By His Holiness Swami Sivananda Saraswati
This article is an extract from the book Practice of Nature Cures, authored by His Holiness Swami Sivananda Saraswati and first published in 1952. The electronic publication of this article on this webpage is with the blessings and kind permission from The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh.
HEALTH TIPS > MENTAL THERAPEUTICS
Mental health is more important than physical health. If the mind is healthy, the body will necessarily be healthy.
This body is the mould prepared by the mind for its enjoyment. This body is another form of the subtle, invisible mind. The unseen mind has become the visible body.
The body is internally associated with the mind. The body is a counterpart of the mind. If there is pain in the tooth or stomach or ear the mind is at once affected. It cannot think properly. It is agitated 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 disease (Vyadhi), while the Vasanas or desires that afflict the mind are termed mental or primary disease (Adi).
A man receives a telegram that his only son died of pneumonia. At once his face becomes pale, his mind is agitated, he becomes nervous, he has no appetite, his red corpuscles are destroyed. The mind was affected at first. He received a shock. Afterwards the whole body reacted. Mark here the influence of mind over the body!
What is mind? It is a mysterious subtle force. It is Atma Sakti. It is product of Prakriti. It is a non-entity that appears as an entity. It is a bundle of desires, thoughts and imaginations. It creates and destroy this world. It is a manifestation of Para Sakti. It is an offspring of Maya or Avidya.
It is composed of three Gunas or qualities, viz, Sattva, (purity, harmony, light, goodness), Rajas (passion, motion) and Tamas (inertia, darkness, ignorance).
If sattva prevails you will enjoy wonderful health and peace. If Rajas predominates, the mind will be restless, perturbed, agitated and distracted. If inertia or Tamas predominates, the mind will be heedless, indolent and lazy.
Fill the mind with Sattva. Have Satsanga or association with the wise. Cultivate faith, serenity, truthfulness, courage, mercy, devotion, love, cheerfulness, confidence, divine thoughts and divine virtues. Change worldly thoughts. Allow the mind to run in the spiritual direction, divine grooves. Your mind will be peaceful and harmonious. You will have excellent mental health. You will have no physical diseases.
Psychologists are of opinion that the disease is not primarily of body or flesh but of mind. They say that disease is caused by poisons generated in the blood by anger, revenge, hatred, lust, etc.
The root causes of all disease is ignorance. Desire is rheumatism. Greed is phlegm. Anger is bile. These torture the heart. When all these three attack you, you are a prey to pneumonia fever. Mine- ness is the ring-worm. Jealously is the scratching itch. Raga is the throat’s cancer. Envy is in the incurable T.B Malice is leprosy. Egoism is gout. Pride, hypocrisy are neuritis. Hatred is malignant malaria.
If the mind is pure, if your thoughts are pure, you will be free from all diseases, primary and secondary. “ Mens sana in corpore sano”-“ a sound mind in a sound body”.
Tobacco , alcohol, intoxicating drugs affect the brain, nerves and the mind also. He who is addicted to these drugs cannot enjoy mental health as well as physical health. Give up these intoxicants at once.
Japa, Kirtan, study of sacred scriptures, meditation, enquiry, reflection, Pranayama- all pave a long way to the attainment of mental health. Therefore, practice Japa and meditation. The flow of Divine Grace, the flow of Sattva from the Lord towards the pious student of Yoga heals the mind. When the mind is healthy the body also becomes healthy. Sattva and Divine Grace are mighty spiritual forces.
Eliminate fear, care, worry and anxiety by relying on God. God is the source for power, wisdom, and bliss. Fear, worry and anxiety corrode the mind. They paralyse the mind and fill it with despair, depression and despondency.
The real Supreme Healer is God. His grace alone can make you hale, hearty, cheerful, joyful, blissful and healthy. Take refuge in Him alone with all your being. Be righteous. Lead a well-regulated, disciplined life. Observe the laws of health and hygiene and be happy for ever.
May Lord bless you. May you all be endowed with perfect health, peace and long life. May you all be free from diseases.
We are accustomed in this age of scientific advancement to hear of marvels. Many people, all over the world are expecting that nuclear physics will be utilized by experts for providing amenities of life to the common man, in a manner hitherto unimagined. Very probably, it may also happen that the advancing practical philosopher may show the world, how, by a purely mental process, physical ills can be cured. If any such thing happens, one need not wonder at it; because, it is said that such things happened in our country in the remote ages past.
Our sacred Scriptures tell us, that the whole world comes out of the Sankalpa or the mere thought of the Creator. They also say that everybody is himself, in real essence, identical with God. The Great Mahavakya of the Upanishads is ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. If that is the Truth, if even the entire universe is only the external manifestation of the potency of a single thought, it must be very simple for an individual to project a thought which has got the potency to destroy the evil effects of a malady and create a curative process by which a disease gets removed.
But, who knows this trick? Sacred books say that the Yogi knows it, that the Yogi can cure himself of all disease and also can cure others of their diseases. Is it possible in the present day for anybody to learn this secret? It seems to be so.
At any rate one can very well think about the rationale behind such mental treatment of physical ills. At the outset, let it be clearly stated that such a treatment is not of the nature of the widely advertised hypnotic cures. In a hypnotic cure, where it succeeds, the hypnotist effects permanent damage to the patient because he gets undue control of the most delicate instrument, the patient’s mind. Eventually that mind is rendered incapable of functioning in a normal way even afterwards and, thus, the patient is made a victim. Spiritual treatment, on the other hand, is the sending out or the projection of vibrant , forcible, harmonising thought waves which will take direct control of the patient’s mind apparatus , not for the purpose of subordinating it, but for the purpose of charging it with those energies which alone will make that apparatus (the mind) function effectively to do away with the discord-creating tendencies and impulses which are the root cause of the disease that the patient has been suffering from.
Disease, in Sanskrit, is called Vyadhi which is only the condition reached by a person going through Vyadha or vexation, anxiety, etc. These are only the consequences of the absence of Santi or peace. If Santi is infused into the patient, automatically it will get into his ‘Chitta’ or the subconscious mind which will make the necessary changes in his mental makeup, so that the extra activity of the Rajoguna in it will be suitably counter-balanced by the extra charge of Sattvic element with the result that the conscious mind will begin to perceive that change in the form of diseaselessness.
If the spiritual health is to be competent to render this aid to the patient, namely the giving of ‘Santi vibrations’, he must himself be capable of having them. In other words, he must have stored up within himself a sufficient stock of Santi. That is possible only if he has gone through the regular practice of Raja Yoga which is, after all, “Chitta Vritti Nirodha’.
The question therefore now is: will be there be in the world of the future a sufficiently large number of Raja Yogins who will be qualified to straightaway get at the root cause of all diseases, namely, the absence of Santi in the mind of the sufferer, and administer his spiritual treatment in the form of successive, potent doses of Santi particles? If such a thing happens, most of the work of the medical practitioners will be taken away and they will thereby be enabled to devote their energies in some other constructive manner. If marvels can be achieved in the field of science, as is being done today, nothing stands in the achievement of marvels in the field of spirituality.
This body is the moving temple of God. It is the sacred shrine for the Supreme Soul. It should be ever kept clean, healthy and strong. The individual soul is a reflection of the Supreme Soul in the mind. The mind is like a mirror. Selfishness, lust, hatred, anger and egoism are the dirt which spoil the transparency and purity of the mind.
The Supreme Soul is the source for all life, and all intelligence animating the universe. It is a mass of Pure Consciousness and Bliss. It is Spirit. The physical body is dominated and guided by the mind. Mind is a higher power than the physical body, the mind draws its power and light from the Supreme Soul. The mind is inspired by the Soul.
A cell is a mass of protoplasm with a nucleus. It is endowed with intelligence. Some cells secrete, while some cells excrete. The cells of the testes secrete semen; the cells of the kidneys excrete urine. Some cells act the part of soldier. They defend the body from the inroads or attack of foreign poisonous matter and germs. They digest and throw them out. Some cells carry food materials to the tissues and organs.
The cells perform their work without your conscious volition. Their activities are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. They are in direct communication with the mind in the brain. Every impulse of the mind is conveyed to them. They are greatly influenced by the varying conditions or states of the mind.
If there are confusion, depression and other negative emotions in the mind, they are telegraphically transmitted through the nerves to every cell in the body. These soldier cells become panic stricken. They are weakened. They are not able to perform their functions properly. They become inefficient.
For many the body is all in all. They worship this body. The body is everything for them. They have no idea of the Soul. They have become abject slaves of this body, a mass of flesh and bone, a combination of the five elements. The body has become their Lord. They have no self-control at all.
They do not practice any Asana or exercise regularly. They do not lead a well-regulated and disciplined life. They fill their stomach with sweets, pastries, etc. There is no rest for the digestive and the eliminating organs. They ever suffer from physical weakness and diseases. The atoms, molecules and cells in their body produce discordant or unharmonious vibration. They have no hope, confidence, faith, serenity and cheerfulness. They are unhappy. The life force is not operating properly. Their vitally is at a low ebb. Their mind is filled with fear, despair, worry and anxiety.
The physical body should be kept under your perfect control. It is only your instrument. It should be your willing servant ever ready to obey your commands. You are always the master and proprietor of this body. You are in essence the Soul. The influence of mind over the body is now well understood by the vast majority of educated persons.
Every thought and every motion exercises a direct influence over the body. Cheerfulness, faith, serenity, joy, happiness and love produce good, harmonious, healthy vibrations in the physical body. Hatred, doubt, depression generate disharmonious and discordant vibrations in the physical body. The influence of the mind upon the body excels all other agencies which can be brought to bear upon it. Mental therapeutics in the treatment of disease is exceedingly beneficial. Particularly, in the treatment of nervous diseases, it surpasses all other kinds of treatment.
Psycho-therapy or mental therapeutics is the form of treatment which operates through the mind. Psycho-analysis is only mental therapeutics. It is the most scientific form of psycho-therapy. Psycho-analyst brings to the light from the mind of his patient long forgotten experiences of his childhood, and links them with his present experiences and trouble. The buried, repressed incidents assume their rightful proportions among the events of his personal life. They are brought from the subconscious mind to the surface of the conscious mind. They do not become the source of his mental distress which has produced his particular symptoms. The analyst sits behind the patient. The patient lies down on a couch and relaxes his muscles. The patient does not see him at all. The analyst asks the patient to speak any word which comes into his brain. The analyst asks such questions which links up the words the patient uses. The patient remains silent for some time. Afterwards he will disclose some important fact which has hitherto been concealed on account of shyness or fear. After some sittings, the patient’s disturbing factors are entirely removed. He becomes perfectly all right.
Cheerfulness, harmony, serenity, faith, love, compassion cooperate with the constructive principle in Nature. They harmonise the physical vibrations, relax the tissues and muscles and open them wide to the inflow of the vital force and Sattva.
Develop the power of will through elimination of desires, cravings and low, corroding emotions and thoughts. You can dominate and regulate the activities and the life-currents in your body through the power of strong, pure and irresolute will. The organs, the nervous system, etc will perform their work intelligently, harmoniously and serenely even under the stress of disease and other unfavourable conditions.
Through the power of will, you can harmonise the blood circulation, you can direct the Pranic currents to those parts or organs which need them most, you can remove congestion from certain areas or organs, you can charge certain diseased parts with vigorous Prana and abundant nerve force, you can recharge your battery with new vigour and force, you can fill the Pranamaya Kosa or vital sheath with abundant energy.
The more you are endowed with faith, serenity, love, courage, tolerance, devotion and sympathy, the more you open yourself to the inflow of divine energy or the vital forces.
Auto-suggestion is another form of psycho-therapeutics. This is beneficial in the treatment of diseases. By the auto-suggestion one can turn his thoughts from the idea of disease. He can break himself from the habit of thinking he is ill. He can create the habit of thinking he is well. The subconscious mind responds to constant and repeated phrases such as “Through the grace of God, I am getting better every day, in every way.”
You can cure disease in others by giving healthy suggestions. A higher mind has influence over a lower mind. Diseases are produced by the sickly excited imagination.
Bodily functions are influenced by ideas and imaginations. The sickness is in the brain. The diseased imaginations must be combated in a proper manner through healthy, harmonious, powerful thoughts and good suggestions. Suggestions have powerful influence. Put the idea in the mind of a sick person. “You will become quite all right quickly’. He will become better.
He who has great magnetic force or animal magnetism can help others in the treatment of diseases. He can help the sick people magnetically. He can import his magnetic power to other weak, diseased persons. He can magnetise others. You can increase your magnetic power through exercise, right thinking, concentration and meditation.
He who is pure in mind, who has sympathy, goodwill, fellow-feeling, mercy and fear of God can really magnetise others.
Magnetism is a nerve force. It radiates or flows from the operator when an affinity exists between the mind of the healer and the one to be healed.
Selfishness, egoism, fear and worry vibrate, contract the blood vessels, the nerve fibres and obstruct and dominate the inflow of the vital force or life current, lower the vitality and the power of resistance to external, immoral influences or forces.
Constant thinking of a disease intensifies the disease. Divert the mind. Keep it always occupied on some interesting work or other. You can minimize the force of a disease. If the mind constantly thinks of the heart as being in a bodily diseased condition, the mental pictures of disease, weakness and fear vibrations are telegraphed to the cells of the heart through the efferent nerves. The cells of the heart become more weakened and diseased through the discordant vibrations sent to them from the mind.
Affirmations of health remove disease. The affirmation of the formula “All health I am. I am diseaseless. Atman or Soul” gives great strength and power. The negative disease gradually vanishes.
His Holiness Swami Sivananda Saraswati, served as Dr. Kuppuswamy in the rural rubber estates in Malaya between 1913 to 1922 prior to his monastic calling, bringing not only cures for ailment but also unsurpassed love and attention to the sick and needy.
His Holiness Swami Sivananda Saraswati is the Spiritual Guru and Guide of His Holiness Swami Shantanand Saraswati, who founded SivaSanta Medical Services in 1981 as a charitable project of The Temple of Fine Arts. SivaSanta Medical Services took on the name to institutionalize the wisdom and contribution of her founder, His Holiness Swami Shantanand Saraswati and his Master, His Holiness Swami Sivananda Saraswati.