Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 16.40: Appreciating One's Own Illness, Tended by Friends in the Know

yo vyaadhito vyaadhim avaiti samyag
vyaadher nidaanaM ca tad-auShadhaM ca
aarogyam aapnoti hi so 'cireNa
mitrair abhijNair upacaryamaaNaH

He who fully appreciates his illness,
as the illness it is,

Who sees the cause of the illness
and its remedy:

It is he who wins, before long,
freedom from disease --

Attended by friends in the know.

Love sickness, sea sickness, glandular fever, and hay fever are four illnesses I have experienced, if not always fully appreciated -- mental sickness, physical sickness, a serious illness, and an illness that is real here and now, by whatever name it goes.

The cause in each case, as I see it, has to do with lack of inhibitory circuits in the brain and nervous system. Where there is a lack of inhibition, the consequence tends to be undue activity, or over-excitement, in the nervous system, which in turn tends to weaken the functioning of the immune system.

I sort of knew this on some level as a teenager when, not wishing to be seen as the kind of wimpy guy who suffered from hay-fever, or fear of girls, I used to drink large quantities of beer, lift weights to build myself up, and direct a lot of energy into playing rugby... but then when I was 17 I got glandular fever and stayed wimpishly in bed for weeks, growing thin.

Twenty years later, when I walked into the teaching room of Marjory Barlow, the niece of FM Alexander, she seemed to know all this background without ever being told. She then proceeded to demonstrate to me how she understood the practice of inhibition, as it had been demonstrated to her by her uncle FM Alexander. Marjory was indeed a true friend in the know.

I have another friend in the know, a homeopath by vocation, to whom also this verse might mean something.

yaH: [he] who
vyaadhi: disorder , disease , ailment , sickness
-taH: (ablative suffix) "in accordance with," "in respect of"
vyaadhitaH: as disease, as the illness
vyaadhim = accusative vyaadhi: illness
avaiti = 3rd person singular of ave: to perceive , conceive , understand , learn , know
samyak: correctly , fully, truly , properly , fitly

vyaadheH (genitive): of the illness
nidaanaM (accusative): the cause
ca: and
tat: it, that
auShadham (accusative): n. herbs collectively, a herb; n. herbs used in medicine , a medicament , drug , medicine in general
ca: and

aarogyam (accusative): freedom from disease, health
aapnoti = 3rd person singular aap: obtain, gain
hi: for, because, on account of; (or emphatic) indeed , assuredly , surely , of course , certainly
saH: he
acireNa: not long, not for long

mitraiH (inst. pl.): with friends
abhijNaiH (inst. pl.): mfn. knowing, skilful, clever
upacaryamaaNaH = nom. sg. m. present passive participle upa-√car: to attend on (a patient)

EH Johnston:
For instance, he, who understands disease correctly as disease, its cause and its cure, quickly regains sound health, being treated by skilful friends.

Linda Covill:
The sick man who understands his disease correctly, and its cause and its remedy will, when tended by knowledgeable friends, soon win good health.

No comments: