First of all, what is a dis­ease? In Ay­urveda, a dis­ease is called “Pra­jaa Aparaadha” which comes from Sanskrit terms “Pra­jaa”, mean­ing man­kind, birth and life, and “Aparaadha”, mean­ing com­mit­ting sin, of­fence, in­fringe­ment, crime and fault. There­fore, hav­ing a dis­ease means in­fringing the ba­sic prin­ciples of life. What a use­ful thing it is to know Sanskrit, by the way!

Ac­cord­ing to Ay­urveda, a sick per­son is an of­fender with two­fold blame – first, for be­ing sick him­self, as his dis­ease is an of­fence of the laws of nature and, second, for bur­den­ing the sur­round­ing people and so­ci­ety by caus­ing them to give him time, at­ten­tion and re­sources. A strange thing hap­pens – a per­son gets sick, so he starts get­ting at­ten­tion and care, he is freed from work and re­ceives a sick-list. In other words, the of­fender re­ceives ma­ter­ial stim­u­lus. Hence, be­ing sick is hon­or­able. Healthy people are due to none of the above. Things are up­side-down, as is of­ten the case.

In San­atana Dharma or the Vedic tra­di­tion, the most grue­some sin is Avidya. Avidya is ig­nor­ance or the in­cap­ab­il­ity of dis­tin­guish­ing between cause and ef­fect. This is a global prob­lem that af­fects all as­pects of hu­man life. I shall provide a simple ex­ample from medi­cine. Let us ima­gine that a per­son gets the flu. This per­son’s tem­per­at­ure has risen which means that the “Jatara Agni” or the di­gest­ive fire has star­ted work­ing. This fire has two ba­sic func­tions in our body: di­gest­ing the food and burn­ing everything that is of danger to our or­gan­ism, thus, se­cur­ing our im­munity. Fur­ther­more, it can­not per­form both of these func­tions at once, there­fore, when a per­son be­comes ill, his ap­pet­ite is lost which means that the “Jatara Agni” has switched to “burn­ing” the in­fec­tion. What solu­tions does medi­cine of­fer in this case? It of­fers us­ing an­ti­pyr­et­ics or, in other words, killing the “Jatara Agni” with a fire ex­tin­guisher. How does this af­fect the ill­ness? It starts go­ing deeper into the or­gan­ism and tak­ing longer to cure. Some­times, the ill­ness be­comes chronic. The tem­per­at­ure is not a cause. It is an ef­fect and a sign of the body fight­ing the in­fec­tion. Re­du­cing the tem­per­at­ure means ham­per­ing the body’s fight against the dis­ease.

Ay­urveda says that all the ex­ist­ing dis­eases have only two causes: un­di­ges­ted food or “amma” and un­di­ges­ted emo­tions. When these two are joined, people start hav­ing dis­eases that they are in­clined to have ac­cord­ing to their Karma. The Karma is re­flec­ted in their “janma kundali” (their horo­scope). For these reas­ons, an­cient Vaidyas or Vedic heal­ers whore, first of all, as­tro­lo­gers, as the horo­scope is a great dia­gnostic tool. This is writ­ten in an­cient treat­ises and is also con­firmed by my al­most 35 years long prac­tice. A per­son’s horo­scope provides a look at the fu­ture dis­eases long be­fore they ap­pear.

What is un­di­ges­ted food? First of all, it is food that a per­son can­not di­gest on prin­ciple, such as corpses of an­im­als or highly tech­no­lo­gic­ally mod­i­fied food, such as mar­gar­ine that is only one mo­lecule away from be­ing plastic, as well as other chem­ical products, medi­cine and vit­am­ins. Secondly, it is food that does not match the per­son’s “prakrti” or Ayr­uvedic con­sti­tu­tion de­pend­ing on the dom­in­ant “dosha” – “vatta”, “pitta” or “kapha”.

What about un­di­ges­ted emo­tions? We have more than enough of those. There­fore, there are all the pre­con­di­tions ne­ces­sary for get­ting sick and the ap­pear­ance of dis­eases is only a mat­ter of time, de­term­ined by Karma and re­flec­ted in the per­son’s “janma kundali”. I can tell any­one who is in­ter­ested about what dis­eases they can have and when. This has been veri­fied on tens of thou­sands of people in my prac­tice.

You could ob­ject – “we didn’t know what “amma” or “Prakrti” is”. My re­sponse is that ig­nor­ance of the law does not ex­empt from li­ab­il­ity. This is what I just men­tioned when writ­ing about ig­nor­ance. Just like there are phys­ical, chem­ical and other laws of nature, there are laws of Karma that guide the lives of people and the of­fence of which cre­ates prob­lems and dis­eases.

Karma Yoga teaches that our life is a re­flec­tion of our con­scious­ness or, to be more pre­cise, of that part of the con­scious­ness that is struc­tured by “sans­karas” or writ­ten in the con­scious­ness by Karma. This is very im­port­ant – not by thoughts, hopes and dreams of a per­son, but by “sans­karas”, real con­sequences of his ac­tions. Every­one wants to be healthy and young (show me someone who does not want that), yet, some­how not even close to every­one achieves it. Karma stands in the way.

This means that dis­eases are the con­sequences of people’s ab­use of them­selves and the laws of nature, and they are also the con­sequences of the im­proper life­style led by these people. A sick per­son goes to a doc­tor and asks for pills for his dis­ease so he can con­tinue the life­style that made him sick. The doc­tor gives him the pills. What hap­pens next? The sick per­son gets back to the usual life­style, the pills do not work, and moreover, they cre­ate new ail­ments res­ult­ing from the neg­at­ive side ef­fects. After some time, the per­son will be offered to re­move the sick part of the body. It is re­moved. And everything con­tin­ues the same old way un­til death. There is an old joke about this:

A per­son comes to a doc­tor and com­plains: “Doc­tor, I con­stantly have red eyes and ringing in my ears.”

“It’s the spleen”, says the doc­tor. “We have to re­move it.”

The spleen is re­moved. After some time, the same per­son comes again and says: “Doc­tor, I have red eyes and ringing in my ears, just like be­fore.”

“It’s ap­pen­di­citis. We have to take it out”, the doc­tor replies.

It is taken out. After a while, the sick per­son comes back again. “Doc­tor, I still have red eyes and ringing in my ears.”

“My dear, un­for­tu­nately, you have last-stage can­cer and you only have a month to live.”

The per­son comes back home and de­cides “I’m dy­ing any­way, so I’ll at least have a good time dur­ing this last month. From now on I’ll go to res­taur­ants, have drinks, party around, have fun and do everything I want. ” But first, he de­cides to make him­self an ex­pens­ive suit and goes to see a tailor. He comes to the tailor and says: “I want to or­der a size 50 suit and a size 40 shirt.”

After tak­ing a look and mak­ing meas­ure­ments, the tailor says: “Your size is 42.”

“That can’t be right. I’ve al­ways worn size 40 shirts.”

“Sir,” says the tailor, “I’m an old man and I’ve been mak­ing suits and shirts for dif­fer­ent people for fifty years. I can tell my cli­ent’s size.”

“But I’m used to wear­ing size 40 shirts and I don’t want to change any­thing at the end of my life.”

“Fine then, let it be your way. But I’m warn­ing you – you will have red eyes and ringing in your ears.”

When a sick per­son goes to a doc­tor and asks the doc­tor for a pill, he ac­tu­ally as­sumes that the pill can change his Karma and free him from the dis­ease that pun­ishes him for break­ing the laws of nature and life. This is na­iv­ete to its fullest ex­tent. This is how ig­nor­ance works. A pill can­not change a per­son’s Karma. Moreover, the pill cre­ates side-ef­fects and makes the con­di­tion worse, thus, adding to Karma and to the pun­ish­ment. If that was not true, there would no longer be any sick people. Just think about the fol­low­ing for a second. In the world, tens of kilos of drugs are man­u­fac­tured per per­son, tril­lions of dol­lars are spent on health care, an army of doc­tors is trained, thou­sands and thou­sands of hos­pit­als and san­at­ori­ums are open. What is the res­ult? Here it is. In the year 1900, 1% of the pop­u­la­tion of the Earth could get can­cer, car­di­ovas­cu­lar dis­eases and other ter­minal ill­nesses. In the year 2000, this in­dic­ator was 60%. In 1900, one per­son out of 8000 was at the risk of get­ting can­cer, whereas, in 2000, it was 4000 people out of 8000 – in one hun­dred years, the num­ber has in­creased 4000 times!

It is just like the Bible says – “the road to hell is paved with good in­ten­tions”. Us­ing a mod­ern ex­pres­sion, “we tried our best – you know the rest”.

Ac­cord­ing to Yoga, a dis­ease is a be­ne­fit. First of all, it shows a per­son that the old ways of liv­ing are no longer suit­able and they have to be changed. It is a hint. Secondly, a dis­ease is a way of cleans­ing and sur­vival for the body. There­fore, dis­eases are our friends and teach­ers. Al­though, only for those who are will­ing to learn. For ex­ample, did you know that 90% of all can­cer­ous dis­eases ap­pear and dis­ap­pear on their own? 40 times more can­cer is found after autop­sies than in liv­ing people. By the way, the flu and other ill­nesses caus­ing the rising of body tem­per­at­ure are a nat­ural way for the or­gan­ism to get rid of can­cer, as can­cer cells die when the body tem­per­at­ure rises. This does not mean that one should ne­ces­sar­ily get ill, not at all. If you are free of “amma” you will neither get can­cer, nor the flu. Simply put, our or­gan­ism is our friend, and it is al­ways on our side, but dis­eases are a way for it to sur­vive. We need not fight the dis­ease, as do­ing so would mean fight­ing the body – we need to help the or­gan­ism get rid of the reas­ons caus­ing the dis­ease.

We must al­ways keep in mind that hu­mans are cre­ated by God and that our or­gan­ism has mil­lions of years of ex­per­i­ence in sur­viv­ing. The body is an ab­so­lute, self-reg­u­lat­ing, per­fect sys­tem. And the best thing to do is not poke our noses into it, yet again search­ing for spare parts, and to leave it to its own devices. It will do the rest on its own. Also, we must al­ways listen to it – it will give us all the hints by it­self.

Medi­cine can save a life in ex­treme situ­ations, in cases of trau­mas etc. It can­not cure a dis­ease, but it can save a life. How come? It is simple – be­cause health and lifespan are com­pletely dif­fer­ent and un­re­lated as­pects. A per­son can be sick all life long and live to be very old, whereas he can also be healthy and die in a car ac­ci­dent at the age of 20. The fact of the mat­ter is that the lifespan de­pends on the Karma of a per­son, not the per­son’s health. In par­tic­u­lar, the lifespan de­pends on what the per­son has left to do in this in­carn­a­tion. The Karma of a per­son can make medi­cine save his life. There­fore, ex­treme med­ical help is ne­ces­sary for sav­ing lives, but it is help­less in cur­ing dis­eases.

Yoga does not cure dis­eases. Yoga elim­in­ates the causes of dis­eases. This is pos­sible only when a per­son changes his con­scious­ness, since our lives are a re­flec­tion of it.

Dis­eases are caused by the same old eternal reason – in­cap­ab­il­ity of telling apart causes and ef­fects. The dis­ease is an ef­fect, whereas the cause is the way of think­ing and the res­ult­ing way of life. As long as this cause is not altered, get­ting rid of the dis­ease is im­possible.

San­atana Dharma is a sci­ence of life and a sci­ence of chan­ging life, in­clud­ing elim­in­at­ing dis­ease from our lives.

Shiva Vakya Siddha Baba

More about cause of illness you can learn from Shiva’s lectures about science of Karma:

Vedic understanding of Karma

What is Karma. Human consciousness and life. How events in life unfold