One evening I was desperately seeking a solution to this very common problem of attachment to one’s own body. Finding no real answer, I went to meet my mother hoping to get some help. The television set was on and one woman was comforting another woman with these words, “Don’t fear. You are a devotee of God. Any trouble that you shall encounter shall only bring you some benefit only.” God had provided me the answer.
Subsequently, this story was shown in that programme. There was a kingdom. The chief minister was a great devotee of God, and had a strong faith that whatever happened to him was for his good only. One day, one finger of the king got accidentally severed. The king showed his hand with the missing finger to his chief minister expecting some sympathetic words but the chief minister only repeated what he believed. The king got very upset by such remark and ordered immediate imprisonment of his chief minister.
After his wound healed the king went for hunting. There he got separated from his soldiers and was captured by some tribals. These people were looking for a male to sacrifice on the alter of their goddess. All arrangements were made till they noticed that the king had a missing finger. Not wanting to offer in sacrifice what was not complete they set the king free.
The king returned to his kingdom and immediately got his chief minister out of the prison and appreciated what his chief minister had told him earlier. Then on second thought the king asked his chief minister as to how this whole episode had been beneficial to the chief minister. To this the chief minister replied, “Had I not been imprisoned by you, I would have accompanied you for hunting and would have been sacrificed by now.”
This story very nicely points out how attachment to one’s body can be countered; one has to become a devotee of God. And a devotee of God shall know and practice the following: that one is a soul only, and not the material body; diseases are controlled by the laws of “karma”; death is predestined; old age and diseases are inevitable in the material body; mind must be controlled; one should be totally surrendered to God in the matter of results; and one must pray to God seeking help is countering this weakness.
Otherwise such attachment to one’s body causes many harms, such as: one suffers anxieties, worries and fears about one’s body; such emotions affect the body’s immune system negatively; one picks up signals from one’s body which don’t exist, that is one becomes hypochondriac; and good times also turn into bad ones on account of attachment to one’s body.
Surely one should take care of one’s body as best as one can but there is a world of difference between doing so and worrying about one’s body. A human body is a very precious gift from God to us but it is a vehicle only, temporarily given to us. There are two extremes: some people are too attached to their bodies, while some others abuse their bodies through many bad habits. Both are undesirable. One must do one’s best for his or her body but most importantly become a devotee of God. Then one has nothing to fear vis-ŕ-vis his or her body. One would develop a similar faith as Kunti the mother of Pandavas did, who used to say, “vipadah santu tah sasvat tatra tatra jagad guru bhavato darsanam yat syad apunar bhava-darsanam.” Translated this verse means, “Let troubles come because when they come, you (Krishna) also come and because you come, one makes progress on the spiritual path.”
So what is the conclusion? One should take the very best care of the one’s body without being attached to it and most importantly become a devotee of God. Then whatever happens to one’s body shall bring some benefit only; God ensures that.