In “Ghosts, Black Magic and the Witch Doctors—I” we came across so many horrifying categories of ghosts wandering here and there in dark with the sole intention of terrifying you and taking your life. Well, a couple of them were less dangerous still the encounters with them were not pleasant at any stretch of imagination.
Magic is an antidote, a spiritual treatment for those possessed by these naughty and dangerous evil spirits. This is the common belief of those who don’t pooh-pooh this ghost idea and very religiously believe in magic- black or white. Well, black magic is a negative façade of magic while white magic sends positive vibes. Still for good or for bad ends, the term of black magic is in common use. Magic is believed to be some coded knowledge. You decode it and acquire a power beyond imagination.
So many witch doctors- the sadhoos, aghories, tantriks and others practice in different ways to unfold the mysteries of magic-black or white in Nimtala Ghat in Kolkata, Mayong in Assam, Kamrup Kamakhya temple situated on the Nilanchal Hill in the western part of Guwahati and at so many places in India. The practices of aghories are obnoxious and blood-chilling- in the dead of night they do their penance at the cremation places with human skulls and dead bodies- it is said that they eat the flesh of dead bodies. Some of these practise their rituals through sexual acts in a bid to reach penance through intercourse.
If you happen to witness these witch doctors- tantriks and aghorees at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi or Nimtala Ghat in Kolkata or at other similar places in India, an unknown fear will rattle your nerves. They look like dangerous lunatics lost in themselves talking to the invisible spirits. And some of them are less fear inspiring by their appearance- they are like some average pundit clad in dhoti-kurta yet their chants and commands to the unknown and invisible spirits need guts to stand.
People with interest in Para- Psychology or those with whom, they suppose are the spirit-stricken patients go to certain places in India, which are seats of magic- black or white. Let’s take a cursory glance of those places. To begin with we travel to a small village Myong in Assam with many of mysterious stories in its fold. People say that Myong, forty kilometres away from Guwahati, is the capital of black magic in India. Everyone in this small village is a staunch believer in the powers of the unknown, the ghosts and evil spirits and exorcism to fight them all. You will find everyone with an incredible story at one’s lips. How a man can be turned into a beast or a bird by magical powers, a leaf into a fish or a fly and then all vanishes. But all depends to what extent one has decoded the coded knowledge. The witch doctor is called Bez in local tongue. At every step you will find a Bez here- almost hundred Bezs live in this village. It is believed that they have enslaved many spirits and they cure the diseases with the help of these invisible ‘junior doctors’ In the cases of acute pain, they stick a copper plate at the back of the patients, the copper plate absorbs all pain, gets hot and falls on the ground. But financial hardship is there, the Bezs cannot survive on their magical practice alone so they work in the field as mere labours.
Mayong has an unwritten history of black magic in its folklores and verbal transition of incredible stories from generation to generation. But if you explore the Mayong Central Museum and Emporium, you can find some ancient books on black magic.
Now we move from one mysterious place Mayong to another mysterious place Kamrupa Kamakhya temple. In fact, this temple links with a Hindu mythology of Lord Shiva, the immolation of his wife Sati in the yagya pyre of her father and then the tandav (destruction dance) of Shiva carrying the corpse of his wife on his shoulders. The places where the organs of the corpse fell became a shaktipeeth (seat of power)—the temple of Kamrupa Kamakhya is one of them.
I am struggling today. If you’ve ever struggled to be consistent with something you care about, maybe my struggle will resonate with you too.
It has been 939 days since November 12, 2012. That’s the date when I first published an article on JamesClear.com and it’s almost 2 years and 7 months ago. During these 939 mostly glorious, sometimes frustrating days, I have written a new post every Monday and Thursday. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.
TODAY, I FEEL LIKE GIVING UP
But today? Well, today I am struggling. Today, I don’t feel like writing. Today, I don’t feel like sticking to the routine. Today, I don’t feel like I have any great ideas and I don’t feel like I have enough time to make the good ideas great. Today, I feel like giving up.
Here’s what I try to remind myself of when I feel like giving up…
YOUR MIND IS A SUGGESTION ENGINE
Consider every thought you have as a suggestion, not an order. Right now, my mind is suggesting that I feel tired. It is suggesting that I give up. It is suggesting that I take an easier path.
If I pause for a moment, however, I can discover new suggestions. My mind is also suggesting that I will feel very good about accomplishing this work once it is done. It is suggesting that I will respect the identity I am building when I stick to the schedule. It is suggesting that I have the ability to finish this task, even when I don’t feel like.
Remember, none of these suggestions are orders. They are merely options. I have the power to choose which option I follow.
DISCOMFORT IS TEMPORARY
Relative to the time in your normal day or week, nearly any habit you perform is over quickly. Your workout will be finished in an hour or two. Your report will be typed to completion by tomorrow morning. This article will be finished in just a moment.
Life is easier now than it has ever been. 300 years ago, if you didn’t kill your own food and build your own house, you would die. Today, we whine about forgetting our iPhone charger.
Maintain perspective. Your life is good and your discomfort is temporary. Step into this moment of discomfort and let it strengthen you.
YOU WILL NEVER REGRET GOOD WORK ONCE IT IS DONE
Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” So often it seems that we want to work easily at work worth doing. We want our work to be helpful and respected, but we do not want to struggle through our work. We want our stomachs to be flat and our arms to be strong, but we do not want to grind through another workout. We want the final result, but not the failed attempts that precede it. We want the gold, but not the grind.
Anyone can want a gold medal. Few people want to train like an Olympian.
And yet, despite our resistance to it, I have never found myself feeling worse after the hard work was done. There have been days when it was damn hard to start, but it was always worth finishing. Sometimes, the simple act of showing up and having the courage to do the work, even in an average manner, is a victory worth celebrating.
THIS IS LIFE
Life is a constant balance between giving into the ease of distraction or overcoming the pain of discipline. It is not an exaggeration to say that our lives and our identities are defined in this delicate balance. What is life, if not the sum of a hundred thousand daily battles and tiny decisions to either gut it out or give it up?
This moment when you don’t feel like doing the work? This is not a moment to be thrown away. This is not a dress rehearsal. This moment is your life as much as any other moment. Spend it in a way that will make you proud.
LET THE WORLD DECIDE
So, what do I do when I feel like giving up? I show up.
Do I show up at my best? I doubt it. But my job isn’t to judge how good or how bad I am.
How soothing it is to hear a tune of Beethoven or Mozart or the classical Indian ragas in the corridors of hospitals. Or direct into a patient’s room? Generally we associate hospitals with the smell of medicines, the sound of mayo scissors, forceps, clamps, etc not with the music of a tank drum, a ukulele, a sitar or a harmonium. But why music in the hospitals? The plain answer is: MUSIC HEALS
Yes, not only the medicines but music also heals. So now the term music therapy is not that unfamiliar to the ears and we are now interacting with certified music therapists. And we have registered the impact of music in the cure of so many ailments. It is surprising. But true.
When we go for a surgery, anxiety grips us and a certain dose of sedatives is must. It is surprising that the patients of knee surgery, cardiac angiography and colonoscopies were administered music before the procedure and lo, they had lesser anxiety and they needed a reduced dose of sedatives than the normal doses given during such operations!
It sounds miraculous but it has evidence that music restores lost speech. Former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords is an example whose speech ability was destroyed by a gunshot. She used a technique of singing her thoughts and then gradually dropping the melody and recovered her speech.
It again appears unbelievable but the controlled clinical trials have proved that music has become a tool in cancer therapy also. The cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy have anxiety, nausea and vomiting. Listening to music has reduced these tendencies.
Two more examples of music therapy are very revealing about the power of music- it works for the patients suffering with dementia and mental illness as well. Listening to music has helped the dementia patients in recalling memories. Music has played a positive role in the issues of mental health also.
Now we know that to support medical treatment there are complimentary treatments. They are yoga, creative art, etc. Music is also one of them. But music therapy is easier of all. You don’t have to take much of pains and much of your pains is relieved. You just have to hear soothing music as prescribed by the music therapist; you don’t have to show creativity, you don’t have to stretch your body as you do in yoga and you get the results.
Now that the mysteries and power of music are being revealed, when it has made its official entry into medical science, we, the moderns should not pat our back for the novelty of the invention. Therapy by music is not a new concept. If you flip the pages of history back to Plato and give a cursory glance at The Republic, you cannot skip over these lines: “Music is most sovereign because rhythm and harmony find their way to the inmost soul and take strongest hold upon it, imparting grace, if one is rightly trained.” These lines say much but if we go far back in 4000 BC we find harp-playing priests and musicians for music healing. And if we rush forward to the Middle Ages healing by music was in more specific terms. For gout there was alternating sound of the flute and the harp. The therapy by music had taken a form but somewhere it was considered to be magical. The late 19th century cleared the mist of superstitions and Herman von Helmholtz, the German physicist and trained physician the pioneer of physiology of acoustics came forward with the idea of the emotional effects of harmonies on the human psyche. He opened the path for music as a tool of therapy. In 1914, Evan O'Neil Kane moved the phonograph into the operating room and tackled the “horrors of surgery” of the patients as the music reduced their anxiety. Decades rolled by and music became auditory analgesia. Now studies are going on and scientists are investigating the benefits of music on patients in intensive care unit.
The Holy Bible says in the beginning there was ‘word’, the Quran refers the voice of ‘kun’ and the Hindu mythology the sound of ‘om’- these are musical words which claim the creation of universe. The world knows the power of music from ancient times and now in the 21st century we bow down to its healing power. Let’s search the chords within our hearts and heal the world with music of love.
Top Rated Authors
Literary & Classical Culture
Sign In Required
Please sign in to continue using this site.