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Are devotees caring about their health?

Monday, 03 February 2020 / Published in Recent Media / 972 views


As a medical doctor and a practicing devotee, I sometimes happen to help devotees with their medical illnesses in my community. And it is saddening to see how devotees neglect their health and pay a much higher price later.

There are many reasons why devotees suffer from health problems. Some of these reasons are unavoidable – like old age, genetic causes (diseases running in families), unexpected incidents like injuries, accidents etc.

But many times, devotees get diseases which can be totally avoided. Broadly speaking, this happens as a result of –
1) Unhealthy diet
2) Unhealthy lifestyle
3) Neglecting the issue

1) UNHEALTHY DIET

– I met a devotee serving for last 30 yrs in temple. He was so fond of mahaprasad that he honored it to his full satisfaction day after day for many years. He developed diabetes which he neglected. Then appeared the first symptoms of system breakdown. He didn’t stop his eating, neither did he took any medical treatment. One year later, he finally woke up to his illness when he was unable to move without help, his body getting depleted of oxygen and he got breathless and water logged, and it was found that his heart is functioning only 30% of normal, and this is irreversible.

I also see devotees eating heavy food like fried pakoras, puris, paneer etc at night. Many don’t have the understanding that there are different body types according to VATA, PITTA AND KAPHA. Also, same food can be good for one season and unhealthy in another, and healthy for one and unhealthy for another. Many don’t pay attention to the need to eat before sunset. This lifestyle doesn’t cause immediate threat, but over a long period of time, it takes its toll.

2) UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE

There are devotees who avoid warm cloths in winter for sense control and renunciation, but then they fall sick with flu for next couple of days. Some of them eat too little or sleep too little, or extend themselves far beyond their comfortable streching limits, for years, resulting in wear and tear of their bodies at an accelerated rate. (now I do acknowledge that there are shining examples of devotees who do it out of the tremendous spiritual energy they possess, and they are able to do it till their last breath; the problem lies with devotees who do it on physical or mental or emotional level rather than spiritual).

3) NEGLECT –

Many devotees are unaware of the wise Chanakya’s advice – FINISH OFF DEBT, FIRE AND DISEASE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

I saw a devotee who kept tolerating an uncomfortable footwear to save some money, till he developed a corn on foot which caused severe throbbing and piercing pain. He eventually landed in a surgeon’s clinic to remove the corn, eventually spending fifty times more he tried to save on shoes, besides suffering from unbearable pain for months.

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All these causes can be rectified if one has a desire. But the most difficult to treat are those devotees who justify their actions on the basis of KC philosophy, like – it’s my karma, mahaprasad has to be honored at all times, this body is meant to give us suffering, I am not this body, and so on.

It’s true that this body is a bag of urine, stool, bile and mucus. it’s also true that this body gives suffering, and we are not this body. However, there is another angle to look at. This body is THE vehicle for us to engage in devotional service. Just as a machine needs proper maintenance to function, this body needs proper care.

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Srila Prabhupada once honored very spicy prasad prepared by his sister Pisima, despite commenting that he’ll fall sick if he eats it. And he indeed fell sick for next few days.

But apart from such isolated incidences where he wanted to teach some important lessons, Srila Prabhupada took great care of his health, understanding that his body is the tool by which he is presently engaged in executing the mission of his spiritual master. Prabhupada regularly took body massage and morning walks. He even changed countries for sunlight. He was very regulated in his eating habits and his daily chores, despite managing a worldwide movement.

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So devotees have to decide themselves. There will always be excuses, or even genuine reasons for putting our health behind many other important sevas. But we have to understand that our body is THE instrument which we are using to engage in sadhana bhakti.

Roop Gaur Das
(Dr Rahul Gupta)

Ten Days of Jainism
New Varshana Holi Festival (Album of photos)

3 Responses to “Are devotees caring about their health?”

  1. Parasurama says :

    One of Srila Prabhupada’s gifts
    The healthiest meal ever,
    Poor man’s feast fit for a king:

    KHITCHRI
    (boiled rice, dal and vegetables)

    1 cup of mung dal
    1.5 cup medium or long grain rice
    1/2 cauliflower, washed and separated into small florets
    3 tbs ghee or vegetable oil
    2 tsp cumin seeds
    4 medium tomatoes, washed and quartered
    2 fresh chillies seeded and minced
    2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp asafetida
    7 cups of water
    2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    4 medium size potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
    3 tbs lemon juice
    2 tbs butter
    1/2 tsp black pepper

    Pick through the dal and wash it and the rice together. Let it drain. Meanwhile, wash, trim and cut the vegetables. Heat the ghee or vegetable oil and fry the cumin seeds, chillies and ginger. After they sizzle for a minute, toss in the ground cumin and the asafetida. After a few seconds, put in the diced potatoes and the flowerets of cauliflower. Turn the vegetables with a spoon for 4 to 5 minutes until they become flecked with brown spots. Now add the drained dal and rice and stir-fry for for one minute. Pour in the water. add the salt, tumeric, and tomatoes, and bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce to low heat and cook with the pot partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes (if you use mung beans, cook a little more; split peas a little less) until the dal is soft and fully cooked. Stir once or twice in the beginning to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
    Finnaly, squeeze the lemon juice over the khitchri, put the butter on top, and simmer over low heat until the grains have absorbed all the liquid. season with the pepper. Mix all the ingredients gently but quickly with a fork.
    If my recipe is word for word the same as in Adi Raja prabhu’s cook book well it’s entirely coincidental.

    servant Parasuram das

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DKgN5BuDE0fQ%26feature%3Dyoutu.be&h=YAQHFMwqa

  2. satya1 says :

    Nanda Kumar who was Srila Prabhupada,s cook and servant for about 2 years tells a story about his reading to Srila Prahupada about the many toxic pesticides in non organic foods. Srila Prabhupada emphatically said to never give him pesticided chemically ridden foods . I know of no temples which offer only organic bhoga . Some pesticeded foods are much higher in pesticides thaan other eg, strawberries and apples are the most highly pesticided in fruits . I don,t know why apples trees are so much pesticided because we have picked apples from trees given no pesticides , in fact they were simply neglected, and the fruiuts were fine, no bugs at all . My wife can only eat organic foods because of her diabetes which does not tolerate pesticided bhoga . And the really odd thing is that pesticdes weren,t used at all not that many years ago. Farmers used natural methods aand they worked . eg a former article on dandavats.com Tomatoes From Heeaven . .

  3. Parasurama says :

    Healthy Delicious Meal, To Change The World,
    Introduced by Srila Prabhupada.
    Poor Man’s feast fit for a king. Kitchari!
    The combination of rice and mung dal provides all the amino acids needed to form a complete protein. Eaten on their own, each of these foods is missing one or more of the essential amino acids that our bodies are not able to make on their own.

    However, together they make magic happen! The protein content of kitchari supports stable blood sugar levels so that energy and mental clarity are balanced during the cleansing process.

    Agni, or the digestive fire (referred to as metabolism in Western terms), is considered in Ayurveda to be the golden key to all health. Good agni means we are able to digest, assimilate, and absorb nutrients from our food. Weak or imbalanced agni means malabsorption and accumulation of ama, or toxins.

    Spices like ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel, and even salt encourage healthy agni. Because kitchari is made with spices that can be tailored to your constitution type, it nourishes and balances agni.

    Kapha types benefit from all spices; vata types do well with most spices but should avoid very pungent ones, such as cayenne pepper; and pitta types can find balance with cooler spices like fennel and coriander.

    While beans are typically not a food recommended for regular consumption for
    vata types—or for people experiencing vata imbalances—the split mung is easy to digest for even weak digesters.
    Mung dal has an astringent (dry) quality. This astringency has a natural pulling action that helps to remove toxic buildup from the intestinal lining. This pulling action is much gentler than a harsh or abrasive scraping action that happens with raw or cold foods, especially raw vegetables.

    Once toxins are loosened and liquefied, it is essential that they get properly eliminated from the body. The split mung beans provide enough fiber (over 15 grams per 1-cup serving) to move these toxins out of the body.

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