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At the Feet of The Mother

Illness in Yoga – Sciatica

Poor Nature! When it found it impossible to disturb my sadhana by some subtle psychological means it resorted at last to physical means — pushing up my dormant sciatica!

I hope it will soon be pushed out — meanwhile it need not disturb anything in the inner realisation.

I feel the pain only in the lower abdominal parts and the thighs.

That is all right then. Sciatica is of course an illness of the lower part of the body — the legs especially. But it should go out from there.

The pain is increasing. I have started using the Mother’s Force on it.

If you get rid of it by the Force, so much the better, but if it increases like that then physical treatment will be necessary.

The difficulty is that there is no known remedy for sciatica except perhaps hot sulphur springs which don’t exist here. We shall have to cure it by constant application of the Force, but it is very obstinate.

Shall I take Prasad[1] for the cure of sciatica?

It is not necessary — we will see for a few days more before resorting to any physical means.

What about work during sciatica?

Do the work when you can — i.e. when the sciatica is not too strong for you to work.

Rest has to be taken to avoid overstrain due to the pain — but it does not cure the sciatica. So entire inactivity may not be good.

Last night the sciatica-pain shot up suddenly at three o’clock waking me from sleep. I struggled hard, but in vain to control it, and then got up from the bed. After this the condition became worse, for the pain reached up to the brain and I almost fainted!

It was evidently a result of the pain on the nervous system. The nerves communicate with the brain and the pain must have gone up there. It seems to me something might be done at least to diminish the pain. The Mother says some medicines have come from France and she thinks there is something for sciatica among them. These medicines are new discoveries and some of them have been found to be extraordinarily effective. You might consult Nirod about it.

It won’t do to go on like this (with the sciatica in such an acuteness). I am writing to Nirod to go and see you. If he can do something to get rid of this attack, we will see afterwards.

I told you to consult Nirod because the sciatica was becoming so acute as to send the pain up in the brain, not to speak of its interfering with the sleep and the sadhana.

Could you kindly tell me what makes the sciatica appear so suddenly and also withdraw automatically?

It is quite usual for an adverse Force once it gets hold to take up a rhythm like that.

How is it that the sciatica persists so much in spite of the application of the Force?

It is evident that the body has been allowing the opposite Force to take possession of it.

The difficulty is the body’s habit of replying to the contrary Force. Everybody has that habit, so there is nothing strange or unusual about it.

Some strong suggestion came, announcing: “A powerful and violent attack of fever is already on the way.”

Such suggestions should always be rejected. They are meant to make admissions for the illness easier. If they are rejected, there is less chance of the illness coming.

There is no improvement in my constipation and sciatica. Continuing for a year they seem to be stabilising! This is really too much.

Obviously. The first thing to do is to get rid of the constipation. Perhaps you could try Ambu’s asana, if your sciatica allows?

Could I leave the constipation to be cured by the Mother’s Force or just forget about its weakening effects and go forward?

If it persists you have to work on it yourself either by asana or otherwise.

I have told Nirod he can treat for constipation. Continued constipation is the root of all sorts of diseases and cannot be allowed to continue. Chronic constipation (you told Nirod; he says, it has been there since you came here) cannot be cured in two days by the Force. The habit of this kind takes long to be changed.

My diet has gone down much. Dr. Nirod says what I eat is too little. But if I eat more some trouble starts in the stomach. I have become very weak. Even taking my daily bath tires me.

All that is itself largely due to the constant constipation. If you eat so little, especially at your age, weakness can easily come.

If one’s fatigue is really physical, then there is no use straining; if it is psychological in cause, it is better to react.

Since I can’t take more solid food may I take some extra milk?

That you can do. But it is an increase of the ordinary food that was suggested. What is the illness that forces you to decrease the food? Neither sciatica nor cold demand a decrease of food.

Could you kindly tell me what are the psychological reasons for fatigue in my case?

It is not a question of psychological reasons, but whether the fatigue is proper to the body or whether it is only due to a psychological state — e.g. the consciousness not supporting the body etc.

The doctor is repeatedly advising me not to be very active.

That is his remedy for everything. But I am not sure that increasing inactivity is good — whether it might not help to eternise the sciatica.

Is there no outer means for curing the sciatica?

There is no outer means. Sciatica is a thing which yields only to inner concentrated force or else it goes away of itself and comes of itself. Outer means at best can only be palliative.

If you cannot get rid of the sciatica by inner means, the medical remedy (not for curing it but for keeping free as long as possible) is not to fatigue yourself. It comes for periods which may last eight weeks, then suddenly goes. If you remain quiet physically and are not too active, it may not come for a long time. But that of course means an inactive life, physically incapable. It is what I meant by eternising the sciatica — and the inertia also.

Why the outer means?

The outward means had to be used because the body was not responding to the Force — on the contrary the sciatica was increasing.

I am not so particular about taking medicine for the sciatica unless of course it is the Mother’s will.

It is not a question of the Mother’s will. It is a question of finding some means to cure a persistent state of ill health. I don’t see why you should not use the medicine.

You once wrote about the passing of the Force through the body (to cure the sciatica). Is it impossible now?

Not if the body lets it pass.

For curing the sciatica shall I try the method of detachment?

If you can cure by withdrawing so much the better. The sciatica has often tried to fall on the Mother and on myself — we have always found that it cannot resist the force quietly and persistently applied. Other illnesses can resist, but sciatica being entirely tamasic cannot. The application of Force does not yet, probably, come natural to you, so it brings a sense of struggle, not of quiet domination, hence the restlessness etc.

You must arrive at a complete separation of your consciousness from these feelings of the body and its acceptance of illness and fix that separated consciousness and open the body. It is only so that these things can be got rid of or at least neutralised.

It is a detachment of even the physical mind from the pain that makes one able to go on as if nothing were there. But this detachment of the physical mind is not so easy to acquire.[2]

Even when the soul does not identify itself with the nature-parts, why are there so many difficulties, sufferings, revolts at present?

Because the mind does identify itself. If the mind as well as the soul kept separate, the higher vital would follow suit, and these things would become again suggestions only which could be repelled from the lower vital and physical consciousness.

You wrote yesterday about a complete separation of my consciousness from the feelings of the body and its acceptance of illness. But, when the whole head is affected by the pains, sciatica, cold etc. how can there be any separation?

There can. I do not agree. It is part of the tamas in you that you allow yourself to be obscured and overwhelmed by illness and naturally the hostile Force takes advantage of it.

My brother says that during sleep I put my hands on the thigh where the sciatica is. When the sciatica was in the right thigh, the hands were there. When it changed to the left, the hands also shifted their position! Is there any meaning here?

It is a natural movement of the hands to go where pain or uneasiness is felt. If one has force in the hands (vital or other) it may even have some palliative or curative effect.

Can a thing like sciatica persist even when the Force, peace and silence descend into the physical?

A special force is needed for that and the response of the physical.

Very often there is such a pull for the inner sadhana that I cannot lie down on my bed. Due to the sciatica-pain, it is difficult to sit on an ordinary chair. Could I be given an easy chair so that my body can rest while I follow the movement of the sadhana?

Mother does not believe much in an easy chair sadhana. In fact there is, I think, no easy chair but all the same you can ask Amrita.

What the Mother meant was that this meditating on an easy chair which is so common in the Ashram is a new thing to her and she finds it rather a tamasic habit. There can be no objection to a long sitting or to resting when you need it.

The sciatica-pain is up to the knee. I am given an easy chair but it has no foot-rest. It will be a relief if I can stretch my legs on something. Could I have a foot-rest?

Yes. But don’t let all these concessions to the physical prevent you from reacting against the tamas, otherwise you will become like an aged invalid thinking of nothing but his pains and maladies and unable to move.

During the present period why do so many fall sick in the Ashram?

It is part of the physical struggle.

Does not my throat pain denote a strong resistance of the physical mind, the throat being the centre of the physical mind?

Evidently, in its origin it must be due to that.

I sometimes despair because of the constant weakness of the body which, even when there is no sciatica, does not allow me to do prolonged physical work.

That also is tamas. If you throw off the idea of weakness, the strength would come back. But there is always something in the vital physical which is pleased with becoming more weak and ill so that it can feel and lament its tragic case.

But what about my enlightened inner parts? Why do they tolerate such a weak and sad state?

When the physical inertia came and suspended the higher experience, the vital demand awoke, the demand for the physical love and its satisfaction, so the awakened inner part of the vital could not act and the confusion increased, all became passive and helpless and there was no aspiration, inner action or reaction against illness and inertia.


[1] Food given by the spiritual guru which contains his Blessings and Power.

[2] Although I tried all sorts of medicines, injections and even asanas, my sciatica was not cured for three years. So I gave up attending to it and, during the periods it was not active I just forgot that I had it. I don’t know when exactly it got cured. I found how total the cure was when once during a cyclone I worked outdoors completely drenched in rain without any bad effect. I realised that to turn the consciousness away from all concern about a disease and living just in the faith that the Mother could take care of everything, was more effectual than even offering it to the Mother by a remembrance of the disease. To take away even the thought of the illness from the physical mind was a powerful help. This mind is a very important medium for both getting and curing illnesses.


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To be spontaneous means not to think, organise, decide and make an effort to realise with the personal will.