Body and Mind

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Just as you take physical exercises, play games such as tennis and cricket in order to maintain physical health, you will have to maintain mental health also by taking sattwic food, mental recreation of innocent and harmless nature, change of thought, relaxation of mind by entertaining good, ennobling and sublime thoughts, and by cultivating the habit of cheerfulness.

The nature of the mind is such that it becomes that which it intensely thinks upon. Thus, if you think of the vices and defects of another man, your mind will be charged with those defects and vices at least for the time being. He who knows this psychological law will never indulge in censuring others or in finding fault in the conduct of others. He will always praise others. He will only see the good in others. That is the way to grow in concentration, yoga and spirituality.

Good physical health can be achieved and also maintained by observing rigidly the laws of health and the rules of hygiene, by taking wholesome, light, substantial, easily digestible, nutritious, bland food or a sattwic diet, by inhaling pure air, by regular exercise, by daily cold bath, and by observing moderation in eating, drinking, sexual intercourse and other activities.

Good mental health can be attained and maintained by japa, meditation, brahmacharya, practice of yama and niyama, by right conduct, right thinking, right speaking and right action, change of thought and relaxation of mind by the mind dwelling on pleasant thoughts, mental recreation and the practice of cheerfulness.

Towards health

The body is internally associated with the mind, rather the body is a counterpart of the mind; it is a gross visible form of the subtle, invisible mind. If there is pain in the tooth, the stomach or ear, the mind is at once affected. It ceases to think properly; it is agitated, disturbed and perturbed.

If there is depression in the mind, the body also cannot function properly. The pains which afflict the body are called the secondary diseases or vyadhi, while the vasanas or desires that afflict the mind are termed mental or primary diseases or adhi. Mental health is more important than physical health. If the mind is healthy, the body will necessarily be healthy. If the mind is pure, if your thoughts are pure, you will be free from all diseases, primary and secondary.

The best medicine or panacea for all diseases and for keeping good health, is entertaining divine thoughts. The waves released by divine thoughts, by kirtan, japa and regular meditation will electrify, rejuvenate, vivify, energize the cells, tissues, nerves.

May we all work unselfishly with perfect harmony and healthy cooperation for the well being of the world and for our own upliftment! May our limbs and organs grow strong and healthy! May we live to the normal length of our earthly days – a hundred years – doing selfless service, studying the Vedas and developing all sattwic virtues! May we shine with the knowledge of Brahman, radiating joy, peace, bliss and knowledge to the different corners of the world!