Shamans, Mystics & Doctors

Shamans, Mystics & Doctors

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Shamans, Mystics & Doctors

Sudhir Kakar

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Sudhir Kakar, a psychoanalyst and scholar, brilliantly illuminates the ancient healing traditions of India embodied in the rituals of shamans, the teachings of gurus, and the precepts of the school of medicine known as Ayurveda.

"With extraordinary sympathy, open-mindedness, and insight Sudhir Kakar has drawn from both his Eastern and Western backgrounds to show how the gulf that divides native healer from Western psychiatrist can be spanned."—Rosemary Dinnage, New York Review of Books

"Each chapter describes the geographical and cultural context within which the healers work, their unique approach to healing mental illness, and . . . the philosophical and religious underpinnings of their theories compared with psychoanalytical theory."—Choice

Shamans, Mystics and Doctors is a detailed and thoroughly fascinating account of the many ways in which the ancient healing traditions of India—embodied in the rituals of shamans, the teachings of gurus and the precepts of the school of medicine known as Ayurveda—diagnose and treat emotional disorder.
Drawing on three years of intensive fieldwork and his own psychoanalytic training and experience, Sudhir Kakar takes us into a world of Islamic mosques and Hindu temples, of assembled multitudes, and dingy, out-of-the-way consultation rooms… a world where patients and healers blame evil spirits for emotional disturbances… where dreams and symptoms that would be familiar to Freud are interpreted in terms of a myriad of deities and legends… where trance-like “dissociation states” are induced to bring out and resolve the conflicts of repressed anger, lust and envy… where proper grooming, diet, exercise and conduct are (and have been for centuries) seen as essential to the preservation of a healthy mind and body.

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; Revised edition (April 9, 1991)
  • Language: English