Trevor Leggett

Literature & Zen Site


The Prime Minister's Inspiration

In that state of expanded consciousness, there suddenly flashed the idea of what to do. He had himself been a scholar, and now he sought out three younger Sanskrit scholars and learned from them that though the general principles of the ancient medical science were known, there were some obscure passages which had been little understood. He commissioned them to make a detailed search, explaining what he wanted. Some weeks later a public debate was announced, on the cholera injection proposal. The Prime Minister asked his scholars to address the assembly. They reported that they had made a minute examination of the ancient texts on medicine, and they produced some passages which implied that there were certain procedures that involved puncturing the skin: they produced a passage in the medical classic of Sushruta, and another from the even earlier Charaka. They also pointed out that in ancient times a whole system of medicine had been imported from the Greeks, which was now called the Yunani or Ionian school of Indian medicine. The Prime Minister said that this showed that both puncturing the skin for an injection, and the adoption of what was good in foreign medicine, were a part of the ancient tradition of India. The orthodox pandits considered these arguments. To their credit they completely changed their position, and promised their support for the anti‑cholera plan.

This is a historical example of the inspiration from meditation, though admittedly in a limited and worldly context. Such problems may be solved, but they return in different forms, and the life‑problem remains. Yoga aims infinitely higher, to find immortality in living experience.  Dr. Shastri cited such examples of inspiration in worldly things in order to give confidence to pursue the lengthy yoga practice. But man, he said, will never rest satisfied with hearing about external changes. Fulfilment and peace are found only in realization of the Lord as the great Self.

Adhyatma-teachings goes further into these traditions.