It is a well known fact that physical disease is usually accompanied by an altered state of mind. It could be fear and doubt, worry and despair, peevishness or anger that accompanies illnesses. This interlinking of mind and body has physical manifestations like raised BP, flushed face, rise in temperature when someone is enraged, the thudding of the heart, dry mouth after a bad fright, etc. The body instinctively responds to fight the disease or escape to what it perceives as a threat.

The strength of the mind is enormous. What we think and how we feel influences all our responses, and affects our physical bodies. Illness spotlights that part of the body that is afflicted by symptoms of illness with a change in physical or functional symptoms or with pain and discomfort.

Pain is the first response of the body to any disruption in the balance. Hypnosis can alleviate pain to an astonishing degree. Affirmations or the existence of mind’s control shows that it can change lives and deep-seated patterns, working as auto-suggestions. This is holistic healing, which accepts and reinforces an interdependency of mind and body.

Everybody has a threshold of pain. This is the level or limit on a scale, which when reached something happens or changes. Once we have reached the threshold of pain then it becomes part of us. When we cross the threshold then handling and absorbing the pain becomes effortless.

There was a great saint, a man of learning and spiritual enlightenment. He was greatly revered and sought after for answers to emotional and spiritual doubts and clarifications. As he grew older he was besieged by a tremendous stomach pain. Everybody wondered why such a man of austerity and spiritual enlightenment should be the victim of  a physical affliction. A devotee was bold enough to ask this question and also wanted to know how the sage could concentrate on his rituals and religious duties when the pain was excruciating.

“Firstly”, said the sage. “My pain is a part of my destiny. I carry with me the two bags of Paapa and Punya—sins and good deeds. This is baggage that my soul carries from body to body until I work out my cycle of karma and then gain moksha—the ultimate union with the divine and state of no birth and tranquillity”.

“How can I concentrate on my studies, my rituals and daily practices is your next question? This is simply done. Here is a blade of the khusha grass”, he said and placed a leaf of the grass one on the ground. The sage closed his eyes and became still, immersed in his concentration. Then the blade of grass started vibrating. The sage opened his eyes and said, “I have transferred my pain, temporarily to the blade of grass. When my business is done, then I will take back the pain”.

The devotee then asked him, “Why can you not transfer the pain permanently to the blade of grass and be free of the pain?”

“It is again my karma—the pain is mine and I have to bear it. I have the gift of setting aside the pain but unless I accept it and go through the cycle, it will come back to haunt me in the next life” he said with a smile.

“Pain is a very personal thing. When you fall ill, you may have the best medical care. You will be admitted into the most high-tech hospital and occupy a luxurious and comfortable room with the softest bed and pillows. The best doctors, the pretty nurses and loving family will surround you with care and concern. All this is due to your good deeds, the baggage that you carry from this birth and the previous ones. But the pain that racks your body and mind is solely yours—you have to suffer and bear it—that is the result of your sins and omissions” said the sage and closed his eyes to meditate on the infinite, pain and all.

The blade of grass stopped vibrating and lay inert on the ground!

Note: Nature and its products are an integral part of Hindu worship

The Holy Khusha Grass or Dharbham or Dharbai

Elephant grass (Desmostachya bipinnata), with long, sharp-edged blades, usually grows near water, and is found in abundance near River Ganges. As it grows near water, kusha grass is also considered a purifier just as water is a natural purifier. It also grows on brackish/salty water near river estuaries. It is a kind of tussock grass that commonlygrows in clumps.

The Kusha (sharp) grass is an important component Hindu religious ceremonies. The person who performs a ceremony, religious, auspicious and rites of passage, wears a ring made of this grass. Sanskrit slokas when recited with proper intonations and melody, produce lots of changes in the human body as this language is mainly based on phonetic vibrations. If the tune is changed or if the pronunciation of the words is altered, then the meaning of mantra is changed.  During recitation of mantras the person reciting the mantras is protected from the phonetic vibrations of the mantras by wearing a ring made of this grass (called pavithram or purifier) on the ring finger of the right hand. It is called Dharbham when it is fresh and the dry grass is known as Dharbhai .

The dried Kusa grass has one to four leaves. Each one has a specific role in Vedic rituals  and Temple worship and for other Hindu samskaras or ceremonies. Even Buddhism gives a special place to Dharbha grass during meditation as Lord Buddha attained enlightenment sitting on a mat of this grass under a Bhodi (Peepul) tree.

The Puranas (Scriptures) and Vaishnavas (followers of Lord Vishnu, the Protector) say that Khusa grass was formed when the hair on the the Koorma, the Tortoise—an incarnation of Vishnu—broke off during the churning of the ocean for nectar. It came to the shores of the milky ocean and became Kusa Grass.

It grows all over India and is especially collected on the first day after the Full Moon during the waning phase. A specific prayer is chanted before plucking the grass. Experiments with this grass have proved that this grass can absorb heavy radiations. Since ancient times this grass is used on eclipse days when powerful radiations strike the earth.  A cut piece of this grass is placed on all containers with water and food items during eclipse times so that the radiations do not spoil the food.

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, DeliriousGaelikaa,  GrannymarMagpie11Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get  different flavours of the same topic.

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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14 Responses to PAIN

  1. Excellent! Thank you. A great verification & reinforcement of something I do in an other-than-conscious way. I have various pains and they are a real pain. I really like Deepak Chopra when he writes about this kind of thing. Thank you! Colin


    • padmum says:

      Thank you—from you that is really special. Yes I do like Deepak Chopra. Have you read his novel ‘Buddha’? Great reading–makes the philosophy of Buddhism easily comprehendable.


  2. rummuser says:

    A great approach to the topic Padmum. And bringing in the law of karma with that story is brilliant. Ramana Maharishi and Ramakrishna too were asked about their painful conditions and their responses were similar though they did not transfer the pain to any other ‘thing’.


  3. Maxi says:

    This is an amazing post, Padmini. You have taught me things I had not known. That pain is the first response to imbalance in the body; that hypnosis can alleviate pain; Kusa grass can absorb radiation. Astounding!
    Blessings ~ Maxi


    • padmum says:

      All this is out there in the net, in our scriptures (all religions) and local beliefs of our elders. We have just shut up our ears and believe more in science and reserach than native wisdom.


  4. Delirious says:

    It would be nice to be able to transfer all of our pain to something else at night so that we could sleep well! But unfortunately, it seems that’s when pain affects us the most!


    • padmum says:

      Ah!! But you have to have achieved that level of enlightenment.

      I find hen I say my prayers at bedtime, it helps to transfer life’s problems and pains to the divine. I wake up next morning with renewed energy!!


  5. grannymar says:

    If all the pain I have endured in life is due to previous sins and omissions, I must be a really bad person.


  6. Barath Rajgopaul says:

    Padmini, I have recently been diagnosed as being “riddled with Osteo Arthiritis” and am under physio’s treatment which will end next Monday. I have had cortisone injections on both shoulders, and the Welsh Doctor I consulted through BUPA told me he was staggered that I had put up with the pain that I obviously must have suffered (by examining the MRA scan).My answer to him was ” That is the way it is, I only consulted the Doctor to bereferred to you when the pain was so severe that I could not sleep at night but more importantly it was interfering with my ability to concentrate on my work. So your write up is well received and understood. I also know how much you have been through so seems to be a family trait!


  7. Rohit K says:

    This was a very interesting post, especially what you said about Darbham, etc. Its strange as well that I read this post today when I was gathering material (esp. Darbhai) for a Tarpan ritual tomorrow. There’s got to be more than just chance to this. I’ve visited your blog after almost a year, and first post I read in detail is this, strange indeed! Thanks for the info though.


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