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The Essence of the Mind and Prana by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri) A Vedic Rishi writing

the Upanishads A Vedic Rishi writing the Upanishads Section 78 of the Upanishads for Awakening Sometimes the longer upanishads branch off from the central subject and explore a byway or two. This happened in the preceding dialogue between Uddalaka and Sve taketu. Uddalaka began expounding the origin of various components of the human being, including the mind, the manas, which is the sensory mind, the field of en ergy which conveys the impressions of the sensory impulses of the brain. It is p art of our astral bodies, but since it consists of the grossest of astral substa nce, it is integrated, even interlaced, with the material body and brain. Accord ing to Uddalaka the energy of the mind is derived from the physical body. Here a re his words: Food, when eaten, becomes divided into three parts. What is its grossest ingredie nt, that becomes feces; what is the middling ingredient, that becomes flesh; and what is the subtlest ingredient, that becomes mind (Chandogya Upanishad 6.5.1,2) . From this we see how important diet is, for the very substance of the mind is the essential energy of the food we eat. For that reason we must be careful both as to what we eat and what its vibration might be. For example, we should avoid meat, fish, eggs, alcohol, nicotine, and mind-influencing drugs that should be ob vious to the yogi. But we must also be careful about the vibration of acceptable food, for if it is a vehicle of negative vibrations it will be poisonous to the mind. When food is cooked or handled, the vibrations of the cook and the handle r enter into it, for cooked food is very receptive to vibrations. Usually a pray er or blessing will neutralize any negative energies attached to food, but not a lways, especially if the cook or handler were mentally disturbed. Food in a rest aurant that serves meat can be a problem for that reason, and also because the f ood may be cooked in the same oil in which meat has been cooked, or may have bee n touched by meat in some way in the restaurant kitchen. Prana, the subtle life force in the yogi s body, must also be kept pure, as it aff ects everything in the physical and astral bodies, and has a major influence on meditation, during which the pranas must be as pure and subtle as possible, sinc e the mental energies and the prana interact with one another intimately. About the prana, Uddalaka says: Water, when drunk, becomes divided into three parts. Wh at is its grossest ingredient, that becomes urine; what is the middling ingredie nt, that becomes blood; and what is the subtlest ingredient, that becomes Prana ( Chandogya Upanishad 6.5.1,2). What is said about water stands for any liquid, an d we must be as careful about that as about our food. Hence, mind is made up of food, Prana is made up of water (Chandogya Upanishad 6.5 .4). Then he repeats this, giving examples. Of the curd [yogurt] that is being churned that which is the subtlest part rises upwards and that becomes butter. So also, of the food that is eaten that which i s the subtlest part rises upwards and that becomes the mind. Of the water that i s drunk that which is the subtlest part rises upwards and that becomes Prana. Henc e, mind is made up of food, Prana is made up of water (Chandogya Upanishad 6.6.13,4). This is extremely valuable knowledge for everyone, but especially for the yogi, as we see that food and drink have a direct effect on the mind and the vital for ce within.

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