A sound body is the most splendid treasure a man can cherish. A sound body means that you are so splendidly strong and well that you can bear the roughest experiences without becoming ill. The body is a living thing to be put out in the air and the sunshine. The more roughly you treat your body, the stronger will it be. Physical harmony is an index and expression of a harmonious mind. If one wants to build up one’s mind, one must build up first the body. Man has a body as well as a mind. So intimate is the relationship between the two that the neglect of one is bound to have adverse effect on the other.
And so, a harmonious development of both, or, in other words, a sound mind in a sound body should be the aim of every man. The mind and the body are inter-related, so that the health of one is the health of the other, and the ills of one are the ills of the other. The sounder the body, the sounder the mind that resides in it. A healthy man is always happy. He feels inclined to work. He feels inclined to serve others. A man with a sound body is full of optimism. He goes ahead. He presses on and on. Nothing can daunt him.
Nothing can handicap him and nothing can frustrate him. He is enthusiastic and energetic. He radiates health, hope and happiness wherever he goes. He is loved and liked by one and all. He makes friends wherever he goes. He moves mountains. He gets over all difficulties and hurdles. His strong mind fears none. The mind of a man with shattered body and health is always full of pessimism and sorrow. He has no heart to do anything. He likes to mope and whine in a corner. He tells his sad tale of woe to everybody he meets.
He has no hope and sunshine to scatter. Life has no charm for him. He is sick of it. He feels disgusted with it. His mind is diseased. His enthusiasm is dead. He is no better than a dead man. A child has a sound body and consequently a sound mind. He is always happy. He smiles his way into the heart of everybody. Everybody feels drawn and attracted towards him. Who does not want to love and fondle him? Who does not like to kiss his sweet, angelic face? His very sight, his movements, his innocent prattle, fill even the gloomiest heart with joy.
On the other hand, take the case of an old man, with shattered health, toothless mouth, sunken eyes and shriveled skin. He always talks of death. He is completely disillusioned. For him the world is a vale of tears. He does not like his own wife and children. He has no taste for anything. He condemns one and all. Only a man with a sound body can enjoy real contentment and true peace of mind. A man with a diseased body is never in a happy and contented state of mind. He is always complaining and grumbling. His mind is seldom at peace.
For him life is a burden. A man may be very rich but he cannot enjoy his riches if he is always sick. A judge may be very able but he cannot play his part efficiently if he is constantly worried by one bodily ailment or another. The head of a State may be the ablest man in the world but he cannot function effectively if he is constantly tormented by some disease. A doctor may be the best physician or surgeon but he is of no use to society if due to his illness, he cannot attend to his work in the hospital for more than two days in a week.
However rich or educated a person may be, if he is physically harassed, life becomes something of a burden to him. “A nation of healthy and bright young men and women is an asset to our modern human civilization. Citizens of tomorrow, as the students of today are called, shall have to combine a healthy physique with a healthy intellect. The trophies of success have been won by those young men and women who laid emphasis on oft-quoted dictum ‘healthy body healthy mind’. “