God is the final reality, the judge of our life, the living law in obedience to which the whole universe moves. He is an indefinable mysterious power that is present everywhere. God is kind, generous and loves us all. His love suggests freedom from all fears, fear of disease, injury, death or loss. His love also frees us from pride. All these fears arise only when man looks at the outside world, at the environment beyond his everyday life. Man “lays waste his powers” in solving the problems associated with his immediate life.

From time immemorial, man has been trying to be free of all diseases and making his body strong and attractive; to live life more comfortably and with full enjoyment. This zeal to make himself perfect grows day by day in human beings. Great scientists work for perfection and betterment in life day and night. Although they actually work to find out the reality, yet their searches turn into quests. Their quests turns them to the inner regions of the mind as well. This turning inward, this attempt to understand life makes him explore new areas. Even scientists reach this stage during their inquiries into the truth of things, of matter and of the working of the human body. This leads them also to the study of ‘Yoga” and even to its practice.

Yoga is a science in itself, which is applicable to all, irrespective of caste, colour and creed, age or sex. Yoga is not only a means to turn man to the inner life of spirituality, but also a means to gain mastery over body, mind, intellect and the emotional faculty of man. Yoga has the power to bring out the profound hidden potential powers and talents, which God has gifted to every human being. Through yogic practices, man becomes able to control the six major enemies (as the great rishis and founders of religion have described them) namely kama (intense desire), krodh (anger), lobh (greed and miserliness), moha (infatuation), mada (arrogance) and matsarya (jealousy). By mastering these basic (negative) emotions, one increases not only one’s physical powers, but also moves on one’s spiritual journey.

a).  The Meaning of Yoga:

The word yoga has its roots in the Sanskrit word yuj, which means ‘yoking’ ‘binding’, attaching’ or ‘union’, the union of an individual soul with the universal soul. Yoga aims at freeing mankind from three main pains: (i) pain arising from sin and disease, (ii) pain arising from relations with other living beings and (iii) pain arising from other non-living things, natural calamities, massacres and abstract and supernatural powers like ghosts. According to the great masters of yoga, freedom from all these pains can be obtained through the practice of yoga.

The principles of yoga were laid down by the ancient Indian mystics. Yoga has two aspects: spiritual and physical. In its spiritual aspect, yoga takes us near God and in its physical aspect, it can eliminate disease. Thus, the power of yoga is inestimable. One can realize its usefulness and splendour only by practising it. If we follow the path of yogic exercise from childhood, we will remain healthy and the fear of disease and sickness will disappear automatically.

The physical part of yoga leads to physical fitness, because yoga has a holistic approach towards health. This is the therapeutic aspect of yoga, which is also a system of self-treatment. According to yoga, disease is the result of a faulty way of living, poor habits, and improper food. Therefore, if disease is the result of a faulty life style, only correction in it will lead to cure. Either way, it is the individual who is responsible for his condition and it is the individual only who can cure it by his own efforts. The cure by yoga completely relies on the practices of an individual. The role of a yoga teacher is only to guide or show the path.

b). Yoga the great healer

As noted earlier, the first of the threefold pains is the pain arising from disease. Treatment of diseases through yoga also comprises three steps:

  1. Proper diet.
  2. Proper practice of yogic exercise.
  3. Proper knowledge and management of bad habits and false assumptions that govern our life and thus lead to stress.

Most diseases can be cured by a proper balanced diet and the systematic practice of simple yoga with it. In complicated cases, where a poor lifestyle and bad habits have led to serious diseases, the patient has to be counselled and guided much more intensively by the yoga teacher. Such patients usually need to develop a certain detachment with the world and the stressful lifestyle of modern times, so that they may spare time for themselves. They need to understand that life is the most precious gift of God. Nothing is possible if there is no life. It is then our responsibility to make our life the best and to lead it in a disease-free manner, in a healthy way. We should never forget that in a healthy body lives a healthy mind. Thus, to keep our body and mind healthy is our responsibility. It is also our responsibility to make our soul healthy and achieve the ultimate goal i.e. salvation. This theory of cure by change in lifestyle brings us to the vital difference between yoga and medical science.

c).  Medical Science vs. Yoga

It is obvious that in medial science the primary emphasis is on medicine, because it is supposed that diseases are cured by medicines. A doctor examines the patient, makes a diagnosis, and prescribes the medicine. All that a patient has to do is to take the medicine in the prescribed dosage. Usually, there is no or very little restriction on diet. Thus, the cure is affected by medicine, which is an external force. yoga in contrast with this theory is an internal force. It works to strengthen the natural immune system of the body, so that not only the present disease is cured, but the body develops a resistance for other diseases also. yoga strengthens from within whereas medicine cures on the external plane yoga is an overall healer. while medicine cures only one particular disease, leaving many side effects. Thus in yoga there is no place for medicines. It is the patient’s attitude and careful and diligent practice that leads him to heath. In this way, yoga has a dual role to play: it prevents the onset of disease and also cures. That is why, sometimes even chromic diseases, which medicines fail to cure are permanently cured by practising yoga