The Sacred Human Body

The human body is the opportunity we are given to exhaust our past karma in order to be free and achieve liberation. This body is a playground of action, of enjoyment and at the same time the only place to meditate and possibly, the only tool to attend liberation. The body is where karma, intended as action, can take place. Each human life is the balance of past and present karmas. We have acted in the past, we are acting now in the present and therefore it is not easy to be free from the claws of karmas.

We must live intelligently as the human body is a precious opportunity to attain liberation. Just as a bulb is useless without electricity, a body is inert and cannot function without the power of the soul. We are like tourists using this ‘body-tent’ while we are traveling on earth. The body may also be compared to a temple and to that UN-fathomable treasure within, God Himself. God hides in this body and he is so close to each one of us that there is no distance at all. To unveil this supreme treasure, you must go within and, once you have discovered God within, you will be the richest person in the world. Love your body, but do not be attached to it, because it is a piece of cloth to be used for one incarnation and then discarded.

Can you synthesize what life is? It is like a drama and while acting on the stage of life, we should play our role well. Every moment we are faced with new situations and new people and our roles constantly vary, yet we should play every role at its peak of perfection. Life is a drama and we are all actors. God is the director as well as the prompter. To become great actors and turn the drama into a success, all that we have to do is keep our attention riveted on the prompter, listen whole-heartedly and follow the directions coming from within (our voice of conscience).

But to perform our role well, it is necessary to keep our body in good shape. In real life, it is really rare to find a person who can claim to be extremely and totally healthy and free from any sickness, be it a common cold or a sore knee. Diseases are caused by our own actions, our own karma, wrong past actions, eating wrong food and living a wrong lifestyle. At the root of any disease, it is our own karma. We can rarely come across people who are completely detached from their own bodies.

A famous Yogi said, “This body is a temple of diseases and should be used very cautiously. The body is a clay pot and should be baked in the fire of knowledge. If the pot is made of metal, it will not break easily but if it is of clay, the risk of breaking is very great. Hence if you use your body wisely, it will last longer. The fragility of certain body-parts should be understood and taken care of.” The body is like a vehicle, which needs fuel, by way of ‘satvic’ food, some water and regular exercise to keep it running. Paramahamsa Hariharanada often compares the body to an earthen pot. If this clay pot is not properly baked, it will break very easily. Similarly, to be strong and long lasting, this body-pot needs to be adequately baked in fire. Yoga is the fire. With knowledge, meditation and prayers, the body will become stronger and healthier.

Is the happiness factor determined by the mind or the soul? It is essentially the mind that wants eternal happiness and wants to make happiness its goal but does not know how to attain it. The mind also wants love but does not know where to find it. This business of happiness is only for the mind. The soul is ever pure and nothing can touch it, neither happiness nor unhappiness!

What has been God’s purpose in sending us to planet earth? Why do we have a human body and not that of a plant or an animal? If we can find answers to these questions, most of our lives’ problems will be over. We should try to gain maximum knowledge and derive full benefit from this birth, as this human life is a rare and precious gift. Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this life?  What am I here for? Where have I come from? Where do I go from here? Is this the life I want to live? How can I improve it?” By meditating on these questions, you’ll realise that the body is a playground for action, enjoyment and liberation!

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