These are the days where most people are pompously conscious of the calories in the food they eat, but actually they are not. There are people who just think like a sanyasi, who would say that the body is just a thing of waste. There is even song a that say that the human body is just air filled bag and is just an illusion. The song goes like this
"Kaayamae Idhu Poiyada
Verum Kaatradaitha Paiyada"
meaning, the human body is just an illusion and it is just an air filled bag, empty and useless
Kaayam - The human body
Idhu - A reflexive pronoun referring the body in this context
Poi - Lie, Illusion, Imaginary
Verum - Simply
Kaatradaitha - Kaatru (Air) + Adaitha (Filled, blocked)
Though this might be correct from one perspective, but in this world most people do not have the super natural capabilities to exceed their limits of their human nature and physiology. And thus came another song, on the same line
"Kaayamae Idhu Meiyada
Adhil Kannum Karuthum Vaiyada"
meaning, The body exists in reality, so take the utmost care to maintain it carefully.
Mei - Truth
Adhil - Word referring to the body
Kannum Karuthum - The eye and the mind, meaning focus your attention in nurturing the body
There are many advices in the form of songs that emphasize the point of having good health, because all that a man could achieve would be when he is in good health, once his health is gone everything is gone, his wealth, his fame. Many writers emphasize the one of the greatest wealth that a man could have is his health. There is one song that might sound funny and almost everybody knows it, but the actual meaning it emphasizes is really great. This song was sung by a Siddhar and it emphasizes the need for maintaining one's health. The song is
"Nandhavanathil Ore Aandi Avan
Naalaaru maathamai Kuyavanai Vendi
Kondu Vandhan Oru Thondi
Adhai Koothadi Koothadi Pottudaithaandi"
the meaning at the first look would seem funny. It means that a poor man in the garden begged for a pot for ten months from the potter. And he got it finally after ten months, but the poor man carelessly played and played with the pot and broke it. The above meaning might look as if the poor man's effort was a waste as he could not save the pot he begged, but the actual meaning is different and has an indepth meaning, but before that let us meaning of the words in the song.
Nandhavam - Garden, Earth
Ore - one
Aandi - Man without anything with him
Avan - Personal Pronoun
Naalaaru - Naalu + Aaru - Four + Six that is ten
Maatham - Month
Kuyavan - Potter, Creator
Vendi - Beg, Ask
Kondu - Bring
Vandhan - Refers to the Aandi
Oru - One
Thondi - Pot, Container
Adhai - Pronoun referring the pot
Koothadi - Play
Pottu - Drop
Udaithaan - Breaking
The actual meaning is as follows. Nandhavam means the Earth and Aandi refers to the human. A human born in the face of the Earth garden comes with nothing in his hand, so he is a poor man. He comes into existence on this earth after ten months. So those ten months is being interpreted as the human begging the creator (God) for his existence by bringing his physical body on this Earth garden. His body being referred to the pot that holds his life and hence the Potter is God. And all his ten months of penance goes of waste once he carelessly roams on the face of the earth unconcerned about his health and thereby breaking the Pot (body) - his life and existence - which he brought into this Garden (Earth) after ten months of effort.
The greatness of this song is that it emphasizes a great meaning with a funny context. Thirumoolar in his masterpiece Thirumandhiram has written about the need to have good health. Even the greatest poet of the recent times, Kaviarasu Kannadhasan, has mentioned his experiences of having good health in his work Arthamulla Hindu Madham (Hinduism and its meanings). Lets see what Thirumoolar has mentioned about this in his songs. The first song goes like this
"Udambaar Azhiyil Uyiraar Azhivar
Dhidampada Meignanam Seravum Maataar
Udambai Valarkkum Ubaayam Arindhae
Udambai Valarthaen Uyir Valarthaenae"
meaning, "Those who have their health destroyed, its as though they have destroyed their life. They would never attain salvation or realise the supreme being. Hence I learned the way to nurture my health. And thus I was able to nurture my life"
Udambu - Physical body
Azhiyil - If destroyed
Uyir - Life, Soul
Azhivar - Die, Destroyed
Dhidampada - Healthiness
Meignanam - Salvation, Knowledge about the Supreme Being
Valarkkum - Nurturing
Ubaayam - Way, Method
Arindhae - realising, learning
What Thirumoolar says is 100% true, if a man does not have good health, then he will not find time to realise the supreme being as he has to mind his own health to keep him alive. And it is a pain to see people suffering from health disorders.
His next song states what our very first song of this post states and then later realises the importance of the human body.
"Udambinai Munnam Izhukkendru Irundhaen
Udambinukku Ullae Uru Porul Kandaen
Udambullae Uththaman Koyil Kondan Endru
Udambinai Yaanirundhu Ombukindraenae"
meaning, "I first thought the body is a blemish. Then I realised that the Supreme Being existing in my body. In my body, the Supreme Being (Lord Shiva) resides in a temple within. And hence I worship and nurture my physical body".
Udambu - Physical body
Munnam - Earlier
Izhukku - blemish, blame
Irundhaen - have an opinion, in this context
Ullae - Inside
Uru Porul - refers to the Supreme Being
Uththaman - Flawless, Divine Human
Koyil - Temple
Kondan - Have, Reside
Yaanirundhu - Yaan (refers to self - Thirumoolar)+ Irundhu (exist, remain)
Ombukindraen - Worshipping, Nurturing
The religious attitude that God resides in one's body, is a great thought, that will to those religiously inclined will consider the body to be divine thing and will start to maintain it in good health. For the others who are not religiously inclined, they understand that their body health is of utmost importance for them to survive. Both ways, the emphasis is to have a good health throughout life. There are various ways that humans to maintain their health. The following song explains one - Yoga. The explaination of the song could be found here in the earlier post - Power of Yoga. There are others ways like knowing about the food we eat and thereby eating the good food, more about this on Priceless Padhartha Guna Chintamani.
So conclusively, all the siddhars, doctors and wise men talking about conserving one's health. There have been ancestral knowledge like the Paati Vaidhiyam, passed on for generations, that averted the need for a doctor in most cases and good healthy food that eliminated most of the diseases. But those knowledge and the healthy food habits is on the decline in our country due to western culture creeping in. It is not the western culture that is to blame, but the people who forget the most treasured knowledge that is priceless and will be realised only when health is lost. Lets us bring back those practices back into life to live long and prosper!!!
More to come, until then...