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- Prana: Prana is the sanskrit word for the vital life. Prana is the subtle material energy. It works as an interface between ‘the gross and the subtle body’ enabling all the psycho-physical functions. According to Hindu philosophy, these are the vital principles of basic energy and subtle faculties of an individual that sustain physiological processes. The main five vital currents are Prana, Apana, Udana, Samana, Vyana. Each vital current performs different functions in the body.
- Soul or Atma: One’s True Self beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence. Soul is the fragment of god’s energy in each living thing. The soul is immortal. It exists before its incarnation in any physical body and it does exist even after the death of that physical body.
- Consciousness: It is defined as subjectivity, awareness, the ability to express the feelings, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or the executive control system of the mind. Consciousness acts as a ‘ life force’ by which there is continuity across rebirths. Consciousness is conditioned by mental fabrications. Conditioning of consciousness, past intentional actions establish a karmic account that expresses itself in the future. This stored consciousness is expressed in many rebirths. After all, the whole cosmos is nothing but awareness.
- Subtle body: This body is the sublime vehicle of consciousness. The thoughts and emotions are emerged and stored in this body. It comprises of 25 basic elements or ‘tatvas’. This body is connected to the physical body with the ‘Silver Cord’. After death, the Silver cord is severed and this body leaves the physical body for its onward journey.
- Silver cord: It is the life thread of the antahkarana or inner consciousness. It refers to a life-giving linkage from the higher self down to the physical body. It is described as being smooth, very long and bright, like an elastic cable made of light about an inch wide. At the time of death, subtle body leaves the physical body and this link between two is severed. Only then it is an irreversible death.
- Out of body experience (OBE): It is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside the body. It is associated with a physical trauma – illness, dehydration, drugs or dream like state. Astral projection or travel is a paranormal interpretation of OBE. Astral/subtle body leaves physical body and travels outside it, sometimes to the astral plane. But again comes back in the physical body through the silver cord.
- Near death experience (NDE): This is a broad range of personal experiences at the time of severe physical trauma such as major surgery, motor vehicle accident – in which a person is injured badly and is about to die, encompassing sensations including “detachment from the body, extreme fear, total serenity, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, feeling the warmth of extreme love, travel in a dark tunnel-like passage, presence of golden light and meeting diseased relatives in that light”. NDEs of some people are so profound that they are the challenge to the modern medical science which believes that the consciousness is the activity of brain alone.
- Seven koshas or sheaths: Our physical body and subtle body consists of seven levels of body-mind- spirit. “Annamay (food sheath), prana, vasanamaya (desire sheath), manomay (mind), dyanamaya (direct knowing-creative insight), vidyanamay (special knowledge), anandmaya (awakening-cosmic consciousness)”. These koshas form our energy field or aura and it changes by variations in these sheaths.