“In breathing, as in everything in life, the numbers are staggering—indeed fantastical. Every time you breathe, you exhale some 25 sextillion (that’s 2.5 x 1022) molecules of oxygen—so many that with a day’s breathing you will in all likelihood inhale at least one molecule from the breaths of every person who has ever lived.”
“And every person who lives from now until the sun burns out will from time to time breathe in a bit of you. At the atomic level, we are in a sense eternal.”
from “The Body – a guide for occupants”, by Bill Bryson
विश्व॑स्य॒ हि प्राण॑नं॒ जीव॑नं॒ त्वे वि यदु॒च्छसि॑ सूनरि । सा नो॒ रथे॑न बृह॒ता वि॑भावरि श्रु॒धि चि॑त्रामघे॒ हव॑म् ॥
viśvasya hi prāṇanaṃ jīvanaṃ tve vi yad ucchasi sūnari | sā no rathena bṛhatā vibhāvari śrudhi citrāmaghe havam ||
“Inasmuch, bringer of good, as you dawn, the breath and life of all (creatures) rest in you; diffuser of light, come to us in your splendid vehicle; possessor of wondrous wealth, hear our invocation.”
Rig Veda 1.48.10
Breath, which exists on all the planes of manifestation, is the connecting link between matter and energy on the one hand and consciousness and mind on the other. Consciousness expressing itself through the mind cannot come into touch with matter and function through it without the intermediate presence of breath. Matter in association with energy cannot affect consciousness except through the agency of breath. That is why breath is found on all the planes. It is necessary for the vitalization and functioning of all vehicles of consciousness, physical or superphysical. This capacity to act as intermediary depends upon its peculiar constitution. It combines in itself in some mysterious manner the essential qualities of both matter and consciousness and is thus able to serve as an instrument for their actions and reactions on each other.
“The Sanskrit word for faith is wonderfully expressive. It is visvas. The common literal rendering, ‘to breathe easy; have trust be free from fear,’ does not convey the full meaning. Sanskrit svas refers to the motions of breath, implying thereby life and feeling. Vi conveys the meaning of ‘opposite; without.’ That is, he whose breath, life, and feeling are calm, he can have faith born of intuition.”
Had a very interesting conversation with a client that I met with earlier. He said something that struck a cord, and something that I have been very vocal about – “It’s odd when we went about listening to the business gurus in the West, many of who ended up giving us quotes from the Bhagavad Gita…”
And as I sat later that day, reading Bill Bryson, I came upon the paragraph that I started this blogpost with…a wondrous fact of nature.
…with a day’s breathing you will in all likelihood inhale at least one molecule from the breaths of every person who has ever lived…
..and every person who lives from now until the sun burns out will from time to time breathe in a bit of you. At the atomic level, we are in a sense eternal.
The Vedas have been saying this and more, for thousands of years. It takes a recent discovery of science for us to believe in it. Nevertheless, the thought itself is unfathomable – since we as humans are taught to think linear and not exponential. Everyone who has ever lived – wow. My day was made.
One does not need to be overtly philosophical or religious to ponder over this simple fact. In an earlier post, I had spoken about what makes you, YOU. In effect, we are a collection of atoms that keep changing form and shape, and we rent them to make a temporary collection that goes on to make US. And when we die, these very atoms regroup in uncountable permutations and combinations to make up other beings – or plants or trees or whatever part of nature. That is the truth of our existence…
And as I typed this out, I may be breathed a molecule of Shakespeare, Premchand or Leonardo Di Vinci. Hmmm…
See you tomorrow!