Pranic energy is the life of creatures; for that is said to be the universal principle of life.
Taittiriya Upanishad. (II.3)
If Sat, Existence, is the origin of all material formation, Cit, Conscious-Force, is the origin of Prana, the Life Force that activates existence in our universe. Life-Force is not a product of material energy. In fact all energies – physical, vital, mental – are formulations of one divine Energy which is the Conscious-force in action.
Life-energy is a special emanation of Chit, one of the major principles of this Creation. Prana is a universal principle basing the organisation of a whole world, the prana-loka, on the life plane. Along with the other principles of the Truth in manifestation, Prana is involved in the earth-existence and it activates the different orders of the emerging creation in different vibratory modes. At the lowest level Life-Force is as if it is not, but it does vibrate at a frequency that is well nigh imperceptible. At the plant level, it is more articulate and can be sensed through its responses to excitations from outside. At the higher animal and human levels, it becomes more conscious with the activity of the emergent mind. There are other levels of existence still to be organised on earth on which the action of Life-Force, Prana, is going to be more self-conscious and less bounded.
This Prana is the essential life-energy which has several operations in each creature in our world. The first of these, the Breath of Life, is also called prana, the incoming breath as distinct from the outgoing breath, apana. The other major operations are samana, the equaliser, vyana, the pervasor, udana, the upgoing breath.
(Source: Shri M.P.Pandit, Legends in The Life Divine, Dipti Publications, p. 55)
WE PERCEIVE, then, what Mind is in its divine origin and how it is related to the Truth-consciousness,— Mind, the highest of the three lower principles which constitute our human existence. It is a special action of the divine consciousness, or rather it is the final strand of its whole creative action. It enables the Purusha to hold apart the relations of different forms and forces of himself to each other; it creates phenomenal differences which to the individual soul fallen from the Truth-consciousness take the appearance of radical divisions, and is by that original perversion the parent of all the resultant perversions which impress us as the contrary dualities and oppositions proper to the life of the Soul in the Ignorance. But so long as it is not separated from the Supermind, it supports, not perversions and falsehoods, but the various working of the universal Truth.
We have seen in the previous chapter that the Mind has its origin in Sachchidananda and it is subordinated to Truth-Consciousness and yet it is separated from it. Mind is the highest of the three principles that constitute our existence.
Mind is the special action of the divine consciousness and a final strand(part) in its creative action. Mind enables the Purusha to hold separately the relations of different forms and forces of himself to each other.
(The role of Mind is to make possible an absolute multiplicity……. on the level of Mind, also begins the real play of the Purusha where he, the One within each of us, can identify himself with individual forms. The whole purpose of this Lila is to create multiplicity in complete division…. – Ananda Reddy, Deliberations on The Life Divine, Vol -IV, p. 1)
Mind creates phenomenal (in the forms that appear) differences in the world. To the individual soul they appear like radical divisions. It appears so because the individual soul has fallen from the Truth-consciousness.
This original perversion is the parent of all the resultant perversions. They give us the impression that they are contrary dualities and oppositions proper to the Soul in the Ignorance. Mind, when not separated from the Supermind, supports the various workings of the universal Truth and not perversions and falsehood that we see apparently in this world.
Mind thus appears as a creative cosmic agency. This is not the impression which we normally have of our mentality; rather we regard it primarily as a perceptive organ, perceptive of things already created by Force working in Matter, and the only origination we allow to it is a secondary creation of new combined forms from those already developed by Force in Matter. But the knowledge we are now recovering, aided by the last discoveries of Science, begins to show us that in this Force and in this Matter there is a subconscious Mind at work which is certainly responsible for its own emergence, first in the forms of life and secondly in the forms of mind itself, first in the nervous consciousness of plant-life and the primitive animal, secondly in the ever-developing mentality of the evolved animal and of man.
Mind thus appears to be the creative agent of the universe. But we do not normally think that Mind is the agent in creation. We only regard Mind primarily an organ of perception. It perceives things already created in the universe by the Force working in Matter. It can only make a secondary creation from the already created forms by Force in Matter. To that extent only we treat the Mind as the creator.
But by the ancient knowledge we are recovering now and by the new discoveries of Science we come to know that there is subconscious Mind at work behind this Force and this Matter.
This subconscious Mind emerges on its own. It emerges first in the forms of life; secondly in the forms of mind itself. It first emerges in the nervous consciousness of plant-life and the primitive animal. Secondly it emerges in the ever-developing mentality of the evolved animal and of man.
And as we have already discovered that Matter is only substance-form of Force, so we shall discover that material Force is only energy-form of Mind. Material force is, in fact, a subconscious operation of Will; Will that works in us in what seems to be light, though it is in truth no more than a half-light, and material Force that works in what to us seems to be a darkness of unintelligence, are yet really and in essence the same, as materialistic thought has always instinctively felt from the wrong or lower end of things and as spiritual knowledge working from the summit had long go discovered. We may say, therefore, that it is a subconscious Mind or Intelligence which, manifesting Force as its driving-power, its executive Nature, its Prakriti, has created this material world.
We have already seen that Matter is only substance- form of Force (“Matter expresses itself eventually as a formulation of some unknown Force. Life, too, that yet unfathomed mystery, begins to reveal itself as an obscure energy of sensibility imprisoned in its material formulation; and when the dividing ignorance is cured which gives us the sense of a gulf between Life and Matter, it is difficult to suppose that Mind, Life and Matter will be found to be anything else than one Energy triply formulated, the triple world of the Vedic seers – Please refer Chapter II – The Materialist Denial, p. 17). So we shall discover that material Force is only energy-form of Mind.
Material force is in fact a subconscious operation of Will. We have Will working in us in what seems to be light, i.e., in an awakened status. In truth it is no more than a half-light, i.e., not fully awakened. Material Force seems to us to work in a darkness of unintelligence. Both our Will and the material Force are yet really and in essence the same. The materialist has wrongly interpreted the working of this force as blind and without consciousness. The ancient spiritual knowledge from the summit of its realisation discovered that it is the conscious Force that operates right from the Mind up to the Matter.
Therefore, Sri Aurobindo concludes in this paragraph that it is a subconscious Mind or Intelligence that has created this material world using manifesting Force as its driving-power, its executive Nature, its Prakriti.