Episode # 605 – “Atma-Kshemam” vs. “Shareera-Kshemam” – Which is more important?

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the culmination of the Sage-Dhurvasa – Yudishtra – Draupati event wherein we had discussed some key learnings that we can imbibe from it. First and foremost, it is important that we serve our guests properly when they visit our place. Second, we should provide the best hospitality to those who are visiting us. Third, even if we do not have anything with us to serve, we should make that dedicated effort to prepare something and serve them. The first two things atleast, many of us might perform, however the third point is a bit difficult – If we do not have something at home and if we’ve to serve guests, we would start showing faces, we would start getting frustrated, etc. If it is the worst case scenario, we will conveniently say that we cannot serve them anything since we do not have anything at home! Of course, even if we give a negative answer, most of the people would understand our difficulty and might not take it in a big way. However, we’ve to remember that by skipping the practice, we’re deviating from our path of “Dharma”. If we do not have anything, atleast we can give them a tea / coffee or some light snacks or biscuits! Or at the worst, we can simply buy some batter from a shop, prepare some idlis and offer the guests. Such things aren’t very difficult to do, but many times, we become complacent and lazy. This is the problem with all of us. Hence, by going through this particular event, we should realize how important it is to serve people who come in search of us. We should make sure that we nourish them with the best of the best food that we can offer. 

Sometimes we have this practice too – If we have a scarce quantity of food items and if we’re in a situation to serve a guest, what will we do? Our natural tendency is to apportion a small amount of that scarce food item for ourselves, and then serve the rest of the food, isn’t it? This is what we should not do. Instead, we should completely serve whatever the guest asks for and should not bother about what is leftover for us! This is the highest level of hospitality that we can offer! Even if the offering is a small amount of rice grains with a simple vegetable, it should first be offered to Bhagawan and then to guests if any, and only after all this, we should consume the offering. These are certain important points that Yudishtra highlights through this event. Thus, the key learning here is very simple – “Atma-Kshemam” is more important than the “Shareera-Kshemam”. The phrase “Shareera-Kshemam” means enjoyments / pleasures for our physical body and “Atma-Kshemam” means enjoyments / pleasures for our “Atman”. If we’re only looking at our “Shareera-Kshemam”, our “Atma-Kshemam” will go for a toss! The problem today is that, wherever we go, “Shareera-Kshemam” gains a lot of prominence. Even inside our house, we make sure that all our household equipment is “user-friendly” for our physical body. For instance, when we go to the bathroom to take a bath, there is a shower on the top, which provides us with water directly on our body! We don’t even need to bend down, take a mug full of water and pour it upon our body. Nowadays, the time has come that if we bend down, we get back pain! Actually, the reason for back pain is not because we’re bending down. We’re getting back pain only because we’re not doing any sort of bending down for anything in life! There is no physical activity / exercise at all in today’s world as most of the jobs are in front of the computer! We hardly even get up and walk! This is why all the problems surface in our physical body. If we constantly keep walking, bending down to do household work, etc. our “Shareera-Kshemam” is automatically taken care of. This is what is in fact, the real “Shareera-Kshemam”. In the olden days, people rarely had the problem of diabetes, stress, hypertension, blood pressure, etc. and this is because, they performed a lot of physical work and without much worries. Even though their hands and legs were doing a lot of work, their minds were focused on Bhagawan and this takes care of the “Atma-Kshemam”. They never had worries and tension on worldly affairs like how we have today! 

Thus, the point here is very simple – Both “Shareera-Kshemam” and “Atma-Kshemam” are important for us, however, “Atma-Kshemam” should gain more and more prominence as we advance spiritually. So for today, let us understand this point and with this, Bhagawan Krishna also takes leave from Yudishtra’s place. Let us wait till the next episode to witness what happened next! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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