Prana, or Vital Force

We have said something of Prana in our little book, “The Science of Breath,” which many of you have read. As we said in that book, Prana is universal energy, but in our consideration of it we will confine ourselves to that manifestation of Prana which we call vital force. This vital force is found in all forms of life – from the amoeba to man – from the most elementary form of plant life to the highest form of animal life.

Prana is all-pervading. It is found in all things having life, and as the occult philosophy teaches that life is in all things – in every atom – the apparent lifelessness of some things being only a lesser degree of manifestation, we may understand that Prana is everywhere, in everything. Prana is not the Ego, but is merely a form of energy used by the Ego in its material manifestation. When the Ego departs from the physical body, in what we call “death,” the Prana, being no longer under the control of the Ego, responds only to the orders of the individual atoms or their groups, which have formed the physical body, and as the physical body disintegrates and is resolved back to its original elements, each atom takes with it sufficient Prana to enable it to form new combinations, the unused Prana returning to the great universal storehouse from whence it came.

Prana is in all forms of matter, and yet it is not matter – it is the energy or force which animates matter. We have gone into the matter of Prana in our little book previously referred to, and we do not wish to take up the students’ time in repeating what we said there.

But before taking up the next principle, we wish to direct the student’s attention to the fact that Prana is the force underlying magnetic healing, much of mental healing, absent treatment, etc. That which has been spoken of by many as human magnetism is really Prana. In “Science of Breath,” we have given you directions for increasing the Prana in your system; distributing it over the body, strengthening each part and organ and stimulating every cell. It may be directed toward relieving pain in one’s self and others by sending to the affected part a supply of Prana extracted from the air. It may be projected to a distance so far as to affect other persons. The thought of the projector sends forth and colors the Prana gathered for the purpose, and finds lodgment in the psychic organism of the patient. Like the Marconi waves it is invisible to the eye of man (with the exception of certain persons who have attained a high degree of clairvoyant power); it passes through intervening obstacles and seeks the person attuned to receive it.

This transferring of Prana under the direction of the will is the underlying principle of thought transference, telepathy, etc. One may surround himself with an aura of Prana, colored with strong positive thought, which will enable him to resist the adverse thought waves of others, and which will enable him to live serene in an atmosphere of antagonistic and inharmonious thought.

We advise students to reread that portion of “Science of Breath” which deals with the use of Prana. We propose going into great detail regarding this phase of the subject, during the course of these lessons, but “Science of Breath” gives a good fundamental idea of the nature of Prana and the methods of its use, and students will do well to refresh their minds on this subject.

We do not wish to weary you by this description of each of the seven principles, and we are aware that you are impatient to enter into the more interesting phases of the subject. But it is absolutely necessary that you obtain a clear idea of these seven principles, in order that you may understand that which follows, and to obviate the necessity of your being “sent back” to relearn the lesson which you have “skipped.” We had this idea in mind when we started this class in November, 1903, instead of waiting until January, 1904, and we give you the November and December lessons as “good measure,” so as to be able to reach the more interesting part of the subject by the January lesson.

We will leave the subject of Prana and will pass on to the next principle; but we trust that you will not leave this part of the lesson until you have acquired a clear idea of Prana and its qualities and uses. Study your “Science of Breath” until you understand something of Prana.


The Western reader who has studied the writings of some of the recent Western psychologists will recognize in the Instinctive Mind certain attributes of the so-called “subjective” or “subconscious” minds spoken of so frequently by the said writers. These writers discovered in man these characteristics, as well as certain higher phases of the mind (coining from the Spiritual Mind), and without stopping to investigate further, they advanced a “new” theory that man is possessed of two minds, i.e., the “objective” and “subjective,” or as some have termed them, the “conscious and “subconscious.” This was all very well so far as it went, but these investigators set the “conscious” mind aside and bundled all the rest into their “subconscious” or “subjective” mind, ignoring the fact that they were mixing the highest and lowest qualities of mind and putting them in the same class, and leaving the middle quality by itself. The “subjective mind” and the “subconscious” theories are very confusing, as the student finds grouped together the most sublime flashes of genius and the silliest nothings of the man of low development, the mind of the latter being almost altogether “subjective.”

To those who have read up on these theories, we would say that such reading will materially help them to understand the three mental principles of man, if they will remember that the “conscious” or “objective” mind corresponds very nearly with the “Intellect” principle in the Yogi philosophy; and that the lowest portions of the “subjective” or “subconscious” mind are what the Yogis term the “Instinctive Mind” principle; while the higher and sublime qualities, which the Western writers have noticed and have grouped with the lower qualities in forming their “subjective mind” and “subconscious mind” theories, is the “Spiritual Mind” principle of the Yogis, with the difference that the “Spiritual Mind” has additional properties and qualities of which these Western theorists have never dreamed. As we touch upon each of these three mental principles, you will see the points of resemblance and the points of difference between the Yogi teachings and the Western theories.

We wish it distinctly understood, however, that we do not desire to detract from the praise justly earned by these Western investigators; in fact, the Yogis owe them a debt of gratitude for preparing the Western mind for the fuller teachings. The student who has read the works of the writers referred to will find it very much easier to grasp the idea of the three mental principles in man than if he had never heard of any division in the functioning of the mind of man. Our principal reason for calling attention to the mistake of the Western dual-mind theories was that to the mind of the Yogi it is painful to see that which he knows to be the highest manifestation of mind, that which is the seat of inspiration and flashes of genius, that which touches the pure Spirit (the Spiritual Mind), which is just beginning to awaken in men of development and growth – confused and confounded with and placed in the same class with the lowest mental principle (the Instinctive Mind) which, while most necessary and useful to man, under the direction of his higher principle is still something which is common to the most undeveloped man, even to the lower form of the animal kingdom – yea, even to the plant life. We trust that the student will free his mind of preconceived ideas on this important subject, and will listen to what we say before forming his final opinion. In our next lesson, we will go into detail regarding each of the three Mental Principles.