While modern science rightly points to the virtues of cleanliness and a fit body, Hindu scriptures laid down the best practices for a healthy lifestyle and a hygienic body thousands of years ago.
The actual meaning of Lockdown is when a security measures has been taken during emergent situation just to prevent people to enter a particular area or atmosphere temporarily.
As per the most authentic source the history of Lockdown, when it was first used by the government authorities was during the Plague outbreaks, in Italy in the Renaissance period. According to John Henderson, professor of Italian Renaissance, University of London, the Lockdown measures emerged in Italy are 15th, 16th and 17th centuries and was in full force during Italian Plague in 1630-31.
In Indian context, this shloka of Charaka Samhita scripted around 5000 years back squarely matches with the four corners of the Lockdown and Social distancing: -
पश्यसीति गंदार्थस्य किम औषधे निषे वमे,
पश्य अस्ति गंदार्थस्य किम औषधे निषे वमे।
It means that if a person follows some restrictions like waking up early, doing yoga, eating herbal nutritious food and fruits, taking bath maintaining personal hygiene etc. going early to bed, then there is no need of any medicine. In other words, “Early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy wealthy and wise”. The other part is the shloka very interesting which says that if person is not taking any precautions then again, the medicine is not going to play any role.
The essence of this Shloka is that in Ayurveda the hygiene, waking up early in the morning, doing yoga and pranayama, taking purely vegetarian food, fresh nutritious fruits, maintaining personal hygiene by taking bath daily for the inner cleanliness and performing havan for outer atmosphere, is the better way to keep healthy, rather than waiting for the virus to infect us and then going through 1st generation antibiotics then 2nd generation antibiotics, 3rd generation antibiotic and so on, thus is a never ending process. The virus becomes immune against a particular antibiotic after a span of few years then next generation of antibiotic is to be invented by the scientists.
Then at one point of time the present stage of Covid – 19 or Corona Virus occurs without having no treatment, even the developed countries like U.S., Italy, Germany. U.K., France, Spain etc. have no answer to this vulnerable virus, the whole developed world would have lost more then 2.5 lakhs of human life and total patients are in the tune of more than 35 lakhs or so. Then the theory of “Prevention is better than Cure”, is most successful at this prevailing time.
As far as Indian context is concerned our ancient seers has always emphasised that how to clean and take care of our body. Veda Says:
येहा आत्मानी तिष्ठति, यस्य कश्याराम शरिरम, यस्य आत्मा शरिरम।
Meaning: A clean and hygienic body contains a pious Atma inside.
Even Jagatguru Sri Shankracharya says:
देहो देवालय प्रोक्तो दही देवों निरंज्जन:।
अर्चित: सर्वभावेन स्वानुभूत्या विराजते।।
(Ref सदाचरहा 13)
Meaning: A body is said to be the best temple in this universe, the owner of the body is the Lord, so if lord resides inside the body then the cleanliness, purity and hygiene of the body is to ne maintained at the highest level.
Whereas Ayurveda or Knowledge of life has two main goals, one is examination of health with hygiene and second the eradication of any Vikara(Disorder) of the body. Even statutory body of health WHO (World Health Organisation) states that health is a state of complete Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Social wellbeing and not merely absence of disease or infirmity. In the present scenario when social distancing, cleanliness, fitness and enhancing one’s immunity is the need of the hour then Indian mythology and scriptures provide a path to get rid of this Virus.
The very idea of Vedic texts is “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. The vedic text believes in Tri(three) Shuddhi(Cleanliness):
- One is कायिका or Physical
- Second is वाचिका or Verbal and
- Thirdly मानसिका or Cleanliness of the mental level for all round growth and development where the body is without any disease.
In continuance reformation they taught humans to take care of their environment also, and keep dirt and wastes away from water bodies, which is true to the solution on the prevalent situation of Covid – 19 also.
To follow the rules of the game one is supposed to be the winner. Henceforth by remaining confined to one’s home, spending valuable time with family, maintaining social distancing, inculcating your passion, doing lot of yoga, pranayama and having kadha (Ayurvedic drink including herbs and spices) etc. one can enhance his immunity. This is the key to success in this Lockdown period. This shloka of Mahabharta again justifies that there is no iota of doubt that everything shall be normal in the course of time.
हते द्रोणा हते भिष्मे कर्णे च विनिपातिते ।
आशा बलवती राजञ्शल्यो जेष्यति पाण्डवान्।।
Meaning: Drona, Bhishma, Karan have been killed, but still there is a ray of hope in Shelya, perhaps he conquers upon pandavas.
Moreover, the quarantine and self-isolation became the gateway to work in Science, Arts and Literature as history depicts that Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, John Milton and Lord Byron accomplished by editing than formidable work while they were in Isolation. Late Shri Bal Gangadhar Tilak a renowned Indian freedom fighter wrote “Geeta Rahasy” while he had been in Burma Jail and Bharat Ratna Poet Mohan Lal Chaturvedi also wrote his best Poems while he was in Jail. All this justifies that “FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BRAVE”.
(Author is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and a TV Panelist)