A Tibetan fable explains the preciousness of human life beautifully. A tortoise, a divine amphibious being lives in a sea and surfaces the water once in ten thousand years. There also is a wooden ring floating randomly across the sea. The rare probability of occurrence of a phenomenon, of the tortoise surfacing and the wooden ring getting being rounded on the neck is the same as we getting our birth in the human form. Life is a rare phenomenon and therefore life is so precious that everything else is less precious than life as such.
No one, neither sages nor ordinary folk, can say anything with certitude about life .But, everybody knows with cent percent certainty that all life that gets born must die, sooner or later. A saintly Indian, Shrikant Apte-ji gave mankind an illuminating message when he blessed an acquaintance in a letter: “May you live till you die”. These six words emphasize the need to lead a healthy, rejuvenating and beautiful life. There is a world of difference between just living and meaningful living. To live beautifully is a special privilege of each Human Being.
Those who don’t do any physical work for living must take extra care of their health. The poverty-ridden workers fall ill because of factors like polluted air and water and lack of nutrition. On the other hand, the intellectual class is unwell because of over-eating and lack of physical activity. There is a class between these two, called the middle class, which is expanding. Some estimates put its population at as much as 15 percent of the total number of Indians, or bigger than that of entire Europe. The middle-class is wealthy, hedonist, desperately aping the rich. These people eat a lot, spend a lot and drink a lot. Hidden among all the three classes, is a tiny minority, who understand the importance of healthy lifestyle. These people try to live a healthy life till they die. To them to be in a sick bed is to be dead. These people are health-conscious. They care for the calorie-count and blood sugar levels. They respect the weighing scale; they go for a brisk walk in the morning. They refrain from any kind of addiction. Though no saint, they enlightened enough to realize the advantages of disciplined living. They regularly get their blood pressure checked. They are parsimonious about how much sugar they consume in their tea or coffee. Old age arrives slowly for those who have developed their health consciousness. They have their vigor even in the autumn of their life. The ranks of those who are health-conscious of their health is swelling slowly but surely and steadily. Insurance companies adore these people who visit the medicine shops rarely.
It would be nice to ensure that the number of people who know how to maintain the judicious balance between expending of money and calories. Who can be called lazy? The one who miserly spends the extra calories taken is a lazy person. Disease is the step mom of Ms Lazy! There are millions of people in our country who can’t afford the luxury of being lazy. They don’t suffer from diabetes. Diabetes is a favorite disease of the wealthy and well to do people.
Our acquaintance with our body must grow to the stage of bosom friends with the passage of time. It would be well-nigh impossible to define what is called “prakruti”.In Ayurveda, the vaidyas call it ‘Prakruti’,which roughly means each one of has, like our fingerprints, unique characteristics. Every individual is born with a unique ‘prakruti’. ‘Prakruti is not just physical; it has psychological as well as spiritual dimensions. If a man understands his own ‘prakruti’ or nature, half of his ailments can be avoided.Take the example of an angry person. His uncontrolled anger will take a toll on his energy, leaving doors ailments open. An impatient individual is literally challenging his blood pressure to escalate. The person who tells lies every now and then may not realize that his each lie disturbs his Psycho-spiritual harmony. Disease means disturbed harmony. What a lay man calls health is not just a physical thing. It is a composite of deep rooted relationship between body, mind and soul. The disturbed soul of a person, who has committed a murder disturber his mind, and the disturbed mind, affects his body directly. If you think deeply you may realize the contribution of honesty, on health of a person is not at all less. If we develop the art of viewing health in such holistic manner we may realize that being composed has a deep rooted connection with our health. Health word is not able to represent the holistic meaning of ‘swasthya’ in Gujarati, which has a physical, Psychological and spiritual connotation.
Every day our body sends messages to us. After sometime our intestine sends silent signal telling us, ‘now abandon all the work, and go to the toilet’. Many people choose to disrespect this signals and keep on working. This is disrespecting your own intestine. In similar fashion, we receive signals for thirst, hunger, tiredness, indignation, headache and heavy stomach. Had we received those signals through words or by computer, we might have understood it better. Natures such micro signals are not so loud and audible. In a similar fashion we also receive such micro signals from our soul when we do a wrong conduct. Nature’s such micro signals are directly from our soul. Ignoring such signals is also one kind of atheism. “I am in good health” when a person says that, he is actually trying to say “by the grace of God in am in good heath physically, psychologically and spiritually”.
An awakened man sometimes is able to understand what even doctors may fail to understand. The two balloons put inside our chest are known as lungs. By taking deep breaths they must be bloated as many times as possible. If we develop a habit of eating when we are really hungry, we may appreciate better the beauty of taste. At least once a day we must do physical activity so that our body sweats and exercise is the best way for that. Why should walking exercise just be a physical thing? Angels whisper good thoughts in the ears when we take a brisk walk in the morning. Moderate sex is beneficial for health. Sugar, salt, oil, and chilly the lesser the better. In a way society is benefited by increased price of oil. Chefs while cooking for an event use these ingredients bountiful. They must be trained to use them moderately. We desperately need to give health a chance. Many people die eating a lot, many die drinking a lot, many die earning a lot. Only a few lucky will really live and die!
Disease may attack from any direction like a tiger stalking a prey in the jungle. Man is helpless in this but not as much as he thinks. He has a weapon to fight against disease: immunity. Man must take care not to decrease the strength of this weapon called immunity. You are not suffering from malaria at this moment means that at this moment the white blood cells in your body are successful in fighting malaria parasites. People use the term resistance while talking about immunity. Health is a very broad concept, and resistance or immunity is a very important part of it. Many diseases are eager to strike us when our resistance is low. There is no choice in that matter. In spite of not being a doctor, a healthy and composed person attains many truths about health which the doctors accept. Meditation is helpful for health; it is now accepted by medical science. The person who envies has more probability of developing blood pressure. To be agile is good but unnecessary hurry and fast life is like an invitation to disease. One proof of connectedness between mind and body is disease, health being the other. Doctors are in stress many a times. While operating they experience a lot of stress. It is an occupational hazard for them. May be our mind is capable of tolerating reasonable stress. Human body is generous enough to tolerate small mistakes of its owner.
What more can a person write who is not a doctor himself? The phenomenon which pushes a well to do person towards disease is known as ‘party’. People are eager to arrange a party on occasions like birth day of their child, or marriage anniversary. To share happiness is one thing and to show off is another matter all together. In a marriage reception there is a huge queue of dishes. The difficultly maintained restrain is shattered. After such a party, the stomach is upset the next day. If stomach is upset the day is spoilt. When many such days are spoiled the life is spoilt.
What does it mean to be well? In dictionary to be well means three things, to be healthy, not broken, and whole. In this connection to be well means not just physical wellness but also the health of our existence as a whole. To be fresh means to have vigor mind. To be healthy means to be a close friend of ones own conscious. To be healthy means to be well, to be fresh and to be composed. Happiness can only be achieved if life is healthy. Eating when really hungry, drinking water when thirsty and sleeping when tired! Is it painful or difficult to maintain these simple things? In order to avoid tossing and turning in bed in seek of sleep; let us give Health a chance in our life
There is a key to good health. Let me spell it out in short:
Walk till you perspire.
In the beginning sugar will burn
And the fat will burn
What is burned is what is gained!
Walking in the name of life,
Walk every morning and evening!
Translate from the book ‘Maro tya sudhi jivo’ edited by Dr Manisha Manish, Translated by Dr Manisha Manish. I also wish to express my gratitude to shri Tushar Bhatt, Ex editor ‘The Times Of India (Amdavad edition), for his valuable help.