Monday, August 21, 2006

The basic approach is consciousness

Integral Health (By Dr. Soumitra Basu; Published by SAIIIHR, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, Price: Rs. 75/-, pp.140)
With multiple avenues in the fieldof complementary therapies openingup “The physician today is placed inan unenviable position. His decisionshave to be often based on factors be-yond his prescribing limits. He hasnot been taught what to do if his con-science conflicts with the legal sanction of euthanasia. Wouldthe withdrawing of hydration from a comatose subject to facili-tate passive euthanasia affect the physician himself?” Theseand many other problems are tackled through this simply writ-ten book.
The basic approach is consciousness. As the author writes,“The difficulty in integrating the physical, social and mentaldimensions of health and then linking them with a spiritualdimension need not debar us from the pursuit. Indeed, an at-tempt to harmonize these myriad value-systems (which are nottotally independent) can only be possible if we take into ac-count a substrate to which all these value-systems can relate ina hierarchised manner.This substrate,most appropriately foundin the yogic description of consciousness, can relate to thedifferent dimensions of health. The seer-wisdom of ancientIndia considerered consciousness to be the essence of all exist-ence — a concept to which Sri Aurobindo, in recent times,gives an evolutionary perspective.”So Health is viewed as a dynamic equilibrium between theenergies acting at different planes of consciousness.These planesare universally self-existent and reflect in all living and non-living creatures as — the mental, the vital, the physical, etc.
Illness is seen as a disequilibrium or disharmony that can becorrected by moving to a higher level of consciousness.This higher consciousness is inherent in the Psychic Beingwhich is the real integrative principle of the human personality— the Atman of the Indian tradition in its evolving form. Whenthe Psychic Being replaces the ego the individual has a senseof wholeness, integrity, peace and joy even in adverse situa-tions.The essence of Health (Integral Health) therefore lies inbeing aware and shifting one’s consciousness. As the Mothersays,“It is simply when one sees the disequilibrium and is capa-ble of re-establishing the equilibrium that one is cured.”“The concept of Integral Health is based on a wide andprogressive view of human life.
The Mother explains themetapsychology of this view: There is an ascending evolutionin nature which goes from the stone to the plant, from the plantto the animal, from the animal to man. Because man is, for themoment, the last rung at the summit of the ascending evolution,he considers himself as the final stage in this ascension andbelieves there can be nothing on earth superior to him. In thathe is mistaken. In his physical nature he is yet almost wholly ananimal, a thinking and speaking animal, but still an animal inhis material habits and instincts. Undoubtedly, nature cannotbe satisfied with such an imperfect result; she endeavours tobring out a being who will be to man what man is to the animal,a being who will remain a man in its external form, and yetwhose consciousness will rise far above the mental and itsslavery to ignorance.”
The book also discusses various modes of treatment suchas homoeopathy, Reiki, acupuncture, etc. Each has an essentialtruth-idea based on the working of the energy on either thephysical, vital or mental consciousness. Thus, modern allo-pathic medicines and their pharmacological agents could workon the gross physical level, homoeopathy and acupuncture onthe vital level of consciousness, Reiki and Pranic Healingthrough the vital physical envelope, relaxation and bio-feed-back on the physical mind and psychotherapies on the vitalmind level. Higher energies can modify, transmute and upliftthe lower energies and each therapeutic system can be used asthe starting point for moving to subtler levels.Essentially therefore, the concept and pursuit of IntegralHealth implies a growth of consciousness.
Throughout thisbook Dr. Basu has quoted exhaustively from the works of SriAurobindo and the Mother, describing the various planes ofconsciousness and the concept and role of Psychic Being inIntegral Health. The attitude of Faith in relation to healing, therole of culture and society with respect to health and the role ofthe Pranic Shakti as it acts both in the individual microcosmand the macrocosm are elaborately discussed.The author has also given illustrative case studies of vari-ous patients as illustrations and a very effective glossary thatexplains the various terms and concepts that may be unknownto a reader not familiar with the works of Sri Aurobindo andthe Mother. Around 159 references are given at the end of thebook and in about 140 pages Dr. Basu portrays quite admira-bly a comprehensive approach to health and healing.— Dr. D.E. Mistry

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