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.
Part II – Debts and Diseases
Having been ushered into existence, what debts do we owe in life and to whom?
The scriptures are unequivocal in underlining the under mentioned debts for due redemption:-
Indebtedness to Divinity: For smooth emergence as human beings, protection as long as we live and for “survival after life” suggesting the absolute need for preparation for and attainment of immortality (which ensures avoidance of the pangs of rebirth and trials and tribulations in a life).
Indebtedness to Rishis: The Rishis constitute the ancestors of the whole of human fraternity. We owe our origin to our common and first ancestor called the Rishi. The Rishi has distinct love and affection for his descendants. His daily remembrance makes for our material and spiritual progress. What exactly is the debt due to Rishis? The debt is repaid in full by following their initiation and teachings.
Indebtedness to the departed souls (Pitrus): Whatever is enjoined by way of observances, obsequies and ceremonies of the elevation of departed souls will please and not only such departed ancestors but the repository of dharma as well. In return it will bring blessings from both or else their curse!
Indebtedness to living parents: Cannot be disputed by anybody because of the care taken by parents during pregnancy, after delivery and protection support right up to the days of completion of education, initiation into spiritual life and mundane matters of marriage, material comforts like housing etc. The parents do represent the parents of this universe Shiva and Shakti, and parents are deemed to carry the amsa of the creators of universe.
Indebtedness to other human beings: To the extent to which social obligations are actuated by considerations of service to humanity – more so when help is sought by those in distress or disability. Apart from whatever we may owe personally to different individuals or institutions, compassionate grounds demand proper response and suitable scrutiny.
Indebtedness to other living beings: In the animal and reptile world. The importance cannot be over emphasized or over simplified. We owe a debt or duty towards protection of flora and fauna, preservation of greenery, vegetation and forest wealth, at least to maintain the optimum supply of oxygen essential for survival of human life.
“Rina” means debt. “rinanubandha rupena pathi-patni suta-alayaha” says a scriptural line. Attachments created in past lives (previous birth janmas) between husband and wife on the one hand, children on the other hand as well as connections with a living abode – all these are responsible for creation of further rina – debt or obligation to liquidate it.
Is there any reference to AIDS in Vedic literature?
The deadly disease of AIDS goes by the technical nomenclature of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
The Prishniparni Sookta of Atharva Veda (Kanda 2 -Sloka 24 – mantras 1 to 5) refers to a herbal plant called prishniparni- a plant with spotted leaves having divine qualities and power to destroy the roots of diseases derived from deficiencies of the immune system. The disease (AIDS) is called kanva and the killer of the disease is styled “Kanva-janbhani”
The potency of the herb is such that it cuts off the heads of notorious syndromes of immune deficiency – in the same way as a bird is killed if its head is chopped off. The herbal plant (prishniparni) owes its origin to a very ancient time.
The third mantra of the Sookta is addressed to Prishniparni conceived as a deity – praying for destruction of the evil germ that 1. Sucks blood 2. Impedes development of bodily strength 3. Eats up the embryo – causing the immune deficiency syndrome.
The fourth hymn is also addressed to the Prishniparni Devi. Because of the very nature of the contagion, the prayer to the deity is to chase the life-destroying germs to the top of a mountain and burn them, to the relief of the patient. The last of the five mantras is the final prayer to Prishniparni to drive away the life-destroying germs from the darkness of areas – where the flesh eating germs are – to a safe one!
There is need for herbal research into Prishniparni leaves and seeds after identification and propagation of the herbal plant. Meanwhile, the Sookta mantras can be used in Japa and Homa.
As part of the matrix of the 5 Sookta mantras, the following details are to be noted:-
The Rishi is Chatana
Devata is Prishnipani and
Chandas is Anushtup
The first hymn starts with “Sham no devi prishniparnyasam……”
The second one begins with “Sahamaaneyam prathamaa prishniparnyajaata…”
The third mantra with “Araayamasrikpaavaanam…prishniparni sahasva cha”
The fourth hymn starts with “Garbhadam kanvam…prishniparny agnirivanu dahannihi”
The last of the Sookta begins with” Paraacha…. Kanvaanjeevitayopanaan”
Are there specific remedies in the Vedas for cardiac diseases?
There are quite a few passages in the Vedas specifically earmarked for application to cardiac ailments. Heart is ruled by Surya and Shiva-Shakti.
Yakshmaghnam and Rajayakshamaghnam Sooktas of Rig Veda are specific for ailments of all organs in the body; some of these mantras are repeated in Atharva Veda too.
Rohith Sookta of Atharva Veda is specific treatment of all heart problems inclusive of those with holes in the heart, arterial blockade, valve malfunction, bleeding through vessels and other cardiac complications.
Propitiation of Anahata Chakra Peeta Shaktis: There are twelve peetashaktis ruling the heart region – from Kalaratree to Jhankaree – covering the beejaksharas from 17th to 28th. The grace of these 12 peetashaktis is absolutely essential to the success of the therapy.
For general health of all limbs of the body and good health of the heart, the application of Aruna Sookta of Yajur veda and Pavamana Sookta of Rig Veda will be steps in the right direction.