CHAPTER IV – THE ESOTERIC THEORY OF BREATH
………….The Science Of Breath, like many other teachings, has it’s esoteric or inner phase, as-well as it’s exoteric or external. The physio-logical phase may Be termed, “The Outer”, or “Exoteric” side of the sub’ject – and the phase which We WILL, now, con’sider may Be termed it’s “Esoteric”, or “Inner Side”. Occultists, in All ages and lands, have al’ways taught (usually secretly to a few followers) that there was, to-Be found in The Air, a sub’stance or principle from-which ALL activity, Vitality and Life was de’rived. They differed in Their terms and names for this fORce, as-well as in the de’tails of the theory, but the main principle IS to-Be found in All occult teachings and philosophies – and has, for centuries, fORmed a portion of the teachings of The Oriental Yogis.
………….In-ORder-to a’void mis’conceptions a’rising from the various theories re’garding this Great Principle, of-which there IS usually a name attached, We – in this wORk – WILL speak of The Principle as “Prana”. This IS the Sanskrit wORd meaning “Ab’SOLute Energy”. Many occult authORities teach that The Principle which the Hindus term, “Prana”, IS The Universal Principle of Energy or fORce. And, that ALL Energy or fORce IS de’rived from that Principle. Or rather, that It IS a particular fORm of manifestation of that principle. These theories do-not con’cern Us in the con’sideration of the sub’ject-matter of this wORk, and We WILL there-fore confine our’selves to a Knowing & Comprehension of Prana, as The Principle of Energy ex’hibited in ALL Living Things, which dis’tinguishes Them from a Life-less thing. We may con’sider It as The Active Principle of Life-Vital FORce. It IS found in All fORms of Life, from The Amoeba to Man – from the most element’ary fORm of Plant-Life to the highest fORm of Animal Life.
………….Prana IS ALL-pervading. It IS found in ALL things having Life, and as The Occult Philo-Sophy teaches – that Life IS in ALL things – in every Atom – the apparent Life-less-ness of some Things, Be’ing only a lesser degree of manifestation, We can Comprehend Their teachings… That Prana IS every-where, in every Thing. Prana must-not Be con’founded with The Ego – that bit of Divine Spirit in every Soul, a’round-which clusters Matter and Energy. Prana IS merely a fORm of Energy used by the Ego in It’s material manifestation. When The Ego leaves The Body, The Prana – no-longer under It’s con’trol – re’sponds only-to the ORders of The In’divid’ual Atoms, or groups of Atoms, fORming The Body. And, as The Body dis-integrates and IS re’SOLved to it’s ORiginal Elements, each Atom takes-with-It sufficient Prana to en’able It to fORm new combinations – the un-used Prana re’turning to The Great Universal store-house from-which It came.
………….With The Ego in-con’trol, co-hesion ex’ISts, and The Atoms Are held-to’gether by The WILL of The Ego.
………….“Prana” IS the name by-which We de’signate a Universal Principle which IS The Essence of All Motion, fORce, or Energy – whether manifested in Gravitation, Electricity, the re-volution of The Planets, and All fORms of Life, from The Highest to The Lowest. It may Be called, “The Soul” of “fORce” and “Energy” in All Their fORms – and that Principle which, operating in a certain way, causes that fORm of activity which accompanies Life.
………….This Great Principle IS in All fORms of matter. And yet, it IS-not Matter. It IS in The Air, but it IS-not The Air – nor one of it’s chemical constituents. Animal and Plant-Life breathe It in with The Air, and yet if The Air did-not con’tain It… They would die – even-though they might Be filled with Air. It IS taken-up by The System a’long with The Oxygen, and yet, IS-not The Oxygen. The Hebrew writer of “The Book Of Genesis” Knew the difference be’tween The Atmospheric Air and The Mysterious and potent principle con’tained with-in It. He speaks of “Neshemet Ruach Chayim”, which trans’lated means: “The Breath Of The Spirit Of Life”. In Hebrew, “Neshemet” refers to: “The OR’din’ary Breath of Atmospheric Air” – and “Chayim” refers to: “Life” or “Lives” – while the wORd “Ruach” refers to: “The Spirit Of Life” – which Occultists claim IS the same Principle which We speak-of as “Prana”.
………….Prana IS in The Atmospheric Air, but it IS also else-where, and It penetrates where The Air can-not reach. The Oxygen in The Air plays an im’pORtant part in sus’taining Animal Life, and The Carbon plays a similar part with Plant-Life. But Prana has It’s Own dis’tinct part to play in the manifestation of Life, a’side from The Physiological functions.
………….We Are con’stantly in’haling The Air charged with Prana. And Are as-con’stantly ex’tracting the latter from The Air – appropriating It to Our uses. Prana IS found in It’s most-Free state in The Atmospheric Air, which – when fresh – IS fairly charged with It. We draw it to Us mORe-easily from The Air than from any other source. In OR’din’ary breathing, We ab’sORb and ex’tract a n’ORmal supply of Prana, but by con’trolled and regulated breathing (generally Known as, “Yogi Breathing”) We Are en’abled to ex’tract a greater supply – which IS stored-away in The Brain and nerve centres, to-Be used when necessary. We may store-away Prana, just as the storage battery stores-away Electricity.
………….The many Powers attributed to advanced occultists Are due, largely, to Their Know-ledge of this fact, and Their intelligent use of this stored-up Energy. The Yogis Know that by certain fORms of breathing, They e’stablish certain re’lations with the supply of Prana, and may draw-on the same for what They re’quire.
………….Not-only do They strengthen All Parts of Their Body in this way, but The Brain also re’ceives in’creased Energy from the same source. Further-mORe latent Faculties Are de’veloped and Psychic Powers Are also attained. One Who has mastered the science of storing-away Prana – either con’sciously or un-con’sciously – often radiates Vitality and Strength which IS felt by Those coming-in-contact-with Him. Such a per’son often imparts this Strength to Others, whether WILL’ingly or not, giving Them in’creased Vitality and Health. What IS often called “Magnetic Healing” (and the like) IS per’fORmed in this way. Al’though, many Practitioners Are not even a’ware of The Source of Their Power.
………….Western Scientists have Been dimly-a’ware of This Great Principle, with-which The Air IS charged. But seeing that They could find no Chemical trace of It, or make It register on any of Their instruments – They have generally treated The Oriental Theory with dis’dain. They could-not ex’plain This Principle, and-so denied It. They seem, how-ever, to re’cognize that The Air in certain places possesses a greater amount of “some’thing” and sick people Are directed by Their physicians to seek such places, in-hopes-of re-gaining lost Health.
………….The Oxygen in The Air IS appropriated by The Blood and IS made-use-of by The Circulatory System. The Prana in The Air IS appropriated by The Nervous-System, and IS used in it’s wORk. As the oxygenated Blood IS carried to All Parts of The System, building-up and re-plenishing, so IS The Prana carried to All Parts of The Nervous-System – adding Strength and Vitality. If We think of Prana as Be’ing The Active Principle of what We call, “Vitality” – We shall Be-able-to fORm a much-clearer idea of what an im’portant part It plays in Our Lives. Just as IS The Oxygen in The Blood used-up by the wants of The System, so IS the supply of Prana taken-up by The Nervous-System IS ex’hausted by Our Thinking, WILL-ing, Acting, etc. – and thus, IS in-need-of constant re-plenish-ment. Every Thought, every Act, every Effort of The WILL – every Motion of a Muscle, uses-up a certain amount of what We call, “Nerve FORce” – which IS really a fORm of Prana. To Move a Muscle, The Brain sends-out an im’pulse over The Nerves, The Muscle con’tracts, and a supply of Prana IS ex’pended. When It IS re-membered that the greater portion of Prana acquired by Man comes to Him from The Air in’haled, the im’pORtance of pro’per breathing IS readily Comprehended.