सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः SARVE BHAVANTU SUKHINAH – 5
A guest wellness series based on ancient Indian dharmic wisdom, by Amritavarshini.
(Continued from the previous post)
Advaita philosophy, which is the non-dualistic theory of Vedānta, is not just a spiritual theory, but an excellent remedy, that has been practised for ages to cure illnesses – including chronic diseases.
Vedas, the earliest scriptures of our dharma, discuss this philosophy in detail. Advaita teaches us that man can attain union with the Divine even while on earth, by using inner knowledge and discrimination. Our ancestors used this tattva to develop an excellent method of self-healing, which helped them achieve perfect cure. They did this without the aid of medicines or even mental exercises (training the mind), but by just being one with the Super Power at a spiritual level.
This unique practice slowly faded away due to negligence and remained forgotten till modern day psychologists discovered its efficacy and based their new therapeutic tool on it and called it hypnotism or hypnotherapy. Sadly, it falls woefully short of the original wisdom of Advaita tattva, it is based upon.
For one, hypnotism needs a therapist, who puts the patients in a trance to make them talk of their past experiences. They then probe for reasons of the patient’s ailments, based on what the patients talks in his trance. Since they reveal their most private thoughts, the patients are apprehensive about the therapist divulging the secrets while sharing, experimenting and publishing the findings. So even if they get cured temporarily, they sometimes become sick again.
Vedānta teaches us that the ātman (soul) is imperishable and is the real self. Unlike the body, it is free from hunger, thirst, delusions, sorrow, old age and death; it is unaffected by evil or good; it is Self-Existent; it is Paramātmā (Ultimate Consciousness). When one realises Ātman (self) is the same as the Paramātmā, and master of ‘all that is’, and ‘all that ever was’ or ‘will be’ – there is no more illness, old age or sorrow for the one who has obtained a healthy body through self-discipline, since there is nothing left to realise through any experience of physicality.
Advaita-healing has two individual methods and a combined method of healing. They may be called the negative, positive and neutral methods – in that order – the last being a combination of the first two. Together, they make the Dvaita or dual system into a single one – Advaita.
As we have seen above, it is the immortal soul that matters, and not the perishable mortal body (sūkśma and sthūla śarīram or the gross and subtle bodies). Therefore, though the perishable body is sick, the ātman is intact and untouched by the sickness. By using simple assertions, miraculous cures are achieved in the Advaita method of healing. Let us see how to use these assertions.
The Negative Method
In the negative method, an assertion like ‘I am not sick’ does not mean that the mortal body is not sick, because the visible human body does exhibit and suffer illness. The assertion ‘I am not sick’ is directed to the immortal ātman. Here, the ‘I’ is not the body but the ātman. The remedy lies in the thought that sickness is the illusion, which has no real existence.
The question naturally arises as to how the sickness can be an illusion, when the body is actually suffering?
The physical body is suffering, but the ātman is not, being sukhsma. So, by directing the thought of sickness as an illusion to the ātman, the mind automatically exerts its healing power by denying the matter called ‘sickness’. Where is the disease or sickness, when the ātman is unaffected by it? So, in effect, there is no sickness or disease. The jīvātmā and Paramātmā are one and inseparable and therefore disease-free.
The Positive Method:
This philosophy can be seen even more clearly in the positive method. The realisation that the ātman – or the real Self – is untouched by sickness makes the mind assert: ‘I am well’ and ‘I am in perfect health’. It is worth noting here that the sickness is not denied as in the negative method, but instead, there is an assertion of perfect health. These affirmative suggestions produce excellent cures in many chronic diseases.
The Neutral Method:
The denial method and the affirmative method meet finally at the same point to produce similar results, and this is the neutral method. The assertions first deny, and then affirm, what might seem different things, but are actually the same thing – wellness. The denial of sickness and affirmation of perfect health are a simultaneous occurrence.
The mind cultivates the thoughts thus:
- I am not ill (Negative)
- I am well (Positive)
- There is no such thing as sickness (Neutral)
The māyā or illusion makes one believe that the body is the I. But when the illusion disappears, Dwaita becomes Advaita, and the wholeness of the immortal ātman remains untouched by sickness and evil, becoming one with Paramātmā.
Have you noticed how children who are sick enough to stay in bed, refuse to do so and run off to play? They forget their discomfort and play the whole day but once they are back home, their discomfort returns. This is the denial method which helps them temporarily.
Compare this with those children, who are encouraged by the elders in the family to not make a fuss about small discomforts and illnesses, thus making them get into the habit of ignoring them or taking them in their stride. Even though these children also say, ‘I can go to play. I am not sick,’ or ‘The pain in my injured knee will go away if I go to play,’ the diversion of play has a positive effect on their mind. Such children are already practicing the Advaita method of healing, suitable to their age. As they grow older, they automatically come into the fold of the divine Advaita tattva in its entirety.
The following analogy will help one understand how the mind exerts its power over the body to heal itself:
The human mind is the storehouse of electricity, that receives impulses through the sensory nerves and transmits impulses through the motor nerves to all parts of the body, as long as we live. In electricity, positive and negative wires which are very long are connected at particular locations to create neutral current which acts as the node to transmit the current to multiple points. Energy flows through the two main nerves and gets distributed through a network of nerves branching out to other parts of the body, keeping the light of life burning.
The central cord, (suşumnā nāḍi) has such nerve centres (ćakras) that act as the nodes. and control various organs in the body pertaining to the respective ćakra. The Ida and Pingala nadis run along on either side converge at specific ćakras in the suşumnā nāḍi) to create the neutral. Prāñāyama, which controls these currents helps one’s mind power to take control of the physical body and heal it.
It would not be out of place here, to emphasise that the healing power can achieve its peak in every one of us, when we train ourselves in eating a sātvik diet and leading a selfless life doing parōpkāra – caring for others, loving fellow living beings and by leading a contented life.
Please read the earlier posts in the series:
2.PANĆA MAHABHŪTAS AND THEIR ROLE IN WELLNESS
Images: Homepage and top: http://www.melbournechildpsychology.com.au/
Chakras : https://en.wikipedia.org/