The human body, by nature, is transitory, impermanent, fragile, a house of distress and disease, and always in any given moment vulnerable to death.
Anyone, at any time, can become a victim to any disease, and often the body collapses before the soul’s work is finished, or even before the allotted time is up. Such is the collapsing, shuddering, weak, tentative, and ephemeral nature of the human body.
According to Ayurveda, it is natural for humans to crave happiness and bodily comfort. In the same manner, it is quite natural for humans to shun pain of any kind.
Rishi Charaka declares, “Although activities of all creatures are directed intuitively towards happiness, the good and bad course they adopt depends upon the knowledge and ignorance (of each creature) respectively.”
Living Fully And Happily
To live and live fully and happily is the most natural instinct of any living thing. This is what we dream about, this is what we pray for.
Scratch the surface of any heart, and we find hidden deep within the desire to have health, possess vitality, and have longevity. This is why even the mere thought of a chronic or fatal illness strikes such terror in our heart.
An extra growth, or some strange symptom can give us sleepless nights. When we see a physically or mentally unfortunate person, we feel numb and nervous at the same time, and we quickly shift our eyes away, trying to suppress our own inner fears.
This urge to prolong life, avoid bodily harm or injury, and live life ‘fully’ has been acknowledged by all Indian scriptures and statements of authority.
This ‘lust for life’ or jijivisha is intrinsic to the journey towards moksha (spiritual freedom), or else the game plan would fail. All creatures, big or small, wish to live and live happily.
The Course Of Action In Life
But again, all creatures under the same sun do not meet the same fate. It is the sum total of intelligence that any creature possesses in any given moment that decides the course of action the creature will embark upon and, more importantly, the consequences of such action that the creature will have to live with.
Based upon the given intellect, Charaka has divided humans into the wise and the ordinary ones.
Rishi Charaka says, “The wise, after examining, emphasis on (use of) wholesome (regimen), while the ordinary people, covered by rajas and tamas (vitiating factors of the mind causing attachments), prefer the liked objects (blindly follow likes and dislikes without any consideration to wholesomeness or unwholesomeness of activity or object). The wise is endowed with learning, intelligence, memory, dexterity, restraint, regular use of wholesome regimen, purity of speech, serenity of mind, and patience, while these qualities are not found in the ordinary people, full of rajas and tamas. That is why they (the latter) suffer from various somatic and psychic disorders caused by them.”
Further, Rishi Charaka advises, “One should not use the food articles from either attachment or ignorance. Rather, he should use the wholesome one (food item) after examination (through analysis) because the body is a product of food.”
Blind Indulgence Of Senses
Thus, according to Ayurveda, those who blindly seek to satisfy the senses, and run to please every craving, run here and there to satisfy every impulse, and do what it takes to feed each and every mental frenzy, will suffer sooner or later.
One may be born with good health and even good genes, but slow and steady abuse of the body through consistent intake of detrimental foods, and indulgence in self-destructive mental and social thoughts and activities results in slow and steady depletion of the good health. It is only a matter of time.
No amount of health supplements, visits to the spa, or vacations will restore what is depleted and destroyed on a daily basis. It is the moment to moment decisions, which we make under the spell of our own attachments and aversions, that take a heavier toll.
This is why Ayurveda teaches an entire lifestyle that promotes health. The Ayurvedic path is not a 1-3 month intensive. There are no off days in Ayurveda, no calories to count, and no points to add up. Ayurvedic wisdom is unfoldment of wisdom as a continuous way of life.
Ayurveda is an everyday application of intelligence, a spiritual and inner decision to reconnect with the flow of life, a resolution to make decisions after due consideration, a move to reclaim our right to think for ourselves, and a celebration of the fact that our higher Self will always guide us wisely in any given moment – if we so decide. Ayurveda will guide us to our cherished goal – a healthy, happy, full life!
Acharya Shunya is a globally-recognized spiritual teacher and Vedic lineage-holder who awakens health and consciousness through the Vedic sciences of Ayurveda, Vedanta and Yoga. She is the driving force behind an online wisdom school and worldwide spiritual community, and the author of best-selling book on the Vedic art of mind + body + soul well-being and health, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017) and forthcoming second book with Sounds True to be released in 2020, Sovereign Self. Acharya Shunya is a keynote speaker at national and international conferences, and serves as an advisor to the Indian Government in matters pertaining to global integration and cultivation of Ayurveda and Yoga. Receive her free online teachings and browse her current eCourse offerings here or see more about her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel where she holds live Global Satsangs once per month.