The breath of life
THE world celebrates the Christian festivity of Xmas. And it is always the most jocund period in the Christian calendar, a period shared by both Christians and peoples of other faith.
I believe what is uppermost in the minds of most people is the prayer that they are alive to celebrate the week and the Roman Calendar New Year that immediately follows. What this implies is that life is the most precious commodity to mankind. The high and mighty, the rich, the wealthy, the poor, the most wretched of the earth, the lame, the blind, and the deaf as well as the most wicked armed robber and kidnapper, all desperately desire to stay alive.
And yet this most crucial item for living and staying healthy is provided free of charge by Mother Nature. The Mighty Omnipotent, the Supreme Intelligence, known to the Yoruba race as ADIITU simply assigns this item of utmost importance to every living creature, including ants, worms and even plants and every object that lives on the breath of life.
This breath of life is common air. The Soul which is the Fire of Life is sustained by the air that goes in and out of the body garment that accommodates the Soul at earthly level. The moment the breath of life deserts a man, the Soul journeys out and rams freely in the Continuum until God allocates another body garment to nit, or allows it to continue roaming and floating and enjoying itself in the extra-terrestrial plane. Awesome Creator!
Nothing is more important, nothing is more essential in this world than the simple Breath of Life. And for those of us who still have it and relish it, we should thank Almighty every second of our life for this rare possession.
This Breath of Life is so crucial and critical that Man has gone the widest breadth and longest mile to preserve it. All sorts of gadgets had been invented in order to prevent a rude termination of life. Gates, fences, bars, all sorts of barricades had been erected to prevent predators from snuffing life out of us even in the recess of our homes.
Even soldiers and police whose primary duty is to protect and defend other people's lives have themselves gone extra mile to preserve their own lives by wearing bullet proof vests and burying themselves in armoured tanks.
Life is the most precious. Without life there can be no living, and nothing can be achieved by a dead person or dead animal! I know cynics who revel in grave humour would say that dead animals provide food for mankind!
Now, if the Breath of Life is the most precious, why do some people risk terminating that invaluable gift in their pursuit of mundane things like material wealth? If the Breath of Life is the most important and dearest item in the world why do some cruel and wicked people callously terminate other people's lives in their selfish pursuit of ephemeral power, position and privilege?
The social, economic, religious and political history of the world is replete with horrible stories of Man against Man. And in every instance, it is the devilish goal of one Man to snuff life out of another. Man in the vainglorious desire to assert supremacy or claim.
Quite a great number of people have driven their bodies so crudely and so recklessly that the Breath of Life is carelessly forced out. Some develop High Blood Pressure because of the stupid fear that someone was about to snatch their spouse! Jealousy, hatred, bad blood, anger, stress and other self imposed maladies can, and do lead the Breath of Life out of their body.
Inordinate ambition, living beyond one's means, and pursuit of grandiose dreams can and do also shorten people's lives. The Yoruba, a very highly philosophical and sophisticated race have several axiomatic sayings to drive home their world-view regarding self-extermination. 'Obo ni yio pa ara re' literally meaning that a monkey that jumps up and down endlessly will hasten his own death. And for a man in reckless pursuit of sweet things of life, the Yoruba would say 'Ikun nje ogede on re'di finkin, ko mo pe ohun to dun ni n pa'ni.'
One would have wished that all those who spend a life time accumulating the wealth they can never exhaust even if they lived for a thousand years, and in the process lose their honour, name, and even life itself, would realise that the breath of life given to them by Mother Nature is a priceless jewel.
In the same vein, the dare devils who snuff the Life of Breath from other people even after dispossessing their victims of their material wealth have done incalculable and irreparable, irreplaceable damage to such victims.
The Almighty Creator of this Universe is so unique in every way. The breath of life is so uniquely sacred. And whoever takes away another person's Breath of Life ultimately ends up losing his own in a most dastardly manner and a vengeful curse placed on his children up to 21st generation! It is the same thing with the expression of a permanent and vengeance curse placed on any one who drains blood out of another person. All cultures agree that Blood of the Innocent shall cry! Mark Anthony, soldier and orator evokes the same vengeance on the killers of Julius Caesar.
Let all of resolve as we join Christians worldwide to celebrate Xmas that we shall continue to respect the sacredness of the Breath of Life. Let us all resolve that as we wake up each blessed morning the first words that will issue from our mouth is Thanks to the Almighty for the gift of Breath of Life.
And as we retire to bed every night, we call on the same Creator, after thanks for the day that the Breath of Life should not depart in the night.
All those who have indulged in whatever way that could cause the termination of another person's life should do a serious rethink, beg for forgiveness, atone for their wicked past, and resolve never to take away another person's Breath of Life.
This beautiful world would be a better place if all realised that the Breath of Life is the most scared creation of the Supreme Intelligence. No other item of creation comes near it or surpasses it.
May our earthly bodies continue to be nurtured and enriched by the Breath of Life, and may it please the Almighty to prolong our Breath and Breathing for many more years to come.
Once the Breath of Life leaves the Body Garment, all other materials: mansions, bullet proof cars, private jets, yachts, ocean liners, become immaterial!
• Adeniyi is former editor of the defunct Daily Times