Sunday, February 14, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 17.33: Seeing a Healer in the Mind's Eye

yath" opadeshena shivena mukto
rogaad a-rogo bhiShajaM kRta-jNaH
anusmaran pashyati citta-dRShTyaa
maitryaa ca shaastra-jNatayaa ca tuShTaH

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When a healthy man has been freed from illness
by salutary instruction,

And he is aware of his debt of gratitude,

Just as he sees his healer in his mind's eye,

Gratefully acknowledging his benevolence
and knowledge of his subject,

In this and the next verse, Ashvaghosha is comparing the gratitude of one who has been set free by the Buddha's teaching to the gratitude of one whose life has been saved by the salutory instruction or direction (upadesha) of a healer.

It is not mentioned in this verse how much the healer charged for his healing services. The best healers, I am sure, are ones who are not in it for the money, but who are as if called to promote healing. At the same time, it might be that all the truly great healers are not primarily healers but are primarily great teachers or instructors -- great givers of direction (upadesha).

In FM Alexander's day such notables as the American philosopher John Dewey credited Alexander with having saved their life. FM's combined use of directive words and directive hands apparently had such power to effect change that people called him a miracle-worker. FM's reply was that "There are many miracles in nature."

FM, like the Buddha, saw his work primarily as teaching a principle, a fundamental truth or set of truths, as a consequence of whose application healing might come about, indirectly.

Mind you, when FM taught the great and the good, he did so for quite a hefty price. I think it was over £5 for half an hour, which might not sound too expensive, but this was circa 1910!

FM Alexander gave lessons to pupils, not sessions to patients. Yes, FM charged a lot of money for a lesson, and he loved betting on the gee-gees. He didn't see himself as a healer. Much less did he want to be revered as a saint or as a founder of some great mass movement. He believed in the individual. He taught a principle of constructive conscious control, consisting primarily of inhibition and direction, that was for every man or woman to think out for himself or herself as an individual.

FM guessed that in future generations people would gradually understand the importance of what he had discovered and in time they would build "a beastly statue" to him, but while he was still alive, he complained, nobody listened to a word he said!

EH Johnston:
As a man recovered from illness by auspicious treatment regards the physician gratefully in acknowledgement with his mind's eye is delighted with his benevolence and knowledge of the (medical) treatises,

Linda Covill:
Just as a healthy man who was delivered from illness by successful treatment in his gratitude forms a mental picture of his doctor, and in remembering him, is delighted by his kindness and scientific knowledge,

yathaa: just as
upadeshena = inst. upadesha: m. pointing out to , reference to ; specification , instruction , teaching , information , advice , prescription
shivena (inst. sg. m.): auspicious , propitious , gracious , favourable , benign , kind , benevolent
muktaH (nom. sg. m.): freed

rogaad = abl. sg. roga: " breaking up of strength " , disease , infirmity , sickness
a-rogaH (nom. sg.): m. one who is free from disease , healthy , well
bhiShajam = acc. sg. bhiShaj: m. a healer , physician
kRta-jNaH (nom. sg. m.): acknowledging past services or benefits , mindful of former aid or favours , grateful

anusmaran (nom. sg. m. pres. part. anu-√smR): remembering, acknowledging
anu-√smR: to remember, recollect
pashyati: he sees
citta-dRShTyaa (inst.): with the mind's eye
citta: mind
dRShTi: f. seeing, the mind's eye

maitryaa = inst. sg. maitrii: f. friendship , friendliness , benevolence , good will
ca: and
shaastra-jNatayaa = inst. sg. shaastra-jNataa: understanding of medicine, scientific knowledge
shaastra: n. an order , command , precept , rule; teaching , instruction , direction , advice , good counsel ; any instrument of teaching , any manual or compendium of rules , any book or treatise , (esp.) any religious or scientific treatise ; a body of teaching (in general) , scripture, science
jNataa: f. intelligence ; mfn. ifc. knowledge of
ca: and
tuShTaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. satisfied , pleased, grateful

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