Read Summary of Illness
- 1 What Is Illness?
- 2 Why Illness Develops?
- 3 How to Prevent Illness?
- 4 How to Deal with Illness?
- 5 What Are the Obstacles to Cure?
- 6 More on Illness
- 7 References
What Is Illness?
An illness is quite simply, always and in every case, even when doctors tell you there are germs—in every case it's a disequilibrium in the being: a disequilibrium between various functionings, a disequilibrium between forces.... 
...it as an imperfection of the body to be got rid of as you try to get rid of vital imperfections or mental errors.
...falsehood in the body is a falsehood in the consciousness The falsity of the consciousness naturally has material consequences... and that's what illness is!... 
Each illness represents its own vibratory mode. Each illness has its own vibratory mode; it represents a whole field of vibrations to be corrected. It's the EXACT measure of what in Matter resists the divine Influence—the exact measure, down to the atom. 
An epidemic is a collective illness and comes from a collective impurity… The forms of illness vary according to the condition of each person and his link with the whole.
In its lowest parts (vital-material) it is the agent of pain, physical illness etc. 
All life is the play of universal forces. The individual gives a personal form to these universal forces. But he can choose whether he shall respond or not to the action of a particular force. Only most people do not really choose—they undergo the play of the forces. Your illnesses, depressions etc. are the repeated play of such forces. It is only when one can make oneself free of them that one can be the true person and have a true life—but one can be free only by living in the Divine. 
Why Illness Develops?
Causes of Illness
Q.Sweet Mother, if someone falls seriously ill, is this a purely physical phenomenon or is it a difficulty in his spiritual life?
A. That depends on the person! If it is someone who is doing yoga, it is quite obviously a difficulty in his spiritual life. If it is somebody who is not at all engaged in yoga and who lives an ordinary life in the most ordinary manner, it is an ordinary accident. It depends absolutely on the person. The outer phenomena may be similar, but the inner causes are absolutely different. No two illnesses are alike, though labels are put on diseases and attempts made to group them; but in fact every person is ill in his own way, and his way depends on what he is, on his state of consciousness and the life he leads.
We have often said that illnesses are always the result of a disturbance of equilibrium, but this disturbance can occur in completely different states of being. For the ordinary man whose consciousness is centred in the physical, outer life, it is a purely physical disturbance of equilibrium, of the functioning of the different organs. But when behind this purely superficial life, an inner life is being fashioned, the causes of illness change; they always become the expression of a disequilibrium between the different parts of the being: between the inner progress or effort and the outer resistances or conditions of one's life, one's body.
Even from the ordinary external point of view, it has been recognised for a very long time that it is a fall in the resistance of the vitality due to immediate moral causes which is always at the origin of an illness. When one is in a normal state of equilibrium and lives in a normal physical harmony, the body has a capacity of resistance, it has within it an atmosphere strong enough to resist illnesses: its most material substance emanates subtle vibrations which have the strength to resist illnesses, even diseases which are called contagious—in fact, all vibrations are contagious, but still, certain diseases are considered as especially contagious. Well, a man who, even from the purely external point of view, is in a state in which his organs function harmoniously and an adequate psychological balance prevails, has at the same time enough resistance for the contagion not to affect him. But if for some reason or other he loses this equilibrium or is weakened by depression, dissatisfaction, moral difficulties or undue fatigue, for instance, this reduces the normal resistance of the body and he is open to the disease. But if we consider someone who is doing yoga, then it is altogether different, in the sense that the causes of disequilibrium are of a different nature and the illness usually becomes the expression of an inner difficulty which has to be overcome. So each one should find out for himself why he is ill. 
It's the effect of a combination of three things: bad will (at the worst, a refusal to follow the movement), a more or less total bad will; an ignorance of the laws and their consequences, that is, the causes and effects (a complete ignorance); and, of course, a form of inertia—it's all a form of inertia, but the greatest form of inertia is the incapacity to receive and respond. These three things combined are what creates diseases and so on, and the final effect—death. That is, the disintegration of created harmony. 
The nervous (vital-physical) being supports the body—if it is calm and strong and solid, then the body is well supported and can withstand illness and weakness or, if illness comes, it will bear and more easily get rid of it. If the nervous being is weak, then it is the opposite. If the nervous being is not merely weak, but nervous and unstable, over-sensitive, vehement or excitable, then there is much fluctuation, restlessness, exaltation and depression in the being—there may even be a wrongly acute creative imagination which brings in disorders into the body that are nervous and not physical—there is no physical illness of the heart but there are pains and palpitations, nothing physically wrong with stomach and intestines and yet there is inability to digest—nervous dyspepsia; pains are created in different parts of the body and so on—sometimes there is hysteria.
These conditions are not always native to the body—they are often created by troubles in the life, some disturbing illness or other reasons—but often it is due to some hereditary cause or otherwise native to the system. Women tend to get like this sometimes if there is disorder of the menstruation. 
Depression and discouragement have a very adverse effect; they cut out holes in it [nervous envelope], as it were, in its very stuff, render it weak and unresisting and open to hostile attacks an easy passage. 
...the body's whole functioning is a discipline, and if there is a part that no longer wants to follow the discipline—out of revolt or incapacity or... for any reason—if it stops following the discipline, you fall ill. 
...all disorders in the body and all diseases are the result of DOUBT in the cells or a certain group of cells. They doubt the Divine's concrete reality, they doubt the Divine Presence in them, they doubt their being divine in their very essence, and this doubt is the cause of all disorders. 
...the cause of disease is psychic, that is to say, subjective and the direction should be towards curing the inner causes much more than patching up by physical means. These are ideas that have their truth also. I fully recognise the psychic law and methods and their preferability, but the ordinary run of humanity is not ready for that rule and, while it is so, doctors and their physical methods will be there.
If you drink unfiltered water and think, "Now I am drinking impure water", you have every chance of falling sick. And even though such suggestions may not enter through the conscious mind, the whole of your subconscious is there, almost helplessly open to take any kind of suggestion. In life it is the action of the subconscious that has the larger share and it acts a hundred times more powerfully than the conscious parts.
In the subconscient there is an obscure mind full of obstinate Sanskaras [imprints or habits], impressions, associations, fixed notions, habitual reactions formed by our past, an obscure vital full of the seeds of habitual desires, sensations and nervous reactions, a most obscure material which governs much that has to do with the condition of the body. It is largely responsible for our illnesses; chronic or repeated illnesses are indeed mainly due to the subconscient and its obstinate memory and habit of repetition of whatever has impressed itself upon the body-consciousness. 
Out of the subconscious we bring ordinarily so much to the surface as our waking sense mind and intelligence need for their purpose; in so bringing them up we are not aware of their nature, origin, operation and do not apprehend them in their own values but by a translation into the values of our waking human sense and intelligence. But the risings of the subconscious, its effects upon the mind and body, are mostly automatic, uncalled for and involuntary; for we have no knowledge and therefore no control of the subconscient. It is only by an experience abnormal to us, most commonly in illness or some disturbance of balance, that we can become directly aware of something in the dumb world, dumb but very active, of our bodily being and vitality or grow conscious of the secret movements of the mechanical subhuman physical and vital mind which underlies our surface,—a consciousness which is ours but seems not ours because it is not part of our known mentality. This and much more lives concealed in the subconscience.
Yet all the time the universal forces are pouring into him without his knowing it. He is aware only of thoughts, feelings etc. that rise to the surface and these he takes for his own. Really they come from outside in mind waves, vital waves, waves of feeling and sensation etc. which take particular forms in him and rise to the surface after they have got inside. But they do not get into his body at once. He carries about with him an environmental consciousness (called by the Theosophists the aura) into which they first enter. If you can become conscious of this environmental self of yours, then you can catch the thought, passion, suggestion or force of illness, or whatever it may be, before it enters and prevent it from entering into you. If things in you are thrown out, they often do not go altogether but take refuge in this environmental atmosphere and from there try to get in again or they go to a distance outside but linger on the outskirts or even perhaps far off, waiting till they get an opportunity to attempt entrance. 
When the physical consciousness is being changed, the chief resistance comes from the subconscient. It is constantly maintaining or bringing back the inertia, weakness, obscurity, lack of intelligence which afflict the physical mind and vital or the obscure fears, desires, angers, lusts of the physical vital, or the illnesses, dullnesses, pains, incapabilities to which the body-nature is prone...
When something is erased from the subconscient so completely that it leaves no seed and thrown out of the circumconscient so completely that it can return no more, then only can we be sure that we have finished with it for ever. 
Role of the Vital
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 receive a blow in the vital, the body suffers the consequence. More than half of our illnesses are the result of blows of this kind, and this happens much more often than one believes. Only, men are not conscious of their vital, and as they are not conscious they don't know that fifty per cent of their illnesses are the result of what happens in the vital: shocks, accidents, fighting, ill-will.... Externally this is translated by an illness. If one knows how it reacts on the physical, one goes to its source and can cure oneself in a few hours.
Unfortunately, there is the vital which pokes its nose into the affair and takes a very perverse pleasure in increasing, twisting, sharpening the suffering. Now this deforms the whole system because instead of being an indicator, sometimes it becomes an occasion for enjoying the illness, for making oneself interesting, and also having the opportunity to pity oneself—all kinds of things which all come from the vital and are all detestable, one more than another. 
Illness in the body is like impurity in the vital,...It may happen that in throwing out the illness (the attacking force) one throws out also something within, some impurity which helped it to come, but that is the result of a Force working within and not of the illness. It is quite possible that an illness or attack can be transferred in this way from one to another and indeed it very commonly happens… 
...one must be very careful and look at oneself with great discrimination to discover the small part in oneself that—how to put it?—takes pleasure in being ill. Oh! there are many reasons. There are people who are ill out of spite, there are people who are ill out of hate, there are people who are ill through despair, there are people... And these are not formidable movements: it is quite a small movement in the being: one is vexed and says: "You will see what is going to happen, you will see the consequences of what he has done to me! Let it come! I am going to be ill." One does not say it openly to oneself, for one would scold oneself, but there is something somewhere that thinks in that way. 
...vital when left to itself often invites illness, it finds it dramatic—thinks it makes it interesting to others, likes to indulge the tamas, etc. etc. 
Diseases, accidents, catastrophes, wars, all that, is because the human material consciousness is so small, so narrow that it has a rabid taste for drama. And of course, behind there is the vital being having fun, influences too... anyway all that enjoys an opportunity to delay the divine Work and make things difficult. And all that takes pleasure in that naturally encourages drama. But the seed of the difficulty is that pettiness, extreme pettiness of the physical consciousness—the material physical consciousness—which has an absolutely perverse taste for drama. Drama—the slightest thing has to make a drama: if you have a toothache, it becomes a drama; if you bang against something, it becomes a drama; if two nations quarrel, it becomes a drama—everything becomes a drama. The taste for drama. The slightest upset in the body, the least disorder, which should go completely unnoticed, oh, it makes a big fuss,a drama. The taste for drama. 
Role of Suggestions
The feeling of illness is at first only a suggestion; it becomes a reality because your physical consciousness accepts it. It is like a wrong suggestion in the mind; if the mind accepts it, it becomes clouded and confused and has to struggle back into harmony and clearness. It is so with the body consciousness and illness. 
When a force is thrown on you or a vibration of illness, it carries to the body this suggestion. A wave comes in the body—with a certain vibration in it, the body remembers "cold" or feels the vibrations of a cold and begins to cough or sneeze or to feel chill—the suggestion comes to the mind in the form, "I am weak, I don't feel well, I am catching a cold." That is how illnesses try to come from one person to another—they attack, by a suggestion like this or otherwise, the nervous being and try to come in. Even if the illness is not contagious, this often happens, but it comes more easily in contagious illnesses.The suggestion or touch has to be thrown off at once. 
The first thing from which you must cure yourself once for ever, is Fear. It is more dangerous than the worst disease. 
If there is one mental disorder which can bring about all illnesses, it is fear. 
Not be afraid of falling ill! That's what. You see, they say, "But I AM ill." They put it the other way around: they say they're ill, and so they are afraid. It's not true! They are afraid first, and then they fall ill. They constantly live with a sort of apprehension: "Oh, what's going to happen?" So something happens! (Mother laughs) The poor body feels that's what is expected of it, and it obeys! 
Mental fear—all who have a little control over themselves or any human dignity can eliminate it; vital fear is more subtle and asks for a greater control; as for physical fear, a veritable yoga is necessary to overcome it, for the cells of the body are afraid of everything that is unpleasant, painful, and as soon as there is any unease, even if it is insignificant, the cells of the body become anxious, they don't like to be uncomfortable. And then, to overcome that, the control of a conscious will is necessary. It is usually this kind of fear that opens the door to illnesses. And I am not speaking of the first two types of fear which, as I said, any human being who wants to be human in the noblest sense of the word, must overcome, for that is cowardice. But physical fear is more difficult to overcome; without it even the most violent attacks could be repelled. If one has a minimum of control over the body, one can lessen its effects, but that is not immunity. It is this kind of trembling of material, physical fear in the cells of the body which aggravates all illnesses. 
We know that fear always brings what one fears. If you fear an accident, this acts like a magnet drawing the accident towards you. In this see, it may be said that it is the result of character. And the same thing holds for illness. There are people who can move about among the sick and in places where there are epidemics and never catch a disease. There are others—it is enough for them to spend an hour with a sick person, they catch the illness. That too depends on what they are within themselves. 
The two things together: possession and fear, a sort of fearfulness. And a sense of helplessness in all that. The possession by an idea and a helplessness to reject it, and a fear, a helplessness to resist. And then a sort of fearfulness that is translated in us by, "Oh, it's going to be that way... oh, it's going to be a disease...." 
In fact, ninety per cent of illnesses are the result of the subconscient fear of the body. In the ordinary consciousness of the body there is a more or less hidden anxiety about the consequences of the slightest physical disturbance. It can be translated by these words of doubt about the future: "And what will happen?" It is this anxiety that must be checked. Indeed this anxiety is a lack of confidence in the Divine's Grace, the unmistakable sign that the consecration is not complete and perfect. 
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.
Human life and mind are neither in tune with Nature like the animals nor with Spirit—it [human nature] is disturbed, incoherent, conflicting with itself, without harmony and balance. We can then regard it as diseased, if not itself a disease. 
The mind with its dogmas, its rigid and arbitrary principles, the vital with its passions, its excesses and dissipations soon destroy the natural balance of the body and create in it fatigue, exhaustion and disease. It must be freed from this tyranny and this can be done only through a constant union with the psychic centre of the being. 
The human body has always been in the habit of answering to whatever forces chose to lay hands on it and illness is the price it pays for its inertia and ignorance.  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. 
...there is a group of such [feed upon human vitality thrown out of the body by emotions and excitements] small entities, they may clash with one another, because among themselves they do not have a very peaceful life: clashing with one another, fighting, destroying, demolishing each other. And that is the origin of microbes. They are forces of disintegration. But they continue to be alive even in their divided forms and this is the origin of germs and microbes. Therefore most microbes have behind them a bad will and that is what makes them so dangerous. And unless one knows the quality and kind of bad will and is capable of acting upon it, there is a ninety-nine per cent chance of not finding the true and complete remedy. The microbe is a very material expression of something living in a subtle physical world and that is why these very microbes... that are always around you, within you, for years together do not make you ill and then suddenly they make you fall ill. 
They speak of viruses, they speak of microbes, they speak... but we are entirely made up of those things! It's only their interplay, their way of adjusting and harmonizing among themselves that makes all the difference. There is nothing that isn't a "microbe" or a "virus"—they give ugly names to the things they don't want, but it's all the same thing!... For the cells, that's not the problem—the problem is not that, but whether to follow the Will for Transformation (which sometimes is a bit brutal—brutal compared to the very small thing a body is), or whether to follow the Will for Harmony... 
The possibilities of illness are always there in your body and around you; you carry within you or there swarm about you the microbes and germs of every disease. How is it that all of a sudden you succumb to an illness which you did not have for years? You will say it is due to a "depression of the vital force". But from where does the depression come? It comes from some disharmony in the being, from a lack of receptivity to the divine forces. When you cut yourself off from the energy and light that sustain you, then there is this depression, there is created what medical science calls a "favourable ground" and something takes advantage of it. It is doubt, gloominess, lack of confidence, a selfish turning back upon yourself that cuts you off from the light and divine energy and gives the attack this advantage. It is this that is the cause of your falling ill and not microbes.
Hostile [source of illness] here means hostile to the Yoga. An illness which comes in the ordinary course as the result of physical causes—even though adverse universal forces are the first cause—is an ordinary illness. One brought by the forces hostile to Yoga to upset the system and prevent or disturb progress—without any adequate physical reason—is a hostile attack. It may have the appearance of a cold or any other illness, but to the eye which sees the action of forces and not only the outward symptoms or results, the difference is clear. 
Attacks of illness are attacks of the lower nature or of adverse forces taking advantage of some weakness, opening or response in the nature,—like all other things that come and have got to be thrown away, they come from outside. 
...but it is not your consciousness that wants to be ill, it is some part of your body or at the most, a fragment of the vital that has gone wrong and wishes to be ill, and unless you observe with a good deal of attention you do not notice it). But I say that the situation gets complicated if behind this there is an attack, a pressure from adverse forces who really want to harm you. You may have opened the door through spiritual error, through a movement of vanity, of anger, of hatred or of violence; even if it is merely a movement that comes and goes, that can open the door. There are always germs watching and only waiting for an occasion. 
Lack of Receptivity
And in the body, whatever has trouble adjusting to this new Power creates difficulties, disorders and illnesses. Yet in a flash you sense that if you were totally receptive, you would become formidable. That's the sensation. That's more and more my sensation: that if the entire consciousness, the entire most material consciousness—the most material—was receptive to this new Power... one would become for-mi-dable.
Your inner condition becomes a cause of illness when there is a resistance or revolt in it or when there is some part in you that does not respond to the protection; or even there may be something there that almost willingly and wilfully calls in the adverse forces. It is enough if there is a slight movement of this kind in you; the hostile forces are at once upon you and their attack takes often the form of illness.
This divergence between the progress in the inner being and the inertia of the body often creates a dislocation in the system, and that manifests itself as an illness. This is why people who take up Yoga frequently begin by suffering from some physical discomfort or disorder. That need not happen if they are on their guard and careful. Or if there is a greater and unusual receptivity in the body, then too they escape. But an unmixed receptivity making the physical parts closely follow the pace of the inner transformation is hardly possible, unless the body has already been prepared in the past for the processes of Yoga. 
You have been told: "Open yourself, you will receive the Force." You have been told: "Have faith, be of goodwill and you will be protected." And indeed you are bathed in the Consciousness, bathed in the Force, bathed in the Protection and to the extent you have faith and open yourself, you receive all that, and it helps you in keeping fit and in rejecting the little inner disturbances and re-establishing order when these come, in protecting yourself against small attacks or accidents which might have happened. But if somewhere in your being—either in your body or even in your vital or mind, either in several parts or even in a single one—there is an incapacity to receive the descending Force, this acts like a grain of sand in a machine. You know, a fine machine working quite well with everything going all right, and you put into it just a little sand (nothing much, only a grain of sand), suddenly everything is damaged and the machine stops. Well, just a little lack of receptivity somewhere, something that is unable to receive the Force, that is completely shut up (when one looks at it, it becomes as it were a little dark spot somewhere, a tiny thing hard as a stone: the Force cannot enter into it, it refuses to receive it—either it cannot or it will not) and immediately that produces a great imbalance; and this thing that was moving upward, that was blooming so wonderfully, finds itself sick, and sometimes just when you were in the normal equilibrium; you were in good health, everything was going on well, you had nothing to complain about. 
...people...drink wine as one drinks water. They drink it neat, and after some time they become ill. They have cerebral disorders...people of this kind, the brain was disordered, didn't function any more. And tobacco—nicotine is a very serious poison. It is a poison that destroys the cells...it is a slow poison because one doesn't feel it immediately except when one smokes for the first time and it makes one very ill. And this should make you understand that it ought not to be done. Only, people are so stupid that they think it is a weakness and so continue until they get used to the poison. And the body no longer reacts, it allows itself to be destroyed without reacting: you get rid of the reaction.
In Specific Illnesses
[individuals practicing Integral Yoga]
Fever is not a purifying action; it is the sign of an attack on the body and a fight and resistance to the attack.
Insanity is always due to a vital attack, or rather possession although there is often a physical reason as well. Hysteria is due to a pressure from the vital world and there may be momentary possessions also. 
...skin diseases have much to do with sexual desires—not of course always, but often. 
T.B. is the result of a strong psychic-vital depression...The lack of vitality which easily comes as a result of modern civilisation is therefore a very strong contributing cause. Moderns have not the solid nervous system and the natural (as opposed to the artificial and morbid) zest of life that their ancestors had. 
Depression is always the sign of an acute egoism. When you feel that it is coming near, tell yourself: "I am in a state of egoistic illness, I must cure myself of it." 
How to Prevent Illness?
Sweet Mother, when one sees an illness coming, how can one stop it?
Ah! First of all, you must not want it and nothing in the body must want it. You must have a very strong will not to be ill. This is the first condition.
The second condition is to call the light, a light of equilibrium, a light of peace, quietude and balance, and to push it into all the cells of the body, enjoining them not to be afraid, because that again is another condition.
First, not to want to be ill, and then not to be afraid of illness. You must neither attract it nor tremble. You must not want illness at all. But you must not because of fear not want it; you must not be afraid; you must have a calm certitude and a complete trust in the power of the Grace to shelter you from everything, and then think of something else, not be concerned about this any longer. When you have done these two things, refusing the illness with all your will and infusing a confidence which completely eliminates the fear in the cells of the body, and then busying yourself with something else, not thinking any longer about the illness, forgetting that it exists... there, if you know how to do that, you may even be in contact with people who have contagious diseases, and yet you do not catch them. But you must know how to do this.
Many people say, "Oh, yes, here I am not afraid." They don't have any fear in the mind, their mind is not afraid, it is strong, it is not afraid; but the body trembles, and one doesn't know it, because it is in the cells of the body that the trembling goes on. It trembles with a terrible anxiety and this is what attracts the illness. It is there that you must put the force and the quietude of a perfect peace and an absolute trust in the Grace. And then, sometimes you are obliged to drive away with a similar force in your thought all suggestions that after all, the physical world is full of illnesses, and these are contagious, and because one was in contact with somebody who is ill, one is sure to catch it, and then, that the inner methods are not powerful enough to act on the physical, and all kinds of stupidities of which the air is full. These are collective suggestions which are passed on from one person to another by everybody. 
The child must be taught as early as possible that this does not work and that he does not become more interesting by being ill, but rather the contrary. The weak have a tendency to believe that their weakness makes them particularly interesting and to use this weakness and if necessary even illness as a means of attracting the attention and sympathy of the people around them. On no account should this pernicious tendency be encouraged. Children should therefore be taught that to be ill is a sign of weakness and inferiority, not of some virtue or sacrifice.
That is why, as soon as the child is able to make use of his limbs, some time should be devoted every day to the methodical and regular development of all the parts of his body. Every day some twenty or thirty minutes, preferably on waking, if possible, will be enough to ensure the proper functioning and balanced growth of his muscles while preventing any stiffening of the joints and of the spine, which occurs much sooner than one thinks. In the general programme of the child's education, sports and outdoor games should be given a prominent place; that, more than all the medicines in the world, will assure the child good health. An hour's moving about in the sun does more to cure weakness or even anaemia than a whole arsenal of tonics. My advice is that medicines should not be used unless it is absolutely impossible to avoid them; and this "absolutely impossible" should be very strict. In this programme of physical culture, although there are well-known general lines to be followed for the best development of the human body, still, if the method is to be fully effective in each case, it should be considered individually, if possible with the help of a competent person, or if not, by consulting the numerous manuals that have already been and are still being published on the subject.
But in any case a child, whatever his activities, should have a sufficient number of hours of sleep. The number will vary according to his age. In the cradle, the baby should sleep longer than he remains awake. The number of hours of sleep will diminish as the child grows. But until maturity it should not be less than eight hours, in a quiet, well-ventilated place. The child should never be made to stay up late for no reason. The hours before midnight are the best for resting the nerves. Even during the waking hours, relaxation is indispensable for all who want to maintain their nervous balance. To know how to relax the muscles and the nerves is an art which should be taught to children when they are very young.
...there are those who are luminous, sunny, happy, smiling and those who are gloomy, dull, misanthropic, dissatisfied, who live in grey shadows. It is the latter who catch all the unpleasant things. Those who are radiant (they may be radiant without it being a spiritual radiance, it may be just a radiation of good see, balance, an inner confidence, the joy of living), those who carry in themselves the joy of living, these are in harmony with Nature and, being in harmony with Nature, generally avoid accidents, they are immune from diseases and their life develops pleasantly as far as it is possible in the world as it is. 
The secret is to emerge from the ego, get out of its prison, unite ourselves with the Divine, merge into Him, not to allow anything to separate us from Him. Then, once one has discovered this secret and realises it in one's being, pain loses its justification and suffering disappears. It is an all-powerful remedy, not only in the deeper parts of the being, in the soul, in the spiritual consciousness, but also in life and in the body.
There is no illness, no disorder which can resist the discovery of this secret and the putting of it into practice, not only in the higher parts of the being but in the cells of the body.
If one knows how to teach the cells the splendour that lies within them, if one knows how to make them understand the reality which makes them exist, gives them being, then they too enter the total harmony, and the physical disorder which causes the illness vanishes as do all other disorders of the being. 
It is quite obvious that one of the most powerful means for acting on the body is faith. People who have a simple heart, not a very complicated mind—simple people, you see—who don't have a very great, very complicated mental development but have a very deep faith, have a great power of action over their bodies, very great. That is why one is quite surprised at times: "Here's a man with a great realisation, an exceptional person, and he is a slave of all the smallest physical things, while this man, well, he is so simple and looks so uncouth, but he has a great faith and goes through difficulties and obstacles like a conqueror!"
I don't say that a highly cultured man can't have faith, but it is more difficult, for there is always this mental element which contradicts, discusses, tries to understand, which is difficult to convince, which wants proofs. His faith is less pure. It is necessary, then, to pass on to a higher degree in the evolutionary spiral, pass from the mental to the spiritual; then, naturally, faith takes on a quality of a very high order. But I mean that in daily life, ordinary life, a very simple man who has a very ardent faith can have a mastery over his body—without it being truly a "mastery"; it is simply a spontaneous movement—a control over his body far greater than somebody who has reached a much higher development. 
There are sadhus...they live in a truly dirty condition—and they are free from all illness. Probably because they have faith...they do not think of their body, they think of the life of their soul. They have no illness. 
...in Yoga...faith and right auto-suggestion are of great use until the point comes when no suggestion is necessary because the Truth-consciousness acts automatically and produces its natural results. 
...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...Mental faith is not sufficient; it must be completed and enforced by a vital and even a physical faith, a faith of the body...you must reach down to the most subconscious, you must fix the faith in the very cells of the body. 
Most men are not conscious of this pranic force in the body or cannot distinguish it from the more physical form of energy which it informs and uses for its vehicle. But as the consciousness becomes more subtle by practice of Yoga, we can come to be aware of the sea of pranic shakti around us, feel it with the mental consciousness, concretely with a mental sense, see its courses and movements, and direct and act upon it immediately by the will. But until we thus become aware of it, we have to possess a working or at least an experimental faith in its presence and in the power of the will to develop a greater command and use of this prana force. There is necessary a faith, śraddhā, in the power of the mind to lay its will on the state and action of the body, such as those have who heal disease by faith, will or mental action; but we must seek this control not only for this or any other limited use, but generally as a legitimate power of the inner and greater over the outer and lesser instrument. This faith is combated by our past habits of mind, by our actual normal experience of its comparative helplessness in our present imperfect system and by an opposing belief in the body and physical consciousness. For they too have a limiting śraddhā of their own which opposes the idea in the mind when it seeks to impose on the system the law of a higher yet unattained perfection. 
By Being Receptive to the Divine Force
What has to be done with the body at first is to make it open to the Force, so as to receive strength against illness and fatigue—when they come, there must be the power to react and throw them off and to keep a constant flow of force into the body. If that is done, the rest of the bodily change can wait for its proper time. 
As the body consciousness becomes more open to the Force (it is always the most difficult and the last to open up entirely), this frequent stress of illness will diminish and disappear.
By Strengthening the Nervous Envelope
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 readily takes in all kinds of suggestions and these can rapidly change and almost remould its condition. 
If one can feel them [attacks of illness] so coming and get the strength and the habit to throw them away before they can enter the body, then one can remain free from illness. Even when the attack seems to rise from within, that means only that it has not been detected before it entered the subconscient; once in the subconscient, the force that brought it rouses it from there sooner or later and it invades the system. When you feel it just after it has entered, it is because though it came direct and not through the subconscient, yet you could not detect it while it was still outside. Very often it arrives like that, frontally or more often tangentially from the side, direct, forcing its way through the subtle vital envelope which is our main armour of defence, but it can be stopped there in the envelope itself before it penetrates the material body. Then one may feel some effect, e.g. feverishness or a tendency to cold, but there is not the full invasion of the malady. If it can be stopped earlier or if the vital envelope of itself resists and remains strong, vigorous and intact, then there is no illness; the attack produces no physical effect and leaves no traces.
...we can feel the symptoms of illness, fever or cold for instance, in the subtle physical sheath before they are manifest in the gross body and destroy them there, preventing them from manifesting in the body. Take now the call for the Divine Power, Light, Ananda. If we live only in the outward physical consciousness, it may descend and work behind the veil but we shall feel nothing and only see certain results after a long time. Or at most we feel a certain clarity and peace in the mind, a joy in the vital, a happy state in the physical and infer the touch of the Divine. But if we are awake in the inward physical, we shall feel the light, power or Ananda flowing through the body, the limbs, nerves, blood, breath and, through the subtle body, affecting the most material cells and making them conscious and blissful and we shall sense directly the Divine Power and Presence. 
By Rejecting the Suggestion of Illness
You must not accept but reject it [suggestions] with your physical mind and so help the body consciousness to throw off the suggestion. If necessary, make a counter-suggestion, "No, I shall be well; I am and shall be all right." And in any case call in the Mother's Force to throw out the suggestion and the illness it is bringing. 
Oh, how interesting it is, if you knew how interesting.... Take coughing, for instance (not in the chest, in the throat). So, the first vibration: an irritation that draws your attention in order to make you cough. It has a certain kind of vibration which we may call "pointed," but it's not violent: it's light, annoying. It's the first little vibration. So with that vibration: awakening of the attention in the surrounding consciousness (of the throat cells); then a refusal to accept the cough, a rejection here (in the throat), which at first almost causes nausea (all this is seen through a microscope, you understand, they are very tiny things). The attention is focused. Then, at that point, there are several possible factors, which are sometimes simultaneous and sometimes one drives away the other; one is anxiety: something goes wrong and there is apprehension at what's going to happen; the other is a will that nothing should be disturbed by the irritation; and then all of a sudden, the faith that the Force is capable of restoring order everywhere immediately (none of this is intellectual: it's vibrations). 
...if the vital mind withdraws its consent, refuses to be dominated by the habitual suggestions and the habitual movements, these recurrences of depression and despair can be made soon to cease. But it is not easy for this mind, once it has got into the habit of consent, even a quite passive and suffering and reluctant consent, to cancel the habit and get rid of the black circle. It can be done easily only when the mind refuses any longer to believe in the suggestions or accept the ideas or feelings that start the circle. 
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. 
By Developing a Strong Will
...the body consciousness through old habit of consciousness admits the force of illness and goes through the experiences which are associated with it—e.g. congestion of phlegm in the chest and feeling of suffocation or difficulty of breathing etc. To get rid of that one must awaken a will and consciousness in the body itself that refuses to allow these things to impose themselves upon it.
Wake up in yourself a will to conquer. Not a mere will in the mind but a will in the very cells of your body. Without that you can't do anything; you may take a hundred medicines but they won't cure you unless you have a will to overcome the physical illness.
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. 
By Pranayama and Asana
...the first objects of the Pranayama are to purify the nervous system, to circulate the life-energy through all the nerves without obstruction, disorder or irregularity, and to acquire a complete control of its functionings, so that the mind and will of the soul inhabiting the body may be no longer subject to the body or life or their combined limitations. The power of these exercises of breathing to bring about a purified and unobstructed state of the nervous system is a known and well-established fact of our physiology. It helps also to clear the physical system, but is not entirely effective at first on all its canals and openings; therefore the Hathayogin uses supplementary physical methods for clearing them out regularly of all their accumulations. The combination of these with Asana,—particular Asanas have even an effect in destroying particular diseases,—and with Pranayama maintains perfectly the health of the body. 
The exercises of Pranayama are the familiar mechanical means of freeing and getting control of the pranic energy. They heighten too and set free the psychic, mental and spiritual energies which ordinarily depend for their opportunity of action on the pranic force. But the same thing can be done by mental will and practice or by an increasing opening of ourselves to a higher spiritual power of the Shakti. The pranic Shakti can be directed not only upon ourselves, but effectively towards others or on things or happenings for whatever purposes the will dictates. 
How to Deal with Illness?
When the action is directly upon the body, that is, on the affected part, it is possible that one is relieved; then, some hours later or even after a few days, the illness returns. This means that the cause has not been changed, that the cause is in the vital and is still there; it is only the effect which has been cured. But if one can act simultaneously upon both the cause and the effect, and the cause is sufficiently receptive to consent to change, then one is completely cured, once for all. 
Q: What to do about illness?
A: Be passively confident: let me do it and it is done.’ 
There is something there that expects the illness, accepts it when it comes and gives it free play. He must learn to keep calm and quiet in the mind and vital being, to refuse to regard the illness and the tendency to it in the body as something normal to it, regarding it rather as something imposed from outside, and he must believe firmly that it must and will go. If he can keep this attitude and open to the true force, the mind and nervous being once strengthened, the illness and weakness will disappear. 
By Calling the Divine Force
Q:When I am sympathetic with a sick person my body begins to feel the symptoms of his disease A:The best way is to call for the Divine Presence of Truth and Harmony, to replace the vibrations of disorder and confusion. 
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.  There are always germs watching and only waiting for an occasion. That is why one should be very careful. Anyhow, for some reason or other, the influence has pierced through the shell of protection and acts there encouraging the illness to become as bad as it can be. In that case the first means is not quite sufficient. Then you have to add something; you must add the Force of spiritual purification which is such an absolutely perfectly constructive force that nothing that's in the least destructive can survive there. If you have this Force at your disposal or if you can ask for it and get it, you direct it on the spot and the adverse force usually runs away immediately, for if it happens to be in the midst of this Force it gets dissolved, it disappears; for no force of disintegration can survive within this Force; therefore disintegration disappears and with it that also disappears. It can be changed into a constructive force, that is possible, or it may be simply dissolved and reduced to nothing. And with that not only is the illness cured, but all possibility of its return is also eliminated. You are cured of the illness once for all, it never comes back. 
For certain things, I remember, when there are certain disorders, something wrong (and with the perception of a consciousness that has become very sharp, you can see when that disorder is the natural origin of an illness, for example, or of something very serious), with the call, the concentration and the response ... [the disorder is dissolved]. It's almost a surrender, because it's an uncalculating self-giving: the damaged spot opens to the Influence, not with an idea of getting cured, but like this (gesture like a flower opening out), simply like this, unconditionally—that is the most potent gesture. 
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. 
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. 
It [the descent of the higher consciousness into the most physical] brings light, consciousness, force, Ananda into the cells and all the physical movements. The body becomes conscious and vigilant and performs the right movements, obeying the higher will or else automatically by force of the consciousness that has come into it. It becomes more possible to control the functionings of the body and set right anything that is wrong, to deal with illness and pain etc. A greater control comes over the actions of the body and even over happenings to it from outside, e.g. minimising of accidents and small mishaps. The body becomes a more effective instrument for work. It becomes possible to minimise fatigue. Peace, happiness, strength, lightness in the whole physical system. These are the more obvious and normal results which grow as the consciousness grows, but there are many others that are possible. There is also the unity with the earth-consciousness, the constant sense of the Divine in the physical, etc. 
By Overcoming Fear
...one must be neither cowardly nor fearful. When the physical disorder comes, one must not be afraid; one must not run away from it, must face it with courage, calmness, confidence, with the certitude that illness is a falsehood and that if one turns entirely, in full confidence, with a complete quietude to the divine Grace, It will settle in these cells as It is established in the depths of the being, and the cells themselves will share in the eternal Truth and Delight. 
A strict discipline is needed to cure the body of fear. The cells themselves tremble. It is only by discipline, by yoga that one can overcome this fear. But it is a fact that one can catch anything through fear, even invite an accident. And, you see,from a certain point of view everything is contagious. I knew a person who got a wound through the kind of fear that he felt seeing someone else's wound. He really got it. 
There have been numerous cases of a panic being stopped outright simply because some people refused the suggestion and could counteract it with an opposite suggestion. For mystics the best cure as soon as one begins to feel afraid of something is to think of the Divine and then snuggle in his arms or at his feet and leave him entirely responsible for everything that happens, within, outside, everywhere—and immediately the fear disappears. That is the cure for the mystic. It is the easiest of all. But everybody does not enjoy the grace of being a mystic. 
Some people are spontaneously free from fear even in their body; they have a sufficient vital equilibrium in them not to be afraid, not to fear, and a natural harmony in the rhythm of their physical life which enables them to reduce the illness spontaneously to a minimum. There are others, on the other hand, with whom the thing always becomes as bad as it can be, sometimes to the point of catastrophe. There is the whole range and this can be seen quite easily. Well, this depends on a kind of happy rhythm of the movement of life in them, which is either harmonious enough to resist external attacks of illness or else doesn't exist or is not sufficiently powerful, and is replaced by that trembling of fear, that kind of instinctive anguish which transforms the least unpleasant contact into something painful and harmful. There is the whole range, from someone who can go through the worst contagion and epidemics without ever catching anything to one who falls ill at the slightest chance. So naturally it always depends on the constitution of each person; and as soon as one wants to make an effort for progress, it naturally depends on the control one has acquired over oneself, until the moment when the body becomes the docile instrument of the higher Will and one can obtain from it a normal resistance to all attacks.
It is true that doctors have said that if one can teach the body to bear pain, it becomes more and more resilient and less easily disrupted—this is a concrete result. In the case of people who know how to avoid getting completely upset as soon as they have a pain somewhere, who are able to bear it quietly, to keep their balance, it seems that the body's capacity to bear the disorder without going to pieces increases. This is a great achievement. I have asked myself this question from the purely practical, external standpoint and it seems to be like this. Inwardly, I have been told this many times—told and shown by small experiences—that the body can bear much more than we think, if no fear or anxiety is added to the pain. If we eliminate the mental factor, the body, left to itself, has neither fear nor apprehension nor anxiety about what is going to happen—no anguish—and it can bear a great deal.
[Based on Aphorism<93> Pain is the touch of our Mother teaching us how to hear and grow in rapture. She has tree stages of her schooling, endurance first, next equality of soul, last ecstasy.] 
But you mustn't be afraid. Neither afraid of falling ill, nor of becoming imbecile, nor even... of dying—you must be like this ("vast and quiet gesture, like the sea"). If we could only have (I have it from time to time, it comes: it's on its way) a feeling of smiling trust. But to get that the consciousness must be as vast as the creation itself. You are as vast as the creation, and totally trusting.... Ultimately, it always boils down to this (which can be put in a very childlike manner): He knows better than we what has to be done. 
The physical mind...makes use of the nervous substance; if we withdraw it from the nervous substance, we no longer feel anything, for that's what gives us the perception of sensation....We know something is wrong, but we no longer suffer from it…
...this kind of indifferent detachment is the ESSENTIAL condition for the establishment of true Harmony in the most material Matter—the most external, physical Matter... 
This detachment of the mind must be strengthened by a certain attitude of indifference to the things of the body; we must not care essentially about its sleep or its waking, its movement or its rest, its pain or its pleasure, its health or ill-health, its vigour or its fatigue, its comfort or its discomfort, or what it eats or drinks. This does not mean that we shall not keep the body in right order so far as we can; we have not to fall into violent asceticisms or a positive neglect of the physical frame. But we have not either to be affected in mind by hunger or thirst or discomfort or ill-health or attach the importance which the physical and vital man attaches to the things of the body. 
One step towards it [illness] is to get the inner consciousness separate from the body—to feel that it is not you who are ill but it is only something taking place in the body and not affecting your consciousness. It is then possible to see this separate body consciousness, what it feels, what are its reactions to things, how it works. One can then act on it to change its consciousness and reactions. 
...all those physical disorders of the body, those disorders in the functioning or even organic disorders, suddenly (naturally, the constant state is one of aspiration: an intense, continuous, conscious aspiration) and suddenly—suddenly—an almost stupefying Response: all disorder disappears, not only inside but around (around, sometimes over a rather vast extent), and everything becomes automatically organized, harmonized, without the least effort, and it starts... moving within an extraordinary progressive harmony; then, with no apparent reason, without anything having changed in the consciousness and any outer circumstances making a difference, pfft! it reverts to what it was before: disorder, conflict, chaos, things that grate. And then, as you aren't conscious of the why, you don't have the key!... ...the only recourse is a blissful surrender (gesture of immobile offering Upward).. and not a heavy, not an inert surrender: intense, intense! ...That's the only thing. 
...congenital diseases can be cured only by an integral transformation of the body itself and we have not reached yet that period in the sadhana; otherwise it is only a so-called "miraculous cure" that can take place and that kind of "miracle" can happen only as the result of an absolute sincerity in the consecration to the Divine and an unshakable faith in the Divine Grace. 
Medicines are a pis aller [a course of action followed as a last resort] that have to be used when something in the consciousness does not respond or responds superficially to the Force. Very often it is some part of the material consciousness that is unreceptive—at other times it is the subconscient which stands in the way even when the whole waking mind, life, physical consent to the liberating influence. If the subconscient also answers, then even a slight touch of the Force can not only cure the particular illness but make that form or kind of illness practically impossible hereafter. 
Mother, how are medicines to be used for a body which is not altogether unconscious? For even when we draw on the divine grace, we see that we need a little medicine, and if a little medicine is given it has a good effect. Does this mean that only the body needs medicine or is there something wrong with the mind and the vital?
In most cases the use of medicines—within reasonable limits, that is, when one doesn't poison oneself by taking medicines—is simply to help the body to have confidence. It is the body which heals itself. When it wants to be cured, it is cured. And this is something very widely recognised now; even the most traditional doctors tell you, "Yes, our medicines help, but it is not the medicines which cure, it is the body which decides to be cured." Very well, so when the body is told, "Take this", it says to itself, "Now I am going to get better", and because it says "I am going to get better", well, it is cured!
In almost every case, there are things which help—a little—provided it is done within reasonable limits. If it is no longer within reasonable limits, you are sure to break down completely. You cure one thing but catch another which is usually worse. But still, a little help, in a way, a little something that gives confidence to your body: "Now it will be all right, now that I have taken this, it is going to be all right"—this helps it a great deal and it decides to get better and it is cured.
There too, there is a whole range of possibilities, from the yogi who is in so perfect a state of inner control that he could take poison without being poisoned to the one who at the least little scratch rushes to the doctor and needs all sorts of special drugs to get his body to make the movement needed for its cure. There is the whole possible range, from total, supreme mastery to an equally total bondage to all external aids and all that you absorb from outside—a bondage and a perfect liberation. There is the whole range. So everything is possible. It is like a great key-board, very complex and very complete, on which one can play, and the body is the instrument.
If one can cure by the Force as you have often done, it is the best—but if for some reason the body is not able to respond to the Force (e.g. owing to doubt, lassitude or discouragement or for inability to react against the disease), then the aid of medical treatment becomes necessary. It is not that the Force ceases to act and leaves all to the medicines,—it will continue to act through the consciousness but take the support of the treatment so as to act directly on the resistance in the body, which responds more readily to physical means in its ordinary consciousness. 
Medicine is necessary for our bodies in disease only because our bodies have learned the art of not getting well without medicines. Even so, one sees often that the moment Nature chooses for recovery is that in which the life is abandoned as hopeless by the doctors. [Aphorism<404>]
Drugs often cure the body when they do not merely trouble or poison it, but only if their physical attack on the disease is supported by the force of the spirit; if that force can be made to work freely, drugs are superfluous.[Aphorism<407>] 
Role of Supramental Descent
The supramental descent is necessary for a dynamic action of the Truth in mind, vital and body. This would imply as a final result the disappearance of the unconsciousness of the body; it would no longer be subject to decay and disease.  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. 
The absolute immunity can only come with the supramental change. For below the supramental it is the result of an action of a Force among many forces and can be disturbed by a disruption of the equilibrium established—in the supramental it is a law of the nature; in a supramentalised body immunity from illness would be automatic, inherent in its new nature. 
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. 
There's a power in the sound itself, and by forcing the body to repeat the sound, you force it to receive the vibration at the same time. But I've noticed that if something in the body's working gets disturbed (a pain or disorder, the onset of some illness) and I repeat my mantra in a certain way—still the same words, the same mantra, but said with a certain purpose and above all in a movement of surrender, surrender of the pain, the disorder, and a call, like an opening—it has a marvelous effect. The mantra acts in just the right way, in this way and in no other. And after a while everything is put back in order. And simultaneously, of course, the precise knowledge of what lies behind the disorder and what I must do to set it right comes to me. But quite apart from this, the mantra acts directly upon the pain itself. 
The only thing I can suggest about diseases is to call down peace. Keep the mind away from the body by whatever means—whether by reading Sri Aurobindo's books or meditation. It is in this state that the Grace acts. And it is the Grace alone that cures. The medicines only give a faith to the body. That is all. 
...the knowledge of the power to cut the connection between the suffering part and the recording brain. One cuts the connection, then the brain does not register. That's what one does, what the doctors do with anaesthetics. They cut the connection of the nerves between the spot that's ill and the brain; so the brain no longer perceives anything or it is reduced to a minimum… there is one thing that one can try to do: it is not to concentrate on one's pain, to turn the attention away as much as possible, not think at all of one's pain, think as little as possible and above all not be concentrated on it, not to pay attention—"Oh, I'm in pain", then it becomes a little worse; "Oh, I'm in still greater pain", then it becomes still worse, like that, because one is concentrated on it; and this is the mistake one always makes: to think, be there, attentive, awaiting the sign of pain; then naturally it comes, it comes increased by the concentration of the attention given to it. That is why, when one is not well the best thing to do is to read or have something read, you see; it depends on the condition one is in. But if one can turn one's attention away, one no longer suffers. 
When one has a very bad toothache (I don't know if you have a toothache sometimes or not; a toothache hurts terribly because the nerve is quite, quite close to the brain, so it doesn't lose its intensity on the way, it is very direct and hurts very much), the best way—in fact there's no other—the best way is to cut it: "It is good, you have done your work, you told me that something was wrong there, that's enough, don't move now." And one cuts, cuts it like this ("gesture"), cuts the connection, it doesn't transmit again. Naturally you must think of something else. If afterwards you start saying, "Do I still have the pain?..." 
...phenomena of self-identification. Only, they are involuntary. And this is also one of the methods used today to cure nervous diseases. When someone cannot sleep, cannot be restful because he is too excited and nervous and his nerves are ill and weakened by excessive agitation, he is told to sit in front of an aquarium, for instance—an aquarium, that's very lovely, isn't it?—before an aquarium with pretty little fish in it, goldfish; just to sit there, settle down in an easy-chair and try not to think of anything (particularly not of his troubles) and look at the fish. So he looks at the fish, moving around, coming and going, swimming, gliding, turning, meeting, crossing, chasing one another indefinitely, and also the water flowing slowly and the passing fish. After a while he lives the life of fishes: he comes and goes, swims, glides, plays. And at the end of the hour his nerves are in a perfect state and he is completely restful! But the condition is that one must not think of one's troubles, simply watch the fish. 
I have known some truly extraordinary instances. If you can at the moment... Wait, take an example which is quite concrete: sunstroke. This upsets you considerably, it is one of the things which makes you most ill—a sunstroke upsets everything, it disturbs the inner functions, it generally causes a congestion in the head and very high fever. So, if this has happened, if it has succeeded in getting through the protection and entering you, well, if you can just go into a quiet place, stretch yourself out flat, go out of your body (naturally, you must learn this; there are people who do this spontaneously, for others a long discipline is necessary), go out of your body, remain above in a way to be able to see the body (you know the phenomenon, seeing one's body when one is outside? This can be done at will, going out of one's body and remaining just above it), the body is stretched out on a bed, a bench, on the ground, anywhere; you are stretched just above it and from there, consciously, you pull the Force from above, and if you are used to doing it, if your aspiration is strong enough, you get the answer; and then, from there, taking care not to re-enter your body, you begin to push these forces into the body, like that, regularly, until you see the body receiving them (for, the first few moments they don't enter, because the body is quite upset by the illness, it is not receptive, it is curled up), you push them gently, gently, quietly, without nervousness, very peacefully, into the body. But you must not be disturbed by anyone. If someone comes along, sees you stretched out and shakes you, it is extremely dangerous. You must do this in quiet conditions, ask people not to disturb you or better shut yourself up where they can't disturb you. But you can concentrate slowly (this takes more or less time—ten minutes, half an hour, one hour, two hours—depends upon the seriousness of the disorder which has set in), slowly, from above, you concentrate the Force until you see that the body is receiving, that the Force is entering, the disorder is being set right and there is a relaxation in the body itself. Once that is done you can get back and you are cured. This has been done for a sunstroke, which is a fairly violent thing, and also for typhoid fever, and many other illnesses, as, for instance, for a liver which was suddenly upset somehow (not due to indigestion, but a liver which doesn't function properly for the moment); it may also be cured in the same way. There was a case of cholera which was healed like that. The cholera had just been caught, had entered, but was not yet lodged; it was completely cured. Consequently, when I say that if one masters the spiritual force and knows how to use it, there is no malady which cannot be cured… Of course, you will say you don't know how to go out of the body, draw the Force, concentrate it, have all this mastery.... It is not very frequent, but it is not impossible. And one can be sure that if one is helped... In fact, there is a much easier method, it is to call for help.
You thought for months perhaps or even for years, you thought you were completely rid of a certain kind of illness which you suffered from, and you no longer paid any attention, and suddenly one day it returns as though it had never gone; it springs up again from the subconscient and unless one enters into this subconscient and changes things there, that is, unless one changes the subconscient into the conscient, it always happens like this. And the method is to change the subconscient into the conscient—if each thing that rises to the surface becomes conscious, at that moment it must be changed. There is a more direct method still: it is to enter the subconscient in one's full consciousness and work there, but this is difficult. 
The mind has a considerable power of formation and a direct action on the body, and usually one uses this power to make oneself ill. For as soon as the least thing goes wrong, the mind begins to shape and build all the catastrophes possible, to ask itself whether it could be this, whether it could be that, if it is going to be like that, and how it will all end. Well, if instead of letting the mind do this disastrous work, one used the same capacity to make favourable formations—simply, for example, to give confidence to the body, to tell it that it is just a passing disturbance and that it is nothing, and if it enters a real state of receptivity, the disorder will disappear as easily as it has come, and one can cure oneself in a few seconds—if one knows how to do that, one gets wonderful results. 
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. 
Of course it [cancer] can [be cured by Yoga], but on condition of faith or openness or both. Even a mental suggestion can cure cancer—with luck, of course, as is shown by the case of the woman operated on unsuccessfully for cancer, but the doctors lied and told her it had succeeded. Result, cancer symptoms all ceased and she died many years afterwards of another illness altogether. 
One must be conscious, conscious of the working of one's organs, aware of the one that does not behave very well, telling it immediately what is to be done to set itself right. What is needed (I shall explain it to you later on) is to give them a lesson as one does to little children. When they begin indulging in unhealthy fancies (indeed it is then the occasion to say it) you must tell them: no, it is not like that the work is to be done, it is the other way! Suppose for example, your heart begins to throb madly; then you must make it calm, you tell it that this is not the way to behave, and at the same time (solely to help it) you take in long, very regular rhythmic breaths, that is, the lung becomes the mentor of the heart and teaches it how to work properly. 
It is particularly noticeable that all the digestive functions are extremely sensitive to an attitude that is critical, bitter, full of ill-will, to a sour judgment. Nothing disturbs the functioning of the digestion more than that. And it is a vicious circle: the more the digestive function is disturbed, the more unkind you become, critical, dissatisfied with life and things and people. So you can't find any way out. And there is only one cure: to deliberately drop this attitude, to absolutely forbid yourself to have it and to impose upon yourself, by constant self-control, a deliberate attitude of all-comprehending kindness. Just try and you will see that you feel much better. 
What Are the Obstacles to Cure?
Human beings don't know how to keep energy. When something happens—an accident or an illness, for example—and they ask for help, a double or a triple dose of energy is sent. If they happen to be receptive, they receive it. This energy is given for two reasons: to restore order out of the disorder caused by the accident or illness, and to impart a transformative force to repair or change the source of the illness or accident. But instead of using the energy in this way, they immediately throw it out. They start stirring about, reacting, working, speaking ... They feel full of energy and they throw it all out! They can't keep anything. So naturally, since the energy was not sent to be wasted like that but for an inner use, they feel absolutely flat, run down. And it is universal. They don't know, they do not know how to make this movement—to turn within, to use the energy (not to keep it, it doesn't keep), to use it to repair the damage done to the body and to go deeply within to find the reason for this accident or illness, and there to change it by an aspiration, an inner transformation. Instead of that, right away they start speaking, stirring about, reacting, doing this or that! 
...but when you are able to be truly still, there is ALWAYS a little light—a warm little light, very bright and wonderfully still, behind; as if it were saying, "You only have to will." Then the body's cells panic: "Will, how? How can I? The illness is on me, I am overcome. How can I will? It's AN ILLNESS"—the whole drama (and that wasn't in sleep: I was completely awake, it was this morning), it's "an illness." Then something with a general wisdom says, "Calm down, calm down, (laughing) don't remain attached to your illness! Calm down. As if you wished to be ill! Calm down." So they consent—"consent," you know, like a child who has been scolded, "All right, very well, I'll try." They try—immediately, that light comes again: "You only have to will." And once or twice, for one thing or another (because the Disorder is something general: you may suffer at any spot, have a disorder at any spot if you accept a certain vibration), on THIS POINT, you consent—the next minute, it's over. Not the next minute: a few seconds and it's over. Then the cells remember: "But how come? I had a pain here..."—pop! It all comes back. And the whole drama unfolds like that, constantly. 
...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. 
More on Illness
There is no such thing as an incurable illness in reality—for what the doctors call such is only an illness for which they have not yet been able to discover a physical remedy.  But, each man can make his own experiment. If one has a bad throat, this may be due to the fact that the day before one was in a state of depression. Or perhaps one is very unhappy, dissatisfied, one finds everything very bad, and the next day one gets a cold in the head.... Everyone must make his own observations. 
Aphorism<199> Disease will always return to the body if the soul is flawed; for the sins of the mind are the secret cause of the sins of the body. So too poverty and trouble will always return on man in society, so long as the mind of the race is subjected to egoism. 
When people are ill and get well quickly, they are full of gratitude; but never do they think of being grateful when they are well; and yet that is a much greater miracle! 
...the experience that the Divine ALONE is acting in the body, that He has BECOME the body, yet all the while retaining his character of divine omniscience and omnipotence) well, the whole time it remained actively like that, it was absolutely impossible to have the LEAST disorder in the body, and not only in the body, but IN ALL THE SURROUNDING MATTER. So if that is established in a permanent way, there CAN NO LONGER be illness it is impossible. There can no longer be accidents, there can no longer be illness, there can no longer be disorders, and everything should harmonize (probably in a progressive way) 
...health or illness is a choice (to express it simply). A choice of every minute. For this body, at any rate, that's how it is. It means abdicating with regard to the general functioning of the physical substance, of the body, and having illnesses you get cured of or not, depending on... other laws than physical laws. But there is every minute—every minute—the possibility to choose the true consciousness, or there is, yes, a disorder or disequilibrium. It's something which is unable to follow the movement of progressive harmony, or sometimes even which doesn't want to. I am talking about cells and groups of cells. 
Disease is needlessly prolonged and ends in death oftener than is inevitable, because the mind of the patient supports and dwells upon the disease of his body. [Aphorism<386>] 
You are given an illness purposely to make you progress? Surely it is not like that. Actually, you may turn the thing round and say that there are people whose aspiration is so constant, whose goodwill so total that whatever happens to them they take as a trial on the path to make progress. I knew people who, whenever they fell ill, took that as a proof of the Divine Grace to help them to progress. They told themselves: it is a good sign, I am going to find out the cause of my illness and I shall make the necessary progress. I knew a few of this kind and they moved on magnificently. There are others, on the contrary, who, far from making use of the thing, let themselves fall flat on the ground. So much the worse for them. But the true attitude when one is ill, is to say: "There is something that is not all right; I am going to see what it is." You must never think that the Divine has purposely sent an illness, for that would truly be a very wicked Divine!
Read Summary of Illness
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