A Lackadaisical Lexicon for Laggard Logophiles

PRANA

[noun]

(प्राण, prāṇa) the Sanskrit word for “vital life” (from the root prā ”to fill”, cognate to Latin: plenus “full”). It is one of the five organs of vitality or sensation, viz. Prana “breath”, vac “speech”, chakshus “sight”, shrotra “hearing”, and manas “thought” (nose, mouth, eyes, ears and mind; ChUp. 2.7.1).

In Vedantic philosophy, prana is the notion of a vital, life-sustaining force of living beings and vital energy, comparable to the Chinese notion of Qi. It is a central concept in Hinduism, particularly in Ayurveda and Yoga, where it is believed to flow through a network of fine subtle channels called nadis. Its most subtle material form is the breath, but it is also to be found in the blood, and its most concentrated form is semen in men and vaginal fluid in women. The Pranamaya-kosha is one of the five Koshas or “sheaths” of the Atman.

Prana was first expounded in the Upanishads, where it is part of the worldly, physical realm, sustaining the body and the mother of thought and thus also of the mind. Prana suffuses all living forms but is not itself the Atman or individual soul. In the Ayurveda, the sun and sunshine are held to be a source of prana. In the Hindu philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism, prana is regarded as an aspect of Shakti (cosmic energy).

[krystleyez]

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