The Integral Approach to Healthcare by Sri Sathya Sai

Saturday, February 6, 1993



Bhagavan addressed the First International Symposium on Cardiac Diseases held under the auspices of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences at the Institute Auditorium on 6th and 7th February 1993. In His landmark discourse to the medical professionals, He elaborated on the integral approach to the problem of human health and disease. He gave them practical guidelines on how a healthy body can be maintained, and on how doctors should take care of patients. He said:


"In this wide world, everyone aspires for long life, prosperity and health. A healthy body is essential if one has to achieve the four goals of human life, namely, Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha (liberation). Science and technology have made great strides in contributing to the progress of human society. But man has deteriorated morally and spiritually. 

Among the four Vedas, the Atharvana Veda is the one that has given the science relating to longevity, known as Ayurveda. Ayurveda transcends time and space and is valid for all places, at all times. It relates to the spirit, mind and the body and has an integrated approach. The Allopathic system came much later. It is based on an objective, external approach while Ayurveda is subjective. Both have to be coordinated for better results. Since Ayurveda is subjective it is more efficacious than the Allopathic system. There is a superior artistic sense in Ayurveda. 

Doctors have to realise the distinction between subjective and objective approaches. The latter has an external outlook while the former has an inner view. The object is a reflection of the subject. Without realising this relationship between Ayurveda and Allopathy, doctors are wasting their time in arguments. 

Basic difference between Ayurveda and Allopathy 

Ayurveda affirms that purity of mind is more essential for one's health while Allopathic doctors do not consider the mind as so important. They give importance to the eradication of disease causing germs and consider this as the only means to cure diseases. This does not take into account the role of the mind and the Spirit in the eradication of disease. Allopathy is based on external knowledge and experimentation, while Ayurveda is based on inner knowledge and experience. There is gulf of difference between experiment and experience. Because of the difference between the subjective and objective approaches, in course of time, Allopathy resorted to the use of antibiotics to deal with various diseases. The antibiotics act powerfully and yield quick results in curing a disease. But, in the process of curing a disease they give rise to adverse side-effects. 

The role of the mind in causing sickness 


Allopathic doctors experiment only with matter. They do not take the inner consciousness (Self) into account. In spite of the prodigious technological developments in the world, man is not able to enjoy peace. Peace cannot be achieved by knowledge of the physical. Peace should come from inner feeling or the Spirit within. It is only when the body, the mind and the Spirit are in harmony that peace will prevail. Medical science should recognise the role of the mind in causing sickness. Good health confers mental peace. Mental worry impairs physical health. Ayurveda, therefore, lays emphasis on mental peace and aims at the elimination of the root cause of disease. 

There are three basic factors which are responsible for health or disease in the human body according to Ayurveda. They are Vaata (vital air), Pitta (bile) and Shleshma (phlegm). Vaata accounts for 36 diseases, Pitta accounts for 98 and Shleshma for 96 diseases. These three factors are essential for the human body but they should be in proper balance without exceeding their respective limits. When they are in balance, there will be no disease. Moderation is the golden rule for good health. 

For the treatment of disease arising out of Vaata, Pitta and Shleshma, gingely oil, ghee and honey respectively are prescribed as remedies. These should be taken in moderation. The body is a gift of God and cannot be made by doctors. The human heart beats 1,03,000 times a day. The blood circulation in the body is computed to cover 1,68,000 miles per day. Man breathes 21,600 times and consumes 438 cubic feet of air every day. These are based on Divine Will and are regarded as a Law of Nature. 

God is the preceptor of Prakriti (Nature). The body is unclean in many ways and is subject to various diseases. But in such an inherently unattractive abode dwells the most valuable divinity. Man should always act in harmony with Nature, which is reflection of Divinity. 

Heart troubles are caused by hurry, worry and curry 


What is the cause of heart ailments? Many doctors say that they are due to smoking, consumption of fatty foods, overeating and other habits. The relationship between food and habits should be properly understood. We should see that proper balance is maintained between the physical body and inner feelings (Spirit). Modern man is continuously in a hurry. Hurry causes worry which affects the physical health. The main cause of heart troubles may be said to be hurry, worry and curry. Curry means fatty foods. Many doctors have made investigations in this field but the results have not been made known widely. Heart diseases are found to be more rampant among non-vegetarians while vegetarians are not prone to heart ailments to the same extent. This is because of higher percentage of fats in non-vegetarian food which increases the cholesterol in the blood. Worry causes high blood pressure and hurry causes diabetes. Both of them are like twins, one acting on the heart inside and the other externally on the blood. Everyone should know how to control these causes. Some people do not do any physical exercises and lead a sedentary life. My advice to office-goers and students is that it is good for them to commute by cycle at least 5 or 6 kilometers a day. This cycling exercise is very useful not only for maintaining health but also for reducing the expenditure incurred on automobiles. Another advantage is the avoidance of accidents. Moreover, it serves to reduce atmospheric pollution caused by the release of harmful fumes from automobiles. The carbon-dioxide smoke form motor vehicles and factories is already polluting the air in cities and is affecting the ozone layer above the earth. 



Purifying the environment is the primary task 

The primary task' is to purify .the environment which is affected by pollution of air, water and food. All the five elements are affected by pollution. People should, therefore, try to reduce the use of automobiles and control the emission of harmful industrial effluents. In the ancient times, sages and scientists commended the Ayurvedic system of treatment as it was considered a natural system for curing disease. Trees play a vital role in helping mankind to receive oxygen from the atmosphere while they absorb the carbon dioxide' exhaled by human beings. Hence, the ancients favoured the growing of trees to control atmospheric pollution. But nowadays trees are cut down indiscriminately and pollution is on the increase. The relationship between man and trees is indicated by the term 'Vanaspati' (herbs) employed in Ayurveda. 

Man is leading an artificial life today. One should understand that he is not merely the body but a combination of body, mind and Spirit. In the Gayatri mantra, "Om Bhur Bhuva Suvah" is the first line. In this Bhu refers to matter, that is the body, Bhuvah refers to the Prana Shakti (Life Principle) which animates the body, and Suvah refers to Prajna Shakti (Awareness or Conscience) which acts through radiation. Hence man is made up of Prajna (awareness), Prana (the vital force) and the body (the material substance). The doctors should not consider only the body (matter), but should take into consideration the Praana (Life Force) and Prajna Shakti (Integrated Awareness). Prajna Shakti is the radiation energy that promotes wisdom. Vibration is the expression of the Prana (Vital Force). In every action, there is a vibration which is in between the consciousness and the physical body. We should see that the mind is not influenced by any external 'force' but by the internal 'source,' which is Prajna or integrated awareness. 

Doctors' duty to ensure healthy life for all 

Esteemed Doctors! You must strive to ensure long and healthy life for the people. In my view a godly life is more important than mere longevity. What is the use of a selfish person leading a long life without rendering service to society? Only those who serve the society and the nation, should have a long life. The essence of the 'Eighteen Puranas of Vyasa was given by him in the motto' Help ever, hurt never. 

It is true that doctors generally work with devotion and dedication. It will be better if they develop more devotion towards God instead of being concerned with earning money. Obviously money is needed to carry on worldly life but there should be a limit to the acquisition of money. The use of money should be properly regulated. When one does not observe restraint in daily life, he is a prey to disease. The body is governed by limits and controls. The temperature should be 98.4°F neither more nor less, the blood pressure should be 80-120. Any increase or decrease spells illness. Doctors should not compete with one another in earning huge sums and acquiring more and more possessions. They should render free service to the needy and the poor. The spirit of sacrifice is the hallmark of true education. Money earned should be usefully spent in a spirit of sacrifice. 

Health and Human Values 

There should be a harmonious blend of religion, philosophy and art for man to live healthily in the world. In this context religion means the religion of love. This is the only religion in the world. There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. One should cultivate human values for healthy living. This calls for harmony in thought, word and deed. When you cultivate this harmony you will be free from desires and fears. As selfishness is rampant in the field of medical science and other branches of sciences, the world is rocked by many hazards and calamities. Doctors should educate laymen about the various reasons for heart ailments. Whenever people think of heart disease, the prospect of an operation looms large before them as a bugbear. As far as possible you should avoid surgery and try to cure the patients by drugs. Doctors should treat operation as a last resort. As the word operation creates fear in all types of people, whether rich or poor, high or low, you should help them to develop self-confidence and remove the cause of fear. 

What the Super-Specialty hospital signifies

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Science, Prasanthigram
Divine members of the medical fraternity! 

It is not My intention to extol the excellence of our Hospital here. I wish to highlight the fact that the people in these areas used to be mortally afraid of heart disease because there was no facility for high-grade medical or surgical treatment and they had to take the patients to far off places entailing enormous expense. But, from 22nd November 1991, when the Super-Specialty Hospital started functioning, even kids entered the hospital smilingly without any sense of fear. Their courage and faith ensure successful treatment. This is the only hospital where you can see patients, doctors, nurses, technicians and paramedical staff with smiling faces. Even the relatives accompanying the patients are all smiles. Wherever you move in the hospital, you can see smiling and cheerful workers doing their duty with devotion and dedication. 

How has this happiness come to the people who go to the hospital for treatment of dreaded diseases? Happiness arises out of union with God. Because there is lack of faith in God elsewhere, there is grief. But in our hospital there is full faith in Divinity. Most people who have all physical comforts do not have inner peace. We get peace only from within us. If one acts in consonance with one's conscience one gets peace. A spirit of sacrifice is essential for securing peace. 

This hospital is not Swami's. It belongs to all of you. This hospital was established with the noble aim of serving suffering humanity. Besides excellent equipment of the highest quality, we have here the most modern facilities for medical and surgical treatment and, above all, a team of dedicated doctors and other staff who render selfless service with a smile. The construction of the hospital was completed in an incredibly short period of five months. The construction of a hospital of this magnitude might have taken even ten years if the Government had taken up the work. When I announced on 23rd November 1990, that this hospital will function from 22nd November 1991, many eyebrows were raised, doubting the possibility of the date being kept up. But it became an accomplished fact as willed by Swami. 

Devotion and selfless service of doctors 

Dr. Venugopal, AIIMS
Dr. Venugopal came from Delhi to conduct the operations on 22nd November, 1991. Ever since he took up the work; it has been a saga of success. It has not been mentioned in the public before that he is a doctor in government service working in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He used to start from Delhi on a Saturday; arrive here and perform operations on Sunday and return to Delhi for work on Monday. He has not taken any remuneration for his work and has defrayed even the travelling expense himself. I am mentioning these facts only to highlight his devotion and sense of selfless service. His entire team is of the same type. They are very happy to have the .opportunity to serve here. Their purity of heart and selfless service, have helped the hospital to achieve such splendid results. Most of the nurses and technicians are our college students. They were sent to Delhi for technical training in the operation of highly sophisticated equipment. They have often been working smilingly from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight. They serve here only out of devotion to Swami and not for money. 

To cite an example of the spirit of dedication of the staff, yesterday while Swami was returning from the hospital, nurses who had done hard and strenuous work for more than three days were found walking on the road and on enquiry it was learnt that their bus broke down and they decided to trek the long distance back to the Mandir on foot. Swami asked them to wait there and arranged for a relief bus to pick them up. The relationship between Swami and. devotees is heart to heart based on love. 

Advice to Doctors 

Not a single paise is collected from patients for anything, right from diagnostic tests to surgery and after-care. Even nutritious food is supplied free to the patents. In the beginning, the innocent and simple village folk did not know how to use the hospital beds. Some of them slept under the cot saying in utter simplicity that they were not worthy enough to sleep on such expensive beds. Patients do not show any sign of worry in this hospital. 

I wish to give a word of advice to the doctors. While you are examining the patients you should have smiling faces and talk to the patients sweetly. If you check the pulse with a grim face the patients may collapse fearing that there is something radically wrong. Some patients even dread the very sight of a doctor when he approaches to examine. This is not good. Doctors should infuse courage in the patents and speak soothingly radiating compassion and love. The kind approach of the doctor will have greater healing effect on the patients than the medicine itself. Doctors must instill courage in the patients. Swami wants more hospitals to render free treatment to the poor. Doctors should cooperate and work with unity. 

Aim at a disease-free human society 

It is only by sense control and steadfastness that one can lead a happy and healthy life. Along with control of the mind, one should control the temper and avoid tension. Prevention of disease should be the goal. We should aim at a human society free from diseases. It will be a happy day when a hospital gets no patients at all. All of you have assembled here to discuss and exchange your knowledge and experience in the field of medical science, particularly relating to treatment of cardiac and cardio-vascular cases. I wish you should discuss freely and find solution to problems and render service to the people." 



1 comment:

  1. Combination of Spirituality & science is the call of the hour...Bhagwan
    has shown it practically how to make it beneficial unconditionally for the entire mankind...Sairam

    ReplyDelete

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