4 – Panchadasi: CH1, Verse 14-22

Summary of Panchadashi Discourse:

Definitions of Ishvara, Maya, Avidya. 2 Types of prakriti which cause Creation. 3 Gunas defined. Jiva's avidya (ignorance). 5 subtle elements. 5 Organs of knowledge/action, 5 pranas AND antahkarana (Subtle Body) created.

Source: Swami Vidyaranya, Pancadasi CH1 – verse 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 14: (Cause of ignorance: revision from last week)

Tasya hetuḥ samānābhi hāraḥ putra dhvaniśrutau, ihā nādira vidyaiva vyāmo haika niban dhanam

In the above illustration the cause of the obstruction to the voice of the son being fully recognized is the chorus of voices of all the boys. Here the one cause of all contrary experiences is indeed the beginningless Avidya. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): The universal obstruction to the appreciation of oneself as awareness is beginningless Ignorance (Maya).

Translation 3 (Chinmaya HS): The explanation (cause) of this (obstruction) is: The chorus of voices of all the chanters (obstructs) the hearing of the son’s voice. Here (in the case of not experiencing the Bliss), beginningless IGNORANCE acts in the same way, It is the sole facilitator of deluding experiences.

  • SUMMARY: Son’s voice drowned out (concealed, blurred into) in chorus of all the boys.
    • Thus father couldn’t distinctly discern son’s voice who is so DEAR and CLOSE to him.
      • Son’s voice: ātman (ānanda, from V9: Everything is loved for sake of Self.)
    • Cause of “drowned voice” is pratibandha, which is obstacle to recognition of ātman.
    • Pratibandha causes (1) absence of correct perception AND (2) projection of false notions. Resulting in vyāmoha (utter confusion).
      • EG: New job. Ignorant of codes of conduct in workforce, doesn’t know who is manager, etc…
        • Absence of correct perception, caused by: Lack of training.
        • Projection of false notions, caused by: Based on my past limited knowledge. So limited past knowledge continues being superimposed over present workplace.
    • Effect of pratibandha:
      • Avidyā (ignorance). Anādi (beginingless). Except it can be removed by knowledge.
      • Avidyā/ignorance means:
        1. Non-existent.
          • EG1: Santa with flying reindeer.
          • EG2: Person feels watched, but none watching.
        2. Non-knowledge/partiality resulting in wrong knowledge.
          • EG: Conspiracies: flat earth, never landed on moon, missing plane entered parallel universe (until it’s discovered).
  • NEXT VERSE: Nature of avidyā explained, so it can be removed. Can’t remove, until know what removing.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 15: (Brahman > prakṛti)

Cidānanda maya brahma prati bimba saman vitā, tamo rajas satva guṇā prakṛtir divividhā ca sā

The prakrti in association with the reflection of Brahman which is of the nature of Conscious bliss, is made up of sattva, rajas and tamas guṇās and is of two type. (Chinmaya)

Translation 2 (RK): Prakrti (i.e. primordial substance) is that in which there is the reflection of Brahman, that is pure consciousness and bliss and is composed of sattva, rajas and tamas (in a state of homogeneity). It is of two kinds.

Translation 3 (JS): Nature (Prakriti), composed of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, is a subtle inert form of awareness that is capable of reflecting awareness. It is of two kinds.

Translation 4 (Chinmaya HS): BRAHMAN, the Pure Consciousness and Bliss, is reflected (in Prakriti), with which is associated Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa – the three Gunas. This is PRAKRITI, and it is of two kinds.

  • Prakṛti defined (Chinmaya): The definition of prakṛti is: That disturbance (SRT; māyā) in which the Satchidananda Brahman gets reflected, the disturbance being associated with Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, the three qualities which constitute all such disturbances.
  • Commentary (RK): To clarify the idea of Avidya, the cause of obstruction. Prakrti is “being posited. Prakrti literally means the source of creation, or creatrix. It is neither a product of Brahman nor a real entity apart from Brahman; but Brahman itself filled with the desire to create, etc —'Baku sydtn prajayeya’. Hence it is not only not unreal, but is the bliss aspect of Brahman, which apparently becomes the world. It is Being, becoming or Being-becoming, apparently differentiating itself into the gunas, which are not qualities but the constituents in the apparent process of materialization.
  • Commentary (JS):

Without knowledge of Ignorance you cannot remove it. In fact if you know what ignorance and knowledge are, ignorance need not be removed nor knowledge gained.

To explain Ignorance, the text introduces the idea of Prakriti. Prakriti is matter in its seed form. It is a proxy for Ignorance because its qualities – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas – conceal the self.

Science says that matter and energy are one, which is true in our non-dual reality, but they do not tell us what causes matter and energy. We say that Maya creates Prakriti and Prakriti is the subtle cause of matter and energy.

It is divided into three parts. Each part has a particular Guna, or quality. These three qualities are called Shaktis, or powers; they create everything. Prakriti is like a mirror. Although it is inert, it is capable of reflecting (pratibimba) awareness. You can say that it “borrows” awareness. It is an object known to awareness. It is like space. It contains all objects, including space.

On the level of the Macrocosm these three powers are responsible for everything that exists. Sattva provides the intelligence, the design of the creation. Tamas provides the substance and Rajas transforms the substance in accordance with the design, accounting for all objects.

Creation is an interesting type of transformation. Consciousness, the self, does not “become” the creation. If it did it would cease to exist as consciousness and there would be no sentient beings and no movement in the creation. It appears as the creation (vivarta parinama).

As above, so below. On the level of the individual

(1) Sattva is responsible for the thinking, knowing and perceiving functions of the sentient beings. It is the power of knowledge (jnana Shakti). It gives pleasure and reveals.

(2) Rajas is the doing function (kriya Shakti) and the projecting function (vikshepa Shakti). With Tamas it is responsible for erroneous knowledge.

(3) Tamas is inertia. It is not capable of knowing or doing (dravya Shakti). Denial is a manifestation of Tamas. It is called avarana Shakti. It conceals. An avarana is a cloud. A dull mind, Tamasic mind, hides the truth and causes erroneous knowledge just as clouds hide the sun.

  • Commentary (AV):
    • Brahman is limitless (ānanda). Ānanda aspect of Brahman APPARENTLY becomes world owning to it’s nature of unlimited-potential to WILL it’s capacity (prakṛti / māyā).
    • EG: When singer’s inherent dormant power for singing is “disturbed” or “evoked”, the desire to sing ARISES.
      • Then what? World of notes CREATED, becomes reflection of the singer. But singer never actually becomes the notes.
    • Hence prakṛti (māyā) is NOT a product of Brahman, nor apart from Brahman.
      • Just like notes are not a product of singer. Because singer is just witness (sākṣī) to His power. Power is not separate from Him.
      • Thus singer is an APPARENT singer (from aspect of world of music). Why apparent?
        • Because He appears to be playing role of singer, but is actually NOT a singer.
          • Example: What happens when singing STOPS? No longer a singer.
    • Thus nature of avidyā is owning to full potential for Creation, within Potential is called prakṛti/māyā.
      • Potential being desirously WILLED, the original Consciousness (Brahman), is reflects in this prakṛti.
        • Because prakṛti is made up of composition of 3 guṇās, the REFLECTION seemingly transforms proportional to clarity of mirror.
      • What is prakṛti? S.R.T/māyā in which Brahman is reflected. Reflection SEEMINGLY undergoes transformation proportional to quality (SRT) of mirror.
  • NEXT VERSE: What are 2 types of prakṛti?
    • Prakṛti is cause of entire universe. Literally means “source of creation”.
      • It can’t be perceived by mind. Only known it’s effect though inference (anumana).
        • EG: By seeing effect of fire, even though I don’t perceive fire, I infer it.
        • Same way, prakṛti is inferred in form of effect, being entire creation.
          • EG: Sattva = all knowledge. We infer by seeing nature is orderly/predictable. Thus nature conditioned by māyā.
          • Small fraction of nature is chaos. Thus infer, existence of rajas/tamas.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 16: (2 types of prakṛti)

Satva śuddhya viśuddhi bhyāṁ māyā’vidye ca te mate, māyā bimbo vaśī kṛtya tāṁ syāstarvajña īśvaraḥ

When the prakrti is predominantly sattva pradhāna it is called as māyā, while contaminated with rajas and tamas it is called as avidyā. The reflected Consciousness keeping the māyā under its control is called the Omniscient (Lord) Īśvara. (Chinmaya)

Translation 2 (RK): When the element of sattva is pure, Prakrti is known as māyā; when impure (being mixed up with rajas and tamas) it is called Avidyā. Brahman, reflected in māyā, is known as the omniscient Īśvara, who controls māyā.

Translation 3 (JS): Nature (Prakriti), composed of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, is a subtle inert form of awareness that is capable of reflecting awareness. It is of two kinds.

Translation 4 (Chinmaya HS):

i) When Prakriti has only pure Sattwa; and
ii) when She has impurities (Rajas & Tamas);
i) in the first case, Prakriti is known as MAYA;
ii) in the second case, She is known as AVIDYA.
The reflection of Brahman in Maya, and Her controller is called the omniscient Īśvara.

  • Commentary (RK):

The relation of Maya to ISvara is like this: Being; (sat) is consciousness (cit) ; this wills to create, to become (apparently), it controls ‘creation’ becoming ‘Maya’.

Therefore I ivara is that consciousness which is in the process of creation, becoming; and naturally owning and controlling Māyā.

It is not something other than Maya, it. is the involved controller-consciousness, and the power and process of becoming, i.e., the becoming itself, is Maya.

In Maya or Hvara there is really no obstruction in the sense we use the word. For Isvara is, as it is said, omniscient, and Maya, the process of becoming or becoming itself, is a conscious process, running unobstructed.

Even the consciousness of its being pure cit is not really obstructed. “Brahmaṇi hi pratiṣṭhāham”, says the Gita. That which is pratiṣḥāham of something cannot be ignorant of it especially when the pratistha is itself consciousness.

When we translate ‘ guna’ as quality or ‘constituent” we must explain what is meant by the two words. It is not ‘quality’ in the sense of something inhering in another that is ‘substance’, nor ‘constituent’ in the sense of factors, separable or separating.

It is a characteristic manifestation of reality—‘sattva’ is intelligence, ‘rajas' is motion, ‘tamas’ is matter ; whatever appears to us does so as one or another of the three or a combination of them in which one or another predominates.

Being ‘characteristic’. it can as well be called ‘quality' but not as something different from ‘substance' and being of the nature of ‘substance' and yet having distinguishable characteristics, it is ‘constituent' as well, but can be cut out or separated not realistically, but only ideally.

  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

The two types of prakṛti are śuddha sattva and aśuddha sattva.

When the citānanda Brahma gets reflected in the śuddha-prakṛti, it results in māyā, when it is reflected in aśuddha-prakṛti, is called avidyā.

Now Īśvara is defined. When the prakṛti is sattva-guna pradhāna (dominant) and (where the three guṇās are in a state of equilibrium it is called prakṛti – sāmyāvasthā) reflects the citānanda Brahman, that reflected Brahman keeps the māyā in its own control (vaśīkṛtya). That reflection identified with the māyā is called Īśvara.

As a corollary it follows that jīva is that same Param Brahma Paramātmā coming under the influence of prakṛti — not in equilibrium.

The conditioned expression of the Absolute through, the relativity or individuality is called jīva.

This is defined in the next śloka.

  • 3 Gunas defined:

3 gunas vedanta panchadasi defined

3 gunas how to use in language
Using 3 guṇās language
  • Prakṛti further defined:


  • Īśvara refers to Brahman (satcit) in process of creation, owning & controlling the proportion of it’s prakṛti (3 guṇās: māyā).
  • Brahman associated with avidyā (aśuddha sattva) = jīva.
  • NEXT VERSE: About Jīva’s avidyā owning to apparent conditioning of original Consciousness (Brahman) by prakṛti.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 17: (Jīva identified with Causal Body = prājña)

Avidyā vaśaga stvanya stad vaicitryāda nekadhā, sā kāraṇa śarīraṁ syāt prājñas tatrā bhimāna vān

But the other (i.e. the Jīva, which is Brahman reflected in Avidyā) is subjected to Avidyā (impure sattva). The Jīva is of different grades due to (degrees of) admixture (of rajas and tamas with sattva). The Avidyā (nescience) is the causal body. When the Jīva identifies himself with this Causal body, he is called Prājña. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): The individual embodied self is apparently conditioned by Avidya (Sattva mixed with Rajas and Tamas.) The Jiva is multi-faceted and complex due to the many possible combinations of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas and the Five Sheaths, which have many parts. Ignorance of the self (Avidya) is called the Causal Body. The Jiva identified with the Causal Body is called Prājña.

Translation 3 (Chinmaya): The other, namely the jīva, under the influence of avidyā on account of differences of many kinds, are many. This avidyā is called causal body. The jīva identified with the causal body is called prājñaḥ.

Translation 4 (Chinmaya HS): But the other (the reflection of Brahman in Avidya) is subject to Avidya (not its controller); It has multiplicity due to the infinite variety in the admixture (of Rajas and Tamas with Sattva); This (Avidya) becomes the Causal Body of Creation; Prājña is the consciousness that gets identified with each unit of that (Causal Body).

  • Commentary (RK):

Avidyā is called sarīra or ‘ perishable ’ because it is negated by knowledge, or in the process the prior (avidyā) is negated every moment by the later (knowledge); it is causal because out of it come the subtle and the gross. The translation of sarīra as ‘ body ’ is a bit confusing.

It does not mean something with hands, feet etc. or branches as of trees; but the perishable and perishing outer-coating of the inner consciousness building and guiding it.

Īśvara, whose śarīra is māyā and who has it under perfect control, is the creator, omniscient and oninipotent. The entire creation is a conscious evolution (if that be the word) of His will, which is māyā-sarīra.

Prājña’s śarīra is avidya and he (jīva) is under its (māyā's) control. Avidyā being non-knowledge identification with it means the experience that “I do not know (anything)”. And this, rather than prior experience, is the cause of all other experiences, subtle or gross; hence it is called the causal body.

This is the forgetting stage of our knowledge of ultimate truth that is our own nature. But being free (causal body) from all vikṣepas, projections or limited ideas it is nearest to the absolute truth.

So this knowledge may be called supreme knowledge within Avidyā (prajña [intelligence] is prājña [jīva causal body]).

This is also a śarīra because this too will have to and actually does, go. This prājña becomes Taijasa (shining) when it is identified with liṅga or suksūkṣma-śarīra due to the influence of vikṣepa. It is shining (taijasa) because it is more ideal than material, comprising as it does the sattva (intelligence) and rajas (motion) portions of the subtle elements.

  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

The other, namely, the jīva, comes under the control of avidya. Vaicitryāt anekadhā manifests in strangely different ways depending upon which of the three guṇās is predominant at any one time.

Sattva guṇa pradhānatā may manifest in deva yoni, rajo guna predominance in manuṣya yoni, and tamo guna dominance in jaḍa-yoni etc.

This avidya (or imbalance in the mix of three gunas) is called causal body or kāraṇa-śarīra.

When the jīva gets identified with the ignorance or avidyā, it is called prājña, one who is extremely ignorant. Thus:

When the jīva gets identified with the causal body (avidyā) it is called prājña.

When avidyā is called causal body, the question naturally arises, cause of what? What are the effects of this cause? This is now dealt with in the next few ślokās.

  • SUMMARY: Brahman in association with avidyā = jīva
  • NEXT VERSE: Speaks about how jīva comes about as result of Causal Body…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 18:
(Birth of 5 subtle elements from tama guṇa)

Tamaḥ pradhāna prakṛte stadbho gāye śrvarā jñayā, viyat pavana tejo’mbu bhuvo bhūtāni jajñire

At the command of Īśvara (and) for the experience of Prājña, the five subtle elements, space, air, fire, water and earth, arose from the part of Prakṛti in which tamas predominates. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): By the will of awareness in the form of Īśvara and for the experience of Prājña, the five subtle elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth) arose from the part of Prakṛti in which Tamas predominates.

Translation 4 (Chinmaya HS): From the Tamas-predominant part of Prakṛti, for Prājña’s experience, Īśvara willed that ether, air, fire, water and earth – the five SUBTLE ELEMENTS – should arise.

  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

To summarise the thought thus far – The Reality is Sat-Cit-Ananda. But one does not realise it because of the pratibandha of vyāmoha i.e. obstacle of delusion which is caused by ignorance or avidyā or māyā avidyā is of the nature of the three guṇās.

When the three gunas are in equilibrium, the citananda Brahman, which though functioning through the māyā, keeps it under control, it is called Īśvara.

When the citānanda Brahman comes under the influence of māyā or avidyā in which the equilibrium of the three gunas is disturbed, it becomes the jīva.

For the bhoga or enjoyment of this jiva, the world of objects made of the pañca-mahā-bhutās is created by Īśvara from the tamo-guṇa aspect of prakṛti.

Upto now the general creation was explained. Now the teacher explains the specific creation with reference to the individuality.

After the apañcikṛta tanmātrās (the five great elements) have been created for the bhoga of the jīva, the next step is to provide the instrument of experience for this jīva.

This instrument of experience is called the subtle body. This subtle body needs a ‘case’ or āyatanam to be safely kept in. This ‘case’ is the annamaya kośa.

The nature of the subtle body is explained from śloka 19.

  • Commentary (JS):

Prakriti means “that which can be molded into manifold objects.” Predominant Tamas is called Prakriti. It is inert. It can’t do anything, because Rajas is suppressed. It can’t think or feel, because Sattva is suppressed. It is meant for Jiva’s experience.

The world is not for Isvara’s experience, because Isvara is not a Jiva with desires and fears that create good and bad karma (punya and papa). Isvara has no karma.

It creates the world and appears as the karma/dharma matrix in which the Jivas sport.

It delivers the results of karma through the laws operating in the matrix. It is the laws.

The material world is for Jiva because it has previous karma. If you wonder how the Jivas get karma in the first creation cycle, the answer is that there is no first creation. Creation is out of time. It is one eternal object that seems to change but does not change.

Isvara is the intelligent cause of the creation. It is also the material cause.

“For the experience of Prajna” is the reason given for creation. The creation is seen as purposeless “is-ness” by the enlightened, but it is purposeful as far as Jiva is concerned because observation of the behavior of Jivas leads to the conclusion that moksa is their purpose insofar as all Jiva’s actions are attempts to remove the nagging sense of limitation imposed by Avidya.

  • Introduction to 5 elements and properties of each element…


  • NEXT VERSE: Nature of subtle body explained…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 19:
(Sattva-guṇa taken from EACH subtle element, to create 5 organs of knowledge)

Satvāṁśaiḥ pañcabhi steṣāṁ kramād dhīn driya pañcakam, śrotra tvagakṣi rasana ghrāṇākhyam upajāyate

From the Sattvic part of each of Prakriti’s five subtle elements arose in turn the five sense organs: hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell. (JS)

Translation 2 (Chinmaya HS): From the Sattva parts of the 5 elements the five Organs of Knowledge, in this order – the faculties of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell – arise respectively.

Translation 3 (AV): From sattva guṇa aspect of EACH/INDEPENDENT of the 5 subtle elements, are born 5 senses organs, for “picking up” sound (space), skin (air), eyes (fire), tongue (water), nose (earth). 

  • Above verse in picture format:
Notice the more sattva, the more subtle the element.
3 Guṇa ratio to 5 elements
  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

The sattva aspect of the five mahābhūtās is taken and the five sense organs are created respectively (i.e. in decreasing order of subtlety as enumerated further):

The ears, the skin, the eyes, the tongue and the nose, respectively. The quality of ākāṣ or space is śabda and hence the ears or the faculty of hearing.

Next lower in subtlety is the air from which the organ of touch the skin is born; from agni or teja eyes are born, from water, the organ of taste; and out pṛthivi or earth, the grossest of the five mahābhūtās which has the quality of gandha or smell, the organ of smell, the nose is born.

In this way out of the sattva guṇa aspect i.e. the knowledge aspect of the pañca-mahabhūtās, the five sense organs are created.

This is the independent expression of each pahca mahabhuta in the subtle body. Knowledge of the five types of sense perceptions śabdha, sparśa, rūpa, rasa, gandha is received through the five reception centres called the sense organs.

But if there is no coordination in the five perceptions, the result will be chaotic. The coordinating agent is the antaḥkaraṇa or the organ of inner perception which makes the collective expression of the pañca-mahā-bhūtās possible in the subtle body.

This is indicated in śloka 20.

  • NEXT VERSE: Antaḥkaraṇa is formed to help jīva experience the 5 elements.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 20:
(Sattva-guṇa of Space + SG of Air + SG of Fire + SG of Water + ST of Earth = antaḥkaraṇa)

Tai rantaḥ karaṇaṁ sarvai vṛtti bhedena tad dvidhā, mano vimarśa rūpaṁ syād buddhiḥ syān niśca yātmikā

From a combination of them all (i.e. sattva portions of the five subtle elements) arose the organ of inner conception called antahkarana. Due to difference of function it is divided into two. Manas (mind) is that aspect whose function is doubting and buddhi (intellect) is that whose functions are discrimination and determination. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): From a combination of the Sattvic portions of the five subtle elements the organ of inner experience arose. It is called the Subtle Body, Antahkarana. The Antahkarana functions in two ways: it doubts and it determines. In its doubting function it is called Mind (Manas). Its determining, discriminating function is called Intellect (Buddhi).

  • Commentary (RK): Out of the combined sattva portion of all the elements are constituted the manas and buddhi. The idea behind is that both of them are to form ‘concepts' and ‘judgement' out of the data supplied by all the organs of knowledge or sensory organs. Unless they have all the elements as their constituents, how can they (manas and buddhi) have contact with the materials supplied by all the elements? Manas is the function in the process of forming concepts and judgement; and buddhi the function that gives them definite shapes.
  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

By a combination of the sattva gunas of all the panca-mahabhutas arises the antahkaranam or the organ of inner perception.

The antaḥkaraṇam is of the nature of the thoughts (vṛtti rūpena). Due to the differences in the functions of these vrttis, they are divided into two types: one is the mind or manaḥ, the other is the buddhi or intellect.

The mind thrives on doubts, or cogitations. When the thoughts which are vacillating at the level of the mind reach a state of decision (right or wrong), that state is called the buddhih.

In this way verse 19 & 20, the effect or the kārya of the sattva-guna of the panca-mahabhutas have been explained.

The effect of the raja-guna on the 5 great elements is now taken up.

  • NEXT VERSE: Effect of raja guṇa…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 21:
(Raja-guṇa taken from EACH subtle element, to create 5 organs of action)

Rajoṁ’saiḥ pañcabhi steṣāṁ kramāt karmen indrayāṇi tu, vāk pāṇi pāda pāyupastha abhi dhānāni jajñire

From the rajas portion of the five elements arose in turn the organs of action known as the organ of speech, the hands, the feet, and the organs of excretion and generation/procreation. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): From the Rajas portion of the five elements arose in turn the organs of action: speech, hands, feet, anus and sex.

Translation 3 (Chinmaya HS): From the Rajas portion of the five elements the five Organs of Action, in this order – speech, hands, feet, the organs of excretion and generation – arise respectively.

  • Above verse visualized:

organs-of-action-raja-guna vedanta

  • Commentary (RK): It stands to reason that ‘ organs of action ’ should be formed of the rajas (motion power) portion of the elements separately, but of prapas collectively, inasmuch as they are to deal with them (the motor organs and the whole body and mind) all together.
  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

From the rajoguna aspects of the five great elements respectively, the organs of action are created.

Vāk, pāṇi, pāda, pāyu, upastha, jajñire: They are the organs of speech, hands, legs, organs of excertion and organs of procreation. It must be remembered that the five great elements are still in the nascent, tanmātrā stage, where they have not yet undergone any grossification. They are still in their pure state.

As in the case of the Sattvaguna where there was an individual, independent manifestation, as well as a collective manifestation, so also in the case of the rajo guna the karmeindryās represent the independent manifestation of the rajoguna of the five great elements.

The second manifestation is the collective one, which is described in the next śloka.

  • NEXT VERSE: Prāṇa is formed for jīva.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 22:
(Raja-guṇa of Space + RG of Air + RG of Fire + RG of Water + RG of Earth = prāṇa)

Taiḥ sarvaiḥ sahitaiḥ prāṇo vṛtti bhedāt sa pañcadhā, prāṇo’pānaḥ samā naśco dāna vyānau ca te punaḥ

Prana, the Vital Air, arose from the Rajas portion of the Five Subtle Elements (Tanmatras). It divided into the Five Physiological Functions: respiration (prana), excretion (apana), assimilation (samana), circulation (vyana) and the power to eject unwanted objects. It expels the Subtle Body from the Gross body at the time of death (udana). (JS)

Translation 2 (RK):  From a combination of them all (i.e. the rajas portions of the five subtle elements) arose the vital air (prāṇa). Again, due to difference of function it is divided into five. They are prāna, apāna, samāna, udāna and vyāna.

Translation 3 (Chinmaya): The rajo guṇa aspect of all the five elements together manifest as prāṇa śaktiḥ or vital air. This prāṇa gets further differentiated in five ways namely – prāṇa, upāna, samāna, udāna and vyāna.

Translation 4 (AV): Raja aspect of 5 SUBTLE elements COMBINE to create prāṇa (vital air). It divided into the Five Physiological Functions:

  • capacity to breathe (prāṇa; space)
  • excretion/expels (apāna; air)
  • digestion (samāna; fire)
  • circulation / distributes nutrients in body (vyāna; water).
  • throwing up / pushes out subtle body out of gross at death (udāna; earth)

  • Commentary (RK): Prāṇa causes respiration, apāna excretion, samāna distribution of the essence of food; udāna functions the throat and divides the foodstuff, vyāna is in the whole body helping the movement of joints.
  • Commentary (Chinmaya): In this way, the evolution of the sattva and rajo guna aspects of the five great elements can be summarised as follows:


  • Function of each 5 prāṇās:


  • The sub-prāṇās in above picture have the following residences in the human body:


  • NEXT VERSE: In the next śloka the total result of these above described manifestations is summarised.


Recorded 25 Aug, 2019


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