Continued from Part 3
Editor’s note: The Mother once explained that one of the key reasons why humanity today suffers from a greater number of illnesses and more severe illnesses is because human mind has become a slave of the doctors and the medicines they prescribe. This ongoing series serves as a good reminder for us all for seeking a more reliable cure within. If you have missed the previous parts, here are the links to access them – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
The sovereignty of mind has made humanity the slave of doctors and their remedies. And the result is that illnesses are increasing in number and seriousness.(The Mother, CWM, Vol. 10, p. 324)
The only true salvation for men is to escape from mental domination by opening to the Divine Influence which they will obtain through a total surrender.
The Advaita Way of Self-Healing
Advaita or the non-dualistic school of Vedānta is not only a spiritual philosophy, it also provides an excellent healing approach that has been practised for ages to cure all types of illnesses – including chronic diseases.
As per the Advaita Vedantic thought, man can attain union with the Divine even while living in the body on earth by abiding in perfect inner knowledge and discrimination. Our sages and seers used this spiritual truth to develop an excellent method of self-healing. Their approach did not involve any external aid such as medicines or mental training, but it focused on achieving oneness with the Supreme Power at a spiritual level.
This unique self-healing 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 Advaitic principle.
For one, hypnotism needs a therapist who puts the patients in a trance to make them talk of their past experiences. The therapist then probes for reasons of the patient’s ailments, based on what the patient talks in his trance. Since during hypnotism the patients end up revealing their most private thoughts, they are generally 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 and lose any inner balance they might have gained.
Vedānta teaches us that the ātman 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 essentially same as Paramātmā (Ultimate Consciousness). Realising the ātman (Self) is the same as the Paramātmā, the Super Self and master of all that is, 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. The focus here is on the immortal Self, and not the perishable mortal body (the gross and subtle bodies). Though the perishable body may be sick, the ātman is untouched by the sickness. By using simple assertions, miraculous cures can be achieved in the Advaita method of healing.
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.
A 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. 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
The working of 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 that here the sickness is not denied as in the negative method, but instead, there is an assertion of perfect health. These affirmative suggestions produce excellent results when curing 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 simultaneous occurrences.
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 self. But when the illusion disappears, dwaita (duality) becomes advaita (oneness) 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. When these children say, ‘I can go outside and play. I am not sick,’ or ‘The pain in my injured knee will go away if I go and 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 naturally build a greater resistance to sickness because their deeper self-healing practices have been effectively fine-tuned.
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. It 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 the case of electricity, long positive and negative wires are connected at particular locations to create neutral current which acts as the node to transmit the current to multiple points.
In the human body, 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 nāḍi-s run along on either side converging 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.
(Pic: Sapta chakra, circa 1899, source: Wiki commons)
It would not be out of place here to emphasise that this self-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.
We cannot counteract the harm done by mental faith in the need for drugs by any external measures. Only by escaping from the mental prison and emerging consciously into the light of the spirit, by a conscious union with the Divine, can we enable Him to give back to us the balance and health we have lost.(The Mother, CWM, Vol. 10, p. 325)
The supramental transformation is the only true remedy.
To be continued. . .
Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
~ Design: Beloo Mehra
~ Cover image: Rishabh Sharma