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caring for body: sAttvic?

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Nov 17 1999 - 00:44:28 PST

Dear members,

adiyEn has been thinking of this question for sometime
and wants to know general opinion of others on the
matter.

In present day, a lot of people, including modern
SriVaishnava families, are placing lot of stress on
"physical fitness". People are so particular about
going for jogging, walking. They are all the time
weight- and calory- conscious. Many are joining
"health" clubs and "beauty" clubs. Some go for
"fat-trimming", "liposuction", naturopathic and herbal
treatment of skin or hair. They go for "pedicure",
"manicure" etc. Then there are so many more new and
exotic ways in which everyone wants to take "good
care" of the body and make it "glow" or make it "fair
and lovely". Even young men these days spend a lot of
time in "gyms", "beauty parlours" and
"exercise-centers" and seem to really enjoy
"building-up a good physique". The care of the
physique (making a "good impression") has become top
priority these days and so it has become big business
too. 

But one thing is clear. All these people who go for
it, adiyen is thinking, they all truly look "healthy,
happy and heavenly". They appear at peace with
themselves and with the world, besides looking
efficient and ever cheerful. They all say that taking
such extremely zealous care of their bodies makes them
"feel good".

The questions adiyen sometimes therefore asks myself
are something like this:

(1) Has "looking after the body" now become something
akin to a "new religion"? 

(2) The new "religion" seems to be quite effective too
because its young and ardent adherents are definitely
deriving a lot of mental happiness out of it, is it
not?

(3) The old (Vedantic?) religion emphasised the
primacy of cultivating the spirit over the body as the
key to "peace" and "mental well-being" (sAtvic
guNA-s). But the new religion seems to be easily
achieving the same wonderful results by doing the
exact opposite i.e. stressing the primacy of "body
care" over "spiritual husbandry"! It almost seems to
be telling us: "take good care of the body and the
mind will take care of itself"!

What is the real position of spiritualists and
spiritual leaders on this matter? Does the zealous
pursuit of bodily fitness produce 'sAttva'?

If so, then we (who are Truth-seekers) have as much to
learn indeed from our gym-going, muscle-flexing
teenagers as from our wizened and "spiritual-minded"
elders, is it not?

Any comments?

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran
 






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