Volume VII - In an Eastern Rose Garden
WHAT THE POWER OF BREATH CAN DO
Breath, being the secret of all being, is the most important of all things. Whether we have a fine body or not has nothing to do with it. If we gain in weight, we are only getting a heavier coat; but our true being is the breath. When the breath has left the body, the body is useless. Therefore the importance of our being lies in the breath.
Breath is God. If God is manifest in anything, it is in breath. The activity of our physical being depends on our breath. This keeps up the rhythm of the pulse and the rhythm of the beats of the brain. The centers are kept up by the rhythm. If the rhythm stops, the centers stop. As the tick of the watch, so is the swing of the breath. According to the rhythm, so is the condition of the body. Disorder in breath means illness.
In anger the rhythm of breathing is much quicker, even so much as to make speech impossible. The saying, 'speechless with anger: is proverbial. Therefore the breath acts on the mind as well. The lion, the leopard, and other fierce creatures have a very irregular breath; there is no rhythm; they are short-lived. The cobra never becomes excited; it breathes slowly, and attracts its food from any distance by mere concentration of will. It is very long-lived.
Breathing is the effect of breath. It is really a vibration rising and falling. There is a vibration in all things, in life and birth, and consequently all things have rhythm. It is the activity of God and nothing else. There are different rhythms for the day, the hour, the minute, and for forty days. There is a connection between this rhythm and the life of the universe like so many candles and lamps.
Word; light; creation. The breath is the Word. We cannot utter a word without breath. But a word is double as it consists of breath and sound, and breath stands by itself. The sense comes before the sound.
Athletic exercises are basically exercises of breathing. A porter does not become physically developed because he does not use his breathing for that purpose. He has had exercise without benefit. If the breath did not manifest through the voice, it would manifest in some other way, as the absent sound of thought. Wherever it is directed, it will go. If you do not speak and yet think the same thought, the breath will travel silently. People think they cannot hear except with their ears, they are so attached to their physical body. But as soon as a man is convinced that he can hear without ears, he will do so without speech. One can tell that a person is angry without his speaking, because he reveals it in his whole vibration. The very way a person says 'yes' tells you whether he is willing or not willing; it depends on the character of the breath at that moment.
People who live a material life, reveal it because the breath becomes material and makes a noise. It has become so dense that it actually makes a noise. In refined persons the breath is also fine. Cows and camels and buffaloes make a noise when they breathe. This at once shows the fineness or coarseness of the individual. Those who perceive these things can see them clearly.
All the different moods that we are in – inclination to laughter or crying, heaviness, exaltation, or meditation – all result from the breath. It changes in activity so many times during the day and night. As it changes, it expresses a certain element, earth, water, fire, air, or ether, and it makes one feel inclined to do certain things in accordance with the element.
All the different desires originate in breath; even the character of a person, even his luck, all depend on the breath. Those who know the mystery of breath can read the soul. Breath is a link from God to man. Breath is purified by prayer. Fire-worshippers keep a fire before them in order to keep their breath in rhythm.
The science of breath is only transmitted by word of voice from the teacher when he sees someone worthy to learn. There are three stages: Jalal, force of breath; Jamal, the gentleness of breath; Kamal, perfection of breath. The latter stage culminates in miracles.
A book is a dead teacher. People continually send their breath into undesirable centers. It is essential to have a living guide, and not to try and study from books; a pure and good life is far better for the breathing. Do not let tranquility be disturbed, and the rhythm of the breath will keep regular; the mind will keep in good condition and the body healthy.
Do not be too attached to anything in the world. Do not be a slave to anything. Be beyond all desires. Observe the law of cleanliness, the law of balance, doing good to others, having good wishes, good thoughts, keeping a high ideal, and always wishing to attain the ideal. By doing these things the breath itself will become fixed in the same mold.