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28. Confusion about Ramanama
A friend writes:
"Regarding your suggested cure of malaria by Ramanama, my problem is that I do not understand how to rely on a spiritual force for my physical ailments. I am also not sure if I deserve to be cured and if I am justified in praying for my salvation, when there is so much misery amongst my countrymen. The day I understand Ramanama, I shall pray for their salvation. Otherwise, 1 would feel more selfish than I do today."
This is from a friend whom I believe to be an earnest seeker of truth. I take public notice of his difficulty, as it is typical of that of many like him.
Spiritual force is like any other force at the service of man. Apart from the fact that, it has been used for physical ailments for ages, with more or less success, it would be intrinsically wrong' not to use it, if it can be successfully used for the cure of physical ailments. For, man is both matter and spirit, each acting on and affecting the other. If you get rid of malaria by taking quinine, without thinking of the millions who do not get it, why should you refuse to use the remedy which is within you, because millions will not use it through their ignorance? May you not be clean and well because millions of others will not be so, ignorantly or, maybe even cussedly ? If you will not be clean out of false notions of philanthropy, you will deny yourself the duty of serving the very millions by remaining dirty and ill. Surely refusal to be spiritually well or clean is worse than the refusal to be physically clean and well.
Salvation is nothing more and nothing less than being well in every way. Why should you deny it for yourself, if thereby you show the way to others and beyond showing it, actually serve them in addition by reason of your fitness? But you are wholly selfish, when you take penicillin in order to get well, although you have the certain knowledge that the others cannot get it.
The confusion lying behind my correspondent's argument is obvious.
What, however, is true is that the taking of a pill or pills of quinine is much easier than gaining the knowledge of the use of Ramanama. It involves much effort as against the mere cost of buying quinine pills.
The effort is worth making for the sake of the millions, in whose name and on whose behalf my correspondent will shut Rama out of his heart.
Harijan, 1-9-1946