From the Desk of Coordinator, Bioinformatics Centre


Holistic Living – Defined & Dissected


The term ‘Holistic Living’ is often in use but interestingly  no precise definition is given in online directories. It has been possibly left to Scriptures and Spiritual masters to explain, thus it has acquired Spiritual aura and is treated as philosophy and not as practical necessity for a peaceful life and world peace.

The deliberations in the Symposium on Holistic Living held at Arogyadham, MGIMS, Sevagram during November 16-17, with active participation and blessings of revered spiritual masters, Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Founder, Arsha Vidya Ashram and Gurukulam, Rishikesh; Dr. H. R. Nagendra, VC, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University, Bangalore; Dr. Pranav Pandya, Chancellor, Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar & Brahmarshi Subhash Patri, Founder, The Pyramid Spiritual Societies (India), Hyderabad; eminent medical teachers and yoga experts gave us more insight into understanding of the Holistic Living.

Vedic view of life is stated as :           

Poornamadah Poornamidam Poornaatpoornamudachyate

Poornasya Poornamaadasya Poornamevavashishyate

           Whole universe has got an integral existence, It is interrelated, interdependent and cohesive in nature.  We are not isolated beings. We are part of universe and thus inter connected. Man is not body alone. He a breathing and thinking being too, Unique individual made up of complex emotions, appetites and desires. Holistic Living harmonizes the body, mind and spirit.

Patanjali’s Yoga consisting of Yama (truthfulness, nonviolence, non-stealing, chastity and non possessiveness); Niyama (cleanliness, self study, hard work, contentment and trust in God); Asanas (various physical postures); Pranayama (regulated breathing); Pratyahar (internalization of the senses); Dhaarna (concentration); Dhyan (meditation) is broadly the Science of Holistic Living.

During our adult life, we are both consumers and contributors. We need to contribute to this world in the form of harmony, mutual respect, welfare, love, compassion, spiritual health, environment etc. Our life is greatly affected by immediate and remote environment. We always pray for peace by chanting Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. In spite of this, we face misery because we live several characters in one Life – father, mother, brother, sister, employee, employer etc. We are unable to come out of character and that is main cause of our pain and misery. In Holistic Living we try to dissociate ourselves from all these relative terms and get attached to Atma (soul) which is free from all problems. Then there is joy and blissfulness.

In simple terms we may define Holistic Living as simple, spiritual, peaceful, purposeful and productive living in harmony with Nature and concern to the whole universe.

Holistic Living is essential for one to live in peace with himself or herself and with the surroundings. It has become even more important, as human life expectancy is increasing to 80-100 years due to better nutrition and healthcare. Healthy, productive and peaceful ageing is the need of the day.

The World Social Forum and Association of the World Citizens are looking for alternatives to religious fanatism, greed, consumerism, conflict and violence driven world, for creating a new world with emphasis on peace, social and economic justice, mutual respect, respect for life and environment. Holistic Living based on eternal values (Sanatana Dharma) or Secular ethics free from religion and sectism may  be universally acceptable and a better tool to create new world order with peace and happiness.

Holistic Living may be practiced with constant review of the following check list and observe the progressive changes in one’s behaviour and living.

1.      Living: simple living with essentials and contentment. Without vulgar consumption / excess syndrome. Day to Day Living consciously (i.e with awareness) and conscientiously (with conscience); Child like (innocent, happy and without reaction); Taking each challenge in life as an opportunity to learn and show dynamic action and following hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.  Gandhiji’s Simple living and high thinking is the manthra of Holistic Living. Control over food brings control over senses, yogasanas will make the body relax, and Pranayama will slow down breath and Meditation will calm down the mind.

2.      Ahãr (Food): Vegetarian, freshly cooked food, plenty of vegetables and fruits. Good breakfast, moderate lunch and light supper before 8 PM. Fasting once a week (start with one night and increase to a day).

3.      Vihãr (Exercise): Walking for 20-30 min daily with awareness and appreciating the nature. (the trees, leaves, flowers, fruits, birds, clouds, sun, moon, stars etc)

4.      Vichãr (Thinking): Cultivate positive thinking. Read good books with wisdom and listen to noble people.

5.      Achãr: Right action. Doing good work or deed.

6.      Hard work and commitment to the task undertaken (putting soul into it).

7.      Yogasana, Pranayama and Meditation for 30 min. in the morning and / or night for Integration of Body – Mind - Soul.

8.      Detachment and treating things equanimously 

9.      Sharing and Sacrifice (A small percentage in earnings may be kept aside for charity)

10.  Grateful service to the community showing Gratitude for all the blessings in life.

11.  Cultivating love and compassion

PRAYER to Almighty as per one’s faith.

Introspection at night for the day in silence for 10 min.

                        Live a whole m  , Sampurna or Natural and experience divinity.

Prof. B. C. Harinath

December 24, 2006