Lt Col R K Langar
Introduction Health is the greatest gain said Buddha more than 2500 years ago. What a beautiful statement he made which is more than valid in the present time. Health is a state of well living in all dimensions of our personality and not merely absence of disease or infirmity. The dimensions of our personality are body, mind, intellect and spiritual. To this we can also add emotional and social health. Health is a dynamic expression of life. Health is love, joy, enthusiasm and maturity. A person who looks after all the above dimensions of the personality and keeps them in a good order is an asset to the society, besides bringing happiness to him own self. It is a state when the body, mind, intellect and soul or Atma are in harmony with each other with and with the world outside. It is a state when our capacity to deal with the situations we face in life is largely enhanced.
The body is the temple of God because God resides within us in the form of soul or Atma. It is our duty to keep the body clean and healthy. Poor health of body can affect not only our spiritual health but also growth of mind and intellect. Body consists of matter and is subject to decay. We should eat a balanced diet, right food, vegetarian high fiber and low fat diet. This shall ensure that right quantity of energy goes inside our body. We should do physical exercise daily and sleep well. Our ultimate aim is to be spiritually healthy and for that we must keep our body as healthy as possible.
Body and mind are interrelated. If the mind remains healthy body will also remain healthy as body follows the mind. Mind’s influence on body is deeper than influence of body on mind. Strong mind faces situation squarely and does not succumb to worldly temptations. Mind has three defects which are impurity, distraction and misunderstanding. Our five senses or Gyan Indriyan stimulate the mind and if mind does not function under the dictates of intellect, a person is liable to act impulsively. To keep the mind in a healthy state we not only have to keep the mind under control but also our senses are to be kept under check so that the senses donot feed mind with all kinds of sensual pleasures. By all means appreciate beautiful sense objects but donot get affected by them. Enjoy the beauty of sense objects in a detached manner. Mind continuously produce thoughts and source of thoughts which come into the mind is past experience, information which we conceive from what we read, watch or and our past samskars. Information is like food for thought and our thought are the energy which we transmit around us. Healthy mind means a stable, positive and a focused mind.
Emotional health is closely linked with mental health. Emotional feelings are instinctive feeling as distinguished from logic or reasoning. Emotions are also referred as sudden upsurge of feelings which should be kept under control. Emotions are like flood water which if not checked will over flow. Emotions are to do with our feelings. They enable us to experience different facets of life. We should convert our emotions into healthy emotions like love, compassion, equal vision, caring for others and neglect negative emotions like hatred, greed, anger, anger, jealousy envy and the like. We should never allow our emotions to cloud our intellect. We are born with emotions and therefore we should be emotionally healthy. To remain mentally calm, positive emotions act like grease to our intellectual health.
Intellect or Buddhi performs three functions which are discrimination, judgment and decision. At intellectual level we rely on reason and power of discrimination to decide how we should live our life. It is the highest component of matter in the body. Intellect plays the most important role in development of man’s personality besides soul or Atma. At our average state of existence we donot make good use of our intellect. This is the reason that most of us are reactive. The intellect acts like a filter which tells us not to react but response. We should always rely on the strength of our intellect to take the right path. The body is described as a chariot with five horses which moves on a road. The road is symbolic to sense objects and five horses represent our five senses or Gyan indriya. The rein to control the horses is mind and the driver of the chariot is intellect. The soul or Atma is the passenger in the chariot which acts only as a witness in our ordinary state of consciousness. It depends upon the driver of the chariot or the intellect to move the chariot or the body along the right path.
This highlights the role of our intellect which is not only to control the mind and senses but discriminate between right and wrong and take the righteous path in our day to day life.
First and foremost we must understand that man is not an island where he lives being cut off from the society and the world. World is one big family (VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBUKAM) of God where we have to cooperate with each other in extending to others things which are needed for day to day living. Social health chiefly depends upon interdependence which makes the world a functional outfit with each one contributing towards the welfare and needs of others. Such interdependence is natural and does not affect your independence. For social health we must accept that all men are equal in essence. Realizing this we shall remove apparent difference of high and low status in which different people are placed in the society. To upkeep the health of the society we should we friendly and respond to the needs of other. Our attitude should be “how can I contribute towards the upliftment of the society.” We should give comfort to those who come in our contact. We should form friendly and friction less relationship with an interactive attitude.
Spirituality is derived from the word spirit which means Atma or soul, a fraction of God which resides equally in all. When for God resides equally is all we donot have to search for God outside our own body. The soul or Atma is the highest component of man’s personality. Spirituality aims at recognizing the divine principle inside us which helps us to purify our subtle faculties like mind, intellect and samskars (impressions of past lives on our mind).
When you understand what exactly is spirituality, you feel oneness with others which means that the other person is an extension of your own Self as the God which is one without a second, resides in all.
Then you love others equally. Spiritual health means you are pure at heart, you are well wisher of all, your conduct gives warmth to these who come in your contact. You attract others with your righteous conduct and you spread peace and love around you. Spiritual health means that you realize that you have divine traits like SAT-CHIT-ANAND or Truth, knowledge and Bliss inside you and no outer situation can disturb you as you have the spiritual energy to negotiate all the obstacles and difficulties that you face in life. Spirituality liberates you from all dependencies and expectations. Spirituality makes you understand that you are essentially a soul having a body and not a body having a soul.