Read Summary of Health and Healing
- 1 What is Health?
- 2 What is Health in Different Parts of Being?
- 3 What is Health in Relation to Other Qualities?
- 4 Why is Health and Healing Important?
- 5 What is Illness?
- 6 How to Cultivate Good Health?
- 6.1 What are the Prerequisites?
- 6.2 How to Deal with Pain?
- 6.3 Useful Practices for Dealing with Pain
- 6.4 Useful Practices for keeping Good Health
- 6.5 Common Errors
- 7 More on Health and Healing
What is Health?
Good health is the exterior expression of an inner harmony. We must be proud if we are in good health and not despise it. 
It is good health, a solid body, well poised; when one does not have the nerves of a little girl that are shaken by the least thing; when one sleeps well, eats well.... When one is quite calm, well balanced, very quiet, one has a solid basis and can receive a large number of forces. 
What people generally call "healing power" is a very great mental or vital power that imposes itself through the resistance of Matter—but this isn't that at all! It's the contagion of a vibration. And then it's irrevocable. 
Health in its Natural Form
When one is normal, that is to say, unspoilt by bad teaching and bad example, when one is born and lives in a healthy and relatively balanced and normal environment, the body, spontaneously, without any need for one to intervene mentally or even vitally, has the certitude that even if something goes wrong it will be cured. The body carries within itself the certitude of cure, the certitude that the illness or disorder is sure to disappear. It is only through the false education from the environment that gradually the body is taught that there are incurable diseases, irreparable accidents, and that it can grow old, and all these stories which destroy its faith and trust. But normally, the body of a normal child—the body, I am not speaking of the thought—the body itself feels when something goes wrong that it will certainly be all right again. And if it is not like that, this means that it has already been perverted. It seems normal for it to be in good health, it seems quite abnormal to it if something goes wrong and it falls ill; and in its instinct, its spontaneous instinct, it is sure that everything will be all right. It is only the perversion of thought which destroys this; as one grows up the thought becomes more and more distorted, there is the whole collective suggestion, and so, little by little, the body loses its trust in itself, and naturally, losing its self-confidence, it also loses the spontaneous capacity of restoring its equilibrium when this has been disturbed.
If one takes care not to pervert it, the body carries within itself the certitude of victory. It is only the wrong use we make of thought and its influence on the body which robs it of this certitude of victory. So, the first thing to do is to cultivate this certitude instead of destroying it; and when it is there, no effort is needed to aspire, but simply a flowering, an unfolding of that inner certitude of victory.
The body carries within itself the sense of its divinity. There. This is what you must try to find again in yourself if you have lost it.
There is a physical Nature which is perfectly harmonious, which has an absolutely... how to put it... yes, harmonious working, without any disorder, without disequilibrium, without any rupture of harmony, which would be expressed, if it existed upon earth, by a perfect health, a growing force, a continuous progress; and then all that one would like to obtain from one's body one would obtain; and this can go as far as an almost unimaginable progress of perfection. 
A body is not a cloth—nor is a sick body a torn cloth. A body weak or sick can renew itself, recover its vitality—that happens to thousands of people. A cloth has not a renewable vitality. It is only if one is old beyond fifty-five or sixty that the renewal becomes difficult—even then health and strength can be kept or recovered enough to keep the body in a good condition. …
The body is an instrument for the sadhana no less than the mind and vital, and it should be kept in a good condition as far as possible. Not to care for the body, thinking it is of no importance compared with the inner state, is not the rule of this Yoga. 
But to tell the truth (the true truth of what I KNOW), I don't think there's any climate a body can't adapt to. 
Misunderstandings of Health and Healing
Of course injections are all the fashion; for everything it is "inject, inject and again inject". Medicine has gone through three stages in modern times—first (at the beginning in Molière's days) it was "bleed and douche", then "drug and diet", now it is "serum and injection". Praise the Lord! not for the illnesses, but for the doctors. However each of these formulas has a part truth behind it—with its advantages and disadvantages. As all religions and philosophies point to the Supreme but each in a different direction, so all medical fashions are ways to health—though they don't always reach it. 
Doctors advise marriage because they think satisfaction of the sexual instinct is necessary for the health and repression causes disturbances in the system. This is true only when there is no true giving up of the sexual indulgence, but only a change in the way of indulging it. Nowadays a new theory has come up which confirms the Indian theory of Brahmacharya, viz. that by continence retas can be changed into ojas and the vigour and power of the being enormously increase. 
Health protected by twenty thousand precautions is the gospel of the doctor; but it is not God's evangel for the body, nor Nature's. [Based on Aphorism 399] 
It depends on the consciousness [whether one wants to live a long life]. As it is, at present, most people do not get tired of life; they die because they must, not because they want to—at least, that is true of the vital; it is only a minority that tire of life and for many of these it is due to the discomforts of old age, continued ill-health, misfortune. Supposing a consciousness descended in the body that got rid of these discomforts, would people get tired of life in the same way merely because of its length or would they have some source of perpetual interest within as well as without that would keep them on—that is the question. Of course physical immortality would not mean that one is tied down to the body, but that one is not subject to disease and death, but can keep or leave the body at will. I don't know whether Ashwatthaman lives on because he cannot die or because he won't die—whether it is for him a doom or a privilege. There are by the way animals that live for many centuries, but as they have not the philosophic mind the question for them does not arise—probably they take it as a matter of course. 
You ask me whether your illness comes from yoga. By no means—far from damaging health, yoga helps to build up a health that is robust and unfailing. 
There is a sort of traditional belief in many minds that the practice of Yoga is inimical to the health of the body and tends to have a bad effect of one kind or another and even finally leads to a premature or an early dropping of the body. Ramakrishna seems to have held the view, if we can judge from his remarks about the connection between Keshav Sen's progress in spirituality and the illness which undermined him, that one was the result and the desirable result of the other, a liberation and release from life in this world, mukti. That may or may not be; but I find it difficult to believe that illness and deterioration of the body is the natural and general result of the practice of Yoga or that that practice is the cause of an inevitable breakdown of health or of the final illnesses which bring about their departure from the body. On what ground are we to suppose or how can it be proved that while non-Yogis suffer from ill health and die because of the disorders of Nature, Yogis die of their Yoga? Unless a direct connection between their death and their practice of Yoga can be proved—and this could be proved with certainty only in particular cases and even then not with an absolute certainty—there is no sufficient reason to believe in such a difference. It is more rational to conclude that both Yogis and non-Yogis fall ill and die from natural causes and by the same dispensation of Nature; one might even advance the view, since they have the Yoga Shakti at their disposal if they choose to use it, that the Yogi falls ill and dies not because of but in spite of his Yoga. At any rate, I don't believe that Ramakrishna (or any other Yogi) fell ill because of his trances; there is nothing to show that he ever suffered in that way after a trance. I think it is said somewhere or he himself said that the cancer in his throat of which he died came by his swallowing the sins of his disciples and those who approached him: that again may or may not be, but it will be his own peculiar case. It is no doubt possible to draw the illnesses of others upon oneself and even to do it deliberately; the instance of the Greek king Antigonus and his son Dimitrius is a famous historical case in point. Yogis also do this sometimes; or else adverse forces may throw illnesses upon the Yogi, using those round him as a door or a passage or the ill wishes of people as an instrumental force. But all these are special circumstances connected, no doubt, with his practice of Yoga; but they do not establish the general proposition as an absolute rule. A tendency such as X's to desire or welcome or accept death as a release could have a force because of her advanced spiritual consciousness which it would not have in ordinary people.
On the other side there can be an opposite use and result of the Yogic consciousness: illness can be repelled from one’s own body or cured, even chronic or deep-seated illnesses and long-established constitutional defects remedied or expelled and even a predestined death delayed for a long period. 
What is Health in Different Parts of Being?
It is evident that if spiritual force exists, it must be able to produce spiritual results—therefore there is no irrationality in the claim of those sadhaks who say that they feel the force of the Guru or the force of the Divine working in them and leading towards spiritual fulfilment and experience. Whether it is so or not in a particular case is a personal question, but the statement cannot be denounced as per se incredible and manifestly false because such things cannot be. Farther, if it be true that spiritual force is the original one and the others are derivative from it, then there is no irrationality in supposing that spiritual force can produce mental results, vital results, physical results. It may act through mental, vital or physical energies and through the means which these energies use, or it may act directly on mind, life or matter as the field of its own special and immediate action. Either way is prima facie possible. In a case of cure of illness, someone is lying ill for two days, weak, suffering from pains and fever; he takes no medicine but finally asks for cure from his Guru; the next morning he rises well, strong and energetic. He has at least some justification for thinking that a force has been used on him and put into him and that it was a spiritual power that acted. But in another case medicines may be used, while at the same time the invisible force may be called for to aid the material means, for it is a known fact that medicines may or may not succeed—there is no certitude. Here for the reason of an outside observer (one who is neither the user of the force nor the doctor nor the patient) it remains uncertain whether the patient was cured by the medicines only or by the spiritual force with the medicines as an instrument. Either is possible, and it cannot be said that because medicines were used, therefore the working of a spiritual force is per se incredible and demonstrably false. On the other hand it is possible for the doctor to have felt a force working in him and guiding him or he may see the patient improving with a rapidity which, according to medical science, is incredible. The patient may feel the force working in himself bringing health, energy, rapid cure. The user of the force may watch the results, see the symptoms he works on diminishing, those he did not work upon increasing till he does work on them and then immediately diminishing, the doctor working according to his unspoken suggestions, etc. etc. until the cure is done. (On the other hand he may see forces working against the cure and conclude that the spiritual force has to be contented with a withdrawal or an imperfect success.) In all that the doctor, the patient or the user of force is justified in believing that the cure is at least partly or even fundamentally due to the spiritual force. Their experience is valid of course for themselves only, not for the outside rationalising observer. But the latter is not logically entitled to say that their experience is incredible and must be false. 
To whatever cause an illness may be due, material or mental, external or internal, it must, before it can affect the physical body, touch another layer of the being that surrounds and protects it. This subtler layer is called in different teachings by various names,—the etheric body, the nervous envelope. It is a subtle body and yet almost visible. In density something like the vibrations that you see around a very hot and steaming object, it emanates from the physical body and closely covers it. All communications with the exterior world are made through this medium, and it is this that must be invaded and penetrated first before the body can be affected. If this envelope is absolutely strong and intact, you can go into places infested with the worst of diseases, even plague and cholera, and remain quite immune. It is a perfect protection against all possible attacks of illness, so long as it is whole and entire, thoroughly consistent in its composition, its elements in faultless balance. This body is built up, on the one side, of a material basis, but rather of material conditions than of physical matter, on the other, of the vibrations of our psychological states. Peace and equanimity and confidence, faith in health, undisturbed repose and cheerfulness and bright gladness constitute this element in it and give it strength and substance. It is a very sensitive medium with facile and quick reactions... 
It's a vital that's very intense in its desires (which may not be ordinary desires at all), but with a sort of almost aggressive intensity, and... essentially dissatisfied. ...But every time the vital comes into play (and one is obliged to let the vital play because of the physical health; one can't "calm" it down totally because that would make the physical body suffer), it's like that.... 
...but in order for you to be completely cured, your vital must be converted, and what I call "to be converted" isn't to surrender—to be converted is to understand. To be converted is to adhere. 
We are aware of a vitality working in this bodily form and structure as in the plant or lower animal, a vital existence which is also for the most part subconscious to us, for we only observe some of its movements and reactions. We are partly aware of its operations, but not by any means of all or most of them, and rather of those which are abnormal than those which are normal; its wants impress themselves more forcibly upon us than its satisfactions, its diseases and disorders than its health and its regular rhythm, its death is more poignant to us than its life is vivid: we know as much of it as we can consciously observe and use or as much as forces itself upon us by pain and pleasure and other sensations or as a cause of nervous or physical reaction and disturbance, but no more. Accordingly, we suppose that this vital-physical part of us also is not conscious of its own operations or has only a suppressed consciousness or no-consciousness like the plant or an inchoate consciousness like the incipient animal; it becomes conscious only so far as it is enlightened by mind and observable by intelligence. 
Finally, the body obeys the mind automatically in those things in which it is formed or trained to obey it, but the relation of the body to the mind is not in all things that of an automatic perfect instrument. The body also has a consciousness of its own and, though it is a submental instrument or servant consciousness, it can disobey or fail to obey as well. In many things, in matters of health and illness for instance, in all automatic functionings, the body acts on its own and is not a servant of the mind. If it is fatigued, it can offer a passive resistance to the mind's will. It can cloud the mind with tamas, inertia, dullness, fumes of the subconscient so that the mind cannot act. The arm lifts itself no doubt when it gets the suggestion, but at first the legs do not obey when they are asked to walk; they have to learn how to leave the crawling attitude and movement and take up the erect and ambulatory habit. When you first ask the hand to draw a straight line or to play music, it can't do it and won't do it. It has to be schooled, trained, taught, and afterwards it does automatically what is required of it. All this proves that there is a body consciousness different from the mind consciousness which can do things at the mind's order but has to be awakened, trained, made a good and conscious instrument. It can even be so trained that a mental will or suggestion can cure the illnesses of the body. But all these things, these relations of mind and body, stand on the same footing in essence as the relation of mind to vital and it is not so easy or primary a matter as Augustine would have it. 
What is Health in Relation to Other Qualities?
And within... oh! It's like waves, constantly, the equivalent of those nuances of color I was speaking about, waves of this joy of life, the joy of life rippling past, touching; but instead of being.... At times, you see, the body is in a sort of equilibrium (what we, in our ordinary outer consciousness, call 'equilibrium'—that is, good health), and then this joy is constant, like swells on the sea (Mother shapes great waves): it seems to flow on behind everything; it comes and shows its face for a moment, then vanishes. In the very tiny things of life—yes, physical life—the joy of these things, the joy life contains, this luminous, special kind of vibration, rises up as if to remind us that it's here; it is here, it mustn't be forgotten, it's here—but it's kept down by this... tension. 
I have said that from a young age children should be taught to respect good health, physical strength and balance. The great importance of beauty must also be emphasised. A young child should aspire for beauty, not for the sake of pleasing others or winning their admiration, but for the love of beauty itself; for beauty is the ideal which all physical life must realise. Every human being has the possibility of establishing harmony among the different parts of his body and in the various movements of the body in action. Every human body that undergoes a rational method of culture from the very beginning of its existence can realise its own harmony and thus become fit to manifest beauty. When we speak of the other aspects of an integral education, we shall see what inner conditions are to be fulfilled so that this beauty can one day be manifested. 
There are three states, we could say: the state of Harmony—that is the one we reach towards all the time, and sometimes we catch it for a few seconds, then everything works out as if by miracle; then the usual state of Disorder, in which we are constantly on the verge of something unpleasant, in a precarious balance; and when the disorder grows more visible, there is what they call an "illness," but it isn't real. You see, we think the body is in good health, that it's balanced, and that "something is introduced from outside, which causes you to fall ill," but it's not like that! We are ALWAYS off balance, the body is always off balance (more or less), and it is something else, above, a Will or a Consciousness, that holds it up and makes it work. So if we can call on that Will—that Will for Harmony—and if we can have the Flame within, that Flame of aspiration, and make contact, we emerge from so-called illness, which is unreal, an unreal and false sensation and just one way of being of the general Disorder, and we enter into Harmony, and then everything is fine. Last night I experienced this again, and that's why I can assert with certainty: all sensations are false. 
Why is Health and Healing Important?
That's the one thing needed—important, very important: to keep the body in good health, in a sort of balance. We must keep our balance. Very important. The rest doesn't matter! 
I heard the authentic story of one of these African women who are accustomed to walk for miles carrying heavy loads. She was pregnant and the time of delivery came during one of the day's marches. She sat on the side of the track, under a tree, gave birth to the child, waited for half an hour, then she rose and adding the new-born babe to the former luggage, went on her way quietly, as if nothing had happened. This is a splendid example of what a woman can do when she is in full possession of her health and strength. 
Do not forget that to succeed in our yoga one must have a strong and healthy body. ... It is in good health that the way towards transformation is found. 
The first time I came here and spoke with Sri Aurobindo about what was needed for the Work, he told me (he also wrote it to me) that for the secure achievement of the Work we would need three powers: one was the power over health, the second was the power over government, and the third was the power over money. 
If anyone among you has received spiritual forces, forces of the Divine Ananda, for example, he knows from experience that unless he is in good health he cannot contain them, keep them. He begins to weep and cry, gets restless to expend what he has received. He must laugh and talk and gesticulate, otherwise he cannot keep them, he feels stifled. And so by laughing, weeping, moving about he throws out what he has received.
To be well balanced, to be able to absorb what one receives, one must be very quiet, very calm. One must have a solid basis, good health. One must have a very solid basis. That is very important. 
As a result of this new relation between the Spirit and the body, the gnostic evolution will effectuate the spiritualisation, perfection and fulfilment of the physical being; it will do for the body as for the mind and life. Apart from the obscurity, frailties and limitations, which this change will overcome, the body-consciousness is a patient servant and can be in its large reserve of possibilities a potent instrument of the individual life, and it asks for little on its own account: what it craves for is duration, health, strength, physical perfection, bodily happiness, liberation from suffering, ease. These demands are not in themselves unacceptable, mean or illegitimate, for they render into the terms of Matter the perfection of form and substance, the power and delight which should be the natural outflowing, the expressive manifestation of the Spirit. When the gnostic Force can act in the body, these things can be established; for their opposites come from a pressure of external forces on the physical mind, on the nervous and material life, on the body organism, from an ignorance that does not know how to meet these forces or is not able to meet them rightly or with power, and from some obscurity, pervading the stuff of the physical consciousness and distorting its responses, that reacts to them in a wrong way. A supramental self-acting self-effectuating awareness and knowledge, replacing this ignorance, will liberate and restore the obscured and spoiled intuitive instincts in the body and enlighten and supplement them with a greater conscious action. This change would institute and maintain a right physical perception of things, a right relation and right reaction to objects and energies, a right rhythm of mind, nerve and organism. It would bring into the body a higher spiritual power and a greater life-force unified with the universal life-force and able to draw on it, a luminous harmony with material Nature and the vast and calm touch of the eternal repose which can give to it its diviner strength and ease. Above all,—for this is the most needed and fundamental change,—it will flood the whole being with a supreme energy of Consciousness-Force which would meet, assimilate or harmonise with itself all the forces of existence that surround and press upon the body. 
What is Illness?
I have told you first of all that all illness without any exception—without exception—is the expression of a break in equilibrium… First, I am speaking only of the body, I am not speaking of the nervous illnesses of the vital or of mental illnesses… That is, if all your organs, all the members and parts of your body are in harmony with one another, you are in perfect health. But if there is the slightest imbalance anywhere, immediately you get either just a little ill or quite ill, even very badly ill, or else an accident occurs. That always happens whenever there is an inner imbalance. …
First of all, from the point of view of the body—just the body—there are two kinds of disequilibrium: functional and organic. I do not know if you are aware of the difference between the two; but you have organs and then you have all the parts of your body: nerves, muscles, bones and all the rest. Now, if an organ by itself is in disequilibrium, it is an organic disequilibrium, and you are told: that organ is ill or perhaps it is badly formed or it is not normal or an accident has occurred to it. But it is the organ that is ill. But the organ may be in a very good condition, all your organs may be in a very good condition, but there is still an illness as they do not function properly: there is a lack of balance in the functioning. You may have a very good stomach, but suddenly something happens to it and it does not function properly; or the body may also be excellent, but something happens to it and it does not work properly any more. Then you have an illness due to functional imbalance not organic imbalance. 
“An illness of the body is always the outer expression and translation of a disorder, a disharmony in the inner being; unless this inner disorder is healed, the outer cure cannot be total and permanent.” 
"Disease" no longer means anything, it really doesn't: it's distortions of vibrations and shiftings of vibrations, and... (what can I call it?) encrustations—from the point of view of movement, it's like bottlenecks, and from the point of view of the cell, it's like encrustations: it's what remains of the old Inertia out of which we came. 
What are the Causes of Ill-health?
The origin of an illness may be in the mind; it may be in the vital; it may be in any of the parts of the being. One and the same illness may be due to a variety of causes; it may spring in different cases from different sources of disharmony. And there may be too an appearance of illness where there is no real illness at all. In that case, if you are sufficiently conscious, you will see that there is just a friction somewhere, some halting in the movement, and by setting it right you will be cured at once. This kind of malady has no truth in it, even when it seems to have physical effects. It is half made up of imagination and has not the same grip on matter as a true illness.
In short, the sources of an illness are manifold and intricate; each can have a multitude of causes, but always it indicates where is the weak part in the being. 
Usually, unless one has taken good care to make it otherwise, the impulses—the impulses of desire—all the enthusiasms and passions with all their reactions are the masters of human life. One must already be something of a sage to be able to undergo a rigorous discipline of the body and obtain from it the ordered, regular effort which can perfect it. There is no longer any room there for all the fancies of desire. You see, as soon as one gives way to excesses, to immoderation of any kind and a disorderly life, it becomes quite impossible to control one's body and develop it normally, not to mention that, naturally, one spoils one's health and as a result the most important part of the ideal of a perfect body disappears; for with bad health, impaired health, one is not much good for anything. And it is certainly the satisfaction of desires and impulses of the vital or the unreasonable demands of certain ambitions which make the body suffer and fall ill. 
If one cherishes desires, there is bound to be disappointment and suffering, especially if at the same time one does Yoga and takes up the spiritual life. For such desires, demand for vital affection and love from men and demand for physical comforts are not consistent with the spirit of Yoga in which one must turn one's heart to the Divine and be vitally pure and in physical things must be content with what one gets and equal-minded in all conditions. 
All ill-health is due to some inertia or weakness or to some resistance or wrong movement there [in the vital], only it has sometimes a more physical and sometimes a more psychological character. Medicines can counteract the physical results. 
In other cases, if the body lacks receptivity altogether or if its receptivity is insufficient, one sees the inner correspondence with the psychological state which has brought about the illness and acts on that. But if the cause of the illness is refractory, not much can be done. Let us say the origin is vital. The vital absolutely refuses to change, it clings terrifically to the condition in which it is; then that is hopeless. You put the force, and usually it provokes an increase in the illness, produced by the resistance of the vital which did not want to accept anything. I speak of the vital but it can be the mind or something else. 
It's something in the subconscient—in the cells' subconscient. Its roots are there, and on the least occasion ... And it's so very, very ingrained that ... For example, you can be feeling very good, the body can be perfectly harmonious (and when the body is perfectly harmonious, its motions are harmonious, things are in their true places, everything works exactly as it should without needing the least attention—a general harmony), when suddenly the clock strikes, for example, or someone utters a word, and you have just the faint impression 'Oh, it's late, I'm not going to be on time'—a second, a split second, and ... the whole working of the body falls apart. You suddenly feel feeble, drained, uneasy. And you have to intervene. It's terrible. And we're at the mercy of such things! To change it, you have to descend into it—which is what I'm in the midst of doing. But you know, it makes for painful moments. Anyway, once it's done, it will be something. When that is done, I'll explain it to you. And then I'll have the power to restore you to health. 
How to Cultivate Good Health?
Care should be taken of the body certainly, the care that is needed for its good condition, rest, sleep, proper food, sufficient exercise… 
So far I have referred only to the education to be given to children; for a good many bodily defects can be rectified and many malformations avoided by an enlightened physical education given at the proper time. But if for any reason this physical education has not been given during childhood or even in youth, it can begin at any age and be pursued throughout life. But the later one begins, the more one must be prepared to meet bad habits that have to be corrected, rigidities to be made supple, malformations to be rectified. And this preparatory work will require much patience and perseverance before one can start on a constructive programme for the harmonisation of the form and its movements. But if you keep alive within you the ideal of beauty that is to be realised, sooner or later you are sure to reach the goal you have set yourself. 
In all cases, as well for boys as for girls, the exercises must be graded according to the strength and the capacity of each one. If a weak student tries at once to do hard and heavy exercises, he may suffer for his foolishness. But with a wise and progressive training, girls as well as boys can participate in all kinds of sports, and thus increase their strength and health. 
You are young, you have plenty of time before you. And to be young, to be really young, we must always, always keep on growing, developing, progressing. Growth is the sign of youthfulness and there is no limit to the growth of consciousness. I know old people of twenty and young people of fifty, sixty, seventy. And if one does manual work, one keeps in good health. 
To this general education of the senses and their functioning there will be added, as early as possible, the cultivation of discrimination and of the aesthetic sense, the capacity to choose and adopt what is beautiful and harmonious, simple, healthy and pure. For there is a psychological health just as there is a Physical health, a beauty and harmony of the sensations as of the body and its movements. As the capacity of understanding grows in the child, he should be taught, in the course of his education, to add artistic taste and refinement to power and precision. He should be shown, led to appreciate, taught to love beautiful, lofty, healthy and noble things, whether in Nature or in human creation. 
The body in its normal state, that is to say, when there is no intervention of mental notions or vital impulses, also knows very well what is good and necessary for it; but for this to be effective in practice, one must educate the child with care and teach him to distinguish his desires from his needs. He should be helped to develop a taste for food that is simple and healthy, substantial and appetising, but free from any useless complications. In his daily food, all that merely stuffs and causes heaviness should be avoided; and above all, he must be taught to eat according to his hunger, neither more nor less, and not to make his meals an occasion to satisfy his greed or gluttony. From one's very childhood, one should know that one eats in order to give strength and health to the body and not to enjoy the pleasures of the palate. Children should be given food that suits their temperament, prepared in a way that ensures hygiene and cleanliness, that is pleasant to the taste and yet very simple. This food should be chosen and apportioned according to the age of the child and his regular activities. It should contain all the chemical and dynamic elements that are necessary for his development and the balanced growth of every part of his body. 
This is the Higher Mind in its aspect of cognition; but there is also the aspect of will, of dynamic effectuation of the Truth: here we find that this greater more brilliant Mind works always on the rest of the being, the mental will, the heart and its feelings, the life, the body, through the power of thought, through the idea-force. It seeks to purify through knowledge, to deliver through knowledge, to create by the innate power of knowledge. The idea is put into the heart or the life as a force to be accepted and worked out; the heart and life become conscious of the idea and respond to its dynamisms and their substance begins to modify itself in that sense, so that the feelings and actions become the vibrations of this higher wisdom, are informed with it, filled with the emotion and the sense of it: the will and the life impulses are similarly charged with its power and its urge of self-effectuation; even in the body the idea works so that, for example, the potent thought and will of health replaces its faith in illness and its consent to illness, or the idea of strength calls in the substance, power, motion, vibration of strength; the idea generates the force and form proper to the idea and imposes it on our substance of mind, life or matter. It is in this way that the first working proceeds; it charges the whole being with a new and superior consciousness, lays a foundation of change, prepares it for a superior truth of existence. 
What are the Prerequisites?
…whatever the effort, whatever the difficulty, whatever time it takes, whatever number of lives, you must know that all this doesn't matter: you KNOW you ARE the Master, that the Master and you are the same. All that's necessary is ... to know it INTEGRALLY, and nothing must belie it. That's the way out.
When I tell people that their health depends on their inner life (an intermediate inner life, not the deepest), it's because of this. 
In its normal state, the body always feels that it is not its own master: illnesses invade it without its really being able to resist them—a thousand factors impose themselves or exert pressure upon it. Its sole power is the power to defend itself, to react. Once the illness has got in, it can fight and overcome it—even modern medicine has acknowledged that the body is cured only when it decides to get cured; it is not the drugs per se that heal, for if the ailment is temporarily suppressed by a drug without the body's will, it grows up again elsewhere in some other form until the body itself has decided to be cured. But this implies only a defensive power, the power to react against an invading enemy—it is not true freedom.
But with the supramental manifestation, something new has taken place in the body: it feels it is its own master, autonomous, with its two feet solidly on the ground, as it were. This gives a physical impression of the whole being suddenly drawing itself up, with its head lifted high—I am my own master. 
You may have a physical aspiration also; that the body may feel the need to acquire a kind of equipoise in which all the parts of the being will be well balanced, and that you may have the power to hold off illness at a distance or overcome it fast when it enters trickily, and that the body may always function normally, harmoniously, in perfect health. That is a physical aspiration. 
The faith in spiritual things that is asked of the sadhak is not an ignorant but a luminous faith, a faith in light and not in darkness. It is called blind by the sceptical intellect because it refuses to be guided by outer appearances or seeming facts,—for it looks to the truth behind,—and does not walk on the crutches of proof and evidence. It is an intuition,—an intuition not only waiting for experience to justify it, but leading towards experience. If I believe in self-healing, I shall after a time find out the way to heal myself—if I have faith in transformation, I can end by laying my hand on and unravelling the whole process of transformation. But if I begin with doubt and go on with more doubt, how far am I likely to go on the journey? 
For the spiritual life to give and not to demand is the rule. The sadhak however can ask for the Divine Force to aid him in keeping his health or recovering it if he does that as part of his sadhana so that his body may be able and fit for the spiritual life and a capable instrument for the Divine Work. 
Whatever it may be—the power of the illness to prevent the sadhana ought not to exist. The Yogic consciousness and its activities must be there whether there is health or illness. 
How to Deal with Pain?
To heal [illness] by the true force is obviously the best—provided the body is amenable. It has a consciousness of its own which must be fully enlightened before it gives a full response. 
It is only by emerging from the mind's prison and consciously soaring into the light of the spirit that, through a conscious union with the Divine, we will be able to let Him give us back the balance and health which we have lost. 
… what is not good is too much preoccupation with it, anxiety, despondency in illness etc., for these things only favour the prolongation of ill-health or weakness. 
Knowledge, when it goes to the root of our troubles, has in itself a marvellous healing-power as it were. As soon as you touch the quick of the trouble, as soon as you, diving down and down, get at what really ails you, the pain disappears as though by a miracle. Unflinching courage to reach true knowledge is therefore the very essence of yoga. No lasting superstructure can be erected except on a solid basis of true Knowledge.... 
The body had based its sort of sense of good health on a certain number of vibrations, and whenever those vibrations were present, it felt in good health; when something came and disturbed them, it felt that it was about to fall ill or that it was ill, depending on the intensity. All that has changed now: those basic vibrations have simply been removed, they no longer exist; the vibrations on which the body based its sense of good or ill health—removed. They are replaced by something else, and something else of such a nature that "good health" and "illness" have lost all meaning! Now, there is the sense of an established harmony among the cells, increasingly established among the cells, which represents the right functioning, whatever that may be: it's no longer a question of a stomach or a heart or this or that. And the slightest thing that comes and disturbs that harmony is VERY painful, but at the same time there is the knowledge of what to do to reestablish the harmony instantly; and if the harmony is reestablished, the functioning isn't affected. But if out of curiosity, for instance (it's a mental illness in humans), you start asking yourself, "What's that? What effect will it have? What's going to happen?" (what the body calls "the desire to learn"), if you are unlucky enough to be that way, you can be sure (laughing) that you'll have something very unpleasant which, according to the doctor (according to ignoramuses), becomes an illness or disrupts the body's functioning. While if you don't have that unhealthy curiosity and, on the contrary, will the harmony not to be disrupted, you only have to, we could say poetically, bring one drop of the Lord on the troubled spot for everything to be fine again. 
Useful Practices for Dealing with Pain
But there is a preparation which may be of a general kind. That is, to accustom the body methodically to understand that it is only the outer expression of a truer and deeper reality and that it is this truer and deeper reality which governs its destiny―though it is not usually aware of it.
One can prepare the body through a series of observations, studies, understandings,by showing it examples, making it understand things as one makes a child understand them, either by observing its own movements―but generally, in this, one is comparatively blind!―or by observing those of others. And in a more general way, this preparation will be based on recognised studies, on clear facts. Like this, for instance: that a certain number of persons, placed in exactly similar circumstances, experience, each one of them, very different effects. One may go even further: in a given set of definite circumstances, there is a certain number of particular, definite individuals, in apparently quite identical conditions, and for some the effects are catastrophic, while others escape without any harm.
During the war there was a very large number of such examples for study. In epidemics it is the same thing; in cataclysms of Nature, like tidal waves or earthquakes or cyclones, it is the same thing. The body understands these things if they are shown and explained to it as one explains things to a child: "You see, there was something else that acted there, not only the plain material fact by itself." And, unless some bad will is there, it understands.
This is a preparation.
Gradually, if you make use of this understanding, you must, with a methodical work of infusing consciousness into the cells of the body, infuse at the same time the truth of the divine Presence. This work takes time, but, if done methodically and constantly, it produces an effect.
So you have prepared the ground.
Suppose that as a result of some illness or other, there is some sort of pain at a precise spot. At that moment all will depend, as I said at the beginning, on the approach most familiar to you. But we can give an example. You are in pain, in great pain; it is hurting very much, you are suffering a lot.
First point: do not stress the pain by telling yourself, "Oh, how painful! Oh, this pain is unbearable! Oh, it is being worse and worse, I shall never be able to bear it", etc., all this sort of thing. The more you go on thinking like this and feeling like this and the more your attention is concentrated on it, the pain increases amazingly. So, the first point: to control yourself sufficiently not to do that.
Second point: as I said, it depends on your habits. If you know how to concentrate, to be quiet, and if you can bring into yourself a certain peace, of any kind―it may be a mental peace, it may be a vital peace, it may be a psychic peace; they have different values and qualities, this is an individual question―you try to realise within yourself a state of peace or attempt to enter into a conscious contact with a force of peace.... Suppose you succeed more or less completely. Then, if you can draw the peace into yourself and bring it down into the solar plexus―for we are not talking of inner states but of your physical body―and from there direct it very calmly, very slowly I might say, but very persistently, towards the place where the pain is more or less sharp, and fix it there, this is very good. This is not always enough.
But if by widening this movement you can add a sort of mental formation with a little life in it―not just cold, but with a little life in it―that the only reality is the divine Reality, and all the cells of this body are a more or less deformed expression of this divine Reality―there is only one Reality, the Divine, and our body is a more or less deformed expression of this sole Reality―if by my aspiration, my concentration, I can bring into the cells of the body the consciousness of this sole Reality, all disorder must necessarily cease.
If you can add to that a movement of complete and trusting surrender to the Grace, then I am sure that within five minutes your suffering will disappear. If you know how to do it.
You may try and yet not succeed. But you must know how to try again and again and again, until you do succeed. But if you do those three things at the same time, well, there is no pain which can resist. 
… it is the conscious will which acts on matter, not the material fact.
But you only have to try it, you will understand very well what I mean. For instance, all the movements you make when dressing, taking your bath, tidying your room… no matter what; make them consciously, with the will that this muscle should work, that muscle should[p.155] work. You will see, you will obtain really amazing results. Going up and down the stairs—you cannot imagine how useful that can be from the point of view of physical culture, if you know how to make use of it. Instead of going up because you are going up and coming down because you are coming down, like any ordinary man, you go up with the consciousness of all the muscles which are working and of making them work harmoniously. You will see. Just try a little, you will see! This means that you can use all the movements of your life for a harmonious development of your body.
You bend down to pick something up, you stretch up to find something right at the top of a cupboard, you open a door, you close it, you have to go round an obstacle, there are a hundred and one things you do constantly and which you can make use of for your physical culture and which will demonstrate to you that it is the consciousness you put into it which produces the effect, a hundred times more than just the material fact of doing it. So, you choose the method you like best, but you can use the whole of your daily life in this way…. To think constantly of the harmony of the body, of the beauty of the movements, of not doing anything that is ungraceful and awkward. You can obtain a rhythm of movement and gesture which is very exceptional. 
Useful Practices for keeping Good Health
It is only by correcting your way of living that you can hope to secure good health. 
It is your body that does not feel very strong and is sad because it does not have a sound balance of health. The best cure is plenty of open-air exercise and abundant food. 
Only when you become absolutely regular in your material life will you be able to have good health. 
The ordinary period of sleep most people give themselves is 8 hours. In bad health (I am not speaking of acute illness) it can extend to 9. 12 hours is excessive unless one is seriously ill or recovering from illness or else has underslept for a long time and the body is making up arrears of needed sleep. 
By Quietude and Peace
The first thing to do is to keep throughout a perfect equanimity and not to allow thoughts of disturbed anxiety or depression to enter you. What you have to do is to remain calm and confident and not worry or be restless—be perfectly quiet and prepared to rest as long as rest is needed. There is nothing to be anxious about; rest, and the health and strength will come. [as told to a person recovering from a severe attack of influenza] 
Remain quiet, within, concentrated only on receiving strength and health, confident that we are with you all the time, and you will soon be all right. 
As for curing you by the Force, the main obstacle is your own vital movements. All this egoistic insistence on your own ideas, claims, preferences—assertion of your own righteousness as against the wickedness of others, complaints, quarrels, disputes, rancours against those around you and the reactions they cause—have had this effect on your liver and stomach and nerves. If you give up all that and live quietly and at peace with others, thinking less of yourself and others and more of the Divine, it would make things much easier and help to restore your health. Quietness of the mind in facing your illness is also necessary—agitation stops the action of the Force. 
Catch hold of a peace deep within and push it into the cells of the body. With the peace will come back the health. 
These pains [nervous pain in the stomach] are a part of the pressure of the old nature on the body; that is why we consider it can only be healed by the Peace and Power bringing a new movement of the physical nature there. In the stage of the struggle between the two natures, the peace does not always remain, but it will remain longer and longer as you get the habit of opening constantly to it. 
By Sincerity and Aspiration
Naturally, it is always the same thing: one must... must sincerely want to be healed, for otherwise it does not work. If one wants to have the experience solely for the experience's sake and then the next minute one returns to what one was before, this does not work. But if sincerely one wants to be healed, if one has a real aspiration to overcome the obstacle, to rise—rise above oneself, to give up all that pulls one back, to break the limits, become clear, purify oneself of all that blocks the way, if truly one has the intense will not to fall back into past errors, to surge up from the darkness and ignorance, to rise into the light, stripped of all that is too human, too small, too ignorant—then that works. It works, works powerfully. At times it works definitively and totally. But there must be nothing that clings to the old movements, keeps quiet at the moment, hides itself, and then later shows its face and says, "Yes, yes, it is very fine, your experience, but now it is my turn!" Then, when that happen, I do not answer for anything, because sometimes, as a reaction it becomes worse. That is why I always come back to the same thing, say always the same thing: one must be truly sincere, truly. 
By Calling the Force
Q. Mother, is it possible to develop in oneself the capacity to heal?
A: In principle, everything is possible by uniting consciously with the Divine Force. But a method has to be found, and this depends on the case and the individual.
The first condition is to have a physical nature that gives energy rather than draws energy from others. The second indispensable condition is to know how to draw energy from above, from the inexhaustible impersonal source. 
Each spot of the body is symbolical of an inner movement; there is there a world of subtle correspondences.... The particular place in the body affected by an illness is an index to the nature of the inner disharmony that has taken place. It points to the origin, it is a sign of the cause of the ailment. It reveals too the nature of the resistance that prevents the whole being from advancing at the same high speed. It indicates the treatment and the cure. If one could perfectly understand where the mistake is, find out what has been unreceptive, open that part and put the force and the light there, it would be possible to re-establish in a moment the harmony that has been disturbed and the illness would immediately go. 
To separate yourself from the thing and call in the Mother's force to cure it [is the Yogic method]—or else to use your own will force with faith in the power to heal, having the support of the Mother's force behind you. If you cannot use either of these methods then you must rely on the action of the medicine. 
Illness must not be accepted as a means of transformation; it rather indicates certain difficulties encountered by the force of transformation especially in the vital and the body. But it is not necessary that these difficulties should be allowed to take this obscure form of illness. All illness should be rejected and all suggestions of illness; the Force should be called in to cure by the assent to health and the refusal of assent to the suggestions that bring or prolong its opposite.  The complete immunity from all illness for which our Yoga tries can only come by a total and permanent enlightenment of the below from above resulting in the removal of the psychological roots of ill health—it cannot be done otherwise. 
...one can pass from a more or less mechanical, more or less efficient and real japa, to the true japa full of power and light. I even wondered if this difference is what the tantrics call the 'power' of the japa. For example, the other day I was down with a cold. Each time I opened my mouth, there was a spasm in the throat and I coughed and coughed. Then a fever came. So I looked, I saw where it was coming from, and I decided that it had to stop. I got up to do my japa as usual, and I started walking back and forth in my room. I had to apply a certain will. Of course, I could do my japa in trance, I could walk in trance while repeating the japa, because then you feel nothing, none of all the body's drawbacks. But the work has to be done in the body! So I got up and started doing my japa. Then, with each word pronounced—the Light, the full Power. A power that heals everything. I began the japa tired, ill, and I came out of it refreshed, rested, cured. So those who tell me they come out of it exhausted, contracted, emptied, it means that they are not doing it in the true way. 
You have resistances in your body, haven't you? When you want to do an exercise, can you do with your body whatever you want? And when you try to be in good health, does your body always obey? And when you want to learn your lesson, does your brain follow it without difficulty?... That is the resistance, it is all that refuses to progress. And I believe that unfortunately the amount of resistance is much greater than the amount of receptivity. One must work very hard to become receptive. 
...you cannot imagine the immense flood of force that is at your disposal! And generally you do not feel it even. When you feel it, something in you shrinks because it is too much and produces a kind of instinctive fear in your cells; and when you receive it, more than three-quarters of it is thrown away like an overfilled vessel! It gushes out, spills over, because you are not able to hold it. I have met a very large number of people who complained that they were receiving nothing, that is to say, they said they did not have the forces they needed. It was because they were absolutely incapable of receiving them, and there was a hundred thousand times more force than what they could receive. It is like that. You are all in a sea of tremendous vibrations, and you are not at all aware of it because you are not receptive. And there is such a resistance in you that if something succeeds in entering, three quarters of what enters is thrown out violently because you are not able to contain it. ... It is something unbelievable. For example, just take the consciousness of the Forces, like the force of love, the force of understanding or the force of creation (for everything, it is the same: the force of protection, the force of growth, all that, and the power for progress, for everything). 
To begin with, the first condition: to remain as quiet as possible. You may notice that in the different parts of your being, when something comes and you do not receive it, this produces a shrinking—there is something which hardens in the vital, the mind or the body. There is a stiffening and this hurts, one feels a mental, vital or physical pain. So, the first thing is to put one's will and relax this shrinking, as one does a twitching nerve or a cramped muscle; you must learn how to relax, be able to relieve this tension in whatever part of the being it may be.
The method of relaxing the contraction may be different in the mind, the vital or the body, but logically it is the same thing. Once you have relaxed the tension, you see first if the disagreeable effect ceases, which would prove that it was a small momentary resistance, but if the pain continues and if it is indeed necessary to increase the receptivity in order to be able to receive what is helpful, what should be received, you must, after having relaxed this contraction, begin trying to widen yourself—you feel you are widening yourself. There are many methods. Some find it very useful to imagine they are floating on water with a plank under their back. Then they widen themselves, widen, until they become the vast liquid mass. Others make an effort to identify themselves with the sky and the stars, so they widen, widen themselves, identifying themselves more and more with the sky. Others again don't need these pictures; they can become conscious of their consciousness, enlarge their consciousness more and more until it becomes unlimited. One can enlarge it till it becomes vast as the earth and even the universe. When one does that one becomes really receptive. As I have said, it is a question of training. In any case, from an immediate point of view, when something comes and one feels that it is too strong, that it gives a headache, that one can't bear it, the method is just the same, you must act upon the contraction. One can act through thought, by calling the peace, tranquillity (the feeling of peace takes away much of the difficulty) like this: "Peace, peace, peace... tranquillity... calm." Many discomforts, even physical, like all these contractions of the solar plexus, which are so unpleasant and give you at times nausea, the sensation of being suffocated, of not being able to breathe again, can disappear thus. It is the nervous centre which is affected, it gets affected very easily. As soon as there is something which affects the solar plexus, you must say, "Calm... calm... calm", become more and more calm until the tension is destroyed. 
To medical knowledge and experience, add full faith in the Divine's Grace and your healing capacity will have no limits. 
Q. Can mere faith create all, conquer all?
A: Yes, but it must be an integral faith and it must be absolute. And it must be of the right kind, not merely a force of mental thought or will, but something more and deeper. The will put forth by the mind sets up opposite reactions and creates a resistance. You must have heard something of the method of Coué in healing diseases. He knew some secret of this power and utilised it with considerable effect; but he called it imagination and his method gave the faith he called up too mental a form. Mental faith is not sufficient; it must be completed and enforced by a vital and even a physical faith, a faith of the body. If you can create in yourself an integral force of this kind in all your being, then nothing can resist it; but you must reach down to the most subconscious, you must fix the faith in the very cells of the body. 
...the healing by faith in the cells is an actual fact and a law of Nature and has been demonstrated often enough even apart from Yoga. The way to get faith and everything else is to insist on having them and refuse to flag or despair or give up until one has them—it is the way by which everything has been got since this difficult world began to have thinking and aspiring creatures upon it. It is to open always, always to the Light and turn one's back on the darkness. It is to refuse the voices that cry persistently, "You cannot, you shall not, you are incapable, you are the puppet of a dream"—for these are the enemy voices, they cut one off from the result that was coming by their strident clamour and then triumphantly point to the barrenness of result as a proof of their thesis. The difficulty of the endeavour is a known thing, but the difficult is not the impossible—it is the difficult that has always been accomplished and the conquest of difficulties makes up all that is valuable in the earth's history. In the spiritual endeavour also it shall be so. 
One sees the negative side only during the attack, because the first thing the attack or obstruction does is to try to cloud the mind's intelligence. If it cannot do that, it is difficult for it to prevail altogether for the time being. For if the mind remains alert and clings to the truth, then the attack can only upheave the vital and, though this may be painful enough, yet the right attitude of the mind acts as a corrective and makes it easier to recover the balance and the true condition of the vital comes back more quickly. If the vital keeps its balance, then the attack touches the physical consciousness only with its suggestions and is much more superficial or even it can do no more than create a temporary restlessness, uneasiness or ill-health in the body—the rest of the consciousness remaining unaffected. It is therefore very important to accustom oneself to keep the right mental attitude even in the midst of an attack, however strong it is. To keep faith is the best help for that—the faith that the Divine is there always and I shall pass to Him through whatever trials. That helps to look at other things also in the true light. 
These auto-suggestions [of being restored to good health]—it is really faith in a mental form—act both on the subliminal and the subconscient. In the subliminal they set in action the powers of the inner being, its occult power to make thought, will or simple conscious force effective on the body—in the subconscient they silence or block the suggestions of death and illness (expressed or unexpressed) that prevent the return of health. They help also to combat the same things (adverse suggestions) in the mind, vital, body consciousness. Where all this is completely done or with some completeness, the effects can be very remarkable. 
Through Calm Presence
[Mother’s experiences of the Body consciousness] I have noticed something very interesting. Suppose there is a pain, some sign or other that something in the body is out of order. In the consciousness—in the consciousness—you are absolutely indifferent, which means that whether it's life or death, disease or health, there is equality; but if the body reacts according to its old habit, "What should be done to get over it?" and all that it involves (I am not speaking of a reaction in the mind, but here, in the body), the thing takes root. Why? Because it has to stay there... (laughing) to enable you to study it! If, on the other hand, the cells have learned their lesson and say right away, "Lord, Your presence" (without words—the attitude), pfft! the thing goes. 
But it keeps increasing, and that sort of "crouching" is greatly lessened by the knowledge and experience that if you are per-fect-ly calm, all goes well—always, even in the worst difficulties.... Very recently, the day before yesterday, there was (always on the physical level; it can't be called "health," but it's the body's functioning) a rather serious attack, which found expression in a rather unpleasant pain; it came with unusual brutality. Then, immediately, the body remembered and said, "Peace, peace... Lord, Your Peace, Lord, Your Peace..." and it relaxed in Peace. And in an objectively perceptible way, the pain went away. 
A suggestion is not one's own thought or feeling, but a thought or feeling that comes from outside, from others, from the general atmosphere or from external Nature,—if it is received, it sticks and acts on the being and is taken to be one's own thought or feeling. If it is recognised as a suggestion, then it can be more easily got rid of. This feeling of doubt and self-distrust and hopelessness about oneself is a thing moving about in the atmosphere and trying to enter into people and be accepted; I want you to reject it, for its presence not only produces trouble and distress but stands in the way of restoration of health and return to the inner activity of the sadhana. 
When you have a thought, a well-made mental formation which goes out of you, it becomes an independent entity and continues on its way and it does that for which it was made. It continues to act independently of you. That is why you must be on your guard. If you have made such a formation and it has gone out, it has gone out to do its work; and after a time you find out that it was perhaps not a very happy thing to have a thought like that, that this formation was not very beneficial; now that it has gone out, it is very difficult for you to get hold of it again. You must have considerable occult knowledge. It has gone out and is moving on its way.... Supposing in a moment of great anger (I do not say that you do so, but still when you were in quite a rage against someone, you said: "Ah! couldn't some misfortune befall him?" Your formation has gone on its way. It has gone out and you have no longer any control over it; and it goes and organises some misfortune or other: it is going to do its work. And after sometime the misfortune arrives. Happily, you do not usually have sufficient knowledge to tell yourself: "Oh! It is I who am responsible", but that is the truth.
Note that this power of formation has a great advantage, if one knows how to use it. You can make good formations and if you make them properly, they will act in the same way as the others. You can do a lot of good to people just by sitting quietly in your room, perhaps even more good than by undergoing a lot of trouble externally. If you know how to think correctly, with force and intelligence and kindness, if you love someone and wish him well very sincerely, deeply, with all your heart, that does him much good, much more certainly than you think. I have said this often; for example, to those who are here, who learn that someone in their family is very ill and feel that childish impulse of wanting to rush immediately to the spot to attend to the sick person. I tell you, unless it is an exceptional case and there is nobody to attend on the sick person (and at times even in such a case), if you know how to keep the right attitude and concentrate with affection and good will upon the sick person, if you know how to pray for him and make helpful formations, you will do him much more good than if you go to nurse him, feed him, help him wash himself, indeed all that everybody can do. Anybody can nurse a person. But not everybody can make good formations and send out forces that act for healing. 
But with regard to health, whenever I had an illness (for me it was never an "illness," it was still part of the blows), I had a trust, a complete assurance that it had no reality. And very young (very young, maybe around the age of thirteen or fourteen), every time a blow came, I would tell my body, "But what's the use of being ill since you'll just have to get well!" And that stayed until I was over thirty: what's the use of being ill since you have to get well? And it faded away only little by little, with that growing pessimism. 
A bad suggestion acts very strongly upon it; a good suggestion operates in the contrary sense with the same force. Depression and discouragement have a very adverse effect; they cut out holes in it, as it were, in its very stuff, render it weak and unresisting and open to hostile attacks an easy passage. 
But when you have had either an experience or, like this, some kind of phenomenon or an illness (above all in the case of illness or even an accident), the body remembers for a very long time. If you want to be completely cured, you must cure this memory in the body, this is absolutely indispensable. And whether you know it or not, you work in order to cure the memory in the body. When the remembrance is effaced, the body is truly healed.
Unfortunately, instead of destroying the remembrance, you push it back. Most of the time you push it down into the subconscient and sometimes into the inconscient, still more deep. Well now, if it is pushed back, if it is not completely effaced, then very gently, very gently, without seeming to do so at all it comes up to the surface; and something of which you have been cured for years, if by chance it crosses your mind simply like that, just like a little dart, as fast as that, like a passing dart: “Why, at this time I had that”, you may be sure that sooner or later—a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours or days later, it will return. You can… It may come back in a much milder form, it may come back in the same form, it may come even more strongly. That depends on your inner state. If you are in a pessimistic state, it will come back more strongly. If you are in an optimistic state, it will be much weaker. But it will come back and you will have to begin the battle all over again against the memory of your body so as to destroy it—if this time you are more attentive. If you can destroy it, you are cured. But if you don’t destroy it, it will return. It will take a longer or shorter time, it will be more or less total, but it will return. It can come back in a flash. If you are wide awake and, when it returns, if you have enough knowledge and indeed enough clear-sightedness to tell yourself, “Well, here is that wretched remembrance come back again to play its tricks”, then you can give, can strike a violent blow and indeed destroy its reality. If you know how to do this, then it is an opportunity to get rid of the thing immediately. But it is not very easy to do this.
Pavitra: How to do it?
How to do it? (Mother laughs.) How to do it? It is the same thing as, the same method as, knowing how to destroy a formation, you understand.
It is a certain strength to dissolve things, which can undo formations. It depends on the nature of the formations. If it is like this, a formations of an adverse kind, then you need the force of a perfectly pure constructive light. If you have this at your disposal, all that you have to do is to bombard the thing with it, and you can dissolve it. But it is an operation which must be performed with inner forces; it cannot be done physically. That is why all physical remedies, you see, are simply palliatives; they are not cures, because they are not strong enough to touch the living centre of the thing. 
There is a kind of unconscious fluidity between people, I have told you this I don’t know how many times; it produces a mixture, all that, as soon as it is no longer altogether material… It’s because you have a skin that you don’t enter into one another like that; otherwise even the subtle physical, you see… like a kind of almost perceptible vapour which goes out from bodies, which is the subtle physical, it intermingles terribly, and it produces all kinds of reactions, constantly, of one person upon another.
One may without knowing why, without having the least idea of the cause, pass precisely from a harmony of good health to a disequilibrium and a great uneasiness! One doesn't know why, there is no outer cause, suddenly it happens; one may have been peaceful, content, in at least a pleasant, tolerable condition, then all of a sudden to become furious, discontented, uneasy! One doesn't know why, there is no reason. One may have been full of joy, gaiety, enthusiasm, and then, without any apparent reason, one is sad, morose, depressed, discouraged! It happens sometimes that one is in a state of depression, and then one passes on somewhere and everything is lit up: a light, a joy—why one becomes suddenly optimistic! This of course is rare—it can also happen, it is the same thing, it is also contagious; but still one risks much more catching destructive rather than constructive things. 
The yogi or aspiring yogi who does asanas to obtain a spiritual result or even simply a control over his body, obtains these results because it is with this aim that he does them, whereas I know some people who do exactly the same things but for all sorts of reasons unrelated to spiritual development, and who haven't even managed to acquire good health by it! And yet they do exactly the same thing, sometimes they even do it much better than the yogi, but it doesn't give them a stable health... because they haven't thought about it, haven't done it with this purpose in mind. I have asked them myself, I said, "But how can you be ill after doing all that?"—"Oh! but I never thought of it, that's not why I do it." This amounts to saying that it is the conscious will which acts on matter, not the material fact. 
Prolonged fasting may lead to an excitation of the nervous being which often brings vivid imaginations and hallucinations that are taken for true experiences; such fasting is frequently suggested by the vital Entities because it puts the consciousness into an unbalanced state which favours their designs. It is there fore discouraged here. The rule to be followed is that laid down by the Gita which says that "Yoga is not for one who eats too much or who does not eat"; a moderate use of food sufficient for the maintenance and health and strength of the body. 
There is nothing wrong in taking care of the body in regard to health and, if the liver has gone wrong, the instinct to refuse too sweet or greasy or heavy foods is a right instinct. Mother has no objection to your abstaining while the illness is there.... Her objection is only to what people often do, getting ideas about this or that food and abstaining even when there is no acute illness. During an acute state of bad liver, abstinence is often necessary. Only one must not create by wrong ideas a nervous incapacity of the stomach or a chronic nervous dyspepsia. She had no other meaning. 
...quarrelsomeness opens him to all all sorts of forces of the vital plane and their attacks. ...for anger and quarrelsomeness always tend to spoil the liver and through it the stomach and intestines. ...He must get rid of his egoism, quarrelsomeness and bad feelings towards other, if he wants to recover his health and his sadhana. 
Medical Science has been more a curse to mankind than a blessing. It has broken the force of epidemics and unveiled a marvellous surgery; but, also, it has weakened the natural health of man and multiplied individual diseases; it has implanted fear and dependence in the mind and body; it has taught our health to repose not on natural soundness but a rickety and distasteful crutch compact from the mineral and vegetable kingdoms. [Based on Aphorism 386] 
More on Health and Healing
All the circumstances of life are arranged to teach us that, beyond mind, faith in the Divine Grace gives us the strength to go through all trials, to overcome all weaknesses and find the contact with the Divine Consciousness which gives us not only peace and joy but also physical balance and good health. [Based on Aphorism 382 - For nearly forty years behind the wholly good I was weakly in constitution; I suffered constantly from the smaller and the greater ailments and mistook this curse for a burden that Nature had laid upon me. When I renounced the aid of medicines, then they began to depart from me like disappointed parasites. Then only I understood what a mighty force was the natural health within me and how much mightier yet the Will and Faith exceeding mind which God meant to be the divine support of our life in this body.] 
Visions and experiences need not at all depend upon physical weakness or a pathological taint. It is not safe to judge from individual cases. The majority of those who have developed the faculty do not suffer from these defects. Those on the other hand who cannot keep their psychic experiences when in a robust state of health, lose them because then they get into a very external consciousness and feel at ease in it; but the true psychic does not depend for his experiences on disease. 
Green light can signify various things according to the context—in the emotional vital it is the colour of a certain form of emotional generosity, in the vital proper an activity with vital abundance or vital generosity behind it—in the vital physical it signifies a force of health. 
Do you know the story of the two simultaneous operations of E. and of T.? T. is that vice-admiral who came here and became quite enthusiastic—he had a kind of inner revelation here. The two of them were operated on for a similar complaint, a dangerous ulcer in the digestive system. He was in one town and she was in another, and they were operated on a day apart—both serious operations. And in each case, after a few days had gone by, the surgeon who did the operation said, 'I congratulate you.' Practically the same phrase in both cases. And they both protested: 'Why are you congratulating me?' (Each one wrote me about this separately; they were living far from one another and only met afterwards.) 'Why? You did the operation—you should be congratulated for my quick recovery.' And in both cases the doctor replied, 'No, no; we only operate, the body does the healing; you have healed yourself in a way which can qualify as miraculous, and I genuinely congratulate you.' And then the two of them had the same reaction—they wrote to me saying, 'We know where the miracle comes from.' And they had both called me. Moreover, E. had written me a remarkable letter a few days before her operation, where she quoted the Gita as if it were quite natural for her, and told me, 'I know that the operation is ALREADY done, that the Lord has already done it, and so I am calm.' 
Content curated by Saurav
Read Summary of Health and Healing
Dear reader, if you notice any error in the paragraph numbers in the hyperlinks, please let us know by dropping an email at firstname.lastname@example.org