Community Web Version Now Available
Som (সোম)
Wellness is a word in English but what does it mean? Absence of illness, right? In other words, wellness isn't really a "thing", illness is. The former can only be defined as the absence of the latter.

In Sanskrit (and all its child languages) there is a word called aarogya, literally translating to un-illness and meaning wellness. It's a standard traditional benediction as well

I'm reminded of this semantic variant by the name of the official COVID tracking app in India. It's called aarogya setu, meaning the bridge to wellness. It's interesting that two languages define the same thing differently.

Do you have such examples in your native language that are semantic variants of their English equivalents?
May 23, 2020 4:50 PM
Comments · 3
Som: If you’re saying that the modern medical establishment takes the attitude that “wellness” is merely the absence of disease, and that this is a problem, then we are in agreement. On this side of the pond, by the way, we often use the term “disease”, which, interestingly enough, we can analyze as “dis” + “ease”. So maybe we should talk about “ease” instead of “wellness”?

On consulting, it was interesting to note that “well” is not related to “ill”, but rather is related to “will”, as in “to wish”. One could infer that “wellbeing” is being as one would wish to be — in other words, well. goes on to make a comparison with the Sanskrit “prati varam”, which is of course unfamiliar to me, but which you might be able to shed some light on.

Edited to add “is merely the absence of”, which for some reason I failed to write in the original. Hopefully, people still got the meaning :)
July 24, 2020
That's interesting, Phil. Un-dis-ease leads to a cancellation of the two negatives and leaves "ease". Therefore well and ease are etymologically the same. The Sanskrit word prativāra (प्रतिवार) translates to "every time". The Buddha said "Suffering is the noble truth of life. Birth is suffering. Old age is suffering. Disease is suffering. Death is suffering". Absence of suffering is defined as cessation from existence and attachment, a state of non being called nirvāna (निर्वाण). Sanskrit has words for health (swāsthya) and absence of disease (niroga or ārogya) but I can't think of a specific word for wellness - which, considering my limited knowledge of Sanskrit, isn't saying much.
July 25, 2020
July 24, 2020
Som (সোম)
Language Skills
Bengali, English, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish