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The boss: mind or body?

Yad bhavam tad bhavati which means, "We become what we believe."

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 13:03 IST

A wanderer entered an abandoned house in the forest. Finding a small cot in a corner, he lay down to rest. Across the room, on a chair, he saw a still coil. A snake! The wanderer remained very still.

His eyes stayed fixed on the chair through the night. At one point he thought the snake began to slither and hiss. The wanderer’s heart pumped faster and faster, and he began to sweat profusely.

Next morning, the owner of the house returned to find the wanderer dead. He removed the coil of rope from the wooden chair and set out to cremate the wanderer. The obvious moral of this story is that the body is the servant of the mind. The body obeys the mind.

Health or disease is rooted in thought. The story illustrates the power that resides inside each one of us. The wanderer's belief that the rope was a snake panicked him to death. Bizarre though the example is, it bears out the Sanskrit proverb “Yad bhavam tad bhavati” which means, “We become what we believe.”
There are two directions along which the mind of man moves, the outward and the inward. The terms, sreyas (Good and perhaps painful) and preyas (Pleasant but perhaps not good in the long run) signify these directions. The human mind always wants immediate results.

It does not care so much for ultimate values. We try to find pleasure and avoid pain in the course of living life. But it takes pain to create pleasure and it takes hardship to achieve satisfaction.

There is no way to buy lasting happiness or comfort through money, but only through hard work. The unhappiest are those who drift through life aimlessly. Over the course of lives, both will experience about the same amounts of pleasure and pain.

When hard times come the shreyas group can draw comfort from knowing they tried, like money in the bank. The preyas group can only look into emptiness – and they are the ones who are most likely to be stressed. innervoice@ hindustantimes.com