THE reception of several recent articles and letters of mine upon the subject of fasting (contrary to the spirit in which my earlier essays on similar matter were received in 1918-25 in various journals) has been so sincere, so gratifying and so sincere, so gratifying and so abundant of interesting quests for more information that I am tempted to lead your readers a little further into the facts surrounding nowadays credibly accepted stories and tell them something of fasts I have supervised since my own cure by abstention from everything but water in 1917 in successful ventures of from ten to forty days.
While it is true that forty days is by no means the record, it is equally true that fasts of fifty, sixty and even longer periods of days are the exception and rarely necessary. At the same time if Gandhi or any other would-be faster were to declare an entrance of say ninety or one hundred days, in the light of things that have been done by men and women in my own care since 1928 in that direction,
I should not worry for one moment and it is a fact that in the hands of fasting experts a fasting person is far more safe than under any diet or system of dietetics, “scientific” or otherwise. The human body never lies so peacefully or so purposefully as when it is compelled by the will of the faster and under the guidance of someone who appreciates the significance of symptoms in their true perspective to function upon its own cell-content (tissues or reserves), water and air.
I have seen many fasting cases in the past fifteen years in all manner of functional disorder (most of which are fleabites to the efficacy of a strict fast on water only) and if there is a disease, physical or mental (including loss of memory) that will not respond to sane fasting, then that disease is one I have not heard of. From this bold statement I except at least two things, leprosy and “sleepy sickness” of which up to now I have not handled a case.
So sure am I of my facts that I am quite prepared, when and after I have seen my views and work generally adopted (yes, I know pretty well what is entailed) to go and live among the lepers myself, not to dose them or exploit oils or anything extracted from other creations or by any machine or drug but to watch them heal themselves with organisms produced and manufactured from within the bodies of the sufferers themselves-homoeopathic principles upon which Nature herself bases her practice of healing and preventing.
From the heavy list of fasting cures I have observed, since in 1917 I gave up everything most folks in world wisdom hold dear, I find it difficult to select just a few cases to illustrate the workings of the oldest treatment in history. Perhaps the best way is to recite one, or at most, two, cases in each of a few typical and alas, all too common disorders of humankind.
As I am writing to people with at least some knowledge of medical terms for disease, I omit any reference to the description of each disease except where any exceptional circumstance was present. A medical (in some instances an ordinary) dictionary will supply any missing details of the appearance and symptoms of most of them.
PHLEBITIS is an ailment there is nothing funny about. It is a serious disorder often under orthodoxy, entailing many weary weeks in bed. My first case was that of a chauffeur who had been for some years chauffeur to an orthodox M.D. in a large general practice in a northern township. When I first saw him he was laid in bed (a good place for fasting-though many do fasts for functional or minor ailments on their feet-not amazingly difficult if you have plenty to occupy the mind and hands and take freely of aqua pura and be well rubbed with water fairly often and especially at meal times).
His pillows were under his feet and the bed foot was raised by the placing of two bricks under each bed foot castor. There were no pillows under his head. His legs were encased in some preparation in bandages, the idea being, I suppose, to relieve the dreadful aches of the disorder by reducing the blood flow from the trunk to the feet by keeping the feet at a higher level than the head.
Sounds illogical but, since the blood is the life of the body, how is the life-fluid (the greatest, if not the only, healer) to perform its Divine mission in the make-up of the body if its flow and action is retarded? My would-be disciple told me he had been told he might have to lie there some months before he could be passed as fit to go through a further period (in convalescence) of further months. He explained the symptoms to me, for I had never before even heard of this disease with a name like a tribal war.
I am a firm believer in short shift for disease and that the quietest way out of disease is to cease feeding the flames of inflammation (which in almost all disease is at some time at a curable stage) and dissolve the obstructions (Cause) of normal health (normal, easy functioning of every part) in compelling the viscera to utilize the foreign matter by living upon it by bringing it into the blood stream. This procedure often increases for a time the symptoms and this is where ones faith is put to the acid test, and we are “tried in the fire”. My patient fasted on water freely taken (and nothing else) for twenty-eight days without a murmur.
He had been a non- commissioned officer in the New Armies of 1914-18 and if they were all made of the same uncomplaining mental stuff as he was, no wonder discipline is only to be learned by following orders both in the spirit and letter of the law. Incidentally may I add that the best patients in my experience are ex-soldiers and sailors and, be it shouted from the house-tops, members of the falsely so-called “weaker-sex”.
My chauffeur-patients phlebitis was Natures final protest against the constant pernicious (in end results) drugging, lotioning, and general food-poisoning of the system for rheumatism, sciatica, and repeated eruptions of the skin in the vain attempt to empty a hell of pain and disorder by putting or rubbing more devils into it – quite orthodox, of course!.
I corrected his food and other habits and he was back in harness, thinner but more alive and wise, thirty-five days after the day I first showed him the folly of dealing with mere symptoms and thereby adding to causations. He continued in excellent health.
Another little deadly trouble of civilization is called “Pancreatitis” – sort of galloping diabetes. A man in the late fifties was taken ill one morning, conveyed to a hospital by 10 oclock of that morning and examined by physicians and surgeons who confessed themselves unable to account for his condition and name his disease.
Finally a surgeon-consultant on the honorary staff looked in and called the disease the name which recalls Shrove Tuesday and said neither physics nor the knife would be of any avail. The man was given thirty-six days to exist, spent eighteen of them as “observation” case in the the hospital, and was then sent home to peter out the remaining half of the sentence under the eyes of his relatives and friends.
My newsagent knew him, heard of his return and persuaded the family to see me. I fasted him twenty- one two days (he had not much weight to lose and what you havent got you cant part with). Lack of weight is nor easy why a fast should not be entered upon as I have proved (by end results and subsequent reaction by response to stimulation of natural foods after the fast, where nothing assimilated before), many times since 1917.
The story of this particular fast is an epic, for the ranks of what men call “orthodox”, “safe”, “science” and worship (or did up to recently) have never cured a single case: that is to say if the medical friends I have told the facts to are as honest in their sympathy with a “Quack” (?) as they appear to be when I tell them of the successes of the fasting cure where no half- measures are attempted, as in this case. The cure held good.