The Health Q
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) 1715 6165 | Library & Archives Canada Entry
Our own Mahabharta [Editorial];
Respect your natural urges;
Happiness— The main quest of Mankind;
This month’s recipe ‘Spinach Paratha;
A quick tip for sharp digestion
[Download PDF Version, 660Kb]
Our Own Mahabharta
It is Killing our Society [Editorial]
Parmjit Singh, PhD
Before the wars are executed on the battle grounds, they are waged in the inner corridors of human mind. A war with all its hideousness and tyranny is born in the crevice of our dark thoughts and emotional alleyways populated by egocentric desires and disregard for human suffering.
Even when people are not fighting on a visible battleground, they are battling it out silently, within their homes, with their own wives and husbands and kids. Outer wars are just an amplified version of home battles and dissatisfactions. Any person taking a nation to war or her people to death and destruction must have lost something called—the inner peace.
A recent case in point is the war between Israel and Lebanon. How horrible it was for the people of both countries? Hundreds died on alter of human arrogance, our inability to listen to the wisdom of ages and our tendency to settle differences through force and muscles rather than dialogue and honesty. What we witnessed was a callous disregard for human life and pathetic disrespect for nature’s laws.
As the war raged on, I was wondering if Jewish pain is different from Arabic pain. Are tears of an Arabic mother different than a Jewish mother? Does the gaping-hole a Jewish father feel for his lost son or daughter feels different than the one felt by an Arabic father?
Even more disturbing was the reaction of the bystanders, most removed from the horror of the war. Around the world, people cheer-leaded war machines, glorified the killings and even took pride in their ability to wipe people off. How sick you have to be to say those things? Is that what our civilization has come to be about?
With each war, it seems we are not getting it. When we take delight in ripping our neighbor’s heart, there is something seriously wrong with our humanity and civilization.
And until we are willing to act like civilized human beings, we should stop using the word ‘civilized’ in our discourse. At least, we will have something to look forward to.
Otherwise, what a world to live in!
Respect Your Natural Urges
by Dr. Aniruddha Kulkarni
Human existence is essentially attributed to constant, continuous oneness of body, mind and soul. We are alive when these constituents are working together. When soul and mind departs from body, we usually label it as ‘death’. For healthy operations of these constituents, some urges are created naturally. These urges are known in ayurveda as ‘vega’. Vega is a very fundamental and important concept in ayurveda (the Indian science of life). It is essential for our good health not to suppress urges from body, but, suppress the urges which are concerned with the mind.
In maintenance of health, we have to accept air, food etc. into our body. After digestion, they are divided in two parts, viz. prasad or nutritious part and mala or excretory part. This excretory part should be thrown out of body. Sometimes for continuation of human life, shukra i.e. semen and artava i.e. ovum are also ejaculated from the body. All these natural ‘acceptance ‘ and ‘excretion’ processes are called as ‘vega’.
For expression of these natural urges, various nerves, muscles, sphincters come in the action. The urges can be suppressed for some period by the power of mind. We can also create some urges by stimulating mind. But, ayurveda do not recommend this forceful suppression and creation of urges. It is identified as a major factor in invitation to a disease process. Sometimes, we have to suppress the urges while in traveling, work, meetings and discussions, and other times only because “it doesn’t look good” like things. But, keep in mind that these acts are not good for health.
Ayurveda has described different urges and the symptoms arising out of their suppression. (See the accompanying Table. Click to enlarge)
Various symptoms arise from suppression of natural urges. The most significant observation is that heart related symptoms are mentioned repeatedly in the above table. Given the fact that we are facing an epidemic of cardiac problems in our society, this concept is worth a serious look.
Apart from these urges, there are some urges like sleep, speech and especially, in females, menstrual cycle. The trend is on rise to take tablets and injections for forceful suppression and initiation of menstrual cycle. It is not advisable to insult our natural system again and again. It will definitely lead us to a diseased state.
Dr. Aniruddha Kulkarni , B.A.M.S. is an Ayurvedic Practitioner practicing at Miraj, India. You can contact him at: email@example.com
Happiness [Part II- Continuing from August 2006 Issue]
The Main Quest of Mankind
His Holiness Swami Sivananda
He has got That obtaining which man desires nothing more! He is absolutely desireless, for there is nothing to be got by him! He is full of the ineffable Bliss which comes out of the realisation of the Self.
The senses have been created with a natural tendency to flow out towards the objective universe. This externalisation dissipates the rays of the mind, weakens the intellect and blinds the eye of intuitive perception. Unity is falsely represented as diversity; the untrue appears to be True; pain appears to be pleasure; and shadow holds out greater charms than the Substance Itself. This is the path of ‘Preyas’ (the pleasant) which the dull-witted ignorant man pursues.
A rare hero, however, desirous of perceiving the Inner Atman, turns his gaze within himself. He withdraws the rays of his mind; the senses are drawn in as the limbs of a tortoise are drawn into the shell. The mental modifications are stopped. Buddhi is made to surrender itself at the feet of the Atman. Ego is emptied so that his entire being might be filled by the Light of the Self! This is the path of ‘Sreyas’ which the wise one pursues.
Within is the resplendent Atman shining with the luminosity of crores of suns. The sun, the moon, the stars and everything that is endowed with the light here shines with the brilliance borrowed from this Atman. The seer perceives that the senses have no independent power of their own. The Atman is the Eye of the eyes, the Ear of the ears, the Mind of minds —the Inner Self! Pleasure lay not in the objects nor in the senses; but it is within one’s own Self, attributed by mistake to the objects.
Not indeed for the sake of all this is everything dear, but it is for the love of one’s own Atman are all the worlds dear! This Atman should be perceived; one should hear about this Atman; one should think of and meditate upon this Inner Atman! For in That lies Bliss.
To him who thus realises that his Atman is the all-pervading Essence of all that is here, belongs Eternal Bliss—to none else. He has found the source of perennial bliss, in his own inner Self. Eternal Bliss is within and he has been wasting his life in vainly searching for it in the external world. He is no wiser than the musk-deer which wanders about and exhausts its energies in an endeavour to locate the source of the scent which is all the time within itself.
Therefore, one who wishes to taste the nectar of immortality should
‘Turn the gaze, draw the Indriyas,
Still the mind, sharpen the intellect:
Chant OM with feeling, meditate on Atman!’
He perceives the Atman within himself. He perceives everything within himself. He realises that the Atman pervades the entire universe, envelops it, as it were. Though the Atman is One in truth, It has put on this form of diversity, as indeed the air and the fire, though one, assume the forms of the objects with which they come into contact. Yet, the Atman is unaffected by the conditions of these objects, as indeed the sun which shines as the very eye of the whole world is not affected by the defects of the objects.
The Atman is Akarta, non-doer; It is Abhokta, non-enjoyer. Realisation of this Truth enables man to transcend Samsara or the cycle of births and deaths. The sage who realises this Truth enjoys eternal felicity, none else. Immortality and Eternal Bliss are his!
This Atmic knowledge is not obtained through much learning, by frequent hearing of the scriptures, nor by a sharp intellect. The Atman reveals Itself to one whom It chooses. Without His Grace, man will not be able to lift a finger. Complete self-surrender to the Lord within the inner chambers of the heart is needed. All Sadhanas aim at the achievement of this one result—annihilation of the ego. So long as the ego holds its head aloft, no progress is possible in Sadhana. God- realisation or Self-realisation is impossible till the least trace of this ego is completely removed. Lord Krishna’s Flute is considered symbolic of this Truth: empty thyself, I will fill thee.
When the ego is destroyed, the void created thus is soon filled by the Lord’s Grace which flows in abundance. By the recipient of the Lord’s Grace alone is this Atman realised. That is the emphatic declaration of the Upanishads.
Spinach (Palak) Paratha
Manjit Handa, PhD
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 large bunch spinach, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Salt, to taste
Olive/Canola oil, for pan/griddle light frying
Water, for kneading
Mix all the ingredients together, adding very little water at a time, in order to form a dough of rolling consistency. Add more whole wheat flour, if the dough is too soft. Cover and keep the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour. Divide the dough into equal-sized portions and roll into balls between your hands. Very lightly flour a rolling board or clean counter surface and roll each ball into a 7-8″ circle.
Apply about a teaspoon oil and fold from four sides to make a small square, or three sides, if you like the rectangular shape. Now roll the shape in the similar manner, with each side of about 6-7″. Heat a griddle and shallow fry the parathas one at a time. First, transfer the rolled paratha on the griddle and flip when you see tiny bubbles rise on the surface of the paratha. As soon as the first flip is done, drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top and spread well over the surface of the paratha, with the help of a spoon. Flip again in 30 seconds and drizzle oil on the other surface too. The paratha is done when both sides are crispy and golden brown. Serve with yoghurt. Enjoy!
Manjit Handa, PhD is the Editor of Healing Matrix and teaches at the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. She loves to cook food at home.
A Quick Tip for Good Digestion
After eating your meals, snatch a quick catnap. It will help you re-energise and keep your digestive system in good order. [HQ]