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Sri Aurobindo's Humour >> Medical >> Part II .. ...




MYSELF: X has profuse 'whites'.

SRI AUROBINDO: What on earth is this word? 'Winter? Wintes? It may be profuse, but it is not legible. For God's sake don't imitate me.

MYSELF; The word you tumbled upon is 'whites' meaning leucorrhoea. But I thought it should be our ideal to imitate you!

SRI AUROBINDO: Good Lord, what an hi I could not do worse myself.


MYSELF: She took one pill which she says gave her a lot of burning in her eyes. I washed her eyes, but it caused much uneasiness in the head. But the pill was quite harmless.

SRI AUROBINDO: All that is of course X's imagination. She decides in herself that the medicine is the cause of the burning and the uneasiness- Perhaps she decides it beforehand or another something in her decides it. If her imagination was equally effective for cure, it would be a great thing.

She writes to me that her eyes are a little better, but she is in dental anguish and as usual, all that is done by the doctor (dentist) makes her worse !


MYSELF: You have suggested that M's trouble may be a "policeman's disease" which comes from a prolonged standing. It is then quite possible for her to get it, for she is almost always on her heels. Why not apply some force and cure it?

SRI AUROBINDO: She has got too much force herself, though the heel may be, as with Achilles, her most vulnerable point; the force may not be able to get into it.


MYSELF: The ophthalmologist said that N's eye-condition has improved. He has advised to give salicylates for past rheumatism.

SRI AUROBINDO: All right—salicylate him as much as the Ost. likes. Queer! One has to be dosed not only for present and future but past ailments. Medicine like the Brahman transcends Time.




MYSELF: A says he can't work more than he would like to.

SRI AUROBINDO: What's that? Why should he want to work more than he would like to? Do you mean "as much as" by any chance?

MYSELF: Today's microscopic exam. shows that N has a soft sore which is contracted in only one way. And it is very contagious.

SRI AUROBINDO:If it is contracted only one way; why should I tell him it may be due to an indirect contact? If it is very contagious, how is it contagious? Only by one way? If so, nobody here is going to do the deed willingly, I suppose. Please clear this point and don't write Delphic oracles. Leave that to me as my monopoly.


MYSELF: You used an expression—kindly prescribe medically, which was not clear to me, for I thought we have done so. Don't you think that expression is a little more figurative; at least for my brain?

SRI AUROBINDO: Not at all, if you had only used your brains or your intuition or any blessed thing available and not being satisfied with a meaningless and hieratic 'usuals' instead of my matter-of-fact 'urinals'.


MYSELF: R asks me to send you these reports.

 SRI AUROBINDO: Reports no use unless the medical hieroglyphs are interpreted.


MYSELF: Today P came for her eyes. All on a sudden she burst out into sobs—God knows why!


SRI AUROBINDO: God doesn't.

P is a sort of weeping machine—touch a spring even unintentionally and it starts off.


MYSELF: No medical cases today.

SRI AUROBINDO: Hello! Golden Age come or what? No —for R's pain is kicking cheerfully again. It is telling her "your Nirod's potions and things indeed! I just went because I took the fancy. I go when I like, I come when I like. Doctors—pooh!"


MYSELF: What, Sir, mistake? where is my medical report book? Wrong book has been sent?

SRI AUROBINDO: Kept the wrong book (Reminds me of the Sultan of Johara who when the Englishmen on board his ship were inveighing in fury against the murder of Sir Curzon Wylie by an Indian, wanted to sympathise, and moaned with "Very bad! very bad! shot the wrong man!"


MYSELF: D's temperature was 101-4 in the morning; evening, 103,4. Had two half-boiled eggs in the morning as he was hungry because we starved him at night!

SRI AUROBINDO: A robust patient!

MYSELF: He says he has eaten two eggs out of greed, asks to be excused.

SRI AUROBINDO: Quite safe!


MYSELF: The pain of the patient gone and she had a beautiful long sleep. What do you think of it?

SRI AUROBINDO: Refuse to think—lost the habit.

 Good Heavens! After a life of sadhana yon expect me still to think and what is worse think what is right or wrong. I don't think even; I see or I don't see. The difference between intuition and thought is very much like between seeing a thing and badgering one's brains to find out what the thing can possibly be like. Intuition is truth-sight. The thing seen may not be the truth? Well, in that case it will at least be one of its hundred tails or at least a hair from one of the tails. The very first step in the supramental change is to transform all operations of consciousness from the ordinary mental to the intuitive, only then is there any hope of proceeding farther, not to, but towards the supramental. I must surely have done this long ago otherwise how could I be catching the tail of the supramental whale?


MYSELF: Mother is giving us doctors very good compliments, I hear, that we confine people to bed till they are really confined !

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Mother did pass on that epigram. Doctors were born to hear such remarks.


MYSELF: Surely Yogis ought to be able to try to bear a little suffering and you ought to encourage or allow, Sir!

SRI AUROBINDO : She is not that kind of Yogi. She would only scream and get as wild as Durvasa and stop going to the dispensary—apart from copious weeping etc.

MYSELF: A is passing excessive phosphate, shall we make a microscopic exam?

SRI AUROBINDO: Do you want to microscope him out of existence? The loss of .phosphate, I suppose; explains his weakness.

MYSELF: Shall we then turn a deaf ear to his complaints?

SRI AUROBINDO: What complaints? Micturition and phosphates ? Tell him to learn to economise his phosphates instead of squandering them and he will become strong and healthy as a tiger.


MYSELF: X has phimosis.

SRI AUROBINDO: What kind of medical animal is this?

MYSELF: That is a trouble causing difficulty in passing urine due to the narrowing of the orifice.

SRI AUROBINDO: My dear sir, if you clap a word like that on an illness, do you think it is easy for the patient to recover?


SRI AUROBINDO: Well, I don't know why, but you have the reputation of being a fierce and firebrand doctor who considers it a sin for patients to have an illness; you may be right, but tradition demands that a doctor should be soft like butter, soothing like treacle, sweet like sugar and jolly like jam.

MYSELF: A doctor says that one has to be firm, stern and hard with women. They may not like it superficially, but they enjoy it and stick to the doctor who gives them hard knocks. Cave-man spirit?

Dr. X seems no less a firebrand than myself, but women seem to like him.

SRI AUROBINDO: He must have been he-man. She-women enjoy it from he-men. But all women are not she-women and all men are not he-men. Moreover, there is an art as well as a nature in that kind of thing which you lack.

He is a he-man. Even so the women have ended by saying 'No more of X'.

MYSELF: If the tradition demands, we shall try to be softer than butter but we may be too tempting and evoke a response from the patient's palate for making delicious toast. Who will save us then?

SRI AUROBINDO: Of course, if you are too, too sweet. You must draw the line somewhere.


MYSELF: U now vacillates or hesitates thinking of pain, suffering, etc. and says—after all how much can it grow in 1 or 2 years? So I leave him with his tumour (on the neck).

SRI AUROBINDO: Mother was looking at his mango. It looked to her as if it was rather deep and would need more than a local anaesthetic. If he is afraid of the operation, no use operating.

MYSELF: Now all this question of operation is useless, because he says he is afraid. After all he has no discomfort and neither is it very big, he says, so let it be. Only I was thinking that if it grows bigger, as undoubtedly it will, unless your Force prevents it, what will be done then?

SRI AUROBINDO: No use doing it if he is afraid. Let us wait on the Gods and hope they won't increase the lipoma till it deserves a diploma for its size. An American skyscraper on the neck would be obviously inconvenient.


SRI AUROBINDO: R is sending me charts of the fever temperature of his cousin B (an Ashram nomenclature) who has been suffering from typhoid, enteric (so the Colonel Doctor of Hyderabad says), with affection of chest which was suspected to be pneumonia. Now in his first chart the progresses were 104°, 103°, 102°, 101º and an uninstructed layman could understand—but what are these damned medical hieroglyphs 30-112, 26-118, E 24-110, 24-110.

MYSELF: Now about the 'damned hieroglyphs' you don't understand, though I don't understand why you don't. If yon .only read Sherlock Holmes' science of deduction and analysis which I have done lately, you would have at once realised my remark.

SRI AUROBINDO: Sherlock Holmes arranges his facts beforehand and then detects them unlike the doctors.

MYSELF: Well, keep the chart vertically then it should at once be dear to you that the red line is the normal temperature line98.6 and the fever would be about 101.8. Then the figures below, what would they be? Well, your long association with doctors should have taught you (i) that in a fever chart pulse rate is recorded with temperature, (2) If that be so, between those pairs of damned figures one must be of pulse and which is it? Surely not 30, 26 because with that rate no charts would have been sent to you, (3) What are these 30, 26, 24 and 24 then? JUST a little bit of cool thinking would again point our. Sir; that they are respiration rates—normal being 20, 22 or so. Now are they simple and easy or are they not? Can you but say the same thing about your yogic hieroglyphs? By Jove, no!

And I give you only one instance in the other book. Let the Sherlockian vein be pardoned. One independent criticism: I don't know how they suspect pneumonia with s. respiration rate of only 30,26. It should bound up to at least 40. Instead, with a temperature of 102 °, it is only 24!

SRI AUROBINDO: (i) Never gave me one, so far as I remember, I mean not of this problematical kind.

(2) Naturally, I knew it must be the pulse, but what are the unspeakable 3os and 24s attached to them? And I didn't want the pulse, I wanted the temperature. However your red line which I had not noticed sheds a new light on the matter, so that is clear now. I was holding it horizontal because of its inordinate length.

(3) No, sir, it is not. What's the normal respiration rate anyhow? 32 below zero or 106° above? (N.B. zero not Fahrenheit but: Breathen-height)

There are no hieroglyphs in yoga except the dreams and visions-symbols and nobody is expected to understand these things.

But what about E? Extravagant? Eccentric? Epatant?

Well, both the doctors did that and one is a mighty man there, the Doctor of Doctors. But perhaps it's the fashion in Hyderabad to breathe like that when one has pneumonia. Anyhow pn. seems to have dropped out of the picture, and the 'D of Ds' tells only of typhoid and impossible re-activity of inactive germs of tuberculosis.

MYSELF: I chuckled; Sir, to learn that you held the paper horizontally, because of its length! And E is neither of those high-sounding "extravagant" words. If you had just looked about you for a moment lifting your eyes from the correspondence, you would have discovered that E stands for nothing but a simple evening clear?

SRI AUROBINDO: No. What has evening to do with it? Evening star? "Twinkle, twinkle, evening star! How I wonder what your temperatures are?" But I suppose Sir James Jeans knows and doesn't wonder. But anyhow E for Evening sounds both irrelevant and poetic.

MYSELF: No, Sir, it is not at all irrelevant, though poetic. I swear it is Evening. You know they take these pulse and respiration rates Morning and Evening of which M & E are short hands and one of which I suppose you will make mad and the other, one of the three you have divined! But what it this Jones—knows and doesn't wonder?

 SRI AUROBINDO: Jeans, Jeans, Jeans—not Jones!

 Sir James Jeans, sir, who knows all about the temperatures, weights and other family details of the stars, including E.

By the way, what do you mean by deceiving me about E in the Hyderabad fever chart? R wrote that E is the entry in the "Motions" column; it evidently means enema. Poetry indeed! Sunset colours indeed! Enema, sir! Motions, sir! Compared with that, ling bling is epically poetic.

MYSELF: I beg your pardon, Sir! Enema didn't strike me at all. But I hope it didn't make any difference in the working of your Force unless you enematised the patient too much.It is a pleasure to learn that one can deceive the Divine, however!

SRI AUROBINDO: If the Divine chooses to be deceived, anyone can deceive him just as he can run away from the battle, You are evidently not up to the tricks of the Lila.


MYSELF: Amrita says no water should drain into the street except rain water. But we have to wash frequently the Dispensary courtyard as it's too hot. What's the solution of the impasse?

SRI AUROBINDO: If it is for coolness, sprinkling ought to be sufficient. Why Noah's flood in a dispensary courtyard merely for antidoting heat?


MYSELF: V suffering from a simple pharyngitis—if that also must run its course of about 4 to 5 days, then the Force is playing the same part as the medicines—if at alt. Sir, I am thinking. Feels wretched. Begs for Mother's Grace 'and Force. Is it coming?

SRI AUROBINDO: V's illness is that? However simple, not surprising he should be wretched....Is he receiving it?

Think on! Think hard! Think, brothers, think!

MYSELF: Why Sir, seems you don't read the reports, well? I told you his was a congested throat—that means tonsils, pharynx—everything, and you ask—pharyngitis?

SRI AUROBINDO: Then why do you say a simple pharyngitis when it is "everything" under the sun?


MYSELF: Will R take up B. P. (Trachoma case)?

SRI AUROBINDO: I would rather wait for the moment.


¹ Running away.


R has A on his hands, two heavy luggages still in the town and Other lighter items.


MYSELF : Please ask Mother to give. some blessings to this hopeless self.







Vin. Ashirv m. VII
Recept. Chlor. gr. XXV
Aqua jollity ad. lib.
Tinc. Faith m. XV
Syr. Opt. Zss



12 doses every hour



MYSELF: What's this second item m your prescription, Sir? Too Latinic for my poor knowledge.

SRI AUROBINDO: Chlorate of Receptivity.

MYSELF: And I would put Aqua at the end to make it an absolutely pucca academical prescription.

SRI AUROBINDO : Yes, but I thought of the two last ingredients afterwards.

MYSELF: And 12 doses every hour—these tinctures and  vinums?

SRI AUROBINDO: 12 doses—every hour (one each hour. Plagiarised from your language; sir.)

MYSELF: And where is the cost to be supplied from?

SRI AUROBINDO: Gratis—for the poor-


MYSELF: Do you know what my weight is? Only 51 kg 102 Ibs 7st. 4 Ibs. I was staggered to find it so low,  wondered how I was walking about!

SRI AUROBINDO: Quite a considerable weight. I used in the 19th Century to walk about with less than 100—found no difficulty.


MYSELF: Most of the trouble is with the abduction of the hip-joint.

SRI AUROBINDO: Abduction of a joint, sir? What's this flagrant immorality? What happens to the Joint when it is abducted? and what about the two colliding bones? Part of the abduction? Right! abduct him to Philaire. (Hospital Doctor)


MYSELF: Could not: touch her without making her shed tears. They are thinking how heartless brutes these doctors are!

SRI AUROBINDO: Much safer than if they think 'What dears these doctors are, darlings, angels!'


MYSELF: "What do you say?" What else can I say but thoroughly agree with you, second you and third you? Will Dr, R. take the whole responsibility or divide it?

SRI AUROBINDO : Very good. Send him to R. No division, is possible with R. His treatment is an indivisible Brahman, however many the aspects. In his latest cases there was a mass of simultaneous illnesses in each body and he took them all. in his sweep.


MYSELF: Isn't it possible by the Mother's knowledge to ascertain the nature of a disease? We would expect some sudden opening as it did in your case of painting.

SRI AUROBINDO: My dear sir, in that case I should have to do all the doctoring. So I take care not to let the medico open. Simple measure of prudence.


MYSELF: You said that if right medicine is not given, the Force has to counteract it also.

SRI AUROBINDO: I only meant that it was so much obstacle to the Force which it has to overcome.

MYSELF: What I asked you was that by the very fact of the obstacle, the Force or the giver of the Force knows that some mistake is being made. Suppose you give a certain Force but it fails to produce the desired result, then you say, "Oh that fellow has given wrong medicines—swine."

SRI AUROBINDO: Not at all. The Force (I am out of the picture here) feels a greater obstacle but need not know that it is due to a wrong medicine. Force and knowledge are two different things and in the consciousness below Supermind, may go together or may not. Swine is not appropriate—it should be some other animal.


MYSELF: A carpenter beaten by a rat.

SRI AUROBINDO: Say, say! I never heard of a rat beating a man before! He ought to go to the criminal court, instead of the hospital.


MYSELF: X says Mother has sent him but when I go to apply medicine he says, ask Mother!

SRI AUROBINDO: Nonsense! It is implied. Mother doesn't send him to the Dispensary for a promenade or to dine.


MYSELF: The patient has some signs in the lung, better to make an X-ray etc.

SRI AUROBINDO: Better not X-ray etc., unless it is absolutely necessary. Feed him,him,¹ coddle with cod liver oil and see how it works out before plunging into these soul- shaking measures.


MYSELF: Dr. B. prescribes butter for my amaigrissement and cod liver oil by myself.


MYSELF: Why 2 interrogations against my using butter? Since the Force doesn't help, I have to seek freshness from butter and cod liver oil. Of course. Dr. B added also cheerfulness to the prescription.

SRI AUROBINDO: Butter and cod liver oil—which is two.

Mother pours scorn on your idea that you are a jutting skeleton. She says that you are less shockingly plump than when you came, but that is all. But if you take butter and oil together, to say nothing of cheerfulness, what will you become? Remember Falstaff.

MYSELF: Less shockingly plump! Good gracious, was I ever plump? Mother has only to see my bare body and exclaim, 'Oh, doctor like that!..-etc..-'

SRI AUROBINDO: It's your clothes that made you plump?


MYSELF: A says he feels heavy and sleepy and not refreshed. Is it the Force that does it?

SRI AUROBINDO: Good Lord, no! It is forcelessness that does it.

MYSELF: A has malaise, not refreshed.

SRI AUROBINDO: I have been without light, so black, black. Keeping everything in hope of better luck today (this has nothing to do with A's malaise )




Sri Aurobindo

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When someone is destined for the Path, all circumstances through all the deviations of mind and life help in one way or another to lead him to it. It is his own psychic being within him and Divine Power above that use to that end the vicissitudes both of mind and outward circumstance.

Sri Aurobindo