The Vedas and the Modern World

by francine Hardaway on January 13, 2009

It’s time to do something about health care that does not depend on the government. The world seems to have come to a halt waiting for Obama to be inaugurated and solve all the world’s problems. In the mean time, I have gone off to India to visit the Jiva Institute, with whom I’ve been working for the past ten years. Jiva is an oddity; a business built on ancient Vedic truths, whose mission is to translate the wisdom of the Vedas to modern life.

Jiva’s been in business for fourteen years, running a school, a cultural center for the preservation of Vedic language and philosophy, and six Ayurvedic (complementary medicine) clinics– one “product” for each of the the body-mind-soul trilogy of the vedas. Its founding directors have spent a great deal of time in the United States (the Director of Education is from New Jersey, the Director of Culture graduated from IIT and worked in the United States for five years, and the Director of Ayurvedic Medicine travels the world lecturing and teaching). These men are hardly out of touch with the modern western world.

But their vision is to build a business according to the tripartite wisdom of the Vedas: balance between mind, body, and soul, and to impart that wisdom to the rest of the world. Those of us in the West already know that we are out of balance. We’ve beaten up our bodies with lack of sleep and improper eating and exercise, we’re pushed our souls off into a corner, and we’ve given the mind a pre-eminent position in structuring our lives.

But the mind has led us into a deep hole right. Now’s a good time to re-examine some of our perspectives. We can’t think that Obama is going to restore universal access to health care. American health care will continue to be the unsatisfactory, expensive, and broken system it is now for the forseeable future, and one way to deal with it is to circumvent it as best we can by staying healthy. For a long time now we have been aware that prevention is cheaper and easier than cure, but it’s very difficult to make Americans take the knowledge they have in their minds about prevention and apply it to their bodies.

I’m going to make a bold suggestion here: that we draw upon this ancient tradition to make some small changes in our daily lives that will make us healthier. Jivananda, based on the jewels of ancient Indian tradition and philosophies, is a simple lifestyle regimen for busy people. In Sanskrit, Jiva means ‘soul’ and Ananda means ‘bliss’. Therefore, Jivananda signifies the ‘bliss of the soul.’

Yes, this sounds very touchy-feely. But it’s the same thing we’ve always been told: diet, exercise, and a balanced life. If we spent more time remaining healthy, the health of our insurance system would become less important to us. For years we have been trying to inculcate prevention into the lives of Americans who eat themselves into diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Now, without access to health care, perhaps we will take a moment to listen and stop making ourselves sick until we can repair our health care system.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Linda Sherman January 13, 2009 at 9:37 am

I am completely with you on taking responsibility to do the appropriate things to stay healthy. I’ve managed to live this way since I was 20 no matter how insanely busy my work. It is possible. I agree it is time for Americans to start taking care of themselves.

I’m sure you are gaining much from your trip to India, Francine. Be safe.

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