Faith Healing in Garhwal Region of Uttarakhand
A Research byVikas Singh
Azim Premji University
Serial Number Content Page Number
1 Acknowledgment 3
2 Executive summery 3
3 Key words 3
4 Introduction 4
5 Methodology 6
6 Reflection on field work and proposal
7 Objectives/Answering three major questions of the study 6
8 Findings as per three primary questions 7
9 Faith healers responses 12
10 Responses from patients summarized 16
11 Temple healing 18
12 Conclusion and Recommendations-
13 References 19
First of all I would like to thank my field mentor ShriHarilalaMadhvan whose tireless support and continues guidance made this study possible. Without his guidance I could not have even framed my research question let alone conducting research.
I would thank all five faith healers who allowed me to take their interviews and who shared their valuable knowledge with me Shri Ratan Mani Nautiyal, Shri Matvar Singh, Shantu Das, Shibba Das and Sumer Singh Panwar. I would thank all the respondents those were integral part of this study.
I would also extend my respects to the temples I visited during my research as it gave me a mesmerizing feeling that enchanted me.
Last but not least I would thank Azim Premji University for helping me conduct this study.
I conducted my research in three districts of Uttarkhand namely TehriGarhwal (Jaunpur region), Uttarkanshi (NoganvPurola region) and Dehradun (Jaunsar region). Respondents were mostly tribal and OBCs (Uttarkhand has a different state OBC policy in which a whole area can be marked as OBC based on their cultural, social and economic statuses), however some respondents from general category are also included in study. In this study 5 faith healers from different places and with different areas of specialization (as they call it) and with different knowledge of faith healing methods have been interviewed thoroughly, with 17 patients those have used faith healing as a measure to treat their diseases. In the course of my two months independent study on faith healing I encountered many aspects of faith healing which will be explained further in the paper.
Faith Healing, Tantrik, Modern Medicine, Garhwal, Jaunsar, Jaunpur, Rituals, Sacrifices, Mantra, Medicine.
It is believed that treatment of human body started with no medicine but with supernatural measures. Humans have always been very close to nature since time immemorial, hence linked every event, occurrence and happening with nature which was but obvious. If things are in proper order and they are getting good amount of yields, fruits, meat, shelter and their body is healthy then it was considered blessings ofthe localdeities and spirits, but at contrary if they are not well, their land is struck with famine or some natural disasters have come upon them,then it was certainly considered to be the wrath of the local deities or spirits, thus started various ritualistic practices to please nature by various sacrifices. These sacrifices were offruits, grains, animals and sometimes human sacrifice too to avoid disasters, famine and to treat ailments.“History of Indian Healing Tradition” an article states that many ailments were treated by ritualistic practices in Vedic era.Indian medical tradition, itself has been divided into two streams which are folk (it includes knowledge of local herbs, roots and different practices of faith healing) and classical (institutionalized system like Ayurveda, Sidha etc.).
Even in 21st century a vast number of people believe in faith healing and go for it. There are many communities in India those whose doctors come with feather, smoke and Mantras not stethoscope. Like Gond community in Andhara, Bhotiya in Uttarkhand etc.In “Indigenous Medicine and Health Care among Paite Tribe of Manipur” NemianngiaGuitewrites about local heath tradition and a significant part of the book deals with faith healing in detail. A. N. Narayanan Nambi and Antonio Morandi write in their book named ‘An Integrated View of Health and Well-being, Bridging India and Western Knowledge’ that faith healers derive their knowledge from dreams, intuitions and environmental surroundings.
Similarly Garhwal is not an exception to faith healing. Garhwal, a part of the Himalayan state Uttarkhand, has a rich tradition of faith healing so much so that even major problems like snake bite, viral fever, jaundice etc. are being treated by faith healers. People of this place still believe on witches and they say that witches are so expert in their work that they can eat all the internal organs of a person while giving even a single not cut to the body and eventually that person will die. They find faith healers only solution for it. These faith healers are widely respected in the region especially in rural areas.
A local journalist of Uttarkhand (The Tribune) Ajay Ramola writes in an article that priests, faith healers have played a crucial role in their traditional medicine. The knowledge of their tradition is based on teacher student system that passes knowledge one generation to another. Some intellectuals believe that wild animals have played an important role in enhancing their knowledge. Ajay also writes that when he interviewedBirsu Das from Chakrata region of District Dehradun, he said that his grandfather used to keep a divine stone with him whom he used for the treatment of snake bite or spider bite.
A renowned writer of Uttarakhand Mr. Ratan Singh Jaunsariwrites in his book “Jaunsar and Babar, IkSanskritik, ArthikAvamSamajikAdhyan” that area of Jaunsar, Ravain, Babar and Jaunpur have always been under the influence of faith healing since the time immemorial. He also writes about how people end up losing their lives after getting stuck in the trap of faith healers. But he also writes about the miracles of temples that have treated innumerable patient. Dr. VachaspatiMaithani also writes about the same subject matter in his book “Garahwal Himalaya Ke Dev Sansktriti”.
It is an entirely qualitative study. I conducted in-depth interviewers with five faith healer and 17 patients. Although almost entire study was based on unstructured interviews which were but conversations. However I also followed some structural questions as well to stick to the subject. I spent 4 to 6 days with each faith healer to get thorough knowledge about faith healing. I only focused on primary data which was collected by me. In order to do justice to my study I read two books written by Ratan Singh Jaunsariand a book of Dr. Vachspatito know about local customs and culture and how faith healing is a part of it. I also read some other articles.
Reflection on field work and proposal-
When I wrote my proposal it was more like a vague concept. I was myself not confident what I was going to do. But with help of my mentor I was able to write that proposal. I tried to stick to my proposal but it was quite difficult for me to stick to it. I had to compromise in many ways such as I was keen to conduct unstructured interview but had to drop the idea as I was not getting proper answer to my questions. I was assuming in start that it was going to be an easy task for me as I saw no complexities in it. But on field I had deal with many issues and one of such was making people give interview about faith healing. As they were shy and hesitant to answer my question. Some were little offended by me as they thought I may criticize their culture later in my study. But I managed to cope up with the situation as I managed to speak their language. At the same time I met people those who show tremendous support for my study. Overall I put my hard to stick to my topic as lots of new topics were coming in my mind.
The study revolves around three major questions those are interlinked and are supplementary to each other (My objective was to find answers to them). Answers to these questions are based on observations, learnings and respondent’s responses.These questions are following-
I. What is the scope and role of faith healing in local healing system in the field area? Analyzed from the perspective of faith healers and their clients.
II. How these faith healers are establishing their legitimacy?
III. What are the major factors leading to higher demand for faith healers- even though there is development in bio-medical science, sophisticated modern technology and dissemination of modern medical systems?
To get clear answer to these questions one must not stick to the three following answers but should also analyses whole study paper.My objective of this study was to look into many dimensions of faith healing and to observe different aspects of it that were mainly social, economic and cultural.
Findings as per three primary questions-
1 Scope and role of faith healing in local health system
This question cannot be directly answered as the responsesof respondents were vague in nature. To understand role and scope of faith healing thoroughly, local health system must be understood first. Local health tradition of the area is a mix of Ayurveda and TantraVidhya(A supernatural way to treat ailments). Faith healing in the area not only includes Tantra Mantra, different sacrifices but also includes local herbs, roots, wild fruits etc. And there is a wide variety of faith healers with many specializations,some are experts of casting away evil eye, some only deals with jaundice, some know the Mantra of Snake and Scorpionbite, some are specialized in treating stomach related problems etc. Therefore almost every demand can be fulfilled by these faith healers. They have different methods of healing people which will be explained in detail in further sections of this study paper.
A tribe called Jaunsari (Dehradun district) which is one the five tribal groups of Uttarakhand uses faith healing astheir primary health measure.Faith healing is still a prominent system of healing in area. Though a great shift has come in people’s behavior with commence of primary health care facilities. Education has also played a significant role in making people aware about demerits of faith healing or has exposed them to new scientific methods of treatment. Health camps like polio, eye checkupand immunization by government and some other private charity groups of doctors, Rotary Clubmembers are being held in area time to time. Thus it has helped in spreading health awareness among locals which has shaken the roots of faith healers but because of government and state administration failureexpected change are not gaining speed. Most of the time doctors do not come to the hospital as they have to come from cities (although some doctors live in nearby towns). In general doctors do not wish to get posted in hilly regions because of its geographical issues. And this gives a golden opportunity to faith healer to reclaim their territory or their patients.
Hence it can be concluded that though the future of faith healing is not bright but at the same time scope of faith healing is still there as people still have more faith on the people whom they meet daily, to whom they can reach easily, and with whom they can talk on daily basis. They treat their daily ailments with the help of faith healers. If someone gets fever by being frightened by something which they call spirit then that person or his family will directly approach to a faith healer and get some chanted ash or water from him. But to my astonishment some faith healers and some rural people revealed that cause of fever need not always be a vision of evil spirit but a person may get frightened by bush, shadow, seeing a dead body, with the sound of thunder bolt orin day time in valley nearby water spring which they called “Gadera” etc. may cause him or her fever. This in some way or the other affirms that human psychology plays a vital role in health related issues. So in this case they never go to a doctor but trust a faith healer who charges nothing for his chanted ash which is called “Bhabhut” and water which is called “MantrienPani” or “Chanted Water” and as they said this makes them well within a day or two. But if situation is really worse,then they go would approach medical health as last resort (though in some cases last resort is faith healers).
2 Establishment of legitimacy by faith healers
When it comes to the establishment of legitimacy, faith healers are very expert in that.It has already been mentioned that most of my study is conducted in tribal and OBC areas of Uttarakhand. Most of the people of these areas were never under British Empire (though in the year of 1816 some part of Dehradun district came under British Raj while other remained in the kingdom of Garhwalunder the kingship of Tehri’s King who was considered as a representative of lord Badrinath). Hence the area remained untouched by Britishers and no advancement in terms of infrastructure, roads, education, and health etc.could take place in the area.Education was only restricted to some “Brahmans” not all (not literary but Brahmans were ones those who were interested in getting themselves educated. Life of hilly region is so tough that others castes did not have time to get involved in educational related activities as they had to work really hard to meet their end needs. Although some highly rich Rajputs also received education if they wanted). While for others source of their education was their parents. Because it was a hilly area so there were very few schools and that too were locatedin administrative cities or in pilgrimages like Haridwar and Hrishikesh. And same was the condition of hospitals and health care education. Mussoorie and Dehradun two major developed city (as of then and in terms of education and health care services) were under British rule therefore access to these two was also a subject to great difficulties. Hence area remained untouched till 1949 when it was merged in republic of India. Therefore faith healer and Vaidhyas were the ones patientsvested their trust on.
The area is OBC and ST thus they have been given some privileges to perform their cultural rites. And faith healing has gotten the shelter of such privileges. There is no control over its practice in the area. The only intervention which is done in area to make people aware about its ill effects is done by TV and Radio not by government machinery. Situation is such that even MLA and ministers are clients of faith healer and have an unflinching faithin them. A well know Politician of the area with the condition of confidentiality revealed that his daughter was suffering with some mental health issue and he had checked with many doctors and psychiatrists they gave medicine which could not stop her visions which as he said she used to perceive. Her problem was so severe that she would walk to the wild at any time of day or night, she behaved in a strange way and sometimes all of a sudden used to get wet in sweat and her body would shiver with fever. This went on for about two years with medication but eventually with the advice of someone he approached a Tantric faith healer who performed an old Tantric rituals in his house for 7 days and at the end of the day he performed hisTantric worship nearby a spring and at a squareat night where he offered some grains, pulse, a piece of cloth, bronze plate and sacrifice of an hen. He gave some chanted ash, some rice grains to eat at the morning and at night and a piece of root with one “Tabiz”with some instructions. He said that they followed his instructions and their daughter got healed. In return to his service they gave faith healer a large amount of money with grains, pulses and eatables.
This might be a case of psychological satisfaction which led her to get treated but when an appealing and well known Politian shares this story with so much confidence to other common people then definitely people will get attracted and their trust on faith healers will become more strong. And this in some way or the other legitimizes faith healing when these faith healers have a good number of clients those who belong to an upper strata of the society.
3 Major factors leading to higher demand for faith healers
It cannot be claimed that there is a higher demand for faith healers however they are a significant part of local health tradition of the area. They still have a large share of patients. Following are the reasons why faith healers are still in demand in spite of significant bio-medical advancement, availability of resources etc.
Lack of Education
Lack of proper education is a most prominent reason thatis keeping demand of faith healing alive. Though for the sake of reading and writing most of the people are literate but there is a huge difference between being literate and being educated. People in this part of geography link every disease with spirits, gods, fairies and ghosts. They believe in Tantras and Mantras. Even if a person is bitten by snake he would be taken to a faith healer who deals with snake bite. Although in my study 4 respondents suffered snake bite and they said they did not go for medical treatment but went to faith healer who treated them. In these cases it might the possibility thatsnakes might not have be venomous.
Trust is another leading factor to faith healer’s demand. These faith healer are from same society itself and they meet their potential patients quite frequent which builds a trust in them. People believe that faith healing works and healers possesses this knowledge of treatment which mostly they pass on to the male member of the family and this legacy goes on.
Treatment by faith healing is much cheaper than compared to modern medical system which includes doctor’s fees, medicine fees, travel cost which usually is higher. Although government hospitals are cheap and charges only insignificant amount of hospital fees but most of the time they prescribe medicines from outside which are again costly.Hence if the people from this place catches fever or seasonal flew then they tend to get chanted ash and water from a person from their own village for free of cost and gets treated.Almost all people of the area get their jaundice treated by faith healers who mostly do not charge anything but advise them to eat a particular kind of food stuff. And treatment of jaundice in a government and private hospital may cost them a lot. And there are many other diseases for which people approach faith healers first, then doctor if the case is serious. This also should be understood and taken into consideration that their practices are not solely based on Mantra chanting but they also use herbs, roots, leaves of some plants that may have some medicinal quality which helps in treating diseases.
Nevertheless some faith healer those who practice sheer Tantra system and priscribe on animal sacrifice may cost more than the modern medical treatment may have otherwise cost. But fortunately very few people goes to such Tantrics.
This area has its own geographical constraints such as roads are not well maintained and gets blocked even in a single heavy rain. And once the roads are blocked it may take many days to construct it again for traffic.Every village doesn’t enjoy proper road connectivity thus when someone falls sick he is bound to go to the faith healer for primary treatment. And faith healers take advantage of this situation especially in winter and rainy season.
Faith healing has been an integral part of their culture since time immemorial. And they have unflinching and unalloyed faith on their local God whom they call “Mahasu”, “Botha”, “Bathtu” etc. They believe that their local demigods can treat everything and it is evident in their local songs in which they thank their demigods for keeping them healthy and treating their disease. People of this area possess a strange old scripture which is written in their language that a common man can barely understands. This book includes many methods of faith healing and pleasing deities. The book is regarded very sacredly hence people have conferred their trust in it.I as of now there are very few books are remaining as most of them are either destroyed or lost. People in this area also believes that if their family is continuously getting some kind of disease or meeting accidents then it might be because of the wrath of their family or local God. To please their local deity people go to faith healers. They believe that merely pleasing their deity with prescribed offerings their ailments will get vanished.
Faith healers responses-
In this study I interviewed five faith healers to know different aspects of faith healing, their perspective towards itand how do they treat their patients etc. Part of the same is summarized below.
Ratanmani is 77 years old educated Vaidya who also practices faith healing. He is from Kudaun village of Jaunpur reason ofTehriGarhwal district. He belongs to a Brahmin family and also is priest at his village’s temple. He is a Vaidya therefore he treats almost every disease with his traditional knowledge. He mostly uses local herbs, medicinal plants, roots of some bushes which carry medicinal qualities etc. to treat his patient but sometimes he also uses Mantras for treatment. He charges 100 rupees as his prescriptionfees and charges for his medicines are additional. He has a good number of ever growing clients. Ratanmani claims that most of the people come to him after they are done with doctor and allopathic medicines. And he treats their diseases which even doctor could not treat.
Upon the question of faith healing he told me that being a Brahmin he knows some Mantras and rituals which can treat disease like mental depression, weakness, constant body pain, GrahDasha (that cause distress, illness or may result in injuries etc.).
However he believes that medicines are more effective and powerful than Mantras.
2 Matwar Singh Rawat
Matwar Singh Rawat is a 76 years old man. He belongs to Dwargrah village of TehriGarhwal district. He is Rajput by birth and studied up to 5thstandards with which he was apparently the only person of his age who studied up to 5thstandards. He was a post master in his young age and resigned the job for village head man post. He has good knowledge of the area in terms of its history, cultural practices, festivals, tradition, local flora fauna etc. And because of his vast knowledge of the area he used tobe invited by well-known institutions of Mussooriesuch as LalBahadurShashtri Academy, Wood Stock International School etc. to give lecture on Garhwal history, culture and issues related to Garhwal etc.
As far as his faith healing knowledge is concerned he gives chanted water and “Bhabhut” or chanted ash to people suffering with little fever, body pain or are frightened with some object, sound or spirit.To get chanted water a person has to bring a glass of water, Cow Urine with “Dub Ghas” which is a sacred grass and also used in fire sacrifices. He mixes some “Ganga Jal” water of holy Ganges and “GowMutra” cow urine in that water and then roles the grass in water slowly with chanting some mantra in his mouth which are indistinct to ears.He does it for five minutes then gives it to the patient tells him or her not to put down the pot of water and sprinkle it around the body of the patient and if your fever doesn’t get subsided then visit the doctor. For making “Bhabhut” he chants “Hanuman Chalisa” and some other mantras in it. Bhabhut is meant to apply on body. He said he charges nothing for it and do it as a free service or act of gratitude to the God.
When I asked him about his Mantras then he revealed one interesting thing to me that he had learnt this water chanting Mantra from his maternal uncle who was the only person in that village to know this method. He didn’t have any children hence he passed his legacy to his nephew. But he told me that in actual he had forgotten the whole Mantra years ago as it is a long prayer, he remembers only some part of it.I asked him about its effects on patients, for this he related that he only satisfices people’s faith and fear. People believe that some evil eye has casted her ill effects on them and the chanted water and ash can save them therefore they come to take it. And once they are satisfied psychologically their mind makes their body well. He said he doesn’t reveal it to them because if he does so then they may approach another faith healer who may cheat them by prescribing many things and charging them a heavy amount of money. So if they don’t get well then they directly go to the doctor not to other faith healer which is good for them.
He concluded that a firm faith, trust, positive thinking and strong belief help in the treatment of diseases. He related that a mentally depressed person loses his skin color, black patches appears on his or her face, his or her body gets weak and loses weights etc. and a positive wave, positive thinking and a belief can get them back to their beautiful body.
3 Shibba Das
Shibba Das is a 50 years old man from Ponti village of Uttarkanshi district. He is illiterate and belongs to a backward caste. He is a Tantric faith healer who says that every disease is caused by wrath of the God, ghos, witches, fairies etc.
I went to him meet him to his home.He had a considerably well-furnished big house that is not common with every Tantrik. I asked him about Tantra techniques and how does he comes to know that a particular person is cursed by a particular person’s curse or by ghosts, witches etc. He said he is a devotee of “Devi” goddess and “Devi” helps him know the cause of a particular disease. He said that he also calls upon spirits and asks them what they need for leaving the patient’s body. He showed an old book to me which I could not read though it was written in Dev Nagari script but had some other characters to. He makes people see things in oil pots. At first he uses black pulse and rice grains and scatters it on a plate and asks questions to the plate by throwing grains on it and then calculates it. He uses many methods in order to heal someone. After knowing the reason of the disease he performs a Tantric worship. In order to complete the worship most of the time he proposes animal sacrifice with other valuable articles.
He also charges a considerably huge amount of money from his patients. And this is the only occupation his does.
4 Sumer Singh Panwar
Sumer Singh Panwaris a 66 years old shop keeper in Laksiyar village of Jaunsar, Dehradun district. He is a well-known faith healer in the area and treats jaundice. He also belongs to a Rajput family. People from all over Jaunsar, Bavar and Jaunpur approach him for jaundice treatment. He charges no money for it and practices it only on Fridays and Sundays. These are the days he says that his Mantra works to full of its potential. He says he learnt it from his father who used to be the well-known jaundice healer in the area.He says when a person approaches him with jaundice he makes him or her sits on a wooden stool and takes out his bunch of some grass or some kind of bush and then roles it around patient’s body many times along with indistinct chanting of Mantras. He gives no medicine to the patient but he advises him or her not to take food which have hot potency or are hot in nature. The patient is also restricted to eat oily and spicy food. He said that a person has to come three times to him to get treated. He also uses one another method in which he makes patient sit in same posture as earlier and puts an oil plate in front of him and then roles a poisonous grass on his head and does it several times that’s how he treats jaundice. And he also does it for free.
5 Shantu Das
Shantu Das is a 59 years old man, who calls himself drummer of god. He is a faith healer and deals with various ailments like disease, evil eye, fever, body pain, fevers in infants etc. but the major crisis he deals with is snake bite. Although these days, due to the spread of health awareness some people take a snake bite case to hospitals but most of the people are taken to faith healers. But as I came to know from the people most of the snake bite patient taken to hospital do not survive as hospitals are very far. Hence most of the people are taken to faith healers to get treated. When a patient with snake bite is taken to Shantu Das he firstly ties a cloth right above the area where there are marks of snake’s teeth to prevent poison reaching whole body. Then he puts the patient in a big basket kind of thing made up of bamboo. After one is put in the basket no one is allowed to touch the patient.Shantu Das gives a lot of Cow Gee to patient to drink. At last he takes a feather of eagle and chants Mantras while rolling it on patient’s body and in this way he treats snake bite. He told me that most of the people who are brought to him get treated but sometimes when a person is brought to him happened to be already dead. But he believes that if a person has to die that person would die in few hours of snake bite but once a person is brought to him he never lets that person die.
Interestingly he charges nothing for the treatment of snake bite but for other ailments he takes Dakshina.
Responses from the patients summarized
I interviewed 17 people those who had been through faith healing at some point of their lives. I cannot go on describing every single person’s response. Hence I would be summarizing all the responses by analyzing and understanding all of them.
Responses which I got from people were mostly contradictory to each other. As some people said that they believe in faith healing and got treated by it while others said that they used to believe on it which led them get deceived by faith healer and loss ofa significant amount of money. Such was the case of Hukum Singh Kaintura. He is a farmer with uncertain economic condition. He shared his story that about 11 years back his daughter committed suicide by drinking poison. And right after that his another daughter caught sever fever. He said he went to a local doctor but his daughter’s condition could not improve. Therefore he was advised by villagers and relatives to approach a faith healer as they were afraid that some evil eye has casted her negative energies on his family. He went to Shibba Das, I have already discussed about him. He told him to perform animal sacrifice with some goods which included cloth, bronze plate, some gold, eatables etc. He did everything but nothing happened, he went to another faith healer and same story was repeated again. And thus he was looted by two faith healers. He said he had to borrow a big amount of money from his relatives and friends to get all the ceremonies done. In one other case where Suresh Singh says his father was attacked by paralysis hence they approach not one but many faith healers to get him treated but nothing worked rather they lost a huge amount of money. There were many such other cases in which Tantrik faith healers ransackedinnocent people. Yet on the other hand some respondent said that their diseases were treated by faith healers while doctors failed to treat or find out what the disease.Vikram Singh Rawat from BarkotUttarkansi district. Who is a well-educated guy and have worked under a renownedlawyer said that once his 1 year old girl fell sick and her condition was serious they took her to both government and private hospitals inMussoorie and Dehradun but no doctor could trace the disease. All of them said that girl was alright with good weight and other health indicators. But he says she was not well and many times turned blue and cold. She wcould go unconscious for many minutes and cry for hours. Hence he used to put BhagwadGeeta on her head which calmed her for a moment. Then he took her to Shantu who gave him a Tabij with some holy ash that he was told to apply on girl’s forehead. He did it for 7 days. And this process healed his daughter.
Shusila Devi from Jaunsar said that her son was born, 10 years after her marriage after they performed a worship atBhavani(Shakti) Temple.
Almost same responses I got from the people for some it became boon while other it turned out to be a bane.
Temple healing is also prevalent in area as people are more god conscious in area. They have their local gods whom they callChalda, Bhotha, Pabasik, Basik etc. These deities have their own ancient temples. The famous temples are Hanol, Basoi, Laksiyar, Lakhward, etc. People have enormous faith in these deities so much so that they settle their land, jewelry and other legal disputes in the temple. Not only disputes but these temples also help in treating diseases which even doctors failed to treat (this is what respondent believed). People with mental health issues, pregnancy problems, skin diseases, leprosy etc. visit temple and asks benedictions from deities. They often take vow that if their desire is realized they then they would offer a certain number of sheep, Goat, gold coins or some other sacrifice to temple deity.Many of people I talked said that deities have power to treat any ailments and they had seen many people healed by the grace of deities.Temple Prasadam is often taken as medicine. A temple of Bhavani Devi is famous for bestowing children to the couples those who are devoid of children. The popularity of the temple can be understood by this that WWE start The Great Khali also visits the temple whenever he comes to India in hope of begetting a child.At contrary these deities also cause diseases mainly leprosy if they are offended by adherents.
Conclusion and Recommendations-
There cannot be an absolute answer to the question whether or so faith healing should be included in local health tradition and given some respect or should be rejected entirely. It has its pros and cons but at same time allopathic or modern medicines also have its pros and cons. It’s a debatable topic but as far as I saw the condition of faith healers have changed very drastically from past few decades especially of Tantric healers (and those who charge money), they have become richer than ever before. In early days these healers used to receive a fixed amount of grains after each crop harvesting, therefore no money was involved in the process of treatment (if there was then only 5 or 10 paisa that to for the sake of performing rituals) but these days they charge significantly large amount. I also observed that only lower caste healers charge money but upper caste healers do not charge even a single penny. It might be because they (Healers those who belong to SCs community) don’t have any other source of income. Faith healing has ruined many people’s lives who invested their lifelong property in the process of getting healed through faith healing and sometimes they end up losing their loved ones but at the same time there were people who are obliged to faith healer as they were ones who treated their untreatable (by modern medicine) diseases.
Though faith healing should not be endorsed but people like Matvar Singh and Ratan Mani can save many people’s time and money. There are faith healers who charge nothing and people see positive effects of their treatment. There should be a distinction between Tantrik faith healing and non Tantrik faith healing. Faith healing can also be divided in many parts. It can have various types. Some may be effective and devoid of deception while others may be opposite to it. But there should be more in-depth study on faith healing without any biasness.
Antonio Morandi, A N Narayanan “An Integrated view of Health and Well-being bridging India and Western Knowledge”. Chapter 7 “Health and well-being in Indian local health tradition”. Spring Cordrecht Heidelberg New York.
Upinder Singh, NayanjotLahiri, Ancient India: New Research, Oxford University Press, India 2010.
Zysk,K. Medicine in the Veda: Religious healing in the Veda MotilalBanarisidas, Delhi 1996.
NemthianngaiGuite “Indigenous Medicine and Health Care among Paite Tribe of Manipur”. Concept Publishing Company PVT. LTD. New Delhi – 110059.
Ajay Ramola, “Bountiful cures in Good Shepherd’s own land” The Tribune Uttarakhand Community. July 27 2015
Unnikrishnan E, “MateriaMedica of the Local Health Tradition of Payyarnnur”, Centre for Development Studies, Kerala Research Programme on Local Level Development, Thiruvananthapuram. 2004.
Dr. Larry Culliford, “History of Indian Healing Tradition, Science and society.
Dr. VachspatiMaithani, “Garhwal Himalaya Ki Dev Sanskriti” Gandhi Hindustani Sabha Sanidhi, Rajghat Delhi. 2004
Ratan Singh Jaunsari, “Jaunasar Babar, IkSanskritikAvamSamajikAdhayann”, Geetanjali Press Dehradun. 2006
Links which helped me in my study
Note-All websites have been accessed from September 2015 to October 2015
Email Id – email@example.com