Author Comment    
Isabel Trent

May 31, 05 - 5:34 PM
Ancient Medicine

Re-reading The Feminine Universe last night, I was struck by a couple of lines (now completely undetectable by the eye of maid, or I would quote them) referring to the subtler methods of healing known by the ancients and their probable longer lifespans. It has always seemed a bit curious to me. I've always understood that, not to put too fine a point upon it, people used to die a lot.

I've read about how clever they were about things like that in Tibet, and all those women burned as witches must have been doing something right, but medicine as we know it is quite a recent business... isn't it? What's the ancient and subtle cure for cancer? Diabetes? Migraines? What, if anything, do we actually know about such things?
Miss Drusilla

May 31st, 2005 - 5:42 PM
Re: Ancient Medicine

I can't speak to any ancient and subtle methods, but I believe diabetes is a fairly recent development, brought on by the high concentration of refined sugars and carbohydrates common in the modern diet. Blondes, take heed!
Sushuri Novaryana

May 31st, 2005 - 9:29 PM
Re: Ancient Medicine

As always, Miss Drusilla, you are correct!

Your questions about medicine, Miss Trent, are very much to the point. The first thing to consider is that modern "history" really only knows about the Kali Yuga, and mostly only the latter half of that. We know, from archaeological evidence that in feminine-centred civilisations, such as that of pre-Minoan Crete, war was virtually unknown. And here we are not talking about a former Age, but about the first half of Kali Yuga. We do not know about the state of health and medicine at that time. We know also that despite the �evolutionary� prejudice of modern thinking, language becomes more complex, intellectual and expressive as we trace it backwards.

All tradition � including that of the Bible � tells us that people lived very much longer in earlier Ages. We have no proof of this as we have of the other things, but perhaps we would be unwise to discount it. What we do know about is the great effectiveness of such traditional sciences as acupuncture; and what we must bear in mind is that these are mere vestiges of traditional science that have survived into the late Kali Yuga. We must also understand that as the fabric of the world grows more coarse, subtle influences have less effectiveness, and so more material methods of medicine are actually required.

Here is what a very wise writer, Dr. Lings (who, sadly, passed away earlier this month) had to say on the subject in his book Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions. It is rather a long quotation � so long, in fact, that Bravenet will not permit me to put everything in one message � but I feel it is important.
Sushuri Novaryana

May 31st, 2005 - 9:31 PM
Re: Ancient Medicine

Dr Lings: "According to the Hindu Pur�nas, bodily sickness was unknown until well on into the Dw�para Yuga, that is, the Bronze Age, the third of the four. As to the ancient sciences of healing which have been handed down from prehistoric times among various peoples, the function of the �medicine man� [or, earlier, woman] is very often simply part of the function of the priest, and in any case the science itself is always intimately bound up with religion. For this reason it is also more or less connected with the other ancient sciences, each of which was itself an off-shoot of religion, being based on the knowledge of certain cosmological truths which according to tradition first came to man through inspiration and in some cases through revelation.

"These truths are all aspects of the harmony of the universe: they are the correspondences between the microcosm, the macrocosm and the metacosm, that is, between the little world of the human individual, the big outside world, and the next world which transcends both. To take one example, each of the planets (that is, those planets which are visible to the naked eye, together with the sun, making seven in all) corresponds to a particular metal, to certain stones, plants and animals, to a particular colour, and to a note in the musical scale; it has its day of the week, and its hours of every day; it presides over certain parts of the body; it corresponds to certain sicknesses, and on the psychic plane to certain temperaments, virtues and vices, and metaphysically to one of the Seven Heavens and to certain Angelic Powers.

"One science could never come near to embracing all the secrets of the universe, and consequently there are many different traditional sciences of medicine; but generally speaking, the expert practice of one of these presupposed some understanding not merely of physiology, biology, botany, mineralogy, chemistry and physics (approached from an angle altogether different from that of the modern sciences), but also of astrology and sometimes of music, as well as of what are sometimes called the sciences of numbers and letters, to which must be added metaphysics and theology, including a wide practical knowledge of liturgy, all combined with an outstanding natural aptitude for healing.

"While allowing for frequent exaggerations, it would be foolish to disbelieve all that tradition has handed down in widely different parts of the world about remarkable cures effected by ancient sciences. But between them and modern medicine there is no bridge. It is true that a branch of the ancient Chinese science of medicine, known to the West as "acupuncture", which is still widely practised in China and Japan, has been adopted in a somewhat fragmentary way by a few Western doctors who have been won over by its remarkable efficacity.

"Apart from a few exceptional and often superficial intrusions of such sciences into the modern one, and allowing for some continuity between past and present (perhaps more than one is aware of as regards the use of drugs), modern medicine is what it claims to be, a purely human invention based on man�s own unaided practical experiments.

"The vocation of a doctor still has, unquestionably, the sacredness which belongs to every response to an urgent need; and it might be argued that this applies also to his science, despite its intrinsic non-sacred character, for although most modern inventions have not "necessity" for their "mother", a few have, especially medical ones. If a man could come from the far past into the present, which would strike him most, the skill of our dentists, for example, or the rottenness of our teeth? It might even be said that in a grossly over-populated disease-ridden world, where ill health is on the increase almost as much as the gifts to practice a sacred science are on the decrease, there is need in particular for the modern science of medicine, that is, a science which is not too exacting as regards qualifications and can be taught to large numbers of men and women who can be drilled and organised to meet the crisis."