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Home sjmtoc 1 Spiritual Aspect of Ayurveda

1.4 Health Lies in Self-Knowledge

I am often asked in workshops why many of the spiritually illuminated persons of modern history die of some serious disease. Many have died of cancer (Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharishi, etc.) Or other serious illnesses. There are two explanations for this. The first is that once a person knows the unity of all beings, he or she cease to be concerned with his or her own body. The prana slowly begins to dissolve and merge back into its origin -consciousness. This can take a lifetime, sixty to seventy years, or a few days. It depends on the parabdha of the person. Parabdha means “that which is already underway”. Or it is described like this: the archer aims the arrow at the deer, his target; he shoots the arrow; a moment after releasing the arrow, he realizes that the target is not a deer, but a person. He cannot now bring back the arrow and so must face the consequence of the action even after realizing the truth of the situation. This is parabdha karma. Yet, the seers say that there is no parabdha for one who knows, because there ceases to be any one individual to identify with that parabdha. Another way to say this is that it is destiny. Destiny accounts for roughly ten to fifteen percent of all of our diseases.

The second explanation is that once students gather around a person who has ceased to identify with himself or secondary effect happens. This effect is that of a magnet. The vasanas of the students begins to leave their bodies (including the subtle bodies) and collect onto the teacher. This all happens without any direct action by either the students or the teacher. Consciousness acting through the teacher (Self-realized being) wishes to help the students by removing their vasanas. It is the vasana (mental conditioning) which prevent us from perceiving the substratum. Therefore, if they are removed, Self-Knowledge will result.

This secondary effect may be why many illuminated persons live alone or quietly. My teacher lived for fifty years after realization without allowing people to collect around him for long periods of time. This is also why some of these people die of cancer or other diseases. The vasanas can accumulate and slowly the teacher suffers the consequences of those mental impressions and karmas. It is the sum total of the student’s mental conditioning vasanas, that cause major diseases to manifest on realized people. There are undoubtedly other factors that I am not aware of, but these are the two commonly occurring reasons. It is also reasonable to suggest that some karmic disposition toward the disease must remain in the subtle bodies of the sage for the actual manifestation to occur. However, this last statement is my conjecture and may not be the case.

In conclusion, several factors must be reviewed. First, prana is inseparable from pure consciousness or God. This pure consciousness is the substratum of all existence and therefore the pure nature of every being. The special combination of consciousness-prana determines each individual manifestation of the substratum. This special combination when viewed as limited (conditioned) results in an impression called a vasana which covers the substratum. This same special combination, when viewed as the substratum, results in Self-Knowledge. The movement of prana activates the vasana and together the two create the mental process that we call mind. Mind then wrongly identifies the body as the substratum and ignorance is born. With the advent of ignorance we make poor decisions and the pranas are disturbed. This disturbance imbalances the metabolism which causes the digestion to mal-funtion. Our food turns toxic and sickness results.

Understanding our substratum or fundamental nature is then the most basic form of health care that one can pursue. As the ancient seers of the past have concluded, true health lies in Self-Knowledge, as it is the root of all other occurrences in the manifestation.

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