Chapter 1: Medicine and Meditation
So far the science of medicine has not been able to achieve anything in the dimension of what health is. Its whole work has been in the dimension of what disease is. If you question the science of medicine about diseases, it tries to give definitions, but if you ask it what health is, then it tries to deceive you. It says that when there is no disease, what remains is health. This is a deception, not a definition. How can you define health in relation to disease? It is like defining a flower in relation to thorns; it is like defining life in relation to death or light in relation to darkness. It is like defining a man in relation to a woman, or vice versa.
No, so far the science of medicine has not been able to say what health is. It can only tell us what disease is. Naturally, there is a reason for this. The reason is that the science of medicine only grasps the outer, and from the outside only disease can be understood. Health is only understood from where man’s innermost being is, from where his soul is. In this respect the Hindi word swasthya is really wonderful. The English word health is not synonymous to swasthya. Health is derived from the word healing. Illness is associated with it: health means healed - one has recovered from illness.
Swasthya does not mean that, swasthya means one has settled within himself, one has reached to oneself, to the deepest point. And swastha, healthy means one has become rooted in oneself. That is why swasthya is not just health.
Actually there is no word in any other language in the world comparable to the word swasthya. All the other languages of the world have words which are synonyms to disease or to no-disease. The very concept of health that we carry is that of no-illness. In reality, having no-illness is necessary but not enough for swasthya. Something more is required, something that is possible from the other end of the pole, where our inner being resides. Even if a disease starts from the outside, its vibrations echo all the way to the soul.
Suppose I throw a stone into a calm lake: a disturbance occurs only at the place where the stone hits the water, but the ripples produced reach the banks of the lake where the stone did not hit. Similarly, the ripples of whatsoever happens to our bodies reach our souls. And if clinical medicine treats only the body, then what will happen to those ripples which have reached the faraway banks? If we throw a stone in the lake and only pay attention to the place where the stone has hit the water creating a momentary impression, what will happen to all those ripples that now have their own existence, independent of the stone?
Once a man falls ill, the vibrations of the disease travel all the way to his soul, and that is why the disease often persists even after the body has been given treatment and is cured. The disease persists because its vibrations echo all the way to the person’s innermost being - and for this medical science has no solutions so far.
So medical science will always remain incomplete without meditation. We will be able to cure the disease but we will not be able to cure the patient. Of course, it is in the interest of the doctors that the patient is not cured, that only the disease is cured but the patient should keep coming back!