Sunday, February 5, 2012

Health is Happiness

Health is happiness! How many of us truly understand this statement? Understanding a mere meaning of the word is not enough. You have to understand the real essence of the word ‘health is happiness’. Before going into details, I would like to share a short story associated with health. One day in my yoga class, we were discussing about ‘Aparigraha’ one of the 5 yamas (yamas are a set of standard universal moral principles) suggested by Maharshi Patanjali. According to Sage Patanjali, Aparigraha means that one should not hoard or collect things that one does not really need. In other words, you should not gather or collect things more than required if you want to lead a pain free life. A lady named Smt. Rajeshwari asked me a question. Sir, does that include money too? I said, yes! It does! She queried again. Okay, let us assume that we are earning enough for survival and are being happy within it. But what if, you get any of the serious health problems like heart attack or cancer? These kinds of diseases require lakhs of rupees for treatment and how one can remain happy without money to treat them? That was really a good question. Maharshi Patanjali has shown many ways to overcome this problem in his Yoga Sutras. I wanted to answer this question in a simple way as any one would understand it easily. I would have struggled to answer her question convincingly had I not referred Dr. M.S. Raju’s health journals time and again. Smt. Rajeshwari’s question is the backbone for this blog ‘Health is Happiness’ and I am quite obliged to her.


What is health? Many of us understand and believe that being free of diseases is health. But that is not the fact. Though you might have diagnosed negative of any disease or disorder as of now but are you sure that you might get the same result after a year and so? Are you sure that you might live disease free life rest of your life? Guruji BKS Iyengar always wanted to live moving his limbs, being dependent on his own body and mind till the last breath of his life. Last December Guruji has completed 94 years and yet he is so electrifying and energetic than any other young man. Guruji used to say quite often, ‘health never comes easy. You have to purchase health by spending your sweat.’ He did it with the medium of yoga. His childhood was filled with diseases and disorders, which he overcame through the practice of yoga. He dedicated his entire life in practicing and teaching yoga. It needed a strong will power, dedication, disciplined effort and tireless practice to achieve the destination Guruji has achieved. How many of us have that kind of zeal in our approach towards health? Doctors declared that Guruji might hardly survive 18 years of his life. He not only overcame his diseases but also made sure that not even a symptom of disease come closer to his life. This is health. You might be diagnosed negative now but any chance of diagnosing positive of any disease in future cannot be termed health. Like Guruji, if you had overcome the present diseases and made sure that you might not get diseased in future, then you can say that you are healthy. When every cell of your body is functioning at its full capacity cooperating with each and every organ and tissue of your body pleasantly, then it can be said healthy. A vital body, clean and shining skin, glowing eyes, well shaped muscular body tightly covering the bones, pleasant breath, good hunger, pleasant sleep, pleasant bowel movements on day to day basis and when the mouth, saliva, sweat, stool and urine doesn’t stink, free and flexible movement of your limbs etc are some of the symptoms of good health. These symptoms are enough to the animals to lead a healthy life. Humans have got something called the ‘Mind’ which will never rest in peace. If there is no peace of mind, there is no health as majority of health problems are due to mental strain. A man with sound body and mind is only supposed to possess a complete health. There are diagnostic tools and instruments to figure out the diseases and disorders related to the physical body. Instruments and tools to diagnose the mental diseases and disorders are not yet invented. It is diagnosed completely on the basis of certain symptoms and behavior of a person. More importantly people are reluctant to come forward in open to discuss about their mental problems. Instead, they are not ready to accept they got any issue with their mind. When we talk of health, we always think about physical body. The main reason is that mind is very powerful than the body in terms of resistance, adaptability and conductivity. Therefore we see more physical problems than mental problems. Guruji succeeded in getting complete robust health by conquering the mind, body and the soul through practice of yoga. There are many ways to gain complete health but the first prerequisite is to understand the true essence of health and its relationship with wealth and doctors.

The Relationship between Health, Wealth and Doctors: “Prevention is better than cure”. Is it not better to prevent the diseases than curing after being diseased? Your health becomes patchy once you fail to prevent the disease from reaching you. Even if it is cured, there is every possibility of recurrence. After all patch is a patch. Neither the money nor the doctors play a big role in your health. We have to blame ourselves for deteriorating our own health. Instead of ensuring our health by spending the sweat as Guruji said, we are insuring our health by spending the money. It’s like burning the hand and applying the lotion. You obviously need money, but only to build your health by eating nutritious food and for learning some healthy practices like yoga, gym, sports and other activities that promote health. Similarly, you need doctors only when you get a serious issue with your health unlike every now and then. Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju says, ‘there is lot to be learned from animals.’ Which doctors and hospitals they approach to maintain their health? They are living healthy and happy without any of these things. But we humans forgotten this very basic principle of health and neglecting our own health by eating and drinking all sorts of junk believing that there are doctors and medicines to cure them if anything happens and saving money for such treatments. We are destroying the health with our own hands. In fact, there is no connection of your health with money, doctors and hospitals as long as you are ensuring health and not insuring it. It is therefore, healthy people like Guruji BKS Iyengar and Dr. Raju don’t visit the doctors and hospitals. I would like to mention about Anil Ambani here. It is needless to say that Anil Ambani is one of the top billionaires of India. If money has a role to play in building health, why would a billionaire like Anil Ambani sweat it out for 2-3 hours a day jogging and working out in the gym every day? One has to clearly understand that money and doctors have a role to play only in curing the disease but not in building the health. The relationship of money and doctor is only with the disease not with patient. Diseases come to unhealthy people and these people make their visits to the doctor. Doctors after scrutinizing disease of the patients treat them as per their experience and knowledge. In return you pay money for the services rendered by them in curing the disease. The relationship of money, doctor and disease ends there. You will not visit the doctor unless you feel sick again. It is therefore, whether poor or rich pray the Almighty God to protect him from all troubles and diseases and keep him away from doctors and hospitals. For this he don’t mind to walk miles on bare foot climbing hills and rocks and donate lakhs of rupees to the temples in the name of God. If the money and doctors had any role to play in building one’s health, he would have prayed the Almighty God for sending him to the hospitals again and again. Instead of making donations to the temples, he would have enjoyed paying hospital bills. Unfortunately, the doctor-disease relationship has been replaced by doctor-patient relationship. The relationship has become so strong that they are feeling proud to say that Dr. X, Y or Z is their family doctor. Having no family doctor has become a crime these days.

In fact, doctors know very well that a patient’s health is not in their hands and hospitals as well. Unfortunately, people aren’t realizing this fact. They are living in the misconception that health is in the hands of doctors and hospitals and living in misunderstanding that a bank balance of 4-5 lakhs or the purchase of insurance policies would help their cause. Health never comes by someone giving; neither is it an object to receive. Moreover, it is not at all be purchased by wealth.

If health was in the hands of doctors, hospitals and money, why the doctors fail to provide health to their own family members? Is any doctor able to provide complete health to his faithful wife? Is he able to provide health to his children at least or to his parents who helped him become a doctor? No! They are not! Moreover, they are suffering from BP, Diabetes, Joint pains, Liver, Lungs and Heart ailments etc. There also some doctors who are specialists in Diabetes treating hundreds of patients a day, suffering from Diabetes. When there is no guarantee of their own health and their family’s health, how can they guarantee your health? Therefore, health is not the thing given by doctors. Doctors only relieve you from the diseases.

No one in the World likes to visit a doctor. That means one would remain happy as long as he is away from doctors. And only those who are healthy remain away from doctors. I hope you understood the real meaning of health by now. Even if a single person realizes the real meaning of “Health is happiness”, I assume that my effort of writing this blog is fulfilled. In my next update we try to know “On whose hands is the health?” Keep watching the space for updates.

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