"Do you receive the mantras, Bala and Atibala, and you will not feel
fatigue or fever or undergo any change of look or whether asleep or
heedless, the Raksasas will not be able to surprise you. And O Rama! the
might of your arms will be unequalled in the World."
The writer of these lines had himself an experience of the mantrasakti.
During his student days he had an occasion to visit Sarnath on a cycle-
rickshaw from Varanasi. He had just entered the small room which was the
museum at that time for the artefacts discovered from the are" around that
he placed his hand at back of the Dharmacakra with three lions to have a
closer look at it little knowing that it had a hive of black wasps which stung
it in droves leaving him in writhing pain. So tenaciously stuck were the
wasps that these had to be literally pulled out from it with the other hand.
Hearing his cries the Rickshaw-puller hurried in the room, took him out of
it and muttered some mantras while pouring dust from the kutcha road.
The miracle was there-no pain, no swelling, the scars of the stinging were
the only sign of the wasps having attacked ferociously!
This was the case with an unlettered Rickshaw-puller. How much more
so it could be with learned people reciting the mantras in prescribed
Of all the Vedas it is the Atharvaveda which is nearer to the life of the
common people reflecting as it does their beliefs and customs and way of
life. It deals with sorcery mainly directed against hostile agencies such as
diseases, noxious animals, demons, wizards, foes and so on. It also has
spells of auspicious character such as charms to secure harmony in the
family and village life, reconciliation of enemies, long life, health and
prosperity. "For the history of civilization, as says Macdonell, ‘it is on the
whole more interesting and important than the Rgveda itself.’
Since ordinary mortals are subject to ailments and diseases, it
prescribes cure for them in the form of chants of incantations which have
the efficacy to free him from them. In case the ailments are caused by evil
spirits, the incantations would exorcise the possessed and restore normalcy
Though it is the Atharvaveda which is the richest in information
about diseases and their cures, the other three Vedas are not lacking in it.
A careful perusal of them throws up useful material on them as can be seen
from the present work, the Vaidika Bhaisajya which I have the pleasure to
introduce to all those who have interest in tracing the history of development
of medical science in India. The work takes up each Veda for thorough
search for information on diseases, the medicines there for and the cures
for them. Besides, it also has something to say on the Yogic treatment of
ailments of which one hears so much these days, as also the science of
breathing which prevents diseases, if practised properly which really is the
essence of Ayurveda which is more a science of prevention of diseases than
cure of them and hence has come to be the most sought after discipline in
the field of medical science.
The Vedic cure could take the form of prescribing herbal preparations
to be administered to the accompaniment of Vedic chants which could add
to their potency. In the Vedic period the herbs and the prayers wet hand in
hand. The Vedic man traced the diseases to evil spirits which would visit
him either out of their own malevolent volition or as a consequence of his
misdeeds, offences and sins in previous births, which he termed raksasas
that had to be eliminated for the patient to recover. This he sought to
achieve by invoking the deities, in his case the Elements, the fire, the sun,
the wind, the water and so on, all that which goes under the umbrella? term
of environment these days. And this may not just be superstition or mental
construction of primitive people and may have a scientific basis. It is an
acknowledged fact that the treatment gets far more effective in
an environment-friendly atmosphere. Since man is a part of the cosmos, it
is but natural for him to be influenced with what goes round him. If the
Elements could be turned benign through prayers--it is here that the
mantrasakti comes into take on the evil forces which could have caused
the ailment, the recovery of the patient could be that much quicker.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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