Many writers on the subject of the human aura content themselves with a description of the colors of the mental or emotional aura, and omit almost any reference whatsoever to the basic substance or power of the aura. This is like the play of Hamlet, with the character of Hamlet omitted, for, unless we understand something concerning the fundamental substance of which the aura is composed, we cannot expect to arrive at a clear understanding of the phenomena which arises from and by reason of the existence of this fundamental substance. We might as well expect a student to understand the principles of color, without having been made acquainted with the principles of light.
The fundamental substance of which the human aura is composed is none other than that wonderful principle of nature of which one reads so much in all occult writings, which has been called by many names, but which is perhaps best known under the Sanscrit term, Prana, but which may be thought of as Vital Essence, Life Power, etc.
It is not necessary in this book to go into the general consideration of the nature and character of Prana. It is sufficient for us to consider it in its manifestation of Vital Force, Life Essence, etc. In its broadest sense, Prana really is the Principle of Energy in Nature, but in its relation to living forms it is the Vital Force which lies at the very basis of manifested Life. It exists in all forms of living things, from the most minute microscopic form up to living creatures on higher planes, as much higher than man as man is higher than the simple microscopic life-forms. It permeates them all, and renders possible all life activity and functioning.
Prana is not the mind or the soul, but is rather the force or energy through which the soul manifests activity, and the mind manifests thought. It is the steam that runs the physical and mental machinery of life. It is the substance of the human aura, and the colors of mental states are manifested in that substance, just as the colors of chemical bodies are manifested in the substance of water. But Prana is not material substance—it is higher than mere matter, being the underlying substance of Energy or Force in Nature.
While it is true, as we have seen, that all auras are composed of the substance of Prana, it is likewise true that there is a simple and elementary form of auric substance to which occultists have given the simple name of the prana-aura in order to distinguish it from the more complex forms and phases of the human aura. The simplicity of the character of the prana-aura causes it to be more readily sensed or perceived than is possible in the case of the more complex phases or forms of the aura. For whereas it is only the more sensitive organisms that can distinguish the finer vibrations of the mental and emotional aura, and only the clairvoyant sight which can discern its presence by its colors, almost any person, by a little careful experimenting, may become aware of the presence of the prana-aura, not only in the way of "feeling" it, but in many cases of actually seeing it with the ordinary vision rightly directed.
That which is known as the prana-aura is of course the most simple form or phase of the human aura. It is the form or phase which is more closely bound up with the physical body, and is less concerned with the mental states. This fact has caused some writers to speak of it as the "health aura," or "physical aura," both of which terms are fittingly applied as we shall see, although we prefer the simpler term we have used here, i. e., the prana-aura. For the prana-aura does show the state of the health of the individual radiating it, and it also really contains physical power and magnetism which may be, and is imparted to others.
The basic prana-aura is practically colorless, that is to say, it is about the color of the clearest water or a very clear diamond. By the clairvoyant vision it is seen to be streaked or marked by very minute, bristle-like lines, radiating outward from the physical body of the individual, in a manner very like "the quills upon the fretful porcupine," as Shakespeare puts it. In the case of excellent physical health, these bristle-like streaks are stiff and brittle-looking, whereas, if the general health of the person be deficient these bristle-like radiations seem to be more or less tangled, twisted, or curly; and, in some cases present a drooping appearance, and in extreme cases present the appearance of soft, limp fur.
It may interest the student to know that minute particles of this prana-aura, or vital magnetism, is sloughed off the body in connection with physical exhalations such as scent, etc., and remain in existence for some time after the person has passed from the particular place at which they were cast off. In fact, as all occultists know, it is these particles of the prana-aura which serve to give vitality to the "scent" of living creatures, which enables dogs and other animals to trace up the track of the person, or animal, for a long time after the person has passed. It is not alone the physical odor, which must be very slight as you will see upon a moment's consideration. It is really the presence of the particles of the prana-aura which enables the dog to distinguish the traces of one person among that of thousands of others, and the feat is as much psychical as physical.
Another peculiarity of the prana-aura is that it is filled with a multitude of extremely minute sparkling particles, resembling tiny electric sparks, which are in constant motion. These sparks, which are visible to persons of only slightly developed psychic power, impart a vibratory motion to the prana-aura which, under certain conditions is plainly visible to the average person. This vibratory movement is akin to the movement of heated air arising from a hot stove, or from the heated earth on a mid-summer day.
If the student will close his eyes partially, until he peers out from narrowed lids, and then will closely observe some very healthy person sitting in a dim light, he may perceive this undulating, pulsing vibration extending an inch or two from the surface of the body. It requires some little knack to recognize these vibrations, but a little practice will often give one the key; and after the first recognition, the matter becomes easy.
Again, in the case of persons of active brains, one may perceive this pulsating prana-aura around the head of the person, particularly when he is engaged in concentrated active thought. A little practice will enable almost any one to perceive faintly the dim outlines of the prana-aura around his own fingers and hand, by placing his hand against a black background, in a dim light, and then gazing at it with narrowed eye-lids, squinting if necessary. Under these circumstances, after a little practice, one will be apt to perceive a tiny outlined aura, or radiation, or halo, of pale yellowish light surrounding the hand.
By extending the fingers, fan shape, you will perceive that each finger is showing its own little outlined prana-aura. The stronger the vital force, the plainer will be the perception of the phenomenon. Often the prana-aura, in these experiments, will appear like the semi-luminous radiance surrounding a candle flame or gas light. Under the best conditions, the radiation will assume an almost phosphorescent appearance. Remember, this is simply a matter of trained ordinary sight,—not clairvoyant vision.
This prana-aura is identical with human magnetism, which is employed in ordinary magnetic healing. That is to say it is the outer manifestation of the wonderful pranic force. It is felt when you shake hands, or otherwise come in close physical contact with a strongly magnetic person. On the other hand it is what the weakly, human vampire-like persons unconsciously, or consciously, try to draw off from strong persons, if the latter allow them so to do from want of knowledge of self protection. Who has not met persons of this kind, who seem to sap one's very life force away from him? Remember, then, that the prana-aura is the aura or radiation of life force, or vital power, which is the steam of your living activity, physical and mental. It is the pouring out of the vital "steam" which is running your vital machinery. Its presence indicates Life—its absence Lifelessness.