The Inner Horse
The other important part of the psycho-physical equipment of man is Prana or Life-force. Prana is the vital energy, inner horse in us which animates and energises both the physical and the psychological being of man. In the outer physical body, Prana, is the source of all biological or bio- plasmic energy which activates the cells, tissues and organs of the body; In the inner psychological nature, Anthakarana it gives dynamic effectuating force to all the psychological activities of man. We have already made this distinction between physical Prana which activates our outer body and the psychic prana which animates our inner psychological equipment. Our entire inner and outer being is shot through and through with Prana which gives life, energy and dynamism to all our physical and psychological activities.
The Deformation of Desire
What is the source and nature of Prana? The spiritual intuition of Indian rishis perceived that Prana is in its essence the expression of shakthi or the eternal consciousness-force of the divine Being. Prana is an expression, in the lower psychological nature of man, of the self-luminous energy and will of the supernature of the Spirit. But in the ego-bound lower nature of man this unconditioned energy and will of the spirit gets deformed as Desire.
Both the physical prana which animates our body and the psychic prana which imparts dynamism to our thoughts, feelings and will are subject to this deformation of Desire. It is this element of desire in the psychic prana which confuses and distorts the true and natural functioning, Dharma, of the higher parts of our being like our intelligence, will and higher emotions by bringing its straining, impatience, restlessness and craving into their activities.
But we say desire is a deformation only from the point of view of Yogic psychology which aims at transcendence of the ego-centric desire-driven life in a higher egoless and desireless spiritual consciousness. But as long as the individual is not yet awakened to this higher spiritual aim, desire has a role to play in evolution. Until then the desire is a helper. But once the human being is awakened to this higher spiritual aim and begins to walk in the path towards this higher aim, then the desire becomes a bar to his higher evolution and progress. So the path of Yoga requires elimination of desire from the vital force or else a transformation of desire into its spiritual truth of which it is a deformation. As long as this disturbing element is there in the Prana in however subtle form, there is no security in the path of Yoga.