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  The Official Mahatma Gandhi eArchive & Reference Library,    Mahatma Gandhi Foundation - India.

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Key to Health
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    The human body is composed of what the ancient philosophers have described as the five elements. These are earth, water, vacancy, light and air.

    All human activity is carried on by means of the mind aided by the ten senses. These are the five senses of action, i.e., hands, feet, mouth, anus and the genitals, and the five senses of perception, i.e. the sense of touch through the skin, of smell through the nose, of taste through the tongue, of seeing through the eyes and 2of hearing through the ears. Thinking is the function of the mind and some people have called it the eleventh sense. In health all the senses and the mind act in perfect co-ordination.

    The inner working of the human machine is wonderful. The human body is the universe in miniature. That which cannot be found in the body is not to be found in the universe. Hence the philosopher's formula, that the universe within reflects the universe without. It follows therefore that if our knowledge of our own body could be perfect we would know the universe. But even the very best of doctors and hakims and vaids have not been able to acquire it. It will be presumptuous for a layman to aspire to it. No one has yet discovered an instrument which can give us any information about the human mind. Scientists have given attractive descriptions of the activities going on within and without the body, but no one can say what sets the wheel going. Who can explain the why and wherefore of death or foretell its time? In short, after infinite reading and writing, after infinite experience, man has come to know how little he knows.

    A happy working of the human machine depends upon the harmonious activity of the various component parts. If all these work in an orderly manner, the machine runs smoothly. If even one of the essential parts is out of order, it comes to a stop. For instance, if the digestion is out of order, the whole body becomes slack. Therefore, he who takes indigestion and constipation lightly does not know the a-b-c of the rules of health. These two are the root cause of innumerable ailments.

    The question that demands our attention next is: what is


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