Section 2

What is Health?

Health is the English term for ‘Ārōgyaṁ’ in Sanskrit. The word ‘health’ is derived from the Latin word “Healy.” Ārōgyaṁ has several meanings. One is sacredness. Another is Paripūrṇam (Wholeness). The term, thus, indicates that all the organs of the body should be perfect and holy.
The body is a combination of different limbs. So, only when all limbs are utilised for sacred purposes can one have Puṣṭi and Santuṣṭi (good health and happiness). For a healthy mind, one should have a healthy body. The Ātma sustains human life on the basis of the health of the body and the mind. A healthy human body is the very foundation for all virtuous and good actions. 

Human Body – a gift

The body is a gift of God and cannot be made by doctors. The human heart beats 1,03,000 times a day. The blood circulation in the body is computed to cover 1,68,000 miles per day. Man breathes 21,600 times and consumes 438 cubic feet of air every day. These are based on Divine Will and are regarded as a Law of Nature. God is the preceptor of Prakr̥ti (Nature). The body is unclean in many ways and is subject to various diseases. But in such an inherently unattractive abode dwells the most valuable divinity. Man should always act in harmony with Nature, which is a reflection of Divinity.

The body is like a rest house You must know that each one is a pilgrim and each life is but a stage in the journey towards the city of liberation. This body is a rest-house, in which we stay for a short time, during the pilgrimage. The mind is the caretaker, the watchman in the choultry where we rest. We are not to treat him as if he is a master or owner. But, we ought to take care that the house we are privileged to occupy is not damaged or polluted. We have to take good care of it and its furnishings and treat the watchman politely. The pilgrim is either helped or handicapped by the antics of the mind. The body is a temporary habitation; it is subject to all kinds of disease and injury. Yet the body is the boat on which alone we can cross the ocean of Sansāra (birth and death cycle). The boat has to be kept trim and serviceable. It should not distract our attention more than the minimum necessary for its upkeep. It has to be used for reducing the burden of others, and should not itself become a burden on us. It should serve others, not demand service from them. Realise the value of health. The body is a chariot, wherein God is installed, being taken along in procession. Every effort should be made to keep the human body healthy.