Dr Sanjay Parva
When this article is being written, what comes immediately to mind is a series of surveys done by a popular magazine called Psychology Today. The surveys, conducted over the past three decades, were on how people feel about the appearance of their bodies. The findings are what they should not have been. Let’s wish so.
In 1972 twenty-three percent of American women were dissatisfied with their appearance but by 1997 that figure had risen to fifty-six percent. In 1972 fifteen percent of men were dissatisfied with their appearance but by 1997 that figure had risen to forty-three percent. By the end of 2012 the figures have risen further. Thirty-eight percent of men are now dissatisfied with the size of their chests compared to the thirty-four percent of women dissatisfied with their breasts. Men are getting pectoral implants. Millions of women have had surgery to change the shape of their breasts or increase their size. A strange phenomenon!
Shall we presume that there were more good-looking men and women three decades ago than there are now, or shall we presume that while looks might have remained the same (or believe it, turned better) but it is the attitude of a man or a woman towards him or herself that has changed. Is it that we are constantly failing to understand the true meaning of beauty or the beauty is failing in getting us become good-looking? Something is missing somewhere. Let’s come to that later.
We always, and everywhere, try to be beautiful, and in the process a mirror becomes more personal to us than we are to ourselves. The process of becoming beautiful and looking good is so rapid that what we become is just an outward us. Is being beautiful so important? Even now we see the most popular people not so good-looking, and the most beautiful people next door not so popular. Does beauty really matter? Probably it does, particularly for people who have a dying preoccupation for the body and would go to any length to safeguard it. No wonder then, despite nearly thirty years of feminism, beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business. Those who make money have a mind, and those who spend have forgotten they have it.
Least do we realize that we would look the way we are, and an expression on our face is actually the reflection of what we are from within? We can camouflage the exterior, but what can we do to the interior. Our goodness or badness, generosity or animosity, or love or hatred, all show somewhere here or somewhere there on our bodies. If we are good from within, our face reflects a mesmerizing state of goodness; if we are not, we clearly show it through our expressions.
It is this body we always give a helping, and not to what lies beneath it. This way we only answer some deep-rooted anxieties in our psychology, and do not provide a solution to them. We keep on spinning answers for these anxieties, until we run out of them as we advance in age. Try as you might, you can’t camouflage old age. We fail to achieve ageless beauty. The reason being that we failed to recognize it when we were young. Ageless beauty, says Ayurveda, comes from within.
Ayurveda values inner beauty as much as it does value outer beauty. Beauty, it adds, is based on good health. What is more important is that whenever Ayurveda recommends an external application to enhance your looks, it always has some degree of effect that it exerts internally on you. Henna, for example, is a hair-coloring agent and vitalizer for of us, but when it remains on the scalp and remains in contact for long; it does more to our internal health than what meets the eye. Lifestyle changes, another thing Ayurveda recommends, make you look good naturally than become good artificially. Haven’t you ever come across simple-looking, down-to-earth people who impress upon, and look good to you, in the first very instance? They are the ones who carry an inner, positive influence as a beautiful mark on their faces. Beauty is nothing but a mindset, and you are actually a positive or a negative mindset when you look beautiful, or do not.
Dr Sanjay Parva