The techniques of prana vidya lead the practitioner along a well defined path of awareness to self realisation. The practice of prana vidya has the added advantage that its path to the goal of self realisation encompasses the siddhi, psychic power, of healing. The practitioner is taught to control the energies required to heal the physical self on the way to realisation of the psychic self. Prana vidya is the yogic technique of pranic healing.
Pranic healing is a form of therapy that is completely independent of any material aid, and operates equally well either on contact or at a distance. Its claims are being supported by learned and lay regardless of religious bias. Moreover, not only humans can be cured or relieved of their illness, but animals also.
Pranic healing is being conducted in many varied forms in almost every country throughout the world. It is practiced extensively by occult schools and private healers all over the European continent, notably the United Kingdom. It is practiced by the Christian Scientist Church and other spiritual healing churches and groups throughout the USA and Australia. Pranic healing is being extensively researched in the communist countries of the USSR, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. It has long been known in India, Tibet and China, where the healers are an integral part of the medical profession. The psychic healers of the Philippines and Brazil are stimulating new interest in this field.
Pranic healing is very common in India. In practically every village there are psychic people and at least one person who is supposed to be an expert in the application of pranic healing. These healers are known as ojha. Their duty is to help villagers through the subtle medium of their psychic power. These ojha do not accept gifts for this service. Those who do, cease to be healers.
About twenty years ago a fresh batch of intellectuals released from universities and colleges throughout India put these people into disrepute. It had almost been decided that ojha were charlatans, cheating the society they served. No accounts was taken of the fact that many of them were genuine healers who refused any kind of gifts, even food, cloth or currency. In recent years there has been a resurgence of belief in the efficacy of these ojha throughout India. In actual fact these traditions of healing have never ceased in rural India, despite the fluctuation in belief of the educated populace.
These are some general points on traditional healing methods. When little babies suffer from fever, either in a village or town, belonging to any community, rich or poor, the pandit (priest) is called in. He decides whether the illness is psychic, somatic or psychosomatic. If the disease is diagnosed as psychic or psychosomatic and not somatic alone, then the baby is taken to a pranic healer. The baby cannot be sent with a servant. The mother has to carry the baby, and the father has to follow. Pranic or psychic healers in India never go to the sick person, whether that person be rich or poor. The sick person has to be taken to the healer, even a very rich person or a head of state; there is no sending a car to fetch the healer.
There are different traditional ways of approaching the healer. In some cases the parents may be expected to carry one coconut, an Indian nut called erika nut, wrapped in a betel leaf, and some thick red twine. These are placed before the healer with the baby. Each healer has his own peculiar method for divining the centre of psychic illness. If the centre is not found, they use kusha grass. Tulsi grass has some unusual qualities and is considered to have magnetic properties. It is a very rough and sharp grass which easily cuts the skin if not handled properly. The healer passes the grass over the body of the baby from head to toe in a special way, sometimes over the front of the body, throwing it from side to side. While waving the grass, the healer is able to psychically see the illness. Once located, the illness is then treated according to the system of the healer.
There is a particular illness in India called the evil eye. The moment the evil eye is cast on a person, he develops fever, headache or some kind of sickness. In India a simple system is used to decide whether the illness is due to a natural cause or to the influence of an evil eye. If the fever is high, the healer places a small iron vessel with a handle on a pure charcoal fire (not a coke charcoal fire) with a few red chillies and some mustard seeds in it. This is properly prepared and then put near the sick person. Naturally, as the fumes are inhaled, the person will sneeze or cough. If the person does not sneeze or cough, it is considered that the illness is due to the influence of an evil eye. Then the treatment follows.
The small chillies are placed in a special bag and passed over the brain portion of the head in a particular way three times; then the bag is passed over the rest of the body. The healer is not supposed to speak at all, and no one is allowed to get in the way or interrupt this part of the procedure. The healer then goes out to a junction of four footpaths or roads. No special attempt or preparation should be made to clear the way of people and traffic. The bag is placed on one of the corners. Then the healer returns to the lire and presses his head into the coals three times. This would burn a normal person, but docs not harm the healer. Thus the evil eye is cast out.
If someone has a fever which is not caused by the evil eye, the healer may still divine the centre of illness with kusha grass. Then he places his hand over that spot and removes it when he has psychically perceived the exact nature of the illness. He may explain its condition and causes. In psychosomatic illness which could be caused, for example, by ill-treatment from relatives or parents, he will have to explain to those people held responsible the underlying psychological causes, and that the patient will have a relapse unless the karmic pattern is changed. The healer makes it very clear in such cases that the onus for the cure lies on those vested with environmental responsibility. The healer is not responsible for the cure, only the diagnosis and advice on the necessary environmental adjustments to be made. The healer makes it very clear that a relapse will occur if the adjustments suggested are not made, and at the same time absolves himself of karmic responsibility.
It is like a group therapy technique; some people held responsible for a psychological or psychosomatic malfunctioning may repent and admit the responsibility. In this case such a person may seek detailed advice from (he healer and conclude the interview by invoking his god to help him maintain the correct attitude in the future. Other people may be too arrogant to accept responsibility, in which case the healer is aware that no good will come of advice, so he just states the case as clearly as possible and leaves it at that.
Once the onus of responsibility has been correctly placed, the treatment of the physical symptoms then proceeds. First some ashes are taken. These ashes are made from pure cow dung which has been dried and burnt. The ashes are then strained through a cloth, mixed with milk, and made into small cakes similar to meal balls. Then they are dried and burned again. The smell is revolting, like burning human flesh. This process is repeated either seven, eleven or fifty-one times according to the tradition followed by the healer. Locally this mixture is called baboot and in Sanskrit vibhuti, which means spiritual power. Sometimes this expression is used when referring to a sannyasin (renunciate).
The vibhuti is passed over the centre of illness, and if the healer uses mantra power, he will recite a mantra. If no mantra is used, the vibhuti is passed in a particular way over the centre, and the healer will blow on it gently. This procedure is repeated a number of times in a particular rhythm. The second time he blows on it, the breath is expelled more sharply, and each succeeding breath is expelled more sharply than the preceding breath. What he does next is a secret known only to a pranic healer. He leaves the sick person without saying a word and walks outside. Sometimes he will walk as far as two or three miles away before returning to the sick person. No one knows the secret of why they go or what they do unless they have been initiated. It is a well kept secret. Immediately on return he asks the patient how he feels. If the patient replies that no change has taken place, the healer sends him away, explaining that he can do no more. The healer makes no pretence. He says quite frankly that he cannot help. If there has been only slight improvement the healer suggests that another healer be contacted. If the person is healed, he must leave immediately and never come back to the same healer again. This method is called blowing.
When it is known that the disease manifested is due to poisons, another form of psychic healing is conducted. In this case a knife is used; this is no ordinary knife. The knife used in this healing method is kepi in a condition of great sanctity. The blade is specially magnetized metal. The technique is quite startling. The knife is placed over the poisoned area and passed with amazing rapidity from side to side over the area maybe fifty or sixty times. All the passes are completed in about one minute, and each pass with the knife is accompanied by a sharp breath. When this is completed the healer carefully cleans the knife, puts it in his hip pocket, and goes away. Where he goes and what he does is again a secret. No one knows and no one follows him.
For snake bite or scorpion stings the procedure is different. The healer takes a handkerchief and ties three knots. The healer keeps his lingers held as tensely as possible. He never touches or comes into direct contact with the patient's body or the affected part. He moves his lingers extremely rapidly over the affected part, with precise machine like movements. After six or seven rapid passes with the lingers, the healer asks the patient where the pain has moved to. The handkerchief which was placed over the bite or sting is then moved to the site of the pain and the procedure continues. After about fifteen minutes the patient is again asked to locate the pain. Up to this point the passes made with the lingers have been downward passes. At this point the handkerchief is replaced by a piece of black string.
According to the kind of bite or sting, the particular pain may be experienced for as long as 24 or even 36 hours. There are some healers who are expert at removing the effects of snake poison from any part of the body, and they have the power to remove the possibility of death. For 24 hours the patient has only to rest, sleep, remain as quiet and relaxed as possible. The snake poison is not removed.
In India a special healing technique has been devised called mediumistic healing. It is said that this process concerns the pranic energy of the healer, but the healing takes place through a person who is a medium. There is no direct body contact between the patient and the medium. In this particular form of healing the medium attains a trance-like slate in which the body always swings around; the eyes are closed, and the mind is very quiet. When this trance is achieved by the medium, then the operator or healer takes over. The person who is ill or concerned about someone who is ill explains the symptoms of the illness to the healer. The medium also listens, although he probably doesn't understand what is being said because of the trance stale. Then the healer will speak to the medium. The medium will verify the condition or explain the actual state of the illness - whether psychic, somatic or psychosomatic. The correct diagnosis will always be given by the medium through the healer.
Usually the treatment is very simple and consists of Ganges water or tulsi leaves. Sometimes the sick person is asked to lie down and his body is completely covered with a bed sheet. The healer takes the hand of the sick person and die hand of the medium and places them under the cloth. It is assumed that some psychic transference takes place. At this point die operator and the medium become one person. Three times they touch and merge. After this the cloth is removed with a dramatic flourish. This kind of treatment is usually reserved for psychological problems. The healer does not admit to a complete cure, and if asked for his opinion regarding whether the treatment is successful, he usually flies into a terrible temper.
The true spiritual healer in India intensely dislikes any suggestion that the sufferer may ever have to return for treatment. It is considered not only lack of good manners on the part of the applicant, but also lack of faith in the powers of the healer. Any such suggestion or any expressed doubt therefore induces the most terrible tension and anger in the healer. A person who wants treatment from a spiritual healer should be prepared to go, receive treatment, understand all that is said, carry out all the instructions, and leave without asking any questions, without giving anything. There is a special healing method carried out on a person who has died. Very few healers have this ability. Deaths in which successful recoveries are effected are usually due to snake bite or some kind of poison, and also coma. They usually aren't successful in the case of paralysis, high blood pressure or such kinds of death. The healer is brought to the dead person. He places a cloth over the dead person, puts his hand under the cloth and moves it over the body. The exact movements of the hand are not known. As far as can be understood, there is no intricate technique - the hand is just moved over the body in a very simple way from part to part, all under the cloth. The general purpose seems to be to locate the prana. Naturally if prana is not present the dead person cannot be helped at all, but if prana can be located, the healer sets to work. Very few people know exactly what this technique is. It is restricted to direct transmission from guru to disciple. This method of resurrection is so secret that the place where the dead man is lying is completely closed off to outside communication, and no one witnesses what takes place.
This much is known. The technique does not involve mantra. It is purely pranic healing. The moment the dead person regains consciousness, the healer immediately leaves. He goes directly to the, river where he performs certain rituals also not known, which are concerned with disposing of the poison.
Poison from healing is sometimes thrown off or disposed of under trees. Therefore in India there is a rule that, underneath the tulsi tree or the peepul tree, near the banyan or the mango tree, no one should pass urine, nor should they sleep. There are many other prohibitions concerning these trees. Hair and nails are used as carriers of disease, Copper is used by healers to store illness in; it is then wrapped in some cloth or bag and buried somewhere. In India if a person digs and comes across a bag of copper or copper coins, the bag and contents will not be removed.
Here is a true story to illustrate this. The only son of a rich man fell ill at the age of eighteen or nineteen. The father and son were building a house. During the digging of the foundation they found a large gold statue in the shape of a snake. They thought it was a very lucky find and melted it down. Within a few days die son became very ill. Every day he had fever and got thinner and thinner. He was taken to the hospital and checked over for cancer tumour, blood disease and a whole list of possible illnesses. Nothing could be found. Within eighteen or twenty days he was like a skeleton because he was unable to eat. Eventually, when nothing else could be done, the father called a priest. The priest said it was not a physical illness; it seemed to be more a divine punishment. It was ultimately decided to call a spiritual healer. The healer came and said he could find gold radiations emanating from the son's body. He said there was too much gold, and it had to be removed. The healer knew nothing about the gold statue found by the father and son. His treatment required something made out of gold and the amount of gold which was to be used corresponded with the exact amount which had been melted down. The father immediately understood and recast the gold back into a snake. The healer took the golden snake to the son who was dying and did something with it. He then buried the golden snake, no one knows where, and the boy's health immediately improved.
It appears that the gold snake was previously the receptacle of some illness, which for some reason was transferred to the boy when it was found. The healer transferred the illness from the boy back into the golden snake, buried it, and that was the end of the affair.
Cases have also been known where the disease was transferred through the psychic healing process or, due to the fault of the psychic healer, disease has been transferred from one person to another.
The food, way of life, and ideology of pranic healers is wonderful. They can be seen early in the morning on the banks of the river taking bath, doing pranayama - nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), holding their faces up towards the Sun or the sky and things like that. It may be winter or summer, sunshine or rain, and still they do it. They never pass urine to the east in the morning or to the west in the evening. They follow many rules and rituals in their daily life. Those who are pranic healers by profession in India are very poor. They have barely sufficient to eat. They don't have a store and they don't beg food. Healers are not supposed to. Some of them may have a few acres of land that they harvest and raise their family on. The women and children usually follow their own livelihood. The healer does no physical work the whole day. He is available morning and evening for people who want cures or treatment. Just as in big cities in the west, doctors and psychiatrists are wholly occupied in treatment and consultation, so also passes the day of the psychic healer in India. For the whole of any day the house and rooms of a psychic-healer may be full of people waiting to see him.
The healers eat bread, chapatti, and milk. Salt and sugar are prohibited in spiritual healing. The length of the breath is also restricted. When breathing is normal it may be 4, 12, 15, 20, 24 or even 36 fingers in length. This is prohibited. The pranic healer should breathe in such a way that the flow of air outside the body is nil. Inside it should be long, but outside it should be nil. A pranic healer, according to rules, should not talk indiscriminately. Naturally, wherever it is necessary in the course of healing he talks, but a healer can never be found talking about politics, religion, or anything like that. He minds his own business.
In India the tradition of healing is at present gloriously alive, but within a few generations it may die out. Pranic healers are among the poorest people in India. They have nothing in the way of material possessions; they cannot write or propagate their art How can anyone be expected to willingly become the disciple of a pranic healer who can only promise poverty? Normally a person expects gain, be it material, social, intellectual or whatever, and the healer can offer none of this. If a person falls ill and goes to a spiritual healer, there is no way for him to reward the healer; he cannot pay for the service. That is the tradition, and there is no answer to the dilemma because of the structure of modern society which at the moment does not support these healers.