Excerpts from the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda
From the talk "Healing by God's Unlimited Power" in Man's Eternal Quest
What Is Disease?
There are three kinds of illness: physical, mental, and spiritual.
Physical sickness is due to different forms of toxic conditions, infectious disease, and accidents.
Mental sickness is caused by fear, worry, anger, and other emotional inharmonies.
Soul sickness is due to man’s ignorance of his true relationship with God.
Ignorance is the supreme disease. When one banishes ignorance he also banishes the causes of all physical, mental, and spiritual disease. My guru, Sri Yukteswarji, often said, “Wisdom is the greatest cleanser.”
Trying to overcome various kinds of suffering by the limited power of material curative methods is often disappointing. Only in the unlimited power of spiritual methods may man find a permanent cure for the “dis-ease” of body, mind, and soul. That boundless power of healing is to be sought in God. If you have suffered mentally over the loss of loved ones, you can find them again in God. All things are possible with His help. Unless one really knows God, he is not justified in saying that only mind exists and that one does not need to obey health laws or to use any physical aids for healing. Until actual realization is attained, one should use his common sense in all he does. At the same time one should never doubt God, but should constantly affirm his faith in God’s omnipresent divine power.
Doctors try to learn the causes of disease and to remove those causes so that the illnesses do not recur. In their use of many specific material methods of cure, doctors are often very skillful. However, not every disease responds to medicine and surgery, and therein lies the essential limitation of these methods.
Chemicals and medicines affect only the outer physical composition of the bodily cells and do not alter the inner atomic structure or life principle of the cells. In many cases no cure of disease is possible until the healing power of God has corrected, from within, the imbalance of “lifetrons” or intelligent life energy in the body.
Increase Your Natural Resistance to Disease
Fasting is a natural method of healing. When animals or savages are sick, they fast. The bodily machinery thus has an opportunity to cleanse itself and to obtain a much-needed rest. Most diseases can be cured by judicious fasting. Unless one has a weak heart, regular short fasts have been recommended by the yogis as an excellent health measure. Another good method of physical healing is through suitable herbs or herb extracts.
In using medicines, one often finds that they are not powerful enough to bring about a healing, or that they are so powerful that they irritate the bodily tissues instead of healing them. Similarly, exposure to certain types of “healing rays” will burn the tissues. There are so many limitations in physical methods of healing!
Better than medicines are the rays of the sun. In them is a wonderful healing power. One should take a ten-minute sunbath every day. Ten minutes a day is better than only occasional exposure for longer periods. A short sunbath daily, reinforced by good health habits, will keep the body supplied with sufficient life energy to destroy all harmful microbes.*
Healthy persons possess a natural resistance to disease, and particularly to infections. Illness comes when the resisting power of the blood has been diminished by wrong eating or by overeating, or when overindulgence in sex has depleted the vital energy. To conserve the physical creative energy is to supply all the cells with vibrant life energy; the body then possesses a tremendous resistance to disease. Sexual overindulgence weakens the body and renders it vulnerable to illness.
[*NOTE: It is wise to restrict sunbathing to the early and late hours of the day. Precautions should always be taken to protect sensitive skin against overexposure. Consult and follow the advice of a doctor or a dermatologist.]
The Power of a Smile
Conserve the vital energy, follow a balanced diet, and always smile and be happy. He who finds joy within himself discovers that his body is charged with electric current, life energy, not from food but from God. If you feel that you can’t smile, stand before a mirror and with your fingers pull your mouth into a smile. It is that important!
The healing methods I have touched on briefly in connection with food and the cleansing of the body by herbs or fasting are limited in their effectiveness; but when one is joyful within, he invites the help of the inexhaustible power of God. I mean a sincere joyfulness, not that which you feign outwardly but do not feel within. When your joy is sincere you are a smile-millionaire. A genuine smile distributes the cosmic current, prana, to every body cell. The happy man is less subject to disease, for happiness actually attracts into the body a greater supply of the universal life energy.
There are many things to talk about on this subject of healing. The main idea is that we should depend more on mind power, which is illimitable. The rules for guarding against disease should be: self-control, exercise, proper eating, drinking plenty of fruit juices, occasional fasting, and smiling all the time from within. Those smiles come from meditation. You will find then the eternal power of God. When you are in ecstasy with Him you consciously bring His healing presence into your body.
Mind power carries with it the unfailing energy of God; that is the power you want in your body. And there is a way to bring in that power. The way is communion with God by meditation. When your communion with Him is perfect, the healing is permanent.
The Supreme Power may be invoked by continuous faith and unceasing prayer. You should eat rightly and do whatever else is necessary for the body, but continuously pray to Him: “Lord, Thou canst heal me because Thou dost control the life atoms and subtle conditions of the body that doctors cannot reach with medicines.” The external factors of medicines and fasting have a certain beneficial effect on the physical body, but they do not affect the inner force that sustains the cells. It is only when you go to God and receive His healing power that the life energy is directed into the atoms of the bodily cells and produces instantaneous healing. Wouldn’t you rather depend more on God?
But the attempt to change one’s dependence from physical to spiritual methods should be gradual. If a man accustomed to overeating falls sick and, with the intention of trying to achieve a mental healing, abruptly starts fasting, he may be discouraged if success is not forthcoming. It takes time to change one’s way of thinking from dependence on food to dependence on mind. To be responsive to the healing power of God, the mind must be trained to believe in divine aid.
Out of that Great Power all atomic energy is throbbing, manifesting and sustaining every cell of the physical universe. As moving pictures are sustained by a beam of light coming from the projection booth of a movie house, so are all of us sustained by the Cosmic Beam, the Divine Light pouring from the projection booth of Eternity. When you look to, and find that Beam, you will behold Its unlimited power to rebuild the atoms and electrons and lifetrons in all body cells that may be “out of order.” Commune with the Great Healer!
Affirmations for Healing
God’s perfect health permeates the dark nooks of my bodily sickness. In all my cells His healing light is shining. They are entirely well, for His perfection is in them.
The healing power of Spirit is flowing through all the cells of my body. I am made of the one universal God-substance.
Thy perfect light is omnipresent in all my body parts. Wherever that healing light is manifest, there is perfection. I am well, for perfection is in me.
I am the Changeless, I am the Infinite. I am not a little mortal being with bones to break, a body that will perish. I am the deathless, changeless Infinite.
- Scientific Healing Affirmations by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “The Physical and Spiritual Rewards of Fasting,” Man’s Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “Mind Power Can Help You Lose or Gain Weight,” The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “How to Work Without Fatigue,” The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “Healing the Sick,” Discourse 25 in The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You by Paramahansa Yogananda