This is a message sent by Swami Veda Bharati to the Conference on AIDS, being organised by the Department of Microbiology of the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust from May 11, 2003.
Swami Veda at a lecture during his recent world tour.
The ancient sage Charaka spoke of innumerable invisible germs that cause physical part of the diseases. Of the epidemics in Europe, first there were the plagues ( cholera in India), then came tuberculosis, then cancer, then AIDS. And now we already have SARS out of Hong Kong.
The Nature's reservoir for beneficence is inexhaustible; so also the Nature's store for visiting upon human beings the consequences of their actions is unlimited. It is up to us as to which of these we invoke into being effective, FOR us or AGAINST us. The same Nature that grants us bounties, visits plagues upon us, and then also shows us the ways of the cure.
The diseases like AIDS are not mere acts of providence and fate. Why do they affect some, and not others? What are the strengths of those whom these do not affect? Find out these strengths and introduce them into the minds and lives of the weaker ones who get adversely affected. In Charaka's words, what are the prajna-aparadhas, transgressions in wisdom that disturb our internal balance, cause vaishamya ? Not only individually but collectively, socially. It is well known that any epidemic has socially generated mechanics for its spread. In the case of AIDS, even though knowing the truth, we have failed to train the people's minds into basic principles of ethics.
We know that
(1) irresponsible sexual behaviour caused the spread of this dreaded disease, that
(2) certain of the male gender's urges and drives
(a) made them pick up the infection from through certain patterns of (mis)behaviour) and then
(b) they, the males, infected innocent women at home.
The answers are simple to jot down, difficult to promulgate.
(1) In the country of brahma-charya ideal, there should have been, and can now be, established a curriculum for teaching this degree of ethics.
(2) We need to teach that sexual relationships are not merely physical and that the physical connection is a gift of love to a beloved person.
(3) Men need to be taught the veneration for the devi principle in all women so that, out of love and veneration they would stop infecting women.
(4) Women need to feel empowered to refuse a physical contact that is dangerous to them.
(5) The stigma socially attached to the disease needs to be addressed so that women are not forced to hide the infection and can seek treatment.
(6) As the women become economically more self-dependent they will feel empowered to make such important life decisions.
(7) Besides the known western treatments, we need to include the experience of our traditional systems of medicine--homeopathy, ayurveda, Greco-Arabic (Tibbia), Tibetan, siddha, naturopathy, meditation and yoga (including mantra-yoga and prana-vidya--sadly neglected in all treatment models), as well as the vast reservoirs of knowledge held in unwritten form by the indigenous communities (often looked down upon). The deep knowledge of the yogis in the area of psychological resistance to disease needs to be recorded and implemented in clinical settings. These resources in knowledge will have to be tapped in a manner that the best from each can be taken and included into a standardised system.
(8) In other words, the treatment of this epidemic and of other STD's, even more than that of any other type of disease, can only be effected on holistic basis : the spiritual and consequently ethical, educational, social (especially gender inequalities), economical factors, all, need to be addressed in a comprehensive plan.
India, with her traditions is in a position to institute a successfully experimental model to the rest of the world. It may begin with a small cluster of villages at a time, or a number of such small clusters simultaneously, and spread from there in ever expanding concentric circles to cover larger and yet larger areas of the population.
The temptation to duplicate the western research models--except in the field of scientific methodology--needs to be overcome so that new trails may be blazed through original thinking which also draws upon the wisdom of ages and sages.
The most venerable founder of HIHT, H.H. Swami Rama of the Himalayas, had said to this daasaanudaasa, "The cure to AIDS will be discovered here. You have the same responsibility (to have it realized) as I do."
We would be failing our founder, guide and Master if the discussions held here fail to result in a plan and course of action that would help us realize his prediction in accordance with the philosophy taught by him.
I wish the Conference a success in achieving this aim.
Please kindly visit www.swamiveda.org for inspiration and current news.
Copyright 2003 West-Art, Prometheus 88/2003