All schools of yoga agree in the idea that there is in each person ‘One’ who sees all the other things but is not seen by them – ‘some kind of self’ (kashchid swayam), which is the Sinner Self’ (anta atman), the ‘primeval Being’
By whose mere presence the organs of the body and the thinking mind and the higher intelligence all keep to their own proper forms and actions, like servants.
By all such statements something indefinable is announced; really indescribable, because description involves comparisons. Just as it is impossible to say what there is when there is nirvana, so also it is impossible to speak of this.
Yet without it, as a power of unity, there would be no organism. We see the variety of parts, and we see the harmsny of their working for mutual benefit, but the unity eludes all perception, though it just has to be there. There is thus a sort of ring-master in this ‘circus of many animals.
This is the Shiva of it, while the harmony, which is goodness, is the Vishnu, and the form of the substance is the Brahma.
In the very body is the wife of this Shiva, who is Kun dalini, who is the vitality of the body and of its senses and Vitalflow everything. On the left side and the right side of the body go the vital airs (vayus) of the body in the channel on the left called Ida, and in the channel on the right called Pingala. These rise in the kunda, as does the sushumna channel in the centre, and from there they branch out into the seventy two thousand minor channels in the body. They alternate, and so resemble the symbol of the caduceus of Mercury and the symbol of the healing art of the doctors.
There is something of a clue to the mystery of the central channel when it is said that Kundalini goes up it when seeking Shiva. The journey takes place when there is a dedication by the yogi of all his functions, centred in all the chakras, to the purposes of Shiva, and the corresponding worships in all the centres, such worships being dedication of one function after another. At this point the yogi takes his living and his destiny into his own hands, instead of leaving it to the impulses of subconscious or unconscious reactions, to ‘instinct’.
The books give us a list of five vital airs (vayus) which are declared to have their influence in the several regions of the body. They are named prana, at the heart; apnea, at the anus; samana, at the navel; udana, at the throat; and Carla all over. Thus briefly states the Garuda Purana.
The old teachers always very definitely described the vital airs as of five kinds, or as having five locations in the body, with different functions. The list is similarly given in the Gheranda Sanhita:
Prana moves in (the region of) the heart; apana in the region of the anus; samana in the area of the navel; udana around the throat; Dana, pervading the (entire) body