National Doctors’ Day
Healers have always had a special place amidst human society. The reason perhaps is that every other living organism belonging to any other biological species heals naturally, while man intends to transcend the boundaries set by Nature.
Man, like every other living organism is born, lives through youth, suffers the course of disease and disintegration, and ultimately dies. Yet he aspires to conquer disease and achieve freedom from the clutches of death. In this context, healers whether they are doctors of the modern world or Vaids who practiced traditional healing systems in the past, have played a crucial role in fulfilling that aspiration.
July 1 is celebrated as National Doctors’ Day in India, celebrated in memory of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, a legendary physician and the second Chief Minister of West Bengal. On this occasion, let us ponder on a few fundamental questions about health and healing.
HEALTH AND HEALING
There are systems galore in the history of human civilization, with various ways of healing the human body (and mind). The predominant paradigm of modern times views the human being as a machine. The source of this perspective can be found in the industrial mindset that understands everything in terms of a machine or mechanism. So for example, if the whole human body is a machine, then each organ is considered to be a part of that machine. Such a view-point has its utility as it helps in knowing in detail the parts and processes of the body.
But what is ignored is the fact that a human being is something more than the addition of all the parts and processes. As a result what happens is whenever an illness or disease takes over the body, we run to a specialist, depending on the part of the body that is affected. But the problem is often not solved at that. If someone goes to a doctor with urinary problems, it is discovered that he has diabetes. If he has diabetes, there is a strong likelihood that he has hypertension and bad levels of cholesterol. If such is the case, he is bound to have problems with his heart, and so on so forth. He runs from one specialist to another and goes through this test or that one. And even if he treats diabetes or heart blockages, there is no guarantee that he’ll enjoy a good and sickness free health for the rest of his life.
INTEGRAL HEALTH, INTEGRAL HEALING
A more holistic view sees the human being as something more fundamental than the material body, a soul, which uses the body and mind as its habitation with the life-force as the energy that animates the being. The body, no less the mind, becomes a vehicle, where universal forces find a concentrated centre, and through which they find an expression. Illness and disease become obstructions in the movement of the energies created by an imbalance in and amongst the various parts and planes of the being. The healing process becomes essentially an exercise in removing that obstruction, thereby restoring the balance and harmony in the being. The doctor in such a situation views the patient as something more than a broken or damaged machine, to be repaired by fixing one or the other organ or process. And instead of stuffing the patient with pills, tablets or syrups, the doctor finds a meaningful way of restoring that lost balance and harmony, keeping in mind the individual temperament and uniqueness of each patient. Such a method also avoids the many side effects that arise because of unnecessarily bombarding the body with arbitrary chemicals.