Yogic view of life with special reference to medicine

R.L. Bijlani
All India Institute of Medical Sciences
New Delhi

Yoga is often called a way of life, it is also a view of life. More precisely, it is a way of life based on a certain view of life. The yogic view of life derives from the worldview embodied in Vedanta. Vedanta considers the universe to be the manifestation of one ultimate Reality, termed Brahman. The spirit of the ultimate Reality pervades all creation: animate and inanimate. The sense of unity inspired by the vision of One in all leads to the yogic view of life. The first casualty of the sense of unity is the separative ego. 'Collapse of the ego boundaries', to use M. Scott Peck's expression, promotes universal and unconditional love. The second victim is desires because, as Sri Aurobindo says, desires starve in the absence of support from the ego. That takes away a major source of human misery. Another significant change inspired by the vision of the unmanifest within the manifest is the realization that all happenings are the gradual unfolding of a grand design known in its entirety only to the Divine. This realization leads to a willing and cheerful surrender to all events and circumstances. Universal love and unqualified surrender lead to acceptance of all people, happenings, and the diverse outcomes of one's efforts with equal delight. A better prescription for lasting inner peace and joy, which are independent of external events and circumstances, is yet to be written. The relevance of happiness to health has now moved far beyond the adage that laughter is the best medicine. Our body has mechanisms for protecting us from disease, and in the event of illness, for self-healing and for relieving symptoms such as pain and fever. However, these mechanisms are most effective only when provided optimum conditions. Clinical research has now demonstrated that the single most important factor that gives the protective and self-healing mechanisms their best chance is mental peace. Further, basic research has now unravelled the cellular and molecular basis of the mind-body relationship. The yogic attitude, by virtue of the peace and happiness it brings, reduces the possibility of disease. If disease does occur, it improves the efficiency of self-healing. If even that fails, as it sometimes must, the yogic attitude ensures that the illness will not make the person miserable. Can anybody dare ask for more?

Email the author: "Prof. Ramesh L. Bijlani" <rambij@hotmail.com>

This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002