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Millennium Post

Signposts to a world of spirit

At times human beings do things that point to a world of spirit. Human deeds sink so low or soar so high at times that it seems improbable human beings did them. It seems incredible how a man can rape a six-month-old. But Mother Teresa looks incredible too. It seems incredible parents would murder their child in the mother’s womb because the child is a girl. But the lives of saints like Ramakrishna Paramhans and his wife Sarada Devi appear incredible too. It appears at times that human beings are mere vehicles and media for powerful spirits, both holy and unholy, that make them do things that don’t look humanly possible. Certain human acts seem to confirm the existence of Shaitan or Devil. And some acts make God look real.

Ayurveda is one of the things that make God or divinity look credible. For a long time before the establishment of allopathy as the best therapy, ayurveda and other alternatives to allopathy like siddha and yunani medicine were commonly accepted therapies in India. Things seem to be coming full circle now. The negatives of allopathy are making mainstream society in many countries rediscover the positives of ayurveda and other therapies.

Allopathic medicines are prepared after elaborate research and trials. But millennia ago, ayurveda was discovered in India without the procedures adopted by allopathy to develop medicines. How did the discoverers of ayurveda find out the curative strength of different plants? The discoveries of ayurveda were made by human beings, but it seems not just improbable but impossible that ages back, they found cures for numerous diseases without the use of technology and tests that are considered absolutely necessary today for medical research.

As I said earlier, anything superlative achieved by human beings, whether positive or negative, gives a glimpse, a clue, a suggestion of a world of spirit. Or spirits. And sure enough, it is believed that like yoga, tantra, the Gita, the Bible, the Quran, like all true religions, ayurveda too is revealed knowledge. Like yoga, ayurveda is not just a way to health as widely perceived, but a complete way of life intended to merge human beings with God. It is said that the saints who discovered ayurveda approached plants with humility and compassion and pleaded with them to reveal their medicinal qualities. And holy spirits granted the knowledge of ayurveda to the saints who were moved by the suffering of the ill and sincerely wanted to serve them. Compassion, love and the desire to serve human beings were the key to gaining the knowledge of ayurveda, poles apart from the quest for profit that propels most of today’s pharmaceutical companies.

One of the surest evidences of a world of spirit is available in the life and work of Indian mathematics genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. Though he had no formal education in pure mathematics, his numerous findings in mathematics are being researched and gaining relevance all over the world. His discoveries have amazed the greatest mathematicians right from the time he made them.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about them is that Ramanujan said his discoveries were revealed to him by goddess Namagiri, a form of Hindu goddess Lakshmi worshipped in Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, his home state. Ramanujan said the goddess appeared in his visions and gave him mathematical formulas which he later verified. He had dreams of blood drops that symbolised Narasimha, Namagiri’s male consort, followed by the unfolding of scrolls of complex mathematical content before his eyes.

I hope the research on Ramanujan and his work extends to the spirit he credited all his achievements to. It seems a holy spirit had made Ramanujan a vehicle or medium for granting deep secrets of mathematics to mankind. It is that holy spirit and not Ramanujan that should be credited as the real knower and giver of the secrets of nature. There is a quote of Ramanujan that beautifully conveys the spirit behind ‘his’ findings, ‘An equation for me has no meaning unless it represents a thought of God.’

If not outright belief, a world of spirit seems to access at least benefit of doubt on the basis of countless instances, both good and bad from the human point of view. Like some other religions, Hinduism says that the real action happens in the world of spirit. Human conduct, it declares, is a mere reflection, a shadow of that activity. Sufis too find the world a reflection of God. For all we know, the world of spirit might actually be there, playing with human beings like puppets. Lord Shiva tells his consort Uma in the Ramayan of Tulsidas, Uma daru joshit ki nai/Sabahi nachawat Ram Gosai. (Uma, Lord Ram makes everyone dance to his tune like wooden puppets.) I know not whether I am a puppet of the world of spirit, but if I am, I stand liberated.

Puppets do nothing on their own and can’t be blamed for anything. Being a puppet is being a complete slave. And that in itself is redemption. Did I say ‘Ah!’?

The author is a senior journalist and columnist.
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