28 December, 2014


Did you catch the “monkey reviving his electrocuted friend” video? If you didn’t, you can watch it in the link below. Do you think you could have reacted with that much common sense to heal a human who was electrocuted?

Monkey saves electrocuted friend:

While watching this video, I was struck by how calm and collected The Healer was. Besides being surrounded by a large audience of unruly, loud humans, and besides being aware that he (or she?) is in an urban environment which could turn threatening to a monkey any minute, he continues with the work of resuscitating his friend without missing a beat.

The Healer knows, first of all, that the monkey underneath his hand is alive. That despite looking like a potato crisp, his friend is alive and well. Secondly, he doesn’t rush in and use the Western method of resuscitation: thumping the monkey on the heart would have been so easy, and would have shocked him back to consciousness immediately. But note the monkey doesn’t do that.

What he does is interesting, especially if you follow his step-by-step method. Watching this monkey, you also realize that white men are not the only people who are trained in the linear method of thinking—this monkey too seems to have mastered the art of doing things one at a time, step by step, in a logical way.

First of all, he rolls the electrocuted victim from a flat surface, and with his mouth drops him in-between some railway pipes and sidings. Now this made me scratch my head for a bit—why throw an unconscious monkey into a pit? Well, if you watch carefully, you will see his next act is to pick him up again, with the mouth, and do this several times. Now anybody who’s done acupressure or any other form of massage knows, that pulling and pushing of the body is an essential part of reviving the flow of energy in the body. If you note carefully, the monkey actually pulls his friend up by the eyebrows—which to our superior human eyes, can look like a stupid monkey thing to do, but in fact if you’ve ever had a massage in which people have pulled and pushed at your ears, you realize there are some vital meridians right in in the appendages close to your head. I had an acupuncture session done to me by an Indian woman who worked, amongst other population, with people in jail who had never had mental health care. She would put five needles into people’s inner ears, and the people became so relaxed they fell asleep in these mass relaxed prisoner batch. This is known as the “Five Point Protocol” in acupuncture language. When she put those needles to my ears, I feel this unbelievable sense of relaxation and calm that I’d never felt before. In other words, The Healer knew that the ears were one of the first points of contact where he could revive the nerves that rule sensation.

Notice he then pulls his friend up, and places him on the pipe, in this sort of: “I’m about to give you a massage” posture. More pushing and pulling of limbs follow. If you go to Wat Po in Thailand, and ask for a medical massage, the massage therapist will do something pretty similar to you.

The second-last step is to dunk the body in the cold water, and it comes in the perfect sequence. Dunking the monkey earlier, before his blood had started to flow and his body temperature hadn’t risen, would have meant more shock and cold.

The last step is to lick the face. Why, you wonder, wouldn’t he have done this before? Surely the face is the place closest to the head, and you’d imagine a massage to the face would be the first step in reviving an electrocution victim? But no, the face comes last in these steps—because The Healer knows that the love and concern shown to the face, and communicated through “the kiss”, is less important than the pushing and pulling and monkey-handling that has come before.

My favorite part of the video came at the very end, when the victim revives, staggers up blearily and holds on to a bar, as if to say: what the hell just happened there? That’s when The Healer looks around at all the staring humans, and then gives the smallest pat to his friend, and does a brief groom and pretends to eat a lice or two, as if to say to the voyeurs: hey guys, all good here. You can stop staring now. Buddy here just had a little fall. And the pat, which so often human doctors fail to give, communicates: good job buddy. All good now.

It is that no-fuss attitude that got me thinking. Because lets think about it, the health care system as we know it now has just become way too chest-thumping for its own good. If that monkey had been human, somebody would have shocked his heart into action within a few minutes—instead of doing the long, slow revival of the nerves, blood and energy meridians, which in the long run was probably less of a shock to the monkey’s system, and brought him back to consciousness with less harm to his organs.

But alternatively healing, which probably is closest to how our ancestors healed themselves, is not seen as healing or “health care”, in most countries. In Nepal, the Western system of medicine has rapidly caught up and people are now so dependent on it they cannot even cure a common cold. I was sitting at a sweet-shop one cold winter day when I noticed a young boy with a wistful face sitting with an older man. The older man was in a big panic. He called up someone who turned out to be the boy’s aunt, and I overheard their conversation. “I’m in such a big panic I’m ready to leave my job,” the man said. The aunt berated him and said that he should have told them about the boy’s illness. “I just found out myself,” the man said. It appeared he was the father—it occurred to me Kathmandu was now an urban city like any other place, and once people started to work 9-5 jobs, they were distant from their children as in other major metropolises. During their phone conversation, I overheard him say the doctor had just told him that the little boy could “only inhale 78% oxygen.” The doctor had suggested they return the next day so he could use a fancy machine to test his oxygen intake again.

I looked at the gloomy and frightened little boy, who looked perfectly rosy and healthy, albeit with a winter cold, and I felt sorry for him. Obviously the father had never taken care of the boy’s little ailments, and the first cold was enough to send him into a major panic. The medical establishment, of course, banks on this parental panic to make a profit. “Can I ask you what’s wrong with him?” I asked. It sounded like a massive emergency, but my reading of the situation told me the boy had a cold. “You know, you shouldn’t believe everything the doctor says. In my house, we believe in Ayurvedic medicine,” I blurted a little tactlessly. The father, who obviously believed his son was on his deathbed, looked at me like I was a cockroach, and walked out abruptly. The sweet-shop owner looked at me reproachfully, and I felt guilty but also glad in a way I’d gotten my little word in.

In Dhulikhel, where there’s a very good hospital, I had a chat with an Austrian doctor, who told me that the biggest problem in Nepal was the massive usage of antibiotics. Parents self-prescribed antibiotics to their children for respiratory infections. This was causing resistance to the antibiotics, which were now useless for big operations. But more to the point, the antibiotics did nothing to cure viral infections, which is what most of the winter flus were.

Also in Dhulikhel, I had another nice chat with a German tourist who walked by with his girlfriend on a trek. He said he’d been brought up in East Germany, where there wasn’t much medication. His grandmother, he said, would make cammomile tea when they had a cold, and they would inhale the fumes before drinking it. “Who knows what ingredients caused the healing?” He said. “It was the heat, the steam, the herbs, a mixture of so many things—the loving hand of my grandmother on my brow, wiping away the sweat…”  Then he told me that in rural parts of Eastern Europe, people put yogurt on the back of the calf to lower fevers—but the fever has to be a certain temperature, and high enough, before it can go down again. Putting the yogurt too early wouldn’t work, or could actually be harmful. He also said that in certain countries, people use peach schnapps, an alcohol, for the same purpose. I said to him this was a marvelous remedy and would have saved so many children in Nepal from blindness—I know of a few people in Nepal who went blind from high fevers, and not knowing how to cure it. Yogurt is easily available in most Nepali communities, and it would be a wonderful new way to cure high fevers. We agreed that people all over the world have always known how to heal themselves of common remedies, and the way the medical establishment was trying to usurp this knowledge was getting very frightening.

In Nepal, I grew up with dozens of herbs that can be used to cure the common cold. Everything from turmeric tea, jwano and methi (ajwain and fenugreek), tulsi plants, ginger, garlic, salt-water gargle, and herbs from high altitude Himalayan pastures have been used to cure the common cold. Depending upon the nature of your cold-whether its dry, or mucous-full, or with a cough, or with a sore throat, different remedies have been used in different proportions to cure colds. According to Ayurvedic theory, colds can be caused, and show symptoms of, kapha, pitta or vata, the three doshas. There are different ways to deal with all three manifestations. Knowing even a little about the nature of the cough and cold, and being able to make simple home remedies, can keep parents out of the ominous medical grasp.

In the USA, there’s a major outcry about a “flu vaccine” each winter, as if the winter cold was something that had to be determinedly suppressed with a vaccine. This year, the hysteria is about how the vaccine no longer works! People have developed resistence! Of course, this is not the major emergency the pharmaceutical companies would like to make you believe. In fact, many people believe colds are necessary, and that healthy bodies get a seasonal cold a few times a year to build up their resistance and to build up immunity.

Watching the monkey healer video made me realize what I’ve always known-that we are fundamentally equipped with the knowledge to heal ourselves and others, even during seemingly unknown situations. And perhaps its time now to return back to natural way, rather than trying to handover our health to machines and chemicals.

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