(a) In natural medicine homeopathy is a so-called “alternative” approach to healing based on the belief that illness arises from an imbalance of internal and external elements. The basic premise is that the basic life force, a sort of vital energy, needs to be rebalanced or realigned to restore health.
This is normally achieved by the practitioner assessing the whole patient, and not just the area of illness. From this assessment, what is believed to be the appropriate substance is administered, usually in a highly diluted mixture.
Critics say that the mixture is so highly diluted that whatever original substance was supposed to be administered is not present in the final solution.
Critics also say that, although the odd individual may show signs of improvement, homeopathic medicine does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Unlike allopathic (i.e. conventional) medicine, there is absolutely no statistical evidence that it works.
As as structuralist thinker, O’Flaherty tends to see the vast and baffling repertoire of Hindu myth in terms of binary opposites.
Siva, for instance, regulates the balance of the universe though (seemingly) ungodly activities, such as tempting the Pine Forest Sage’s wives. Siva’s attempt to seduce the sages’ wives breaks the sages’ meditation, the power of which threatens the balance of the cosmos.¹
While they may appear to be quite different, both the alternative medicine and mythological studies definitions of homeopathy point to the notion that problems may be corrected by restoring balance.
¹ See Wendy Doniger, Siva: The Erotic Ascetic p. 173.
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