Journal of New Approaches to Medicine and Health

Namah Journal
Moving Forward
New Issue
About us
Other Publications

Consciousness and health

Life, Disease and Death

Dr. Alok Pandey

" the language of the Upanishad, the life-force is the food of the body and the body the food of the life-force; in other words, the life-energy in us both supplies the material by which the form is built up and constantly maintained and renewed and is at the same time constantly using up the substantial form of itself which it thus creates and keeps in existence. If the balance between these two operations is imperfect or is disturbed or if the ordered play of the different currents of life-force is thrown out of gear, then disease and decay intervene and commence the process of disintegration. And the very struggle for conscious mastery and even the growth of mind make the maintenance of the life more difficult. For there is an increasing demand of the life-energy on the form, a demand which is in excess of the original system of supply and disturbs the original balance of supply and demand and, before a new balance can be established, many disorders are introduced inimical to the harmony and to the length of maintenance of the life; in addition the attempt at mastery creates always a corresponding reaction in the environment which is full of forces that also desire fulfilment and are therefore intolerant of, revolt against and attack the existence which seeks to master them. There too a balance is disturbed, a more intense struggle is generated; however strong the mastering life, unless either it is unlimited or else succeeds in establishing a new harmony with its environment, it cannot always resist and triumph but must one day be overcome and disintegrated."

(Sri Aurobindo. The Life Divine. pp.192-3)

"When we study this Life as it manifests itself upon earth with Matter as its basis, we observe that essentially it is a form of the one cosmic Energy, a dynamic movement or current of it positive and negative, a constant act or play of the Force which builds up forms, energises them by a continual stream of stimulation and maintains them by an unceasing process of disintegration and renewal of their substance. This would tend to show that the natural opposition we make between death and life is an error of our mentality, one of those false oppositions - false to inner truth though valid in surface practical experience - which, deceived by appearances, it is constantly bringing into the universal unity. Death has no reality except as a process of life."

(Sri Aurobindo. The Life Divine. p.176)

To the experience of our senses, death is observed as a cessation of life processes. It has two stages, - an immediate death, which is the cessation of life processes at a macrolevel i.e. the absence of breathing, heartbeat and brain activity and, a second phase, which is characterised by the complete cessation of life processes at the cellular level. This is followed by a disintegration of the body.

A closer look however reveals that this phenomenon is not unique to death, as we call it. In fact, millions of cells in the body are dying everyday but are constantly replaced by new ones, more capable, more active. In fact the death of these millions of cells is an inevitable necessity for growth. An absence of cellular death would lead to either an absence of growth or abnormal abundance as is seen in certain cancerous conditions. Yet, a wonderful rhythm of life working through the genes keeps a proportionate harmony between the death and birth of cells in the living organism.

This renewal however is not a property of material substance but of living matter. Living matter is matter which has developed the capacity to convert itself spontaneously into energy and through energy into other forms of substance within itself. The process is subtle and minute and our senses accustomed to see the physical substance alone and our reason with its material bias and assumption, presumes that one form of matter is changing into another form of matter through material processes alone.

Yogic wisdom however reveals that old age and disease are simply an imbalance between the process of building of forms from energy and its disintegration. Death is an acceleration of this process so that the entire form is dissolved and disintegrated either because of a sudden or slow pressure from the environment outside or due to the inherent process of disintegration reaching a point where the forms become too rigid and weak to sustain any further change imposed by the life-energy.

This then is death, - a passage from one status of life to another, a withdrawal of energy from a material to a non-material state only to return again to manifest through other forms ready to uphold it. For this is the law of life, - a law of endless seeking of an infinity of experience in forms that are themselves limited and finite.

This insight naturally opens a whole new world of possibilities before us. First of all, it radically alters our view of death and an unwanted fear and almost a morbid preoccupation with it. Second, it alters our view of ageing and gives us a clue to the process of retarding by reversing the balance (by contacting the universal current of life-energy), though certainly not halting it. Thirdly, it provides the secret of healing illness.

Naturally, this world of possibility has to be put through scientific scrutiny before accepting it as an actuality. It will then open up another dimension of health which can better our life upon earth.

- Dr. Alok Pandey

NAMAH Vol. 5, Issue 2, 21st February 1998. pp-65.

Share with us (Comments, contributions, opinions)

When reproducing this feature, please credit NAMAH, and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.



A yantra


A complexity!