Full text of renowned cardiologist Prof. BM Hegde’s talk: Your Health is Governed by Your Environment at TEDxIITHyderabad conference. In this talk, Professor Hegde breaks down misconceptions about health, and leaves us questioning what health actually means.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Professor B.M. Hegde – Medical Scientist, Educationist & Author
Well, knowledge advances, wrote Karl Popper way back in 1950s, not by repeating known things but by refuting false dogmas. This is how knowledge advances.
For example, it was said by Ptolemy in the second century that the sun goes around the Earth, which was followed for 500 years, up until Copernicus came and said, no the other way around. So this has been going on like this.
In medicine, and in the area of health, this myth is perpetuating for nearly 2000 years now, from the time of the reductionist science of Descartes.
What is health? There’s a definition by called Alma-Ata definition of health. Health is absence of this disease, that disease, all kinds of diseases.
If you analyze this, it’s just a business definition. Because if you want to know whether you’re healthy or not, it was go for a checkup. And that’s a big business, because you’re checking up the whole population of the world if you really can. Because if you are treating only the ill people, it’s only a few million on a given day.
So that’s not the definition. But Indian system of Ayurveda for thousands of years had a beautiful definition, which simply means, in a sense, if you have enthusiasm to work, enthusiasm to work, mark my words, and enthusiasm to be compassionate, you are healthy.
You can have a disease because all of us have disease. If I now scan all of us for a cancer cell, each one of us will have more than five to 10 cancers already inside, but they don’t become clinical cancers and kill you, they die themselves.
And this is a very important thing. So on a given day, nobody’s totally healthy, which if it means that without disease.
So this definition of health is very convenient, because you can know yourself in the morning, get up and ask: Do I want to go to work today? Or do I have to go to work? If you say… and I have… I want to go to work, you’re healthy.
Do I have to be compassionate? If you say yes, I have to be compassionate, that’s compulsion. I want to be compassionate. And if you want to be compassionate, you’re healthy again.
Now, having said this, I must tell you the myths in the area of health. When you go and see a doctor, the first thing he asked is, did your father have cancer, did the father have stroke, he had a heart attack, you get frightened. If any one of these is positive, you start dying that day, I may get a cancer, I may get a heart attack, I may get this, I may get a stroke.
All this is myth: you and your parents have nothing in common. Because you’re not come from your parents. Actually, this is the Indian thought. Children do not come… belong to parents, they come through parents. But our ancestors are not our parents but the germs.
This world for the first 2000 billion years was run by only germs. And every other planet is like that. And these are the germs which are very compassionate and they donated their DNAs to us to make the first nucleated cell called the zygote that you and I were on the first day we were made in the mother’s womb.
And that one cell has become a colony in you of 120 trillion cells, in association with thousand 200 trillion germ cells. So for every single cell of yours, that’s human cell, you have 10 germ cells, so we are germs.
And this germ theory, propagated by the western medicine to use antibiotics as medicines, is the one that is killing mankind all over the world, because of superbugs.
Now germs are our friends. And germs have brought us here, and we belong to them. So you don’t have to worry about your family history of this disease or that disease. Because there’s a big myth going on saying that your genetic analysis, your genome studies, genetic engineering, stem cell study, preserving your cord blood of your child, preserving your dead body, et cetera, et cetera, is a multi-billion dollar industry. All that is a myth.
What is true today is if you’re healthy today, you’re lucky. If you’re unhealthy today, you’re lucky. There’s nothing that you can do to preserve your health or continuous… but one thing is, health is environmental. Health is not genetic, you’re not inherited from your parents.
Health is purely environmental. In this context, we again talk of and we have been talking about the risk factors: your heart disease, your hypertension, diabetes, body weight, height, weight, mass index, your girth to the abdomen, girth of your… you know, all kinds of things we talk about.
All this has been again proved wrong, because the largest study, the longest study and the biggest study, which is called the MRFIT study, Mr. Fit study, multiple risk factor intervention trial, which went on for 25 years assured that there isn’t anything called risk factor. Even if you remove the risks by intervention, the risk if anything remains. So even if you either remove the risk factor or not, the risk remains.
But the only thing that can save you is change your lifestyle. This is because lifestyle is the biggest environment.
What is the environment of human body? Human body is, in fact, human mind only. With quantum physics, we have quantum and understanding: matter is energy; energy is matter. For such a few who don’t belong the science stream, I’ll give you a nice article, please read this: matter is not made out of matter. That’s the article: matter is not made out of matter, written by a man who got the Nobel Prize and the alternate Nobel Prize, because he called E=M; energy is matter; matter is energy as a duality.
And the man has written this article, so for you, and in the article, he writes, I quote, he says, “I am just a scientist, like a child playing in the sands the same time. But these Indian sages have called this Advaita thousands of years ago, and he says, that is the philosophy that runs quantum physics. And you are your body is a holographic projection of your mind, which is called your consciousness.
And the mind is not in the brain as we think and as we practice in psychiatry. We give you drugs, when you have some mental problems. These drugs go and affect the brain, where the mind is not there, and the brain gets damaged. So the drugs only damage the brain and do not treat you, as a matter of fact, create more problems.
But what is important is the mind is the environment of the body. I am repeating this, the mind is the environment of the body. So if you have to get any disease to the mind, and to the body, it’s again the mind that affects the whole thing. And if you want to get rid of it, you have to change your mind.
So in short, mind your mind and that will mind your illness and wellness.
Now, what is the most important part of the mind? Your thinking. The most dangerous part of the environment of mind is arrogance, hubris. I… you know I, you all know I. I starts illness, illness.