The Mother Divine
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Sri Sisir Kumar Ray
It will be a paradox to say that ancient India thought more deeply and acted more dexterously than any modern country of the world. The principles of cure formulated by ancient sages of India proceeded from objective analysis and ended in highly philosophical ideas about the etiology and cure of diseases. In Ayur Veda, vayu has been defined to be the synthesis of body, sense organs, mind and soul and this fourfold scaffol­ding of lifespan cannot be easily brushed aside. The modern therapeutists attach more importance to body than to mind; so their endeavours are mainly directed to the discovery of those microscopic but objective things which bring about physical disorders in the form of diseases. They hardly attri­bute the incidence of diseases to any mental disturbance and try to keep mind as far out of their scope of observation and investigation as is possible for them. The psycho­logists of the 20th century like Freud, Adler and Jung had to deal with a good number of neurotics and men­tally sick persons as a sequel to the First World War. They tried to build up their own philosophy about the phenomena of mind in terms of libido or abstract sex, will for power or extrication from an inner tangle brought about by the impact of mind on social surroundings. The ancient sages of India, however, went so far as to make soul the ultimate arbiter of individual's destiny and admit the result of actions in previous births as a factor contribu­ting to the incidence of physical and mental diseases. Such influences were called metaphysical and were transmitted by the soul of the individual to the new body into which it migrated. Thus the most inscrutable and my­sterious causes which brought about some physical and mental ailments have been sought to be explained through adhidaivik (cosmic or spiritual) agencies.

According to Ayurvedic thinkers, the human system may be said to be the combination of similar and dissimilar elements which are perceptible or im­perceptible. If the similar elements show any increase in their aggregate or the dissimilar elements show any decrease, the natural equilibrium of all the elements present in the human organism suffers and produces abnor­mality in the shape of a disease. The fundamental cause of disease, from the standpoint of analytical philosophy, is the variation in the constituent elements of the body. They have further propounded that the primary cause of bodily and mental diseases are three: (1) Time, (2) Consciousness (3) Relationship among external objects, sense-organs and mind, which can be classified as (a) adverse (viruddha), (b) absent (asambaddha) and (c) accentuated (atisambandha). The cure of disease consists in the restoration of normal relationships or equilibrium in respect of time (kala), consciousness (buddhi) and relationship with sense-organs (indriyarthasamayoga).

The idea of disturbance of relationship prompted the hypothesis of vayu, pitta and kafa as the fundamental principles which govern all human activities, physical and mental. When there is any abnormal or perverted behaviour of any of them, health is bound to suffer. While bodily diseases are caused by irregularity in the functioning of vayu, pitta and kafa, mental diseases spring from raja and tama (exuberance of energy and its dullness).

The principle of vayu in its double aspects, external and internal, has been extolled by the Ayurvedic thinkers as Providence on earth, and vayu, when conciliated, heals diseases, imparts glow, energises, nourishes, stimulates intellect and prolongs life. Vayu has also been said to be the upholder of physical frame, the leader of mind, the energiser of all sense-organs, cause of joy and exhilaration, appetizer and the founder of aayu. Thus mental alacrity, dynamism and exhilaration are intimately associated with vayu and it is by pacifying vayu and keeping it normal that man can have a happy and progressive life. The perverted action of vayu brings about various kinds of physical and mental diseases including lunacy.

Pitta, when it acts irregularly or perversely, causes certain undesirable emotions like fear, anger and infatuation; and the individual suffers from stupidity and mental inertia when kafa is abnormal.

As regards adhibhautik (objective) treatment of diseases, normality in vayu, pitta or kafa can be restored through the administration of drugs and diet which can moderate the bad influence of one or the other. Experts in Ayurveda have precisely determined the properties of a host of earthly objects, inorganic substances, roots etc of different plants from the standpoint of vayu, pitta and kafa on human body.

The adhidaivik (cosmic or spiritual) treatment, on the other hand, is concerned with the pacification of heavenly spirits through hymns, ritual performances etc so that the help of metaphysical agen­cies is summoned to cure diseases. Here comes in the part played by the votaries of Tantras in calling forth their inherent powers by awakening the Kundalini or the primary life-energy occupying the sexual zone and directing it to the most sublime peak or bindu in the pituitary gland, when the individual attains his perfection and sips the nectar of the thousand-petalled lotus of brain. For mental diseases, Ayurveda prescribes the healing agents like spiritual knowledge, shastric knowledge, retention, memorization and trance (samadhi). Here the yogic practices appear as therapeutic remedies. Tantras too have elaborated upon these yogic processes and led to the evolution of superior psychic personality which can, through hypnotic passes, contact the spiritually charged instrument like the mystic bone of a human skeleton etc., transmit power into the mind of the affected person and make him free from the weaknesses he suffers from.

While Ayurveda tries to maintain health or the balance in the human system, both physical and mental, through the action of external agents like drugs from the standpoint of three­fold principles of vayu, pitta and kafa, Tantra seeks to control human personality, including the conscious parts, and the unconscious in one's own self and in others through practices of tantric yoga. The highest practice consists in driving the biological energy gravitating downwards towards the sex-organs higher and higher up through six nerve plexuses, such as muladhar, swadhisthan, manipur, anahata, ajna and bindu located in the different parts of the spinal column and ultimately reaching the many-lobed portion of the brain (sahasrar-padma). This yoga involves various kinds of preliminary arrangements and perform­ances. Diksha or initiation in the hand of a reliable preceptor, performed before a mandala ( a diagrammatic repre­sentation of what is being meditated upon) with repeated mutterings of mantras (mystical syllables or letters) in the state of pranayama (breathing control) and in a bodily posture favour­able to concentration of psychic forces, ­these are the preliminaries to the highest form of yoga bringing about an easy communication of life-energy between muladhar and bindu and causing the union of Shiva and Shakti. The most difficult and apparently repre­hensible Tantric practice is Kulachar, where sexual union of an unsocial kind is shorn of its lower biological drives and transmuted into the highest form of sadhana or culture culminating in siddhi or the perfection of self. A votary of Tantras who has faithfully and consistently gone through these exacting practices under the benign guidance of a Guru is capable of being the master of his body and mind and also influen­cing for good or for evil the mind of others.

Tantriks deal with what is horrible and disagreeable, conquer the feelings of fear, hatred, enmity, in­dignation etc. and learn intuitively the intricate activities of the Conscious and the Unconscious. They can charge any object with their inherent yogic power, transmit their power through such object like water, mustard seed, a paper scroll containing mantras inscri­bed on it, the bone of a skeleton, a puff of breath etc. to the persons whom they like to influence and thereby dominate their will. The Conscious and Unconscious selves of their patients are brought under their control and whatever they suggest is accepted by the subjects as inevitable. Auto-suggestion comes into play through the talisman (kavacha) they prescribe, the mantras the repetition of which they insist upon. Suggestion therapy is the sine qua non of such Tantric treatment. The clientele they draw from the different zones of society, cultured and uncultured, is extensive and bear testimony to the efficacy of the occult treatment.