Gandhiji had a passion to tend the sick and
serve the poor. He valued life close to nature for its simplicity and
evolved and practised simple rule's of health. He had almost a
religious faith in vegetarianism which led him to carry out dietetic
reform based on pragmatic results obtained from personal experiments. He
was tremendously influenced by the writings of Dr. Kuhne on Nature Cure.
He believed that human body, mind and spirit could be maintained in a
state of perfect health by observance of simple rules. He attempted to
discover causes of ordinary ill health and improvised simple remedies
of Nature Cure. He established a Nature Cure Centre at Uruli in
pursuance of his belief that the poor could not aftord costly medicines
and remedies and that he owed it to them to let them have the benefit of
his lifelong experiments in Health and Hygiene.
The human body is a wonderful and perfect machine. If it gets out of order, it can set itself right without medicine, provided it is given a chance to adjust itself. If we are not abstemious in our habits of food etc. or if our mind is agitated by passion, emotion or anxiety, the body cannot eliminate all the refuse and that part which remains uneliminated turns into toxins whose presence gives rise to symptoms which we call disease. Disease is an attempt of the body to get rid of toxins. If the body is helped in the process of elimination by fasting, cleansing of the bowels by enemas, baths and massages, the body could be restored to its normal health. This is in brief what Gandhiji meant by Nature Cure.
This book contains a valuable collection of Gandhiji's thoughts on Nature Cure etc. and is indeed as rich in its information as it is constructive in its outlook. I commend this book for serious study by all those who are interested in cure of ailments through natural remedies.
30th November, 1954
Gandhiji had very early in life lost faith in modern medicine. He was convinced that for
good health all that was necessary was to live according to the laws of
Nature in regard to diet, fresh air, exercise, clean surroundings and a
pure heart. Instead of this, man was tempted by modern medical
knowledge to indulge himself to his heart's content, break every law of
health and morality and then seek a cure through commercialized drugs.
In revolt from this Gandhiji sought to discover for himself a sane way
of overcoming disease without the use of medicines.
Besides, medicine tends to treat disease as merely a matter concerning the body. But Gandhiji viewing man as a whole finds that disease of the body is chiefly due to mental or spiritual causes and can be permanently cured only when man's entire attitude to life is changed. The cure of bodily disease must therefore, according to him, be sought primarily in the realm of the spirit, in self-discipline and self-mastery through brahmacharya, in a thoughtful observance of the laws of Nature in regard to health, and in bringing about a physical and social environment conducive to the development of a sound body and a sound mind. Gandhiji's conception of Nature Cure is therefore much wider than what is generally understood by that term. It is not merely a cure of disease after it has occurred but an attempt to prevent disease altogether by living according to the laws of Nature which, according to him, are the same as the laws of God. Accordingly it involves not only the use of earth, water, air, sunlight, fasts and such like to cure disease, but even more a transformation of one's entire life —physical, mental, moral and social — through Ramanama or faith in God, alias His Law. Rama- nama is not, therefore, for him mere magic which when uttered through the lips will work wonders of itself. It signifies, as already said, a complete change in the heart and mode of life of the individual, whereby the individual comes to be in tune with the infinite and so obtains never-failing disease- conquering life and strength from the Source of all life.
In arranging Gandhiji's writings under chapters, it seemed well not to interrupt the thought by giving the titles of articles. Not all the articles or speeches are given in full, as repetitions had to be omitted.
Extracts from Gandhiji's weeklies —the Young India and the Harijan have dates affixed to them. So far as the other extracts go, they are from Hind Swaraj, written in 1908, Autobiography, written in 1925 and on, and Key to Health, written in jail during 1942 to 1944.
Extracts from his letters to workers at the Uruli Kanchan Nature Cure Clinic and information about that Centre have been given in the form of Appendices. The letters were translated by Shri A. L. Mazumdar from the original Gujarati.
Those desirous of pursuing further Gandhiji's ideas in regard to health should supplement this book by reading his Key to Health and Diet and Diet Reform.
Bombay, August, 1954