Good Health

There was a king called Sheelbhadra. He along with a number of ministers and courtiers was on a pilgrimage. En route they stopped at many temples. The king offered his prayers at each of the temples. Some days passed like this.

One evening as dusk fell, the king’s party looked around for a place to spend the night. They found the hermitage of a sage. They stopped over for the night. During the night the king became sick. The sage’s people brought a Vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor) to attend to the King. The king recovered in a couple of days. During his stay at the ashram, he saw from close quarters, the hard life style of the residents of the ashram. To express his gratitude, he asked the sage to keep the Vaidya there on a permanent basis. He said that he would provide for a monthly sum to be paid as salary to the Vaidya.

Accordingly, the Vaidya was put up in the Ashram. Months passed. The Vaidya had to sit idle all the time because no body seemed to fall sick there. One day the Vaidya got fed up of his idleness and said, “Oh sage! I really don’t think that I am needed here; I am fed up of sitting idle all the time. Please ask the King to relieve me of my services.”

The sage smiled. The Vaidya went on, “Tell me, Oh Holy one! How is it that nobody falls sick here? Is it because you have a tantra-mantra of protection over them?” The sage laughed and said, “Let me tell you the mantra of our good health. All of us here wake up at the break of day. We work hard from dawn to dusk. We eat frugally because we eat to live; not live to eat. This place has fresh air and sunlight. Our rooms are cooled by the breeze of trees we have planted all around. Where is there room for any illness to creep in?”

What a profound statement! Living close to nature, eating simple food and working hard are the three legs of the tripod of good health. In today’s world we want to satisfy our taste buds with pizzas and burgers; pakoras and rasmalais; pastries and cheese puffs. We use gadgets to execute all the menial jobs around us, but when it comes to eating, we want to eat all the rich food that is loaded with calories that we don’t know how to burn!