Invitation To Health: 31 ►Body, Mind And Mental Energy

Published: 18.04.2017
Updated: 19.04.2017

Is body bigger or mind?

I asked one student, "Tell me whether body is bigger or mind? Out of the two which one is bigger?"

The student was puzzled. Where one alternative is to be selected out of the two alternatives there problem crops up. The student was silent. After thinking for two moments he said, "Bigger is mind".

I said, "See! Mind is situated in the body. Smaller thing is contained in the bigger. Mind is contained in the body, and therefore mind should be smaller and body should be bigger. If there is no body where will mind reside?

He said, "This is correct."

I said, "Then which is bigger?"

He said, "Body is bigger."

Explaining him I said, "Body is bigger and mind also is bigger. Both are big. No one is smaller. Where there is question of existence there body is bigger. If body is not there then mind also will not be there, nothing will be there. Where there is question of success there mind is bigger. Body is there but if mind is not in order then success will not be achieved. There are many such people whose body is strong but mind is very weak. Those who are weak in mind their strong body is of what use? One who is mentally strong he alone is successful in life.

Success: constituent element

Every human being wants to live a successful life, and none wants to live a life of failure. Life of success is valuable. What is the difference in the life of animal and human being? Difference is only of success. Getting success human being advances so much that he creates his own identity. An animal cannot do so. Thousands of years have passed. No animal has created its own identity. But how much human being has advanced. Today also he is marching ahead continuously. By getting newer and newer successes he is touching the pinnacle of progress.

Question is what are the constituent elements of success? When success is realized? There are two constituent elements of success—physical energy/strength and mental energy. When there is blend of the two then an individual can get success in life. There are such people who do not have much physical energy but they are full of mental energy. Such people are successful in life. But those who do not have mental energy, and only have physical energy, they are not much successful. With the combination of physical energy and mental energy alone full success is achieved. We have to think of both.

View point of Ayurveda

In India, the medical system of Ayurveda has been prevalent and in it there have been newer and newer experiments and discoveries. It is one of the oldest medical systems of the world. It has deeply thought of both body and mind of human being. It has shed light on both physical and mental energy and has propounded inevitability of both.

Let us think of physical and mental energy based on Ayurveda. In sādhanāalso both the energies are required. The success of practitioner depends on both. In the absence of physical energy one cannot sit in a āsana (particular physical posture) for one hour. After ten minutes, there is numbness in the legs. If there is no mental energy, then also there is no success in sādhanā. Without physical energy one can have sādhanāfor ten days but without mental energy one cannot persist even for one day.

In Ayurveda one particular type of mode of living is propounded. In it the chief elements of life are discussed in great subtlety.

The basic element of life is prāa (vital breath).Prāṇa is the source of our energy. In medical science till now no significant work has been done on prāṇa. But in Ayurveda minute discussion on prāa is available. This is its salient contribution. Prāṇa is of five types—prāa, apāna, udāna, samāna and vyāna. All these five prāas work in the body. They have many further divisions. The entire life is conducted by prāṇa. Finger moves. Who is its conductor? Is body moving the finger? If so, then the finger of dead body should also move but finger is moved not by body but by prāṇa. That is why one name of living being is 'prāī. One who possesses prāṇa is called prāī. The entire conduct of life is in the hands of prāṇa. If prāa ceases life also ceases. If there is prāa, there is life.

Breath: breathe as prāa

To breathe is regarded as a mark of life. To take food is also its mark. Who breathes?

Body does not breathe. Who is taking food? Body does not take food. Body is prāa. Breath is prāa. Food is prāa. So long as these prāas are there till then body persists, breathing takes place, and food is taken.

Breathing and breath as prāa are not the same. Breathing and breath as prāa are different. Breathing is one of the bodily activities. By breathing system breathing takes place, but breath as prāa is a different power. When a person is dead then does his breathing, system get destroyed? Does his wind pipe get destroyed? These organs are present but the power which animated them that power of prāa is finished, is destroyed. When prāa ceases, no organ of the body functions. All our organs hands, feet, head, digestive system etc. function through prāa only.

Question is that of praaśakti (vital energy or power of prāṇa)

An important element of Prekṣādhyāna system is development of vital energy. We take a long breath. It’s one purpose is concentration of mind. Its other purpose is proper engagement of vital energy, its development, its strengthening. Prāṇa gets nourishment from outside, by food and by breath. By long breath more oxygen enters the body. If prāavāyu (air nourishing prāṇa) is more than prāa gets good nourishment. If breathing is not done properly then vital energy does not get proper nourishment. Most of the diseases are also due to weakness of vital energy. When vital energy is, less there is possibility of diseases coming in.

If there is control over prāṇa then human being marches ahead in the field of success. A person who does not have control over prāṇa he cannot do any big work in life. First thing is control over prāṇa. In Ayurveda five types of prāṇa are discussed but in modern medical science not the prāṇas but only four types of gases are discussed. According to their view in the constitution of body four gases and fourteen chemicals are used. Oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen these four types of gases are there in our body. By these the powers of body are governed.

First is oxygen as prāṇa. Due to this energy is acquired. There are three types of energy—mental energy, speech energy and physical energy. In Jain literature ten types of prāṇa are described. Out of these three are called energy as named above. We cannot ignore physical energy and mental energy also cannot be ignored.

Energy: three types

Question is—what is physical energy and what is mental energy? In Ayurveda three varieties of each are propound-they are natural (Sahara), time-born {kālakta), and effort-born (yuktikta). Physical energy is of three types. One is natural which arises along with birth (also known as sahajanya). Second is time-born which is energy caused by specific division of weather. The third is effort-born which is developed due to effort.

In some people energy is innate. Maharana Pratap was full of physical energy. The spear with which he used to attack enemy today that spear cannot be lifted by many people. The physical energy of Bhima and Hanuman is well-known. That energy is from birth itself. This is not the same in all. It is a natural gift. For this there is no competition. Bahubali stood in Kāyotsarga mudrā(an austere physical posture for penance) for twelve months. This is the best example of physical energy.

Cycle of weather and energy

Second type of energy is time-born. The energy of body is not the same all the time. In one season, it is of one type and in another season, it is of another type. The cycle of weather is present in every single day. In the morning, there is one weather, in the noon another and in the evening still another. During day and night there are six seasons. The energy present during night is not the same as present in day time. Human being has more physical energy during day and ghosts have more energy during night. That is why fight in war is undertaken during day time and it is stopped as sunset approaches. When the hot rays of sun fall on the body then energy is generated in the body. As sun sets, the energy gets lessened and human being becomes weak. This is time -born energy. It changes per seasons. The energy which is present in winter is not present in summer. In the month of Jeth (a month of summer according to Indian calendar) there is fierce hot wind (lu). The physical energy is reduced to half. The same physical energy increases in winter.

Energy increases due to effort

The third energy is due to effort or some means. It is of three types—food (āhāra), physical activity (ceṣṭa) and yoga. By food energy is acquired. This is a means to increase energy. If health-conducive food is available then physical energy increases and if detrimental food is taken then the energy of body decreases. Through physical activity also energy increases.

Through physical activity also energy is acquired. One who does physical work, does labour, does exercises like asanas his physical energy increases. One who does not do labour, escapes from labour, he cannot get physical energy. His physical energy decreases and in the absence of labour he suffers from many diseases.

Through yoga also energy is acquired. Yoga means union of various rasāyana (chemicals). In Ayurveda rasāyana is that which can make old person young and prolong life. This is yoga, a medicine. This is use of rasāyana. Rasāyanas are longevity-increasing, health-increasing and energy-increasing.

In Ayurveda three means are suggested for increase of energy. They are proper food {samyak āhāra), proper bodily exercise {samyak vyāyāma) and proper yoga {samyak yoga).

Food and energy

By taking proper food energy increases and by taking improper food energy decreases. It is maintained in Ayurveda that sugar gives strength, gives energy. It is a necessary element of body. Sugar is necessary but of which sort? In white sugar, all elements go away and only acid generating element remains. It does not give energy.

These days in the science of nutrition two things are kept in mind—acidic diet and alkali diet. In our body the proportionate requirement is 1/3 acidic and 2/3 alkali diets. If a person takes ghee (heated butter), butter and sweets in excess or repeatedly, then his acidity increases very much, and the proportion between acid and alkali gets disturbed.

There are two types of people—vegetarian and non-vegetarian. From natural point of view vegetarian food is most conducive for the body of a living being. Meat eating increases acidity, generates excitement. Those who are non-vegetarian they are vegetarian as well. They take fruits and vegetables in good quantity. Maybe they are required for digesting meat.

Effort (ceṣṭa) and Yoga

Samyak vyāyāma or ceṣṭa(proper exercise or effort) is also useful for increasing physical energy. Meditation affects digestive system and blood circulation. If asanas are done properly, if efforts are done properly then problems get solved spontaneously.

Samyak āhāra and samyak ceṣṭacan be learnt by any one and be benefited by it.

Third is samyak yoga. Anyone can not know it. Only an expert physician of Ayurveda can tell as to which rasāyana will be useful in which season and in which area. If there is no proper knowledge of this then instead of increasing it may decrease energy. Proper knowledge and proper use of these elements are beneficial to every individual.

Title: Invitation To Health
Author: Acharya Mahaprajna
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
HN4U Digital Edition: Ratna & Amit Kumar Jain

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Apāna
  2. Asanas
  3. Ayurveda
  4. Bahubali
  5. Body
  6. Concentration
  7. Ghee
  8. Kāyotsarga
  9. Meditation
  10. Prāṇa
  11. Science
  12. Sādhanā
  13. Yoga
  14. āhāra
  15. āsana
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