KVE301/KVE401 Universal Human Values and Professional Ethics
Chapter 7: Harmony with the Body – Understanding Sanyam and Swasthya
Our Body – A Self Organized Unit
The human body is a self-organized and highly sophisticated mechanism. The body is made up of several organs and glands and the different parts of the body keep working in a close coordination. All the activities keep the body fit for the use of ‘I’ (self or Jivan) so that ‘I’ and the body may work in synergy as a human being. The silent aspects of this harmony between ‘I’ and the body are:
- The body acts according to the needs of I.
- There is harmony among the parts of the body.
- What our body follows only by the permission of I.
- There is a strong coupling b/w I and the body. If I am in disharmony e.g. in anger or stress or despair. It immediately starts affecting the body adversely.
- There are many diseases of the body that are caused or accentuated due to disharmony in I. These are called psychosomatic diseases such as asthma, migraine, hypertension, etc. On the other hand, when there is a strong disturbance in the body manifesting in the form of severe pain, it distracts ‘I’ from its normal functions.
- I have the feeling of Sanyam for the body and the body has Swasthya. Sanyam is basic to Swasthya.
Sanyam means the feeling of responsibility in the self (I) for nurturing, protection, and right utilization of the body.
Self-control or Sanyam is the control of the mind and its desires, urges, emotions, and delusions. It is controlling the outgoing tendencies of the mind and the senses and bringing them back to ourselves within. Self-control is the key to success in any field of life and it is an indispensable necessity for self-realization, the goal of a spiritual quest. The practice of self-control is most purifying because self-control transforms the quality of our mind.
Advantages of Self Control
- Keeps a check on wrong habits, addictions, etc.
- Gives us confidence and improves our self-esteem.
- Keeps our emotions in control.
- Creates peace of mind, balance, and a sense of equanimity (equilibrium, calmness)
- Helps us to take charge of our own life.
- Makes us more responsible and efficient in achieving our goals.
Obstacles in the Path of Self Control
- Inability to understand the true meaning of self-control.
- Overwhelming emotional outbursts
- Acting without thinking
- Mo incentive (encouragement) to exercising self-control
- Lack of faith in one’s own abilities
- Lack of confidence
- Thinking that self-control is the opposite of fun.
- Hedonistic life values – the attitude of ‘eat drink and be merry’ which may encourage losing control.
Swasthya is the condition of the body where every part of the body is performing its expected function. The word Swasthya literally means being anchored to the self, being in close harmony with the self.
In other words, Swasthya, in Sanskrit means self-dependence (Swa = our own). Also, embedded in its meaning is health, sound state, comfort and satisfaction. In Hindi, the most widely spoken language of India, it merely means health. In this case, using the Hindi accent, it is pronounced “Suasti”.
Health is the general condition of a person. It is also a level of functional and/or metabolic efficiency of an organism, often implicitly human.
At the time of the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948, health was defined as being ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of diseases or infirmity’. In 1986, the WHO, in the Ottawa Charter of Health Promotion, said that health is ‘a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities’.