By Dada Shambhushivananda with inputs from Dr. Jitendra Singh, Dhanjoo Ghista and Dr. Shantatman Siekkinen
The human body is one but the approaches of bringing it into ease (free from dis-ease) are manifold. We have yet to discover a comprehensive model of the human body which will reveal the limits and efficacy of different therapeutic modalities. Shrii P.R.Sarkar encouraged the approach of composite medical-pathies. Under such a system, every hospital or clinic will be equipped with treatments stemming from different medical systems. In this way, the patients would be able to receive the unique benefits of an appropriate therapeutic modality. The welfare of the patients has to be the paramount consideration in the choice of the treatments.
“The oldest form of medical science was Ayurveda, and also folk medicine (country treatments) that were in vogue in different corners of the globe. Regarding different therapies, the approach should be synthetic. We will try to bring all these therapies on a common platform or faculty. But regarding their specialties, they should be of synthetic order.” (P. R. Sarkar, “The Evolution of Indian Languages”, Prout in a Nutshell, part 17)
Thus, the different systems should not be seen as competing with one another. Rather, they should be seen as varied tools available to human wisdom in order to provide quick and satisfactory recovery to the patients. At times, they may be used in conjunction while at other times, they may have to be used in isolation.
Some of the developed therapeutic modalities are:
6. Traditional Chinese Medicine
8. Yoga Therapy
1. Allopathy – This system treats the disease only. In allopathy, surgery is very developed. Today, we have a very well developed system of allopathy that has saved the lives of millions.
2. Ayurveda – This system of medical science treats the disease considering the three factors: vayu, pitta and kapha. It has been in existence since pre-Shiva time (almost 7000 years) but Shiva systematised it and called it Vaedyak Sha’stra, Tantra oriented medicine. He brought about a happy blending between Vaedyak Shastra and traditional Ayurveda. Surgery (consisting of dissection, surgical operation, stitching etc.) had also been part of Vaedyak Shastra since its inception. Shiva’s contributions brought about significant improvements in the alchemy, chemistry and the medico-chemistry of Central Asia. Around 500 AD, Sacedinian Brahmins from Tashkent area brought some significant improvements in Indian Ayurveda.
3. Unani – Unani is a form of traditional medicine widely practiced in India and the Indian subcontinent. It refers to a tradition of Graeco-Arabic medicine. Unani medicine is very close to Ayurveda. Both are based on the theory of the presence of the elements (in Unani, they are considered to be fire, water, earth and air) in the human body. According to followers of Unani medicine, these elements are present in different fluids and their balance leads to health and their imbalance leads to illness.
4. Homeopathy – Homeopathy system was popularized by Samuel Hahnemann but was not started by him. Rather, it was developed by him. One of the founding principles of homeopathy is the law of similars, otherwise known as “let like be cured by like” (Latin: similia similibus curentur). Hahnemann believed that by inducing a disease through use of drugs, the artificial symptoms empowered the vital force to neutralize and expel the original disease and that this artificial disturbance would naturally subside when the dosing ceased. It is based on the belief that a substance that in large doses will produce symptoms of a specific disease will, in extremely small doses, cure it. Homeopathy incorporates the so-called visa-cikitsa which was practiced even 3500 years ago during Mahabharata period of India. During the time of Hippocrates, in Greece both allopathy and homeopathy co-existed but Galenos, one of the other founder-fathers of Western medicine, preferred allopathy.
In the Ayurvedik, Unani, and homeopathy systems medicine is applied to bring about a balance of different factors in the body. So the symptoms and not the disease are treated. Furthermore, medicine is applied in the subtle form. In homeopathy, the more subtle the medicine, the more effective is the result on the crude disease.
5. Naturopathy – These systems treat the patient without any internal or external medicine. Naturopathy uses the power of water, air, earth, sunlight etc to accelerate the healing power of nature. The use of natural elements can cure disease by encouraging the dormant or healing power of nature.
6. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes a range of traditional medicine practices originating in China. Although well-accepted in the mainstream of medical care throughout East Asia, it is considered an alternative medical system in much of the Western world. TCM practices include such treatments as Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, dietary therapy, and both Tui na and Shiatsu massage. Qigong and Taijiquan are also closely associated with TCM.
7. Chandsi – Chandsi is the folk medicine of India.
8. Yoga Therapy – Yoga therapy relies on the practice of yoga postures, Mudras, Bandhas, Pranayama, massage, sentient diet and other do’s and don’ts of healthy living habits. These help a person to utilize the curing capabilities inherent in the human body.
The treatment modalities may be placed in two categories:
1. Those which have predominant orientation to body and secondary effect on mind physico-psychic)
d. TCM (other than acupuncture and meditations)
2. Those which have predominant orientation to mind with secondary effects on body (psycho-physical)
d. Yogic medicine
The diagnostic tools and machinery in allopathic medicine today has given it an added advantage over all other medical systems. Yet in many cases, the complexity of physical and psychic diseases eludes cures through the allopathic approach. Furthermore, the side effects of allopathic crude pills do not mitigate the real sufferings of the patients.
It is the need of this hour to develop a comprehensive model of understanding the subtle and crude functioning of the human body. Hopefully, the development of subtle microvita science as propounded by Shrii P.R. Sarkar will revolutionize modern medicine and pave the way for deeper understandings. Once we have a complete (near perfect) understanding of the human body and mind interactions, we may become closer to discerning the effective modalities for each set of persons, symptoms and diseases. Each patient is unique – their body and samskaras (reactive momenta) are unique and therefore, they require an individualized attention to deal with their problems.
It is also the need of the hour to enhance the research of alternative medical therapies so that it comes at par with the resources invested in traditional allopathic modality.
We may also need to look for ways to enhance the complementary nature of diagnostic tools to gain a deeper understanding of the imbalances existing in the human body and mind. Another potential of research is the undeveloped field of bio-psychology. As we begin to understand the functioning of human brain and mind, we may be at the threshold of a newer understanding of human sufferings and its causes. Biopsychology is not a system of healing. Rather, it is a science of intricate phenomena of body and mind interaction. It has the potential of forming the basis of all modalities of healing in future.
Finally, the future of medicine lies in training the generalists, as opposed to specialists, with the unified knowledge of health and disease rather than fragmented composite.