Tanuj had just been told by his doctor that he was suffering from high blood pressure. He had always been very healthy and had no ailments whatsoever, so he was quite upset with the doctor’s verdict. He came to know of a holy man who was reputed to cure sick people. So he went to meet him. Tanuj sat in front of the Mahatma and said, “I am suffering from High Blood pressure, please cure me.”
Mahatma: Since when do you have this problem?
Tanuj: Since about two months.
Mahatma: What significant events have occurred in your life in this period?
Tanuj: I retired three months back after serving the Indian Government as an IAS Officer.
Mahatma: I see, what do you think could be the cause of the problem?
Tanuj: Mahatmaji, I know the cause of the problem, but I don’t wish to talk about it. It is not worth mentioning. Please help me to cure the problem.
Mahatma: Well, if you don’t want to tell me the cause of the problem, how can I find a solution for it? You shall have to tell me the cause of your illness if you want me to help you.
The man hesitated for a minute and then whispered into the ear of the Mahatma, making sure that no one else heard.
Tanuj: Now that I have retired, I do not go to work every day. I am at home, most of the time. A few days after I retired, my son had a tiff with his wife. My daughter-in-law muttered some harsh words in anger. I happened to be sitting in the family room. She then looked my way and said, “Look at your old man, lying there like a dog.”
With difficulty he continued, “Since that day, I have no peace. I cannot think straight. I cannot sleep at night. I have lost my peace of mind. All this has affected my health and given me high blood pressure.”
Mahatma: Alright. Now tell me, when your daughter-in-law called you a dog, which kind of dog did you picture in your mind?
Tanuj: What do you mean?
Mahatma: I mean, which breed of dogs did you visualize yourself to be and in what circumstances?
Tanuj: Mahatmaji, you are making fun of me!
Mahatma: No, I’m not. I am trying to help you. Come on, think about it and tell me, what kind of dog did you identify yourself with?
Tanuj: I pictured myself to be a street dog; a mongrel, whose cot was infested with fleas; one who was dirty and hungry. Wherever he passed, people threw stones at him.
Mahatma: Aah! Now we know! Alright, now this is what you have to do. Have you ever seen a pet Labrador?
Mahatma: Good. Now you have to think that you are a Labrador. You live in a rich man’s bungalow. You are an expensive pet. You are fed the best of pedigree food. You are given a bath with the best of soaps and shampoos. You have an expensive and cozy cot to sleep in and a lovely red blanket to keep you warm. You get milk and biscuits every day. Everyone who sees you pets and pats you lovingly. All the other dogs envy you. What to talk of dogs, you are more pampered than millions of children in this world. Your living conditions are superior to millions of people.
Tanuj: But, what good will this do?
Mahatma: Don’t question me. Just do as I say.
Days and months passed. The man did not return to the Mahatma’s ashram. Then one day, he came to meet the Mahatma. He was wearing a red T-shirt and blue denim jeans. He wore smart walking shoes and a golf cap. He was smiling from ear to ear.
Tanuj: Mahatmaji, I came to tell you that my blood pressure has become normal! Thank you for your prescription. It worked!
The Mahatma did what the doctors of today don’t. The Mahatma changed the face of the problem. He changed the attitude of the patient. He treated the cause of the problem, not the problem itself!
It is said, “Sailing through good times and bad times is part of life, but sailing through all times with a smile is the art of life.”