Affliction and role of a physician
The birth of a man is itself a Karmaja event and full of pain and misery (Refl.) it is a consequence of a previous lifes unfulfilled desires. The concept of Karmaja diseases, being only from Ayurvedaviewpoint or from the spiritual Indian literature, there may not be an exact word in English to translate it. The nearest word is affliction or (misery). Karmaja means the unavoidable effect of acts committed in the previous birth.
Out of the different types of classifications of diseases, one of the classifications puts diseases into 3 types:
- Doshaja that is due to unbalanced Tridosha_s (Vaata–Pitta–Kapha) which constitutes the basic body structure
- Karmaja are due to sinful acts done in this or the past life
- Dosha–Karmaja where a combination of the above causes are involved (Ref2)
- Doshaja diseases Are those where we can find out the cause behind the real facts such as diet, behavior etc. Signs and symptoms are clear and relevant to cause and pathological reports. Treatment gives relief as per expectation. We can judge prognosis.
- Karmaja disease – where we cannot find the root cause at the material level. Signs and symptoms are similar like Doshaja disease, and we can name it. But, treatment does not give relief. Disease may disappear automatically. That is when the effect of accumulated sins becomes weak.
- Doshakarmaja diseases where manifestation of disease is larger as compared to its known cause. Treatment gives only partial relief.
At the practical level when a patient comes in front of a physician expecting successful treatment, physician and patient both are ignorant about what part of disease is affliction i.e. effect of previous sinful acts. Theoretically, to differentiate between the Doshaja and the Karmaja diseases, one has to find out the cause of the disease and its relevance to sign and symptoms. But it is a difficult job. Most of the time it depends upon a history given by the patient. So the physician prefers to diagnose according to signs and symptoms, if necessary with support of investigations and starts the treatment. If the response is as per expectations, then there is no problem. But if it is not, still the physician doubts that the diagnosis or treatment may not be proper and therefore tries another treatment. (Ref.3). If the illness still persists, being an Ayurvedician and one who accepts its theory he may consider it as a Karmaja or Affliction-type disease. That raises a dilemma, whether medical treatment is to be given or not?
To come out of this dilemma one needs some determination to act, with an irrevocable logic behind it. It is the moral duty of a physician to treat a patient of any condition and do his best (Ref.4). There are other reasons why an affliction type of disease should be treated. Before going into reasoning some clarification about afflictions is necessary.
If any one wants a good life, he or she should not commit any sinful act, not only physically but also verbally and mentally.
The following are some sinful acts listed in the Asht`aanga Hridaya–Sootrasthaan chapter no which a person must refrain from:
Malicious reporting or contentious
Logical invalid mentality
There are the inner motives of mind, which are to be controlled by men consciously; otherwise they become the cause of the above said sinful acts. Examples of some inner motives are:
- Hatred intolerance
- Lamentation grief
- Obstinacy or vanity
In this connection we should understand that each action whether by deed, word or thought leaves behind an impact called Samskaara or karma. An accumulation of deeds, act as supply source of energy to sustain life. This goes to the credit or debit account of individual according to whether action is good or bad. Bad or misdeeds sinful acts turn into suffering, mostly as disease, which is inevitably followed by suffering and death.
In such a case a physician who believes the above theory should talk frankly his doubt to the patient. That is, his disease may not be cured only by medical treatment, but needs support of changed mentality. For his disease, there is no known cause; it may be an effect of his previous wrong acts. But do not try now to analyze them as it may create a stress, which will worsen the disease. Accept the condition only as it is. Live with good virtues. Everything is reversible, so affliction will also end. Analyzing previous deeds and its effect is an inscrutable job and (Ref.7) only enlightened persons can do it.
Medical treatment will be required as there is no instant method of diagnosis by which one can decide that this is an affliction type disease. Then practical way is to start the treatment with assumed diagnosis and conclude according to positive or negative results (Ref.3).
There are many diseases described even in the modern medical texts of unknown etiology. Their origin may be hidden in a persons impaired mental act or misdeed. These may have happened in the past or may be from the previous life. Fatal types of diseases, such as cancer, without any known cause, especially at an early age, may be Karmaja disease. Chronic disease, especially skin troubles, Lucoderma, asthma, migraine relates to the concept of responsible affliction. We observe in practice that patients who face the disease and treatment with calm and a quiet mind suffer minimum and get cured.
Ayurvedic method of treatment work on both mind and body. One who accepts the systematic Ayurvedic treatment means that he is ready to change his mentality. One who wants to delude his mind and is not ready to go to the root cause and wants superficial easy type of treatment is likely to take longer to heal.
Compared to the modern method of treatment. Ayurvedic approach is a tedious job. To undergo purification of the body (Panchakarma) may be a disgusting experience for many. Prior to emesis (Vamana) etc, it requires oleation(intake of high dose of oil or ghee) for about 7 days. This requires tolerance. Medicine of bitter taste, unacceptable smells, leech application, fast or diet restrictions long duration of treatment, support of yogic exercises; whenever necessary, are all parts of the Ayurvedic treatment. There is a synonym-word Praayas`hchitta (Ref.8) for a treatment, which has a sense of expiation. (Remedy for sinful act). Understanding the base of afflictions, change in attitude rooting out possible body impurities through Panchakarma are useful to obtain quick relief.
There are certain rites and rituals, which claim as remedy for afflictions. Humble suggestion, is that these should be accepted only if it has a strong logical support and nobody exploits you with it. I practice personally Vipas`hyanaa type of meditation that is fully logical. It is taught in various centers across the world without any formal charges. Objective of this meditation is to make a strong and pure mind until complete liberalization from mental bondages, this meditation is no doubt a difficult job, but any one can follow it after strong determination and can get rapid results in controlling mind and getting over the afflictions, thus the method is also partly described in Ayurveda(Ref.9).
A Vipas`hyanaa mediator is expected to refrain from all misdeeds, that lead to all sinful acts, so, further accumulation will not take place. At the time of meditation, in a noble silence one has to sit in a comfortable cross leg posture with closed yes. For concentration of mind one has to only observe ingoing and outgoing respiration at the entrance of nostrils. Support of any media, like uttering holy name, counting of numbers, idol imagination, Praanaayaama is strictly prohibited. After some practice of concentration, mind becomes subtle to know senses, which are taking place in the body and mind every moment. While observing all the body parts through senses, one becomes aware of changes taking place and its impermanence. Sensory nervous system is in contact of mind and body matter. Neutral observation of body and mind though internal sense (touch) is an experiential knowledge. Neutral observation means not to react bodily or mentally to any sense present in body whether it is pleasing, distressing or neutral and the impermanence of every existence whether good or bad becomes clearer and clearer. One learns that to take interest. (To have or have not) in such phenomenon is a misery and by experience gets rid of it (Ref.9). While this process is on, old accumulated defilements (effect of sinful acts) stands in front of mind. Due to no further reactions they become consumed like diet for mind. Thus he gets relieved from afflictions. Vipas`hyanaa is supportive to medial treatment for Karmaja diseases or may be only remedy for Karmaja diseases.
In day-to day practice, patient of any type or condition may come in front of a physician. He cannot disappoint him and feel helpless. There is a role for him even in Karmaja diseases. By having proper understanding he can treat patient with high moral.
- Bhagavat Geeta 4/17
Last updated on February 9th, 2021 at 09:42 am