The Ignored Truth about Health, How to take care?
Modern era is the era of comfort & technology. But with the increase in the sedentary lifestyle & increasing use of junk foods, there is no time for a normal busy person to take time about health related concerns. Health is not merely a disease free state of the body but it also has social, mental and spiritual (social) aspects also. So despite being physically healthy there is utmost need to keep the mind & spirit.
Ayurveda being a Science of life also considers the maintenance of one’s health as topmost priority.
प्रयोजनं चास्य स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्य रक्षणं आतुरस्य विकार प्रशमनं च | (चरक सूत्र 30/26)
INTRODUCTION TO HEALTH
समदोषः समाग्निश्च समधातु मलक्रिया।
प्रसन्नात्मेन्द्रियमनाः स्वस्थः इत्यभिधीयते ॥ (सु. सू. १५/ ४१)
The above mentioned shloka defines the state of a healthy individual as stated by Acharya Sushruta. The person is said to be in an healthy state if his/her dosha are in a balanced state, his digestive power is in the state of equilibrium, his/her body tissues are in balanced state i.e. are working efficiently and well, his/her exertion of waste products is normal and all the body functions are normal. Also mental health is good because all the senses are working properly and the person is having a happy soul.
Moreover, by influencing & understanding the importance of the definition of health as given by Acharya Sushruta, the definition of health by WHO also states about mental & social health as a factor in determining the healthy state of a person. It states
“Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in which disease and infirmity are absent” — WHO
Here, all three perimeters of health are depleting due to the present sedentary & luxurious lifestyle. Some health-conscious people will somehow manage time & pay attention towards their physical health. But they also ignore the mental & social aspect & finally results in being ill.
The most ignored aspects of health include mental & social health. Let’s discuss it in detail. It relates best to the term Prasanna Atma Indriya manah in the definition of health given by Acharya Sushruta, which means the pleasant state of soul, senses & mind.
Pleasant state of the soul, sense organs and mind is healthy. Here Atma means Jivatma or Karma Purusha who experience all feelings like pleasure, pain etc. Even though the soul is devoid of blemishes as it is in association with the body, it experiences good & bad effects.
Procedure like Abyanga (body massage), Shiroabhyanga (head massage), Padabhyanga (foot massage), Padatra dharan (wearing shoes), dhumapana (medicated smoking), Anjana (medicated collyrium), Kavala, Gandusa, Karanpurana etc. help to maintain the health of Indriyas. Suppression of mental urges such as desire, hatred, greediness, passion, following principles of sadvrit (cord & conduct), achar rasayana & Yoga help to keep the mind healthy and also maintain the social aspect of health well. Thus one can prevent psychological, somatic & psychosomatic disorders.
HOW TO TAKE CARE
The regimens to be followed after awakening from sleep to maintain health routinely are mentioned in Swasthavritta. There are two types of swasthavritta
Vaiyaktik Swasthavritta- The principle that is to be followed by the individual to prevent diseases.
Samajika Swasthavritta: Principle to be followed by the community for the maintenance of the health of the society.
For this, Acharyas had mentioned dincharya (daily regimen) & ritucharya (seasonal regimen) for maintenance of the health of a healthy person. Let’s discuss some of the key features discussed in Ayurvedic text to take care of overall health including mental & social (spiritual) health.Ayurveda is a science of life with the primary aim of maintenance of health. Now different aspects for betterment of mental & social health like sadvritta (Codes of Conduct), Aachar Rasayan & dharniya vega (suppressible urges) mentioned by Acharya Charaka for which one must follow will be discussed as
In the present scenario most of the diseases are multifactorial diseases, where involvement of the mind is invariably present at one or other stage of the disease. For maintaining health of sense organs & the mind one has to observe the following rules
- Practicing the regimen which are wholesome for sense organs, i.e. Indriyopsama
Causative factors for physical & mental diseases are wrong utilization, over utilization & non utilization of objects of the sense organ, time & intellect. So intelligent people should avoid them & prevent diseases.
- Good memory power i.e. Samriti, one who has good memory power can remember rules well & prevent diseases.
- Knowledge about place, time & himself Deshkaalaatma vigyan, one who has proper knowledge about his place of residence, can follow different regimens related to food & habits accordingly & prevent diseases.
Time factor is important whether it is the season, time of day or age of the person in prevention of diseases. Knowledge about himself i.e. prakriti, Agni etc. is a must for following any regimen properly.
- Observance of codes of conduct. Sadvrittasyanuvartnam.
Here let’s talk about a few important key aspects of Sadvritta as described by Acharya Charaka in Charaka Sutra 8.
To prevent psychological disturbances (Charaka Sutra 8/18)
- The individual should worship God, cow, Brahmin, preceptor, elders, sages & teachers. One should worship fire, wear auspicious herbs. One should do Vedic rituals in the morning & evening twice.
- The person has to control the senses, religious, desirous of the fruits but not on the fruit, fearless, intelligent, enthusiasm, able to forgive, pious, have faith in God, obedient, clever, learned, devoted to teachers, elders & sages, to prevent psychological disturbances.
- A person should treat all beings equally, pacify the anger of an angry person, take away fear of the frightened person, care for the suffering people, always speak the truth, he should be peaceful, tolerate harsh words and avoid the factors leading to anger, greed etc.
Rules regarding hygiene (Charaka Sutra 8/18)
One should clean excretory orifices & feet frequently. One should cut hair, mustache, body hair & nails thrice in fifteen days, wear clean good clothes every day, pleasant mind, dress decently, apply oil to the head & comb the hair. Also, apply oil to ears, nose & feet every day. One who holds an umbrella, a stick, wears a turban, shoes, who practices auspicious ways can prevent many problems.
Rules regarding speech (Charaka Sutra 8/23)
An individual should wish, speak less, timely, conductively & in sweet language. One should not tell lies, point out mistakes of others, and disclose the secrets of others. One should not speak badly about good people & teachers. One should not speak more.
Rules regarding diet (Charaka Sutra 8/20)
He/she should not take food without taking bath, wearing torn clothes, without chanting mantras i.e. without praying God, without offering to forefathers, teachers, guests, dependents, without washing hands, feet & face, without clearing mouth, without concentration, surrounded by bad people, dirty & hungry people. The food should not be offered by enemies.
Rules regarding relations with females (Charaka Sutra 8/22)
Anyone should not insult women or depend on them or reveal secrets to them or authorize them.
Rules regarding study (Charaka Sutra 8/24)
The students should not study during unseasonal lightning or when directions look as if being burnt, during earthquakes, fairs, fall of meteorites, eclipses, new moon day, during sunrise or sunset. One should not study before the teacher’s initiation, one should not chant an incomplete mantra, either in low or high pitch, nor very slow or very fast or without proper voice.
Rules regarding social relations (Charaka sutra 8/29)
One should follow the path of brahmacharya (abstinence), knowledge, donations, friendship, happiness, detachment & peace.
Apart from these, Acharya Charka had also described Aachar Rasayan in Charaka Chikitsa 1/4/30-34. It states
The person should always speak the truth, refrain from anger, alcohol, sexual act & violence. One should be peaceful, avoid exertion, speak politely & practice cleanliness. One should sleep & get up at proper time, have knowledge about place, time, should have proper planning with intelligence, not egoistic, have good conduct, be devoid of wrong thoughts, inclined towards philosophy, have belief in God, serve elders, read religious books. He/she always will be endowed with qualities of Rasayan (rejuvenation). If a person having above said qualities consume Rasayan drugs, he/she will be endowed with all qualities of Rasayan.
Dharniya Vega (Suppressible urges)
One desirous of his well-being has to suppress certain urges like doing work, which is more to his capacity, which will lead to unwanted effects on the body & bad deeds mentally, orally or physically.
- Mansik: One should control urges of greed, grief, fear, anger, ego, shamelessness, jealousy, excessive attachment & desire for things possessed by others.
- Vachik: One should avoid speaking harsh words, back biting, lying & use of untimely words.
- Karmik: The actions of violence against others, desire for other women & stealing should be controlled.
Moreover there is some Yoga & Pranayam advice for a healthy body & mind. These include
- Surya Namahskaar alone consists of 12 main yoga asanas which are sufficient for a healthy person to maintain his physical & mental health.
- Shavasan (Relaxing pose) must be performed by a person for
- Vajrasan, after taking a meal for 15 minutes, enhances the secretion of digestive enzymes & aids in digestion & digestion related disorders.
- Kpaal Bhatti pranayam is considered the best breathing exercise for the abdomen & particularly for the intestines.
Moreover some mind relaxing Pranayama (breathing exercises) include
- Nadi shodhan pranayama
- Ujjayi pranayama
- Sheetali pranayama
- Sitkari pranayama
- Bhastrika pranayam
- Bhramari pranayama
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No creature in this universe is immortal, it is impossible to prevent death, but it is possible to prevent disease. So, the individual should try to do something that is preventable. In the era of developing word & busy life schedules let’s not forget about showing a little concern about our own total health including physical, mental & social aspect. If the person will control dharnia vega, follow sadvritta principles & achar Rasayan, he/she can easily control their senses & mind and thus can prevent various psychological disturbances.
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