Rāja Yoga – Swāmi Vivekānanda – CHAPTER III : PRĀṆA

Reading this chapter, it seems to me that to reach spiritual perfection a Yogi must acquire as more Prana as he can in the less amount of time. This reminds me to a christian orthodox russian saint, Seraphim of Sarov, who told his disciple that the true goal of the christian life is to acquire as more as possible the Holy Spirit of God, which transmutes the soul of the sinner in a radiant globe of light. So I ask to myself if the Prana of the Yogi is the same of the Holy Spirit of the christian saints. The author actually mentioned "all the great saints of the world" speaking of the Prana acquisition.

Here is a quotation of the mentioned chapter:

Wherever there is life, the storehouse of infinite energy is behind it. Starting as some fungus, some very minute, microscopic bubble, and all the time drawing from that infinite store-house of energy, a form is changed slowly and steadily until in course of time it becomes a plant, then an animal, then man, ultimately God. This is attained through millions of aeons, but what is time? An increase of speed, an increase of struggle, is able to bridge the gulf of time. That which naturally takes a long time to accomplish can be shortened by the intensity of the action, says the Yogī. A man may go on slowly drawing in this energy from the infinite mass that exists in the universe, and, perhaps, he will require a hundred thousand years to become a Deva, and then, perhaps, five hundred thousand years to become still higher, and, perhaps, five millions of years to become perfect.

why shall not the soul, by intensifying its action, attain perfection in this very life? All beings will at last attain to that goal

The ideal of the Yogī, the whole science of Yoga, is directed to the end of teaching men how, by intensifying the power of assimilation, to shorten the time for reaching perfection, instead of slowly advancing from point to point and waiting until the whole human race has become perfect. All the great prophets, saints, and seers of the world — what did they do? In one span of life they lived the whole life of humanity, traversed the whole length of time that it takes ordinary humanity to come to perfection. In one life they perfect themselves; they have no thought for anything else, never live a moment for any other idea, and thus the way is shortened for them. This is what is meant by concentration, intensifying the power of assimilation, thus shortening the time. Rāja Yoga is the science which teaches us how to gain the power of concentration.

Here below is a quotation from a "Theosophical" website. Of course the greek "pneuma" means both Spirit and life-breath (and also wind).


Prāna almost invariably signifies the universal life force, which is a vibrant psychophysical energy similar to the pneuma of the ancient Greeks

In some languages, (e.g., Greek, Latin) the word for breath or wind also denotes the spirit or psyche, thereby hinting at the forgotten truth concerning the link between consciousness and breath — states of consciousness can be altered through altered breathing


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