Sri Sathya Sai Baba gave the following discourse on June 3rd 1995 in the Sri Sathya Sai Hospital, in Whitefield, India. It is perhaps even more pertinent today than the time when it was given. The Western World, in particular, in spite of all its technological advances, its high standard of living and its welfare state programs is becoming unhealthier by the day. Both private and government health systems are unable to cope with the growing tide of illness and disease and to provide a satisfactory level of treatment at a price that either the country or the individual can afford. It is apparent, even to the most unaware person, that something has to change. Health is a personal not a state responsibility.
"Not by penance, nor by baths in sacred waters, nor by studying of scriptures, nor by Japa can the ocean of worldly existence (the cycle of birth and death) be crossed. It can be done only by service to good people."
Man seeks to cross the ocean of Samsara (worldly life) by penance, pilgrimages to sacred shrines, scriptural studies and exercises in meditation. But all these are of no avail without service to good people. All these spiritual exercises are comprehended by Seva or service. For the achievement of the four main goals of life, Dharma (right conduct), Artha (the acquisition of wealth), Kaama (the fulfilment of desires), and Moksha (liberation), good health is essential. Without good health Man cannot accomplish even the most trivial thing. Hence, health is wealth.
CAUSE OF DISEASE: However, because of the influence of the Kali Age, Man is a prey to all kinds of ailments and has no peace of mind, despite the possession of every conceivable kind of wealth and comforts. There is no dearth of doctors and in spite of the availability of so many amenities, why is Man afflicted with disease? Indeed, more than physical ailments, mental diseases are growing limitlessly. Mental sickness, caused by tension and worry, leads to so many bodily ailments. Man today is afflicted with discontent. As one set of desires is satisfied, other desires keep on cropping up, but if desires are reduced, then, contentment will grow. Moreover, because of the perversions of the Kali Age, the five basic elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth are all polluted. The water you drink is impure. The air you breathe is polluted. As a consequence of this the mind also gets polluted.
MATTER AND MIND: Today Man has to understand the true relationship between matter and mind. When he is asked about the mind, Man says, "Don't mind". When he is asked about matter, Man answers, "It doesn't matter". But by displaying this sort of casualness Man is failing to understand mind and matter. Only when Man understands the nature of the mind can he recognize the true nature of humanness. What is the mind? It is not something negative. It is positive. It represents the power of the atma, the power of thought. It can travel any amount of distance in space. It is capable of exploring the powers of the atom. The mind is capable of recognising the truth that is valid for the three categories of Time - the past, the present and the future. The mind is therefore the very essence of life. It is the source of all strength. Man today is indifferent to the importance and the powers of the mind.
SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS: Man is seeking happiness from birth to death. The search starts with education, but education does not confer happiness. Man desires a job, but that does not make him happy. He then seeks marriage as the means of happiness, but happiness eludes him, because the wife claims equal rights. Then he declares, "My life is a total darkness". It is the ego that is the cause of this darkness. As Man grows, so does his egoism also grow. One after another, his desires keep on increasing. Their fulfilment doesn't bring him the happiness that he seeks. Where is this happiness or bliss to be found? It does not exist in material objects. It is not to be found in the pleasures of life. The truth is that Man is the embodiment of bliss, yet he searches for it outside of himself. This is a mark of ignorance. When he is the embodiment of bliss, how can he possibly secure bliss outside of himself? Today, in spite of all his material wealth, Man is unhappy. He is perpetually racked by a lack of peace. Devotees come to see me from all parts of the world. Each of them says, "I want peace". Here are three words "I", "want" and "peace". "I" is ego. "Want" is desire. Remove the ego and the desire, and what remains is peace. You will have peace. Ego and desire have enveloped peace, but when the covering is removed, peace will manifest itself.
HEALTH AND HAPPINESS: Man can lead a blissful life only when he enjoys health. Wealth can offer comforts, but not peace. Wealth can provide a multi-storeyed mansion, but not a sound sleep. Wealth can provide bodily comforts, but bodily comforts do not produce bliss. Air conditioners and mattresses may give comfort to the body, but when there is no peace of mind, of what use are these comforts? The body is like a water bubble, the mind is like a mad monkey, so don't follow the body or the mind, follow the conscience. Man today is not following his conscience. He is sticking to the body and mind, which are useless. He must enquire into the problem, "Who am I?" If he does, he will discover that the body, the senses and the mind are all instruments and he is their master. Today, however, the master has become the slave of his body and his mind, when they should be his servants. You are pure soul, or atma. Make it the basis for all your actions.
HUMAN VALUES: Today Man is forgetting his essential humanness. The first requisite is for Man to realise the Human Values - the values of Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-Violence. For a bulb to light, you need a connecting wire, a switch and an electric current. For Man, that current is Truth or God. It is energy. This divine energy has to flow through the wire of Dharma (Righteousness), reach the bulb of Peace (Shanthi) and produce the light of Love. Love is God. Live in Love. Love is everything. Without Love life is a living death for Man. Love expresses itself in many forms in relation to different persons, but it is essentially one. Today love is tainted by selfishness, whether in relation to the mother, the spouse, the children or other people. Man's selfishness is polluting the entire society. Attachment to others is natural, but there should be a limit to it. When this limit is exceeded, then it becomes a disease. This is true in every case and because of Man's excessive desires he has become prone to diseases of every kind.
HEAD AND FOOD: The most common source of illness amongst people today is tension. What is the cause of tension? It is indulgence in excess of various kinds. Man must learn to moderate the hectic pace of his living. Hurry causes worry and worry causes disease. "Hurry, worry and curry (fatty food)" are the causes of heart diseases. Therefore the first requirement is control of food and head (the mind). When you control these two, there will be no room for illness.
IMPORTANCE OF THE EYE: Today the new operating theatre has been inaugurated in our hospital. Doctors know that in the eye there are millions of cells that react to light rays. If any of these cells are affected, the vision is affected. For Man the eye is the most important organ for comprehending the universe. Hence the eye has to be regarded as a sacred instrument. You cannot change creation, but by changing your vision you can get a proper view of creation. Here is an illustration. Once there was a king, who developed an acute stomach trouble. All the medicines administered by his doctors were of no avail. He then approached a great yogi, who told him that for his stomach ailment he had to treat his sight. He should see nothing but green everywhere. The yogi left and the king ordered that all places in his kingdom should be painted green. Some time later, the yogi returned and found that people were engaged in splashing green paint everywhere. When asked for the reason, they told him that they were carrying out the king's orders. The yogi then went to the king and told him that to see everything green, all that was needed was for him to wear green glasses. It was absurd to attempt to paint everything green.
THE VISION OF LOVE: Similarly if we change our vision, we will experience peace. When people view the world with the vision of love, they will have peace. All diseases will be cured. Most diseases have their origin in the mind. Everything has a psychological basis. When a person feels that something is wrong with him, he develops an illness. A healthy mind is needed for a healthy body. But it is not enough to be physically healthy. Man needs God's grace as well. To acquire God's grace you have to cultivate the love of God. Today love has become a kind of show. Genuine love should emanate from the heart. Start the day with love, spend the day with love and end the day with love, that is the way to God. If you develop love, then, disease will not come near you.
AVOID EXCESSES: I am 70 years old now. I can see even an ant that is far away. This is not due to divine power. It is physical power. What is the reason? Diet control. My weight has remained the same for nearly sixty years - 108 lbs only. Proper balance must be maintained throughout life. There must be balance in respect of knowledge and several other things. Students pollute their knowledge by seeing bad things, listening to bad things and by thinking bad thoughts. Their minds are perverted by addiction to films. They should learn to lead pure lives. Only then will they experience bliss and health. Embodiments of the Divine realise the value of good health. Self-restraint is essential to maintain good health. Regulate your habits. Develop good manners, which are the mark of a true man. Similarly, the good devotee is the one who does his duty. Duty is God. Everyone has to develop the manners required in daily life. The manners should be such that they confer self-satisfaction. You should conduct yourself properly, not for the sake of others but for your own sake. When there is self-satisfaction there will be self-realization. For all these you must have self-confidence. Most people today have no confidence in themselves and are perpetually racked by doubts. Everyone doubts each other.
HEALTH AND BLISS: For every man two things are essential - good health (Arogya) and happiness (Ananda). You need health for the body and bliss for the spirit. With these two wings you can soar to any height. You need both these things, and to achieve this you must secure God' s grace and in order to get God's grace, you have to engage yourself in sacred action. Bear in mind the three P's - Purity, Patience and Perseverance. When you attain these three qualities you are bound to acquire good health and bliss.
BHAGAVAN'S EXAMPLE: You may believe it or not, but the truth is that these three qualities are responsible for my good health and bliss. I am always happy. I should like to run but there is no place where I can do so. I can lift anybody, even at this age. This strength is present potentially in everyone, but it is being wasted. If the energy in everyone is properly conserved one can do anything.
FREE MEDICAL AID: The doctors have to meet the growing demands on their services. The number of patients coming to the hospital is growing all the time. All services are totally free. Not a paisa is collected from the patients. This also applies to the Super Specialty Hospital in Prashanthi Nilayam. In many countries hospitals have become big business. In fact, in every sphere of life, commercialisation is rampant. Education is a business. Music is a business. Health is a business. The whole world has become a market place. Welfare services should be free for all. There are numerous people who cannot afford the cost of medical treatment. Doctors should render free treatment to such persons. Doctors today are obsessed with salaries. They should be more concerned about their patients. When they concentrate on their patients, they will develop into excellent doctors and will inspire confidence in their patients. Then any medicine that they give will work wonders. The patients will hail such a doctor as a 'good doctor'. A 'good doctor' in due course becomes a 'God doctor'. "Vaidyo Narayano Harih", it is said, "The doctor is Divinity himself". Doctors should render service in this spirit. Service is God. Very good work is being done in our hospital as well as elsewhere. Bharat would not be what it is without good people. Without meritorious people, can the world experience light? There are good and bad people in the world. All should become good and develop into Godly men. The same Atma is present in everyone. Doctors should look after the patients with the same care they would show to their kith and kin. Then all would experience equal happiness.
"All that you eat, all that you see, all that you hear and all that you take in through your senses make a dent on your health."
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"Doctors have to realise the distinction between subjective and objective approaches. The latter has an external outlook, while the firmer has an inner view. The object is a reflection of the subject. Without realising this relationship between Ayurveda and Allopathy, doctors are wasting their time in arguments. Ayurveda affirms that purity of mind is essential for one's health, while allopathic doctors do not consider the mind to be important. They give importance to the eradication of disease causing germs and consider this as the only means to cure diseases. This does not take into account the role of the mind and the spirit in the eradication of disease. Allopathy is based on external knowledge and experimentation, while Ayurveda is based on inner knowledge and experience. There is a gulf of difference between experiment and experience. Because of the difference between the subjective and objective approaches, in the course of time, allopathy resorted to the use of antibiotics to deal with various diseases. Antibiotics act powerfully, and yield quick results in curing a disease. But, in the process of curing diseases, they give rise to adverse side effects. Allopathic doctors experiment only with matter. They do not take the inner consciousness into account."
Sri Sathya Sai Baba