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Illness and Spirituality - A Call to Action?

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

As some of you know, this past week I have been busy getting to personally know this year's Flu, in way too intimate a fashion…..

While I was not able to do much but contemplate my demise and wonder upon why I would be fast bed buddies with this terrible virus, when in the past I have easily slid by its lecherous claws unscathed..but alas this was not the case this past week.

I like to practice what I preach and here I found myself with plenty of time to explore what might be so amiss in my life that I would need to be stopped so abruptly in my tracks.

Here are some insights for you if and when you find yourself down and out and wondering what terrible thing you may have done to deserve your present plight….

Hinduism, one of the world's oldest and most diverse religions, transcends mere rituals and philosophical doctrines. Within the rich tapestry of its beliefs, Hinduism weaves a profound connection between the spiritual and physical dimensions of life. With that said, let's explore the symbolic nature of illness in Hinduism, recognizing how the ancient wisdom embedded in its scriptures provides a unique perspective on health and healing.

Central to Hindu thought is the concept of karma – the law of cause and effect. According to Hinduism, the circumstances of one's life, including health and illness, are intricately linked to their past actions and choices. Illness can be seen as a manifestation of negative karma, a consequence of actions that disrupt the balance of cosmic order. Conversely, good health may be attributed to positive karma, emphasizing the interconnectedness of physical well-being and spiritual harmony.

Hinduism encompasses a vast pantheon of deities, each associated with specific qualities and attributes. Some deities are revered for their healing powers, offering solace and aid to those grappling with illness. Lord Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods, is a symbol of healing in Hinduism. Devotees may turn to these deities through prayers and rituals, seeking divine intervention and guidance on their journey to recovery.  

I was well acquainted with Lord Dhanvantari myself, with some lovely and most-needed insights. 

Hinduism gave birth to Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine that emphasizes holistic healing. Ayurveda views illness as an imbalance in the body's doshas, or life forces. The system incorporates herbal remedies, dietary practices, and lifestyle adjustments to restore balance and promote well-being. In this context, illness is not merely a physical ailment but a manifestation of imbalances in one's physical, mental, and spiritual states.

The ultimate goal in Hinduism is moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Illness, in a spiritual context, is seen as an opportunity for introspection and growth. It serves as a reminder of the impermanence of the physical body and the importance of transcending worldly attachments. By facing and understanding the challenges posed by illness, individuals may progress on their spiritual journey, inching closer to the ultimate goal of moksha. 

I felt very much a nearing of Moksha this week, or at least prayed for it! This is in jest of course, but the contemplation of illnesses and why we needed to run into this bump in the road is very important to our continued search for liberation/moksha.  

Hinduism is rich in symbolic rituals that address illness and promote healing. The lighting of lamps, recitation of sacred verses, and the performance of specific rituals are believed to harness spiritual energies for the well-being of the individual. Pilgrimages to sacred sites, like the healing waters of the Ganges, are undertaken as acts of purification and restoration.

In Hinduism, illness is not merely a physical affliction; it is a profound and symbolic aspect of the spiritual journey. The interplay between karma, deities, holistic healing practices, and the ultimate pursuit of moksha weaves a narrative that transcends the boundaries of the material world. The symbolism surrounding illness in Hinduism invites individuals to view their health challenges through a spiritual lens, fostering a deeper understanding of life's intricate connections and the pursuit of holistic well-being. As seekers navigate the labyrinth of existence, the symbolic teachings of Hinduism provide a guiding light toward healing and spiritual fulfillment.

I take everything that happens to me as an opportunity to explore the direction I am going in, and the life decisions that have thus far brought me where I am today. Even if it is being laid up for a week or so, and I thank Krishna for every moment of it. I will also not merely place aside the "Flu"as something that happens to all people eventually, because I do not believe that. I do believe it came to me to stop me in my tracks for a moment and made me take a hard look at my life, the people in it, and how I have decided to live it.

It was not an easy week, but I know I am blessed and better for it. 

I hope you can receive this message as an opportunity to explore your life now before you too get a small wake-up call ?  

Let's hope not!

Hari Om Tat Sat

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