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Homeopathy-The-Science-And-Art-Of-Healing

Today I attended the Inaugural function of this book – Homeopathy – The Science and Art of Healing.  Last year Dr. Sharad Shah (I call him Uncle lovingly as the doctor-patient relationship over more than 3 decades has become a personal bond) wrote the book and got it published.  I was happy to receive my personal copy from him.  I started reading it – and what I liked about the book was – he has made the topic of Homeopathy within the grasp of a layman.  I particularly liked the logical build-up of the topics that he has done while weaving it with his personal conflict and history of homeopathy along with detailing the law of similars, and finally the symptoms and prescriptions helpful for anyone.

While reading the Chapter 8 on Concept of Vital Force and in particular Uncle’s bulleted points on elements of Human Life and pointing to Dr. Hahneman’s definition of Vital force wherein he uses the words – spirit, vital force, material body, gifted mind and higher purpose of existence.  When I read these words, I could just connect them to Yoga and told myself – this is how yogic lore looks at the mechanism that we call – human.  I continued reading further without putting any “yoga lens”.   But as I read further, I met sentences like – “uninterrupted flow of vital energy”, “disturbance in vital force causes mal-development”, and the line “disease is a dynamic expression of disturbed vital force” hit me hard.  I could not help but put the “yoga lens”.  I generally read the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.  So, my inquisitiveness led me to Google on what Sri Aurobindo had to say about this?  I found Questions and Answers which Sri Aurobindo had with his personal doctor Dr. Nirodbaran and others in the Ashram.  These were published in the NAMAH journal (Vol 20, Issue 2, 15th July 2012)  by Sri Aurobindo Society. [5]  And in that…to my surprise he says that – “Homeopathy is near to Yoga”.   Now that I had Sri Aurobindo’s words to confirm my finding, I started to read the book again in light of Yoga and what Sri Aurobindo had to say on this.  So in this post, I’ll share with you my findings and present a rational connection between Homeopathy and Yoga – esp. Hathayoga and Mantra Yoga. 

When we look at modern psychology, we find that it puts all thoughts, emotions, impulses, instincts and consciousness into one basket called the “mind”.  However, from psychology of yoga, man’s subjective nature is made up of parts.  Each part has its own awareness or consciousness and thus has its own characteristic attitudes.  At a very broad level, there are 2 divisions in human being – the outer beingconstituting personality of the being (personality derived from the latin word “persona” means mask) and the inner beingthe actual Person using the outer mask.  Ordinarily, we identify ourselves with the outer being and regard it as ourself.[1]  From yogic perspective – this outer being has 3 parts – you can imagine – onion rings – starting with The Physical Body or AnnamayaKosha – अन्नमयकोश, going inwards The Vital Body or PranmayaKosha – प्राणमयकोश and further in – The Mental Body (mind is also a body) or ManomayaKosha – मनोमयकोश.  There are other bodies, but these 3 will suffice our purpose

  • AnnamayaKosha – अन्नमयकोश or food body also called the gross body or स्थूल शरीर.  The food that we eat, gets digested and then assimilated and thus becomes a part of the body…in other words, this physical body is built by accumulation of food and hence the name अन्नमयकोश or the food body. [6]  As I’m a computer engineer, I’ll use the computer as a metaphor –  in that the body is the “hardware” of the human mechanism.   
  • ManomayaKosha – मनोमयकोश or Mental body has to do with facts, thoughts, and knowledge.  Medically, mind and brain are treated the same and consciousness is the outcome of brain activity.  Yogic perspective says that mind and brain are different.  According to Sri Aurobindo the brain is not the seat of thinking.  It is the mind that thinks and the brain is only a communicating channel.   ManomayaKosha is the “software” of the human mechanism.
  • PranmayaKosha – प्राणमयकोश  or Pranic or Vital Body is in between the physical and the mental bodies.  The word vital comes from the latin word – vita or “life”.  Just as there are nerves in the physical body, there is a parallel structure of “Nadis” (नाडी) or nerve-channels or energy pathways exist in the subtle body.  Life-force or Vital force or Prana flows through these Nadis.  We can neither see these Nadis with physical eyes, nor with electron microscope.  These Nadis meet at various junctions and re-distribute again.    So, Pranic body or Vital body is like the electricity that powers the “hardware” and the “software”.  Without this power, neither the physical nor the mental can function or develop further.   It is the means of existence in the material body.

From the psychology of Yoga, each of the Koshas have their own consciousness.

  • Generally,  we look at the body that is something  mechanical.  But the body has its own consciousness and intelligence.  We all know that the heart beats, the liver and kidneys function and the lungs breathe even without our active participation.  In case of illness or injury it will heal itself.  So the body acts from this consciousness and intelligence, all without our mental will or even against it.  The characteristic attitude of physical consciousness is one that of narrowness, rigidity, conservatism, slowness to change, boredom and its habitual modes of action and reaction.
  • Whereas, the vital body is made up of Life-force, desires, emotions, sensations like pleasure, pain etc…, instincts and impulses like anger, fear, lust etc…  The vital consciousness is characterised by attitudes of likes and dislikes, search for pleasure and enjoyment, avoidance of pain and discomfort, desire to possess and accumulate, seeks perpetual variety and change, attachment and repulsion, ambitiousness, aggression, fear and impulsiveness.
  • Whereas Mental is guided by that which is consistent with reason that which is deemed to be true or good.  When mental consciousness is pre-dominant in an individual, the attitude is characterised by rational outlook and it is based on moral and intellectual principles. [1]

In Homeopathy too, when a homeopath takes the case, they study the patient by looking at the physicals, emotional and behavioural traits, mental patterns etc…to arrive at a personality – coincidently these 3 are also the levels which psychology of yoga also concerns itself with.

There are many yogic methods to reach the Ultimate.  Each yoga selects different types of Koshas to reach the highest-level of consciousness.  Hathayoga selects physical body and the vital body as its instruments.  Raja-Yoga selects the mental being as its starting point.

Hathayoga

Hathayoga to me, appears quite nearer to Homeopathy.  Hathayoga uses Physical body as a point of departure to reach the Ultimate, but it does not view it with an eye of a physiologist or an anatomist.  According to Sri Aurobindo – It aims at the conquest of the body and Vital Force (Life-Force  or Prana).   It achieves this using 2 instruments and in 3 steps –

The 2 instruments:

  1. Aasanas – They develop in the body certain attitudes of immobility.  If the body is restless, it cannot hold the Pranic energy that enters or is generated within the system.  So aasanas deal with more material part of the physical totality, but it needs assistance of Pranayamas.
    • First aim is to get the body rid of its restlessness (establish control by physical immobility) and
    • Second aim is to force the body to hold the Pranic energy instead of squandering or dissipating it (develops power by immobility).
  2. Pranayamas – Deals directly with the subtler vital parts – the nervous system.  प्राणायम = प्राण (Life-force or Vital energy) + यम (yama means control).  It refers to the control of Life-force.  Pranayamas do the regulated direction and arrestation of vital force in the body.  It achieves this by control of breath – that includes inhalation/exhalation and varieties of rhythmic patterns, inholding and outholding the breath, bandhas or locks.  When the breath is held, the energy within is also held, this holding of energy causes pressure build up and with the release of breath, the blocked energy is unleashed and during the release process, it removes the energy blockages.
    • First aim of Pranayama is to purify the nervous system, to circulate life-force through all nadis without obstruction, disorder or irregularity and
    • Second to acquire complete control of its functionings.   This is done so that mind and soul do not become subject to body or vital or their combined limitations.

In 3 steps:

  1. Purification – Removal of aberrations, obstructions, disorders brought about by mixed and irregular action of the energy in our physical, moral and mental system.
  2. Concentration – Bringing to its full intensity, the mastered and self-directed use of vital energy.
  3. Liberation – Release our being from the painful knots of individualised energy in a limited play, so that union with the Divine is achieved.[3]

How is Homeopathy near to Yoga?

If we observe carefully, in Homeopathy the medicinal remedy removes obstructions and re-establishes vital energy balance in the system.  Whereas in Hathayoga, Asanas and Pranayamas remove interruptions, obstructions, disorders and re-balance vital energy in the system.   In Homeopathy, the effectuation is on the vital body and then changes are seen in the physical body.  In Hathayoga, effectuations are on the physical and the vital body.  Homeopath gathers insights from individual’s personality as a window to peep within and then select the remedy based on law of similars.  In Hathayoga, there is no such need to gather such insights.  It  is beneficial to whoever practices.  Homeopathy and Hathayoga complement each other and can be used simultaneously.

Mantra Yoga

Now let’s turn the attention to Mantra and Mantra Yoga.  In the word Mantra (मंत्र), the root sound is Man (मन) मन means to think, to understand, to contemplate, to perceive, to comprehend and the suffix – त्र (Tra) is used in the sense of instrumentality, meaning as Instrument.  Therefore, the word mantra means Instrument for contemplation, meditation, perception, comprehension, thinking etc…  Just as asanas serve as an instrument to bring the power of immobility in the material body, mantra is an instrument that arrests the restlessness of the mind and makes it still.  So, it is just the parallel of Aasanas, but for mind.  When mind is noisy, disturbed, opinionated, critical, reactive, or simply addicted to sensory sources of stimulation and entertainment, it squanders and dissipates lot of vital energy generating lot of negative thought and emotional patterns of fear, perverted desires, hatred etc…in the mental field.  All of these ultimately affect the circulation of Prana.  Just like aasanas, Mantra practice gradually calms the mind and eventually stills the mind.  Once the composure is achieved, the mind becomes silent, concentrated and reflective.  This naturally leads to meditation, and gives us focus and energy to go beyond the mind.[4]  This is Mantra Yoga.  All yogic methods – Hathayoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga etc… employ Mantras to prepare the mind for deeper practices.

My Personal Observations

  • So, one of the things that I found strikingly similar between Homeopathy, Hathayoga and Mantrayoga is that all address the vital force to remove obstruction and ensure freely circulating Prana.
  • Another thing that I observed is that what we call resonance in physics, the Mantras are also based on resonance to remove vital-force disturbances, the अंगस्पर्श (Angasparsha – touching different parts of body – See section Aspirated in this post) of Tantra yoga and  Homeopathy is based on Law of Similars to remove vital-energy disturbances caused by the disease-energy, to me this is also a form of resonance…so I’m wondering whether the inner movement behind external forms of resonance are similar?  That is a topic of my personal interest and research…

References

  1. Looking from Within –  A seeker’s Guide to Attitudes for Mastery and Inner Growth. Ed. A. S. Dalal
  2. Homeopathy – The Science and Art of Healing – Dr. Sharad Shah.
  3. The Synthesis of Yoga – Chapter XXVII – Hathayoga pp 506-513, Sri Aurobindo
  4. Mantra Yoga and Primal Sounds – Dr. David Frawley (Pt. Vamadeva Shastri)
  5. NAMAH Journal, Vol. 20, Issue 2, 15th July 2012.  Sri Aurobindo Society.
  6. Three Truths of Well-Being – Sadhguru
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