Garuda’ once asked Kakbhushundi² to tell him something about mental diseases. In reply to his curiosity Kakbhushundi told him that moha (infatuation) is the root of all diseases. It results in man’s being afflicted with many troubles.
There are three morbid elements (humours) in the body of man-Vatt (air), Pitta (bile), and Kaph (phlegm). In the mental world desire for sensual gratification, avarice, and anger are the manifestations of Vatt (the air in the body), Kaph (phlegm) and Pitta (biles) respectively. The vitiation of all the three humours in the body gives rise to a dangerous disease known as delirium. Mamta (attachment-the state of ‘mine’ sense of ownership) can be described as ringworm (dad) and envy as itching (Khujali). Pain and pleasure are the symptoms of gathiavat (Rheumatism). Being jealous of the better fortune of others is tuberculosis. Being
1Garuda-Name of the king of birds. Garuda is represented as the vehicle of Lord Vishnu and as having a white face, an aquiline nose, red wings and golden body.
2Kakbhushundi-Name of a mythical crow.
3Moh-Delusion of mind which prevents one from discerning the truth; makes one believe in the reality of worldly objects and it results in over addiction to the gratification of sensual pleasures.
4Humours-Vatt, Pitta and Kaph (bodily air, bile and phlegm respectively) are the three humours in the body of man which are said to determine a person’s mental and physical qualities.
Wickedness is none other than leprosy. Arrogance is what we call Naharva (guinea-worm). Craving is dropsy (Jalodar) while malice and imprudence are the names of fever.
Though instincts and subordinate instincts are of many kinds, they are mainly four-anger, pride, deceitfulness and avarice. Each of them determines a person’s mental qualities to the extent of its presence in him. Fear, affliction hatred, envy and desire for the gratification of sensual pleaures are subordinate instincts.
They affect a man’s life to a large extent. Anger, avarice etc. are very powerful, hence they are known as instincts. Besides the influence they exercise on a man’s mental and physical qualities, they also affect his inborn qualities such as right way of thinking and self-control. Subordinate instincts like fear etc. do not affect man’s intrinsic qualities directly so much as they affect his physical and mental conditions. They are comparatively less powerful, hence they are called subordinate. The effect left on men’s intrinsic qualities is so minute that it cannot be discerned easily.
We get sufficient information from the literature of all the branches of medical science in regard to the extent of the effect that instincts and subordinate instincts produce on man’s mind and body. The science of Yoga also deals with the subject extensively. Some of the examples are as follows.
Mental agitations in the form of anxiety, frustration, fear, desire for the gratification of sensual pleasures, anger, avarice, attachment, arrogance, malice etc. lead to heart diseases. The instincts like fear, anxiety, anger, pride, infatuation, malice etc. reduce man’s vigour and affect woman’s menstrual excretion adversely. Mental tension or anxiey, anguish and depression cause tuberculosis. Envy and animosity disturb the functioning of spleen and liver while anger and hatred lead to deformation of kidneys and poisoning of blood. Food taken at a time when one is afflicted with venereal diseases and diabetes which inevitably result fram one’s intensity of sensual desire is not digested well. These ailments are caused because mental tensions undo the antidotes present in the body known as hydrochloric acid and pepsin which help us to digest our food. When a man is affected by instincts like animosity, jealousy, fear, grief, discord, censure and hatred, his capacity to produce the liquids that help him to digest the food diminishes as a result of which mind and body become weak. The instincts like anxiety, depression, fear, anger, and avarice result in the diseases such as indigestion and want of appetite. Anxiety causes intestinal disorder and kills our appetite. Our life is based on multifarious activities. Where there is an activity, there is excitement or stimulation which can be devided into two categories-mental and physical. There are thirteen symptoms of physical stimulation-wind (wind in the upper part of the body and wind in the under part of the body), impure secretion of the body, urine, sneeze, thirst, hunger, sleep, desire for sensual pleasures, breath caused by labour, yawning, tears, vomitting and semen. Their suppression results in a disease, hence it should be avoided.
The suppression of physical paroxysms as well as the non-suppression of mental actions (istincts) leads to diseases, hence we should exercise restraint on mental activities. It has been said, “He who desires happiness in the present life and in the life hereafter should inhibit impluses such as avarice, jealousy, animosity, malice, attachment, etc. and try to conquer them.”
Allopathy regards the germs as the chief cause of a disease. Homoeopathy is based on a different principle according to which the root of a disease lies even beyond mind. Ayurved holds that there are four kinds of diseases-accidental, physical, mental and natural. Accidental dieases are caused by external apparatuses or weapons, physical diseases by air, bile, phlegm and blood disturbed by excessive use of low and rotten quality of food, and mental diseases by anger, grief, fear, joy, sorrow, envy, and animosity and natural diseases by hunger, thirst, old age and sleep, etc.
Karma is also considered as one of the causes of a disease. Diseases so caused appear in the body of a man even without any external reason. Diseases generated by karmas are beyond our knowledge. Natural disease is a normal process of life. Incidental disease, as it is explained, is an unexpected event of life. Diseases caused by the bacteria and germs that enter the body from outside also come under the category of accidental diseases.
*Karma means one’s good or bad acts. They are supposed to determine one’s fate in life.
Among the three diseases-physical, mental and accidental-mental disease is the principal one. In conclusion it can be said that the main cause of disease are the inborn vices like anger, hatred fear, etc.
Constancy of mind
When a man is absorbed in meditation, he is least affected by external circumstances. Once mind is controlled, the possibility of the excessive derangement of the three humours in the body is ruled out. If mind is pure, no diseases like anger can crop up. All the three diseases stem from its inconstancy, excitement and impurity. Hence in the background of man’s immunity from diseases, good health is both natural and desirable. Swasthya (state of good health) means Swasthiti (relying on one’s own self)- constancy of the self. Spiritual knowledge leads to the elevation of the soul which results in the elevation of the body.