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Full text of "A guide to health"

^M ram UBRAHY 

GANDHI MEMORIAL 
LIBRARY 




fif at % wa $ at faf^cT ? r ^t $ i 

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS DEFEAT IN 

NONVIOLENCE. THE END OF VIOLENCE IS 

SUREST DEFEAT. 

THE LIBRARY OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 



R. Cambray <k Co. Ltd. 



A GUIDE TO HEALTH 



A GUIDE TO HEALTH 



BY 

MAHATMA GANDHI 



Translated from the Hindi 

BY 

A. RAMA IYER, M.A. 




1921 

S. GANESAN., PUBLISHER, 
TRIPLICANE . , , , MADRAS, S.E. 



^C^ll^ rC^A* 



Q n3 



PUBLIC 

HEALTH 
LIBRARY 



\ ' 


CONTENTS 


Page 


Translator's Note ... 


vii 


Introduction ... 


I 




Part I : General 




Chap. I. 


The Meaning of Health 


9 


Chap. II. 


The Human Body 


II 


Chap. III. 


Air 


14 


Chap. IV. 


Water 


25 


Chap. V. 


Food 


29 


Chap. VI. 


How much and how many times 






should we eat ? 


55 


Chap. VII. 


Exercise 


59 


Chap. VIII. 


Dress 


64 


Chap. IX. 


Sexual Relations 


69 


Part 


fi : Some Simple Treatments 




Chap. I. 


Air Treatment 


83 


Chap. II. 


Water Cure... 


86 


Chap. III. 


The Use of Earth 


95 


Chap. IV. 


Fever and it&Cures ... 


98 


Chap. V. 


Constipation, Dysentery, etc. ... 


101 




M661854 - 





vi CONTENTS 

4 

Part II: Some Simple Treatments— (Contd.) 



Chap. 


VI. 


Contagious Diseases Small-pox 


104 


Chap. 


VII. 


Other Contagious Diseases ... 


112 


Chap. 


VIII. 


Maternity and Child-Birth 


if/ 


Chap. 


IX. 


Care of Child 


I2J 


Chap. 


X. 


Accidents Drowning 


** 


Chap. 


XI. 


Do Burns and Scalds . 


130 


Chap. 


XII. 


Do Snake Bite 


•32 


Chap. 


XIII. 


Do Scorpion-sting, etc. 


140 


Chap. 


XIV. 


Conclusion ... 


142 



TRANSLATOR'S NOTE 
In these days when the name of Mahatma Gandhi 
is identified with the momentous question of Non- 
Co-operation, it may come with a shock of surprise 
to most readers to be told that he is something of 
an authority on matters of Health and Disease as 
well. Very few of us perhaps are aware that he is 
the author of quite an or iginal little Healttwtao ok in 
Gujarati. Those who think of him as a dreamy 
idealist or an unpractical visionary, with his head 
always in the clouds, will certainly be undeceived 
when they read this book replete from cover to 
cover with practical observations on the most practi- 
cal question of Health. His views are of course 
radically different from the ordinary views that find 
expression in the pages of such books ; in many 
cases, indeed, his doctrines must be pronounced 
revolutionary, and will doubtless be regarded by a 
certain class of readers as wholly impracticable. 
Even the most revolutionary of his doctrines, how- 
ever, are based, not on the shifting quicksands of 
mere theory, but on the solid foundation of deep 
study, backed up by personal, experience of nearly 
thirty years. He himself recognises that many of 
his views will hardly be accepted by the ordinary 



viii TRANSLATOR'S NOTE 

reader, but he has felt himself impelled by a stern 
sense of duty to give publicity to his convictions 
formed after so much of study and experience. 
Some at least however, of those who read his 
book cannot help being profoundly influenced by 
it. Such, at any -Tate, has been the case with 
me ; and I have ventured to translate the book 
into English in the hope that others may also be 
benefitted likewise. 

I should perhaps explain that I am not a student 
of Gujarati, the language of the original. I have 
used instead one of the two Hindi versions of the 
book. I should also point out that I have not 
attempted a literal or close translation, but only o 
rerij fret 'render ing into English. In some cases, 
whole passages have been omitted ; and occasion- 
ally only the general sense of a passage has been 
given. It is hoped, however, that, in no single 
instance has there been a midnterpretaUon of the 
original words. 

I am aware that many errors might have crept 
in, as the translation had to be done in a hurry, 
and there was hardly anytime for revision. I hope 
to make a thorough revision of the book, in case a 
second edition is called for. 

National College^, j 

TRICHINOPOLY, A. RAMA IYER. 

July 1921. J 



INTRODUCTION 

For more than twenty years past I have been 
paying special attention to the question of Health. 
While in England, 1 had to make my own arrange- 
ments for food and drink, and I can say, therefore, 
that my experience is quite reliable. I have arrived 
at certain definite conclusions from that experience, 
and I now set them down for the benefit of my 
readers. 

As the familiar saying goes, ' Prevention is better 
than cure.' It is far easier and safer to prevent 
illness by the observance of the laws of health than 
to set about curing the illness which has been 
brought on by our own ignorance and carelessness. 
Hence it is the duty of all thoughtful men to under- 
stand aright the laws of health, and the object of 
the following pages is to give an account of these 
laws. We shall also consider the best methods of 
cure for some of the most common diseases. 

As Milton says, the mind can make a hell of 
heaven or a heaven of helf. So heaven is not 
somewhere above the clouds, and hell somewhere 
H— I 



2 INTRODUCTION 

underneath the earth ! We have this same idea 
expressed in the Sanskrit saying, Mana evam 
Manushayanam Kdranam Bandha Mokshayoh — 
man's captivity or freedom is dependant on the 
state of his mind. From this it follows that whe- 
ther a man is healthy or unhealthy depends on 
himself. Illness is the result not only of our 
actions but also of our thoughts. As has been said 
by a famous doctor, more people die for fear of 
diseases like small-pox, cholera and plague than 
out of those diseases themselves. 

Ignorance is one of the root-causes of disease. 
Very often we get bewildered at the most ordinary 
diseases out of sheer ignorance, and in our anxiety 
to get better, we simply make matters worse. Our 
ignorance of the most elementary laws of health 
leads us to adopt wrong remedies or drives us into 
the hands of the veriest quacks. How strange 
(and yet how true) it is that we know much less 
about things near at hand than things at a distance. 
We know hardly anything of our own village, but 
we can give by rote the names of the rivers an4 
mountains of England ! We take so much trouble 
to learn the names of the stars in the sky, while we 
hardly think it worth while to know the things 
that are in our own homes ! We never care a 
jot for the splendid pageantry of Nature before our 
very eyes, while we are so anxious to witness the 



INTRODUCTION 3 

puerile mummeries of the theatre ! And in the 
same way, we are not ashamed to be ignorant of 
the structure of our body, of the way in which the 
bones and muscles, grow, how the blood circulates 
and is rendered impure, how we are affected by 
evil thoughts and passions, how our mind travels 
over illimitable spaces and times while the body is 
at rest, and so on. There is nothing so closely 
connected with us as our body, but there is also 
nothing perhaps of which our ignorance is so 
profound, or our indifference so complete. 

It is the duty of every one of us to get over this 
indifference. Everyone should regard it as his 
bounclen duty to know something of the funda- 
mental facts concerning his body. This kind of 
instruction should indeed be made compulsory in 
our schools. At present, we know not how to deal 
with the most ordinary scalds and wounds ; we are 
helpless if a thorn runs into our foot ; we are beside 
ourselves with fright and dismay if we are bitten 
by an ordinary snake ! Indeed, if we consider the 
depth of our ignorance in such matters, we shall 
have to hang down our heads in shame. To assert 
that the average man cannot be expected to know 
these things is simply absurd. The following 
pages are intended for such as are willing to learn. 

I do not pretend that the facts mentioned by me 
have not been said before. But my readers will 



4 INTRODUCTION 

find here in a nutshell the substance of several 
books on the subject. I have arrived at my con- 
clusions after studying these books, and after a 
series of careful experiments. Moreover, those 
who are new to this subject will also be saved the 
risk of being confounded by the conflicting views 
held by writers of such books. One writer says> 
for instance, that hot water is to be used under 
certain circumstances, while another writer 
says that, exactly under the same circumstances, 
cold water is to be used. Conflicting views of this 
kind have been carefully considered by me, so that 
my readers may rest assured of the reliability of 
my own views. 

We have got into the habit of calling in a doctor 
for the most trivial diseases. Where there is no 
regular doctor available, we take the advice of 
mere quacks. We labour under the fatal delusion 
that no disease can be cured without medicine- 
This has been responsible for more mischief to 
mankind than any other evil. It is, of course, 
necessary that our diseases should be cured, but 
they cannot be cured by medicines. Not only are 
medicines merely useless, but at times even posi- 
tively harmful. For a diseased man to take drugs 
and medicines would be as foolish as to try to 
cover up the filth that has accumulated in the inside 
of the house. The more we cover up the filth, the 



INTRODUCTION 5 

more rapidly does putrefaction go on. The same 
is the case with the human body. Illness or dis- 
ease is only Nature's warning that filth has 
accumulated in some portion or other of the body ; 
and it would surely be the part of wisdom to allow 
Nature to remove the filth, instead of covering it 
up by the help of medicines. Those who take 
medicines are really rendering the task of Nature 
doubly difficult. It is, on the other hand, quite 
easy for us to help Nature in her task by remem- 
bering certain elementary principles, — by fasting, 
for instance, so that the filth may not accumulate 
all the more, and by vigorous exercise in the open 
air, so that some of the filth may escape in the 
form of perspiration. And the one thing that is 
supremely necessary is to keep our minds strictly 
under control. 

We find from experience that, when once a bottle 
of medicine gets itself introduced into a home, it 
never thinks of going out, but only goes on drawing 
other bottles in its train. We come across number- 
less human beings who are afflicted by some 
disease or other all through their lives in spite of 
their pathetic devotion to medicines. They are 
to-day under the treatment of this doctor, to-morrow 
of that. They spend all their^life in a futile search 
after a doctor who will cure them for good. As 
the late Justice Stephen (who was for some time in 



6 INTRODUCTION 

India) said, it is really astonishing that drugs of 
which so little is known should be applied by 
doctors to bodies of which they know still less 1 
Some of the greatest doctors of the West them- 
selves have now come to hold this view. Sir. Astley 
Cooper, for instance, admits that the 'science' of 
medicine is mostly mere guess-work ; Dr. Baker 
and Dr. Frank hold that more people die of medi- 
cines than of diseases ; and Dr. Masongoocl even 
goes to the extent of saying that more men have 
fallen victims to medicine than to war, famine and 
pestilence combined ! 

It is also a matter of experience that diseases 
increase in proportion to the increase in the number 
of doctors in a place. The demand for drugs has 
become so widespread that even the meanest papers 
are sure of getting advertisements of quack medi- 
cines, if of nothing else. In a recent book on the 
Patent Medicines we are told that the Fruit-salts and 
syrups, for which we pay from Rs. 2 to Rs. 5, cost to 
their manufacturers only from a quarter of an anna 
to one anna ! No wonder, then, that their composi- 
tions should be so scrupulously kept a secret. 

We will, therefore, assure our readers that there 
is absolutely no necessity for them to seek the aid 
of doctors. To those, however, who may not be 
willing to boycott doctors and medicines altogether, 
we will say, "As far as possible, possess your 



INTRODUCTION 7 

souls in patience, and do not trouble the doctors. 
In case you are forced at length to call in the aid 
of a doctor, be sure to get a good man ; then, follow 
his directions strictly, and do not call in another 
doctor, unless by his own advice. But remember, 
above all, that the curing of your disease does not 
rest ultimately in the hands of any doctor." 

M. K. Gandhi. 



A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Chapter I 
THE MEANING OF HEALTH 

Ordinarily that man is considered healthy who 
eats well and moves about, and does not resort to 
a doctor. But a little thought will convince us that 
this idea is wrong. There are many cases of men 
being diseased, in spite of their eating well and 
freely moving about. They are under the delusion 
that they are healthy, simply because they axe too 
indifferent to think about the matter. 

In fact, perfectly healthy men hardly exist any- 
where over this wide world. 

As has been well said, only that man can be said 
to be really healthy, who has a sound mind in a sound 
body. The relation between the body and the mind 
is so intimate that, if either of them got out 
of order, the whole system would suffer. Let us 
talce the analogy of the rose-flower. Its colour 
stands to its fragrance in the same way as the body 



10 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

to the mind or the soul. No one regards an arti- 
ficial paper-flower as a sufficient substitute for the 
natural flower, for the obvious reason that the 
fragrance, which forms the essence of the flower, 
cannot be reproduced. So too, we instinctively 
honour the man of a pure mind and a noble character 
in preference to the man who is merely physically 
strong. Of course, the body and the soul are both 
essential, but the latter is far more important than 
the former. No man whose character is not pure 
can be said to be really healthy. The body which 
contains a diseased mind can never be anything 
but diseased! Hence it follows that a pure char- 
acter is the foundation of health in the real sense 
of the term ; and we may say that all evil 
thoughts and evil passions are but different forms 
of disease. 

Thus considered, we may conclude that that man 
alone is perfectly healthy whose body is well 
formed, whose teeth as well as eyes and ears are in 
good condition, whose nose is free from dirty 
matter, whose skin exudes perspiration freely and 
without any bad smell, whose mouth is also free 
from bad smells, whose hands and legs perform 
their duty properly, who is neither too fat nor too 
thin, and whose mind and senses are constantly 
under his control. As has already been said, it is 
very hard to gain such health, but it is harder 



THE HUMAN BODY II 

still to retain it, when once it has been acquired. 
The chief reason why we are not truly healthy is 
that our parents were not. An eminent writer has 
said that, if the parents are in perfectly good condi- 
tion their children would certainly be superior to 
them in all respects. A perfectly healthy man 
has no reason to fear death ; our terrible fear 
of death shows that we are far from beings so 
healthy. It is, however, the clear duty of all of us 
to strive for perfect health. We will, therefore, 
proceed to consider in the following pages how 
such health can be attained, and how, when once 
attained, it can also be retained for ever. 



Chapter II 
THE HUMAN BODY 

The world is compounded of the five elements, — 
earth, water, air, fire, and ether. So too is our body. 
It is a sort of miniature world. Hence the body 
stands in need of all the elements in due propor- 
tion, — pure earth, pure water, pure fire or sunlight, 
pure air, and open space. When any one of these 
falls short of its due proportion, illness is caused 
in the body. 

The body is made up of skin and bone, as well 
as flesh and blood. The bones constitute the 
frame-work of the body ; but for them we could 



12 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

not stand erect and move about. They protect 
the softer parts of the body. Thus the skull 
gives protection to the brain, while the ribs 
protect the heart and the lungs. Doctors have 
counted 238 bones in the human body. The out- 
side of the bones is hard, but the inside is soft and 
hollow. Where there is a joint between two bones, 
there is a coating of marrow, which may be regard- 
ed as a soft bone. The teeth, too, are to be coun- 
ted among the bones. 

When we feel the flesh at some points, we find 
it to be tough and elastic. This part of the flesh 
is known as the muscle. It is the muscles that 
enable us to fold and unfold our arms, to move our 
jaws, and to close our eyes. It is by means of the 
muscles, again, that our organs of perception do 
their work. 

It is beyond the province of this book to give a de- 
tailed account of the structure of the body ; nor has 
the present writer enough knowledge to give such 
an account. We will, therefore, content our-selves 
with just as much information as is essential for 
our present purpose. 

The most important portion of the body is the 
stomach. If the stomach ceases to work even for a 
single moment, the whole body would collapse. 
The work of the stomach is to digest the food, and 
so to provide nourishment to the body. Its relation 



THE HUMAN BODY 13 

to the body is the same as that of the steam engine 
to the Railway train. The gastric juice which is pro- 
duced in the stomach helps the assimilation of nutri- 
tious elements in the food, the refuse being sent out 
b£ way of the intestines in the form of urine and 
fseces. On the left side of the abdominal cavity 
is the spleen, while to the right of the stomach is 
the liver, whose function is the purification of the 
blood and the secretion of the bile, which is so 
useful for c^gestion. < 

In the hollow space enclosed by the ribs are 
situated the heart and the lungs. The heart is bet- 
ween the two lungs, but more to the left than the 
right. There are, on the whole 24, bones in the 
chest ; the action of the heart can be felt between 
the fifth and the sixth rib. The lungs are con- 
nected with the windpipe. The air which we 
inhale is taken into the lungs through the wind- 
pipe, and the blood is purified by it. It is of the 
utmost importance to breathe through the nose, 
instead of through the mouth. 

On the circulation of the blood depend all acti- 
vities of the body. It is the blood that provides 
nourishment to the body. It extracts the nutritious 
elements out of the food, and ejects the refuse 
through the intestines, and so keeps the body 
warm. The blood is incessantly circulating all 
over the body, along the veins and the arteries. 



14 A 'GUIDE TO HEALTH 

The beatings of the pulse are clue to the circulation 
of the blood. The pulse of a normal adult man 
beats some 75 times a minute. The pulses of 
children beat faster, while those of old men are 
slower. 

The chief agency for keeping the blood pure is 
the air. When the blood returns to the lungs after 
one complete round over the body, it is impure and 
contains poisonous elements. The oxygen of the 
air which we inhale purifies this blood and is 
assimilated into it, while the nitrogen absorbs the 
poisonous matter and is breathed out. This pro- 
cess goes on incessantly. As the air has a very 
important function to perform in the body, we shall 
devote a separate chapter to a detailed considera- 
tion of the same. 



Chapter III 
AIR 
Of the three things that are indispensable for 
the subsistence of man, — namely, air. water, and 
food — the first is the most important. Hence it is 
that God has created it in such large quantities as 
to make it available to all of us for nothing. Mod- 
ern civilisation, however, has rendered even fresh 
air somewhat costly/ for, in order to breathe fresh 
air, we have to go out of towns, and this means 



AIR 15 

expense. The residents of Bombay, for instance, 
distinctly improve in health in the air of Matheran 
or, still better, of the Malabar Hills ; but they can- 
not go to these places without money. Hence, in 
these days, it would be hardly true to say that we 
get fresh air gratis, as we used to in the old days. 

But, whether fresh air is available gratis or not, it 
is undeniable that we cannot get on without it. We 
have already seen that the blood circulates over 
the body, returns to the lungs, and after being 
purified, starts on its round again. We breathe 
out the impure air, and take in oxygen from the 
outside, which purifies the blood. This process 
of inspiration and expiration goes on for ever, and 
on it depends man's life. When drowned in water 
we die, because, then we are unable to let out the 
impure air in the body and take in pure air from 
outside. The divers go down into the water in 
what is known as a diving bell, and they take in 
fresh air through a tube which leads to the top. 
Hence it is that they are able to remain under 
water for a long time. 

It has been ascertained by experiments that no 
man can live without air for as long as five minutes. 
We often hear of the death of little children, 
when they are held so close to the bosom by igno- 
rant mothers as to make it impossible for them to 
breathe. 



16 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

We should all be as much against the breathing 
of impure air as we are against the drinking of 
dirty water and the eating of dirty food ; but the 
air we breathe is, as a rule, far more impure than 
the water we drink or the food we eat. We are all 
worshippers of concrete objects ; those things that 
can be seen and felt are regarded by us as of far 
greater importance than those which are invisible 
and intangible. Since air belongs to this latter 
class of objects, we fail to realise the evil wrought 
by the impure air that we breathe. We would 
think twice before eating the leavings of another 
man's food, or drinking out of a cup polluted by 
another man's lips. Even those who have not the 
least sense of shame or repugnance would never 
eat another man's vomit, or drink the water which 
has been spat out by him ; even those who are 
dying of hunger and thirst would refuse to do it. 
But, alas, how few of us realise that the air we 
inhale is so often the impure and poisonous air 
which has been exhaled by others, and which is 
surely no less objectionable than a man's vomit! 
How strange that men should sit and sleep to- 
gether for hours in closed rooms, and go on 
inhaling the deadly air exhaled by themselves and 
their companions ! How fortunate for man that air 
should be so light Hind diffusive, and capable of 
penetrating the smallest holes ! Even when the 



AIR 1/ 

doors and windows are closed, there is generally- 
some little space between the walls and the roof, 
through which some air from outside manages to 
get in, so that the inmates of the room have not to 
breathe exclusively poisoned air. The air that we 
exhale mixes with the air outside, and is rendered 
pure again by an automatic process that is always 
going on in Nature. 

Now we are able to understand why so many 
men and women should be weak and diseased. 
There can be absolutely no doubt that impure air is 
the root -cause of disease in ninety -nine cases out of 
every hundred. It follows that the best way of 
avoiding disease is to live and work in the open 
air. No doctor can compete with fresh air in this 
matter. Consumption is caused by the decay of 
the lungs, due to the inhaling of impure air, just as 
a steam engine which is filled with bad coal gets 
out of order. Hence doctors say that the easiest 
and the most effective treatment for a consumptive 
patient is to keep him in fresh air for all the 24 
hours of the day. 

It is, of course, essential to know how we can 
keep the air pure. In fact, every child should be 
taught the value of fresh air, as soon as it is able 
to understand anything. If my readers would 
take the trouble to learn the simple facts about the 
air and would put their knowledge into practice, 
H— 2 



J 8 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

while teaching their children also to do the same. 
I shall feel immensely gratified. 

Our latrines are perhaps most responsible for ren- 
dering the air impure. Very few people realise the 
serious harm done by dirty latrines. Even dogs 
and cats make with their claws something like a 
pit wherein to deposit their fasces, and then cover 
it up with some earth. Where there are no lavato- 
ries of the modern approved types, we should also 
do likewise. There should be kept ashes or dry 
earth in a tin can or an earthen vessel inside the 
latrine, and whoever goes into the latrine should, 
on coming out, cover the faeces well with the ash 
or the earth, as the case many be. If this is done 
there would be no bad smell, and the flies too will 
not settle on it and transmit the filth. Anybody 
whose sense of smell has not been wholly blunted, 
or who has not grown thoroughly accustomed to 
foul smells will know how noxious is the smell 
that emanates from all filthy matter which is 
allowed to lie open to the weather. Our gorge 
rises at the very thought of faeces being mixed 
with our food, but we go on inhaling the air 
which has been polluted by such foul smell, 
forgetting the fact that the one is just as 
bad as the other, except that, while the former 
is visible, the latter is not. We should see that 
our latrines are kept thoroughly neajt and clean. 



AIR ; 19 

We abhor the idea of our cleaning the latrines 
ourselves, but what we should really abhor is the 
idea of making use of difty latrines. What is 
the harm in ourselves removing the filth which 
has been expelled from inside our own body, and 
which we are not ashamed to have removed by 
others ? There is absolutely no reason why we 
should not ourselves learn the work of scavenging 
and teach it to our children as well. The filthy 
matter should be removed, and thrown into a pit 
two feet deep, and then covered up with a thick 
layer of earth. If we go to some open place, we 
should dig a small pit with our hands or feet, and 
then cover it up, after the bowels have been 
evacuated. 

We also make the air impure by making water 
at all places indiscriminately. This dirty habit 
should be given up altogether. If there is no place 
specially set apart for the purpose, we should go to 
some dry ground away from the house, and should 
also cover up the urine with earth. 

The filth should not be cast into very deep pits, 
for, in that case, it would be beyond the reach of 
sun's heat, and would also pollute the water 
flowing underneath the earth. 

The habit of spitting indiscriminately on the 
verandahs, court yards, and such like places is also 
very bad. The spittle, especially of consumptives, 



20 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

is very dangerous. The poisonous germs in it 

rise into the air, and, being inhaled by others, 

lead to a spread of the disease. We should keep 

a spittoon inside the house, and if we have 

to spit when out on the road we should spit 

where there is dry dust, so that the spittle may 

be absorbed into the dust and cause no harm. 

Doctors hold that the consumptive should spit into 

a spittoon with some disinfectant in it : for, even if 

he* spits on dry ground, the germs in his spittle 

manage to rise and spread into the air along with 

the dust. But, in any case, there can be no doubt 

that the habit of spitting wherever we please is 

dirty as well as dangerous. 

Some people throw where they like cooked food 
and other articles, which decay and render the air 
impure. If all such rubbish be put underground, 
the air would not be made impure, and good 
manure, too could be obtained. In fact, no kind of 
decaying matter should be allowed to lie exposed 
to the air. It is so easy for us to take this necessary 
precaution, if only we are in earnest about it. 

Now we have seen how our own bad habits 
render the air impure, and what we can do to keep 
it pure. Next we shall consider how to inhale the 
air. • 

As already mentioned in the last chapter, the 
air is to be inhaled through the nose, and not 



AIR 21 

through the mouth. There are, however, very 
few persons who know how to breathe correctly. 
Many people are in the pernicious habit of 
inhaling through the mouth. If very cold air 
is inhaled through the mouth, we catch cold 
and sore throat. Further, if we inhale through 
the mouth, the particles of dust in the air go into 
the lungs and cause great mischief. In London, for 
instance, in November, the smolte which issues 
from the chimnies of great factories mixes with 
the dense fog, producing a kind of yellew mix- 
ture. This contains tiny particles of soot, which 
can be detected in the spittle of a man who inhales 
through the mouth. To escape this, many women 
(who have not learnt to breathe through the nose 
alone) put on a special kind of veil over their faces, 
which act as sieves. If these veils are closely 
examined, particles of dust can be ' detected in 
them. But God has given to all of us a sieve of this 
kind inside the nose. The air which is inhaled 
through the nostrils is sifted before it reaches the 
lungs, and is also warmed in the process. So all 
men should learn to breathe through the nose 
alone. And this is not at all difficult, if we 
remember to keep our mouth firmly shut at all 
times, except when we are talking. Those who 
have got into the habit of keeping their mouth open 
should sleep with a bandage round the mouth, 



22 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

which would force them to breathe through the 
nose. They should also take some twenty long 
respirations in the open air, both in the morning 
and in the evening. In fact, all men can practise 
this simple exercise and see for themselves how 
rapidly their chest deepens. If the chest be 
measured at the beginning of the practice, and 
again after an interval of two months, it will be 
seen how much it has expanded in this short 
period. 

After learning how to inhale the air, we should 
cultivate the habit of breathing fresh air, day in and 
day out. We are generally in the most pernicious 
habit of keeping confined to the house or the office 
throughout the day, and sleeping in narrow rooms 
at night, with all doors and windows shut. As far 
as possible, we should remain in the open air at all 
times. We should at least sleep on the verandah or 
in the open air. Those who cannot do this should 
at least keep the doors and windows of the room 
fully open at all times. The air is our food 
for all the .twenty-four hours of the day. Why, 
then, should we be afraid of it ? It is a most 
foolish idea that we catch cpld by inhaling the 
cool breeze of the morning. Of course, those 
people who have spoiled their lungs by the evil 
habit of sleeping within closed doors are likely to 
catch cold, if they change their habit all on a 



AIR 23 

sudden. But even they should not be afraid of 
cold, for this cold can be speedily got rid of. Now- 
a-days, in Europe, the houses for consumptives are 
being built in such a way that they may get fresh 
air at all times. We know what terrible havoc is 
wrought in India by epidemics. We should re- 
member that these epidemics are due to our habit of 
defiling the air, and of inhaling this poisonous air. 
We should understand that even the most delicate 
people will be benefitted by systematically inhaling 
fresh air. . If we cultivate the habit of keeping 
the air pure and of breathing only fresh air, we 
can save ourselves from many a terrible disease. 

Sleeping with the face uncovered is as essential 
as sleeping in fresh air. Many of our people are 
in the habit of sleeping with the face covered, 
which means that they have to inhale the poison- 
ous air which has been exhaled by themselves. 
Fortunately however, some of the air from outside 
does find its way through the interstices of the 
cloth, else they should die of suffocation. But the 
small quantity of air that gains entrance in this 
way is altogether inadequate. If we are suffering 
from cold, we may cover the head with a piece 
of cloth, or put on a night-cap, but the nose should 
be kept exposed under all circumstances. 

Air and light are so intimately connected with 
each other that it is as well to speak a few words 



24 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

here on the value of light. Light is as indis- 
pensable to life as air itself. Hence it is that Hell 
is represented as completely dark. Where light 
cannot penetrate, the air can never be pure. If we 
enter a dark cellar, we can distinctly perceive the 
smell of the foul air. The fact that we cannot see 
in the dark shows that God has intended us to live 
and move in the light. And Nature has given us 
just as much darkness as we require in the night. 
Yet, many people are in the habit of sitting or 
sleeping in underground cellars, devoid of air and 
light, even in the hottest summer ! Those who thus 
deprive themselves of air and light are always 
weak and haggard. 

Now-a-days, there are many doctors in Europe 
who cure their patients by means of air-bath and 
sun-bath alone. Thousands of diseased persons 
have been cured by mere exposure to the air and 
to the sun-light. We should keep all doors and 
windows in our houses always open, in order to 
allow the free entrance of air and light. 

Some readers may ask why, if air and light 
are so indispensable, those who live and work in 
cellars are not visibly affected. Those who have 
thought well over the matter would never put this 
question. Our aim should be to attain the maxi- 
mum of health by all! legitimate means ; we should 
not be content merely to live anyhow. It has been 



WATER 25 

indubitably established that insufficient air and 
light give rise to disease. Dwellers in towns are, as 
a rule, more delicate than those in the country, for 
they get less air and light than the latter. Air 
and light, then, are absolutely indispensable to 
health, and every one should remember all that we 
have said on the matter, and act up to it to the best 
of his ability. 



Chapter IV 
WATER 

As has been already pointed out, air is the most 
indispensable to our subsistence, while water comes 
next in order. Man cannot live for more than a 
few minutes without air, but he can live for a few 
days without water. And in the absence of other 
food, he can subsist on water alone for many days. 
There is more than 70% of water in the composition 
of our food-slufTs, as in that of the human body. 

Even though water is so indispensable, we take 
hardly any pains to keep it pure. Epidemics are 
as much the outcome of our indifference to the 
quality of the water we drink, as of the air we 
breathe. The drinking of dirty water very often 
produces also the disease of the stone. 

Water may be impure in either of two ways, — by 
issuing from dirty places, or by being defiled by us. 



26 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Where the water issues from dirty places, we 
should not drink it at all ; nor do we generally 
drink it. But we do not shrink from drinking the 
water which has been defiled by ourselves. River- 
water, for instance, is regarded as quite good for 
drinking, although we throw into it all sorts of 
rubbish, and also use it for washing purposes. We 
should make it a rule never to drink the water in 
which people bathe. The upper portion of a river 
should be set apart for drinking water, the lower 
being reserved for bathing and washing purposes. 
Where there is no such arrangement, it is a good 
practice to dig in the sand, and take drinking 
water therefrom. This water is very pure, since 
it has been filtered by passage through the sand. 
It is generally risky to drink well-water, for un- 
less it is well protected, the dirty water at the 4:op 
would trickle down into the well, and render the 
water impure. Further, birds and insects often 
fall into the water and die ; sometimes birds build 
their nests inside the wells ;and the dirt from the 
feet of those who draw water from the well is also 
washed down into the water. For all these rea- 
sons, we should be particularly careful in drinking 
well-water. Water kept in tubs is also very often 
impure. If it should be pure, the tubs should be 
washed clean at frequent intervals, and should be 
kept covered ; we should also see that the tank or 



WATER 2/ 

well from which the water is taken is kept in good 
condition. Very few people, however, take such 
precautions to keep the water pure. Hence the 
best way of removing the impurities of the water 
is to boil it well, and, after cooling it, filter it care- 
fully into another vessel through a thick and clean 
^piece of cloth. Our duty, however, does not end 
with this. We should realise that we owe a duty 
to our fellowmen in this matter. We should see to 
it that we do absolutely nothing to defile the water 
which is used for drinking by the public. We 
should scrupulously refrain from bathing or wash- 
ing in the water which is reserved for drinking ; 
we should never answer the calls of nature near the 
banks of a river, nor cremate the dead bodies there 
and throw the ashes after cremation into the water. 
In spite of all the care that we may take, we 
find it so difficult to keep water perfectly pure. It 
may have, for instance, salt dissolved in it, or bits 
of grass and other decaying matter. Rain water 
is, of course, the purest, but, before it reaches us r 
it generally becomes impure by the absorption of 
the floating matter in the atmosphere. Perfectly 
pure water has a most beneficial effect on the sys- 
tem ; hence doctors administer distilled water to 
their patients. Those who are suffering from con- 
stipation are appreciably benefitted by the use of 
distilled water. 



28 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Many people do not know that water is of two 
kinds, soft and hard. Hard water is water in 
which some kind of salt has been dissolved. Hence, 
soap does not readily lather in it, and food 
cannot be easily boiled in it. Its taste is 
brackish, while soft water tastes sweet. It is 
much safer to drink soft water, although some 
people hold that hard water is better by virtue 
of the presence of nutritious matter dissolved 
therein. Rain water is the best kind of soft water, 
and is therefore, the best for drinking purposes. 
Hard water, if boiled and kept over the fire for 
some half an hour, is rendered soft. Then it may 
be filtered and drunk. 

The question is often asked, " When should one 
drink water, and how much ? " The only safe 
answer to this is this : one should drink water only 
when one feels thirsty, and even then only just 
enough to quench the thirst. There is no harm in 
drinking water during the meals or immediately 
afterwards. Of course, we should not wash the 
food down with water. If the food refuses to go 
down of itself, it means that either it has not been 
well prepared or the stomach is not in need of it. 

Ordinarily, there is no need to drink water ; and 
indeed, there should be none. As already men- 
tioned, there is a large percentage of water in our 
ordinary articles of food, and we also add water in 



FOOD 29 

cooking them. Why then should we feel thirsty ? 
Those people whose diet is free from suoh articles 
as chillies and onions which create an artificial 
thirst, have rarely any need to drink water. Those 
who feel unaccountably thirsty must be suffering 
from some disease or ot|*er. 

We may be tempted to drink any kind of water 
that we Gome across, simply because we see some 
people doing it with impunity, The reply to this 
has already been given in connection with air. 
Our blood has in itself the power of destroying 
many of the poisonous elements that enter into it, 
but it has to be renewed and purified, just as the 
sharp edge of a sword has to be mended when it has 
been once employed in action. Hence, if we go on 
drinking impure water, we should not be surprised 
to find our blood thoroughly poisoned in the end. 



Chapter V 
FOOD 
It is impossible to lay down Ward and fast rules 
in the matter of food. What sort of food should 
we eat, how much of it should be eaten, and at 
what times, — these are questions on which doctors 
differ a great deal. The ways of men are so 
diverse, that the very same food shows different 
effects on different individuals. 



30 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Although, however, it is impossible to say con- 
clusively what sort of food we should eat, it is the 
clear duty of every individual to bestow serious 
thought on the matter. Needless to say, the body 
cannot subsist without food. We undergo all sorts 
of sufferings and privations^ for the sake of food. 
But, at the same time, it is indisputable that 99.9% 
of men and women in the world eat merely to please 
the palate. They never pause to think of the 
after-effects at the time of eating. Many people 
take purgatives and digestive pills or powders in 
order to be able to eat thoroughly well. Then 
there are some people who, after eating to the 
utmost of their capacity, vomit out all that they 
have eaten, and proceed to eat the same stuffs once 
more ! Some people, indeed, eat so sumptuously 
that, for two or three days together, they do not 
feel hungry at all. In some cases, men have even 
been known to have died of over-eating. I say all 
this from my own experience. When I think of 
my old days, I am tempted to laugh at many 
things, and cannof help being ashamed of some 
things. In those days I used to have tea in the 
morning, breakfast two or three hours afterwards, 
dinner at one o*clock, tea again at 3 p.m., and 
supper between 6 and 7 ! My condition at that 
time was most pitiable. There was a great deal 
of superfluous fat on my body, and bottles of 



FOOD 31 

medicine were always at hand. In order to be 
able to eat well, I used to take purgatives very 
often, as well as some tonic or other. In those 
days, I had not a third of my present capacity for 
work, in spite of the fact that I was then in the prime 
of youth. Such a life is surely pitiable, and if we 
consider the matter seriously, we must also admit 
it to be mean, sinful and thoroughly contemptible. 
Man is not born to eat, nor should he live to eat. 
His true function is to know and serve his Maker ; 
but, since the body is essential to this service, we 
have perforce to eat. Even atheists will admit 
that we should eat merely to preserve our health, 
and not more than is needed for this purpose. 

Turn to the birds and beasts, and what do you 
find ? They never eat merely to please the palate, 
they never go on eating till their inside is full to 
overflowing. On the other hand, they eat only to 
appease their hunger, and even then only just as 
much as will appease their hunger. They take 
the food provided by Nature, and do not cook their 
food. Can it be that man alone is created to wor- 
ship the palate ? Can it be that he alone Is destined 
to be eternally suffering from disease ? Those ani- 
mals that live a natural life of freedom never once 
die of hunger. Among them there are no distinc- 
tions of rich and poor, — of those who eat many 
times a day, and those who do not get even one 



32 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

meal in the day. These abnormalities are found 
only among us human beings, — and yet we regard 
ourselves as superior to the animal creation ! Surely 
those who spend their days in the worship of their 
stomach are worse than the birds and beasts. 

A calm reflection will show that all sins like 
lying, cheating and stealing are ultimately due to 
our subjection to the palate. He who is able to 
control the palate, will easily be able to control the 
other senses. If we tell lies, or commit theft or 
adultery, we are looked down upon by society, but, 
strangely enough, no odium attaches to those who 
slavishly pander to the palate ! It would seem as 
though this were not a question of morality at all ! 
The fact is that even the best of us are slaves to 
the palate. No one has yet adequately emphasised 
the numberless evils that arise from our habit of 
pandering to the palate. All civilised people 
would boycott the company of liars, thieves, and 
adulterers; but they go on eating beyond all 
limits, and never regard it as a siri at all. Pander- 
ing to the palate is not regarded by us as a sin, 
since all of us are guilty of it, just as dacoity is not 
regarded as a crime in a village of dacoits ; but 
what is worse, we pride ourselves on it ! On oc- 
casions of marriage and other festivities, we regard 
it as a sacred duty to worship the palate; even in 
times of funeral, we are not ashamed of doing it. 



FOOD 33 

Has a guest come ? We must gorge him with sweet- 
meats. If, from time to time, we do not give feasts 
to our friends and relations, or do not partake of 
the feasts given by them, we must become objects 
of contempt. If, having invited our friends to eat 
with us, we fail to cram them with rich stuffs, we 
must be regarded as miserly. On holidays, of 
course, we must have specially rich food prepared ! 
Indeed, what is really a great sin has come to be 
looked upon as a sign of wisdom ! We have 
sedulously cultivated such false notions in the 
matter of eating that we never realise our slavish- 
ness and our -beastliness. How can we save our- 
selves from this terrible state ? 

Let us view the question from another standpoint. 
We find it invariably the case in the world that Na- 
ture herself has provided for all creatures, whether 
man or beast, or brid or insect, just enough food for 
their sustenance. This is an eternal law of Nature. 
In the kingdom of Nature, none goes to sleep, none 
forgets to do his duty, and none shows a tendency 
to laziness. All the work is done to perfection, and 
punctually to the minute. If we remember to order 
our lives strictly in accordance with the immutable 
and eternal laws of Nature, we shall find that there 
are no more deaths by starvation anywhere over the 
wide world. Since Nature always provides just 
enough food to feed all created beings, it follows 
H— 3 



34 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

that he who takes to himself more than his normal 
share of food, is depriving another of his legitimate 
share. Is it not a fact, that, in the kitchens of em- 
perors and kings, of all rich men, in general, much 
more food is prepared than is required to feed them 
and all their dependents ? That is to say, they 
snatch so much food from the share of the poor. Is 
it, then, any wonder that the poor should die of 
starvation ? If this is true (and this fact has be.en 
admitted by the most thoughtful men) it must 
necessarily follow that all the food that we eat be- 
yond our immediate need is food filched from the 
stomachs of the poor. And to the extent to which 
we eat merely with a view to pleasing the palate 
must our health necessarily suffer. After this pre- 
liminary discussion, we can proceed to consider 
what kind of food is best for us. 

Before, however, we decide the question of. the 
ideal food for us, we have to consider what kinds 
of food are injurious to health, and to be avoided. 
Under the term "food", we include all the things 
that are taken into the body through the mouth, — 
including wine, bhang and opium, tobacco, tea, 
coffee and cocoa, spices and condiments. I am con- 
vinced that all these articles have to be completely 
eschewed, having been led to this conviction partly 
from my own experience, and partly from the 
experiences of others. 



FOOD 35 

Wine, bhang and opium have been condemned 
by all the religions of the world, although the 
number of total abstainers is so limited. Drink 
has brought about the ruin of whole families. The 
drunkard forfeits his sanity ; he has even been 
known to forget the distinction between mother, 
wife and daughter. His life becomes a mere 
burden to him. Even men of sound sense become 
helpless automatons when they take to drink ; even 
when not actually under its influence, their minds 
are too impotent to do any work. Some people say 
that wine is harmless when used as medicine, but 
even European doctors have begun to giye up this 
view in many cases. Some partisans of drink argue 
that, if wine can be used as medicine with impunity, 
it can also be used as drink. But many poisons are 
employed as medicines ; do we ever dream of em- 
ploying them as food ? It is quite possible that, in 
some diseases, wine may do some good, but even 
then, no sensible, or thoughtful man should consent 
to use it even as medicine, under any circumstances. 
As for opium, it is no less injurious than wine, and 
is to be equally eschewed. Have we not seen a 
mighty nation like the Chinese falling under the 
deadly spell of opium, and rendering itself incap- 
able of maintaining its independence ? Have we 
not seen the jagirdars of our own land forfeiting 
their jagirs under the same fatal influence? 



* 



36 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

So powerful is the spell that has been woven over 
the minds of men by tobacco that it will take an 
age to break it. Young and old have equally come 
under this fatal spell. Even the best men do not 
shrink from the use of tobacco. Its use, indeed, 
has become a matter of course with us, and is 
spreading wider and wider every day. Very few 
people are aware of the many tricks employed by 
the cigarette-manufacturers to bring us more and 
more under its influence. They sprinkle opium or 
some perfumed acid on the tobacco, so that we 
may find it all the more difficult to extricate our- 
selves from its clutches. They spend thousands of 
pounds in advertisements. Many European firms 
dealing in cigars keep their own presses, have 
their own cinemas, institute lotteries,, and give 
away prizes, and, in short, spend money like water 
to achieve their end. Even women have now 
begun to smoke. And poems have been composed 
on tobacco, extolling it as the great friend of the 
poor ! ' 

The evils of smoking are too numerous to men- 
tion. The habitual smoker becomes such a bond 
slave to it that he knows no sense of shame or 
compunction ; he proceeds to emit the foul fumes 
even in the houses of strangers ! It is also a matter 
of common experience that smokers are often 
tempted to commit all sorts of crimes. Children 



FOOD 37 

steal money from their parents' purses ; and even 
the prisoners in gaols manage to steal cigarettes 
and keep them carefully concealed. The smoker 
will get on without food, but he cannot dispense 
with his smoke ! Soldiers on the field of battle 
have been known to lose all capacity for fighting 
for failure of the indispensable cigarette at the 
critical moment. 

The late Count Leo Tolstoi of Russia tells us the 
following story. A certain man once took it into 
his head, for some reason, to murder his wife. He 
actually drew the knife and was about to do the 
deed, when he feft some compunction, and gave it 
up. Then he sat down to smoke, and his wits being 
turned under the influence of tobacco, he rose once 
more and actually committed the murder. Tolstoi 
held the view that the poison of tobacco is more 
^subtle and irresistible, and hence far more danger- 
ous, than that of wine. 

Then the money that is spent on cigars and 
cigarettes by individuals is frightfully large. I 
have myself come across instances of cigars consum- 
ing as much as Rs. 75 a month for one man ! 

Smoking also leads to an appreciable reduction 
of digestive powers. The smoker feels no appetite 
for food, and in order to give it some flavour, spices 
and condiments have to be freely used. His breath 
stinks, and, in some cases, blisters are formed on 



* 



38 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

his face, and the gums and teeth turn black in 
colour. Many also fall a prey to terrible diseases. 
The fumes of tobacco befoul the air around, and 
public health suffers in consequence. I cannot 
understand how those who condemn drink can 
have the temerity to defend smoking. The man 
who does not eschew tobacco in all its forms can 
never be perfectly healthy, nor can he be a man 
of pure and blameless character. 

I must say that tea, coffee and cocoa are equally 
injurious to health, although I know that very few 
are likely to agree with me. There is a kind of 
poison in all of them ; and, in the case of tea and 
coffee, if milk and sugar were not added, there 
would be absolutely no nutritious element in them. 
By means of repeated and varied experiments it 
has been established that there is nothing at all in 
these articles which is capable of improving the 
blood. Until a few years ago, we used to drink 
tea and coffee only on special occasions, but to- 
day they have become universally indispensable- 
Things have come to such a pass that even sickly 
persons often use them as substitutes for nourishing 
food! 

Fortunately for us, the costliness of cocoa has 
prevented its spread to the same extent as tea 
and coffee, although, in the homes of the rich, it is. 
quite liberally used. 



FOOD 39 

That all these three articles are poisonous can 
be seen from the fact that those who once take to 
them can never afterwards get on without them. 
In the old days, I myself used to feel a distinct 
sense of weariness or langour if I did not get my 
tea punctually at the usual hour. Once some 400 
women and children had gathered together at a 
certain celebration. The executive committee had 
resolved against providing . tea to the visitors. 
The women, however, that had assembled there, 
were in the habit of taking tea at 4 o'clock every 
evening. The authorities were informed that, if 
these women were not given their usual tea, they 
would be too ill to move about, and, needless 
to say, they had to cancel their original resolution ! 
But some- slight delay in the preparation of the tea 
led to a regular uproar, and the commotion subsided 
only after the women had had their cup of tea ! I 
can vouch for the authenticity of this incident. 
In another intance, a certain woman had lost 
all her digestive powers under the influence of tea, 
and had become a prey to chronic headaches ; 
but from the moment that she gave up tea her 
health began steadily to improve. A doctor of 
the Battersea Municipality in England has declared, 
after careful investigation, that the brain-tissues 
of thousands of women in Ais district have been 
diseased from excessive use of tea. I have myself 



40 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

come across many instances of health being ruined 
by tea. 

Coffee does some good against Kapah (phlegm) 
and Vatha (' wind ')» but at the same time it weakens 
the body by destroying the vital fluid, and by 
making the blood as thin as water. To those people 
who advocate coffee on the ground thatit is beneficial 
against " phlegm " and " wind ", we would 
recommend the juice of ginger' as even better for 
the purpose. And, on the other hand, let us remem- 
ber that the evil effects of coffee are too serious to 
be counter-balanced by its good. When the blood 
and the vital fluid are poisoned by a stuff, can there 
be any hesitation in giving it up altogether? 

Cocoa is fully as harmful as coffee, and it contains 
a poison which deadens the perceptions of .the skin. 

Those people who recognise the validity of moral 
considerations in these matters should remember 
that tea, coffee and cocoa are prepared mostly by 
labourers under indenture, which is only a fine 
name for slavery. If we saw with our own eyos 
the oppressive treatment that is meted out to the 
labourers in cocoa plantations, we should never 
again make use of the stuff. Indeed, if we enquire 
minutely into the methods of preparation of all our 
articles of food, we shall have to give up 90% of 
them ! 

A harmless and healthy substitute for coffee (tea 



FOOD 41 

or cocoa) can be prepared as follows. Even 
habitual coffee-drinkers will be unable to perceive 
any difference in taste between coffee and this 
substitute. Good and well-sifted wheat is put 
into a frying-pan over the fire and well fried, until 
it has turned completely red, and had begun to 
grow dark in colour. Then it is powdered 
just like coffee. A spoon of the powder is then 
put into a cup, and boiling water poured on to it. 
Preferably keep the thing over the fire for a 
minute, and add milk and sugar, if necessary, and 
you get a delicious drink, which is much cheaper 
and healthier than coffee. Those who want to 
save themselves the trouble of preparing this 
powder may get their supply from the Satyagraha 
Ashram, Ahmedabad. 

From the point of view of diet, the whole man- 
kind may be divided into three broad divisions, 
(i) The first class, which is the largest, consists 
of those who, whether by preference or out of 
necessity, live on an exclusive vegetable diet. 
Under this division come the best part of India, a 
large portion of Europe, and China and Japan. 
The staple diet of the Italians is macaroni, of the 
Irish potato, of the Scotch oatmeal, and of the 
Chinese and Japanese rice. (2) The second class 
consists of those who live on # a mixed diet. Under 
this class come most of the people of England, the 



42 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

richer classes of China and Japan, the richer 
Mussalmans of India, as well as those rich Hindus 
who have no religious scruples about taking meat. 
(3) To the third class belong the uncivilised 
peoples of the frigid zones, who live on an exclu- 
sive meat diet. These are not very numerous, and 
they also introduce a vegetable element into their 
diet, wherever they come in contact with the 
civilised races of Europe. Man, then, can live on 
three kinds of diet ; but it is our duty to consider 
which of these is the healthiest for us. 

An examination of the structure of the human 
body leads to the conclusion that man is intended 
by Nature to live on a vegetable diet. There is the 
closest affinity between the organs of the human 
body and those of the fruit-eating animals. The 
monkey, for instance, is so similar to man in shape 
and structure, and it is a fruit-eating animal. Its 
teeth and stomach are just like the teeth and 
stomach of man. From this we may infer that 
man is intended to live on roots and fruits, and not 
on meat. 

Scientists have found out by experiments that 
fruits have in them all the elements that are 
required for man's sustenance. The plantain, the 
orange, the date, the grape, the apple, the almond, 
the walunt, the groundnut, the cocoanut, — all these 
fruits contain a large percentage of nutritious 



% FOOD 43 

elements. These scientists even hold that there 
is no need for man to cook his food. They argue 
that he should be able to subsist very well on 
food cooked by the Sun's warmth, even as all 
the lower animals are able to do ; and they say 
that the most nutritious elements in the food are 
destroyed in the process of cooking, and that those 
things that cannot be eaten uncooked could not 
have been intended for our food by Nature. 

If this view be correct, it follows that we are at 
present wasting a lot of our precious time in the 
cooking of our food. If we could live on uncooked 
food alone, we should be saving so much time and 
energy, as well as money, all of which may be 
utilised for more useful purposes. 

Some people will doubtless say that it is idle 
and foolish to speculate on the possibility of men 
taking to uncooked food, since there is absolutely 
no hope of their ever doing it. But we are not 
considering at present what people will or will not 
do, but only what they ought to do. It is only 
when we know what the ideal kind of diet is that 
we shall be able more and more to approximate 
our actual to the ideal. When we say that a fruit- 
diet is the best, we do not, of course, expect all 
men to take to it straight-way. We only mean that, 
if they should take to this diA, it would be the best 
thing for them. 



44 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

There are many men in England who have tried 
a pure fruit-diet, and who have recorded the results 
of their experience. They were people who took 
to this diet, not out of religious scruples, but simply 
•out of considerations of health. A German doctor 
has written a bulky volume on the subject, and 
established the value of a fruit-diet by many argu- 
ments and evidences. He has cured many diseases 
by a fruit-diet combined with open-air life. He 
goes so far as to say that the people of any country 
can find all the elements of nutrition in the fruits 
of their own land. 

It may not be out of place to record my own 
experience in this connection. For the last six 
months I have been living exclusively on fruits — 
rejecting even milk and curd. My present dietary 
consists of plantain, groundnut and olive oil, witti 
some sour fruit like the lime. I cannot say that" my 
experiment has been altogether a success, but a 
period of six months is all too short to arrive at 
any definite conclusions on such a vital matter as 
a complete change of diet. This, however, I can 
say, that, during this period, I have been able to 
keep well where others have been attacked by 
disease, and my physical as well as mental powers 
are now greater than before. I may not be able to 
lift heavy loads, but I^-an now do hard labour for a 
much longer time without fatigue. I can also do 



FOOD 4S 

more mental work, and with better persistence and 
resoluteness. I have tried a fruit-diet on many 
sickly people, invariably with great advantage. I 
shall describe these experiences in the section on 
diseases. Here I will only say that my own experi- 
ence, as well as my study of the subject, has 
confirmed me in the conviction that a fruit-diet is 
the best for us. * 

As I have already confessed, I do not think for a 
moment that people will take to a fruit-diet as soon 
as they read this. It may even be that all that I 
have written has no effect at all on a single reader, 
but I believe it to be my bounden duty to set down 
what I hold to be the right thing to the best of my 
light. 

If however, anybody does wish to try a fruit-diet, 
he should proceed rather cautiously in order to 
obtain the best results. He should carefully go 
through all the chapters of this book, and fully 
grasp the fundamental principles, before he pro- 
ceeds to do anything in practice. My request to 
my readers is that they should reserve their final 
judgments until they have read through all that I 
have got to say. 

A vegetable diet- is the best after a fruit-diet. 
Under this term we include all kinds of pot-herbs 
and cereals, as well as milk. Vegetables are not 
as nutritious as fruits, since they lose part of their 



46 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

efficacy in the process of cooking. We cannot, 
however, eat uncooked vegetables. We will now 
proceed to consider which vegetables are the best 
for 'us. 

Wheat is the best of all the cereals. Man can 
live on wheat alone, for in it we have in due 
proportion all the elements of nutrition. Many 
kinds of edibles can be made of wheat, and they 
can all be easily digested. The ready-made foods 
for children that are* sold by chemists are also 
made partly of wheat. Millet and maize belong 
to the same genus, and cakes and loaves can also 
be made out of them, but they are inferior to wheat 
in their food-value. We will now consider the 
best fdrm in which wheat may be taken. The 
white " mill flour " that is sold in our bazars is 
quite useless ; it contains no nutriment at all. An 
English doctor tells us that a dog which was fed 
solely on this flour died, while other dogs which 
were fed on better flour remained quite healthy. 
There is a great demand for loaves made of this 
flour, since men eat merely to satisfy their palate, 
and are rarely moved by considerations of health. 
These loaves are devoid of taste and nutriment, as 
well as of softness. They become so hard that 
they cannot be broken by the hand. The best form 
of flour is that whidi'is made, of well-sifted wheat in 
the grind-mill at home. This flour should be used 



FOOD 47 

without further sifting. Loaves made of it are 
quite sweet to the taste, as well as quite soft. It 
also lasts for a longer time than the " mill flour ", 
since it is far more nutritious, and may be used in 
smaller quantities. 

The loaf sold in the bazars is thoroughly- 
useless. It may be quite white and attractive in 
appearance, but it is invariably adulterated. The 
worst of it is that it is made by fermentation. 
Many persons have testified from experience that 
fermented dough is harmful to health. Further, 
these loaves being made by besmearing the oven 
with fat, they are objectionable to Hindu as well 
as Mussalman sentiment. To fill the stomach with 
these bazar loaves instead of preparing good 
loaves at home is at best a sign of indolence. 

Another and an easier way of taking wheat is 
this. Wheat is ground into coarse grain, which 
is then well cooked and mixed with milk and sugar. 
This gives a very delicious and healthy kind of 
food. 

Rice is quite useless as a food. Indeed, it is 
doubtful if men can subsist upon mere rice, to the 
exclusion of such nutritious articles as dhall, ghee 
and milk. This is not the case with wheat, for 
man can retain his strength by living on mere 
wheat boiled in water. # 

We eat the pot-herbs mainly for their taste. As 



48 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

they have laxative powers, they help to purify the 
blood up to a limit. Yet they are but varieties of 
grass, and very hard to digest. Those who par- 
take too much of them have flabby bodies ; they 
suffer very often from indigestion, and go about 
in search of digestive pills and powders. Hence, if 
we take them at all, we should do so in moderation. 

All the many varieties of pulse are very heavy, 
and hard of digestion. Their merit is that those 
who eat them do not suffer from hunger for a long 
time ; but they also lead to indigestion in most 
cases. Those who do hard labour may be able 
to digest them, and derive some good out of them. 
But we who lead a sedentary life should be very 
chary of eating them. 

Dr. Haig, a celebrated writer in England, tells 
us, on the basis of repeated experiments, that the 
pulses are injurious to health, since they generate 
a kind of acid in the system, which leads to several 
diseases, and a premature old age. His arguments 
need not be given here, but my own experience 
goes to confirm his view. Those, however, who 
are unable or unwilling to eschew the pulses 
altogether, should use them with great caution. 

Almost everywhere in India, the spices and 
condiments are freely used, as nowhere else in the 
whole world. Even" the African negroes dislike 
the taste of our masala. and refuse to eat food 



FOOD 49 

mixed with it. And if the Whites eat masala, 
their stomach gets out of order, and pimples also 
appear on their faces, as I haye found frorn my 
own experience. The fact is that masala is by no 
means savoury in itself, but we have so long been 
accustomed to its use that its flavour appeals to us. 
But, as has been already explained, it is wrong to 
eat anything for its mere taste. 

How comes it, then, that masala is so freely eaten 
by us ? Admittedly, in order to help the digestion, 
and to be able to eat more. Pepper, mustard, 
coriander and other condiments have the power of 
artificially helping the digestion, and generating a 
sort of artificial hunger. But it would be wrong to 
to infer from this that all the food has been tho- 
roughly digested, and assimilated into the system. 
Those who take too much of masala are often found 
to suffer from anaemia, and even from diarrhea. I 
know a man who even died in the prime of youth 
out of too much eating of pepper. Hence it is quite 
necessary to eschew all condiments altogether. 

What has been said of masala applies also to 
salt. Most people would be scandalised at this 
suggestion, but it is a fact established by ex- 
perience. There is a school in England who even 
hold the view that salt is more harmful than most 
condiments. As there is enough of salt in the 
composition of the vegetables we use, we need not 
H— 4 



50 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

put any extra salt into them. Nature herself 
has provided just as much ^ salt as is required for 
the upkeep of our health. All the extra salt that 
we use is quite superfluous ; all of it goes out of 
the body again in the form of perspiration, or in 
other ways, and no portion of it seems to have any 
useful function to perform in the body. One 
writer even holds that salt poisons the blood. He 
says that those who use no salt at all have their 
blood so pure that they are not affected even by 
snake-bite. We do not know if this is a fact or 
not, but this much we know from experience, that, 
in several diseases like piles and asthama, the 
disuse of salt at once produces appreciably bene- 
ficial results. And, on the other hand, I have not 
come across a single instance of a man being any 
the worse for not using salt. I myself left off the 
use of salt two years ago, and I have not only 
not suffered by it, but have even been benefitted in 
some respects. I have not now to drink as much 
water as before, and am more brisk and energetic. 
The reason for my disuse of salt was a very 
strange one : for it was occasioned by the illness 
of somebody else ! The person whose illness led to 
it did not get worse after that, but remained in the 
same condition ; and it is my faith that, if only 
the diseased persori himself had given up the use 
of salt, he would have recovered completely. 



FOOD 51 

Those who give up salt will also have to give up 
vegetables and dhall. This is a very hard thing 
to do, as I have found from many tests. I -am 
convinced that vegetables and dhall cannot be pro- 
perly digested without salt. This does not, of 
course, mean tnat salt improves the digestion, but 
it only appears to do so, just as pepper does, 
although ultimately it leads to evil consequences. 
Of course, the man who entirely gives up the us e 
of salt may feel out of sorts for a few days ; but, if 
he keeps up his spirits, he is bound to be immensely 
benefitted in the long run. 

I make bold to regard even milk as one of the 
articles to be eschewed ! This I do on the strength 
of my own experience which, however, need not be 
described here in detial. The popular idea of the 
value of milk is a pure superstition, but it is so 
deep-rooted that it is futile to think of removing it. 
As I have said more than once, I do not cherish the 
hope that my readers will accept all my views ; I do 
not even believe that all those who accept them in 
theory will adopt them in practice. Nevertheless, 
I think it my duty to speak out what I belive to be 
the truth, leaving my readers to form their own 
judgments. Many doctors hold the view that milk 
gives rise to a kind of fever, and many books have 
been written in support of this view. The disease 
bearing germs that live in the air rapidly gain an 



52 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

entrance into the milk, and render it poisonous, so 
that it is very difficult to keep milk in a state of 
perfect purity. In Africa elaborate rules have 
been laid down for the conduct of the dairies, 
saying how the milk should be boiled and preserv- 
ed, how the vessels should be kept clean, and so 
on. When so much pains have to be taken in this 
matter, it is certainly to be considered how far it 
is worth while to employ milk as an article of 
food. 

Moreover, the purity or otherwise of the milk 
depends upon the cow's food, and the state of its 
health. Doctors have testified to the fact that 
those who drink the milk of consumptive cows 
fall a prey to consumption themselves. It is 
very rare to come across a cow that is perfectly 
healthy. That is to say, perfectly pure milk is 
very hard to obtain, since it is tainted at its 
very source. Everybody knows that a child 
that sucks the breast of its mother contracts any 
disease that she might be suffering from. And 
often when a little child is ill, medicine is adminis- 
tered to its mother, so that its effect might reach 
the child through the milk of her breast. Just in 
the same way, the health of the man who drinks 
the milk of a cow will be the same as that of the 
cow itself. When thfe use of milk is fraught with 
so much danger, would it not be the part of wisdom 



• 



FOOD 53 

to eschew it altogether, especially when there are 
excellent substitutes ? Olive oil, for instance* 
serves this purpose to some extent ; and sweet 
almond is a most efficient substitute. The almond 
is first soaked in hot water, and its husk removed. 
Then it is well crushed, and mixed thoroughly well 
with water. This gives a drink which contains all 
the good properties of milk, and is at the same 
time free from its evil effects. 

Now let us consider this question from the point 
of view of Natural law. The calf drinks its 
mother's milk only until its teeth have grown ; and 
it begins to eat as soon as it has its teeth. Clearly, 
this is also what man is intended to do. Nature does 
not intend us to go on drinking milk after we have 
ceased to be infants. We should learn to live on 
fruits like the apple and the almond, or on wheat 
roti, after we have our teeth. Although this is 
not the place to consider the saving in money that 
might be effected by giving up milk, it is certain- 
ly a point to be kept in mind. Nor is there any 
need for any of the articles produced from milk. 
The sourness of lime is quite a good substitute for 
that of buttermilk ; and as for ghee, thousands of 
Indians manage with oil even now. 

A careful examination of the structure of the 
human body shows that meat is not the natural 
food of jnan. Dr. Haig and Dr. Kingsford have 



54 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

very clearly demonstrated the evil effects of meat 
on the body of man. They have shown that meat 
generates just the same kind of acid in the body as 
the pulses. It leads to the decay of the teeth, as 
well as to rheumatism ; it also gives rise to evil 
passions like anger, which, as we have already 
seen, are but forms of disease. 

To sum up, then, we find that those who live on 
fruits alone are very rare, but it is quite easy to 
live on a combination of fruits, wheat and olive 
oil, and it is also eminently conducive to sound 
health. The plantain comes easy first among the 
fruits ; but the date, the grape, the plum and the 
orange, to name only a few, are all quite nourishing* 
and may be taken along with the rati. The roti 
does not suffer in taste by being besmeared with 
olive oil. This diet dispenses with salt, pepper, 
milk and sugar, and is quite simple and 
cheap. It is, of course, foolish to eat sugar for 
its own sake. Too much sweetmeat weakens the 
teeth, and injures the health. Excellent edibles 
can be made of wheat and the fruits, and a- combi- 
nation of health and taste secured. 

The next question to consider is how much food 
should be taken, and how many times a- day. But,, 
as this is a subject of vital importance, we will 
devote a separate chapter to it. 



FOOD 55 

Chapter VI 

HOW MUCH AND HOW MANY TIMES 

SHOULD WE EAT ? 

There is a great divergence of opinion among 
doctors as to the quantity of food that we should 
take. One doctor holds that we should eat to the 
utmost of our capacity, and he has calculated the 
quantities of different kinds of food that we can 
take. Another holds the view that the food of 
labourers should differ in quantity as well as in 
quality from that of persons engaged in mental 
work, while a third doctor contends that the prince 
and the peasant should eat exactly the same 
quantity of food. This much, however, will be 
generally admitted, that the weak cannot eat just 
as much as the strong. In the same way, a woman 
eats less than a man, and children and old men eat 
less than young men. One writer goes so far as to 
say that, if only we would masticate our food 
thoroughly well, so that every particle of it is 
mixed with the saliva, then we should not have to 
eat more than five or ten tolas of food. This he 
says on the basis of numberless experiments, and 
his book has been sold in thousands. All this 
shows that it is futile to think of prescribing the 
quantity of food for men. 

Most doctors admit that 99 % of human beings 
eat more than is needed. Indeed, this is a fact of 



56 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

everyday experience, and does not require to be 
proclaimed by any doctor. There is no fear at all 
of men ruining their health by eating too little ; 
and the great need is for a reduction in the 
quantity of food that we generally take. 

As said above, it is of the utmost importance to 
masticate the food thoroughly well. By so doing, 
we shall be able to extract the maximum of nutri- 
ment from the minimum of food. Experinced 
persons point out that the fasces of a man whose 
food is wholesome, and who does not eat too 
much, will be small in quantity, quite solid and 
smooth, dark in colour, and free from all foul 
smell. The man who does not have such fasces 
should understand that he has eaten too much of 
unwholesome food, and has failed to masticate it 
well. Also, if a man does not get sleep at night, or 
if his sleep be^troubled by dreams, and if his tongue 
be dirty in the morning, he should know that he 
has been guilty of excessive eating. And if he 
has to get up several times at night to make water, 
it means that he has taken too much liquid food 
at night. By these and other tests, every man can 
arrive at the exact quantity of food that is needed 
for him. Many men suffer from foul breath, which 
shows that their foocj has not been well digested. 
In many cases, again, too much eating gives rise to 
pimples on the face, and in the nose ; and many 



HOW MUCH AND HOW MANY TIMES TO EAT S7 

people suffer from wind in the stomach. The root 
of all these troubles is, to put it plainly, that we 
have converted our stomach into a latrine, and 
we carry this latrine about with us. When we 
consider the mater in a sober light, we cannot help 
feeling an unmixed contempt for ourselves. If we 
want to avoid the sin of over-eating, we should 
take a vow never to have anything to do with 
feasts of all kinds. Of course, we should feed 
those who come to us as guests, but only so as 
not to violate the laws of health. Do we ever 
think of inviting our friends to clean their teeth 
with us, or to take a glass of water ? Is not eating 
as strictly a matter of health as these things? 
Why, then, should we make so much fuss about 
it ? We have become such gluttons by habit that 
our tongues are ever craving for abnormal sensa- 
tions. Hence we think it a sacred duty to cram 
our guests with rich food, and we cherish the hope 
that they will do likewise for us, when their turn 
comes ! If, an hour after eating, we ask a clean- 
bodied friend to smell our mouth, and if he should 
tell us his exact feelings we should have to hide 
our heads in utter shame ! But some people are 
so shameless that they take purgatives soon after 
eating, that they might be ahie to eat still more or 
they even vomit out what they have eaten in order 
to sit down again to the feast at once ! 



58 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Since even the best of us are more or less guilty 
of over-eating, our wise forefathers have prescribed 
frequent fasts as a religious duty. Indeed, merely 
from the point of view of health, it will be highly 
beneficial to fast at least once a fortnight. Many 
poius Hindus take only one meal a day during 
the rainy . season. This is a practice based 
upon the soundest hygienic principles. For, when 
the air is damp and the sky cloudy, . the dig- 
estive organs are weaker than usual, and hence 
there should be a reduction in the quantity of food. 

And now we will consider how may meals we 
may take in the day. Numberless people in India 
are content with only two meals. Those who do 
hard labour take three meals, but a system of four 
meals has arisen after the invention of English 
medicines ! Of late, several societies have been 
formed in England and in America in order to 
exhort the people to take only two meals a day. 
They say that we should not take a breakfast early 
in the morning, since our sleep itself serves the 
purpose of the breakfast. As soon as we get up in 
the morning we should prepare to work rather than 
to eat. We should take our meal only after work- 
ing for three hours. Those who hold these views 
take only two meals p. day, and do not even take 
tea in the interval. An experienced doctor by 
name Deway has written an excellent book on 



EXERCISE 59 

Fasting, in which he has shown the benefits of dis- 
pensing with the breakfast. I can also say from 
my experience that there is absolutely no need to 
eat more than twice, for a man who has passed 
the period of youth, and whose body has attained 
its fullest growth. 



Chapter VII 
EXERCISE 

Exercise is as much of a vital necessity for man 
as air, water and food, in the sense that no man 
who does not take exercise regularly, can be per- 
fectly healthy. By " exercise " we do not mean 
merely walking, or games like hockey, football, 
and cricket ; we include under the term all physical 
and mental activity. Exercise, even as food, is as 
essential to the mind as to the body. The mind is 
much weakened by want of exercise as the body, 
and a feeble mind is, indeed, a form of disease. 
An athlete, for instance, who is an expert in 
wrestling, cannot be regarded as a really healthy 
man, unless his mind is equally efficient. As 
already explained, " a sound mind in a sound 
body " alone constitutes true healthy 

Which, then, are those exercises which keep the 
body and the mind equally efficient ? Indeed, 
Nature has so arranged it that we can be engaged 



60 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

in physical as well as mental work at the same 
time. The vast majority of men on earth live by 
field-labour. The farmer has to do strenuous bodily 
exercise at any cost, for. he has to work for 8 or 10 
hours, or sometimes even more, in order to earn his 
bread and clothing. And efficient labour is impossi- 
ble unless the mind is also in good condition. He 
has to attend to all the many details of cultivation ; 
he must have a good knowledge of soils and 
seasons, and perhaps also of the movements of the 
sun, the moon, and the stars. Even the ablest 
men will be beaten by the farmer in these matters. 
He knows the state of his immediate surroundings 
thoroughly well, he can find the directions by 
looking at the stars in the night, and tell a great 
many things from the ways of birds and beasts. 
He knows, for instance, that rain is about to fall* 
when a particular class of birds gather together, 
and begin to make noise. -He knows as much of 
the earth and the sky as is necessary for his 
work. As he has to bring up his children, he must 
know something of Dharma Sastra. Since he lives 
under the broad open sky, he easily realises the 
greatness of God. 

Of course, all men cannot be farmers, nor is this 
book writtin for them, We have however, describ- 
ed the life of the farmer, as we are convinced 
that it is the natural life for man. To the extent 



EXERCISE 6 1 

to which we deviate from these natural conditions, 
must we suffer in health. From the farmer's life 
we learn that we should work for at least 8 hours 
a day, and it should involve mental work as well- 
Merchants and others leading a sedentary life 
have indeed, to do some mental work, but their 
work is too one-sided and too inadequate to be 
called exercise. 

For such people the wise men of the West have 
devised games like cricket and football, and such 
minor games as are played at parties and festive 
gatherings. As for mental work the reading of 
such books as involve no mental strain is pre- 
scribed. No doubt these games do give exercise to 
the body, but it is a question if they are equally 
beneficial to the mind. How many of the best 
players of football and cricket are men of superior 
mental powers ? What have we seen of the mental 
equipment of those Indian Princes who have earned 
a distinction as players ? On the other hand, how 
many of the ablest men care to play these games ? 
We can affirm from our experience that there are 
very few players among those who are gifted 
with great mental powers. The people of England 
are extremely fond of games,' but their own poet, 
Kipling, speaks very disparagingly of the mental 
capacity of the players. • 

Here in India, however, we have chosen quite a 



62 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

different path ! Our men do arduous mental work, 
but give little or no exercise to the body. Their 
bodies are enfeebled by excessive mental strain, 
and they fall a prey to serious diseases ; and just 
when the world expects to benefit by their work, 
they bid it eternal farewell ! Our work should be 
neither exclusively physical nor exclusively mental, 
nor such as ministers merely to the pleasure of the 
moment. The ideal kind of exercise is that which 
gives vigour to the body as well as to the mind ; 
only such exercise can keep a man truly healthy, 
and such a man is the farmer. 

But what shall he do who is no farmer ? The 
exercise which games like the cricket give is too 
inadequate, and something else has to be devised. 
The best thing. for ordinary men would be to keep 
a small garden near the house, and work in it for 
a few hours every day. Some may ask, " What 
can we do if the house we live in be not our own ?" 
This is a foolish question to ask, for, whoever may 
be the owner of the house, he cannot object to his 
ground being improved by digging and cultivation. 
And we shall have the satisfaction of feeling that 
we have helped to keep somebody else's ground 
neat and clean. Those who do not find time for 
such exercise or who may not like it, may resort to 
walking, which is .tne next best exercise. Truly 
has this been described as the Queen of all exercises. 



EXERCISE 63 

The main reason why our Sadhus and Fakirs are 
strong as a class is that they go about from one end 
of the country to the other only on foot. Thoreau, 
the great American writer, has said many remark- 
able things on walking as an exercise. He says 
that the writings of those who keep indoors and 
never go out into the open air, will be as weak as 
their bodies. Referring to his own experience, he 
says that all his best works were written when 
he was walking the most. He was such an 
inveterate walker that four or five hours a day 
was quite an ordinary thing with him ! Our 
passion for exercise should become so strong that 
we cannot bring ourselves to dispense with it on 
any account. We hardly realise how weak and 
futile is our mental work when unaccompanied by 
hard physical exercise. Walking gives movement 
to every portion of the body, and ensures vigorous 
circulation of the blood ; for, when we walk fast, 
fresh air is inhaled into the lungs. Then there is 
the inestimable joy that natural objects give us, 
the joy that comes from a contemplation of the 
beauties of nature. It is, of course, useless to walk 
along lanes and streets, or to take the same path 
every day. We should go out into the fields and 
forests where we can have a taste of Nature. 
Walking a mile or. two is n% walking at all ■; at 
least ten or twelve miles are necessary for exercise. 



64 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Those who cannot walk so much every day can at 
least do so on 3undays. Once a man w$o was 
suffering from indigestion went to the doctor to 
take medicine. He was advised to walk a little 
every day, but he pleaded that he was too 
weak to walk at all. Then the doctor took him 
into his carriage for a drive. On the way he 
deliberately dropped his whip, and the sick man, 
out of courtesy, got down to take it. The doctor, 
however, drove on without waiting for him, and 
the poor man had to trudge behind the carriage. 
When the doctor was satisfied that he had walked 
long enough, he took him into the carriage again, 
and explained that it was a device adopted to make 
him walk. As the man had begun to feel hungry 
by this time, he realised the value of the doctor's 
advice, and forgot the affair of the whip. He then 
went home and had a hearty meal. Let those who 
are suffering from indigestion and kindred diseases 
try for themselves, and they will at once realise the 
value of walking as an exercise. 



Chapter VIII 

DRESS 

Dress is also a matter of health to a certain 

extent. European lbdies, for instance, have such 

queer notions of beauty that their dress is contrived 



DRESS 65 

with a view to straitening the waist and the 
feet, which, in its turn, leads to several diseases. 
The feet of Chinese women are deliberately 
straitened to such an extent that they are smaller 
even than the feet of our little children, and, as 
a result, their health is injured. These two in- 
stances show how the health may be affected by 
the nature of the dress. But the choice of our 
dress does not rest always in our hands, for we 
have perforce to adopt the manners of our elders. 
The chief object of dress has been forgotten, and 
it has come to be regarded as indicative of a man's 
religion, country, race and profession. In this 
state of things, it is very difficult to discuss the 
question of dress strictly from the point of view 
of health, but such a discussion must necessarily 
do us good. Under the term dress, we include all 
such things as boots and shoes, as well as jewellery 
and the like. 

What is the chief object of dress ? Man in his 
primitive state had no dress at all ; he went about 
naked, and exposing almost the whole body. His 
skin was firm and strong, he was* able to stand sun 
and shower, and never once suffered from cold and 
kindred ailments. As has already been explained, 
we inhale the air not only through the nostrils, but 
also through the numberles^pores of the skin. So 
when we cover the body with clothing, we are 
H-5 



66 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

preventing this natural function of the skin. But 
when the people of the colder countries grew more 
and more indolent, they began to feel the need to 
cover their bodies. They were no longer able to 
stand the cold, and the use of dress came into be- 
ing, until at lengh it came to be looked upon not 
merely as a necessity, but as an ornament. Sub- 
sequently it has also come to be regarded as an 
indication of country, race etc. 

In fact, Nature herself has provided an excellent 
covering for us in our skin. The idea that the 
body looks unseemly in undress is absurd, for the 
very best pictures are those that display the 
naked body. When we cover up the most ordinary 
parts of our body, it is as though we felt ashamed 
of them in their natural condition, and as though 
we found fault with Nature's own arrangement. 
We think it a duty to go on multiplying the 
trappings and ornaments for our body, as we grow 
richer and richer. We ' adorn ' our body in all 
sorts of hideous ways, and admire ourselves on our 
handsomeness ! If our eyes were not blinded by 
foolish habit, we should see that the body looks 
most handsome only in its nakedness, as it enjoys 
its best health only in that condition. Dress, 
indeed, detracts from the natural beauty of the 
body. But, not content with dress alone, man 
began to wear jewels also. This is mere madness, 



DRESS 67 

for it is hard to understand how these jewels 
can add an iota to the body's natural beauty. 
But women have gone beyond all bounds of sense 
or decency in this matter. They are not ashamed 
to wear anklets which are so heavy that they 
can hardly lift their feet, or to pierce their nose 
and ears hideously for putting on rings, or to stud 
their wrists and fingers with rings and bracelets 
of several kinds. These ornaments only serve to 
help the accumulation of dirt in the body ; there is 
indeed no limit to the dirt on .the nose and ears. 
We mistake this filthiness for beauty, and throw 
money away to secure it ; and we do not even 
shrink from putting our lives at the mercy of 
thieves. There is no limit to the pains we take to 
satisfy the silly notions of vanity that we have 
so sedulously cultivated. Women, indeed, have 
become so infatuated that they are not prepared 
to remove the ear-ring even if the ears are 
diseased ; even if the hand is swollen and suffer- 
ing from frightful pain, they would not remove 
the bracelets ; and they are unwilling to remove 
the ring from a swollen finger, since they imagine 
that their beauty would suffer by so doing ! 

A thorough reform in dress is by no means an 
easy matter, but it is surley possible for all of us to 
renounce our jewels and alii superfluous clothing. 
We may keep? some few things for the sake of 



68 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

convention, and throw off all the rest, Those who 
are free from the superstition that dress is an 
ornament can surely effect many changes in their 
dress, and keep themselves in good health. 

Now-a-days the notion has gained ground that 
European dress is necessary for maintaining our 
decency and prestige ! This is not the place to 
discuss this question in detail. Here it will be 
enough to point out that, although the dress of 
Europeans might be good enough for the cold 
countries of Europe, it is hopelessly unsuited to 
India. Indian dress, alone, can be,good for Indians, 
whether they be Hindu or Musalman. Our dress 
being, loose an<5 open, air is not shut out ; and 
being white for the most part, it does not absorb 
the heat. Black dress feels hot, since all the sun's 
rays are absorbed into it, and, in its turn, into 
the body. 

The practice of covering the head with the 
turban has become quite common with us. Never- 
theless we should try to keep the head bare as far 
as possible. To grow the hair, and to dress it by 
combing and brushing, parting in the middle and 
so on, is nothing short of barbarous. Dust and 
dirt, as well as nits and lice, accumulate in the 
hair, and if a boil were to arise on the head, it can- 
not be properly treated. Especially for those who 
use a turban, it would be stupid^ to £*row the hair. 



SEXUAL RELATIONS 69 

The feet also are common agents of disease. 
The feet of those who wear boots and shoes grow 
dirty, and begin to exude a lot of stinking perspira- 
tion. So great is the stink that those who are 
sensitive to smells will hardly be able to stand 
by the side of one who is removing his shoes and 
socks. Our common names for the shoe speak of 
it as the " protector of the feet " and the " enemy 
of the thorn " showing that shoes should be worn 
only when we have to walk along a thorny path, or 
over very cold or hot ground, and that only the 
soles should be 'covered, and not the entire feet. 
And this purpose is served excellently well by the 
sandal. Some people who are accustomed to the 
use of shoes often suffer from headaches, or pain in 
the feet, or weakness of the body. Let them try 
the experiment of walking with bare feet, and then 
they will at once find out the benefit of keeping the 
feet bare, and free from sweat by exposure to 
the air. 



Chapter IX 
SEXUAL RELATIONS 
I would specially request those who have care- 
fully read through the book-so far to read through 
this chapter with even greater care, and ponder 
well over its subject-matter. There are still several 



70 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

more chapters to be written, and they will, of 
course, be found useful in their own way. But not 
one of them is nearly as important as this. As 
I have already said, there is not a single matter 
mentioned in this book which is not based on my 
personal experience, or which I do not believe to be 
strictly true. 

Many are the keys to health, and they are all 
quite essential ; but the one thing needful, above all 
others, is Brahmacharya. Of course, pure air, pure 
water, and wholesome food do contribute to health. 
But how can we be healthy if we expend all the 
health that we acquire ? How can we help being 
paupers if we spend all the money that we earn ? 
There can be no doubt that men and women can 
never be virile or strong unless they observe true 
Brahmacharya. 

What do we mean by Brahmacharya ? We mean 
by it that men and women should refrain from 
enjoying each other. That is to say, they should 
not touch each other with a carnal thought, they 
should not think of it even in their dreams. Their 
mutual glances should be free from all suggestion 
of carnality. The hidden strength that God has 
given us should be conserved by rigid self-discip- 
line, and transmitted ( into energy and power, — not 
merely of body, but also of mind and soul. 

But what is the spectacle that we actually see 



SEXUAL RELATIONS n 

around us ? Men and women, old and young, 
Without exception, are seen entangled in the coils 
of sensuality. Blinded by lust, they lose all sense 
of right and wrong. I have myself seen even boys 
and girls behaving like mad men under its fatal in- 
fluence. I too have behaved likewise under similar 
influences, and it could not well be otherwise. For 
the sake of a momentary pleasure, we sacrifice in 
an instant all the stock of vitality that we have 
accumulated. The infatuation over, we find our- 
selves in a miserable condition. The next morning 
we feel hopelessly weak and tired, and the mind 
refuses to do its work. Then, we try to remedy the 
mischief by taking all sorts of ' nervine tonics ' 
and put ourselves under the doctor's mercy for 
repairing the waste, and for recovering the 
capacity for enjoyment. So the days pass and 
the years, until at length old age comes upon us, 
and finds us utterly emasculated in body and 
in mind. 

But the law of Nature is just the reverse of this- 
The older we grow, the keener should grow our 
intellect also ; the longer we live, the greater 
should be our capacity to transmit the fruits of 
our accumulated experience to our fellow-men. 
And such is indeed the case f with those who have 
been true Brahmacharies. They know no fear of 
death, and they do not forget good even in the 



72 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

hour of death ; nor do they indulge in vain com- 
plaints. They die with a smile on their lips, and 
boldly face the day of judgment. They are the 
true men and women ; and of them alone can it be 
said that they have conserved their health. 

We hardly realise the fact that incontinence is 
the root-cause of all the vanity, anger, fear and 
jealousy in the world. If our mind is not under 
our control, if we behave once or more every day 
more foolishly than even little children, what sins 
.may we not commit consciously or unconsciously ? 
How can we pause to think of the consequences 
of our actions, however vile or sinful they may be ? 

But you may ask, " Who has ever seen a true 
Brahmachary in this sense ? If all men should turn 
Brahmacharies, would not humanity be extinct, and 
the whole world go to rack and ruin ? " We will 
leave aside the religious aspect of this question, 
and discuss it simply from the secular point of 
view. To my mind, these questions only be-speak 
our weakness and our cowardliness. We have not 
the strength of will to observe Brahmacharya, and, 
therefore, set about finding pretexts for evading our 
duty. The race of true Brahmacharies is by no neans 
extinct ; but, if they were to be had merely for 
the asking, of what v^lue would Brahmacharya be? 
Thousands of hardy labourers have to dig 

deep into the bowels of th£ eart of 



SEXUAL RELATIONS 73 

diamonds, and at length they get perhaps merely 
a handful of them out of heaps and heaps of rock. 
How much greater, then, should be the labour 
involved in the discovery of the infinitely more 
precious diamond of a Brahmachary ? If the obser- 
vance of Brahmachary a should mean the ruin of the 
world, why should we regret it ? Are we God 
that we should be so anxious about its future ? He 
who created it will surely see to its preservation. 
It is none of our business to enquire if other people 
practise Brahmacharya or not. When we turn 
merchant or lawyer or doctor,do we ever pause to 
consider what the fate of the world would be if all 
men were to do likewise ? The true Brahmachary 
will, in the long run, discover for himself answers 
to such questions. 

But how can men engrossed by the cares of the 
material world put these ideas into practice ? 
What shall the married people do? What shall 
they do who have children ? And what shall be 
done by those people who cannot control their 
lust ? The best solution for all such difficulties 
has already been given. We should keep this ideal 
constantly before us, and try to approximate to it 
more and more to the utmost of our capacity. 
When little children are taught to write the letters 
of the alphabet, we show them the perfect shapes 
of the letters, and they try to reproduce them as 



74 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

best they can. Just in the same way, if we steadily 
work up to the ideal of Brahmacharya, we may 
ultimately succeed in realising it. What if we have 
married already'? The law of Nature is that 
Brahmacharya may be broken only when the hus- 
band and wife feel a strong desire for a child. 
Those who, remembering this law, violate Brahma- 
charya once in four or^five years cannot be said to 
be slaves to lifst, nor; can they appreciably lose 
their stock of vitality. But, alas, how rare are 
those men and women who yield to the sexual 
craving merely for the sake of an offspring ! The 
vast majority, who may be numbered in thousands, 
turn to sexual enjoyment merely to satisfy their 
carnal passion, with the result that children are born 
to them quite against their will. In the madness of 
sexual passion, we give no thought to the consequ- 
ences of our acts. In this respect, men are even 
more to blame than women. The man is blinded 
so much by his lust that he never cares to 
remember that his wife is weak and 'incapable 
of rearing a child. In the West indeed, people 
have trespassed even against the claims of common 
decency. They indulge in sexual pleasures, and 
devise measures in order to evade. the responsi- 
bilities of parenthqod. Many books have been 
written on this subject, and a regular trade is 
being carried on in providing » fehe means of 



SEXUAL RELATIONS , 75 

preventing conception. We are as yet free from 
this sin, but we do not shrink from imposing the 
heavy burden of maternity on our women, and we 
are not concerned even to find that our children 
are weak, impotent and imbecile. Every time we 
get children, we bless Providence, and so seek to 
hide from ourselves the wickedness of our acts. 
Should we not rather deem it a sign of God's anger 
to have children who are weak, sensual, crippled 
and impotent ? Is it a matter for joy that mere 
boys and girls should have children ? Is it not 
rather a curse of God ? We all know that the 
premature fruit of a too young plant weakens the 
parent, and so we try all means of delaying the 
appearance of fruit. But we sing hymns of praise 
and thanks-giving to God when a child is born of 
a boy-father and a girl-mother ! Could anything 
be more dreadful ? Do we think that the world is 
going to be saved by the countless swarms of such 
impotent children endlessly multiplying in India or 
elsewhere in the world ? Verily we are, in this 
respect, for worse than even the lower animals ; for, 
the bull and the cow are brought together solely with 
the object of having a calf. Man and woman should 
regard it as sacred duty to keep apart from the 
moment of conception up teethe time when the 
child ha c 1 ised to suck its mother's breast. But 
w n r merry fashion blissfully forgetful 



76 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

of this sacred obligation. This incurable disease 
enfeebles our mind and leads us to an early grave, 
after making us drag a miserable existence for a 
short while. Married people should understand 
the true function of marriage, and should not 
voilate the law of Brahmacharya except with a 
view to having a child for the continuation of 
the race. 

But this is so difficult under our present conditions 
of life. Our diet, our ways of life, our com- 
mon talk, and our environments are all' equally 
calculated to rouse and keep alive our sensual 
appetite ; and sensuality is like a poison, eating 
into our vitals. Some people may doubt the possi- 
bility of our being able to free ourselves from 
this bondage. This book is written not for those 
who go about with such doubtings of heart, but 
only for those who are really in earnest, and who 
have the courage to take active steps for their 
improvement. Those who are quite content with 
their present abject condition may even be offended 
to read all this ; but I' hope this will be of some 
service to those who are heartily disgusted with 
their own miserable existence. 

From all that has been said, it follows that those 
who are still unmarried should try to remain so ; 
but, if they cannot help marrying, they should do 
so as late as possible. Young men, for instance, 



SEXUAL RELATIONS 7/ 

should take a vow to remain unmarried till the age 
of 25 or 30. We shall not explain here all the 
benefits other than physical that result from this ; 
but those who want to enjoy them can do so for 
themselves. 

My request to those parents who may read these 
pages is that they should not tie a mill-stone round 
trfe necks of their sons by marrying them in their 
teens. They should look also to the welfare of 
their sons, and not only to their own interests. 
They should throw aside all silly notions of caste- 
pride or ' respectability \ and cease to indulge in 
such heartless practices. Let them, rather, if they 
are true well-wishers of their children, look to 
their physical, mental and moral improvements. 
What greater disservice can they do to their sons 
than compelling them to enter upon a married life, 
with all its tremendous responsibilities and cares, 
even while they are mere boys ? 

Then again, the true laws of health demand that 
the man that loses his wife, as well as the woman 
that loses her husband, should remain single ever 
after. There is a difference of opinion among 
doctors as to whether young men and women need 
%ver let their vital fluid escape, some answering 
the question in the affirmative, others in the nega- 
tive. But this cannot justify our taking advantage 
of it for sensual enjoyment. I can affirm, without 



78 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

the slightest hesitation, from my own experience 
as well as that of others, that sexual enjoyment is 
not only not necessary for the preservation of 
health, but is positively detrimental to it. All the 
strength of body and mind that has taken long 
to acquire, is lost altogether by the escape of the 
vital fluid, and it takes a long time to regain this 
lost strength, and even then there is no saying 
that it can be thoroughly recovered. A broken 
vessel may be made to do its work after mending, 
but it can never be anything but a broken vessel. 

As has already been pointed out, the preserva- 
tion of our vitality is impossible without pure air 
pure water, pure and wholesome food, as well as 
pure thoughts. So vital indeed is the relation 
between our health and the life that we lead that 
we can never be perfectly healthy unless we lead 
a clean life. The earnest man who, forgetting the 
the errors of the past, begins to live a life of purity 
will be able to reap the fruit of it straightway. 
Those who have practised true Brahmacharya 
even for a short period will have seen how their 
body and mind improve steadily in strength and 
power, and they will not, at any cost, be willing to 
part with this treasure. I have myself been guilty* 
of lapses even after having fully understood the 
value of Brahmachtrya, and have, of course, paid 
dearly for it. I am filled with shame a aorse 



SEXUAL RELATIONS 79 

when I think of the terrible contrast between my 
condition before and after these lapses. But from 
the errors of the past that I have now learnt to 
preserve this treasure in tact, and I fully hope, with 
god's grace, to continue to preserve it in the future ; 
for I have in my own person, witnessed the inesti- 
mable benefits of Brahmacharya. I was married 
early in life, and had become the father of children 
as a mere youth. When, at length, I awoke to the 
reality of my situation, I found myself sunk in the 
lowest depths of degradation. I shall consider 
myself amply rewarded for writing these pages if 
at least a single reader is able to take warning 
from my failings and experiences, and to profit 
thereby. Many people have told me (and I also 
believe it) that I am full of energy and enthusiasm, 
and that my mind is by so means weak ; Some even 
accuse me of rashness. There is disease in my 
body as well as in my mind ; nevertheless, when 
compared with my friends, I may call myself per- 
fectly healthy and strong. If even after twenty 
years of sensual enjoyment, I have been able to 
reach triis state, how much better should I have 
been if only I had kept myself pure during those 
twenty years as well ? It is my full conviction that, 
if only I had lived a life of "Brahmacharya all 
through, my energy and enthusiasm would have 
been a thousandfold greater and I should have been 



80 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

able to devote them all to the furtherance of rr^r 
country's cause as of my own. If this can be 
affirmed of an ordinary man like myself, how 
much more wonderful must be the gain in power, — 
physicial, mental, as well as moral — that unbroken 
Brahmacharya can bring to us ! 

When so strict is the law of Brahmacharya, 
what shall we say of those guilty of the unpar- 
donable sin of illegitimate sexual enjoyment ? 
The evil that arises from adultery and prostitution 
is a vital question of religion and morality and 
cannot be fully dealt with in a treatise on health. 
Here we are only concerned to point out how 
thousands who are guilty of these sins are afflicted 
by syphilis and other unmentionable diseases. 
The inflexible decree of Providence happily con- 
demns these wretches to a life of unmitigated 
suffering. Their short span of life is spent in 
abject bondage to quacks in a futile quest after a 
remedy that will rid them of their suffering. If 
there were no adultery at all, there would be" no 
work for at least 50 % of doctors. So inextricably 
indeed has venereal disease caught mankind in its 
clutches that even the best doctors have been forced 
to admint that, so long as adultery and prostitution 
continue, there is no hope for the human race. The 
medicines for these diseases are so poisonous that, 
although they may appear to ru some good 



SEXUAL RELATIONS 8 1 

for the time being, they give rise to other and still 
more terrible diseases which are handed down from 
generation to generation. 

In concluding this chapter, we will briefly point 
out how married people can preserve their Brahma- 
charya in tact. It is not enough to observe the laws 
of health as regards air, water and food. The man 
should altogether cease to sleep in privacy with 
his wife. Little reflection is needed to show that 
the only possible motive for privacy between man 
and wife is the desire for sexual enjoyment. They 
should sleep apart at night, and be incessantly 
engaged in good works during the day. They 
should read such books as fill them with noble 
thoughts and meditate over the lives of great 
men, and live in the constant realisation of the 
fact that sensual enjoyment is the root of all 
disease. Whenever they feel a prompting for 
enjoyment, they should bathe in cold water, so 
that the heat of passion may be cooled down, 
and be refined into the energy of virtuous activity. 
This is a hard thing to do, but we have been born 
into this world that we might wrestle with diffi- 
culties and temptations, and conquer them ; and he 
who has not the will" to do it can never enjoy 
the supreme blessing of true health. 



.H--6 



PART II 

SOME SIMPLE TREATMENTS 



Chapter I 
AIR-TREATMENT 

We have now done with the discussion of the 
foundations of health, as well as the means of its 
preservation. If all men and women were to obey 
all the laws of health, and practice str;ct^Brahma- 
charya, there would be no need at all for the 
chapters which follow, for such men and women 
would then be free from all ailments, whether of 
the body or of the mind. But where can such men 
and women be found ? Where are they who have 
not been afflicted by disease ? The more strictly, 
however, we observe the laws which have been 
explained in this book, the more shall we be free 
from disease. But when diseases do attack us, it 
is our duty to deal with them properly, and the fol- 
lowing chapters are intended to show how to do it. 

Pure air, which is so essential to the preservation 
of health, is also essential to the cure of diseases. 



84 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

If, for instance, a man who is suffering from gout 
is treated with air heated by steam, he perspires 
profusely, and his joints are eased. This kind of 
vapour-treatment is known as " Turkish Bath." 

If a man who is suffering from high fever is 
stripped naked, and made to sleep in the open air, 
there is an immediate fall in the temperature, and 
he feels a distinct relief. And if, when he feels 
cold, he is wrapped in a blanket, he perspires at 
once, and the fever ceases. But what we generally 
do is just the reverse of this. Even if the patient 
is willing to remain in the open air, we close all 
the doors and windows of the room in which he 
lies, and cover his whole body (including the head 
and ears) with blankets, with the result that he is 
frightened, and is rendered still weaker. If the 
fever is the outcome of too much heat, the sort of 
air-treatment described above is perfectly harm- 
less, and its effect can be instantly felt. Of course, 
care should be taken that the patient does not 
begin to shiver in the open air. If he cannot 
remain naked, he may well be 'covered with 
blankets. 

Change of air is an effective remedy for latent 
fever and other diseases. The common practice of 
taking a change of air is only an application of the 
principle of air-treatment. We often change our 
residence in the belief that a house .constantly 



AIR-TREATMENT 85 

infested by disease is the resort of evil spirits. 
This is a mere delusion, for the real " evil spirits " 
in such cases are the foul air inside the house. A 
change of residence ensures a change of air, and 
with it the cure of the diseases brought on by it. 
Indeed, so vital is the relation between health and 
air that the good or evil effects of even a slight 
change are instantaneously felt. For a change of 
air the rich can afford to go to distant places, 
but even the poor can go from one village to 
another, or at least from one house to another. 
Even a change of room in the same house often 
brings great relief to a sick man. But, of course, 
care should be taken to see that the change of air 
is really for the better. Thus, for instance, a 
disease that has been brought on by damp air 
cannot be cured by a change to a damper locality. 
It is because sufficient attention is not paid to 
simple precautions like this that a change of air is 
often so ineffectual. 

This- chapter has been devoted to some simple 
instances of the application of air to the treatment 
of disease, while the chapter on Air in Part I of 
this book contains a general consideration of the 
value of pure air to health. Hence I would request 
my readers to read these two chapters side by 
side. P 



86 * A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Chapter II 
WATER-CURE 

Since air is invisible, we cannot perceive the 
wonderful way in which it does its work. But the 
work of water and its curative effects can be easily 
seen and understood. 

All people know something of the use of steam 
as a curative agent. We often employ it in cases 
of fever, and very often severe head-aches can be 
cured only by its application. In cases of rheumatic 
pain in the joints, rapid relief is obtained by the use 
of steam followed by a cold bath. Boils and ulcers 
not cured by simple dressing with ointments can be 
completely healed by the application of steam. 

In case of extreme fatigue, a steam-bath or a hot- 
water bath immediately followed by a cold bath 
will be found very effective. So too, in cases of 
sleeplessness, instant relief is often obtained by 
sleeping in the open air after a steam-bath followed 
by a cold bath. 

Hot water can always be used as a substitute for 
steam. When there is severe pain in the stomach, 
instant relief is obtained by warming with a 
bottle filled with boiling water placed over a thick 
cloth wrapped round the waist. Whenever there is 
a desire to vomit, it can be done by drinking 
plenty of hot water. Those who are sulfefing from 
constipation often derive great beru linking 



WATER-CURE 87 

a glass of hot water either at bedtime or soon after 
rising and cleaning the teeth in the morning. Sir 
Gordon Spring attributed his excellent health to the 
practice of drinking a glass of hot water every 
day before going to bed and after getting up in the 
morning. The bowels of many people move only 
after taking tea in the morning, and they foolishly 
suppose that it is the tea which has produced this 
effect. But, as a matter of fact, tea only does harm, 
and it is really the hot water in the tea that moves 
the bowels. 

A special kind of cot is often used for steam- 
baths, but it is not quite essential. A spirit or 
kerosine oil stove, or a wood or coal fire, would be 
kept burning under an ordinary cane chair. Over 
the fire should be placed a vessel of water with the 
mouth covered ; and over the chair a sheet or blanket 
is so spread that it may hang down in the front 
and protect the patient from the heat of the fire. 
Then the patient should be seated in the chair and 
wrapped round with sheets or blankets. Then 
the vessel should be uncovered, so that the patient 
may be exposed to the steam issuing from it. 
Our common practice of covering the head also of 
the patient is a needless precaution. The heat 
of the steam presses through the body right up 
to the Head, and gives rise to profuse perspiration 
on the face. If thepatient is too weak to sit up, 



88 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

he may be made to lie down on a cot with intersti- 
ces, taking care to see that some of the steam 
escapes. Of course, care should also be taken to 
see that the patient's clothes or the blankets used 
do not catch fire ; and due consideration should 
be paid to the state of the patient's health, as an 
inconsiderate application of steam is fraught with 
danger. The patient, indeed, feels weak after a 
steam bath, but this weakness does not last long. 
Too frequent use of steam, however, enfeebles the 
constitution, and it is of the highest importance to 
apply steam with due deliberation. Steam may 
also be applied to any single part of the body ; in 
cases of headache, for instance, there is no need to 
expose the whole body to the steam. The head 
should be held just over a narrow-mouthed jar of 
boiling water, and wrapped round with a cloth. 
Then the steam should be inhaled through the nose 
so that it may ascend into the. head. If the nasal 
passage is blocked, it will also be opened by this 
process. Likewise, if there be inflamation in any 
part of the body, it alone need be exposed to the 
steam. 

Very few realise the curative value of cold water, 
in spite of the fact that it is eve- more valuable in 
this respect than hot water, and can be made use of 
by even the weakest ^persons. In fever, small-pox, 
and skin-diseases, the application o^ a sheet dipped 



WATER-CURE 89 

in cold water is very beneficial, and often pro- 
duces startling results ; and anybody may try it 
without the least risk. Dizziness or delirium can 
be instantly relieved by tying round the head a 
cloth dipped in melted ice. People suffering from 
constipation often derive great benefit by tying 
round the stomach for some time a piece of cloth 
dipped in melted ice. Involuntary seminal 
discharges can also be often prevented by the 
same means. Bleeding in any part of the body 
may be stopped by the application of a ban- 
dage dipped in ice-cold water. Bleeding from 
the nose is stopped by pouring cold water over the 
head. Nasal diseases, cold and headache, may be 
cured by drawing pure, cold water up the nose. 
The water may be drawn through one nostril and 
discharged through the other, or drawn through 
both nostrils and discharged through the mouth. 
There is no harm in the water going even into the 
stomach provided the nostrils are clean. And in- 
deed, this is the best way to keep the nostrils clean. 
Those who are unable to draw the water up the 
nostrils may use a syringe, but after a few at- 
tempts, it can be done quite easily. All should 
learn to do this, since it is very simple, and at the 
same time a most effective remedy against head- 
aches, bad smells in the noie, as well as dirty 
accumulations r. the nasal passage. 



90 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Many people are afraid of taking an enema, and 
some even think that the body is weakened by it ; 
but such fears are baseless. There is no more 
effective means of producing an instant evacuation 
of the bowels. It has proved effective in many 
diseases where all other remedies have been futile ; 
it thoroughly cleans the bowels, and prevents the 
accumulation of poisonous matter. If those who 
suffer from rheumatic complaints or indigestion or 
pains caused by an unhealthy condition of the 
bowels take an enema of 2 lbs. of water, they would 
see how instantaneous is its effect. One writer on 
this subject says that once he was suffering from 
chronic indigestion and, all remedies proving futile, 
he had grown emaciated, but the application of the 
enema at once restored him his appetite, and 
altogether cured him of his complaint in a few 
days. Even ailments like jaundice can be cured 
by the application of the enema. If the enema 
has to be frequently employed, cold water should 
be used, for the repeated use of hot water is likely 
to enfeeble the constitution. 

Dr. Louis Kuhne of Germany has, after repeated 
experiments, arrived at the conclusion that water- 
cure is the best for all diseases. His books on this 
subject are so popular that they are no#r available 
in almost all the languages of the world, including 
those of India. He contenc lomen is 



WATER-CURE 9 1 

the seat of all diseases. When there is too 
much heat in the abdomen, it manifests itself 
in the form of fever, rheumatism, eruptions on 
the body, and the like. The efficacy of water- 
cure had, indeed, been recognised by several people 
long before Kuhne, but it was he who, for the 
first time, pointed out the common origin of all 
diseases. His views need not be accepted by us 
in their entirety, but it is an undoubted fact that 
his principles and methods have proved effective 
in many diseases. To give only one instance out 
of many that have come within my experience, 
in a bad case of rheumatism, a thorough cure was 
effected by Kuhne' s system, after all other remedies 
had been tried, and had proved utterly ineffectual. 
Dr. Kuhne holds that the heat in the abdomen 
abates by the application of cold water, and has, 
therefore, prescribed the bathing of the abdomen 
and the surrounding parts with thoroughly cold 
water. And for the greater convenience of bathing, 
he has devised a special kind of tin bath. This, how- 
ever, is not quite indispensable ; the tin tubs of an 
oval shape and of different sizes to suit people of 
different heights, available in our bazaars, will do 
equally well. The tub should be filled three- 
fourths with ' water, and the patient should 
seat him uch a fashion that his feet 
and the upp. .he body remain outside the 



92 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

water, and the rest of the body up to the hips inside 
it. The feet may preferably be placed on a low 
foot-stool. The patient should sit in the water 
quite naked, but, if he feels cold, the feet and the 
upper part of the body should be covered with a 
blanket. If a shirt is worn, it should be kept entire- 
ly outside the water. The bath should be taken 
in a room where there is plenty of fresh air and 
light. The patient should then slowly rub (or 
cause to be rubbed) the abdomen with a small 
rough towel from 5 to 30 minutes or more. The 
effect is instantly felt in most cases. In cases of 
rheumatism, the wind in the stomach escapes in 
the form of eructations and the like, and in cases 
of fever, the thermometre falls by one or two 
degrees. The bowels are readily cleaned by this 
process ; fatigue disappears ; sleeplessness is 
removed, and extreme drowsiness gives place to 
vigour. This contrariness of result is more ap- 
parent than real ; for want of sleep, and the excess 
of it, are both brought on by the same cause. So 
too, dysentery and constipation, which are both the* 
outcome of indigestion, are cured by this method. 
Piles of long standing can also be gc rid of by 
this bath, with proper regula ' . it. Those 

who are troubled by the necessity for constant 
spitting should at tince resort to this treatment 
for a cure. By its means the we k can become 



WATER-CURE 93 

strong ; and even chronic rheumatism has been 
cured by it. It is also an effective remedy for 
haemorrhages, headaches, and blood-poisoning. 
Kuhne prescribes it as an invaluable remedy even for 
diseases like the cancer. A pregnant woman who 
takes to it regularly will have an easy child-birth. 
In short, all persons, without distinction of age or 
sex, can take to it with advantage. 

There is another kind of bath, known as the 
" Wet-Sheet-Pack ", which is an unfailing remedy 
for various diseases. This bath is taken in the 
following manner. A table or chair is placed in 
the open air, big enough to allow of the patient 
lying on it at full length. On it are spread 
(hanging on either side) some four blankets, less or 
more according to the state of the weather. Over 
them are spread two white thick sheets well dipped 
in cold water, and a pillow is placed under the 
blankets at one end. Then the patient is strip- 
ped naked (with the exception of a small waist- 
cloth, if he so wishes), and made to lie down 
on the sheets, with his hands placed in the 
arm-pits. Then the sheets and blankets are, one 
after another, wrapped round his body, taking care 
that the parts hanging under the feet are well 
tucked in so as to cover them. If the patient is 
exposed to the sun, a wet cloAi is put over his head 
and face, keepVig the nose always open. At first 



94 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

the patient will experience some shivering, but 
this will soon give place to an agreeably warm 
sensation. He can lie in this position from 
5 minutes to an hour or more. After a time he 
begins to perspire, or at times falls asleep. Soon 
after coming out of the sheets he should bathe in 
cold-water. This is an excellent remedy for small- 
pox and fever, and skin-diseases like the itch, the 
ringworm, and pimples and blotches. Even the 
worst forms of chicken-pox and small-pox are 
completely cured by this process. People can 
easily learn to take the " Wet-Sheet-Pack " them- 
selves, and to apply it to others, and can thus 
see for themselves its wonderful effect. As the 
whole dirt of the body sticks to the sheets in the 
process of taking this bath, they ought not to be 
used again without being well washed in boiling 
water. 

Needless to say, the full benefit of tfrese baths 
cannot be derived unless the rules already mention- 
ed as to diet, exercise and the like are strictly 
observed. If a rheumatic patient, for instance, 
were to take to Kuhne's bath or to the " Wet-Sheet- 
Pack," while eating unwholesome food, living in 
impure air, and neglecting his exercise, how can 
he possibly derive any good out of it ? It is only 
when accompanied th^ strict observance of all the 
laws of health that water-cure c any effect ; 



THE USE OF EARTH . 95 

and when so employed, its effects are sure and 
immediate. 



Chapter III 
THE USE OF EARTH 

We will now proceed to describe the curative 
properties of earth, which are, in some cases, even 
more remarkable than those of water. That earth 
should have such properties need not cause us any 
surprise, for our own body is compounded of the 
earthly element. Indeed, we do make use of earth 
as a purifying agent. We wash the ground with 
earth to remove bad smells, we put it over decaying 
matter to prevent the pollution of the air, we wash 
our hands with it, and even employ it to clean the 
private parts. Yogis besmear their bodies with it ; 
some people use it as a cure for boils and ulcers ; 
and dead bodies are buried in the earth so that they 
may not vitiate the atmosphere. All this shows 
that earth has many valuable properties as a 
purifying and curative agent. 

Just as Dr. Kuhne has devoted special attention 
to the subject of water-cure, another German doctor 
has made a special study of earth and its properties. 
He goes so far as to say that it can be used with 
success in the treatment of pven the most com- 
plicated disease". He says that once in a case of 



96 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

snake-bite, where everybody else , had given up 
the man for dead, he restored him to life by 
causing him to be covered up with earth for 
some time. There is no reason to doubt the 
veracity of this report. It is well known that great 
heat is generated in the body by burying it in the 
earth ; and although we cannot explain how exactly 
the effect is produced, it is undeniable that earth 
does possess the property of absorbing the poison. 
Indeed, every case of snake-bite may not be cured 
in this way ; but it should certainly be tried in 
every case. And I can say from my own experience 
that, in cases of scorpion-sting and the like, the 
use of mud is particularly beneficial. 

I have myself tried with success the following 
forms of earth-cure. Constipation, dysentery, and 
chronic stomach-ache have been cured by the use 
of a mud-poultice over the abdomen for two or 
three days. Instant relief has been obtained in 
cases of headache by applying a mud-bandage 
round the head. Sore eye has also been cured by 
the same method ; hurts of all kinds, whether 
accompanied by inflammation or not, have been 
healed likewise. In the old days I could not keep 
well without a regular use of Eno's Fruit-salt and 
the like. But, since 1904, when I leafnt the value 
of earth-cure, I hav^ had not a single occa ion to 
use them. A mud-poultice over t. e abdomen and 



THE USE OF EARTH 97 

the head, gives distinct relief in a state of high 
fever. Skin-diseases like the itch, the ring-worm, 
and boils, have been cured with the use of mud, 
though no doubt ulcers from which fus issues 
are not so easily cured. Burns and scalds are 
likewise healed by mud, which also prevents in- 
flammation. Piles, too, are cured by the same 
treatment. When the hands and feet become red 
and swollen owing to frost, mud is an unfailing 
remedy, and pain in the joints is also relieved by 
it. From these and other experiments in mud-cure, 
I have come to the conclusion that earth is an 
invaluable element in the domestic treatment of 
diseases. 

All kinds of earth are not, of course, equally 
beneficial. Dry earth dug out from a clean spot 
has been found the most effective. It should not 
be too sticky. Mud which 'is midway between sand 
and clay is the best. It should, of course, be free 
from cow-dung and other rubbish. It should be 
well sifted in a fine sieve, and then soaked in cold 
water to the consistency of well-kneaded dough 
before use. Then it should be tied up in a piece 
of clean, unstarched cloth, and used in the form of 
a thick poultice. The poultice should be removed 
before the mud begins to dry up ; ordinarily it 
will last fro 1 . f v o to ^ee h )urs. Mud once used 
should n ,ain, but a cloth once 



98 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

used can be used again, after being well washed, 
provided it is free from blood and other dirty 
matter. If the poultice has to be applied to the 
abdomen, it should first be covered over with a 
warm cloth. Everybody should keep a tinful of 
earth ready for use, so as not to have to hunt for 
it whenever an occasion arises for its use. Other- 
wise, much precious time may be wasted in cases 
(as of scorpion-sting) where delay would be 
dangerous. 



Chapter IV 
FEVER AND ITS CURE 

We now pass on to consider some particular 
diseases and the means of curing them. And first, 
fever. 

We generally apply the term " fever " to a 
condition of heat in the body, but English doctors 
have distinguished many varieties of this disease, 
each with its own system of treatment. But, 
following the common practice and the principles 
elaborated in these chapters, we may say that all 
fevers can be cured in one and the same manner. 
I have tried this single treatment t ill varieties 
from simple fever up to Bubonic Plague, with 
invariably satisfactory results. Id 1904, here Was 
a severe outbreak of plague a~ the Indians in 



\ 



FEVER AND ITS CURE 99 

South Africa. It was so severe that, out of 23 
persons that were affected, as many as 21 died 
within the space of 24 hours ; and of the remaining 
two, who were removed to the hospital, only one 
survived, and that one was the man to whom was 
applied the mud-poultice. We cannot, of course, 
conclude from this that it was the mud-poultice 
that saved him, but, in any case, it is undeniable 
that it did him no harm. They were both suffering 
from high fever brought on by inflammation of the 
lungs, and had been rendered unconscious. The 
man on whom was tried the mud-poultice was so 
bad that he was spitting blood, and I afterwards 
learnt from the doctor that he had been insuffici- 
ently fed on milk alone. 

As most fevers are caused by disorders of the 
bowels, the very first thing to do is to starve the 
patient. It is a mere superstition that a .weak man 
will get weaker by starving. As we have already 
seen, only that portion of our food is really useful 
which is assimilated into the blood, and the 
remainder only clogs the bowels. In fever the 
digestive organs are very weak, the tongue gets 
coated, and the lips are hard and dry. If any food 
is given to the patient in this condition, it will 
remain ur jested i aid the fever. Starving the 
patient gi es his digestive organs time to perform 
their work ; henr .• the need to starve him for a day 



100 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

or two. At the same time, he should take at least 
two baths every day according the Kuhne's system. 
If he is too weak or ill to bathe, a mud-poultice 
should be applied to his abdomen. If the head 
aches or feels too hot, a poultice should also 
be applied to the head. The patient should, 
as far as possible, be placed in the open air, 
and should be well covered. At meal-time, he 
should be given the juice of lime, well ^filtered 
and mixed with cold or boiling water, and if 
possible, without any sugar. This has a' very 
beneficial effect, and should alone be given if the 
patient's teeth can bear its sourness. Afterwards, 
he may be given a half or the whole of a plantain, 
well mixed with a spoon of olive oil, mixed with a 
spoon of lime juice. If he feels thirsty, he should be 
given water boiled and cooled, or the juice of lime, 
-never, unboiled water. His clothes should be as 
few as possible, and should be frequently changed. 
Even persons suffering from typhoid and the like 
diseases have been completely cured by this simple 
treatment, and are enjoying perfect health at 
present. A seeming cure may also be effected by 
quinine, but it really brings other diseases in its 
train. Even in malarial fever, in which quinine is 
supposed to be most effect?' e r. rely seen it 

bring permanent relief ; on hand, I have 

actually seen several cases of J alarial patients 



CONSTIPATION, DYSENTERY, ETC. 101 

being permanently cured by the treatment des- 
cribed above. 

Many people subsist on milk alone during fever, 
but my experience is that it really does harm in the 
initial stages, as it is hard to digest. If milk has 
to be given, it is best given in the form of " wheat- 
coffee ",* or with a small quantity of rice-flour 
well boiled, in water; but in extreme forms of fever, 
it ought not to be given at all. In such a condition, 
the juice of lime may always be given with great 
success. As soon as the tongue gets clean, plan- 
tain may be included in the diet, and given in the 
form described above. If there be constipation, 
a hot-water enema with borax should be applied in 
preference to purgatives, after which a diet of olive 
oil will serve to keep the bowels free. 



Chapter V 
CONSTIPATION, DYSENTERY, GRIPES 
AND PILES 
It may at first sight appear strange to have four 
different ailments put together in this chapter, but, 
as a matter of fact, they are all so closely connect- 
ed, and may be cured more or less in the same 
way. When the stomach gets clogged by un- 
digested matter, it leads to one or other of these 
'art I, chap. V 



102 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

diseases, according to the varying constitutions of 
individuals. In some it produces constipation. 
The bowels do not move, or move only partly, and 
there is great straining at stools, until it results in 
bleeding, or at times in the discharge of mucus, 
or piles. In others, it leads to diarrhea, which 
often ends in dysentery. In others again, it may 
give rise to gripes, accompanied by pain in the 
stomach and the discharge of mucus. 

In all these cases, the patient loses his appetite, 
his body gets pale and weak, his tongue gets 
coated, and his breath foul. Many also suffer from 
headache and other complaints. Constipation, in- 
deed, is so common that hundreds of pills and 
powders have been invented to cure it. The chief 
function of such patent medicines as Mother Sri- 
get's Syrup and Eno's Fruit-salt is to relieve 
constipation, and hence thousands of people go 
in for them in the vain hope of being cured for 
good. Any Vaid or Hakim will tell you that cons- 
tipation and the like are the result of indigestion, 
and that the best way to cure them is to remove 
the causes of indigestion ; but the more candid 
among them will confess that they are forced to 
manufacture pills and powders, since the patients 
are not really prepared to reno- ^heir bad 

habits, but at the same time 5t cured. 

Indeed the present-day adve, of such 



CONSTIPATION, DYSENTERY, ETC. 103 

medicines go to the extent of promising to those 
that would buy them that they need observe no 
directions as to diet and the like, but may eat 
and drink whatever they like. But my readers 
need not be told that this is a mere string of lies. 
All purgatives are invariably injurious to health. 
Even the mildest of them, even if they relieve the 
constipation, give rise to other forms of disease. 
If they should do any good at all, the patient should 
thoroughly change his ways of life, so as not to 
have to turn to purgatives again ; otherwise, there 
can be no doubt that they must give rise to new 
diseases, even supposing that they serve to get rid 
of the old. 

The very first thing to do in cases of constipation 
and the like is to reduce the quantity of food, 
especially such heavy things as ghee, sugar and 
cream of milk. Of course, he should eschew 
altogether wine, tobacco, bhang, tea, coffee, cocoa, 
and loaves made of " mill flour." The diet should 
consist for the most part of fresh fruits with olive 
oil. 

The patient should be made to starve for 36 hours 
before treatment begins. During this time and 
after, mud-poultices should be applied to the 
abdomen during p ; and, as has been already 

said, one 01 two M Kuhne baths" should also be 
taken. The p r ieut should be made to walk for at 



104 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

least two hours every day. I have myself seen 
severe cases of constipation, dysentery, piles and 
gripes effectively cured by this simple treatment. 
Piles may not, of course, completely disappear, but 
they will certainly cease to give trouble. The 
sufferer from gripes should take special care not 
to take any food except lime-juice in hot water, so 
long as there is discharge of blood or mucus. If 
there is excessive griping pain in the stomach, it 
can be cured by warming with a bottle of hot 
water or a piece of well-heated wick. Needless to 
say, the patient should live constantly in the open 
air. 

Fruits like the French plum, the raisin, the orange 
and the grape, are particularly useful in consti- 
pation. This does not, of course, mean that these 
fruits may be eaten even where there is no hunger. 
They ought not to be eaten at all in cases of gripes 
accompanied by a bad taste in the mouth. 



Chapter VI 
CONTAGIOUS DISEASES : SMALL-POX 

Now we will proceed to deal with the treatment 
of contagious diseases. They Dmmon 

origin, but, since small-pox is by far the ^st im- 
portant of them, we will give a sep. .apter to 
it, dealing with the rest in anothe 



CONTAGIOUS DISEASES : SMALL-POX 105 

We are all terribly afraid of the small-pox, and 
have very crude notions about it. We in India 
even worship it a,s a deity. In fact it is caused, 
just like other diseases, by the blood getting impure 
owing to some disorder of the bowels ; and the 
poison that accumulates in the system is expelled 
in the form of small-pox. If this view is correct, 
then there is absolutely no need to be afraid of 
small-pox. If it were really a contagious disease, 
everyone should catch it by merely touching the 
patient ; but this is not always the case. Hence 
there is really no harm in touching the patient, 
provided we take some essential precautions in 
doing so. We cannot, of course, assert that small- 
pox is never transmitted by touch, for those that 
are physically in a condition favourable to its 
transmission will catch it. This is why, in a loca- 
lity where small-pox has appeared, many people 
are found attacked by it at the same time. 
This has given rise to the superstition that 
it is a contagious disease, and hence to the attempt 
to mislead the people into the belief that vaccina- 
tion is an effective means of preventing it. The 
process of vaccination consists in injecting into 
the skin the liquid that is obtained by applying the 
discharge from the body of a small-pox patient to 
the udder of a cow. The original theory was that 
a single vacci/ation would suffice to keep a man 



106 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

immune from this disease for life ; but, whei\it was 
found that even vaccinated persons were attacked 
by the disease, a new theory came into being that 
the vaccination should be renewed after a certain 
period, and to-day it has become the rule for all 
persons — whether already vaccinated or not — to get 
themselves vaccinated whenever small-pox rages 
as an epidemic in any locality, so that it is no 
uncommon thing to come across people who have 
been vaccinated five or six times, or even more. 

Vaccination is a barbarous practice, and it is 
one of the most fatal of all the delusions current 
in our time, not to be found even among the so- 
called savage races of the world. Its supporters 
are not content with its adoption by those who 
have no objection to it, but seek to impose it with 
the aid of penal laws and rigorous punishments 
on all people alike. The practice of vaccination 
is not very old, dating as it does only from 1798 
A.D. But, during this comparatively short period 
that has elapsed, millions have fallen a prey to 
the delusion that those who get themselves vacci- 
nated are safe from the attack of small-pox. No 
one can say that small-pox will necessarily attack 
those who have not been vaccinate^ : ror many 
cases have been observed of unvaccinaici people 
being free from its attack. From the fact that 
some people who are not vacci do ;et the 



CONTAGIOUS DISEASES : SMALL-POX 107 

disease, we cannot, of course, conclude that they 
would have been immune if only they had got 
themselves vaccinated. 

Moreover, vaccination is a very dirty process, 
for the serum which is introduced into the human 
body includes not only that of the cow, but also 
of the actual small-pox patient. An average man 
would even vomit at the mere sight of this stuff. 
If the hand happens to touch it, it is always washed 
with soap. The mere suggestion of tasting it fills 
us with indignation and disgust. But how few of 
those who get themselves vaccinated realise that 
they are in effect eating this filthy stuff ! Most 
people know that, in several diseases, medicines 
and liquid food are injected into the blood, and that 
they are assimilated into the system more rapidly 
than if they were taken through the mouth. The 
only difference, in fact, between injection and 
the ordinary process of eating through the mouth 
is that the assimilation in the former case is 
instantaneous, while that in the latter is slow. 
And yet we do not shrink from getting ourselves 
vaccinated ! As has been well said, cowards die 
a living death, and our craze for vaccination is 
solely due to the fear of death or disfigurement by 
small-pox. 

I cannot also hep feeling that vaccination is a 
violation of tr t Jictates of religion and morality. 



108 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

The drinking of the blood of even dead animals is 
looked upon with horror even by habitual meat- 
eaters. Yet, what is vaccination but the taking in 
of the poisoned blood of an innocent living animal ? 
Better far were it for God-fearing men that they 
should a thousand times become the victims of 
small-pox and even die a. terrible death than that 
they should be guilty of such an act of sacrilege. 

Several of the most thoughtful men in England 
have laboriously investigated the manifold evils 
of vaccination, and an Anti-Vaccination Society 
has also been formed there. The members of this 
society have declared open war against vaccination, 
and many have even gone to gaol for this cause. 
Their objections to vaccinations are briefly as 
follows : 

(i) The preparation of the vaccine from the 
udder of cows or calves entails untold suffering on 
thousands of innocent creatures, and this cannot 
possibly be justified by any gains resulting from 
vaccination. 

(2) Vaccination, instead of doing good, works 
considerable mischief by giving rise to many new 
diseases. Even its advocates cannot deny that, 
after its introduction, many new diseases have 
come into being. 

(3) The vaccine that is prepare tQP blood 
of a small-pox patient is likely and 



CONTAGIOUS DISEASES : SMALL-POX 109 

transmit the germs of all the several diseases that 
he may be suffering from. 

(4) There is no guarantee that small-pox will not 
attack the vaccinated. Dr. Jenner, the inventor of 
vaccination, originally supposed that perfect im- 
munity could be secured by a single injection on a 
single arm ; but when it was found to fail, it was 
asserted that vaccination on both the arms would 
serve the purpose ; and when even this proved 
ineffectual, it came to be held that both the arms 
should be vaccinated at more than one place, and 
that it should also be renewed once in seven years. 
Finally, the period of immunity has further been 
reduced to three years ! All this clearly shows 
that doctors themselves have no definite views on 
the matter. The truth is, as we have already said, 
that there is no saying that small-pox will not 
attack the vaccinated, or that all cases of immunity 
must needs be due to vaccination. 

(5) The vaccine is a filthy substance, and it is 
foolish to expect that one kind of filth can be 
removed by another. 

By these and similar arguments, this society has 
already produced a large volume of public opinion 
against vaccination. In a certain town, for 
instance, a largo proportion of the people refuse to 
be vacci ; ind yet statistics prove that they 

are sing from disease. The fact of the 



110 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

matter is that it is only the self-interest of doctors 
that stands in the way of the abolition of this in- 
human practice, for the fear of losing the large 
incomes that they at present derive from this source 
blinds them to the countless evils which it brings. 
There are, however, a few doctors who recognise 
these evils, and who are determined opponents of 
vaccination. 

Those who are conscientious objectors to vaccina- 
tion should, of course, have the courage to face all 
penalties or persecutions to which they may be 
subjected by law, and stand alone, if need be, 
against the whole world, in defence of their convic- 
tion. Those who object to it merely on the grounds 
of health should acquire a complete mastery of the 
subject, and should be able to convince others of 
the correctness of their views, and convert them 
into adopting those views in practice. But those 
who have neither definite views on the subject nor 
courage enough to stand up for their convictions 
should no doubt obey the laws of the state, and shape 
their conduct in difference to the opinions and 
practices of the world around them. 

Those who object to vaccination should observe 
all the more strictly the laws of health already ex- 
plained ; for the strict observance of these laws 
ensures in the systeVn those vital forces which 
counteract all disease germs, and is, therefore, the 



CONTAGIOUS DISEASES: SMALL-POX III 

best protection against small-box as well as other 
diseases. If, while objecting to the introduction 
of the poisonous vaccine into the system, they 
surrendered themselves to the still more fatal 
poison of sensuality, they would undoubtedly for- 
feit their right to ask the world to accept their 
views on the matter. 

When small-pox has actually appeared, the best 
treatment is the " Wet-Sheet-Pack ", which should 
be applied three times a day. It relieves the fever, 
and the sores heal rapidly. There is no need 
at all to apply oils or ointments on the sores. If 
possible, a mud-poultice should be applied in one 
or two places. The diet should consist of rice, 
and light fresh fruits, all rich fruits like date and 
almond being avoided. Normally the sores should 
begin to heal under the " Wet-Sheet-Pack " in less 
than a week ; if they do not, it means that the 
poison in the system has not been completely 
expelled. Instead of looking upon small-pox as 
a terrible disease, we should regard it as one of 
Nature's best expedients for getting rid of the 
accumulated poison in the body, and the restora- 
tion of normal health. 

After a.i attack of small-pox, the patients remains 
weak for someti <ne. and in some cases even suffers 
from other ail . But this ; s due not to the small- 

pox itself 3 but to the wrong remedies employed 



112 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

to cure it. Thus, the use of quinine in fever often 
results in deafness, and even leads to the extreme 
from of it known as " quininism". So too, the 
employment of mercury in venereal diseases leads 
to many new forms of disease. Then again, too 
frequent use of purgatives in constipation brings 
on ailments like the piles. The only sound system 
of treatment is that which attempts to remove the 
root-causes of disease by a strict observance of the 
fundamental laws of health. Even the costly 
Bhasmas which are supposed to be unfailing reme- 
dies for such diseases are in effect highly injurious ; 
for, although they may seem to do some good, 
they excite the evil passions, and ultimately ruin 
the health. 

After the vesicles on the body have given place 
to scabs, olive oil should be constantly applied, 
and the patient bathed every day. Then the 
scabs rapidly fall off, and even the pocks soon 
disappear, the skin recovering its normal colour 
and freshness. 



Chapter VII 

OTHER CONTAGIO T \SES 

We do not dread chicken-i n as its elder 

sister, since it is nctl so fata not cause 

disfigurement and the like. I r, exactly 



t 
CONTAGIOUS DISEASES: SMALL-POX 113 



>, 



the same as small-pox in other respects, and should 
therefore be dealt with in the same way. 

Bubonic Plague is a terrible disease, and has 
accounted for the death of millions of our people 
since the year 1896, when it first made its real 
entry into our land. The doctors, in spite of all 
their investigations, have not yet been able to 
invent a sure remedy for it. Now-a-days the 
practice of inoculation has come into vogue, and 
the belief has gained ground that an attack of 
plague may be obviated by it. But inoculation 
for plague is as bad and as sinful as vaccination 
for small-pox. Although no sure remedy has been 
devised for this disease, we will venture to suggest 
the following treatment to those who have full 
faith in Providence, and who are not afraid of 
death. 

(1) The " Wet-Sheet-Pack " should be applied 
as soon as the first symptoms of fever appear. 

(2) A thick mud-poultice should be applied to 
the bubo. 

(3) The patient should be completely starved. 

(4) If he feels thirsty, he should be given lime- 
juice in cold water. 

(5) He should be made to lie in the open air. 

(6) There should not be more than one attendant 
by the side of the patient. " 

We can confidently assert that, if plague can be 
H— 8 ' 



114 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

cured by any treatment at all, it can be cured 
by this. 

Though the exact origin and causes of plague 
are yet unknown, it is undoubted that rats have 
something to do with its communication. We 
should, therefore, take all precautions, in a plague- 
infected area, to prevent the approach of rats in 
our dwellings ; if we cannot gel? rid of them, we 
should vacate the house. 

The best remedy to prevent an attack of plague 
is, of course, to follow strictly the laws of health, — 
to live in the open air, to eat plain wholesome food 
and in moderation, to take good exercise, to keep 
the house neat and clean, to avoid all evil habits, 
and, in short, lead a life of utter simplicity and 
purity. Even in normal times our lives should be 
such, but, in times of plague and other epidemics, 
we should be doubly careful. 

Pneumonic - Plague is an even more dangerous 
form of this disease. Its attack is sudden and 
almost invariably fatal. The patient has very high 
fever, feels extreme difficutly in breathing, and in 
most cases, is rendered unconscious. This form of 
plague broke out in Johannesburg in 1904, and as 
has been already said, * only one man escaped 
alive out of the 23 who were attacked. The treat- 
ment for this diseas^ is just the same as that for 
* Part II, chap. IV 



CONTAGIOUS DISEASES: SMALL-POX 115 

Bubonic Plague, with this difference that the 
poultice should be applied in this case to both 
sides of the chest. If there be no time to try the 
" Wet-Sheet-Pack ", a thin poultice of mud should 
be applied to the head. Needless to say, here as 
in other cases, prevention is better than cure. 

We are terribly afraid of cholera, as of plague, 
but in fact, it is much less fatal. Here the " Wet- 
Sheet-Pack", however, is of no effect, but the 
mud-poultice should be applied to the stomach, and 
where there is a tingling sensation, the affected 
part should be warmed with a bottle filled with 
warm water. The feet should be rubbed with 
mustard-oil, and the patient should be starved. 
Care should be taken to see that he does not 
get alarmed. If the motions are too frequent, the 
patient should not be repeatedly taken out of bed, 
but a flat shallow vessel should be placed under- 
neath to receive the stools. If these precautions 
are taken in due time, there is little fear of danger. 
This disease generally breaks out in the hot 
season, when we generally eat all sorts of unripe 
and over-ripe fruits in immoderate quantities and 
in addition to our ordinary food. The water also 
that we drink during this season is often dirty, 
as the quantity of it in wells and tanks is small, 
and we take no trouble to boif or filter it. Then 
again, the stools of the patients being allowed 



116 , A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

to lie exposed, the germs of the disease are com- 
municated through the air. Indeed, when we 
consider how little heed we pay to these most 
elementary facts and principles, we can only 
wonder that we are not more often attacked by 
these terrible diseases. 

During the prevalence of cholera, we should eat 
light food in moderation. We should breathe 
plenty of fresh air ; and the water that we drink 
should always be thoroughly boiled, and filtered 
with a thick clean piece of cloth. The stools of 
the patient should be covered up with a thick 
layer of earth. Indeed, even in normal times, we 
should invariably cover up the stools with ashes or 
loose earth. If we do so, there would be much less. 
danger of the spread of disease. Even the lower 
animals like the cat take this precaution, but we 
are worse than they in this respect. 

It should also be thoroughly impressed on the 
minds of persons suffering from contagious 
diseases, as well as those around them, that they 
should, under no circumstances, give way to panic, 
for fear always paralyses the nerves and increases 
the danger of fatality. 



MATERNITY AND CHILD-BIRTH 11/ 

Chapter VIII 
MATERNITY AND CHILD-BIRTH 

Our object in the fore-going chapters has been 
to point out the unity of origin and treatment of 
some of the more common diseases. , We are, 
indeed, fully aware that those who are the constant 
victims of disease, and who are constantly oppress- 
ed by the fear of death, will still continue to put 
themselves at the mercy of doctors, in spite of all 
that we might say against it. We venture to think, 
however, that there would be at least a few who 
are willing to cure themselves of their diseases by 
purely natural processes, so as to save themselves 
from all further attacks ; and such persons would 
surely find it worth while to follow the simple 
directions we have given. Before concluding this 
book, we will also give a few hints on maternity 
and the care of the child, as well as some common 
accidents. 

In the lower orders of the animal creation, the 
pangs of child-birth are altogether unknown. The 
same should really be the case with perfectly 
healthy women. In fact, most women in the 
country regard child-birth as quite an ordinary 
matter ; they continue to do their normal work 
till almost the last moment, and experience hardly 
any pain at the time of delivery. Women em- 
ployed in labour have also been known to be able 



IT 8 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

very often to return to work almost immediately 
after child-birth. 

How comes it, then, that women in towns and 
cities have to endure so much pain and suffering at 
the time of child-birth ? And why is it that they 
have to receive special treatment before and after 
the delivery ? 

The answer is simple and obvious. The women 
in towns have to lead an unnatural life. Their food,, 
their costume, their mode of life, in general, offend 
against the natural laws of healthy living. Further, 
besides becoming pregnant at a pemature age, they 
are the sad victims of men's lust even after preg- 
nancy, as well as immediately after child-birth, so 
that conception again takes place at too short an 
interval. This is the state of utter misery and 
wretchedness in which lakhs of our young girls 
and women find themselves in our country to-day. 
To my mind, life under such conditions is little 
removed from the tortures of hell. So long as men 
continue to behave so monstrously, there can be no 
hope of happiness for our women. Many men put 
the blame on the women's shoulders ; but it is none 
of our business here to weigh the relati\^ guilt of 
man and woman in this matter. We are only 
concerned to recognise the existence of the evil, 
and to point out its' cure. Let all married people 
realise, once for all, that, so long as sexual 



MATERNITY AND CHILD-BIRTH 119 

enjoyment at a premature age, as well as during 
pregnancy and soon after child-birth, does not 
cease to exist in our land, an easy and painless 
child-birth must remain a wild dream. Women 
silently endure the pangs of child-birth, as well as 
the subsequent period of confinement, under the 
wrong notion that they are inevitable, but they fail 
to see how their own ignorance and weakness of 
will make their children grow weaker and droop 
from day to day. It is the clear duty of every man 
and woman to try to avert this calamity at any 
cost. If even a single man and woman should do 
their duty in this matter, to that extent it would 
mean the elevation of the world. And this is 
clearly a matter in which no man need or should 
wait for another's example.- 

It follows, then, that the very first duty of 
the husband is wholly to abstain from all sexual 
intercourse with the wife from the moment of 
conception. And great is the responsibility that 
rests on the wife during the nine months that 
follow. She should be made to realise that the 
character of the child to be born will depend 
entirely on her life and conduct during this 
sacred period. If she fills her mind with love 
for all things that are good and noble, the child 
will also manifest the same* disposition ; if, on 
the other hand, she gives way to anger and other 



120 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

evil passion, her child will necessarily inherit 
the same. Hence in these nine months, she 
should engage herself constantly in good works, 
free her mind from all fear and worry, give no 
room for any evil thoughts or feelings, keep out 
all untruth from her life, and waste not a moment 
in idle talk or deed. The child that is born of 
such, a mother, — how can it help being noble 
and strong ? 

The pregnant woman should, of course, keep her 
body as pure ~as her mind. She should breathe 
plenty of fresh air, and eat only so much of plain 
and wholesome food as she can easily digest. If 
she attends to all the directions already given in the 
matter of diet etc., she would have no need at all 
to seek the aid of doctors. If she suffers from 
constipation, the proportion of olive oil in the diet 
should be increased ; and in cases of nausea or 
vomitting, she should take juice of lime in water 
without sugar. All spices and condiments should 
be scrupulously avoided. 

The yearning for various new things that attends 
a woman in pregnancy may be restrained by the 
use of " Kuhne Baths". This is also useful in in- 
creasing her strength and vitality, and in easing 
the pangs of child-birth. It is also necessary to 
steal her mind against such yearnings by nipping 
in the bud each desire as it comes. The parents 



CAR£ OF THE CHILD 121 

should be constantly mindful of the welfare of the 
child in the womb. 

It is also the husband's duty during this period to 
refrain from all wranglings with his wife, and to 
conduct himself in such a way as to make her 
cheerful and happy. She should be relieved of the 
heavier duties of household management, and made 
to walk for some time every day in fresh air. *And 
on no account should she be given any drugs or 
medicines during the period. 



Chapter IX 
CARE OF THE CHILD 
We do not propose in this chapter to describe 
the duties of a midwife or wet nurse, but only to 
point out how the child should be cared for after 
birth. Those who have read the foregoing chapters 
need not be told how injurious it is to keep the 
mother during the period of confinement in a dark 
and ill-ventilated closet and to make her lie on a 
dirty bed with a fire underneath. These practices, 
however time-honoured they may be, are neverthe- 
less fraught with dangerous consequences. No 
doubt, during the cold season, the mother should be 
kept warm, but this is best done by using good 
blankets. If the apartment is' too cold and a fire 
has to be kept, it must be lighted outside and only 



122 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

brought in when all the smoke has disappeared, 
and even then it should not be kept under the cot 
on which she lies. Warmth may also be given by- 
keeping bottles of hot water on the bed. All the 
clothes and sheets should be thoroughly cleansed 
after child-birth, and before being used again. 

As the health of the child will depend entirely 
on that of the mother, special attention must be paid 
to her diet and mode of living. If she is fed on 
wheat, with plenty of good fruits like the plantain, 
and olive oil she would feel warm and strong, 
and have plenty of milk. Olive oil gives aperient 
properties to the mother's milk, and thus serves 
to keep the child free from constipation. If the 
child is unwell, attention must be turned to the 
state of the mother's health. Administering drugs 
to the child is as good as murdering it, for the 
child with its delicate constitution, easily succumbs 
to their poisonous effects. Hence the medicine 
should be administered to the mother, so that 
its beneficial properties may be transmitted to 
the child through her milk. If the child suffers, 
as it often does, from cough or loose bowels, there 
is no cause for alarm ; we should wait for a day 
or so, and try to get at the root of the trouble, 
and then remove -it. Making fuss over it and 
falling into a panic only makes matters worse. 

The child should invariably be bathed in tepid 



CARE OF THE CHILD 123 

water. Its clothing should be as little as possible ; 
for a few months it is best to have none at all. 
The child should be laid on a thin soft white 
sheet and covered with a warm cloth. This will 
obviate the need for the use of shirts, prevent 
the clothes from getting dirty, and make the child 
hardy and strong. A fine piece of cloth folded 
into four should be placed over the navel-string,, 
and kept in position by a band over it. The 
practice of tying a thread to the navel-string and 
hanging it round the neck is highly injurious. 
The navel-band should be kept loose. If the part 
round the navel be moist, fine well-sifted flour 
may be gently applied over it. 

As long as the supply of the mother's milk 
is sufficient, the child should be fed exclusively 
on it ; but, when it gets insufficient, fried wheat 
well powclered, and mixed with hot water and 
a little of jaggery, may be used as a substitute 
with quite good results. Half a plantain well 
mashed and mixed with half a spoonful of olive 
oil is also particularly beneficial. If cow's milk 
has to be given, it should at first be mixed with 
water in the proportion of three to one, and then 
heated until it just begins to boil, when a little 
of pure jaggery should also be added. The use 
of sugar instead of jaggery is" harmful. The child 
should gradually be accustomed to a fruit-diet, 



124 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

so that its blood may be kept pure from the 
very beginning, and it may grow manly and 
bright. Those mothers who begin to feed their 
children on things like rice, vegetables and dhall, 
as soon as or even before its teeth have appeared, 
are doing them infinite harm. Needless to say, 
coffee and tea should be strictly eschewed. 

When the child has grown big enough to walk, 
it may be clothed with kurta and the like, but 
its feet should still be kept bare, so that it may 
be free to roam about at will. The use of shoes 
prevents the free circulation of blood and the 
development of hardy feet and legs. Dressing 
the child in silk or lace cloths, with cap and 
coat, and ornaments, is a barbarous practice. Our 
attempt to enhance by such ridiculous means the 
beauty that Nature has given, only bespeaks 
our vanity and ignorance. We should always 
remember that the education of the child really 
begins from its very birth, and is best given by 
the parents themselves. The use of threats and 
punishments, and the practice of gorging the 
children with food, are an outrage on the principles 
of true education. As the old saying has it, " like 
parent, like child " ; hence the example and prac- 
tice of the parents necessarily shape .the conduct 
;and character of the children. If they are weak- 
lings, their children also grow up weak and 



CARE OF THE CHILD 12$ 

delicate ; if they talk clearly and distinctly, so too- 
will the children; but if they talk with a lisp, the 
children will also learn to do so. If they use foul 
language, or are addicted to bad habits, the 
children necessarily imitate them, and develop into 
bad characters. In fact, there is no field of human 
activity in which the child does not imitate the 
example of its parents. 

We see, then, how heavy is the responsibility 
that rests on the shoulders of parents. The very 
"first duty of a man is to give such education to his 
children as will make them honest and truthful, 
and an ornament to the society in which they live. 
In the animal and vegetable kirigdoms, the off- 
spring invariably takes after the parent. Man 
alone has violated this law of Nature. It is only 
among men that we see such incongruities as 
vicious children being born to virtuous parents, or 
sickly ones to the healthy. This is due to the fact 
that we thoughtlessly become parents when we 
are not mature enough to assume the responsibilities 
of that position. It is the solemn duty of all virtu- 
ous parents to train their children in noble ways. 
This requires that both the father and the mother 
should themselves have received a sound education. 
Where the parents lack such education and are 
aware of their imperfections, it is their duty to 
entrust their children to the care of proper 



126 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

guardians. It is foolish to expect that a high 
character can be developed in the children by 
merely sending them to school. Where the train- 
ing given at school is inconsistent with that given 
at home, there can be no hope of improvement for 
the child. 

As already pointed out, the true education of the 
child begins from the very moment of its birth. 
The rudiments of knowledge are imbibed almost in 
the course of play. This, indeed, was the ancient 
tradition ; the practice of sending children to 
school is a growth of yesterday. If only the 
parents would do their duty by their children, there 
would be no limit to the possibilities of their 
advancement. But, in fact, we make playthings of 
our children. We deck their persons with fine 
clothes and jewels, we gorge them with sweetmeats, 
and spoil them from their very infancy by fond- 
lings and caresses. We let them go unchecked on 
their way in our false affection for them. Being 
ourselves miserly, sensuous, dishonest, slothful and 
uncleanly, is it to be wondered at that our children 
should follow in our foot steps, and turn out weak 
and vicious, selfish and slothful, sensuous and 
immoral ? Let all thoughtful parents ponder well 
over these matters ; for on them depends the future 
of our land. 



SOME ACCIDENTS : DRAWING 1 27 

Chapter X 
SOME ACCIDENTS : DROWNING 

We will now turn our attention to some of the 
more common accidents, and the methods of 
dealing with them. A knowledge of these things 
is essential to everybody, so that timely help may 
be rendered, • and the loss of many precious lives 
averted. Even children should be taught to deal 
with these cases, as in that way they are the more 
likely to grow up kind and thoughtful citizens. 

And first we will deal with drowning. As man 
cannot live without air for more than 5 minutes at 
the most, little life generally remains in a drowning 
man taken out of water. Immediate steps should, 
therefore, be taken to bring him back to life. Two 
things have specially to be done for these, — arti- 
ficial respiration, and the application of warmth. 
We should not forget that very often such 'First 
aid ' has to be rendered by the side of tanks and 
rivers, where all the needed materials are not easily 
available, and such aid can be most effectual only 
when there are at least two or three men on the 
spot. The first-aider should also possess the qua- 
lities of resourcefulness, patience, and briskness ; 
if he himself loses his presence of mind, he can do 
nothing. So too, if the attendants begin to discuss 
methods, or quarrel over details, there is no hope 
for the man. The best one in the party should 



128 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

lead, and the others should implicitly follow his 
directions. 

As soon as the man is taken out of water, his wet 
clothes should be removed, and his body wiped 
dry. Then he should be made to lie on his face, 
with his hands under the head. Then, with our 
hand on his chest, we should remove from his 
mouth the water and dirt that might have got in. 
At this time his tongue would come out of his 
mouth, when it should be caught hold of with a 
kerchief, and held till consciousness returns. Then 
he should at once be turned over, with the head and 
the chest a little raised above the feet. Then one 
of the attendants should kneel by his head, and 
slowly spread out and straighten his arms on eith- 
er side. By this means his ribs will be raised, and 
the air outside can enter into his body ; then his 
hands should be quickly brought back and folded 
on his chest, so that the chest may contract and 
the air be expelled. In addition to this, hot and 
cold water should be taken in the hands and poured 
on his chest. If a fire can be lighted or procured, 
the man should be warmed with it. Then all the 
available clothes should be wrapped round his 
body, which should be thoroughly rubbed for 
warmth. All this should be tried for a long time 
without losing hope. In some cases, such methods 
have to be applied for several hours on and 



SOME ACCIDENTS: DROWNING 1 29 

before breathing is restored. As soon as signs of 
consciousness appear, some hot drink should be 
administered. The juice of lime in hot water, or 
decoction of cloves, pepper, and the bark of the 
bay-tree, will be found specially effective. The 
smell of tabacco may also prove useful. People 
should not be allowed to crowd round the patient,, 
and obstruct the free passage of air. 

The signs of death in such cases are the following. 
The complete cessation of breathing and the beat- 
ing of heart and lungs, as indicated by a piece of 
of peacock-feather held near the nose remaining 
quite steady, or a miror held near the mouth being 
undimmed by the moisture in the breath ; the eyes 
remaining fixed and half-open, with heavy eye-lids ;. 
the jaws getting fixed ; the fingers getting crook- 
ed ; the tongue protruding between the teeth ; the 
mouth getting frothy ; nose getting red ; the whole 
body turning pale. If all these signs simultane- 
ously appear, we may conclude that the man is 
dead. In some rare cases, life may still remain 
even when all these signs are present. The only 
conclusive test of death is the setting in of 
decomposition. Hence the patient should never 
be given up for lost, until after a long and patient 
application of remedial measures. 



H-9 



130 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Chapter XI 

SOME ACCIDENTS— (Contd.) 

Burns and Scalds 

Very often when a man's clothes catch fire, we 
get into a panic, and, instead of helping the injured, 
make matters worse by our ignorance. It is our 
duty, therefore, to know exactly what to do in 
such cases. 

The person whose clothes have caught fire should 
not lose his presence of mind. If the fire is only 
at one edge of the cloth, it should at once be 
squeezed out with the hands ; but if it has spread 
over the whole cloth or a large portion of it, the 
man should at once lie down and roll on the floor. 
If a thick cloth like a carpet be available, it should 
at once be wrapped round his body ; and if water 
is at hand, it should also be poured over it. As 
soon as the fire has been put out, we should find 
out if there are burns in any part of the body. 
The cloth would generally stick to the body where 
there are burns, in which case it should not be forci- 
bly torn off, but gently snipped off with a piece of 
scissors, leaving the affected parts undisturbed, and 
taking care to see that the skin does not come off. 
Immediately after this, poultices of pure muol 
should be applied to all these places, and kept in 
position by bandages. This will instantly relieve 
the burning, and ease the patient's suffering. The 



SOME ACCIDENTS 13 1 

poultices may as well be applied over the portions 
of the cloth which stick on to the body. They 
should be renewed as soon as they begin to get 
dry ; there is no reason to fear the touch of cold 
water. 

Where this sort of first aid has not been 
rendered, the following directions will be found 
very useful. Fresh plantainleaves well smeared 
with olive or sweet oil should be applied over the 
burns. If plantainleaves are not available, pieces 
of cloth may be used. A mixture of linseed oil 
and lime-water in equal proportions may also be 
applied with great advantage. The portions 
of cloth which adhere to the burns may be easily 
removed by moistening them with a mixture of 
tepid milk and water. The [first bandage of oil 
should be removed after two days, and afterwards 
fresh bandages applied every day. If blisters 
have formed on the burnt surface, they should be 
pricked,- but the skin need not necessarily be 
removed. 

If the skin has simply got red by the burn, 
there is no more effective remedy than the appli- 
cation of a mud poultice. If the fingers have been 
burnt, care should be taken, when the poultice is 
applied, that they do not touch against one another. 
This same treatment may be applied in cases of 
acid-burns, and scalds of every description. 



132 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Chapter XII 

SOME ACCIDENTS— (ContdJ 

Snake-bite 

There is no limit to the superstitious current 
among us in regard to snakes. From time im- 
memorial we have cultivated a terrible fear of the 
snake ; we even dread the very mention of its 
name. The Hindus worship the serpent, and have 
set apart a day in the year (Nagapanchami) for 
that purpose. Tfyey suppose that the earth is 
supported by the great serpent Sesha. God Vishnu 
is called Seshasayee, as he is supposed to sleep on 
the Serpent-God ; and God Siva is supposed to have 
a garland of serpents round his neck ! We say 
that such and such a thing cannot be described 
even by the thousand-tongued Adisesha, implying 
our belief in the snake's knowledge and discretion. 
The serpent Karkotaka is said to have bitten King 
Nala and deformed him, so that he might not suffer 
any harm in the course of his wanderings. Such 
conceptions are also to be met with among the 
Christian nations of the West. In English a man 
is very often described to be as wise and cunning 
as a serpent. And in the Bible, Satan is, said to 
have assumed the shape of a serpent in order to 
tempt Eve. 

The real reason for the popular dread of snakes 
is obvious. If the snake's poison should spread 



SOME ACCIDENTS 133 

over the whole body, death must necessarily ensue ; 
and since the idea of death is so dreadful to us, we 
dread the very name of a snake. Hence, our 
worship of the snake is really based on our fear. 
If the snake were a little creature, it woulcl hardly 
be worshipped by us ; but since it is a big creature, 
and a strangely fascinating one, it has come to be 
deified and worshipped. 

The Western scientists of to-day hold that the 
snake is merely a creature of instinct, and it should 
be destroyed forthwith wherever found. From the 
official statistics, we gather that not less than 20,000 
persons die every year in India of snake-bite alone. 
The destruction of every venomous snake is reward- 
ed by the state, but it is really a question if the 
•country has benefitted by it in any way. We find 
from experience that a snake never bites wantonly, 
but only as a retaliatory measure when it is molest- 
ed in any way. Does this not bespeak its discretion, 
or at the least its innocence ? The attempt to rid 
Hindustan, or any portion thereof, of snakes is as 
ridiculous and futile as trying to wrestle with the 
air. It may be possible to prevent snakes coming 
to a particular place by a systematic process of 
extermination, but this can never be done on a 
large scale. In a vast country like India, it would 
be an altogether foolish enterprise to try to avoid 
snake-bites by wholesale destruction of the snakes. 



134 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Let us never forget that the serpents have been 
created by the same god who created us and all 
other creatures. God's ways are inscrutable, but 
we may rest assured that He did not create ani- 
mals like the lion and the tiger, the serpent and the 
scorpion, in order to bring about the destruction of 
the human race. If the serpents were to meet in 
council and conclude that man has been created by 
god for their destruction, seeing that he generally 
destroys a snake wherever found, should we 
approve of their conclusion ? Surely not. In the 
same way, we are wrong in regarding the serpent 
as a natural enemy of man. 

The great St. Francis of Asissi, who used to 
roam about the forests, was not hurt by the serpents 
or the wild beasts, but they even lived on terms of 
intimacy with him. So too, thousands of Yogi* 
and Fakirs live in the forests of Hindustan, amidst 
lions and tigers and serpents, but we never hear of 
their meeting death at the' hands of these animals. 
It might, however, be contended that they must 
certainly be meeting their death in the forests, but 
that we do not hear of it, as we live so far away. 
Granted ; but we cannot deny that the number of 
Yogis that live in the forests is nothing in com- 
parison with that of the serpents and wild beasts,, 
so that, if these animals were really the natural 
enemies of man, the whole race of Yogis and other 



SOME ACCIDENTS 135 

dwellers in the forests should become very rapidly 
extinct, especially since they have no weapons with 
which to defend themselves against their attacks. 
But they have by no means become extinct, and 
we may conclude, therefore, that they have been 
allowed to live unmolested in the forests by the 
serpents and wild beasts. In fact, I have implicit 
faith in the doctrine that, so long as man is not 
inimical to the other creatures, they will not be ' 
inimical to him. Love is the greatest of the attri- 
butes of man. Without it the worship of God 
would be an empty nothing. It is, in short, the 
root of all religion whatsoever. 

Besides, why should we not regard the cruelty of 
the serpents and the wild beasts as merely the 
product and reflection of man's own nature ? Are 
we any the less murderous than they ? Are not our 
tongues as venomous as the serpent's fangs ? Do 
we not prey upon our innocent brethren much in 
the same way as lions and leopards ? All scriptures 
proclaim that, when man becomes absolutely harm- 
less, all the other animals will begin to live on 
terms of intimacy with him. When feuds and 
conflicts as fierce as that between the lion and the 
lamb are going on within our own breasts, is it any 
wonder that much things should go on in the 
external world? For, we are but the reflection of 
the world around us ; all the features of the 



136 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

external world are found reflected in the inner 
world of our mind. When we change our nature, 
the world around should also inevitably change. 
Do we not find that the world assumes a totally 
different aspect to those individual men and women 
who change their own nature by strenuous self- 
discipline ? This is the great mystery of God's 
creation as well as the great secret of true happi- 
ness. Our happiness or otherwise rests entirely 
upon what we are ; we have no need to depend 
on other people at all in this matter. 

Our excuse for writing at such length on snake- 
bite is this. Rather than merely prescribe cure for 
snake-bite, we thought it as well to go a little more 
deeply into the matter, and point out the best way 
of getting rid of our foolish fears. If even a single 
reader were to adopt in practice the principles we 
have been discussing, we shall consider our effort 
amply rewarded. Moreover, our object in writing 
these pages is not merely to give the generally 
accepted hygienic principles, but to go to the root 
of the matter, and deal with the most fundamental 
principles of health. 

Modern investigations have also shown that the 
man who is perfectly healthy, whose blood has not 
been tainted by excess of heat, and whose food is 
wholesome and Satvic, is not immediately affected 
by the poison of the snake, but that, on the other 



SOME ACCIDENTS 137 

hand, its effect is instantaneous as well as fatal on 
the man whose blood has been tainted by drink or 
unwholesome food. One doctor goes so far as to 
say that the blood of the man who eschews salt 
and the like, and lives exclusively on -a fruit-diet, 
remains so pure that no kind of poison can have 
any effect on him. I have not had enough experi- 
ence myself to say how far this is true. The man 
whose diet has been free from salt and the like for 
only one or two years cannot be said to have 
attanied this stage of perfect immunity, for the 
blood which has been tainted and poisoned by 
bad practices continued for years cannot be 
brought back to its normal state of purity in the 
short period of a year or two, g 

It has further been scientifically demonstrated 
that a man under the influence of fear or anger is 
much more and much sooner, affected by poison 
than when in the normal condition. Everybody 
knows how fear and anger make the pulse and the 
heart beat faster than the normal rate, and the 
quicker the flow of blood in the veins? the greater 
the heat generated. But the heat generated by evil 
passions is not healthy, but extremely harmful. 
Anger is, indeed, nothing but vareity of fever. 
Hence the best antidote against snake-bite is to 
use pure and Satiric food in moderation, to rid our 
minds of all evil passions like anger and fear, 



138 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

to refrain from giving way to panic, to retain 
perfect confidence in the saving power of a pure 
and Godly life, and to remain self-possessed in the 
full faith that we are ever in God's hands, and that 
the span of life which He has allotted to us can 
on no account be curtailed or exceeded. 

Dr. Fitz-Seaman, the Director of the Port Eliza- 
beth Museum, who has devoted a large portion of 
his life to the study of snakes, their varieties and 
their habits, and who is a great authority on snake- 
bite and its cure, has told us, as a result of his 
numerous experiments, that the majority of the so- 
called deaths by snake-bite are really caused by 
fear and the wrong remedies applied by quacks. 

We should remember that all snakes are not 
venomous, and that even the bite of all venomous 
snakes is not immediately fatal either. Moreover, 
the snakes do not always get an opportunity of 
injecting their venom into the body of their victim. 
We should not, therefore, give way to panic even 
when we are bitten by a venomous serpent^ especi- 
ally since ^ery simple remedies are available, 
which can be applied by ourselves without any aid 
from others. 

The part of the body immediately above the 
point at which the snake has bitten should be tied 
round with tight bandage, which should be further 
strengthened by means of strong pencils or pieces 



SOME ACCIDENTS 139 

of wood, so that the poison may not ascend through 
the veins. Then the wound should be cut half an 
inch deep with the fine point of a knife, so that the 
poisoned blood may freely flow, and the hollow 
should be filled with the dark-red powder sold in 
the bazaars and known as Potassium Permangan- 
ate. If this is not available, the blood issuing from 
the wound should be well sucked and spat out, by 
the patient himself or by somebody else, until all 
the poison has been removed. Of course, no man 
who has a wound on the lips or the tongue should 
be allowed to suck this poisoned blood. This 
treatement should be applied within, 7 minutes 
of the accident, — that is to say, before the 
poison has had time to ascend and disuse 
through the body. As already mentioned, the 
German doctor who has specialised in mud-cure,, 
claims to have cured snake-bite by burying 
the patient under fresh earth. Although I have 
not tried the use of mud in snake-bites, I 
have unbounded faith in its efficacy from my 
experience in other cases. After the application 
of Potassium Permanganate (or the sucking out of 
the blood, in the alternative,) a poultice of mud half 
an inch in thickness, and big enough to cover the 
whole region around and above the affected part, 
should be applied. There should be kept in every 
home a quantity of well-sifted and powdered mud 



140 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

in a tin ready for use. It should be so kept as to be 
exposed to light and air, and free from dampness. 
Suitable bandages of cloth should also be kept so 
as to be within reach when needed. These will be 
found useful not only in snake-bite, but in number- 
less other cases as well. 

If the patient has lost consciousness, or if respi- 
ration seems to have ceased, the process of artificial 
respiration already described in connection with 
drowning should be resorted to. Hot water, or 
preferably a decoction of cloves and the bark of 
the bay-tree, is very useful for recovering 
consciousness. The patient should be kept in the 
open air, but if his body seems to have taken cold, 
bottles of hot water should be employed, or a piece 
of flannel dipped in hot water and wrung out 
should be rubbed over the body, to produce 
warmth. 



Chapter XIII - 

SOME ACCIDENTS— (Contd.) 

Scorpion-Sting 

Our familiar expression, " May God never give 

any man the pain of scorpion-sting ", shows how 

keen that pain is. In fact, this pain is even 

sharper than that of snake-bite, but we do not 

dread it so much, since it is much less fatal. 



SOME ACCIDENTS 141 

Indeed, as Dr. Moor has said, the man whose blood 
is perfectly pure has little to fear from the sting of 
a scorpion. 

The treatment for scorpion-sting is very simple.. 
The affected part should be cut into with a sharp- 
pointed knife, and the blood that issues from it 
slightly sucked out. A small bandage tied tightly 
above this portion would prevent the spread of the 
poison, while a poultice of mud would give imme- 
diate relief to the pain. 

Some writers advise us to tie a;thick bandage of 
cloth over the affected part, wetted with a mixture 
of vinegar and water in equal proportions, or to 
keep the region around it immersed in salt water. 
But the poultice of mud is certainly the most 
effective remedy of all, as may be personally 
tested by those who may have the misfortune 
to be stung by scorpions. The poultice should 
be as thick as possible ; even two seers of mud 
would not be too much for the purpose. If 
the finger be stung, for instance, the poultice 
should extend up to the elbow. If the hand be kept 
immersed for sometime in wet mud in a pretty large 
vessel, it would give instant relief to the pain. 

The stings of the centipede and other animals 
should be dealt with exactly as that of the 
scorpion. 



142 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

Chapter XIV 
CONCLUSION 

I have now said all that I had intended to 
•say on the subject of health. And now, before 
finally taking leave of my readers, I will say. 
a word or two on my object in writing these 
pages. 

One question which I have asked myself again 
and again, in the course of writing this book, 
is why I of all persons should write it. Is there 
any justification at all for one like me, who am 
no doctor, and whose knowledge of the matters 
dealt with in these pages must be necessarily 
imperfect, attempting to write a book of this 
kind ? 

My defence is this. The " science ". of medicine 
is itself based upon imperfect knowledge, most 
of it being mere quackery. But this book, at any 
rate, has been prompted by the purest of motives. 
The attempt is here made not so much to show 
how to cure diseases as to point out the means 
of preventing them. And a little reflection will 
show that the prevention of disease is a compara- 
tively simple matter, not requiring much specialist 
knowledge, although it is by no means an easy 
thing to put these principles into practice. Our 
object has been to show the unity of origin and 
treatment of all diseases, so that all people may 



CONCLUSION 143 

learn to treat tKeir diseases themselves when they 
do arise, as they often do, in spite of great care 
in the observance of the laws of health. 

But, after all, why is good health so essential, 
so anxiously to be sought for ? Our ordinary con- 
duct would seem to indicate that we attach little 
value to health. If health is to be sought for 
in order that we might indulge in luxury and 
pleasure, or pride ourselves over our body and 
regard it as an end in itself, then indeed it would 
be far better that we should have bodies tainted 
with bad blood, by fat, and the like. 

All religions agree in regarding the human body 
as an abode of God. Our body has been given 
to us on the understanding that we should render 
devoted service to God with its aid. It is our duty 
to keep it pure and unstained from within as 
well as from without, so as to render it back to 
the Giver, when the time comes for it, in the state 
of purity in which we got it. If we fulfil the 
terms of the contract to God's satisfaction, He 
will surely reward us, and make us heirs to 
immortality. 

The bodies of all created beings have been 
gifted with the same senses, and the same 
capacity for seeing, hearing, smelling and the 
like ; but the human body is supreme among 
them all, and hence we call it a " Chintamani," or 



144 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

a giver of all good. Man alone can worship 
God with knowledge and understanding. Where 
devotion to Gqd is void of understanding, there can 
be no true salvation, and without salvation there 
can be no true happiness. The body can be of 
real service only when we realise it to be a temple 
of God and make use of it for God's worship ; 
otherwise it is no better than a filthy vessel of 
bones, flesh and blood, and the air and water 
issuing from it is worse than poison. The things 
that come out of the body through the pores and 
other passages are so filthy that we cannot touch 
them or even think of them without disgust ; and it 
requires very great effort to keep them tolerably 
clean. Is it not most disgraceful that, for the sake 
of this body, we should stoop to falsehood and 
deceit, licentious practices and even worse ? Is it 
not equally shameful that, for the sake of these 
vices, we should be so anxious to preserve this 
fragile frame of ours at any cost ? 

This is the truth of the matter in regard to 
our body ; for the very things which are the 
best or the most useful have inherent in them 
capabilities of a corresponding mischief. Other- 
wise, we should hardly be able to appreciate 
them at their true worth. The light of the sun, 
which is the source of our life, and without 
which we cannot live for an hour, is also capable 



CONCLUSION 145 

of burning all things to ashes. So too, a king 
may do infinite good to his subjects, or be the 
source of untold mischief. Indeed, the body may 
be a good servant, but, when it becomes a master, 
its powers of evil are unlimited. 

There is an incessant struggle going on within 
us between our Soul and Satan for the control of 
our body. If the soul gains the ascendancy, the 
body becomes a most potent instrument of good ; 
but, if the devil is victorious in the struggle, it 
becomes a hot-bed of vice. Hell itself would be 
preferable to the body which is the slave of vice, 
which is constantly filled with decaying matter 
and which emits filthy odours, whose hands and 
feet are employed in unworthy deeds, whose 
tongue is employed in eating things that ought 
not to be eaten or in uttering language that 
ought not to be uttered, whose eyes are employed 
in seeing things that ought not to be seen, 
whose ears are employed in the hearing of 
things that ought not to be heard, and whose nose 
is employed in the smelling of things that ought 
not to be smelt. But, while hell is never mistaken 
fof heaven by anybody, our body which is rendered 
worse than hell by ourselves is, strangely, enough, 
regarded. by us as almost heavenly ! So monstrous 
is our vanity, and so pitiful our pride, in this 
matter ! Those who make use of a palace as a 
H— 10 



146 A GUIDE TO HEALTH 

latrine, or vice versa, must certainly reap the fruit 
of their folly. So too, if, while our body is really 
in the Devil's hands, we should fancy that we are 
enjoying true health, we shall have only ourselves 
to thank for the terrible consequences that are sure 
to follow. 

To conclude, then our attempt in these pages has 
been to teach the great truth that perfect health 
can be attained only by living in obedience to the 
laws of God, and defying the power of Satan. 
True happiness is impossible without true health, 
and true health is impossible without a rigid 
control of the palate. All the other senses will 
automatically come under our control when the 
palate has been brought under control. And he who 
has conquered his senses has really conquered the 
whole world, and he becomes a part of God. We 
cannot realise Rama by reading the Ramayana, 
or Krishna by reading the Gita, or god by reading 
the Koran, or Christ by reading the Bible ; the only 
means of realising them is by developing a pure 
and noble character. Character is based on virtuous 
action, and virtuous action is grounded on Truth" 
Truth, then* is the source and foundation of \U 
things that are good and great. Hence, a fearless 
and unflinching pursuit of the ideal of Truth and 
Righteousness is the key-note of true health as of 
all else. And if we have succeeded (in however 



CONCLUSION 147 

feeble a measure) in bringing this grand fact home 
to our readers? our object in writing these pages 
would have been amply fulfilled. 



FINIS 



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