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Actions Caused By Gods Or Supernatural Powers On Human Beings In Hinduism – Adhidaivika

In Hinduism, Adhidaivika is the term used for relating to or proceeding from gods or from supernatural powers. Adhidaivika is all that is caused by daivika (non-human or super-human) powers and over which human beings have no control, viz., the planets, spirits, gods, yakshas and other such beings. Though the belief in such super human elements operating on living beings has been waning, the belief is still strong that the planets have a control and influence over human behavior and endeavors. The science of astrology, though said to be a science of approximation, has wide acceptance because some of its predictions have an almost mathematical accuracy.

Adhidaivika is, according to Sushruta Samhita, one of the three types of suffering experience by living beings. The Adhidaivika diseases are also of two kinds, namely, providential and natural (daiva balapravritta and svabhava pravritti).

The providential ones are acts of gods or of cosmic powers which affect a person, such as lightning strikes, or which affect many person simultaneously such as cyclones, cloud bursts, epidemics, malignant influences of demons and monsters, curses and charms and spells which are described in Atharva Veda may bring forth maladies, physical or mental in nature.

The natural ones arise out of senility, death, hunger, thirst, sleep occurring regularly at fixed hours even when persons strictly observe rules of health and proper living. But in persons who do not follow proper rules of health and living, these occur prematurely and irregularly. It is interesting to know that Sushruta Samhita has viewed these natural processes as diseases only.

Samkhya Tattva Kaumudi has an interesting discussion regarding the remedial measures that are suggested to overcome such maladies. Yoga, Vedanta, and, in fact, most of the philosophical schools prescribe their course of action or knowledge or remedying all the three types of sufferings. However, in Ayurveda and other medical sciences, easier remedies, no doubt, are there for the removal of pain. So far as the remedial measures suggested in the philosophical approach are concerned, the abstruse philosophical principles could be put in practice according to one’s own ability and willingness to adopt them. Charms, incantations and other such practices may not be absolute and final.

The actual occurrences of miracles in one’s own life makes only the individual concerned believe in such miracles. There may be an element of exaggeration in such miracles but all the same, the civilized society also believes that there are many things natural and supernatural that are part of our mental make-up and that there is some divinity that shapes our ends. A perusal of the records of the history of civilization and culture suggests to us that people all over the world did believe, and many continue to believe, that their suffering was only due to the wrath of divine elements and that they could be appeased through worship.

Certain religious and quasi-religious observances are prescribed for obtaining relief from such maladies. It is held that life without religion and religious beliefs is neither conceivable nor desirable, because it is like a boat in an uncharted sea without sail or compass.

Ancient Indian Medicine (2005) P Kutumbian – Orient Longman Delhi
Encyclopedia of Hinduism – Volume I – page 44 and 45 – Rupa - IHRF