Chapter 1: Medicine and Meditation
It will be useful to note that there was a time on the earth when the priest was also the physician, when the religious leader was also the doctor; he was both the priest and the doctor. And it will not be surprising if we end up with the same situation again tomorrow. There will only be a slight difference: now the one who is a physician will be the priest! This has started happening in America, because for the first time it has become clear that the question is not of the body alone. And also it has come to light that if the body is completely healthy, then there is a manifold increase in problems, because for the first time the person starts perceiving the diseases which are present within him, at the opposite pole from the body.
Our perceptions too need causes. It is only when a thorn pricks your foot that you feel it. As long as no thorn pricks it, you remain unaware of your foot. But when there is a thorn in your foot, your whole being becomes like an arrow pointed towards your foot; it notices the foot and nothing else - naturally. And if the thorn is removed from the foot, then too the being notices something.
If your hunger is satisfied, good clothes are available to wear, your house is in proper order, you get the wife you wanted. Although there is no bigger calamity in this world than this! There is no end to the sufferings of a person who gets the wife he wanted. If you do not get the wife you want, then at least you can derive some happiness out of hope. That too is lost once you get the wife you want.
I have heard about an asylum. A man had gone to see the asylum, and the superintendent took him around on a tour. Stopping in front of a particular cell the man asked the superintendent what was wrong with the inmate.
The superintendent replied that the man had gone mad because he could not get the woman he was in love with.
In another cell the inmate was trying to break the bars, was beating his chest, was pulling at his hair. When asked what was wrong with this man, the superintendent replied, “This man got the same woman the other one could not get - and he became mad!”
But because he could not get his beloved, the first person used to keep her photograph near his heart and was happy in his madness, while the second person was beating his head against the bars.
Fortunate are those lovers who do not get their beloveds!
In fact, we hope for whatever we have not achieved so we can go on living in that hope. Once we have achieved it our hopes are shattered and we become empty. The day doctors make man free from his physical problems he has to take on the other part of the work. The day man becomes free from bodily diseases he is being provided with the situation in which he can become aware of his inner diseases. For the first time he will be troubled inside and will wonder why if everything on the surface is alright nothing seems to be really right.
It is not surprising that in India, twenty-four tirthankaras were the sons of kings; and Buddha was a king’s son, Rama and Krishna were all from royal families. For these people troubles had disappeared at the bodily level; being troubled had begun from within.