According to the various workings of it, the prana is known as five pranas. The five tattwas – i.e., five essences or elements which may be gross or subtle – are the outcome of the prana.

They are:

  • earth – which gives material;
  • water – which gives wetness;
  •  fire – which gives heat;
  • air – which gives flow and touch;
  • akash (Ether) – which gives five senses or intellect.

The location of these in the physical body is as follows:

  • earth is in the Guda Chakra – rectum;
  • water is in the Indri Chakra – kidney, generative organ;
  • fire is in the Navel Chakra
  • air is in the Heart Chakra
  • akash is in the Gullet Chakra – throat.

All of those carry on the various functions of the physical body.

At the time of death, the earth of the Guda Chakra merges into the water of the Indri Chakra, and hands and feet become cold and inert; the water merges into the fire of the Navel Chakra and the Indri Chakra becomes inert and cold; the fire of the Navel Chakra merges into the air of the Heart Chakra and the belly becomes cold and inert. Last of all, air merges into the Akash Tattwa and the heart ceases to beat.

Dissolution of the Pind – physical body or microcosm – is thus brought about.

Similarly, the dissolution of the Brahmand – macrocosm – takes place. These tattwas become finer and finer in the astral and causal and higher planes, and they also become stronger to work more splendidly there.

In the higher planes they are called by different names – details are given in the various Hindu shastras. The five planes were created by the Lord, and in these various planes, the same Lord is controlling the planes under respective names.

Matter, prana, or energy, or force and mind are then relative manifestations of Brahm – the power that creates and dissolves the phenomenal world. Prana is really a modification or manifestation of mind. It is by the faculty of action that matter – the five tattwas – emanates from prana and prana emanates from mind. If prana is stilled, mind is stilled.

Surat is above mind. Surat is the General-in-Chief which directs the mind and prana in the body and in all directions. If Surat is absorbed or stilled, mind and prana are both stilled.

First, Akash Tattwa is manifested from prana; from akash, air is manifested; from air, fire is manifested; from fire, water and therefrom earth is manifested. This is the order in which the five tattwas come into existence.

It is the Gift of the Master if you have fathomed a bit of the tattwa mystery. All of one’s efforts and achievements in this direction are due to the past sanskaras – karmic reactions. Try to fathom the realm of Surat and devote more time in Bhajan and Simran which will give more perfection. Then all of the past and the future will be unravelled.

Hafiz, a Persian Saint, says:

It is the time to love the Shabd and the Master. Try less to find out the mysteries of the cosmos, as these are beyond the grasp of intellect.

There are two kinds of currents working in the physical body: One is of the prana – called the ‘motor current’ – and the other is of the Surat called the ‘sensory current.’

Their functions are different. With the help of the prana current such functions as the digestion of food and the circulation of blood to the veins and the growing of hair and nails proceed. Whereas the sensory current gives us the sense of feeling throughout the body.

Saints do not touch the prana current and They let its functions continue to work as they are.