Excerpts from a lecture given on 8/31/82 in Stockholm, Sweden
You have to realize breath is life. It's a gift of God; it's not your property. It's a favor, which you have earned. Nobody consciously breathes and when you do not consciously breathe you cannot expand.
What is prana? Prana is the power of God which comes through you with the air. Air and pavan. We have many vayus*. There are prana vayu, apana vayu, udana vayu—there is a long line. Out of that we have ten bodies. We don't have one body, we have ten bodies.
The pranic body and the subtle body join with our soul.
We have three minds to cover it: positive mind, negative mind, neutral mind. If people knew how many bodies they have and how they have to deal with them, they would be very nice people. The negative mind gives us the right of life.
None of you can breathe. That's not your privilege, it's a gift. You are granted X amount of breath. Breath is not your privilege; it is a gift. It's not a right.
And you can't think either. Your construction as a human being is designated that you don't have the capacity to think. You will be shocked but that's the truth. You have an intellect, a little box, which is called shashara. It releases one thousand thoughts per wink of the eye and these thoughts are released that way automatically as breath comes to you automatically.
You don't have conscious training to breathe and you don't have conscious training to deal with thoughts. Thoughts are released through your intellect. Your id (instinctual self) catches one thought out of a thousand that becomes emotion. Out of one hundred thousand emotions your personality catches one emotion and it becomes a desire. Out of hundreds of thousands of desires you work for one and sweat to death.
You don't think. You think you think; you think you breathe. The breath of life is a privilege. When you breathe consciously it gives you prosperity, it gives you projection, it gives you personality, because it adds to your aura and you expand. That's why we call it pranayam.
And one of the longest breaths is Breath of Fire. As long as you can breathe continuously, it is one breath. If you do Breath of Fire for one hour, it's one breath. So with Breath of Fire you not only expand your aura and your personality and your power of projection, you also expand your life.
Your project of life is to speak and live above time and space. The first chakra is the anus, second is the sexual organ, third is the navel point, fourth is the heart center, fifth is the throat, sixth is the third eye, seventh is the shashara, eight is the aura—you can breathe in any of these chakras and that way you can project your personality into the faculty of the realms of that consciousness. And that is the art of breathing, pranayama. It is a complete exercise in itself and many teachers have different approaches to it.
The Facets of the Mind
We are haunted by insecurity and by fear. Our greatest fear is, what is tomorrow? Fear of the unknown is a very valid fear. Because when the mind receives anything, it processes through the negative mind, which gives us the right of life, which tells us what is in it. Then our positive mind has to process it to tell us what is in it for us.
But unfortunately our memories and our experiences are so great that we started digging out the subconscious mind and our fears come through so heavy that we start supporting our negative mind through the positive mind, and we can never reach the neutral mind. It is the neutral mind through which we should act and live. Because the neutral should decide what is going on, what is positive, what is negative. If we do not know what it is, and we get into it, we are getting into the sequence which must end up with consequences. Every sequence shall lead to consequences. It's a problem which we are not willing to confront.
You may have the strongest body and a very bright soul, but if your mind cannot computerize for you the consequences before you get into the sequence, you have no alternative but to face the consequences. And in most of our time and space we don't want the consequence and we do not know why we got into it to begin with. That is called processing life and the purpose of that process is to get out of our own faculty to trap us into the consequences.
Student: Could you talk about the purpose of meditation?
Yogi Bhajan: The purpose of meditation is so simple. You take a bath—what is the purpose of the bath? Do you understand why you bathe? Why do you meditate?
Student: To clean the mind.
Yogi Bhajan: Meditation cleans the mind. Two things have not been taught to you in the west. In the west yoga is only for body muscles and all that with a little bit of meditation. Actually the process is to teach people pranayam and pratyahar. The most important part of the science of yoga is pratyahar—how you can synchronize yourself to nothingness. Then comes dhyan and samadhi. It is very difficult to teach this over a can of beer and when people do things which are not very friendly to body, mind and soul.
The basic thing which we must learn and accomplish in ourself is pratyahar, synchronization. We should be in a position to reduce ourself with zero. Then we get power. Zero multiplies anything and makes it zero. Meditation is a process through which the mind is cleansed and Infinity is experienced. That's the purpose of meditation.
And scientifically speaking, it is just to make the pineal radiate. There is a little stone like a grain in the center of the brain which, if it is dull and dumb, the person is unhappy. If it is shining and beautiful the person is bright and very creative.
A perfect meditation is something which comes to you automatically, something you can lean on, where it is the nucleus of your mind. It is very important to build that nucleus from a bindu, a point, to Infinity. The science which teaches this and makes a person competent is called meditation.
Death and the Pranic Body
Student: [Question about killing animals and eating meat.]
Yogi Bhajan: I have never understood killing animals. Why? They don't kill you. And when you kill an animal and you eat it, somehow it is going to get to you, so it is not right. That's what the law of life is, reverence for life, every life.
Student: What about picking flowers, don’t we interrupt the process of their life?
Yogi Bhajan: No, you don't kill a flower. I am not in a position to dispute with you because these are very personal ways people think. Killing is a very simple situation. When you kill you cut the pranic body from the subtle body of the existence. That's called killing. Vegetables and trees and leaves and flowers carry their subtle bodies with them, whereas in pigeons and humans and fish the subtle body and the soul depart and you have the material body only.
You have ten bodies: spiritual body, mental negative, mental positive, mental neutral, physical body, arc body, auric body, subtle body, pranic body, and radiant body, and they all are inter-twined.
*The prana vayus are the five movements or functions of prana, or life force. Vayu means, literally, “wind.” The five prana vayus are prana vayu, apana vayu, samana vayu, udana vayu, and vyana vayu.
Lecture ©1982 - The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings®