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  1. Should devotees approach a doctor for the cure of their illnesses? You have said that one should approach a doctor for the treatment of one’s illness because medical science is also given to humanity by God alone. God alone has created all medicines. Hence, according to You, taking the medicines prescribed by a doctor is not undivine. Can You please explain this elaborately? Swami replied: Scripture says that science is given to humanity by God alone (Vijñānametat sarvaṃ Janārdanāt—Viṣṇu Sahasranāma Stotram). The Veda also says that God caused medicinal plants to grow from the earth (Pṛthivyā oṣadhayaḥ). What is undivine in this? I have come across some hypocritical devotees saying that they are not taking any medicine for their headache since God will cure them. By such behavior, these hypocrites want to distinguish themselves from ordinary people so that the public will treat them as someone special and respect them. This is not true devotion. It is a cheap method of drawing the innocent public’s attention towards them! Scripture says that your sin will trouble you in the form of illness and that to cure it, you should first use medicine, then worship the planets and finally worship God. (Pūrvajanma kṛtaṃ pāpaṃ, vyādhirūpeṇa bādhate, Tat śāntiḥ auṣadhaiḥ dānaiḥ, Japahoma surārcanaiḥ). These three are sequential steps that one should follow to cure illnesses. The first step is taking some medicine from a doctor. You must have faith in that doctor in order for the medicine to work properly. So, while taking the medicine, the devoted patient says that the doctor is God and that the medicine is the holy water of the Ganges (Śarīre jarjarībhūte, vyādhigrasta kalebare, auṣadhaṃ jāhnavītoyam, Vaidyo Nārāyaṇo Hariḥ). Such a devotee has so much real love and faith in God that God will charge that doctor so that he will give the correct medicine to the devotee. The medicine too, will work effectively by the will of God. Is all this not a part of devotion to God? Similarly, in the second step, when you show your horoscope to an astrologer, the astrologer will be charged by God to calculate the chart correctly, make the correct prediction and suggest the correct remedies, which are capable of removing the problem. Astrological remedies involve the worship of the planets (planet-deities). The planets are only the executive powers of God and they assist God in implementing the constitution written by God in order to govern souls. The power is not different from the possessor of the power. When you worship the power, you are, in effect, worshipping its possessor of the power. If you wish to honor a poet with a garland, do you offer one garland to the poet and another separate garland for his poetic talent? The planet is characterized by its unimaginable power, using which, it catches the sinner at correct place and at the correct time to deliver the punishment. Planets also similarly give the appropriate benefits to souls. These benefits are the good fruits of meritorious actions done by good persons. The Sanskrit word for planet is ‘graha’, which means, ‘that which catches’ (Gṛhṇāti iti grahaḥ). It means that the planet catches the soul, wherever it may be, at the exact time to deliver the good and bad fruits of the soul’s deeds. Hence, the planet is not different from God. The unimaginable power of God itself is reflected through the planet in executing the delivery of the fruits of the soul’s deeds. The planet is like the lens which refracts the light of the sun. The sun is compared to God and its light is compared to God’s unimaginable power. Astrology is called Jyotiḥ Śāstra. Jyotiḥ means light and it refers to the radiant planets. So, astrology or Jyotiḥ Śāstra is the science or knowledge of radiant planets. But spiritual knowledge, which is the knowledge of God, is the root Jyotiḥ Śāstra. This is because, God is called the Paraṃ Jyotiḥ or the ultimate Radiant One. It means that God is the original Light that illumines the nine lights or planets. So, if the problem is not solved by worshipping the planets, then as the last resort, one should worship God to get rid of the problem which is the punishment of one’s sin. This is the third step in curing your illness or solving your problems. If God is willing to help you, you will be cured in the first stage itself. This first stage of curing the illness through medical treatment is the arrangement made by God for the benefit of all souls including atheists. The devotee who wants to establish his separate identity, rejects this first stage of medical treatment and proceeds to the next step to prove that he is a high-level devotee. A devotee arranged the speech of a scholar in his house and invited many devotees to attend the speech. At the entrance of the house, the host placed a large bucket of water so that the devotees could wash their feet before entering the house. All the devotees used that water to wash their feet before entering. When the egotistic scholar arrived, he did not use the water that others were using, to wash his feet. He waited outside, expecting the host to bring water in a separate vessel, especially for him. He did this to distinguish himself from the other devotees! Is he not an egotistic fool? All the water, no matter in which container it is brought, belongs to the host. The entire arrangement for washing the feet of devotees was made by the same host. The case of the hypocritical devotee who rejects medicine and wants God to specially use His miraculous power to cure his headache, is similar to the above egotistic scholar!
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