Since my childhood, I have an abnormal growth in my Tonsil Glands. This causes me not to feel the pain in my glands, whenever I suffer a "soar-throat". As a result, I do not get any severe warning or symptoms, before I run into complications.
Same thing repeated this time. I had a persistent cough for a long time so my "home-minister" (my wife) took control of the situation and pulled me to a doctor. Doctor asked my problem that I was suffering. I said nothing much, just a little cough. Then he looked into my mouth and was shocked. He asked if I have any pain in throat or difficulty in swallowing food. I said, "No, I am perfectly fine". He asked me to get two X-Ray reports, a PNS (paranasal sinuses) & Lungs. The X-Ray plates surprised me. I was suffering from an Acute Respiratory Tract Infection and Sinuses and I didn't realize it!! My body was actually accustomed to the Disease.
Upon following the prescribed medicines (antibiotic), exercises (gargles) and regulations (avoiding cold items), today, I am cured of the disease that I had been caring for a long time, without even realizing it.
Lying on my bed, I was just contemplating the episode. My body was accustomed to an abnormal situation and even though I had mild symptoms like - mild pain or mild fever, I foolishly thought I was perfectly fine. It was after meeting a doctor, I understood how sick I was. Only because of following his prescribed medicines and regulation, I am actually cured now.
Actually, if we think deeply, each one of us is deeply infected, by a disease of soul, referred to as "material disease" by Srila Prabhupad
Due to forgetting the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda and being puffed up by material possessions, wealth and opulence, one thinks the false, temporary material world to be an actual fact. This is the material disease. The living entity is eternal and blissful, but despite miserable material conditions, he thinks the material world to be real and factual due to his ignorance.
In a mundane life, we normally go to a doctor as soon as we feel uneasy or any discomfort. The more we take the symptoms lightly or casually, the more the situation worsens (as it happened with me). This brings to another important point. I took those symptoms to be temporary and thought they would fade away. I took "self-prescribed" medicine. But it didn't work. Why did the doctor's pills do the wonder? The reason is very simple - He is qualified, I am not. So there were four factors which helped me cure my disease. DOCTOR - MEDICINE - RESTRICTIONS - EXERCISE Let us look into these factors more closely.
A mundane person, suffering a disease of his body, after identifying a qualified doctor, goes to him for a checkup. Similarly, an intelligent person does not tend to neglect the miseries. He understands the repeated miseries occurring in his life, coated with various flavor. He knows that he is suffering a disease of the soul, searches for a bonafide spiritual master (a qualified guru); the doctor of the soul. As Srila Prabhupada says,
All living entities are rotating throughout the universe, going sometimes up to the higher planetary systems and sometimes down to the lower planets. This is the material disease, which is known as pravṛtti-mārga. When one becomes intelligent he takes to nivṛtti-mārga, the path of liberation, and thus instead of rotating within this material world, he returns home, back to Godhead.
Just like a doctor prescribes medicine for curing our disease, spiritual master also prescribes a medicine - The Hare Krsna mantra or Mahamantra (greatest of all mantras.)
Unless one is under the shelter of a realized spiritual master, his understanding of the Supreme is simply foolishness. However, one can fully understand the transcendental Lord by service and devotion. When Lord Caitanya offenselessly chanted the Hare Krsna mantra, He declared that the mantra could at once deliver a conditioned soul from material contamination. In this age of Kali there is no alternative to chanting this maha-mantra. It is stated that the essence of all Vedic literature is the chanting of this holy name of Krsna:
Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Lord Caitanya also told PrakasanandaSarasvati, "In order to convince Me about this essential fact of Vedic knowledge, My spiritual master has taught Me (a verse from Brhan-naradiya Puraṇa[38.126].)
Harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha:
[Adi 17.21] In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.
[From, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Srila Prabhupada]
Generally, any treatment comes accompanied by restrictions. If we suffer cold doctors say don't eat ice-creams, for high uric acid doctors say don't eat red meat. These are nothing but austerities we do to get cured. These austerities help us in recovering from our diseases.
Similarly, for our spiritual advancement, we are advised to restrict few things.
- No Non-Vegetarian food
- No Intoxication
- No Gambling
- No Illicit Relationship
Otherwise, it will be like a patient taking pills for a cough and at the same time eating ice-creams or a person trying to set up fire & pouring water simultaneously.
My doctor, looking at my condition advised me to gargle, every night before sleep. Even after my infection is cured, I shouldn't give up gargling. This will keep me less vulnerable to a throat infection in future.
Similarly to maintain a spiritual health, we are advised to maintain a proper association. Association means -
- People Around Us
- What we read
- What we speak
- What we hear
- What we think
Proper Association means -
- Mingle with devotees
- Reading Scriptures and not mundane literature
- Speak or glorify Krishna and His devotees
- Hear Krishna 's glorification or Kirtan
- Think of Krishna
Keeping up this positive association will make us less vulnerable to a material disease in future.
Normally we are very serious about our bodily conception of disease, but, highly negligent towards the disease of our soul.
We pray to The Merciful Gaur Nitai, may each one of us get an intelligence to endeavor towards nivṛtti-mārga and be happy forever.
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