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The Quest for the Royal Road: National Character and Health

Published: 14.02.2016

Comprehensive progress depends on the independence of the body, the intelligence and the mind. Physical health has its impact on the mind and mental health affects the intelligence. Intelligence flourishes in the healthy mind.[1] This conveys the importance of mental health. If the body and the mind are healthy, the intellect develops in the natural course. Most of the factors that obstruct intellectual progress are related to the mind. Excessive faith, extension of the ego, base feelings, tense environment, hesitant mentality, outer attraction, frustrated mind, etc. are the factors that obstruct the spontaneous development of the intellect. From that point of view, the mind too needs to be kept in a healthy state along- with the intellect.

Different people have different ideas about health. One of those ideas is:

The person who follows the routine during the day and night and the seasons as indicated by physiology, always remains healthy. He who follows the opposite routine, can never be healthy.[2]

The person whose sleeping and waking hours are not regulated, whose diet is not balanced, who does not exert his body sufficiently, who does not take walks in the open, whose impulses are not in check, whose mind is not cheerful and who does not sleep properly can never be healthy.

The unhealthy person becomes peevish. He becomes impatient or gets excited even in the least unfavorable situation. He cannot take appropriate and timely decisions, and becomes weak both physically and mentally. The lustre and glow of his face start dimming. He feels disheartened at every step. He feels fed-up with life.

It is necessary to take proper care of both physical and mental systems. Righteous resolve is very useful for the health of the mind. The person who resolves with dedication and says to himself 'I am healthy', 'I am lustrous', 'I am full of valour', creates around him an atmosphere of health. When that resolve is firmly confirmed, it creates a circle that acts like a protective armour. When the germs of any disease get close to that circle, they are hampered. Such a person can remain healthy even in the midst of the people suffering from the deadliest contageous diseases.

The medical experts of ancient times have described health like this:

The person in whose body the three humours called wind, bile and phlegm are in balanced proportion, the digestive fire of the stomach does not become too strong nor too mild, the process of the creation of semen is balanced and the bowel movements are regular, whose soul, senses and mind are in a cheerful state, is a healthy person.[3]

Sushruta has mentioned four types of diseases—

  1. coming from outside,
  2. of origin,
  3. of mental origin and
  4. of natural origin.

External attack, injury, etc. are the troubles coming from outside. The illnesses resulting from the extremes of the body humours (wind, bile and phlegm) are of physical origin. Those resulting from lust, anger, greed, attachment, etc. are of mental origin and the diseases resulting from hunger, thirst, sleep, etc. are of natural origin. The external illnesses are not originally related to the body humours, but in course of time, their effect is aggravated. Usually, the body humours cause trouble in particular seasons. For instance, the wind causes trouble in the rainy season, bile causes trouble in autumn and phlegm gives trouble in the spring season. Mitigating their effect is also considered relative. The effect of the wind is mitigated in autumn, of bile in spring and of phlegm in summer. All these three humours are necessary for the body, but when their proportion is reduced or is too much in excess, they adversely affect the body. Their balanced proportion has been described as the basis of health in medical science. Every person wishes to remain healthy, but he does not follow the rules of health. In this situation, the idea of health remains a mere dream. In the present age, as diseases multiply, new experiments are being conducted in the medical field. We have before us the amazing results of surgery. All this has been possible only because of the progress in the field of science. Still we have not been able to find a solution to the basic problem of health, because the abatement of one disease gives rise to innumerable new illnesses. In that situation, man should pay particular attention to the rules of health, take balanced diet and practice natural restraint in every activity of life. With that he can save himself to some extent from being unhealthy.

Unhealthy state is a matter of concern not merely from the point of view of physical happiness. It can also hamper spiritual development. The person who engages himself specially in spiritual experiments can make progress because of his healthy body. In raising national character to a high level too, body, mind and intelligence can be helpful. That is why, at this stage, new research and new experiments are necessary.

Footnotes
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Sources

Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Authors:
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Body
  3. Environment
  4. Greed
  5. Science
  6. Soul
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