Acupuncture Philosophy - Pallavi Manohar D.M

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Posted by Admin on 06-10-2018 7:21 PM

Towards Understanding the Context of Acupuncture Philosophy 

By Pallavi Manohar D.M

Acupuncture as a health-care science is built on the philosophy of “The theory of five elements” (called as Panchabhutha in ancient Sanskrit and Anasir in Persian-Arabic literature). Hence, its diagnostics, treatment and practice must necessarily be seen in the context of this philosophy. According to this theory, in brief, all visible worlds of animate or inanimate matter is born of 5 primordial elements - fire, earth, water, air (metal in Chinese) and space or ether (called as wood in Chinese philosophy) under the influence of 2 primordial forces of nature (Prakrithi) comprising of Positive – Masculine polarity (called as Purusha in Sanskrit or Yang in Chinese) and Negative – Feminine polarity (known as Shakthi in Sanskrit or Yin in Chinese). Hence, all creations are perceived as springing from this field that comprises of 2 forces acting upon 5 elements.

Yet, as to how these mere 5 elements have created so many variations of the world is not a subject matter for concrete reasoning because the finding of these fundamentals belong in the intuitive know-how of the ancients. What matters is that these fundamentals that form the backdrop of Acupuncture have also been seen (albeit with variations) in other oriental streams of health-care like those of Ayurveda, Siddha, Verma, Unnani, Hijama, Herbal Medicines, Sujok, Inherited Traditional (Parampara) Healing Systems etcetera in oriental civilizations. What’s more important to note is that due to the sheer quality and quantity of successful treatments evidenced through this type of philosophy and practice, some of these streams have found a place of recognition worldwide in current times under the broad heading of CAM - Complementary and Alternative Medicine - and acknowledged by Ayush department of Health Ministry in India. However, this philosophy is yet to reach a place of eminence in mainstream consciousness due to the simple fact that Allopathy is mainstream health-care and successfully being so, with the consenting majority on our planet. This is one solid piece of the context to be evaluated and understood in the field of Acupuncture.

Allopathy is based on the understanding of Reason-based physical sciences; its understanding of atoms and the chart of chemical elements. In contrast, Acupuncture directly relies on Intuition-based science that flows from a perception that “a human is a graded organization” built of layers of invisible and visible bodies. Although Acupuncture relies on invisible dimensions to treat the visible dimensions of human, it is yet lagging behind from complete integration with the source of its own philosophy. Thus we find that Acupuncturists are a struggling lot either struggling against other streams of health-care or combining tools of other streams to heal the visible. What is needed to be understood is that the 2 forces and 5 elements of the Taoistic philosophy of Acupuncture is incomplete without its background setting. The fact exists indisputably that by reductionism, the 5 elements become the 2 forces in mutation and by same intuitive deductions must further move from being Bipolar to become Unipolar. Hence, it is open to be understood what it means to be unipolarised. This is the destiny of Human. This principle is to be found outside of health-care. It is to be found only in Spiritual training. Yet, even amidst Spiritual Systems, when it comes to practical measures for health, safety is sought in what’s dictated by convenience of the majority prevalent in the systemic mainstream psychology. Hence, Acupuncture philosophy - is left on its own to fend for itself.

Acupuncture treatment-protocol, based on 5 elements, claims superiority over multifarious Chemical- chart based methodology of Allopathy. However, in reality, acupuncturists may succumb to the forces of the multiplicity easily. Succumbing is but natural considering the gravity of the majority and the divine order of the free human will and human choice. Yet, the fulcrum of the world-struggle lies at the heart of acupuncturists. In brief, the movement of consciousness and practice of health-care must proceed from multifarious tools of chemical-world to 5 building blocks of energy-world. From here, it needs to escape the 2 trapping forces that build the polarity and transcend to the integral unity within. This is possible only through discovering Faith in oneself as the ultimate force and ‘Self’ as the causal cause of the reality of life. This then is the domain of Spirituality and meditation. It essentially transcends even the domain of religions because religious practices are deep rooted in exoterism.

Thus, the context of the future health-care, in Sufism language, is to train self and others in ‘esoterism’ to traverse from the circumference (Shariat) through the various unwinding realities (Tariqat) experiencing various States of Existence (Haqiqat) to arrive at the eternal perfection of the immutable single centre (Kamal - also called as Kendra Bindu in Sanskrit) - to arrive at the destination that has been pre-orchestrated by the ancient seers, prophets and elders of the human race of every civilization since times immemorial. In the background of this context, we can safely conclude that Acupuncture has re-arisen as an advanced form of health-care force from within India under the guidance of Dr. Fazlur Rehman (Father of Indian Acupuncture) by pronouncing that all disease is diagnostically reducible to a single point in the meridian system and the fulcrum lies in stimulating this one single point with one PRECISE THOUGHT exerted by the FAITH-FOCUSSED perception field of the stimulator.

However, it is to be noted that the stimulator alone cannot accomplish the result. It remains in the undivided faith stance and the field force of the stimulated as well. It takes two hands to make a clap happen. It flows from health practitioner to the patient, from teacher to the taught and from the Absolute to the Humanity. Thus, Acupuncture is itself a transitory field of consciousness wherein Humanity strives for single pointed focus and struggles its way to stay attuned to the adoration of the abstraction. Once this goal is achieved, what remains is adoration of the abstracted Absolute alone and the unswerving obedience to this Divine Will.

This arrival in fact may even lead to transcending the concept of Health itself and arrive at the concept of embrace in penance, foregoing the closeted boundaries of the body consciousness of Physicality and its entrapments. What this means to the straggling humanity is better to be left in the unsaid. It is sufficient to remember on an ending note that all of life’s sequences is but an interpretation and is better viewed as a page in the experiential Choices of Human Will. For an acupuncturist, this is the Tao that stares nakedly in the face every moment. This is the truth above all truth that needs to be comprehended and the guts it takes to travel from this unknown to the more unknown waters unlike the Allopathy practitioners who are very sure of what is Reality at all times simply because of the organization of science and industry that backs it all even in the face of errors of perception, omission or commission.


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The Goal and the Way, The Vedantic Approach to Life's Problems. St. Louis: The Vedanta Society of St .Louis, 1977.

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