Prana, aka: Prāṇā, Prāṇa; 7 Definition(s)


Prana means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Prāṇā (प्राणा):—Third of the eight Mātṛs born from the body of Calanī, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. These eight sub-manifestations (mātṛ), including Prāṇā, symbolize a relation to the wind. Prāṇā itself represents prāṇa, one of the five vital airs. They are presided over by the Bhairava Asitāṅga. Calanī is the fifth of the Eight Mahāmātṛs, residing within the Mātṛcakra (third of the five cakras) and represents wind.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra

Prāṇa (प्राण).—Indian thought believes that between the body and the mind or between the material or physical energy and mental energy, there is prāṇa which is an intermediary link between the two. The word prāṇa has been variously translated as the vital force, biological energy, bio-plasma, etc. According to Indian Philosophy, between the body and manas or mind, there is prāṇa which serves as a link between the two.

Prāṇa is not mind; it is insentient, but it is not like gross physical energy which catches the vibrations of the mind and transmits them to the nerves and plexuses and also physical vibrations to the mind. By cotnrolling the mind one can control the prāṇa, and by controlling the prāṇa, one can control the mind. According to Śaivāgama, prāṇa is not something alien to saṃvit or consciousness, but the first evolute of saṃvit (consciousness). In the process of creation saṃvit or consciousness is at first transformed into prāṇa. So prāṇa is a phase of consciousness itself.

The word prāṇa is thus used in three senses—

  1. in a general sense of prāṇa-śakti or life-force,
  2. in a specific sense according to the various biological functions,
  3. in the sense of breath.
(Source): Vijnana Bhairava or Divine Consciousness
Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.


1a) Prāṇa (प्राण).—A son of Vidhātri and Niyatī (āyati-br. p.). His wife was Puṇḍarīkā and Dyutimān was his son.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 1. 44-45; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 11. 6-9, 40.

1b) A Vasu and a son of Dharma; married Ūrjasvatī. Father of Saha and two other sons.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 11-12; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 15. 113.

1c) A Bhārgava and a sage of the Svārociṣa epoch.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 17; Matsya-purāṇa 9. 8.

1d) A son of Dhara;1 a Sādhya.2

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 5. 24.
  • 2) Ib. 203. 11; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 3. 16.

1e) A son of Angiras;1 a Sādhya;2 a Tuṣita;3 an Ajitadeva.4

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 196. 2; Vāyu-purāṇa 65. 105.
  • 2) Ib. 66. 15.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 3. 19; Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 18.
  • 4) Ib. 67. 34.

1f) The antarātma; it is anna or food; anna is Brahmā, etc.; from this grows creatures. (cf. Upaniṣad; also Yajur Veda);1 one of the Vāyus which determine the karma of people;2 is jīva.3

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 15. 14.
  • 2) Ib. 21. 47; 31. 41.
  • 3) Ib. 102. 101.

1g) A son of Dhātṛ and father of Dyutimat.*

  • * V. I. 10. 4-5.

1h) One of the seven seers of the Svārociṣa epoch.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 1. 11.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Āyurveda (science of life)

Prāṇa (प्राण).—One of the five upadoṣas (sub-functions) of vāta (one of the three biological humors).—

Location of prāṇa: Head, chest and brain.

Functions of prāṇa: Perceptions and movements of all kinds, respiratory activity, swallowing of food, conversion of breath into life-force, spitting and sneezing.

Ailments of prāṇa due to vitiation: Hiccoughs, cough, bronchial asthma, cold, sore throat and other respiratory complaints, giddiness, syncope and other neurological disorders.

(Source): Google Books: A Practical Approach to the Science of Ayurveda
Āyurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

General definition (in Hinduism)

The first prana is known as Prana. It is located between the diaphragm and the throat. This prana is an upward flowing force. It maintains the function of the lungs and heart, and is responsible for inhalation and exhalation, and for the swallowing and regurgitation of food. Although it is an upward moving force in general, it also has the ability to move downward in that region.

(Source): Yoga Magazine: Prana

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

prāṇa (प्राण).—m (S) A vital air. Five are enumerated, viz. prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, udāna, samāna. 2 The first of the five, used, from its seat in the lungs, preeminently, and expressing life or vitality. 3 fig. Anything dearly loved. 4 Breath, air inhaled. 5 Air or wind. For figurative senses, phrases, and applications of this word besides the few subjoined here see under jīva. ughaḍyā ḍōḷyānēṃ prāṇa jāta nāhīṃ One cannot die or rest in tranquility whilst his eyes are open (unto some iniquity or impropriety). prāṇa uraṇēṃ g. of s. To be but alive. prāṇa ōkaṇēṃ To indulge excessive sorrow. 2 To long after vehemently. prāṇa pl jāṇēṃ g. of s. To die. prāṇa ṭhēvaṇēṃ To set one's heart and affections upon. 2 Phrase. mī prāṇa ṭhēvaṇāra nāhīṃ I will not live. prāṇa dēṇēṃ To give up or resign one's life. prāṇa vāhaṇēṃ To devote one's self, soul and spirit, to the service of. Ex. prāṇa vāhilā pāyāvarī ||. prāṇa sōkhaṇēṃ g. of s. To be parched with thirst. 2 To long and pant for; to thirst after. prāṇa sōḍaṇēṃ To resign one's breath. prāṇācā vālhī Lord of one's life, viz. a husband. prāṇāpēkṣā kaṭhīṇa Worse than death. prāṇāśīṃ jāṇēṃ To lose life (through some violence or with prematureness).

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

prāṇa (प्राण).—m A vital air. Life. Anything dearly loved. Breath. Air. ughaḍyā ḍōḷyānē prāṇa jāta nāhīṃ One cannot rest in tranquillity whilst his eyes are open to some iniquity or impropriety. prāṇa uraṇēṃ To be just alive. prāṇa pl jāṇēṃ To die. prāṇa ṭhēvaṇēṃ To set one's heart and affections upon. mī prāṇa ṭhēvaṇāra nāhīṃ I will not live. prāṇa dēṇēṃ To give up or resign one's life. prāṇa vāhaṇēṃ To devote one's self or soul to the service of. prāṇa sōkhaṇēṃ To be parched with thirst. To thirst after. prāṇa sōḍaṇēṃ To resign one's breath. prāṇācā vālhī-lī Lord of one's life, viz. a husband. prāṇāpēkṣāṃ kaṭhīṇa Worse than death.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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