Health can be defined in many ways but there is one definition that sums it all. A Sutra from an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine and surgery, the Sushruta Samhita states,
सम दोष समाग्निश्च सम धातु मल क्रियाः |
प्रसन्न आत्मेन्द्रिय मन स्वस्थ इत्यभिधीयते ||
Sama dosha Sama agnischa Sama Dhatu Mala Kriyaaha
Prasanna atma indriya manaha swastha iti abhideyate
It says, “One is in perfect health when the three dosha or humor called vata, pitta, and Kapha; agni or the fire including digestion, assimilation and metabolism; all the body tissues and components known as dhatu; and all the excretory functions are in perfect order with a pleasantly disposed and contented mind, senses and spirit.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) also toes a similar line and defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” A person without any bodily ailment can be severely ill mentally or a person who is fit at the physical and mental level can be ill at a social or spiritual level. So, we need to assess the wellness of a person at all these levels before declaring that person healthy or unhealthy. Similarly, to achieve perfect health one needs to take care not only of one’s physical health but also of mental, psychological, and spiritual health.
Definition of Health according to Naturopathy, Yoga, and Ayurveda
Naturopathy suggests that a person can be considered healthy if the elements that guide the body are normal or are in harmony and if a body is functioning according to the constructive principles of nature. Yoga and Ayurveda consider that the human body is made up of sapta dhatu or seven substances listed as rasa (chyle), rakta (blood), maamsa (flesh), medas (adipose), asthi (bone), majjaa (marrow), and sukra (semen). So degeneration or impairment of any of these sapta dhatu can cause serious and sometimes fatal physical health conditions. While Yoga and Ayurveda emphasize on the balancing of the tri-dosha (vata-pitta-kapha), Naturopathy focuses more on the elimination of toxins from a body to achieve good health. The core philosophy of Naturopathy is that all living beings have an innate ability to heal themselves. Thus, it supports the body’s natural self-healing abilities and helps it to restore balance and vitality.
Now, what are the indications of physical, mental, and spiritual health? For instance, consider a computer. There are three vital components that allow the computer to function properly- hardware, software, and supply of power. The absence of any one of them will result in the failure of the computer. Similarly, for a person to function properly, he will need a fit body, a sound mind, and a clear conscience. Let us check what happens when a person is fit at a single level but fails in the other two.
Sick Body-Fit Mind and Conscience
It has been observed that a person with severe physical illness or even disability can lead a happy and successful life with the help of strong willpower, positive thinking and higher conscience. The ailing body can be painful, dependable, and even expensive to maintain but with a healthy mind and spirit, one can live a perfectly normal life.
Sick Mind-Fit Body and Conscience
A person who has no physical ailment and also has a clear conscience can still be sad due to mental weaknesses like low self-esteem, inferiority complex, negative thought process, etc. Such mental deficiencies can lead to more complicated psychological illnesses. So, having a healthy mindset is very important.
Lower Conscience- Fit Body and Mind
This is the most dangerous ailment a person can have. A physically and mentally healthy person with a poor conscience can be a threat to society. So, having a healthy conscience is most important for not only an individual but also a society.
Symptoms of Good Health
There are few signs to indicate that a person is in good health. A few of them are as follow:
- Normal bowel movement
- Good metabolism
- Healthy hair and nails
- Healthy bone and tissues
- Normal functioning of internal organs
- Positive and progressive thinking
- Socially responsible and approachable
- Capable to manage stress
- Ability to distinguish between right and wrong
- Morally and ethically upright
- Patience and tolerance
- Compassion towards all
Check out the article Understanding the Origin of Disease for information on Panch-mahabhoot and Tri-dosha and how they are connected to our body and the process of eliminating ailment from its roots to achieve perfect health. Also read article on the Five Pillars of Healthy Lifestyle.