The Breath of Life, Your Life Force - Prāna | Damayanti.store
Sanskrit The Spoken Language
The Sanskrit language word ‘Prāna' (प्राण) means the ‘life force'
Sanskrit is the ancient language of India, used for prayer, meditation, and communication with the celestial gods.
The word ‘Sanskrit’ comes from two roots: ‘sam’ and ‘skrita’, which together mean: ‘perfectly formed’. Thus Sanskrit is the perfect language for all forms of communication – reading, speaking, singing, and listening. Sacred Sanskrit is an especially beautiful vehicle for prayer, scripture, and hymns.
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What is Ancient Sanskrit?
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language and the earliest form of Sanskrit (maybe we can think of this as the "first language" in the Indian region). It was used in the Vedic period, which lasted from about 1500 BCE to 500 BCE. This period is named for the Vedas. These are collections of ancient Hindu texts written in this ancient Sanskrit.
This ancient version of Sanskrit in the Vedic texts is still used in some Hindu ceremonies and prayers.
The Sanskrit language has been tremendously influential in developing Indian culture and religion and has significantly impacted South Asia's languages. Today, it is not one of the widely spoken languages of India, but scholars and students of Indian culture and religion still study it.
It is also used in some Hindu ceremonies and prayers.
Sanskrit Texts - Prāna
It means ‘the life force, spirit, and vitality'. Prāna is the energy that enlivens us and makes us think, feel, wonder, and create. Spirit, Life, and Breath are all intimately connected, and in turn, they connect everything and everyone.
On a physical level, we are connected by the air we breathe, which has passed through countless other living, breathing creatures. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide in a natural exchange with green leafy plants and trees that breathe in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen.
On a more subtle intangible level, prāna refers to life energy, the life force. We all walk around in separate bodies and partake of this same unifying life force.
The Bhagavad Gitā teaches that all living beings are linked like "pearls strung on a thread"; we are all strung together on life's breath, like pearls strung together on a silken thread.
Prāna Energy Is Transformative
Again on a physical level, we can use prāna - the life force in the Sanskrit language - via the act of breathing to change our energetic state.
When we're fearful we can take a deep breath to calm down and steady ourselves.
When we want to become energized, we take a deep breath first and then get moving.
When we feel down and want to pick ourselves up, we can take a deep breath, cheer ourselves up and adopt a positive attitude.
Listen to Sarah Mane, speaker, author, radio host, talking about Your Attitude.
The animating, energizing prāna breath gives confidence. It frees us from fear and leads to creative dynamic action. We take heart because there is no place here for feebleness, insecurity, and inertia.
This technique is so simple and ready to hand that it is amazing more people don't avail themselves of it. Next time you want to shift your state or mood, take three long slow breaths and then, with increasing prāna energy, consciously adopt a new attitude.
Many people wear Prāna jewelry to remind them constantly of the Breath of Life. You can find a collection of Prāna jewelry on the Damayanti.store site.
Another Element of Prāna is Connection
When we connect with the life force flowing through us, we can open out and feel that same life force flowing through everyone and everything. This is another very simple practice that you might like to try.
Take a few long slow breaths and connect with the energy flowing inside you, circulating from head to toe and everywhere in between. Connect with the life force inside you. Rest there, be at peace.
Then gently let your awareness expand to feel that exact same energy flowing around you, embracing you, enlivening everyone and everything around you. Be content to rest in that enlivening energy and be at peace.
Physically, of course, breath and breathing are crucial to life. It is said that we can live without food for thirty days, without water for three days, and without breath for three minutes. I'm not sure if those numbers are true for all of us, but the point is clear – breath is vital.
So, finally, what is the importance of this breath on a spiritual level? This subtle breath is also essential. We could not move, think, act, or live without it. To ask how important prāna is to us is the same as asking how vital life is.
Perhaps A Story For The Soul Will Illustrate The Point
A young man lost in sorrow yearned to discover a spiritual path to free him from worldly cares. He studied and meditated and engaged in acts of charity. He sought out teachers, wise men and women, gurus, and sages. He sat at their feet, absorbing their teachings and practicing them conscientiously.
One day he was in an ashram taking his midday meal when he overheard a couple of fellow students speaking of a wise man who lived high in the far-off mountains. His dwelling place was hard to find, and the way up to it was steep and strenuous.
But, said these two devotees to each other, this sage was reputed to hold the key to the secret inner teachings of the holy path to freedom.
At these words, the young man was inspired. He burned with the desire to seek out this holy man and to beg him to take him on as a disciple. He asked for directions to the mountain where this holy man dwelt and, having the way pointed out, he gathered his few possessions and set off.
The journey to the foot of the mountain was long and arduous. He had to cross rivers and valleys and, for a time, the trackless wastes of a vast desert. At last, he came to a village nestled into a fold of hills over which towered high snow-capped mountains. The villagers took him in and offered him food and shelter.
He asked if they knew of the holy man who dwelt high above in the snowy reaches of the great mountain.
Yes, said the villagers, they knew of the holy man. And they knew the path to his ashram. But the snows were thick now and the path was closed. In return for helping with the herding and the harvest, they promised to feed and house him, and when the snows cleared, they would guide him on the next stage of the journey.
At last, when the spring came, the young man and several village guides set up the steep and winding path toward the holy man's dwelling place. After a strenuous climb taking several days, the village guides pointed to a narrow rope bridge beyond which a path could be seen winding between rocky cliffs.
“There,” the village guides, “is the way you seek. Cross the bridge, follow the path, and you will surely come to the holy man.”
The young man bid farewell to his guides then crossed the bridge and headed up the path. He came to a small clearing. There he saw a simple hut next to a gently flowing stream. A thin column of smoke rose from the hut.
A man robed in saffron sat on the ground in front of the hut. His eyes were closed, his legs crossed, and his hands gently rested on his knees. The young man waited for some time until, finally, the man opened his eyes. The holy man seemed entirely unsurprised to see a visitor here in the high inaccessible peaks of the great mountain.
“Welcome to my home,” said the holy man to his guest. And he offered him a seat and food and water. When the young man was settled, the sage asked: “How can I be of service? Why have you come to see me?”
The young man eagerly explained that he was searching for the secret path to Truth that would free him from all sorrow. Without another word, the holy man smiled again, arose, and beckoned him to follow. They walked together to the stream.
To the young man's surprise, when they reached the bank of the river the holy man kept walking into the cold water. He had no choice but to follow. When they were waist-deep in the stream, the holy man suddenly turned and, with surprising strength placed his hands on the young man's head and pushed him under the water.
The young man was stunned. After a few moments, he began to panic. He began to struggle. He could no longer hold his breath! But the holy man held him fast. He thrashed and flailed, but it was no good.
He was on the verge of drowning when, at last, the holy man pulled him up out of the water and dragged him to the riverbank. The young man lay heaving and gasping for breath.
When he had sufficiently recovered from his shock, he looked up into the calm, smiling face of the holy man.
“Thank you for coming to visit me,” said the holy man genially, “Come back again when you want this path to freedom that you seek, as much as you wanted that next breath.”
This Story Is Also Our Story
It is not, to be sure, necessary to have our head held underwater until we gasp for breath! The message for us is that we can benefit from firing up our enthusiasm and our efforts on the path to freedom.
We can focus with renewed vigor, harnessing the power and energy of prāna, life's breath in the classical Sanskrit language. This will pay handsome dividends. Start with those simple breathing practices I outlined above and rediscover the transformative power of prāna, our life force.
Discover Sanskrit spiritual and inspirational jewelry on the Damayanti.store site.
You can find the Prāna collection here.
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