[source: Vigyan Bhairava Tantra by Osho]
Yoga has been talking about prana for five thousand years – at least. Yoga calls that energy prana. This word prana is very significant, very meaningful, pregnant with meaning. It is made out of two Sanskrit roots. One is pra; pra means the basic unit of energy, the most fundamental unit of energy. And na means energy.
Prana is the basic unit of the whole of life. Rocks, trees, birds, man, God, everything is a manifestation of prana, on different levels, on different understandings, on different integrations. The same prana moves and manifests as millions, as many, but the basic unit is one.
Unless you come to know prana within yourself, you will not be able to know what God is. And if you cannot know it within yourself, you cannot know it without, because within you it is so close.
When for the first time Eskimos were discovered, the discoverers were simply amazed to know that they have almost one dozen words for snow – one dozen. They could not believe for what one dozen words are needed. ”Snow” is enough. Or you can have one more word, ”ice,” but that will do. But Eskimos have almost one dozen, and even more words, for snow. They live in snow; they have seen all the moods of snow. They have known snow in different ways. A man living in a tropical country cannot simply imagine why one dozen words are needed for it.
Yogis say that the prana has five different shapes, workings, energy fields in you. You will say simply ”breathing” is enough. We know only two things – exhalation, inhalation – that’s all. But yogis live in the world of prana and they have come to know subtle differences, so they have made five divisions. Those divisions have to be understood. They are very significant. First is prana, second is apana, third is samana, fourth is udana, fifth is vyana. These are five prana manifestations in you, and each has a different work to do inside.
Prana, the first, is respiration.
Apana, the second, is a help to excretion; it helps to cleanse the body of all excreta. The bowel movement comes from apana, and if you know how to work on it, you can cleanse your bowels as nobody else can. Yogis have the cleanest bowels. And that is very, very meaningful because once the bowel is totally clean, once your intestines are perfectly clean, your whole being feels light, as if you can fly. The burden disappears.
Ordinarily your intestines carry much rotten excreta – your whole life’s, layers upon layers. Inside, the inner walls of the intestine, excreta goes on accumulating dry and hard. It creates many poisons; it makes you heavy. It makes you more available to gravitation. Much emphasis is given in yoga to cleanse the whole stomach so that no toxins remain in it because otherwise they go on circulating in your blood, they go on circulating in your brain, and they create a particular energy field around you which is heavy, dark, black.
When the intestines are perfectly clean and clear, the aura arises around your head; and people who have perceptive eyes can see it very easily. And you feel as if you are like a feather.
The third, samana, is digestion and providing body heat. If you know the function of the third and if you become aware where it is, your digestion will become absolutely perfect. Ordinarily you eat much but you don’t digest it. You go on eating and you never feel satisfied. You go on stuffing the body without digesting it. If one knows how to use samana, a small quantity of food will give him more energy than a big quantity of food ever gives to you. That’s why yogis can fast for many days without any harm to their body. Once in a while they will take a little quantity of food, and they will digest it totally. Your food is not totally digested. That’s why your excreta can become food for some other animal and he can digest it. Much food value is still left in it.
And the third provides the body heat also. In Tibet they have developed the whole system of body heat, creating body heat, on samana. They breathe in a certain way, in a certain rhythm, so that the samana vibe functions efficiently within their body. They create much heat. They can create so much heat that snow is falling, and a Tibetan lama will stand naked – perspiring – under the open sky. All over is snow; and you will be freezing. You will not be able to come out of the house, and he is standing in the falling snow – perspiring.
This is one of the examinations. When in Tibet somebody becomes a physician, first he has to go through an examination in which he has to create his body heat. If he cannot create that, he is not given a certificate to practice medicine. It is very difficult. No other medicine in the whole world asks so much of the physician. It is not just a viva voce; it is not just that you cram something and vomit it in the examination papers. You have to show that really you have become master of your body heat because the whole life you will be working on the heat energy of your patients. If you are not a master, how can you work upon others? So the whole night the examinee has to stand outside in falling snow. Nine times in the whole night the examiner will come and touch your body to see whether you are still perspiring. If you can create that much body heat, you are a master of samana.
Now you can become a healer; your very touch will become a healing miracle. In Tibet they teach that when you touch the hand or the pulse of your patient, you have to breathe in a certain way; only then will you know his system of breathing. And once you know his system of breathing, you have known everything about him and you know what is to be done. Ordinarily doctors try to watch symptoms in the patient not moving them selves in a particular space of perceptivity, but in Tibet – and their whole method is based on Patanjali’s yoga – first the doctor has to move in a certain space from where he can feel, see, where the problem of the patient is – where the patient’s prana is entangled, where the prana of the patient is blocked, where to hit.
The same is true about acupuncture. That developed out of Taoist yoga. Seeing inside the functioning of energy, prana, they became aware that there are seven hundred points in the body which are energy points, and just by pressing those points the whole energy field of the body can be changed and transformed. When you have a headache, the acupuncturist may not touch your head; there is no need. He will touch somewhere else because the energy in the body exists in a polarity, negative and positive. If you have a headache, then somewhere else – at the opposite pole – he will find a point and he will just push his needle a little. Even that is not needed. Even acupressure – just a little pressure with his thumb – and suddenly the headache is gone. And it is miraculous; how it happens? He has changed your energy field. By pushing it somewhere, he has changed the whole field; you now have another energy field, different energy field.
Acupuncture is becoming more and more scientific in the West, particularly in Soviet Russia, because a man has developed a new sort of photography – Kirlian photography. And through that photography those seven hundred points can be seen through photographs – and exactly those seven hundred points were known by Taoist yogis, without any medium, without any photography,
without any camera. They came to know it from the within.
Fourth is udana, speech and communication. When you speak, the fourth type of prana is used. And the same type of prana can be trained; if that prana can be trained you become a hypnotic speaker, or you can become a hypnotic singer. Your voice can have a hypnotic quality. Just listening to it, and people can be magnetized. And the same is used for communication. People who are in a difficulty of how to communicate – and many people, millions of people, are in that difficulty how to communicate, how to relate to others, how to love, how to be friendly, how to be open, how not to be closed – they all have some difficulty of udana. They don’t know how to use the prana energy which makes you flowing and makes your energy become open and you can easily reach the other and there is no block.
And fifth is vyana, coordination and integration. The fifth keeps you integrated. When the fifth leaves the body, you die. Then the body starts disintegrating, deteriorating. If the fifth is there, even if your whole breathing stops, you will remain alive. That’s what yogis are doing. When yogis exhibit that they can stop their heart, they stop four – the first four pranas – they keep on the fifth. But the fifth is so subtle that there exists no instrument yet which can detect it. So for ten minutes you can observe in every possible way and you will see that the yogi is completely dead and your doctors will certify that he is dead, and he will come back. The fifth is the most subtle, the very thread which keeps you as an organic unity.
If you can know the fifth, you will be able to know God, not before that. Because the function of the fifth within you is the same as God’s function in the totality. God is vyana; he is keeping the whole together – the stars, millions of stars, the infinity of space, all together. If you know your body, your body is a small microcosm, representative of the whole macrocosm. In Sanskrit they call the body pind, microcosm; and the whole brahmand, the macrocosm. And your whole body is a miniature.
It has everything that the whole has, nothing is lacking. If you can understand your totality, you will have understood the totality of all.