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The Soul and its Mechanism - Soul, Ether and Energy
Srinivasa Iyengar makes the following postulates and states that all the schools of thought, except the school of crude Nihilism accept them.
  1. Man is a complex of consciousness, mind and body.
  2. The Atma (self) is of the nature of the consciousness and is immutable.
  3. Mind, though an inner organ, is material, and is other than the atman.
  4. All energy in the universe is personal, i.e., bound up with consciousness.
  5. This energy is prana, which is intermediate between mind and matter.

"Hindu philosophy regards Prana and not motion as the fundamental energy of the cosmos. Prana is conceived as a power coming from or started by the Purusha (Spirit aspect - A.A.B.) and acting on matter."

"All the energy of animals is nervous energy till it leaves the muscles and acts on outside objects. This nervous energy is called Prana. Western Science has for a hundred years unsuccessfully tried to explain nervous energy as a form of mechanical motion; Eastern Philosophy reverses the process and derives [105] mechanical motion from Prana, of energy accompanied by consciousness.

Prana corresponds to the Psychikon pneuma, animal spirits, of Greek philosophy, a category which is intermediate between spirit and matter, and brings them into relation with each other."
- Iyengar, P. T. Srinivasa, Outlines of Indian Philosophy, pp. 58. 59.

Arthur Avalon says:

"Various people have in antiquity assigned to various parts of the body the 'seat of the soul' or life, such as the blood, the heart, and the breath. Generally the brain was not so regarded. The Vaidik system posits the heart as the chief center of Consciousness - a relic of which notion we also still preserve in such phrases as 'take it to heart' and to 'learn by heart.' Sadhaka, which is one of the five functions of Pitta, and which is situated in the heart, indirectly assists in the performance of cognitive functions by keeping up the rhythmic cardiac contractions, and it has been suggested that it was perhaps this view of the heart's construction which predisposed Indian physiologists to hold it to be the seat of cognition. According to the Tantras, however, the chief centers of consciousness are to be found in the Chakras of the cerebro-spinal system and in the upper brain (Sahasrara), which they describe, though the heart is also recognized as a seat of the Jivatma, or embodied spirit, in its aspect as Prana."
- Avalon, Arthur (Sir John Woodroffe), The Serpent Power, p. 3.

These two points of view account probably for the phenomenon of the human being. As evolution proceeds it may be found and demonstrated that the positive center or nucleus for the life of [106] the material form is located at the base of the spine, that the positive center for the life of the sentient conscious man is in the heart, whilst the positive center for the mind and the spiritual life principles is in the head.

The whole scheme and technique of the Oriental teaching as to the centers in man have in view the increasing display of prana or life-soul energy. Through an understanding of this a man can demonstrate (through the automaton of the physical body) those soul powers and spiritual qualities which are the inheritance of the spiritual man, the Soul.

The object, therefore, of all methods and practices is to bring about conscious union with the soul, and produce the subordination of the two lower energies, those of matter and those of the sentient mental nature, to the highest of the three energies, the spiritual life. When this is accomplished, the spiritual life principle animates a soul which knows no barriers and limitations because it has brought its mechanism to the highest state of perfection. Matter has been raised into heaven, and hence the Hindu teaching that the Kundalini fire, the energy of matter (sometimes called the mother) has eventually to be raised from its position at the base of the spine up into the head. This is a correspondence to the Roman Catholic teaching as to the Assumption of the Virgin-Mother into Heaven to take her place by the side of her Son, the Christ, the Soul. This has to be brought about [107] consciously by the soul or self, seated in the mind and brain consciousness, and from there assuming control of the energies of the entire natural man. This is Yoga or union, which is not only a mystical experience, but a vital or physical one also. This is the at-one-ment of the Christian. It is an integration of the entire man, physical, sentient, and mental, and then a conscious unification with the universal soul. Dr. Rele says:

"The word 'Yoga' is derived from the root 'Yuga' to join or to weld together. Just as in welding, two pieces of the same metal are made to become one by the process of heating and hammering, so also in the Yoga of Indian Philosophy, the embodied spirit 'Jivatma,' which is a part of the universal spirit 'Paramatma,' is made to become one with the Universal Spirit by certain physical and mental exercises.

Yoga is the science which raises the capacity of the human mind to respond to higher vibrations, and to perceive, catch, and assimilate the infinite conscious movements going on around us in the universe."
- Rele, Vasant G., The Mysterious Kundalini, pp. 13, 14.

René Guénon sums up the result of this union in the following terms:

"Deliverance or Union, which is one and the same thing, involves, as we have already stated, 'over and above,' the possession of all states, since it is the perfect realization (sadhana) and totalization of the being; it is moreover of little import whether these states are or are not actually manifested, since it is only as permanent and immutable possibilities that they are to be metaphysically considered. 'Lord of many states by [108] the simple effect of his will, the Yogi only concerns himself with one, leaving the others void of the animating breath (prana), as so many unused instruments, he can animate more than one form in the same way that a single lamp may supply more than one wick.' 'The Yogi,' says Aniruddha, 'is in direct connection with the primordial principle of the Universe, and in consequence (secondarily) with the whole of space, of time and of things,' that is to say, with manifestation, and, more particularly, with the human state in all its modifications." [109]
- Guénon, René, Man and His Becoming, p. 238.

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