They were treated by beatings – strange treatment! – and by taking their blood out. Now you give blood transfusions; they used to do just the opposite – they used to take the blood out of the man. It was thought that he had too much energy. Naturally when his blood was taken out he became weak; he started showing signs of weakness because so much blood was taken out, and it was thought they had cured him of his madness.
By beating a man, naturally once in a while it used to happen that the man came to his senses. It is almost as if a man is asleep and you start beating him and he wakes up. A madman has fallen out of his conscious mind. If you beat him too hard, once in a while it may happen that he wakes up into his consciousness again. That became a proof that beating is the right treatment. But is used to happen only once in a while; ninety-nine percent of the cases were unnecessarily beaten. But that one exception was the rule.
It was thought that he was possessed by spirits, ghosts; then too beat him, because if he is possessed by ghosts the beating will reach the ghost, not him. You are not beating him, you are really beating the ghosts who are possessing him, and because of the beating they will escape. And once in a while, but just once in a while, that is one percent, no more than that….
I have been in one place – it was very famous for mad people. Hundreds of mad people were brought to that place. It was on the bank of a river, a temple, and the priest must have been a butcher for at least a few hundred lives. He looked like a butcher and he gave a good beating. The mad people were chained, given a good beating, no food, and very strong laxatives. And I have seen that once in a while a person came to his senses.
Strong laxatives for a few days with no food cleaned his inner system. Beatings brought him back a little consciousness. No food, hunger – a hungry man cannot afford to be mad because his body is in such torture. To be mad you need a little bit of comfort in your life situation.
You can see it: the more comfortable a society, the more luxurious, affluent a culture, the more people go mad. The more poor a society – starving, hungry – the less people go mad. Madness needs, in the first place, a mind. But a hungry person has no nourishment for the mind. He is undernourished: his mind is not in a situation to go nuts. For that the mind needs more energy than ordinarily is involved in life.
Madness is a rich man’s disease. The poor man cannot afford it.
So when you keep a person hungry and give him laxatives, it cleanses his inner system, makes him so hungry that he becomes bodily-oriented. He forgets the mind, the question is the body. He is no longer interested in mind and mind games.
Madness is a mind game.
So once in a while I have seen people being cured there, but that one percent cured would spread the rumor all around, and hundreds of people were coming there. The temple became very rich. I had gone there many times to see it but only once did I meet a man who had been cured; others went back to their homes just beaten, hungry, starved, more sick, more weak. Many died through that priest’s treatment.