2.20 What if healers do not give due credit to the Grace or higher consciousness, but rather to their own medicine or method?
It is much better if the healer can consciously open to the Grace and become a channel without obstruction. In fact, all great doctors know that there is something else that acts. Some openly acknowledge it, others do so secretly. Even if you were to look logically at this state of affairs, you would see that no two cases are alike. Different people respond differently to the same treatment. We may surmise that this is due to a difference in constitution! But what exactly is there in the constitution, physical and psychological, or both, we do not know. To say the least, the healing process, the interaction between man and his environment, is extremely complex. Man’s body is like a highly sophisticated instrument, capable of responding to a wide range of vibrations, frequencies and harmonics. On the most material level, it responds more readily to material forces due to a natural affinity. Drugs are one such force and no one can deny that there is something such as dravya guna, the essential property of the medicine or herb that is taken. But as soon as it enters the human system it enters a large field with a complex play of forces – material, vital, sensational and emotional, not to mention the thought, will, faith and higher spiritual forces depending upon the degree of development, sensitivity and attuning of the instrument. Now, some of these forces may assist while others may retard the healing process. Indeed the medicine itself, if it is a wrong one, will cause an additional problem that the higher forces must fight and struggle with. However, if the right medicine and doctor are present, treating a positive patient nurtured in a generally healthy atmosphere, the healing action of these higher forces may be greatly facilitated. What we need to understand is that the higher forces act not only directly but also through other available instruments to which part of the patient may be more naturally open.
A doctor who is neither open, nor has any trust in a higher force will naturally not acknowledge it. He may notice unexpected recoveries, quicker than usual responses, etc., but he is more likely to label them as chance or attribute them to unknown factors. But if the patient had invoked the Grace and found himself inwardly supported and helped, he must have a reasonable right to assume that what worked from behind and assisted the whole healing was indeed the Grace itself. Some healers are, however, open and do become aware of ‘something’ that helps, something like a benevolent power that saves and succours in those moments of deep crisis.
Nevertheless, we must not forget that our criterion of success is a very ignorant one. If something acts according to our expectations, we think it is true. But this is a fallacy. There is a power in fire that burns, but it does not burn in all cases, for instance not every fire can burn everything. There are things such as ice or metals that do not burn or burn with difficulty. Others respond fast and are turned to ash with ease. Does it mean that there is no such thing as heat in fire?
2.21 Why not Everyone who Prays gets Well?
First of all prayer is not the only way of opening to Grace. To be truly effective, a prayer must rise on a crest of emotion and carry a luminous faith within itself. A ritualistic prayer supported by mechanical belief, full of doubt, or otherwise at another extreme, full of irrational expectations of an instant miracle is not so effective and even when effective, its effects may not endure. True prayer is very deep and even when it is addressed with the hope of a certain result it carries a sense of surrender in it. It has full trust in the power and wisdom of God and knows that He will do and is doing whatever is best under the circumstances. It carries the certitude of victory and the peace of the divine Presence in it. In fact, one can even live in the ‘consciousness of cure’. All this makes the action of Grace a lot easier and smoother.
In contrast, a restless, agitated prayer may close the door to the very power that it invokes and invites. Besides, it would be absurd to expect one hundred percent guaranteed success with prayer or with anything else in life. Prayer essentially is not a mechanical thing where a certain kind of input must guarantee a certain return. That may have been the case if God were nothing else but a mechanical super-force bound by certain man-made or God-made or Nature-made laws! But God is not that. He is indeed infinite Compassion but also infinite Wisdom that is eternally free. He may relieve us of our suffering instantly or else wait a while and let us go through what is necessary for our progress and ultimate good.
There are of course other issues as well that escape our limited linear reasoning and its ignorant idea of cause and effect. First of all, prayer or no prayer, an agitated state of consciousness neither has enough thrust to propel our nature Godward, and even if it were to happen, it is not receptive enough to the action of the Beyond. Even in modern medicine, one cannot perform surgery on a part that is restless. One has to make it immobile. Even Nature heals by first immobilizing the part. This way the resources of healing can be directed to the spot of injury much more easily. But this apart, an all-pervading, all-knowing Consciousness would also have to take into account the many knots of nature that we have accumulated through many lives. An illness may be sometimes the better option to burn away a knot that would otherwise remain as an undercurrent of shadow pulling us constantly down.
An instance is noted of a middle-aged spiritual aspirant who suffered from heavy uterine bleeding. Her Master rightly sent word to her that she should just bear with it for some time as it is the last bit remnant of sexual desire that was lingering in her and was being washed away in this way. She understood and sure enough, once the right inner movement was undertaken, she was cured and the problem never recurred!
Yet, there is a great difference between going through suffering unassisted by anything and passing through some dark passage with Grace at our side. In the first case, we must depend upon the strengths or weaknesses of our ego-bound nature and its limits. When we act in that state, using whatever means we have at our disposal, our human will and intelligence for instance, we experience the strain of stretching our limits but if we are successful, there is an initial growth of our human capacities. More often than not, these efforts may recoil after a while with a sudden collapse and their after-effects—depression, fear, doubt and anxiety—may creep in to make matters worse.
In the second case however, whatever the outer condition, the ups and downs of the changing situation, something within us remains free and unaffected, our inner being remains in a state of peace and joy that only a true surrender can bring. This in turn creates the best possible state either for recovery or for a great departure from the earthly scene, if that is to be.
The best way may be to combine the two in right measure. That is to say, what one can and must do, one should do, however little that effort may be, and for the rest (the larger and decisive part) just to leave it to the Grace to work out the way it wills. We must always remember that human action is only one of many factors that can bring a result; it can be an occasion but is not the cause of things. Our prayers, hopes, expectations, our visits to doctors and the taking of drugs, our lifestyle changes and everything else amount to no more than little influences that may make the winds of life blow a little more favourably but not to set them in motion or decide their course. ‘It bloweth where it listeth’, as the saying goes.
An instance comes to my mind that I witnessed as a child. An elderly neighbour was sick and on his death-bed. The doctors (few as they were, in fact only one allopath in the village, in the India of 1970s) had given up. He apparently had a stroke and was unable to speak or move his right side limbs. The man, whose family depended upon him had tears in his eyes, as he managed to convey through gestures that a leaf of sacred tulsi plant and Ganges water be kept on his tongue before he breathed his last. My father who was no doctor did the needful, even as he kept assuring him with full conviction that he has prayed and all will be well. The man slept off in that state, only to recover all his functions completely in the morning. Of course he was a man of deep faith in God and so was my father. Possibly the combination worked well and though miracles are not repeated too often, I have not only heard about them but also witnessed a few before my own eyes. I know there is a medical way also of explaining them, for instance, there are cases of spontaneous recovery for almost anything but we do not know the cause. Perhaps that cause may well lie in the secret recesses of our being where faith resides and has the power to change the fixed course of fate and alter the balance of forces of our destiny.