Secrets of Indian Medicine is itself a kind of a diagnosis and prescription for what ails the practice of ancient Indian medicine.
Some practitioners have forgotten the spiritual idealism and intuitive faculty of the ancient ways, and as a consequence, this profoundly simple system of medicine has become confusing to the modem mind. The author offers lucid and simple explanations of the basic tenets of Ayurveda, including the Tridosha philosophy which lies at the very heart of this ancient system.
Using his field of ophthalmology he provides examples of how he has formulated a synthesis of the four well-known systems of medicine — Ayurveda or Indian medicine, Allopathy or modern medicine, Homeopathy, and Nature Cure — to treat eye troubles, and argues this same type of synthesis can be effectively worked out for the rest of the body.
The early chapters, which lay the foundation for Dr. Agarwal’s integral approach to medicine, are followed by interesting case histories and question-and-answer sections, making this a handbook for improving one’s eyesight as well as an exposition of the secrets of Indian medicine.
The cover photograph, taken at the Jardin Exotique de Monaco, is of Calandrinia grandiflora. The Mother, who gave spiritual significances to flowers according to the special qualities they represent, named this ‘Material power to heal”
HISTORY tells us about the supremacy of Indian culture and medicine in olden days. Evidently the consciousness of Indians of that time must have been more developed than that of other nations. What made those people great in their thoughts and actions? Persons who really discovered something for the good of humanity were the seers, thinkers and men of action. They had creative genius. Their intuitive faculty was highly developed. Their motive of life was the service of God through humanity. On such a sound basis they dared to achieve the highest truths in various aspects of life as well as of medicine.
Today the ancient medicine is in a deplorable condition because its followers have forgotten the spiritual idealism and intuitive faculty and are under the influence of materialistic ideas. The result is that spiritually they have become stagnant and have lost the creative genius. They have lost the true interpretation and application of Ayurvedic principles; hence there is downfall, and this profound, simple system of medicine has become very confusing to the modern mind.
The past knowledge is both a drag and a force for progress. It is the past that has created the present and a great part of it is creating the future. Modern medicine is the development of the ancient medicine. Both Allopathy and Ayurveda are working on the same lines. Ayurveda has given the general outlines of medicine while modem medicine has detailed each Dart of it with the help of highly developed intellect. We must take full account of the potent revelations of Allopathy and combine them with the luminous secrets of Ayurveda which seem to be veiled. The modem doctor will still find something simple and efficacious in Ayurveda and will be surprised to discover rare secrets worth applying to patients.
Being an Allopath myself my studies of Ayurvedic literature
are limited and whatever I have learnt about Ayurveda is mostly a spontaneous growth which is mainly due to the divine grace. Opportunities came and the problems arose and I had to discover the solution. The first problem was put before me by a minister to write a paper on ‘Synthetic Research in Ophthalmology’. The second problem arose after a lapse of two years when the editor of an Ayurvedic Journal wanted me to write some articles and I decided to elaborate the Tridosha theory. Again after a lapse of two years another problem arose and I was asked to write on the ancient methods of investigation to determine the qualities and actions of a drug.
If the Indian medicine is to accomplish its real mission it must start a double movement of revival and reform. It must revive its Tridosha theory on which the whole ancient medicine is based, so that it may appeal to the modern mind, and on the basis of this theory modify and purify its forms of application. These forms of medicine and modes of application must be simple and scientific to reveal the spirit of ancient medicine.
Ayurveda affirms that along with the gross material body there is a subtle body also which is quite plastic and mobile, not rigid like the material body. One feels the presence of this subtle body usually in the subconscient state, that is, during sleep in dreams when one finds oneself away from the body moving amongst different persons and at different places. To deal with the diseases of man efficiently the knowledge of both the gross material body and the subtle body is essential.
Ayurveda believes that like all other things man is also composed of five elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether. It is quite simple to understand; one eats food, drinks water, enjoys the sun, breathes the air and is alive due to the presence of ether or life-force. This life-force is the basis for man’s mental and spiritual activities so that Nature may evolve him towards perfection. The function of each element is different. The earth gives shape to the body and releases its energy; bones, muscles and tissues represent it in the body without which no such shape of man would have been possible. Water makes the earth supple and helps in the transmission of energy; serum and lymph represent it, without which the body would have become a dry and rigid mass. Fire makes [he form of the body steady and gives vigour and stimulation; digestion and circulation represent it. Air ignites the fire and works as a life carrier and is the support of all contact and exchange; respiration and the nervous system represent it. Ether is the creator of life itself in the body. A harmonious combination and function of these five elements produce a healthy and beautiful body.
In man both the lower and the higher Natures are present. The lower Nature expresses itself through lethargy, depression, disease, jealousy, hatred, anger, desire, passions, selfishness, doubts, wrong thinking etc., while the higher Nature expresses itself through love, kindness, courage, reason, benevolence, aspiration etc. The health of man is frequently influenced by the activities of these two different Natures and the aim of life is to transform the lower Nature and elevate it to the higher so that man may enjoy perfect health and happiness.
It is important to mention here that the pioneers of Ayurveda display some peculiarity in their expression. Their formula of speech is brief and adequate. It conceals the idea contained in their formulae from an average intelligence. ‘There is multi—significance of each term—Vata, Pitta, Kapha
in order to pack as much meaning as possible into a single word. This makes it very difficult to understand it at first sight. For example, Pitta means gastric juice, bile energy, heat, inflammation, anger, irritation, etc.
Another remarkable feature of the early history of Ayurveda is that at first it expresses a small stock of ideas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha as humors. Afterwards there is a gradual increase in variety of idea and precision of idea. The progression is from the general to the particular, from the vague to the precise. The progression is worked out by processes of association of ideas. This is how Ayurveda describes disorders and treatment in a general and particular way in the symbolic terms like Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
When in modern speech we use the word ‘saliva’, we mean in the English language ‘the secretion of salivary glands in the mouth,’ but for the Acharyas ‘Kapha’ meant feeling of cold, heaviness, running of the nose, passing of mucoid discharge and also the saliva. Similarly Vayu meant mind, dryness, pain, flatulence, sensitiveness, lightness and also air. As the modern speech is quite different from the ancient, we shall endeavour to express the ancient compact ideas of medicine according to the present way of understanding through a series of articles published in this book. I hope these articles will prove a valuable key to the understanding of the ancient Indian medical literature. To illustrate the subject I shall frequently refer to the eye due to my familiarity with Ophthalmic science, but the principles are applicable to the diseases of other parts of the body as well.
Along with the evolution of man’s intelligence, medicine has also evolved. At first the means of its evolution were sens’ faculties and intuition and that discovery of medicine was called Ayurveda. Then the intellect discovered various diagnostic instruments, such as the microscope, X’rays, Ophthalmoscope, etc., since the knowledge through sense perception was found insufficient by the rational mind; this discovery of medicine was called Allopathy. Hahnemann observed that the life—force was affected in sickness and he evolved Homeopathy. Bates noted that the mind came under a great strain in many diseases of the eye and body, and developed relaxation methods. Thus each system covers a part of I he complex medicine and attempts to bring out its highest possibilities. A synthesis of all of them largely conceived and applied might well result in the integral system of medicine. But they are so disparate in their tendencies that we do not easily find how we can arrive at their right union. An undiscriminating combination will create confusion. The synthesis we propose must seize some central principle common to all which will include and utilize in the right place and proportion their particular principle. This book does not go into details of the particular principles of each system but gives iii idea of the central principle of synthesis and the subject needs further investigation.
The central idea is that it is the Nature or Energy which heals a sick. This energy is either weak, dormant or perverted a disease and a physician by his knowledge of medicine tries to awaken and properly adjust this energy of healing in his patient. We may say, “Then where is the necessity of a physician?” Yes, many people resist to any kind of treatment and get well; while many others go under rigid discipline of treatment and become worse. Every physician experiences such things in his practice. Yet, if a physician has a command over the handling of this natural energy he will be called a saviour; and this means he ought to have proper understand- lug of complex man, his nature and the forces that drive man’s nature. Hence to become an efficient doctor the integral knowledge of man and medicine is essential but the proper sense of integration and efficiency will develop in a physician more and more by the evolution of spiritual knowledge.
We aim to create a new type of doctor whose guiding principle will be intuition, whose knowledge will be based on the synthesis, who will be more concerned with the health than with the pathology. Such a spiritualised doctor of the future will prove to be a physician par excellence, integrating all the systems of medicine harmoniously. In the diagnosis and treatment of patients he will be mainly guided by his intuition though he may also make use of modern scientific instruments to express the phenomena in scientific terms. In the treatment too he will mainly use his thought force and spiritual power, with or without medicines. His methods of treatment will be simple and harmless and will bring quick recovery, even in many so called hopeless cases. His very presence will radiate peace and healing force and his patient will be conscious of him as his saviour. He will create means which will bring health and happiness to suffering humanity as he himself will be hale and hearty, free from old age, incapacity and decay. To this physician of tomorrow this book is dedicated.
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