Spiritual Prescriptions

It is unfortunate that allopathy does not define spirituality while spiritual health should be a part of normal health, writes Dr KK Aggarwal.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2005 20:07 IST

Health is not mere absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, social, spiritual, environmental and financial well being. It is unfortunate that Allopathy does not define spirituality while spiritual health should be a part and parcel of normal health.

Spiritual health is well defined in the eastern philosophy, which includes texts like Vedas, Upanishads, Purana, Bhagwad Gita, Yoga Vashistha and Ayurveda.

In fact, many of the allopathic techniques and procedures have its origin from the Vedic text. The best description of cognitive behavior therapy and counseling comes from Bhagwad Gita which is a living example of Krishna's counseling to Arjuna when he was in acute anxiety-cum-depression with a conflict in his mind whether he should fight or not.

Vidur Neeti is a counseling given by Vidur to King Dhridarashtra when he was not getting sleep out of fear.

Yoga Vashistha is the highest teachings of spirituality to Raja Ram by sage Vashistha. It teaches the practice of Rajyoga in great details, which was later, modified and simplified by Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The same now has hundreds of allopathic research confirmations.

The eight limbs of Yoga called Ashtangyoga forms the basis of yogic teachings. The daily routine as defined in seven spiritual laws of success by Dr. Deepak Chopra has proved that spiritual well being is the need for the day and the same can be obtained using simple principles.

Non-doctors community all over the world already has commercialized Pranayama. Pranayama is deeper and slower breathing, a process that shifts a person from sympathetic to para sympathetic mode. Meditation is a roaring business in US, Holland and European countries.

Meditation is not achieving silence but the process of achieving silence. It entails a simple procedure of learning and can be used in medical practice routinely.

Recently I happened to take one of my asthma patients to one of the top hospitals in US. When I entered the hospital I found a placard saying "a new treatment for allergic rhinitis". The charges for the treatment were $5000 only. When enquired I came to know they were teaching jalneti from our ancient Naturopathy.

It is very unfortunate that the fee of a medical general practitioner ranges from Rs 50 to 200 while the fee of a non-MBBS counselor starts from Rs 500 per sitting.

But letting spirituality stay in the hands of non-MBBS can be risky. These spiritual methodologies are either for prevention or for use as complimentary therapies in established diseases. If they remain in the hands of people who wear saffron clothes, it is likely they will start using them for acute emergencies or for diseases, which require timely referral to allopathic centers. It is well known that delay in referral; diagnosis or treatment can end up with death.

The time, is ripe for us, the white apron community, to get exposed to the scientific aspects of Eastern philosophy, shift our approach from body to body mind and soul and start using it in our daily practice or make the spiritual exerts as our contemporaries like physiotherapist are to orthopedicians.

Should we wait for spiritual prescriptions to come from abroad and then we start prescribing it or start writing it now.

(The writer isa seniorPhysician, Head Department of Cardiology and Deputy Dean Board of Medical Education-Moolchand Hospital, President-Heart Care Foundation of India, President Delhi Medical Association and Member-Delhi Medical Council.)

First Published: Sep 13, 2005 00:00 IST