Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Miracle that was Not

I recently watched an episode of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC serial. Holmes in today's world. Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson have done an excellent job.

In this episode, caught in the excitement of the case, Watson forgets his limp and the walking stick and is cured. 

There is also a reference to his analyst who is treating him for intermittent shaking in his hands and has diagnosed it as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes diagnoses it as the result of Watson's addiction to action he experienced in Afghanistan!

If Holmes were to be in India, he would be deified, I am sure. 

A friend had once told me the story of a man who had lost his legs and was  wheelchair dependent.

This man heard of a healer somewhere in Karnataka and came all the way from Kerala to seek a cure. The healer took a look at the man, examined him and asked a lot of questions and asked the man to stand up. What? Yes, he was asked to stand up and the healer helped the man up. When his family members came forward solicitously to assist, they were shooed away. Miracle Miracle. The man stood up. Of course he had some difficulty but the healer would not hear of it. 

Then he told the patient that there was nothing wrong with him and that others were making him believe that he could not walk.

Then he asked the patient to get going. Fees? Nothing. "I did not treat him at all. He is perfectly OK. So where is the question of a fee?"

When the patient started walking slowly to the car they had come in, again the family members tried to help him but were strictly forbidden from doing so. 

If I remember right, my friend told me that he had accompanied the family as he was also from Kerala. I can't check since the friend is sadly no more. I can't get the details of the man either.

The healer was a simple man, in a dhoti and shirt. The place where he saw patients was also very simple and no fancy stuff at all. He was not after money, I am told and borne out by the above story.

So, what is the point of all this?

Not much perhaps but something very important. When something seemingly miraculous happens, you do not have to conclude that a miracle did happen. You may at least suspend your belief.

Especially when such a thing happens with a lot of fanfare and razzle dazzle you can be sure that you are being taken for a ride. Benny Hin's visit to Bangalore comes to mind. There was this funny incident when he touched Deve Gowda, the former prime minister and the then chief of Karnataka Police. Many others he touched had all collapsed and there were members of his entourage and volunteers to catch them. They were at the ready for these two too. They need not have wasted their efforts. These two stood like rocks.