The Meaning of Good Health
Good health is the exterior expression of an inner harmony.
For there is a psychological health just as there is a physical health, a beauty and harmony of the sensations as of the body and its movements. As the capacity of understanding grows in the child, he should be taught, in the course of his education, to add artistic taste and refinement to power and precision. He should be shown, led to appreciate, taught to love beautiful, lofty, healthy and noble things, whether in Nature or in human creation. This should be a true aesthetic culture, which will protect him from degrading influences.
Another thing should be taught to a child from his early years: to enjoy cleanliness and observe hygienic habits. But, in obtaining this cleanliness and respect for the rules of hygiene from the child, one must take great care not to instill into him the fear of illness. Fear is the worst instrument of education and the surest way of attracting what is feared. Yet, while there should be no fear of illness, there should be no inclination for it either.
It may be said that from the very first days, even the first hours of his life, the child should undergo the first part of this programme as far as food, sleep, evacuation, etc. are concerned. If the child, from the very beginning of his existence, learns good habits, it will save him a good deal of trouble and inconvenience for the rest of his life; and besides, those who have the responsibility of caring for him during his first years will find their task very much easier.
As the child develops, he must gradually be taught to observe the functioning of his internal organs so that he may control them more and more, and see that this functioning remains normal and harmonious. As for positions, postures and movements, bad habits are formed very early and very rapidly, and these may have disastrous consequences for his whole life.
It is no more tiring to hold yourself straight than to hold yourself badly. When you hold yourself straight, the body grows harmoniously. When you hold yourself badly, the body becomes misshapen and ugly.
It is no more tiring to write neatly than to scrawl. When your work is neatly written, it is read with pleasure. When it is too badly written, it cannot be read at all.
To do with care all that one does is the basis of all progress.
Discipline is indispensable to physical life. The proper functioning of the organs is based on a discipline. It is precisely when an organ or a part of the body does not obey the general discipline of the body that one falls ill.
Discipline is indispensable to progress.
Happiness and Good Health:
As yet happiness and good health are not normal conditions in this world.
We must protect them very carefully against the intrusion of their opposites.
Cheerfulness brings Good Health
…there are those who are luminous, sunny, happy, smiling and those who are gloomy, dull, misanthropic, dissatisfied, who live in grey shadows. It is the latter who catch all the unpleasant things. Those who are radiant (they may be radiant without it being a spiritual radiance, they may simply radiate good sense, balance, an inner confidence, the joy of living), those who carry in themselves the joy of living, these are in harmony with Nature and, being in harmony with Nature, generally avoid accidents, they are immune from diseases and their life develops pleasantly as far as it is possible in the world as it is.
To be Ill is a sign of Weakness and Inferiority
Often a child feigns illness to avoid some troublesome obligation, a work that does not interest him, or simply to soften his parents’ hearts and get them to satisfy some caprice. The child must be taught as early as possible that this does not work and that he does not become more interesting by being ill, but rather the contrary. The weak have a tendency to believe that their weakness makes them particularly interesting and to use this weakness and if necessary even illness as a means of attracting the attention and sympathy of the people around them. On no account should this pernicious tendency be encouraged. Children should therefore be taught that to be ill is a sign of weakness and inferiority, not of some virtue or sacrifice.
All ill health is due to some inertia or weakness or to some resistance or wrong movement there, only it has sometimes a more physical and sometimes a more psychological character. Medicines can counteract the physical result.
This body is built up, on the one side, of a material basis, but rather of material conditions than of physical matter, on the other, of the vibrations of our psychological states. Peace and equanimity and confidence, faith in health, undisturbed repose and cheerfulness and bright gladness constitute this element in it and give it strength and substance.
What is it that you call “the basis of equanimity in the external being”?
It is good health, a solid body, well poised; when one does not have the nerves of a little girl that are shaken by the least thing; when one sleeps well, eats well…. When one is quite calm, well balanced, very quiet…
Some people have a well-developed body but in spite of that they are very nervous. Then…?
Usually it is… Perhaps they have a very weak vital build: their nerves may be weak, they may have a weak nervous system; perhaps it is that, perhaps it is a birth defect. But it could also be a mental weakness, because while it is true that a healthy body gives strong nerves, it is still more important to have healthy thoughts in order to have solid nerves. If your thought is not healthy, if your feelings and thoughts are bad so to speak, your nerves become very bad, still worse. For instance, those who entertain all kinds of unhealthy fancies, those who like unhealthy reading, unhealthy conversations—there are many of this kind, there is a large number of them—well, they may lose all control over their nerves, they may become extremely nervous and yet have a body that’s in a fine condition and very healthy. Unhealthy conversations and reading—I can tell you that there’s nothing worse than that, and when you do sadhana truly, when you are really trying to progress, you notice that when you say useless words, no matter how few they are, immediately there is a terrible uneasiness which gets hold of you; you feel as though all the nerves of the head were being pulled and there is also something churning here (gesture) which hurts you, and you feel a great emptiness within and have heartburn, as though you had eaten something very bad—all this only because of some uselessly spoken words. Besides, it is a sure indication: as soon as the uneasiness begins, one knows one must stop: “Now it is finished.”
Right Way of Living
To live in the right way is a very difficult art, and unless one begins to learn it when quite young and to make an effort, one never knows it very well. Simply the art of keeping one’s body in good health, one’s mind quiet and goodwill in one’s heart— things which are indispensable in order to live decently—I don’t say in comfort, I don’t say remarkably, I only say decently.
…as soon as one feels a wave of physical disequilibrium, of ill health coming, well, to concentrate in the right spirit is to concentrate in an inner calm, a trust in the divine Grace, and a will to remain in physical equilibrium and good health. This is the right spirit. In another case, one may feel a wave of anger or a fit of temper coming from outside; then one should withdraw into an inner calm, a detachment from superficial things, with a will to express only what comes from above and always be submissive to the divine Will. This is the right spirit.
Sweet Mother, here it is written: “there is… a true physical being.” What does this mean?
There is a physical Nature which is perfectly harmonious, which has an absolutely… how to put it… yes, harmonious working, without any disorder, without disequilibrium, without any rupture of harmony, which would be expressed, if it existed upon earth, by a perfect health, a growing force, a continuous progress; and then all that one would like to obtain from one’s body one would obtain; and this can go as far as an almost unimaginable progress of perfection
Here, it is very easy if we know one thing, that the method we use to deal with our body, maintain it, keep it fit, improve it and keep it in good health, depends exclusively on the state of consciousness we are in; for our body is an instrument of our consciousness and this consciousness can act directly on it and obtain what it wants from it.
All the circumstances of life are arranged to teach us that, beyond mind, faith in the Divine Grace gives us the strength to go through all trials, to overcome all weaknesses and find the contact with the Divine Consciousness which gives us not only peace and joy but also physical balance and good health.
The healthiest ages of mankind were those in which there were the fewest material remedies.
Some Tips for Good Health
Health protected by twenty thousand precautions is the gospel of the doctor; but it is not God’s evangel for the body, nor Nature’s.
The sovereignty of mind has made humanity the slave of doctors and their remedies. And the result is that illnesses are increasing in number and seriousness.
The only true salvation for men is to escape from mental domination by opening to the Divine Influence which they will obtain through a total surrender.
In the general programme of the child’s education, sports and outdoor games should be given a prominent place; that, more than all the medicines in the world, will assure the child good health. An hour’s moving about in the sun does more to cure weakness or even anaemia than a whole arsenal of tonics.
From our experience we have found that a particular system of exercises cannot be stamped as the only yogic type of exercises and we cannot definitely say that participation in those exercises only will help to gain health because they are yogic exercises.
Any rational system of exercises suited to one’s need and capacity will help the participant to improve in health. Moreover it is the attitude that is more important. Any well-planned and scientifically arranged programme of exercises practised with a yogic attitude will become yogic exercises and the person practising them will draw full benefit from the point of view of physical health and moral and spiritual uplift.
Good health is the exterior expression of an inner harmony. We must be proud if we are in good health and not despise it.
It is only by correcting your ways of living that you can hope to secure good health.
Health: not to be preoccupied with it, but to leave it to the Divine.
Think less of yourself and your health.
Surely you will become stronger.
But if you are convinced that you have an illness, go to the hospital, surely there they will find one