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19. Sovereign Remedy
"Inter alia you have said the following:
" 'No matter what the ailment from which a man may be suffering, recitation of Ramanama from the heart is the sure cure.' (Harijan, 3- 3-1946)
" 'Man should seek out and be content to confine the means of cure to the five elements of which the body is composed, i.e.. earth, water, akash. sun and air.' (Harijan, 3-3-1946)
" 'And my claim is that the recitation of Ramanama is a sovereign remedy for our physical ailments also.' (Harijan, 7-4-1946)
"At first, when you introduced this new note in the system of nature cure, I thought you were merely putting in other words a kind of psycho-therapy, or 'Christian Science' based on faith. These have their place in every system of medicine. I interpreted my first quotation above in that light. The second sentence quoted above is difficult to grasp. After all, it is physically impossible for medicines to be composed of anything but the five elements to which you refer, and which you say must be the sole means of cure.
"If faith is what you insist on, I have no quarrel; it is necessary for the patient to co-operate in getting well also by faith. But it is, difficult to accept that faith alone would cure our physical ailments also. Two years ago, my little daughter was struck by infantile paralysis: it was the most modern treatment that saved the child from becoming a cripple for life. You would agree that it would not avail to ask a two and a half year old child to recite Ramanama to be rid of infantile paralysis: and I would like to see you persuade any mother to do the recitation (and recitation alone) on her child's behalf.
"The authority from Charaka that you have quoted in the issue of March 24th. leaves me cold; you have taught me not to accept anything, however ancient and however authoritative it may be, if it does not appeal to my heart."
Thus writes a teacher of youth. Ramanama has the flavour of faith-healing and Christian Science;1 yet, it is quite distinct from them. Recitation of Ramanama is a mere symbol of the reality for which it stands. If one is knowingly filled with the presence of God within, one is that moment free from all ailment—physical, mental or moral. That we do not see the type in life is not to disprove the truth of the statement. My argument is admittedly useless for those who have no faith in God.
Christian Scientists, faith-healers and psycho­therapists may, if they will, bear witness somewhat to the truth underlying Ramanama. I cannot take the reader a long way with me through reason. How is one to prove to a person who has never tasted sugar, that sugar is sweet, except by asking him to taste it?
I must not reiterate here the conditions attendant upon the heart recitation of the sacred syllable.
The authority of Charaka is good for those who have some belief in Ramanama. Others may dismiss the authority from their consideration.
Children are irresponsible. Ramanama is un­doubtedly not for them. They are helpless beings at the mercy of their parents. They show what tremendous responsibility parents bear to them and society. I have known parents who have trifled with their children's diseases even to the extent of trusting them to their (the parents') recitation of Ramanama.
Lastly, the argument about everything, even medicines, being from pancha mahabhutas betrays a hasty confusion of thought. I have only to point it out to remove it.
Harijan, 28-4-1946

[1] During Lord Lothian's talk on the last day he mentioned Christian Science and asked for Gandhiji's opinion thereon. "Since man is inseparably related to God," he said, "in proportion as he recognizes the indissoluble relationship to God, he is free from sin and from disease. That is how faith heals. God is Truth and Health and Love."
"And He is Physician, too." said Gandhiji. "I have no quarrel with Christian Science. I accept the doctrine in toto; but I do not believe in many Christian Scientists. It is one thing to have an intellectual belief and another thing to have a heart-grasp of the truth. I can quite endorse the statement that all illness is sin, that when a man has even a cough it is due to sin. My blood pressure is the result of strain and overwork. But why should 1 have overworked myself? All overwork and hurry is sin. And I know only too well that it was perfectly possible for me to avoid all doctors. What I do not understand about Christian Scientists is that they make altogether too much of physical health and disease."
"So long as one recognizcs that disease is sin. it is all right," said Lord Lothian. "Even the Gita says that one has to renounce the fruit of the five senses which is Life and Love and Health."
"I have put it somewhat differently," said Gandhiji. "God is Truth, which is the same thing as God is Life. And, then, I have said that Truth and Love are faces of the same coin, and Love is the means to find Truth which is the end."
— Harijan, 29-1-1938