The Breath (Nafas)
by Dinari Kirana
Life is absolutely dependent upon the act of breathing. To breathe is to live and without breath there is no life. The Science of Breath like many other teachings has its esoteric or inner phase, as well as its exoteric or external. The physiological phase may be termed the outer or exoteric side of the subject. According to Hinduism, the breath known as prana (Sanskrit term meaning Absolute Energy) it is considered as a life-giving force. According to Gita, to feel the Breath of the soul is to become one with God.
It is said in the tradition of Islam (hadith), “I was a hidden treasure and I love to be known”. The great mystic, Ibn ’Arabi has a beautiful phrase for this. He says, “The source of the universe is the breath of the Merciful,” the ‘nafas al rachman‘. God is the merciful and, as He manifests Himself, he pours forth this “breath of the Merciful”. The breath of the Merciful is the will in the divine nature to express itself, to manifest itself, to become known, that is, to realise the potentialities in its nature. The universe thus comes into being to reveal the hidden potentialities in the divine being. To God is attributed breath which is very like the ‘spiritus‘, the “Spirit” of Christian doctrine, which “brooded over the waters” and brought forth the world.
As we can see, breathing is not only an act for live but it also has deeper meaning in our existence. By understanding of the science of the breath, man not only gets the physical benefit but hopefully man’s happiness, self-control, clear-sightedness, morals and even his spiritual growth may be increased.