Chanakya Thoughts: Not money, but your health is the real wealth

There are different types of health. The most talked about is physical health. And, now everyone is talking about mental health. If one is not physically healthy, he/she will not be happy at all. Our movements get restricted, we feel low and unworthy. Our energies are also affected and we underperform in any kind of activity.

But at the same time, even if we are physically healthy and fit, we still need to focus on our mental health. When both the mind and the body are aligned, we can give our best to any work we do. We feel energetic and enthusiastic. And, that leads us to happiness.

But what if a person is not healthy and there is a lot to do? Should we drag ourselves to complete the work at hand and meet our deadlines? That is impossible. Health is our real asset, and real wealth. Without good health, you cannot move forward. It is like dragging a car forward without fuel. So, the first priority is to fill the tank and only then will the car be able to move ahead. The same idea is given by Chanakya or Kautilya in the Arthashastra.

He said, “If he is incapable due to ill health or due to a calamity, he shall get an extension.” (3.14.2)

Chanakya was a very practical philosopher. He knew that if a person is ill, he should be given extra time to recover. Taking a break to regain your lost health is the most important decision you will take to become productive again. Let us understand this in detail.

What is ill health?

There are two types of diseases: Normal and chronic. Normal diseases are like cough and cold, small injuries, fever that usually lasts for about a week, or any small discomfort due to change of weather or season. All these are normal for every person. With the right care and medication, we can easily recover from these.

But chronic diseases are different. They last for a year or more and require continuous medical attention. Chronic diseases like heart ailments, cancer, diabetes, etc., become major cause for long-term illnesses and if proper care is not taken, can lead to death. Both normal and chronic diseases require different treatments. Therefore, we should be careful of their short-term and long-term effects.

Calamity strikes

A person may be fit and fine. But then a calamity strikes, and your life becomes topsy-turvy. You must have heard many instances where a healthy person met with an accident, and his/her life just changed overnight. One just goes off balance and life turns upside down.

Another type of calamity is when you are not directly affected, but are pulled into it indirectly. For instance, the only earning member of your family suddenly passes away, and the family does not know what to do. You may be doing well, but due to this calamity, family members start facing mental health problems — stress builds up, depression sets in. The family does not know how to create new sources of income and recover, not just from the personal loss, but also financial loss. Is there a solution then in such a situation? Yes! Chanakya shows you the way.

Take time out

First, accept the fact that you will become incapable for a temporary period of time. That is the practical reality. Tell your mind to be strong and accept the new normal you will have to live through. Once you accept the reality, just relax and take a deep breath. Calm down and give yourself time to get better. It may take a few weeks or even years, but you will need some time to recover from these losses.

You need to consult a good doctor, and follow a new health routine till you become fit again. Do not take such situations negatively; have a spiritual way of looking at life. For a short while it may shake you up, but in the long run you will discover it was needed to slow you down. It was nature’s way of healing you.

And then when you recover, you will not only be fitter, but more mature as well. Such a person who is physically fit, with mental calmness will be more productive than ever before. Stay fit, stay calm — the perfect way to eternal happiness.

(The writer is Founder Director of Chanakya Aanvikshiki Pvt Ltd, a bestselling author and an expert on Chanakya’s teachings. He can be followed on his twitter @rchanakyapillai)

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