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Truth Of Life: [1.4] Ishwara - 04 - Living With Diseases

Published: 24.05.2008
Updated: 02.07.2015

The Art & Science Of Living

Chapter 1. 

Ishwara: Friendliness


Living With Diseases

[Grief comes with (1) disease, (2) old age and (3) death. The objective is to develop an amicable relation with the disease so that you become one with it, and in the process you learn to welcome it instead of detesting and getting disgusted by it. In fact, your drastic attitudinal change towards the disease brings about a revolution and the disease eventually becomes ineffective.]

Mahavira was asked, "What is changeable, stable or unstable?" He replied that the unstable changes; the stable remains unchanged. The material has two qualities, one is unstable and the other is stable. The stable is riveted at the centre and the unstable remains at the circumference. The root of every element is stable whereas its surrounding keeps changing. Surrounding elements change but its soul remains unchanged. Emotions like anger, ego, lust, greed, fear, humour, cunningness keep changing but the soul remains unchanged.

There is fickleness in mind, speech and body. All these are the changes occurring around a basic soul. Among all these various forms, only the one who can grasp the unchangeable, can be solitary. Despite living among the masses and experiencing several phases he never forgets his solitariness. Only a person, who is alone, can establish friendliness with others. There are several conditions associated with this material body like, sickness, old age, happiness and sadness. The greatest truth is to establish friendliness with these phases. This great truth can be grasped by the person who is truly solitary.

In addition to the three sources of grief, namely, disease, old age and death, these is the fourth source, which is,birth and since it is not realised it is not considered. Man experiences the pain of sickness, then how can he establish friendliness with the pain which gives restlessness? The stage of concentration due to anguish [1] creates sadness on developing a sickness (the concentration due to anguish consists in thought dissected on the separation from the desired and union with the undesired). Generally, whenever man gets a disease or pain then he goes into concentration due to anguish, weeping, crying and bewailing; sometimes he cries so bitterly that not only his own people but his neighbours also get disturbed. This is a condition where pain accompanies the sickness of the man, as if disease and pain are coupled together. The truth was discovered in the field of Dharma that even during the condition of sickness, man can remain calm, composed and blissful, realising happiness with a balanced mental state. This was a unique discovery; even in pain one can remain happy. At present scientists are seeking a solution to pain. There are innumerable painkillers in the market, which are prescribed for aches in order to reduce the realisation of pain. People resort to intoxicants like, opium, tobacco, alcohol, etc. to relieve pain.

Research is going on in the field of medical science, but if Dharma cannot relieve pain, then it will be superfluous. Pain must be cured by Dharma. It becomes a matter of deep concern that during the period of pain, a religious person has no alternative but to seek the assistance of a doctor.

Many systems of medicines have been developed to relieve pain and cure disease. One of the systems says, "do not be frightened on the arrival of a sickness, rather establish friendliness with the sickness. Whoever comes in is a guest and a guest is always revered, so a disease has to be welcomed." It is a tough challenge to welcome a disease. There is a method called purification of the soul. One should realise that whoever has come may give pain but simultaneously will also purify the soul, and consequently our debt will be paid back. Whatever debt there is will be cleared. The whole attitude changes when we establish a friendly outlook to the disease, for then it won't give us pain. This is the type of situation with which you feel delighted and on whose departure you feel extremely sad. When the disease arrives, one is not much amused but on its departure one feels happy and relaxed because it has purified the whole body for goodness and benefit.

Naturopathy admits that we get fever to purify our body of accumulation of large quantities of toxins. So how can it be called an enemy. A painful thing is not necessarily a foe, and a soothing thing is not always a friend. A friend or a foe is identified solely on the basis of what it has left behind. For example, a man eats sweets or spicy food, which is very tasty and palatable, but his stomach suffers as a consequence. Now how would you define sweet or spicy food, as a friend or a 'foe'. It is surely bad because it has left behind an aching stomach. Therefore it is our misconception that a thing, which looks good, is our friend or that which appears bad is our foe. The plain truth is that the one that leaves behind goodness on its departure is our friend, whereas anything leaving behind evil sadness on its departure is to be shunned.

Disease comes to our body and leaves something behind. If we honestly behave in a friendly manner with it and establish friendliness then definitely it will never leave behind evil and sadness but it will ensure goodness and prosperity in our body.

Jayacharya wrote a book named Aradhana. In it he has described the beauty of adopting friendliness towards sickness. "When sickness crops up then I should endure it with affection, hold it lovingly instead of opposing and fighting it." If you indulge in fighting it then you will experience deep mental agonies. There is a system developed for friendliness also. Today's psychologists are confident that they will be able to evolve a psychic conduct, which would guide the patient, so that he learns to tolerate pain without the support of medicines.

Our physical system has an inbuilt capacity to tolerate much pain. It can form chemicals to subdue the pain. But when one's mental outlook subdues the pain then it will be an attempt to have friendliness with the ailment. Our mental makeup should be designed to liberate us from fear, worry and tension.

In fact, man gets tense and drowns himself in oceans of worries and consequently aggravates his pains by five to fifty per cent. If you develop fearlessness and become tension free then you will hardly realise five per cent of the pain in spite of the presence of fifty per cent pain. Pain is not experienced equally by all, nor does a person experience pain the same way always as the presence of fear and worry enhances pain. Some people are cowards for they literally cry over trifles. Some people are fearless to the extent that they do not cry despite being hit severely. Fearful people make mountains out of a molehill. Actually our mental and emotional conditions become instrumental for the presence or absence of pain.

To grow in fearlessness is to establish friendliness with sickness and pain. To become free from tension and suffering is to establish an amicable relationship with the ailment. We have witnessed people suffering very painfully but their strength lies in centring their faith in the disease, and the pain gets relieved. Faith is important to establish friendliness with the pain. Man changes tremendously with the transformation of his feelings. The sooner the emotions are transformed, the sooner man changes. We do not know the reality that with the transformation of feelings, our bodily chemicals also change. With change in bodily chemicals the whole behaviour of man changes. In the whole process, belief and faith play a major role. Many people get cured by the simple dust of the feet of saints. Should this be a miracle of the dust? No it is emphatically a miracle of feelings, belief and faith. Faith transforms feelings that eventually change the whole outlook, attitude and scenario of life.

This is an attempt to establish friendliness with pain. The power of determination is part and parcel of the mental conduct. Friendliness with pain can easily be established by the power of determination. There is an adage regarding a very prosperous, wealthy and great king, whose only son was Anathi. He was married and had no dearth of any comforts and luxuries. One day he felt a terrible pain in his body. The best doctors were summoned. Anathi realised that despite all the efforts of his parents, his pain did not subside. His brothers and relatives did their best but the pain remained, his wife remained seated beside him with tears in her eyes, serving him but failing to relieve his pain. Intense suffering of pain perpetuated and nobody could do anything to undermine its intensity. How long would he go on suffering from this acute pain? Then he determined to change himself, there was no other way. He resolved that if he became a muni then there would be no suffering from pain as munis do not feel the pain. He tried to groom this determination into his being. He succeeded and even in the occurrence of pain, he was painless owing to his deep determination. Although the pain was intense, he slept comfortably due to his determination.

When he woke up he did not feel the pain, as if there never had been any pain. Now Anathi became a muni. This is the practice of determination. By the power of determination, one establishes friendliness with the ailment and forgets the pain altogether.

Life is full of good and bad. If we sincerely make use of our inner powers, we can reduce the effect of the bad considerably. Generally people are external seekers so they are always searching outside in the mundane world for the solution to every problem. Man hardly looks inward, into his inner being for a solution. That is the irony and agony he never seeks within. This one-sided orthodox outlook is the only cause of affliction. If man becomes multidimensional and he is prepared to seek both within and without then he can gain tremendously.

Initially, doctors used to seek remedies to diseases in medicines only, but now they have started seeking solutions inside the body also, which has resulted in the development of medical systems in the field of psychology, spirituality, and determination. They have seriously felt that there is a solution available within the body also, which can be discovered. Today science has advanced much in this direction. During the research on chemicals, biochemistry was evolved and when research work was concentrated on life chemicals, then it was established that various kinds of chemicals are produced in our body, which benefit us. The process of learning about internal bodily chemicals is the job of spiritual medical science. It was formerly discovered by religious masters that by controlling emotions and feeling, bodily chemicals can be changed. They, in fact, practised faith, determination, belief and tolerance, and found favourable changes in bodily chemicals, ensuring a healthy body free from all sicknesses. It is a big achievement to establish friendliness with disease as it enhances your tolerance power also.

Those who have inherited tolerance power can easily establish friendliness with ailment. There is an illustration of the supreme sovereign Sanatkumar, who established friendliness with disease and co-existed with it. There was no reaction and both existed in harmony. If he wanted he could have protested against the sickness, but he remained perfectly one with the sickness.

This is possible only when one has realised solitariness. In spite of being affected by the disease, one becomes free from it and feels healthy. It is because only the body is affected by the disease, but the spirit and consciousness inside the body, which is totally separate from the body, remain untouched by the disease. Unless we realise our consciousness, we can never establish friendliness with the disease. The practice of meditation is to realise that stage which is ever free from disease, old age and death. To realise the soul is difficult, as it exists in the deepest recesses of our consciousness, much deeper than the sea. It is an uphill task to reach that level of consciousness. But keen, sincere and wholehearted devotion in sadhana surely leads to the realisation of the soul.

Meditation means to dive deeply into our being, breaking all external relations and distractions. As long as you are attached to the external material world, you can never dive deep enough because the mundane world seems very attractive and keeps dragging you towards itself.

The purpose of meditation is to enter into that unique world which is free from chaos. It is entirely a different world. On attainment of this mental elevation, one is blessed with the feeling of friendliness and oneness with all creatures. If you establish friendliness selectively only with certain people, aiming at your vested and selfish motives, then it is not friendliness at all. If there is genuine friendliness, it will be with all, irrespective of caste, clan, creed, community, right or wrong, beneficial or detrimental, good or bad. If there is no friendliness, then it will not be with anyone at all. This is the principle of friendliness because friendliness is not an act of doing but it is just a feeling. It emerges from the transformation of an individual. It grows out of the merging and melting of the individual existence. Then why cannot friendliness take place with the ailment? People who establish friendliness with the ailment render the ailment ineffective. By fighting the sickness, you will never succeed in making the sickness ineffective and impotent. On occurrence of a disease, when you start reacting and treating it, then it troubles you more actively. But when you do not react at all in any way, at any level, it becomes ineffective and unsuccessful.

Jayacharya preached this secret in the eighth sermon of Aradhana, which is so appealing and touching that the disease becomes totally ineffective on hearing that mantra. Even during intense pain caused by the disease, the patient flowers and blooms because his life is totally spiritually transformed.

In the spiritual field, we should not accept a religion, which is simply based on rituals and orthodox notions, rather it should be socially acceptable. And religion should not degenerate into mere rituals and sordid adherence to customs and superstitions. We should practise more meditation so that we seek less shelter in medicines and doctors.

Sometimes it is imperative to visit a doctor or take medicines, but this should not be the only solution. Simultaneously, the solution lies in the practice of friendliness, and meditation should be sought so that we remain healthy and balanced from within and without.


  1. Concentration due to Anguish: It is not a variety of penance because it is not conducive to the development of the inner self.
Edited by Muni Dulharaj
Copyright by Pathfinder Trust, New Delhi, India ©2001
Published by Sterling Publishers Pvt.Ltd., New Delhi, India
Translated by Pathfinder Trust, New Delhi, India
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Aradhana
  3. Body
  4. Concentration
  5. Consciousness
  6. Dharma
  7. Fear
  8. Fearlessness
  9. Greed
  10. Jayacharya
  11. Mahavira
  12. Mantra
  13. Meditation
  14. Muni
  15. Munis
  16. Sadhana
  17. Science
  18. Science Of Living
  19. Soul
  20. Tolerance
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