Living and Coping with Chronic Diseases
My friend Ashok called me last week – he was very upset. He has been diagnosed with liver disease and diabetics. He was in a kind of shock and denial mode. A very ambitious and smart guy – suddenly realizing that he is sick – guess the state of mind!
“I have lot of things to do Uday – my kids have not reached anywhere. I have not yet constructed my own house. Now all of us have lost our sleep…can’t bear this torture…What wrong have I done in this Janma (birth) – I don’t know…Why? Why is god so merciless?” he was lamenting.
“Ashok, most of the human beings can get sick after certain age. There is nothing wrong in it. Why should you waste time on finding reasons? Why are you blaming god?”
“Why shouldn’t I? There was no reason for me to get such dreaded diseases – my parents are still healthy…”
“If you want reasons, I can give you plenty – from karma to pathology or from genetics to poisonous food…But I would still say the main reason would be the result of your own karma. I shall explain later on how one’s thoughts, words and deeds that determine one’s fate. And genetics doesn’t mean it should confine to parents. Your ancestral relatives may also carry such erratic genes. Another major reason should be contaminated food. We do not get pure food now. Whatever you get in the market is purely poisonous – preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers etc…”
“Ah, my uncle had diabetics…”
“Yeah, that means you had an opportunity to manage the disease…”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Imagine you have the fate of getting diabetics attack at the age of 40. With sedentary life-style and Maida-added bakery food you can speed it up and pre-pone diabetics to 20. And if you do proper exercise, proper food and good karma, you can post pone it up to the age of 60. The existence has provided us such a greater band-width. And you didn’t use it…”
He skipped it and again blamed on god.
“According to Hindu Dharma, God is NOT the one who creates disease in people or causes suffering to humans. Whatever happens to you is the result of your own karma or ignorance. Even gods have to pay the karmic debt. Ram killed Vali. So when he took rebirth as Krishna, Vali who took birth as a hunter, killed him.”
“So what should I do?”
“As a first step you have to accept that you are sick now and there is nothing wrong or illegal in being sick. Nobody will live for ever. Do not waste time in denial or finding reasons. Don’t be scared of it. Everybody will die – you, me and the doctor who is treating you – it’s just a matter of time. And the medicine that’s prescribed to you will also disappear from the market after sometime. So, let’s accept that we have got the disease. Sri Rama Krishna Paramahamsa, the enlightened sage had accepted even the KARMIC DEBT of his disciples and died a painful death by cancer. Accept and acknowledge the fact, then try for medicinal support…”
“How to accept yaar?”
“Water has three forms. Ice, Water and Vapor. When you are in mind-body level, it is like ice, very rigid. When you focus on mind and beyond, we become like water, which is flexible. And when you are in total awareness, you are like vapor. Free to move anywhere. Now imagine – your destiny is to get ten lashes of a whip. If you are in ice-state, you will be totally broken. It will be painful. If you are in water-state, there is will be splashing. And if you transcends to vapor-state, the whip will make just swishing sound. The lashes won’t have much effect on you.”
“Yes – a choice within limits…” he smiled.
“True. Our ancestors taught us – ” Sareeram Adhyam Khalu Dharma Sadhanam”, means our first duty or responsibility is to take care of the body. Body is the first tool for performing the dharma. Hence health is very important factor for maintaining a Dharmic life. You didn’t take care of body (here body includes mind too). You might have followed a tamasic (darkness oriented) life-style…”
“Hmm. Yes, I remember what you had written – a person born in traditionally vegetarian family should not eat meat or non-vegetarian food. I thought you were nuts that time. But now I understand – I was heavy on non-veg and was drinking alcohol too as part of my marketing job. But what about my family – I couldn’t do much for them”
“It will happen otherway around too. If a person who suddenly changes to be vegetarian after meat eating tradition, he will also end up in illness. There is a balancing mechanism in the existence. The food habits passes through genes. However, easiest way is to lead a sattvik life and sattvik food style and teach your family too to follow it earnestly, they won’t suffer in the future.”
“I suggest you to see God’s presence in everything – in you, in your disease, in doctor and in medicine…there is no point in wasting time now. Just try to live happily with your family as much as you do. Please share and care for fellow human beings too.”
“I will do that Uday…” he said.
“Ashok, I do not know if your disease can be cured. But it should be manageable. Please try to read these books – those are known as upavedas – Ayruved (Herbal medicine), Aasthavangani (surgery and eight other ways of treatment), Aswinikumar Sanhita (Medicine), Brahatsanhitaa (treating the ill), Pushkal Sanhita (reason of getting sick of ill) and Dhanwantari Sutra – you may find some treasure there…”
“I don’t know if I understand all those things…”
“The gist of all is that, living a sattvik life will give you necessary energy and life at body, mind and beyond. Normally, no disease can touch a person who leads sattvik life until and unless it is strong in genes… It can sometimes rectify even the existing diseases. So be happy and lead a good life with good karma” I told him.
“Thank you so much, Uday…”
“All credits, gratitude and thanks should go to our ancestors – yours and mine – who taught us everything to lead a happy and contented life. If you see anything wrong, that is exclusively my mistake – my ignorance…”
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