Truth Is God

Gleanings from the writings of Mahatma Gandhi bearing on God, God-Realization and the Godly Way

Chapter 32: Nature Cure

Nature Cure treatment means that treatment which befits man. By "man" is meant not merely man as animal, but as creature possessing, in addition to his body, both mind and soul. For such a being Ramanama is the truest Nature Cure treatment. It is an unfailing remedy. The expression Ramabana or infallible cure is derived from it. Nature, too, indicates that for man it is the worthy remedy. No matter what the ailment from which a man may be suffering, recitation of Ramanama from the heart is the sure cure. God has many names. Each person can choose the name that appeals most to him. Ishwara, Allah, Khuda, God mean the same. But the recitation must not be parrotlike, it must be born of faith of which endeavour will be some evidence. What should the endeavour consist of ? Man should seek out and be content to confine the means of cure to the five elements of which the body is composed, i.e. earth, water, akash, sun and air. Of course, Ramanama must be the invariable accompaniment. If in spite of this, death supervenes, we may not mind. On the contrary, it should be welcomed. Science has not so far discovered any recipe for making the body immortal. Immortality is an attribute of the soul. That is certainly imperishable, but it is man's duty to try to express its purity.

Harijan, 3-3-'46

If we accept the above reasoning., it will automatically limit the means permissible under Nature Cure. And man is thereby saved from all the paraphernalia of big hospitals and eminent doctors etc. The large majority of persons in the world can never afford these. Why, then, should the few desire what the many cannot have?

Harijan, 3-3-'46

The potency of Ramanama is, however, subject to certain conditions and limitations. Ramanama is not like black magic. If someone suffers from surfeit and wants to be cured of its after-effects so that he can again indulge himself at the table, Ramanama is not for him. Ramanama can be used only for a good, not for an evil end, or else thieves and robbers would be the greatest devotees. Ramanama is for the pure in heart and for those who want to attain purity and remain pure. It can never be a means for self-indulgence. The remedy for surfeit is fasting, not prayer. Prayer can come in only when fasting has done its work. It can make fasting easy and bearable. Similarly, the taking of Ramanama will be a meaningless force when at the same time you are drugging your system with medicines. A doctor who uses his talent to pander to the vices of his patient degrades himself and his patient. What worse degradation can there be for man than that instead of regarding his body as an instrument of worshipping his Maker, he should make it the object of adoration and waste money like water to keep it going anyhow? Ramanama, on the other hand, purifies while it cures, and, therefore, it elevates. Therein lies its use as well as its limitation.

Harijan, 7-4-'46

 An apt question is as to why a man who recites Ramanama regularly and leads a pure life should ever fall ill. Man is by nature imperfect. A thoughtful man strives after perfection, but never attains it. He stumbles on the way, however, unwittingly. The whole of God's law is embodied in a pure life. The first thing is to realize one's limitations. It should be obvious that the moment one transgresses those limits one falls ill. Thus a balanced diet eaten in accordance with needs gives one freedom from disease. How is one to know what is the proper diet for one? Many such enigmas can be imagined. The purport of it all is that everyone should be his own doctor and find out his limitations. The man who does so will surely live up to 125.

Harijan, 19-5-'46

My love of Nature Cure and of indigenous systems does not blind me to the advance that Western medicine has made in spite of the fact that I have stigmatized it as black magic. I have used the harsh term and I do not withdraw it, because of the fact, that it has countenanced vivisection and all the awfulness it means and because it will stop at no practice, however bad it may be, if it prolongs the life of the body and because it ignores the immortal soul which resides in the body. I cling to Nature Cure in spite of its great limitations and in spite of the lazy pretensions of Nature curists. Above all, in Nature Cure, everybody can be his or her own doctor, not so in the various systems of medicine.

Harijan, 11-8-'46

Spiritual force is like any other force at the service of man. Apart from the fact that it has been used for physical ailments for ages, with more or less success, it would be intrinsically wrong not to use it, if it can be successfully used for the cure of physical ailments,, For, man is both matter and spirit, each acting on and affecting the other. If you get rid of malaria by taking quinine, without thinking of the millions who do not get it, why should you refuse to use the remedy which is within you, because millions will not use it through their ignorance? May you not be clean and well because millions of others will not be so, ignorantly or, may be, even cussedly? If you will not be clean out of false notions of philanthropy, you will deny yourselves the duty of serving the very millions by remaining dirty and ill. Surely refusal to be spiritually well or clean is worse than the refusal to be physically clean and well.

Harijan, 1-9-'46

Salvation is nothing more and nothing less than being well in every way. Why should you deny it for yourselves, if thereby you show the way to others and beyond showing it, actually serve them in addition by reason of your fitness?

Harijan, 1-9-'46