Nothing is as basic to life as
breathing. It inheres in the
Not only does it vivify
life but is also
synonymous with life. In
fact, breathing is infused
with core or inherent stuff
that sustains life. It
embodies and reflects the life
itself and perhaps its creator.
Christians love to believe that
the Lord breathed into a lump
of flesh and it was instantly
animated with life. This belief
alludes to the divine element
involved in breathing.
Breathing – a stream of life-- mechanically takes care of a being in his waking and sleeping hours. It encompasses in its fold teaming beings in constantly infusing them with divine flow of life. No system of life represents such a strong element of play as breath does. Celebrated Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib calls it the “music of the sounds of beating heart” and “the harp of life”.
Breath is the life force which, if
under threat, is nowhere else so
countenanced with confusion and
chaos as in breath itself.
Breathing is obvious but its subtleties and specifics are complex and mysterious since it represents one’s ‘consciousness’ or soul whose fluttering away makes the cessation of the link with life.
A breath is a basic unit of life and is perhaps nature’s most miraculously crafted device which has been an object of awe and worship for saints and seers since time immemorial. So far so that some of them felt steeped in deep gratitude to the creator for life’s gift to chant His name with each passing breath and invoke His compassionate love and mercy---“sans sans simran karo aur jatan kacchu nahi” (there is no way to redeem you but to chant His name with every breath )
Yogis throughout history have not
only been bewitched but also
undergone relentless penance to
control it. Breath is life’s playful
narrative reflecting ebb and flow of
like agony and anguish, glee and gloom, anxiety and assertion along with other passing emotions.
A change in steady flow of
breathing comes as a result of the
disturbing emotions which adversely
affects breathing and shortens lifespan.
With maintaining equipoise,
i.e. balance of mind one can avoid
disturbance in the steady flow of
breathing and useful hints for it are scattered in the writings of all
spiritual masters from Buddha to
Christ’s prayer “Thy will be done”
and Guru Nanak’s soothing surrender
to the Lord “Tera bhana meetha lage”
(what pleases you is sweet to me)
have balmed thousands and
thousands of frayed and wrought
human nerves, making easier for
them to maintain harmonious flow
of breathing. Kabir and other
saints, each in his own unique
and symbolic way, emphasised
that suffering is a part of human
life and has an inherent
cleansing effect and takes us
closer to Him. So, they
counsel us not to lose our
equipoise, our cool or
composure for ensuring
steady flow of life-giving
It is given to humans
only to be able to change
and refashion his course of life.
Though weaker than many other
species, he is lording over this planet.
He enjoys this overlordship because
of his intelligence. Through steady
breathing his ‘heightening of
awareness’ can bring out an
appreciable change in his life and
make his ‘inner space’ peaceful and
Breathing has a lyricism and
vitality of its own. It has its nuances
fathomable to the initiated yogis who
would advise their disciples to get
rooted to their breath as it would
bring them closer to self. Since there
is no expected destination for
breathing, so enjoy the journey
It was with a rare spiritual insight
indeed that Swami Vivekananda
remarked, “Extract joy from every
breath that you breathe”.