What are the three forces?
The three forces are goddesses, known as shaktis. In yoga parlance, being shakti, they would also be called energies. An energy is a force. But they are far more than that: they are goddesses.
Jnana Shakti: this Goddess is the force of knowledge
Iccha Shakti: this Goddess is the force of will
Kriya Shakti: the Goddess force of action
These three Goddesses/Shakti are all present in all of creation. They are creative forces, and without them, where would manifestation be? Without them there would be nothing created. And, this includes oneself.
Just as the manifest, manifesting, and unmanifest universes are part of the interplay between many forces, between many energies, between many Gods and Goddesses, so are we.
Where do they fit into our own humble lives? In the grander scheme of things, each is present in many ways. However, according to Swami Sivananda,
- Jnana Shakti rests in the vijyananmaya kosha, which is the sheath where our chakras and Higher Intelligence, reside.
- Iccha Shakti rests, inside oneself, in the mind sheath, the manomaya kosha.
- Whilst Kriya Shakti rests in the pranamaya kosha, which is our life-force energy sheath.
Jnana Shakti - knowledge - vijnanmaya kosha - Higher Mind
Iccha Shakti - will - manomaya kosha - mind
Kriya Shakti - action - pranamaya kosha - life-force
The Three Bodies
Interestingly, these three sheaths: vijnanmaya kosha, manomaya kosha, and pranamaya kosha, all form our subtle body. As being distinct from our phyical body, and our Bliss body. The three bodies create a descent, a lineage, as thus: bliss > subtle > physical.
As do the koshas, the sheaths:
anandamaya (bliss sheath) > vijnanamaya > manomaya > pranamaya > annamaya (food sheath/physical body).
Each of these sheaths/koshas rest their base on a pertinent aspect of each sheath, which (sort of) 'feeds' each:
anandamaya: the cause of one's existence
vigyanamaya: the inherent powers contained within the chakras; the tattwas (elements) which lie behind the chakras; the power of kundalini
manomaya: mind: conscious and subconscious; sense organs of knowledge
pranamaya: life-force. There are several different types of prana
annamaya: the food sheath
The Ascent, The Descent
In yoga, we start with fine-tuning the physical body and then work on ascending upwards through the sheaths. It is an excellent spiritual method, and, done properly, it 100% works. But, this is not the only way to live a spiritual life. I study with a Tohunga (Maori spiritual guide), and here we are are learning a descent from the original nothingness, down through creation, the Gods and Goddesses involved with the differing aspects of the universe, and down to one's existence.
So, yoga is an Ascent. Maori spirituality deals with The Descent.
There could be some confusion about the role of Jnana, Iccha, and Kriya Shaktis. The Goddess Saraswati is the Goddess of Knowledge, however it is a different sort of knowledge than that of manifestation. And, many people believe (erroneously, I might add!), that Manipura chakra is where our will-energy emits from. And of course, there are still mistaken beliefs about our life-force and our physical body.
Our life-force is gifted from the Gods, as is our Mind and our Higher Intelligence. We are right down the spiritual line....