flesh,
Bone (Asthi) derived from fat, Marrow
(Majja)

derived

derived

from

woman

is

and sometimes

called Strl-shukra

which

Shonita

from bone, Seed (Shukra)


marrow. 106
The seed
of
in this

mean menstrual

connection

blood which

is

does not

Artava.

All

development takes place by metaplasm or


conversion of one tissue into another. By
this

heat the Chyle becomes Blood which

up into Flesh, and


becomes Fat with

bones

of

built

by a reverse process it
its interstices in which, by
calcium salt, the bone is formed.

deposit of

Marrow

is

is

formed

also

by the tunnelling

the tissue of which

it is

of

the

the essence.

the essence again of marrow


and the most elaborated of the Dhatus, which

Semen (Shukra)

is

In some cases Tvak (Skin), Roma (Hair), are


stated in lieu of, or in addition to, those above stated.
Thus Bhaskararaya in his commentary on the
126

seventh Rich of Bhavanopanishad speaks of nine


Dhatus, viz., those given in the Text and Roma and
Tvak.

Power as Life

67

merely in the testicles but is spread


subtle form throughout the whole body in

exists not
in

the

vahini Nadls, and

form

in
127

organs.

known

channels

subtile

worked up

is

which it is
The tissues
the

generates

seven

child.

to

wishes
body.

the

developed seed in
female (Strlshukra)

Ojah

is

not one of the

Dhatus but a substance which


and which

all

die ".

to

It

The Devatas

all,

may

which gives

when

it

dies,

be

vital-

man

also

gives glow to the whole

of these

Dakini and others situated


or centres.

genital

of the

said to be the essence of


"
ity

into the gross

ejected in

male (Shukra) and

the

the Shukra-

as

seven Dhatus are

in the

seven Chakras

128

127

"
it

The extraordinary use to which some so-called


"
Tantriks put semen is founded on the theory that
is So ma which gives deathlessness in the physical

body.
128

Dakini,

Rakini, Lakini, KakinI, Sakini,

Hakim,

Yakirn which according to the MahayoginI Nyasa in


the Saubhagya-ratnakara are protective Devatas
over skin, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, seed and all
other Dhatus respectively situate in the Vishuddha,
Anahata, Manipura, Svadhishthana, Muladhara,
Ajna, Sahasrara respectively.
In the Shatchakranirupana (Tantrik Texts, Vol.
Dakini, Rakini, KakinI, Sakini are in Muladhara,
Svadhishthana, Anahata, Vishuddha respectively,
the other three being the same.
II)

The World as Power

68

Three principles are at work in the body


namely Pitta, Kapha, Vata, the rendering
"
"
"
"
of which as "Bile,"
Phlegm and Air
their
meaning.
They
gives no idea of
represent

the

principles

of

Heat

(Tejas)

Moisture (Ap) and Activity (Vata or Vayu)


The first two, when in excess
respectively.
manifest abnormal states of Bile and

Phlegm
which are excretions (Mala) of substance of
which the body is ridding itself.
These three are called Doshas. V&ta is classiPrana, Apana and so forth above
All
metabolic
mentioned.
processes are
called Pitta, which has also five subdivisions
into

fied

according to functions and locations. Kapha


or ShleshmS is also of five kinds, the functions
of

which are

to

supply

to

the body

its

watery element. Vayu, Pitta and Kapha are


thus fundamental principles of the human

economy when,

in virtue of their correlative

and sustentative
equipoise

among

functions,

the

they ensure an

different

vital

and

physiological processes essential to its health ;


for disease is a lack of harmony and of completeness.

Hence the word "hale" which means

" whole

".

When

the equilibrium

is

disturbed,

Power as Life

69

pathological conditions arise

which form the

and then they are said to be


transformed into Doshas or morbific diatheses.
of disease

esse

As

excretions of

Apana Vayu they are called


Malas.
Thus Vayu, Pitta, Kapha are not
"
"
"
"
Air/'
Bile/' and
Phlegm except under
those circumstances in which they are trans-

formed into Malas.


biological

organisms.

They embrace both the

and pathological principles

of the

129

The whole body

by channels
or Nadis which are both gross and visible as
nerves and arteries, and also subtile and inis

intersected

visible to ordinary, but visible to yogic, vision.

The

"

Eye

of

Food

"
is

not the only one.

recent mention has been

made

13

Thus

of the extra-

ordinary capacity of a man to discern through


the clothed body the existence of morbific
only an instance of
the Siddhi of clairvoyance which it is claimed

growths in

it.

This

is

my Introduction to Prapanchasara Tantra,


Tantrik Texts and the Sushruta Sanghita
Edited by Kaviraja Kunjalala
(English Trans.)
the old Western systems the
Bhishagratna. Like
"
"
Indian is a kind of humoral system.
129

See

Vol. 3.

130

By

Sir

Conan Doyle

a Spiritualist," p 137.

in his

"Wanderings

of

The World as Power

70

bare to the Yogis the numerous subtile

laid

channels though which the bodily


Substance functions. 131

Energy-

evolution on the
highest rnan
Evolution takes place
material plane ends.

In

the

through the Power of God which as material


cause is always
transforming Itself into
higher forms in order that Spirit may be
freed

the bonds

of

which
Eternal

It

of

Mind and Matter

has involved

Rhythm

ot

This

Itself.

the

Divine

is

in

the

Mother as
"

"

sees
that is
Substance-Energy. He who
creates Otherness resolves it into Herself again.
"
"
That is His
Play fLlla). Those who enter
into the spirit of it and follow its laws gather the
fruits of the world.

It is

given

to

man

alone

recognise the Player, to unite himself with


Her and thus to free himself from the fields

to

play which are the eternally recurrent


universes.
The Devotee (Bhakta) of the
of

Mother

as

She

is in

limited forms, but


It is

131

not

life in

See as

Power".

Herself

seeks not

Her own unbounded

Her
Self.

forms that he wants, though he

to these

Yoga-Nadl, Avalon's

"

Serpent

71

Poiver as Life

knows them
Life of

all

to

Lives which

self.

But there

that

is

Here
is

be the Mother-Power, but the

is

Devotion

Her form.

Her

form

of Devotion,

Form, as universe.
"
the so-called
lower form"

to

when
For

Her own Brahman-

also another

too Siddhi of

obtained

is

as

the form
that

is

recognised as

recognition

is

itself

strengthening of individual power. In Karmayoga without attachment both ends and aims
are served.

APPENDIX
LIFE

AND THE FIRST PRINCIPLES


BY

PROFESSOR PRAMATHANATHA MUKHYOPADHYAYA


*

LIKE many other terms such as Akasha,' Jyotih,


Prana is used in the Shruti to
etc., the term
in
the
ultimate sense, Brahman.
The
connote,
Vedanta discussing certain texts (see Vedanta, I.
1.23, I. 1.28, etc.) from the Chhandogya and
'

'

Kaushitaki-brahmana attempts to establish this.


In fact, any Principle which exists and acts as
adhishthana (ground) in relation to any bhutas
(created things) is a manifestation of Brahman.
Because the ground or Adhishthana is everywhere Brahman the part is always grounded in
:

the whole (Purna), the particulars in the general.


If, for example, X exist as the ground of the things
A, B, C, then X, in so far as it is the ground, is a

manifestation

of

Brahman which

is

the

Ground

Principle.

Now, Prana even

in the ordinary sense is

the

The Indriyas work so long


there in the body ; they cease to exist
when Prana leaves the body. In Sushupti again,
the sense-capacities are absorbed in the Prana in
ground of the Indriyas.
as the Prana

is

The World as Power

74

Jagrat they reappear out of

"
again.

it

Yada vai

purushah svapiti pranang tarhi vagapyeti pranang


chakshuh pranang manah pranang shrotrang
sa yada pravudhyate pranadevadhi punarjayanta iti."
Hence, Prana as the ground of the senses is a
manifestation of the Ground Principle (i.e., Brahman).
But Prans in the ordinary sense is not the ultimate
So that Brahman is
ground the Puriia itselt.
"
Pranah
"the Life of Life.
as
of
Pianasya
spoken
The matter may be stated otherwise
;

The

bodily functions including the sense-functions

represent a stress-system (or system of acting


and reacting forces).
Prana is the root or ground of such functions ;

because without
/.

Prana

is

The radix
is Brahman

it

they

all

cease.

the radix of a particular stress-system.


stress-system considered as a whole

of

(as Chit).

Hence, Prana is an aspect or manifestation


Ultimate Radix (i.e., Brahman).
The question, however, is this

of the

How

does the ultimate Ground Principle become


to
become) an individualised or
appear
circumscribed Ground Principle ? In other words,
how does Pranasya Pranah appear as Prana ? If
we know the process and its stages, we know the
mutual relations of Mind, Life and Matter which
are all aspects of the Ultimate Principle.
To understand this, let us begin by analysing our
world of experience (i.e., Fact).
(or

World
('

Stress

of
experienceChit involving Stress
meaning Power to evolve or appear as a

Power as Life

75

varied order of phenomena)- Chit (Sattva, Rajah,


Tamah) S, R, T, being the three partials into
which stress can be decomposed. Now, what is the
;

nature of Chit considered as Chidakasha (Ether of

Consciousness) ?

On

reflection

on the nature

Consciousness, we
svarupa lakshanas

freedom

It

is

Eka

find

that

It

it

this

Ether

of

possesses three

wholeness and
Piirna It is Avadhita
unrestricted). The whole
unity,

viz.,
;

of

is

uncircurnscribed,
Stress-system operates in this Ether.
Though the Ether as Chit never really loses Its
nature (anyathabbava), it appears, by reason of the
(i.e.,

operation of the Stress-system (i.e., S, I? T) in it, to


move or change. As for example, the a k a s h a which
f

is

contained or circumscribed by a jar seems to


place to another when the jar itself

move from one


is

moved.

Since, however, the Stress-system is really one


with the Chit Itself, we may say that the latter has

two aspects,
(Shakti)

(Shiva) and moving or kinetic


Chit
is
kinetic (Shangkara,

viz. 9 static

that

is,

from the transcendental point of view, will say


seems to be kinetic) without ever ceasing to be
Shakti must ever play on the breast of
static
Shiva. The; relation stated is alogical. To speak of
of what is an indivisible unity is pictorial
aspects
thinking. We cannot however help this if we must
think and speak at all about the unthinkable and
:

'

unspeakable Fact.
Let us consider the Motion-aspect. How can we
state the Movement ? Stress is resolved into three

The World as Power

76

MoveS, R and T (Sattva, rajah, tamah).


ment of the Stress-system is its movement between
the two limits, viz., S (manifestation) and T (veilThat is, the Stress-system moves from
ing).
factors

maximum
minimum
of

what

veiling to

maximum

manifestation (or
Manifestation

veiling), and vice versa.


Of the Essence.

The movement is rhythmic.


The movement of the world as a whole is rhythmic
(alternate srishti and laya) movement is rhythmic
;

in the details also, e.g.,

heavenly motions, seasons,


in
motions
the
etc.,
living cells and organisms, motions in the atoms, and so on.
To use a physical figure, the movement cannot be
represented by a moving simple pendulum
rather spiraline, or coiling movement.

Since

it

is

it

is

rhythmic also, the Stress-system


and uncoiled.

is

alternately coiled

Movement,
elements

therefore, analysed gives us these

two

an uncoiling and
By the former
coiling process (vikasha and laya).
we have in the world an hierarchy of samashtis
vyashtis (genera and species) having at the one end
(1)

finittsing

Ishvara as the

process

Summum

(2)

Genus and

at the

other the

"point charges" or shakti-vindus which are the


infima species.

On account of the existence of this hierarchy,


we have a double set of world-derivates, viz. a
Samashti principle and its vyashti mode, e.g., we
have

both Samashti

manas and vyashti manas;

Power as Life

77
c

'

Samashti p r a n a and vyashti p r a n a.


Samashti
does not mean arithmetical sum total '.
The two processes (finitising and coiling-uncoil*

ing) are concurrent.


Now, let us treat the latter process
Involution.

Evidently the process


cies

is

a resultant of

Evolution-

two tenden-

association and dissociation.

viz.,

In the case

where the former tendency preponderates, we have


this fact
viz., a given point, A, more and more
recedes

from the centre

Where

the latter tendency

X
is

this

is

uncoiling.

we have A
Where
coiling.

in excess,

more and more nearing X ; this is


the ratio of attraction to repulsion (Raga to Dvesha)
is constant, we have simple rotation or revolution
of A round X in a fixed orbit.
Where the ratio is
or

the

point.

we must have

evidently either the coiling


uncoiling diagram traced by the moving
The two tendencies are opposite sangskdras ;

variable,

and their

ratio

is

the adrishta of the given point

in relation to X.

In mathematical analysis we commonly regard


the adrishta of a material body or particle (e.g., the
earth or the moon in the solar system ; the electrons
the atomic system) as constant, because that
assumption simplifies the data of calculation. But
in

really a constant, unchanging adrishta

is

an abstrac-

Adrishta being determined by the


relative dispositions of S, R, T, must change, for
it is the nature of these latter to always change.
Hence, the simple rotatory motion of physics is an
abstraction it is obtained by limitation of the actual

tion, not fact.

The World as Power

78

The earth, for example, is not exactly redata.


volving round the sun, but moving in an eddying
This eddying (coiling) movement
sort of motion.
may be clockwise or anti-clockwise. When the
former, the earth may be gradually drawn towards
the central solar mass, arid be ultimately merged
That will mean the laya of Prithivf (i.e.,
in it.
When the latter, the earth may be
of the planet).
gradually receding from the solar mass, in which

case again, after a certain critical stage has been


reached, the earth may be dismembered from the
In both cases
solar system, and drift into space.

we have

a critical stage.
Suppose the earth is
towards
the Sun
round
and
after a
round
eddying
been
has
it
will
cease
reached,
certain critical stage
to go round and round, but will be pulled to the
centre and merged in it vide the career of a piece
In eddying away
of straw in an eddy in water.
;

from the centre there is also a critical stage, after


which the body ceases to eddy, but flies off from
the circuit. Orthodox Astronomy will now hardly
accept this account of celestial motion, but it should
be borne in mind that spiral nebulae have doubtless
played a great part in cosmogenesis. Astronomy now
regards the masses of the sun and the planets
as being practically constant, so that the gravitational stresses between them are supposed to maintain a permanent configuration ; it also excludes all

"extra-physical" forces as having anything to do


with the working of the material order. But if
we at all admit the view of cosmic evolution and
involution,

we must

hold (on a priori grounds at

Power as Life

79

least, so long as experimental or observed facts


are not forthcoming) that the stresses in the solar
system (or any other system) do not maintain a

permanent scheme
of

the

planets,
relatively fixed.

of bodies
etc.,

is

that the configuration


but approximately and
;

The parallel of the atomic system is instructive.


Here Science already recognises that the system is
only relatively stable; that the electrons (unit negative
"
"
critical speed
charges) stepping beyond a certain
may be dissociated from the atom and flung away
this is evidenced by radio-activity amongst other
;

phenomena. There is nothing to prevent us from


imagining that an electron moving round a central
positive charge may not have an absolutely fixed
that it too may either eddy towards or away
orbit
;

from the central charge according to its adrishta


that in the former case, the electron, stepping
beyond a critical rate of motion is dissociated with
the result that the atom may be reconstituted (a differ;

ent chemical substance

and that

in

may

thereby be produced)

the latter case, the electron (negative

charge) may, by curling round and round towards


the central positive charge, be merged and unified
with it (after a certain critical stage). This

mingling of positive and negative charges means


"
the "loss (or dissolution) of matter matter lapses
back into Ether of which it is a strained and
polarised condition. This coiling motion which
"
we attribute to the elements of the atom " is not unscientific, e.g., the vortex-motion theory of the prime

atoms

is

still

the most promising theory of

its

kind.

The World as Power

80

Besides the coiling-and-uncoiling movement, the


"
important thing to note is the critical stage ". An
operation in Nature is commonly of a certain type
within certain limits, but beyond them it passes
There is a critical temperature
into another type.
water
which
become ice another (212 Q F)
at
(32F)
In all physical operaat which it becomes steam.
tions we can recognise such critical stages which
"
new " transformations or appearances or
mark
In vital and psychic phenomena also
directions.
we have critical stages. Increased stimulation pro;

duces increased sensation

(of a

certain kind) up
to a limit
beyond it, it produces either no sensation
The Mutation
or sensation of a different kind.
;

Origin of Species (by Hugo De Vries)


holds that new species are born out of old species
"
"
monstrosities
implying that the
suddenly like
the
in
motions
germcell overstepping a certain
critical value change the character of the germ-

Theory

of the

cell

itself

under

new species, just


new atom may be

and thus produce a

similar

conditions

evolved out of a given atom (e.g., in radio-activity).


There is a further important thing to observe.
In the operations of Nature, a new Principle of
Control is introduced after each critical stage. When
for example at 32 F water is transformed into ice,
"
something" appears amidst the molecules of H 2
to bring about their now shuffling or configuration
"
when again the germ-cell of the anthropoid ape "
"
"
into the anthropic germcell, a new
mutates
Principle of Control appears which develops it,
physically and mentally, into a man rather than into
;

Power as Life
an ape which

81

the starting datum. I need not


take further illustrations, but simply note that the
new Principle of Control is a new disposition of
is

(Shakti) by which an old Form is transformed into a new when, for example, by changing the
"
"
the modern chemist hopes that
atomic number
"
"
he will be able to transmute a base metal (say

Power

mercury)

into

Principle
"
"

of Control.

gold,

he is searching after a new


Behind every stable special

Nature there must be a special Principle


a Principle of Control evolves and
maintains a special rupa and nama in the Spiritual
Ether which is in itself without rupa and nama.
In the Veda we call each definite Principle

form

of

in

Control

the sense of a Form of Chit(in


Devata.
Thus, all the special senseshakti)
Devatas. The shabdic means
their
capacities have
whereby a special Principle of Control may be
The visual
introduced (or invoked), is Mantra.
of
or
the actual
diagram
optical
representation

of

Control
a

disposition

of

stress (Power)

which

constitutes a

given Principle of Control, is its Yantra. And the


Kriya in general (including Mantra and Yantra)
whereby a Principle of Control may be brought
about or called into play, is Tantra. Kriya here
*
means
functioning/ whether in the body or in
for example, in Homa we prothe
mutual
friction of arani, we are
duce fire by
invoking a Devata.
Recapitulating we find that in the understanding
the world-process the following points are
of

the mind.

worthy

When,

of special note

The World as Pover

82

finitising process
differentiating and
then integrating, and then differentiating again.
(1) It

is

It

is

rhythmic

(2)

ing to

maximum

moving from maximum

manifestation and back

veil-

(coiling

and

uncoiling).

In this process there are certain critical stages


at which new forms are evolved.
(4) At each critical stage there appears a new
(3)

Principle of Control.
(5) A Principle of

new

sustainer of a
(6)

Since

and Vyashti

Control
form.

the builder and

is

the world-process runs on


lines,

we must have

Samashti

graded series

(hierarchy) of critical stages and Principles of


Control en both the lines.
"
"
in
critical stage represents a
plane
(7) A
Nature a devata has his adhikara corresponding
;

given plane. Suppose we take three planes


in descending order A, B, C. Then, the Principle
of Control corresponding to A, has adhikara not only
over A, but also over B and C that of B, has
adhikara (jurisdiction or competence) over B and
a

to

that

of

C over C

alone.

Cf. the relations of

Ishvara, Hiranya-garbha and Virat on the Samashti


line.

Principle of Control on a given plane in the


Samashti line has control over the vyashti Principle
(8)

on the same plane.


These properties necessarily follow from the
fundamental nature of Chit. Chit is Eka, Purna
and Avadhita (Svadhina). The less it is veiled, the
more will this fundamental nature express itself.
of Control

Power
Now,

83

as Life

veiling

may involve

this

and only a part displayed


part displayed may be
the jagrat-mind of man

more
which

articulate
in

its

the

more or
is

Whole

(finitisation)

hidden
and the

is
;

less obscured, e.g.,

a vyashti mind, but

it

is

(vyakta) than his svapna-mind


turn is more articulate than his

We

have this principle: the


Sushupti-mind.
higher the plane, and the less restricted the sphere,
the more patent the essential nature of Chit.
Therefore, the plane being the same, a Samashti
Principle will have control over the Vyashti
Principle (because the sphere of the latter is more
restricted, so that there has been greater veiling)
and the extent or sphere being the same, a Principle
on a higher plane will have control over a Principle
on a lower plane. Thus, Vyashti Prana will control
Vyashti deha Vyashti Manas Vyashti Prana. There
;

may be also, in some cases, dual control or diarchy.


For instance, my mind does not seem to have
complete control over the whole working of Prana
in my body
only a part of such working appears
to be voluntary.
In this case, the remaining part
(which seems to be involuntary) is under the
control of the Samashti Manas (or Generic Mind),
which control, may, after sadhana, be transferred
;

the vyashti mind in proportion as the latter


assimilates itself to the Cosmic Mind by pushing

to

back its limitations.


Without further discussing the details

we may

note that the critical stages or planes are broadly


five
viz.
the five koshas of the Shruti (Ananda9

maya, Vijnanamaya, Manomaya, Pranamaya and

The World as Power

84

They

Annarnaya).

constitute a descending series

Agencies. The lower five chakras


the body as the seats of the five tattvas (kshiti,
ap, tejah, marut, vyoma) illustrate this principle of
higher and higher control. As we have pointed
of Controlling
of

a higher Principle, because it is essentially


Chit, will display to a greater degree the essential

out,

nature of Chit (unity, wholeness and freedom) than


a lower one. Thus, Prana is more unitary, coherent

and spontaneous than matter which it controls.


But even matter, being essentially the same as
Prana, cannot by wholly discrete, disorganised
"
"
it is only approximately
and determined
(inert)
There must be a trace of unity, organisation and
so.
spontaneity (freedom) even in the material atom.
"
"
The fact that the atom is a system is suggestive
of this.
Physical science works by abstraction or
there is really no
limitation of the data
e.g.,
:

"

"

body in Nature satisfying the definition of


it given by
Dynamics. Science deals with FactFact. No matterand
not with the
sections
"
"
and absolutely
dead
therefore
is
particle
rigid

inert.

Suppose we consider the mechanism of a matterIt is like a Chinese puzzle-boxhaving


particle.
sheaths.

various concentric

But
koshas.
(gross) kosha
potential).
actual),

kosha.

these

in

are

it

all

One kosha

and

except the
coiled

yet

has

It

alone

up

is

we have

the five

annyamaya

involved,
uncoiled (evolved,

motions
Science deals

Physical
motions (approximately),

all

(i.e.,

proper to this
with some of
and we have

85

Power as Life
"

"

dynamical theory of matter. Ordinarily we


have no suspicion of the 4 other koshas involved in
the material atom.
Now, suppose the motions in
the outermost crust or kosha of matter reach a

the

certain

critical stage (by

the assemblage

of

"

reason of their adrishta or

subtle

"

stresses determining

them, only some of which Physical Science can


then, when this critical
afcbroximately compute)
the
next inner kosha (i.e.,
stage has been attained,
Prana) which had hitherto been coiled or involved,
"
wake up " and begin to uncoil and evolve
will
;

The moment

happens, the so-called


dead
corpuscle will begin to appear as a living
According to the principles explained
corpuscle.

itself.

"

this

"

before, a

new

Principle of Control, hitherto dormant

(not absolutely dormant however) will appear on


the scene. Its appearance will be marked by certain phenomena not clearly noticeable before the

phenomena. The living corpuscle will now


upon the particles of C, H, N, 0, build protoplasm, differentiate and integrate it in sundry ways,
reproduce itself, and so on. In fact, by virtue of
vital

seize

the uncoiling of the second kosha, a

new

set of

itself, which was unmanifest so


"
"
scene was folded up. So far
plane or

motions manifests

long as its
as the play of forces

" scene

"

is

concerned, this question

of

me

is important; e.g., I have stored up


the sangskaras of 84 lacs of births {i.e., kinds of
but in my
birth) through which I have had passed

in

present

human

life,

the scene

is

suitable for the

play of only some of those countless sangskaras and


unsuitable for the play of the rest.

86

The World as Power

similar way, the motions in the Pranic


by virtue of their adrishta, may reach
another stage at which the third or manasic kosha
may evolve itself. Here again a new Principle of
Control is introduced. In the plants the manasic

In

kosha,

kosha, though given, is undeveloped so that the


vital processes of the plant do not appear to be
controlled by the sangkalpa of the plant itself ;
;

impulses and instincts as mental activities do not


In the animals
clearly appear to govern plant-life.
the mind-kosha uncoils itself in the man and other
higher beings, the Buddhi-kosha also.
They are
Lower Antah-karana and Higher Antah-karana res;

pectively.

should be observed, however, that the critical


stages or koshas are not absolute boundaries in
It

Nature.
Like the colours in a rainbow, they give us but
"
"
working and approximate boundaries.

Nor

is

"
lutely

it

correct to regard the koshas as abso"


without mutual influence.

closed curves

They do, and cannot but,


Nor again should we

influence one another.

restrict the scope of the


transformation of energy to particular koshas only ;
i.e., it should not be said that the energy in the
material plane and that in the Pranic or Manasic
plane do never transform into one another. The
theory of the fundamental unity of Energy will not
justify

it,

nor will facts

warrant

it.

When,

for

example, the Chhandogya says that the food eaten


goes to build the mind, the water drunk to build the
prana,

it is

not speaking quite in a figurative sense.

Power

87

as Life

doctrine of Conseivation of Energy (as an />


posteriori generalisation) did not take into account

The

the vast magazines of energy now discovered in


the atoms the proof of the doctrine to-day is therecan hold the doctrine
fore is far too difficult.
;

We

only by taking Energy

as a whole in all

its

different

forms (physical, pranic, manasic, etc.). We hold it


then as an /> firiori principle.
Suppose there is a material system consisting of
the three atoms, A, B, C. Suppose also that the
physical energy which they contain between them
This amount excludes the vast energies
is 100.
which may be interned within the atoms themselves.
100 represents only extra-atomic energy such as heat,
etc.

Now, suppose by any means

upon the energy which

is

am

able to

contained within

draw

or

Since the stock is practically inexhaustible,


"
be
able to do a vast deal of
work " by such
shall
I
but I need not touch any part
intra-atomic enery
This 100 still remains 100, though out
of the 100.
the given material system I am taking vast
of
or C.

amounts

of energy.
Physical Science till lately
only the 100; and stated its doctrine of transformation and conservation of energy on that basis.

knew

In fact, when we dive down to the Ether-elements


themselves which compose matter, matter practically becomes dematerialised, and there material
"
"
castes
energy and vital energy may lose their
or class-distinctions.

The

whole matter

To what extent
does a given Form release or unveil the nature of
the Spiritual Ether (Chit) of which it is a mode ?
root of the

is

The World as Power

88

We have seen that

Matter as a

Form

more completely than any other

is

Form

though even

in

of existence

a veiling

and

we must have

binding
clear traces of unity, organisation and freedom, as
Science by her discovery of atomic systems and the
"
"
evolution
of those
spontaneous
systems is
it

What it thus restrictedly


beginning to show.
manifests is the nature of the Immense (Brahman)
and the Perfect (Purna) in which everything is
grounded. Life manifests or reveals the Ground
more unreservedly

and it is a controlling Principle


Matter inasmuch as it is a Form
more expressive of the unity, wholeness and
freedom of That of which it along with Matter is a
Form. For the same reason also, Mind and Spirit
are still superior controlling Principles. But they
are all grounded in the one Immense Whole. Hence
relation

in

to

the Forms, though distinct in their respective


spheres, point to a deeper, essential unity by reason

all

which

form one common, cosmic


have no absolute boundcan
stress-system. They
Not only do they condition but they transaries.
"
"
"
form, as regards their matter and energy," into
one another. They are alike in all essential respects.
To take only one example As in the atom, we have
of

their operations

the polarity of the static and the moving charge of


electricity, so in the living body, the static coiled

Prana-shakti at the Muladhara exists (as the Tantra


points out) relatively to the dynamic Prana-shakti
1
distributed over and working the bodily tissues.
1

is

See Arthur Avalon's

more

fully explained.

*'

Serpent

Power" where

this matter

Power

89

as Life

To those who see the

All, there is

no difference

except formal when Life is materialised, or when


Matter is vitalised, or when Spirit is materialised,
or again

Printed

when

by

J.

K.

everything

Arm,

at the

is spiritualised.

Vusujita

Press,

Adyar, Madras.