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Prana Vidya In Hinduism

In Hinduism, Prana Vidya is the study of vital air. It is one of the several vidyas described in Upanishads. Some of the important vidyas are vaishvanara vidya, bhoma vidya, and panchagni vidya. Vidyas can be described as different paths to or models of the Brahmin, involving different upasanas (meditative practices) and knowledge formulations, which guide the sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) and elevate him to new levels of consciousness.

Prana Vidya is discussed in the sixth chapter of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, and it glorifies the supremacy of prana (vital air) in the following manner.

It is pointed out that the individual organs, too, have excellence of their own. Speech is excellent because those having the gift of speech acquire wealth and conquer others through their eloquence. One who meditates upon speech thus becomes excellent. The eye is firm support, and the one who meditates upon the eye thus can live steadily in comfortable places, as well as in difficult places. The ear is prosperity, and the one who meditates on it will have all this desires fulfilled. The mind is the abode of organs, as well as objects, and the one who meditates on it becomes the support of his fellowmen.

The various organs, the story goes, once went to Prajapati to find out who among them was the most excellent. He told them that he indeed was the most excellent on whose departure the body became impure. Accordingly, the different organs – speech, eye, ear, mind, etc – left the body by turns and stayed away for a year. But the person continued to live on. Finally, when prana was about to leave, all the organs felt uprooted from the body and implored prana not to leave. They told prana that their respective glories are in truth the excellence of prana itself. Prana vidya is also discussed in Chandogya Upanishad.