The Great Pyramid
~ Amenti Rama ~


ACCORDING to ancient Indian tradition the universe reveals itself in two fundamental properties: as motion, and as that in which motion takes place, namely space. This space is called âkâsha (Tib.: nam-mkhah) and is that through which things step into visible appearance, i.e., through which they possess extension or corporeality. As that which comprises all things, âkâsha corresponds to the three-dimensional space of our sense-perception, and in this it is called mahâkâsha. The nature of âkâsha, however, does not exhaust itself in this three-dimensionality; it comprises all possibilities of movement, not only the physical, but also the spiritual ones: it comprises infinite dimensions.

ÂKÂSHA is derived from the root kâsh, ‘to radiate, to shine’, and has therefore also the meaning of ‘ether’, which is conceived as the medium of movement. The principle of movement, however, is prâna (Tib.: sugs), the breath of life, the all-powerful, all-pervading rhythm of the universe, in which world-creations and world-destructions follow each other like inhalation and exhalation in the human body, and in which the course of suns and planets plays a similar role as the circulation of the blood and the currents of psychic energy in the human organism. All forces of the universe, like those of the human mind, from the highest consciousness to the depths of the subconscious, are modifications of prâna. The word prâna can therefore not be equated with the physical breath, though breathing (prâna in the narrower sense) is one of the many functions in which this universal and primordial force manifests itself.

THOUGH, in the highest sense, âkâsha and prâna cannot be separated, becouse they condition each other like ‘above’ and ‘below’, or ‘right’ and ‘left’, it is possible to observe and distinguish the preponderance of the one or other principle in the realm of practical experience.

ALL that is formed and that has taken spatial appearance by possessing extension, reveals the nature of âkâsha. Therefore the four great elements (mahâbhûta; Tib.: hbyun-ba) or states of aggregation, namely the solid (‘earth’), the liquid (‘water’), the incandescent or heating (‘fire’) and the gaseous (‘air’), are conceived as modifications of âkâsha, the space-ether.

ALL dynamic qualities, all that causes movement, change or transformation, reveal the nature of prâna. All bodily or psychic processes, all physical or spiritual forces, from the functions of breathing, of the circulation of blood and of the nervous system, to those of consciousness, of mental activities and all higher spiritual functions are modifications of prâna.

IN its grossest form âkâsha presents itself as matter; in its subtlest forms it merges imperceptibly into the realm of dynamic forces. The state of aggregation, for instance, which we call ‘fire’ or the state of incandescence, is material as well as energetic. Prâna, on the other hand, appears in such bodily functions as breathing, digestion, etc., and is the cause of physical and psychic heat (Tib.: gtum-mo).

IF this were not so, the interaction of body and mind, of spiritual and material forces, of matter and consciousness, sense-organs and sense-objects, etc., would be impossible. It is precisely this interaction of which the yogin (irrespective whether he is Buddhist or Hindu) makes use, and upon which the technique of meditation is built.

Excerpt from Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism
by Lama Anagarika Govinda