When the dervish had finished speaking about artificial mastication, and the different means of assimilating food and its automatic transformation in us according to law, I said:
‘Be so kind, Father, and also explain to me what you think of what is called artificial breathing. Believing it useful, I practise it according to the instructions of the yogis, namely, after breathing in the air, I hold it a certain time, and then slowly exhale it. Perhaps this also should not be done?’
The dervish, seeing that my attitude towards his words had completely changed, began to be more in sympathy with me and explained the following:
‘If you harm yourself with your way of chewing food, you harm yourself a thousand times more by the practice of this breathing. All the exercises in breathing which are given in books and taught in contemporary esoteric schools can do nothing but harm. Breathing, as every sane thinking man should understand, is also a process of feeding, but on another sort of food. Air, just like our ordinary food, entering the body and being digested there, disintegrates into its component parts, which form new combinations with each other as well as with the corresponding elements of certain substances which are already present. In this way those indispensable new substances are produced which are continuously being consumed in the various unceasing life processes in the organism of man.
‘You must know that, to obtain any definite new substance, its constituent parts must be combined in exact quantitative proportions.
‘Let us take the most simple example. You have to bake bread. For this you must first of all prepare the dough. But to make dough you must take definite proportions of flour and water. If there is too little water, you will get, instead of dough, something that will crumble at the first touch. If you take too much water, you will simply get a mash, such as is used for feeding cattle. It is the same in either case. You will not get the dough necessary for baking bread.