How to become spiritually healthy

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India

Health is not mere absence of disease it’s a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well being.  The body is controlled by autonomic nervous system which has two parts the healing parasympathetic and stimulating sympathetic system. The spiritual health is decided by the amount of time a person spends in parasympathetic mode. Spiritual prescriptions shifts one’s awareness from the sympathetic to parasympathetic mode. Many such prescriptions are available in Vedic texts.
The main prescription is the Vedic Expression described in  the mool mantra: ‘Om Satchitananda’ where ‘Sat’ means ‘truth’, ‘Chita’ means ‘consciousness-based’ and ‘Ananda’ means ‘inner happiness’. It means that people in touch with their soul speak the truth, take consciousness based decisions and experience inner happiness.
The great sages of India also described ‘Satchitananda’ as a formula for how to be in touch with one’s consciousness and acquire inner happiness. This formula is based on asking three questions to oneself before performing any action. If the answer to any of the three questions is “no”, one should not perform that action. The three questions are:
1.       Is it the truth?
2.       Is it consciousness based?
3.       Will it give happiness?
Some sages used the verb ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ as an alternative to ‘Satchitananda’ which is again based on three questions.
1.       Is it the truth?
2.       Is it God oriented (consciousness based)?
3.       Is it going to build my inner beauty (happiness)?
Taking a consciousness-based decision was also inculcated into practice through the two mool mantras of Hindu mythology and they are the ‘Maha Mrityunjaya’ Mantra’ and the ‘Gayatri’ Mantra, the two main prayers of the Vedas.
The ‘Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra’ begins with the phrase ‘Aum Tryambakam Yajamahe’meaning that we worship the Third-Eyed Shiva. Here, the Third Eye denotes the eye of the Mind and the Soul. One can open his or her third eye by thinking differently. So the Shiva mantra says that whenever in difficulty, one should think differently and ask the mind to look for other options.
When there are multiple options available, one needs to choose one option. Choosing the best of the options was defined in the Gayatri Mantra, which is a prayer where one requests God to direct the intellect to take the right decision. In other words, one should take consciousness-based decisions. The Western world simplified the above as the Formula of the three Hs (Head, Heart and Hand). According to this, before doing any action ask your Head for the choices, then listen to the Heart to give you the best consciousness-based advice and finally order the Hand to do the action.
These formulae remained the backbone of Spirituality. But as the Yugas passed and one entered into Kalyuga, it became difficult for an ordinary man to know ‘what is a consciousness-based decision’.  This formula therefore was modified by many as per the need of the society.
Buddha, in his teachings, made it simpler and defined the Buddha’s Law of Action. He said before performing any action, ask yourself four questions. Again if the answer to any of the four is ‘no’, one should not do that action.
1.       Is it the truth?
2.       Is it necessary?
3.       Will it bring happiness to me?
4.       And will it bring happiness to others?
He differentiated actions from speech and defined Buddha’s Law of Speech with only three questions.  If the answer to any of the question is ‘no’, do not speak
1.       Is it the truth?
2.       Is it necessary?
3.       Is it kind?
Rotary International modified it slightly for the purpose of business ethics and drafted four questions and called them the ‘Four-Way Test’.  If the answer to any of the answer is ‘no’, do not perform that action.
1.       Is it the truth?
2.       Is it fair to all concerned?
3.       Will it build goodwill and better friendship?
4.       Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
‘May I help you?’ is another formula now used by customer care industry. This has been derived from the ‘Srimad Bhagwad’, which says that one should offer help in day-to-day practice. When one agrees to help, one automatically fulfils all the four basic requirements of being a ‘Satyugi’ or a spiritual action. These are ‘Satya’ (truthful); ‘Tapas’ (hard work); ‘Pavitrata’ (purity of mind) and ‘Daya and Daan’ (charity and compassion).
The formula of “I want peace” is another simplified version of Vedic knowledge. All Gods teach us to relinquish ego and desires to acquire inner happiness. The simplified formula is to remember the three words ‘I Want Peace’ and to get peace, just get rid of ‘I’ (ego) and ‘Want’ (desires) and you will attain peace.
Deepak Chopra tells us how to make our soul profile and mission statement. Ask yourself seven questions while sitting in a meditative pose or in state of relaxation and focusing the awareness on the heart. The answer to each question should be either in three words or three phrases.
1.       What is my purpose of life?
2.       What is my contribution going to be for my friends and family?
3.       Three instances in my life when I had my peak experiences.
4.       Names of three people who inspire me the most.
5.       Three qualities which I admire the most in others.
6.       Three of my unique talents.
7.       Three qualities I best express in my relationship.
These twenty one answers will characterize one’s soul profile and can be used as a passport for every action performed in life and to be used as a reference in any difficulty.  The principle is that in everyday life, one should act from the Soul Profile and not from the Ego Profile. While the Soul profile cannot be manipulated, the Ego Profile can be.
Mallika Chopra elaborates on how to use the soul profile while taking any actions. She describes the formula “I AM” in which before doing any action one should ask oneself ‘Who I Am’. This has to be used along with the profile one has listed using Deepak Chopra’s questions above. She also narrates it as a method to be used in Pranayama where you speak the word ‘I’ during inspiration and “AM’ during expiration.
All the ‘Mahavakyas’ (Great statements) of Vedic literature say that it’s the same Soul which resides in every body. ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ is a Vedic phrase which literally means ‘Thou art that’. It describes that my soul and your soul are the same. All your reactions to others should be so directed that you should not feel hurt if others do the same to you.