SPIRITUAL Healing has been indeed one of the most important achievements of god-knowers. Every religious man is presumed to have the power to heal and men have recourse to them for cures. Spiritual Cure is however much different from the general curative properties of the religious consciousness or spiritual touch. All the world over the faith in the curative properties of the spiritual consciousness has persisted. Buddha healed souls; Christ healed both the bodies and the souls. Formerly priests were both votaries of God and doctors of the bodies. Medicine men were firstly spiritual men. Then, thanks to the growth of knowledge of herbs and surgery, other persons also took to this profession of medicine men. It is clear however that the process of how the cure works is not known to the religious man, whereas the process of cure is capable of being explained by the ordinary scientist on the basis of the proprieties of the herbs and knowledge of the physiology of the body. Ayurveda as well as Allopathy, Homeopathy as well as the siddha and surgery, are based on the knowledge of causes and effects. Little, however, is known to the religious man who just blesses the patient, and the cure is affected (so it is held). This is however a partial truth.
Yogis have, it is claimed, a psychological insight into the nature of the psychic causes which have led to the manifestation of the disease. Being aware of the psychonic system, the yogi who undertakes to effect cures tries to rectify the mistakes of the psychonic forces, in the several nadis Ida, Pingala and Sushumna and others, and these rectifications effect the cure or restoration of the health in the body. The real cause of mistakes in the psycho-physical system is the individual karma. Karma or the result of former actions is the cause of disease, just as much as it is the cause of disasters and the cycle of birth and death, ignorance and suffering. Disease is the physical manifestation of the maladjustment due to improper karma. The treatment of Karma is thus a primary concern for the seer whereas the treatment of the effects of karma is the concern of the medical man and even the yogi siddha. Indian Yogins however knew that the treatment of causes is the more necessary in cases of radical diseases such as leprosy, deformations in the limbs, deafness and dumbness, blindness, crookedness of the spine, & etc. The technique of relieving suffering from diseases however calls for explanation. Some persons presume that the religious man or seer who seeks to cure the patient can abolish it straight away by giving medicated prasadam (cloves, leaves, fruit or water). This process would be identical with the ordinary medical man who administers counter substances or salts or herbs. The formula of medication by mantras is rather obscure but it has the sanction of long usage, not always trustworthy perhaps. The second method which is accepted by the seer is rather more serious. It is almost similar to the process of ‘transference’ in psychoanalysis. The psycho-analytic meanings of ‘transference’ are many, and in this instance the meaning is that ‘to cure the patient, to utilize intensive suggestive rapport’ which transfers the patient’s original fixation to the physician. Freud claimed that this transference occurs in every treatment of a neurosis, although this is neither desired nor induced by either party. (cf. Basic writings of Sigmund Freud p. 936). The same is the case with the religious approach. The patient transfers his love, loyalty and faith to the doctor. The doctor becomes the object, and the transference here is unique. It is the business of the doctor then to abolish this transference through pointing out the causes of this transference, to the patient. The seer is the person to whom one goes to escape from or get relief from the distress. The seer takes over the whole disease on himself for the disease is a karmic acquisition and its results must work themselves out. No action can be abolished nor its fruits once it has started. The sancita karma or prarabda karma cannot be abolished or stemmed. The seer takes it over on himself in order to relieve the individual patient. Then he seeks to transfer this to the Cosmic Sprit who alone can rectify this misdirection. The process is through rapport with the patient or rather psychic mutual rapport. The disease is taken over by the doctor and by his knowledge he expels it out of himself. This process needs lot of sympathy and universal love on the part of the seer or doctor, and is fraught with great dangers to the seer himself. Most psychic curists undertake this process of transference of diseases of the patients on to themselves and then try to expel them from out of themselves. This is dangerous and many great religious men have paid the penalty of having had to suffer for the sins of their followers. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said that the cancer in his throat was due to his having taken over the sins of the disciples. Nityagopal, another Bengali saint and contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna, also made the statement that he suffered from diabetes at the end because he effected the cure of a dire disease of a devout disciple’s son. The acharyas of the Sri Ramanuja School who were empowered to perform the bhara-nyasa, the process of transference made by the disciple and accepted by the acharya as mediator of one’s burden of sin etc., realised that this process of transference is fraught with danger. Accordingly one school taught the modification of the principle of transference or bhara-nyasa by which the individual is directly asked to surrender to the Divine Lord by his own speech under the guidance of the acharya rather than the more complicated process of transference first to the acharya who in turn has to transfer it to the Divine Lord. We can also clearly see that some very great men who have attained siddhi could not escape from this transference of karma on to themselves which had led to their suffering from diseases though they had destroyed their own karma and their results. I may suggest that this is likely to be the explanation of the cancer of Sri Ramana and the renal trouble of Sri Aurobindo. On no other account could their diseases be explained nor their passing away. It is well known that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had undertaken the psychic or spiritual cures of many persons which included major difficulties and diseases.
The principle of Bhara-nyasa on the other hand is more integral, and direct approach and is the easiest and safest path. But even here we may ask whether and if so how the divine avoids the transference of Karma to Himself or abolish it. The divine is supremely pure, sukram, akayam, avranam, apahatapapmanam, one who immediately destroys the papa or sin of whomsoever he comes into contact with and so of the bhara transferred to Him. It is perhaps to show this immediate destruction of the sins, the Arcavatar of Srinivasa on the Hills has an incurable hurt on the chin1, which is daily filled in with medicated camphor. The Lord shows the daily acceptance of burden and the transference of the sickness and diseases of His devotees on to Himself and how He annihilates them. The Lord is praised as the Ausadha, The absolute cure of all diseases and karmas; it is well known that those who visit Tirupati get cured of diseases.
1 The story in the Venkatesa Mahatyam is that God prevented the axe-blow from falling on the Cow by receiving it on Himself, a very suggestive Bhara-grahana act of Sri Venkatachala Mahatyam: Bhavisya U.P. Ch. 3