ON INVISIBLE GHOSTS, WITCH HUNTING and BBC
These small packet baskets, containing flowers, some piece of fruit, an eatable (like small biscuits or a bit of rice cake) and some incense stick lit, is ubiquitous in Bali. “They were offerings for the spirits”, a Balinese will tell you.
Who are these spirits?
If one looks closely, there's generally a line of ants feeding off these offerings. Birds swoosh down and partake their bird feed from it. Some bees also swirl around. That would explain 'consumables', but what about those incense sticks? Who feeds off them? The practices stem from the propitiation of the 'Bhootas', the elementals. The same reason as to why we used to offer 'Alpona' (Rangoli, Kolam) made of rice paste. These are all offerings to the intangibles, which range from the small, the minute, the micro-organisms, the invisible.
As David Abram put it “To be sure, there has always been some confusion between our Western notion of “spirit” (which so often is defined in contrast to matter or “flesh”), and the mysterious presences to which tribal and indigenous cultures pay so much respect. ”
Each offering is a melange of harmony of the senses. Visually, texturally, olfactory, sensually and gustatory. And they propitiate all, from the micro to the invisible, in their interconnectedness. For everything is interconnected. Keeping one's micro-universe in harmony, both within and without and maintaining a harmonious relationship with it is the crux of this philosophy.
Yet, despite the maintenance of relationships, there are still aberrations. They needs deeper study.
In Ayurveda, the five 'elements' are not just the physical elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Ether but they are representational nodes of greater intangibles. Interacting with these elementals was separate science onto itself in Ayurveda. Known as 'Bhoot Vidya'. This ranges from the tangible as psychotherapeutic to more esoteric. The esoterica has been associated with pattern recognition and dwelling on time-space nodals. These are 'Grahas'.
Bhoot vidya works against mental diseases that have unknown causes. Mind’s disturbance is then taken as the Tamasic (inert-ness) and Rajasic (indulging/passionate) forces of the mind. On the other hand, Bhoot vidya or Graha Chikitsa treats the same diseases that are in the Modern Psychiatry for diseases like insanity and epilepsy.
It was with an idea of studying this that BHU is offering a course in 'Bhoot Vidya', as a stream of Ayurveda. BBC decides to headline it as a 'Ghost Busting' course. A reaffirmation of the regressiveness towards which India is now headed. Of course, one can't call it a witch hunt. Meanwhile, the disease of the intangibles, clustered today as 'Depression', not quite figured out, beyond biochemical reactions, and not pegged on the disassociated-ness of living is on the rampage, while, concrete jungle living denudes us of all connectedness with our fellow real dwellers.
But there has been a long and structured erosion even before the concreteness of things, haven't there?
When practised in Bali, it is exotic.
When practised in India, it is regressive, superstitious!
See how they try and kill culture?
No wonder the Balinese don't look upon us as Hindus. We are rarely in a position to celebrate our own culture? See how deep the rot can go? What has to be attributed to BBC though, is how they have this 'killing of culture' sytemised. Their minons but naturally walk the track, automated.