1. The Length and Breadth of Breath
Mind is creative and thought is living, but out of what
does mind create a thought? Out of the atoms of the mental
sphere. But the current, which attracts the desired atoms
to complete a thought, is the breath, not that breath which
is outwardly manifest, but that part of breath the action
of which is not felt by every man. The more length and breadth
the breath has the more scope it gives for the creation
of thought. It is therefore that the thoughts of the sages
and mystics, who have gained mastery over breath, are more
substantial and complete in themselves, and besides they
prove to be more expressive and impressive.
The breadth of the breath is in its volume. This comes
by the facility one has of breathing through wide nostrils
and open lungs. The secret of the power of voice is also
to be found in this. The voice of a commander of an army,
which carries through the army and impresses the soldiers,
thus encouraging them to fight, has breath as its secret
behind it. Ali by his invocation of the sacred word, which
he sometimes used to cry aloud on the battlefield, used
to cause the enemies to tremble.
The length of the breath shows the length of life; lengthy
breath is the sign of long life. This comes not only by
wide nostrils and open lungs, but also by the accommodation
that the body has for the breath, not only the nose and
the chest but also the head and the abdomen.
There are some, whose breath has volume, or breadth,
but not much length, and there are others who have length
and no breadth. But it is the balance of the length and
breadth of the breath, which gives balance to the mind.
Inspiration comes from the light thrown upon a certain
idea. This comes from the radiance of the breath falling
upon the mind. There are two shadows, one that is projected
upon the sky, and another which falls upon the ground; the
former known to the mystic and the latter to everyone. When
the breath which is developed, is thrown outward its radiance
produces light, and it is the different shades and grades
of this light, which manifest in various colors, suggesting
to the mystic the different elements, which the particular
colors denote. The same breath has a different action when
it is thrown within. It falls upon the mind like a searchlight
and shows to the intelligence the object of its search as
things seen in daylight. Thus man knows without any effort
on the part of the brain all he wishes to know and expresses
in the way each individual is qualified to express.
Inspiration, therefore, is one thing, qualification another
thing. The inspiration is perfect when expressed by the
qualified soul. Nevertheless inspiration is independent
of qualification. The light that the breath throws upon
the mind is in every case different in its radiance. When
far-reaching it illuminates the deepest corners of the heart,
where the light has never reached, and if breath reaches
further the light is thrown upon the mind of God, the store
of all the knowledge there is.
3. Thought Reading
It is the vibrations caused by the breath, which become
thought-waves, which carry the thought from one mind to
the other. It is therefore that thought-reading depends
so much upon the position in which two people sit with regard
to each other. For a certain position makes it easier for
the breath to reach than another, although it is not always
necessary that a person must be facing one in order to receive
thought-waves through breath. If the thought power is strong
and the breath is sound enough to carry the thought-waves,
a person, whether facing or having his back turned must
The mystics do not only project their own breath and
see the condition of their being manifest before themselves,
but they can also make themselves responsive to receive
the thought waves of another carried by his breath. This
receptivity does not only enable an adept to read other's
thoughts, but also to a mystic the condition of another
becomes revealed by the projection of another person's breath
upon his heart.
Plainly speaking, souls are likened to mirrors, and two
mirrors facing one another become projected on one another,
one manifesting the reflection of the other. The mirror,
which has not already a reflection, is capable of manifesting
the reflection of the other mirror. In this way breath enables
a Sufi not only to know and see his own condition of life
but also to know and understand the condition of those he
comes in contact with.
4. Nafas-i Garm
The breath of one person may, so to speak, overpower
the breath of another. It is as a little stream can be washed
away by a large stream of water. In this is the secret of
knowing the condition of another person. A Sufi, whose breath
is lively, which is called in the Sufic terms Nafas-i
Garm, has the influence of scattering the thoughts,
feelings, and the vibrations of the atmosphere of another.
In this way he is able to convey his thought or feeling,
and create his vibrations as the atmosphere for another
who needs it for his own betterment. In this way a Sufi
brings a life and health to another person, and he can have
an influence on the character of another person.
There is a great difference between a developed breath
and an undeveloped one. There is as vast a difference, or
even a vaster, between the breath of two persons as in two
voices. A specially produced singing voice is quite different
from the uncultivated speaking voice. It is a psychological
fact that the voice and word of a person whose voice is
cultivated makes a greater impression than the voice and
word of an ordinary person. How much more then must the
influence of breath work silently. It is in this that the
mystery of the mystic's magnetism lies, which is healing,
harmonizing, exalting, at the same time invigorating.
5. The Unknown Dimension
Breath is a light in itself, and it becomes projected
like the beam from a searchlight thrown upon an object.
When the breath is coarse, undeveloped, it is full of material
atoms which dim its light, but a developed breath is sometimes
not different from the light of the sun but even brighter
that that. Breath being a light from another dimension,
which is unknown to science today, it cannot be visible
to the ordinary physical eyes. The glands of the physical
eyes must be cleansed and purified first by Pasi Anfas
before the eyes can see the light of breath.
What people call the aura is the light of breath, but
it is not everyone who sees it. A radiant countenance is
a proof of an aura, which lightens it, and the lack of it
is the lack of light in the breath. A seer sees the sign
of a death more clearly and longer beforehand than a physician
can. The reason is that the seer sees in the aura of a person
whereas the physician sees only the condition of the body.
There is a belief in India that there are some cobras
that have light in their head, the light by which they find
their way through the dark. They make a hole in the earth
miles long, and illuminate the hole by their own light,
which is centered in their head. As two wires, positive
and negative cause the electric light to manifest, so the
two currents of breath, Jalal and Jamal, when connected
in the head in the way they ought to be cause the light
Many experience the phenomena of the light of breath,
and yet doubt if it can be true, for they think it is perhaps
an imagination. Others, who are incapable of seeing that
light, confirm their doubt. The Sufi, by the development
of breath, experiences this light, which becomes for him
a proof of the existence of that dimension which is unknown
to the ordinary world.
6. Breathing and Meditation
Why is breath called Prana by the Hindus? It is
because it brings on the surface the essence from within.
It is a current, which is running from the outer spheres
to the inner spirit. What it brings from the outer spheres
to the inner spirit is not nearly so great as that which
it brings from the inner spheres of life.
This being the condition, breath is vitalizing. Naturally,
therefore, the breath of a man in sound health must give
health to another in his presence; the breath of a mastermind
must vitalize the thought of another; and the breath of
a spiritual person must illuminate those in his presence.
By breath a spiritually developed person can impart his
physical energy, his thought-power and his spiritual influence
to the others with whom he may come in contact. It is natural,
no doubt, that if the one who wishes to impart has not sufficient
power to impart he becomes broken if there is a greater
demand on his power and if there is little left with him.
Sufis, therefore, consider breathing connected with meditation
much more important than anything else in the world: their
food, sleep, or comfort.
7. Breath Is Likened to Water
Breath is likened to water. The flowing of the breath
is like the flowing of a stream. Inhalation and exhalation
show ebb and flow. Parts of the earth which water does not
touch remain barren; so the centers in the body, with all
their intuitive, innate capacities, remain unproductive
if the breath does not reach them. Besides various diseases,
in spite of all their apparent causes, often have one principal
cause, and that is the lack of free flow of the breath.
Many operations could be avoided and several diseases could
be cured by the knowledge of the phenomena of breath.
The Hindu sacred rivers, Ganga and Yamuna, are outward
symbols of Jalal and Jamal, the two directions of the flow
of the breath. And the place where they meet is called
Sangam, the meeting or unity, which is considered
most sacred by the Hindus. That Sangam is the meeting
of these two opposite flows. It is like the meeting of the
two directions in the center, which is called Kamal by the
The water rises, passes, falls, and runs zigzag, and
stands if held. So is breath. Every above-said action of
breath has a meaning and has a peculiar effect, as even
water varies in its power and magnetism while going through
the above-said directions. Water is a tonic, and breath
is life itself. No tonic can be greater and better than
breath. A spiritually evolved person's presence, therefore,
brings about a cure in cases where all remedies fail. Water
is the necessity of life, and breath the only condition
for living. Without it life is impossible. Water falls as
a rain from above; so breath is from above also, though
from another dimension. Water rises as vapors; so breath
rises with gases, also with joys or depressions. Pure water
is health-giving, pure breath gives life. Water partakes
of all things mixing with it; so does breath.
8. Breath and Magnetism
The mechanism of the human body shows the nervous system
as its principal battery in which magnetism is prepared
by the action of breath. It is when the nervous system cannot
function that this battery gets out of order and does not
work properly. Many in order to make this battery of the
nervous system work properly take drugs and other medicines,
which stimulate the nervous system. But instead of giving
power to it they take away power from it, and in the end
the nervous system becomes accustomed to all such medicines
The nourishment of the nervous system is what breath
attracts from the space. As far as science goes, it says
one gets into one's system oxygen. The mystic goes further
in saying, not only oxygen, but also that life and intelligence,
that power and radiance which makes the nervous system in
perfect order. The result of which is not only good health
but ever-increasing magnetism, which comes forth from the
person in his thought, speech, movement and action, charging
his atmosphere with magnetism which surrounds him as a fortification
and protection against all influences, physical and mental;
thus making man live a fuller life.
9. The Subtle Waves of Breath
Inhaling shows the power of absorption, which is manifest
in all living beings and in all objects. Little germs, worms,
trees and plants all absorb, and in that way they breathe.
Also in all living beings and in all things there is a tendency
to put out an element which does not belong to them, in
other words an element which their system will not assimilate.
It is not only the inhaling and exhaling by the nostrils
which accomplishes these two functions, absorption and rejection,
but there are minute waves of the breath working in different
directions of the body, which perform the above-said two
acts in their own way and in their own rhythm of speed;
for instance the tendency of stretching and contracting,
the tendency of blinking the eyes, of expelling water and
refuse from the body. When any of these subtle waves of
the breath working in any direction of the body get out
of order, then an illness originates in that particular
part of the body, spreading its influence gradually to other
Balance in man's life and being is maintained by the
evenness of inhaling and exhaling. The compass of man's
being is as large as the reaching point of his breath. One
lives a fuller life, another does not live a fuller life;
because the former breathes fuller, the latter does not
breathe fuller. Very often the reason why a child is a dwarf
is that his breathing capacity does not allow him to breathe
fully; and often the reason why a youth does not develop
fully is that he does not breathe properly. A person ages
sooner, also, because his breathing is not right. Very often
people who have no particular illness feel tired and lifeless,
because their breathing is not as it ought to be.
The spirit produces this physical body out of itself;
so the body in spite of all the physical nourishment, entirely
depends upon the spirit to live. One can live for some time
without food and water, but one cannot live without breathing.
The reason is that as the physical body is made of the spirit,
it needs to breathe spirit in, in order to exist. Breath
therefore does not only nourish the physical body but it
gives subsistence to all planes of man's existence.
10. The Mystery of Breath
Breath penetrates, breath permeates, breath strikes,
breath absorbs, breath invigorates, and breath heals. It
is therefore that souls with great powers make their thought
and feeling penetrate into the mind and the hearts of others.
As breath creates an atmosphere it permeates the bodies
of others, also the sphere, charging the whole atmosphere
with its particular magnetism.
The hearts of men are likened to gongs in the temple.
Every spoken word strikes them, but by the power of breath
one strikes them without a word. It is by the breath that
one contracts illnesses, but also one absorbs defects and
the depression of others, as well as joy and happiness.
The breath of personalities healthy in mind and body is
vitalizing. The breath of the spiritual beings, whose love
and sympathy goes out to others, is naturally healing.
It is no exaggeration that the whole phenomenon of life
has breath as its mystery, and once the knowledge of breath
is attained and breath is mastered by practice, one beholds
a most wonderful phenomenon within and without. There are
many whom remain skeptical till they have fathomed the mystery
of breath. Once they know it, they call it, as Hindus have
called it for ages, Breath-Life.