Saturday, September 30, 2006

Book Review: Mind-body connection

Awakening Nature’s Healing Intelligence: Expanding Ayurveda Through the Maharishi Vedic Aproach to Health by Dr. Hari Sharma; Published 1997 by Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. (Reviewed by C. M. Berg)

Eureka! I’ve found it! This is one health book I would describe as truly great. There are a lot of health books these days that I find interesting, but this is one of those very rare ones that seems to have been written by Nature itself. From the appropriate title, Awakening Nature’s Healing Intelligence, to the last page, it reads like a contemporary scripture. Like the petals of a flower which blossom in perfect sequence, so does the profound knowledge contained in this book unfold. Dr. Hari Sharma is eminently qualified to write on this subject. He is chairman emeritus at Ohio State University’s College of Medicine and Public Health. A native of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India, he was trained in a Western-style school of medicine in Lucknow. Later he studied under the tutelage of the great sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who, together with India’s foremost Ayurvedic physicians, has refined and expanded Ayurveda into a potent medical system — the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health. Sharma’s book describes this system, its underlying theory, as well as the impressive body of scientific research on its various modalities. What is the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health? Dr. Sharma explains: "The focus of this comprehensive system of natural health care is on the underlying wholeness of existence and the structuring dynamics of intelligence that give rise to the human physiology. Disease is viewed as the result of the breakdown in the delicate balance of the coordinating intelligence that rules the functioning of the body. This breakdown occurs on a level deeper than organs, tissues, or cells — it results from the disconnection of intelligence from its source in wholeness. This concept of wholeness derives from the Vedic tradition and parallels modern physics’ discovery of the unified source of reality beyond the subatomic level. The insubstantial nature of material creation — as identified by both Vedic science and modern physics — cannot be ignored if we are to have a complete model of the human body and the nature of health and disease. As the only system of health care that provides a model for integrating this understanding of the deepest nature of reality with our current understanding of health and disease, the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health has much to offer." According to Sharma, the essence of the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health is that healers should address healthcare holistically, as well as all the specific values that constitute health, i.e. physiology; intelligence at the basis of physiology; influence of the environment; influence of buildings in which one lives or works; influence of the distant environment: sun, moon, planets, stars; and the influence of collective health on society. While many of the modalities employed by the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health are similar to traditional Ayurvedic techniques, they have a strong emphasis on the element of consciousness, which renders them far more effective. For example, subtle Vedic sounds, which have been found to correspond to areas of the human body, have been very effectively used to heal chronic illnesses. This is Maharishi Vedic Vibration Therapy and functions at the subtle junction point where mind and body meet. Because he delves so deeply into the field of pure knowledge, Sharma highlights what is achingly missing from Western allopathy. The many shortcomings of modern healthcare stem from a lack of total knowledge of the mind and body interplay. And that total knowledge is lucidly, and I would say historically, presented in this book. All medical doctors and health practitioners should be required to read it! This book is not just for healthcare providers; anyone who is a seeker of wisdom will revel in it. If you really want to have the inside track on a profound approach to health, you will love this book. Without being a typical ‘how-to’ volume, it offers expert resources one can seek to pursue this path. And if you are even a bit as inspired as I am after reading it, you will want to do just that.

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