Sadhguru in conversation with prominent heart surgeon Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty looks at how yoga benefits the health of a patient and also creates a comprehensive process of wellness. Here’s the first of two parts.
Devi Shetty: Today’s topic is “Mechanics of Health.” As a heart surgeon, I can say, the heart has attracted a lot of undue importance. Actually, it is the mind which is the boss – the heart is a slave. So most of my questions will be about the mind because that is what I’m very fascinated about, especially its capacity to heal. Do you believe that the mind has a big impact on the way the healing process happens?
Sadhguru: When we say “Mechanics of Health,” no individual cell in the body can be ignored. And not only what is happening in the body – what is happening around us can also not be ignored. When you just stand on one of the Bangalore streets, the way the automobiles are honking and roaring and struggling and pushing each other, you don’t have the right mechanics of health. You will need hospitals for half the population at some point. People won’t check into hotels – they will check into hospitals. It is only a question of time. Instead of 5000 beds, you will need 50,000 beds. The way we are living, the way we have structured our cities, the way we are structuring our lives, the mechanics of health are not to be seen anywhere.
It is a known fact today that in this cosmos, in every manifestation of creation, whether it is super-large or ultra-small, there is a correlation and coherence between every sub-atomic particle that is instantaneous and enduring. If I touch this body here, what happens in it reverberates with the rest of the cosmos. This is not philosophy or some esoteric language – this is the language of modern physics. When this is the situation, how much coherence we have within the system determines many things.
The human system or an organism of any kind can be coherent on many levels. Let us look at the five basic levels of coherence. One aspect is geometric and mathematical coherence. In yoga, we pay attention to how we sit, because if you achieve geometric and mathematical coherence, things you never thought existed will become a reality for you. It is like going and adjusting your antenna – what was a blank screen turns into the world pouring itself into your sitting room – just because of geometric coherence. The next is bio-chemical coherence, which you, as doctors, are dealing with on a daily basis and are trying to manipulate with pharmaceuticals and traditional medicines.
The next is energy or electromagnetic and electrical coherence within the system and with the surrounding atmosphere. Then come quantum coherence and finally, consciousness. These different levels of coherence are not separate from one another. It is just that modern science fragments everything and studies it separately. When you as a cardiac surgeon say you want to look at the mind, you understand that what we do in the mind is going to happen in the heart. Coherence is not only about the mind, but definitely, every thought that you generate, every fluctuation that happens on the level of your mind reverberates through every cell in the body. Which part of your body gets affected could be largely genetic that you inherit from someone, or you get it from the streets of Bangalore City.
Devi Shetty: Sadhguru, the common man’s impression is a surgeon is one who cuts and stitches… But from a very early stage of my career, I have always insisted that my junior surgeons, before they start to actually get into cardiac surgery, should attend painting and drawing classes. Essentially, we need to train the younger generation as artists. When a surgeon has a bent of mind of an artist and he is doing an operation, what comes out at the end of the operation is something very beautiful. Do you believe in this concept that surgeons should be trained like an artist and behave like an artist, that they should be creative?
Sadhguru: I feel that’s one small step. To achieve a certain level of coherence, surgeons should become yogis. They should have such a level of coherence not only with the patient but with everything around them, with the whole atmosphere, because every part of our body has been manufactured from inside. We have the intelligence and the competence to create a heart, a brain, a liver, kidneys – everything. For whatever reasons, it has gone bad. When it has gone bad, philosophies and logic won’t do. We want a solution. If we want a solution, is it a comprehensive solution or only an immediate solution? Are we only trying to extend life or do we want life to be nourished and flourishing?
When I say surgeons should be yogis, it does not mean that you must move to the mountains. The word “yoga” means union or coherence between the limited and the unlimited, the physical and the non-physical. The reason why you think everything may be preordained is because there are no answers in the physical world. When you open a human body and look at the complicated machine that it is, no matter how many thousand times you have looked at somebody’s heart beating, you must still be apprehensive, knowing that you are playing with somebody’s life. One small mistake, and there will be great consequences for this person’s life, for the family, the social surroundings, and other aspects.
Considering this, I would say if you invest one year – not even fulltime – of sadhana to establish coherence – not just emotionally, psychologically, and bio-chemically but in the most fundamental way existentially, in terms of consciousness, in terms of the quantum leap between physical and non-physical – then, depending on how much coherence you are able to achieve, at least 25% of your surgeries could be cancelled and you would do something else with them. I think it is worthwhile that every doctor invests in this direction.
Many people who have come to us when they were scheduled for bypass surgeries, and simply by doing certain fundamental things right with themselves, many have “bypassed” this bypass surgery. Unfortunately, most people won’t do anything sensible until you fix a date for their bypass surgery! Then they panic and come to us. One thing they did when they were with us was to take charge of the five elements – water, air, earth, fire, and space – within the system and outside the system. Seventy-two percent of our body is water, twelve percent is earth, six percent is air, four percent is fire – the rest is space. The technology of yoga is rooted in bhuta shuddhi, the cleansing of the five elements.