Breath and Time?

In ancient days all things are interrelated with each other and one forms the basis for the other. Let’s look at how breath and time are closely related.

Lets begin with the interesting quote of Swami Chinmaya on time which states that “Time is the period between two thoughts”. As we know a day is divided into 24 hours and each hour with 60 minutes. The fundamental unit of time today is a second for day today life. In ancient India a day is divided into 60 units and not 24 hours, and each unit is called as Nazhigai which has 24 minutes. Two Nazhigai is called a Muhurtam which is 48 minutes. Both of them are very significant measures. So each hour has 2.5 Nazhigai.

We can note that both of Nazhigai and Muhurtam are multiples of 8 which is the fundamental resonance numeral.

  1. Do we know why any yogic exercise / meditation / Pranayama are given a count that is multiple of 24 (in terms of counts or minutes or days)?
  2. Do we know why in Siddha / Ayurveda medical system the treatments are generally prescribed for 24 days or 48 days?
  • In ancient India the concept of time and its measurement are sacred, continuous for billions of years and accurate. 
  • When the ancient Sages defined the fundamental period of time (and not unit of time) they wanted that it should correspond to one full cycle. Since earth is always rotating one cycle is 360 degree – it takes 24 hours to rotate around itself and 365 days to revolve around Sun. But both these measures are not fundamental for intra-day measurements. Also how do we equate a spatial measure (rotational distance) with a time value when it comes to Intra-day measurements?
  • Our sages considered that each breath as one degree and one cycle can be considered as 360 degree or 360 breaths. If it is 15 breaths a minute than 360 breaths takes 24 minutes and hence the fundamental period (not unit of time) of measurement is Nazhigai which has 24 minutes. 60 such units make one day.
  • So the most fundamental period of time where anything completes 1 cycle in Microcosm is 24 minutes or 1 Nazhigai.
  • The other aspect to note here is that the same concept is used to overcome death by stilling the breath and mind. Since we have stilled the breath, we have not moved in the time-space scale and also the breath is not wasted which means we can achieve immortality in the state of Samadhi.


Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan,

Author: Ganesh

A soul in the search of eternal peace... "Be True, Love All, Help Others Selflessly, Live in Harmony and Rest in Peace"

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