Chapter – 9
- What should the priorities be in maintaining health and longevity? What is the ratio behind the priorities?
The true end and purpose of life is to achieve salvation. Very few individuals are given the benefit of such a difficult task like salvation as an overwhelming majority of human folks do not even know what their goal in life should be. A large majority of those who intend to attain salvation fail in making a proper approach towards the goal. And, even among those who do make a proper approach, an infinitesimally small and negligible number will eventually be liberated. The rest will have to come back to life on Earth to make another attempt at salvation; so it is all the more necessary to think of salvation in this life; Longer the life here, better are the chances!
So the first priority has to be the factor of longevity – long life! Within the time available, even after making fullest allowances for possible upsets in health, the ultimate liberation should be the sole aim. So the longevity factor should be given the pride of place!
- Certain Yogis and spiritual masters concentrate solely on their yoga and spiritual progress at the expense of their health. How far is that attitude correct?
Yoga means union – the union of Atman with the indistinguishable Brahman. That indeed is the meaning and message of the monumental work on the merits of yoga called “Yoga Sakshatkara Sudha” of Daivarata Maharshi, celebrated disciple of Kavyakantha Vasishta Ganapati Muni who is a disciple of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Normally, yoga if undertaken under the constant guidance of the Sadguru, will not result in any health hazard, according to “Yoga Taravali” of Sri Adi Shankara. Those spiritual masters who pursue spiritual aspirations at the expense of health do so either with the hope that Divine Grace will efface karma and promote health or bestowing special attention to health may mean waste of precious time.
- What are the preferred or prescribed methods for good health?
The prescribed twin methods are (a) yoga and (b) japa, homa, yagna etc.
The preferred method in Kali Yuga, according to Narada Bhakti Sutras, is the Japa yoga. As good Yoga masters are difficult to find in all places at all times, Japa yoga would be the inescapable choice, bereft of risks associated with unilateral pursuit of yogic exercises lacking in Sadguru’s guidance.
Japa yoga followed by homa, yajna, yaga etc. have all been time-honoured pursuits for promotion of health. If, in spite of this care, health suffers and disease threatens or breaks out, there are many options of Vedic remedies besides Ayurvedic, Homeopathic and Allopathic remedies.
Herbal cure such as the Eka Moolika Prakarana method – through a single medicinal leaf consumption – holds out the best in the health solution field; But this appears to be a dying source, as the knowledge of the unique Vanaspathi realm is becoming extinct with the extinction of such herbal wealth through urbanization of even hill stations known to harbor and promote growth of high altitude herbs.
- What is the nexus between good health and longevity?
All the Rishis and Devatas are of the unanimous view that the spiritual seeker must do everything to promote longevity for ensuring more than sufficient time for eventual liberation in this life itself. Or else, if destiny overtakes ones’s longevity before realization of the very aim of life, rebirth may be an inevitable issue. It follows, therefore, promotion of good health to ensure longevity – by Divine Grace – for securing just the remainder of lifetime for fulfillment is an aspiration and step in the right direction. As far as possible, karmic diseases, for this matter, should be subjected to early elimination through Vedic remedies to promote good health and longevity; indeed, there is a vital nexus between the two.
- What is the power behind bodily perceptions and movements?
The power behind bodily perceptions and movements is the power behind the precise difference between life and death! That is the force that differentiated the two states. All sensory perceptions and movements of the body suddenly stop the moment a person is declared dead. So death is the terminator of all movements and perceptions.
The eyes are (in the human body) absolutely intact; but they cannot perceive things! The ears are there but cannot hear! The nose is there but cannot smell! The tongue remains as it is but cannot any longer be the source of sound; nor can the lip movement be seen as part of communication or conversation. The limbs (namely hands and legs) do very much exist but cannot move!
The power behind all bodily movements is, according to Adi Shankara, Shiva himself. The mother force behind them is the Almighty Lord! So everyone should say, “I am that Shiva”! and identify oneself with Lord Shiva and not with the body. The body is the medium and so the parts are perishable, the Atman (or Brahman) is imperishable.
That imperishable phenomenon is the Creator of the universe pervading both the entire universe and body. It is this superhuman motive force that is bereft of the body but protects the body. It is variously described as:-
- Aham Brahmasmi
- Prajnanam Brahma
- Tat Tvam Asi
- Ayam Atma Brahma
- Ekam Evadvitiyam Brahma
- Sat Chit Ekam Brahma
- Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma
- Anantam Avyayam Brahma
- Bhavani Twam
All these declarations (and host of others) point towards Atman and Brahman or Paramatman as the ruler of the universe in general and the human body in particular. In order to retain the power of existence , prayers are offered for longevity.
- Is it true that the fear of death chases even Gods?
It is absolutely true that Gods are worried about Death! In Adi Shankara’s “Soundarya Lahari”, the 28th sloka refers to their mortal fear of the cycle of genesis, death and rebirth- “…prati-bhaya jara-mrutyu-harineem…!” Here is the meaning of the sloka:-
Fear of death chases Gods!
The nectar of immortality-
Those who drank with felicity
Brahma, Indra and others in way similar
Carry a mortal fear singular
That seems to chase them fast
Like the speed superlative of deer in the forest
The apprehension of impending death
And the figurative gasping for breath
Barring the unique wine
Who drank the deadly poison
With rhythmic ease,
To extend others life and lease
That came from the bosom of the mountain
At the time ancient of its churning
Only to pose a problem burning!
What saved the Lord’s life pivotal
O Divine Mother, was the form vital
The power spiritually illimitable
Of your ear rings divya
And verily your Mangalya
That is why it is said that even Gods aspire to be born as mortals – human beings on earth – so that they could be blessed with an Immortal Atman. The moment a God’s appointment comes to an end, the entire identity is lost!
- What is the significance of “Soundarya Lahari” addressed to the Supreme Creator as Lalitha Tripura Sundari?
There is a dynamic and exciting truth camouflaged in all the slokas of “Soundarya Lahari”. It is not perhaps known to many that “Soundarya Lahari” slokas generate , when subjected to recitation, gamma rays. All sacrificial offerings in a Vedic rituals such as japa or thapa or homa, yagna or yaga will engender cosmic rays which will instantly rectify the structure of the subtle body of the seeker. It is an established fact that higher energy flows downwards and hence, this is the same theory that is applicable in the case of curing genetic defects or the genetic structure of an individual. “Power of prayer” is to be experienced to be believed and hence, the Supreme Creator with illimitable names and forms remains unknown, formless, imperishable and Absolute.
“Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati”, this beautiful line says it all – you shall receive from the Supreme what you will based on your perception of the Supreme and how you approach the Supreme. This same thought has been touched upon by Lord Krishna in the Bhagawad Gita as well.