Today's Beautiful Gem: `A Generic Prayer'

"May long life be granted;
May good health be granted;
May money enough be granted;
May knowledge sacred be granted;
May proper sense be granted;
May necessary detachment be granted;
May the entire world be joyous!
May good things befall to all!"

This is a generic prayer of the soul, a wish-song of the heart,
and a sweet dream of the mind. What we need most in this life on the
Earth are: longevity (Ayus), good health (Arogya), enough wealth to
eat, to have a roof overhead and a cloth to cover the body (aisvarya),
knowledge that is not perverted (gnAna), sense to distinguish right from
the wrong (buddhi), and, a lack of attachment (vairAgya). It may be
addressed to a super-power or a formless God, or to Him or to Her.
Actually `may it be granted' can mean `may it be granted [by You] [to me]
[to him] [to her]'. In the next few lines, I want to concentrate on the
second aspect in the prayer, viz., good health. A recent study in the
Lancet [345, 1995, 401-402, 405-409] indicated that westernised south Asian
immigrants (men and women) to UK, USA, Australia, Europe, etc. have a higher
chance of getting coronary heart disease (CHD) and type II diabetes (NIDDM).
The study actually compares Punjabi immigrants in England with their siblings
in the native Punjab. Another study in the New England Journal of Medicine
[325, 1991, 147-152] shows that physical activity reduces NIDDM. The irony
is: When we didn't have enough money, we could not enjoy the luxury of rich
food and travel in cars. But when we can afford them, we may acquire CHD
and NIDDM if we overindulge! The moral is: Don't sit there, exercise! When
one is in his/her twenties, one thinks one is a Jayanta or an Urvasi, or an
Apollo or an Aphrodite. But the above diseases start in forties and fifties.
Even if we do not have any control over our hereditory factors, certainly
regular exercise and sensible diet reduce the chance of getting the above
diseases. If one has already acquired the above, exercise and diet help to
manage them. Of course, these plans must be followed up with the advice of
one's physician. If this posting prolongs the lives of a few in the long
run, I will be the happiest person and will indeed consider it a real gem.

om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao