We all desire to lead a long and happy life. It can be achieved only through a harmonious development of body, mind and soul. This is exactly what this book offers.
Running throughout the book like a thread is the wisdom of ancient Indian philosophy. It explains how to conduct gracious human behaviour (achaar), think positively (vichaar), carry on interpersonal relations (vyavahaar) and select a suitable diet (ahaar).
By offering insights into the working of human mind, it shows us the way to increase our concentration and efficiency using simple exercises, ayurveda, yoga and meditation.
Still, there are road blocks and temptations that influence the soul from all sides - airwaves, bill boards and print media. These are the five formidable enemies of mankind - lust, anger, greed, attachment and envy. It explains how to deal effectively with each and make a paradise of this planet.
This book is for those who believe in a holistic approach - living healthy and living long!
Baldeo Sahai was born on 7 April, 1918, in Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan) in a highly religious family. He was taught the Gita by his grandfather at the age of 12. Since 18 years of age he has been associated with the saints of Ramakrishna Mission and Sivananda Ashram. He was selected for Indian Foreign Service(B) and Indian Information Service. He opted for the latter and superannuated in 1976.
He served as the Communication Consultant to Standing Conference Of Public Enterprises, and many other private and public sector organisations for two decades.
He was music critic for the Hindustan Times for twelve years and art critic for the Illustrated Weekly of India for eight years. He has authored many books. Of these, Indian Shipping - A Historical Survey and Active at Eighty are extremely popular. A Fellow of Indian National Science Academy, he was conferred a doctorate in History by a university of Netherlands. He founded the Upanishad Society and has written pocket books on all principal Upanishads.
Dr. Baldeo Sahai, whom I have known for several decades, is well qualified to write a book on health and longevity. He is in his 94th year, and remarkably active and agile. This is his 17th book after superannuation from the Indian Information Service. And he is planning to write more. His book on Indian Shipping was under the auspices of a Fellowship offered by the Indian National Science Academy of the Government of India. It, suo moto, earned him a Doctorate in History from a University of the Netherlands.
The most significant merit of this book is that he largely practices what he has suggested. It has the stamp of authenticity. He has elaborated on the four pillars of longevity mentioned by Charaka, the best-known name in Ayurveda. These are achaar (conduct), vyavhar (behaviour), vichar (thinking) and ahaar (diet). The book contains many more gems. He has, for example, mentioned some special exercises to avoid pain in the joints of the body, especially for senior citizens. His chapter on 'Enemies of Mankind' is unique. He has given methods of controlling the prominent enemies of desire (kama), anger (krodh), greed (lobh), attachment (moha) and envy or jealousy (mastar). When these are curbed and controlled, several other minor mental delinquencies will not adversely affect health.
Dr. Sahai has laid great emphasis on proper utilisation of Prana vayu. One Upanishad has exalted breath (vayu) to the status of Brahma, the causeless Cause. In fact, the thread of quest for Truth runs throughout the book in a subtle manner, as the ultimate aim of human life. I fully endorse that view as once that is the goal, to lead a healthy life, long life looks like a minor matter.
The book, I am sure, will be found useful by the young and the old alike, engaged in all walks of life.
Very few understand the art of developing their physical, mental and spiritual capacities to the maximum. Fewer still are able to do it during their lifetime. By 'spiritual' is meant the sublimation of the soul. An Upanishad says, ayam atma Brahma, that is, the soul is Brahma, the Ultimate Reality. Inside the body the soul is called atma, in the universe it is known as Paramatma.
The development of the physical, mental and spiritual faculties is achieved with the help of the mind. In fact, the mind plays the most important role. At times the mind even swallows the soul and identifies itself with the soul. The mind, including the senses, functions as long as breathing continues. A whole chapter in the book has been devoted, therefore, to optimum utilization of Prana vayu. The body sustains itself through a balanced diet and, therefore, some basic facts about food have been explained.
But there are five powerful enemies of humans. These are desire (kama), anger (krodh), greed (lobh), attachment (moha) and envy or jealousy (matsar). They are the root cause of several mental delinquencies. The ways to control or curb each one of them have, been explained in this book.
Leading a healthy, long life is a difficult proposition. It is a tedious journey. This book negotiates the road to longevity through its various twists and turns. Whatever has been described has been practiced by me to reach the age of 94. And I plan to continue.
I am extremely grateful to Shri T. N. Chaturvedi, former Governor of Karnataka, and a Member of Rajya Sabha for being not only a source of inspiration but also for penning a foreword to this book.
I am grateful to my parents and grandfather who inculcated in me a love for learning. My thanks to the learned rishis and scholars whose works I have consulted in the preparation of the book.
What has contributed the most to my longevity - especially after the demise of my wife, Pushpa Sahai a few years ago - is the abundant respect and affection I have been getting from my children and friends. My son Yogi (Yogendra Sahai) and other members of the family even sense my requirements in advance and fulfill them. The weekly visits of my granddaughter Richa and daughters Rani, Rashmi, Bina and Promila, and their husbands, are the welcome bonus. And above all, my little great-grandson, Anmol's innocent pranks and play have added life to my years.
Shri S. K. Ghai, Managing Director of Sterling Publishers, took keen interest in the publication of this book and I profusely thank him.
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