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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 40-45

Guru, vriddha, rishi and siddha grahonmaada: Geschwind syndrome?


Department of Kayachikitsa, Parul Institute of Ayurveda, Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication2-May-2017

Correspondence Address:
Prasad Mamidi
Department of Kayachikitsa, Parul Institute of Ayurveda, Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijny.ijoyppp_5_16

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  Abstract 

Background: “Bhuta vidya” (Ayurvedic psychiatry) is one of the eight branches of Ayurveda. The person afflicted with bhuta/graha gets grahonmaada/bhutonmaada and he will exhibit superhuman abilities or qualities without any nown/visible etiopathology. Among the 18 types of bhutonamaada's explained by Vagbhata, “Guru, Vriddha, Rishi and Siddha grahonmaada” (GVRSG) is one. Till date, there is no clear understanding about etiopathology, symptomatology, and management of GVRSG. No works have been conducted on this topic. Aim and Objective: The present article aims at better understanding of GVRSG. Discussion: Geschwind syndrome is characterized by hypergraphia, hyper religiosity, hyposexuality, circumstantiality, and intensified mental life. People like Guru, Vriddha, Rishi, and Siddha in ancient India are known to have qualities such as, “knowledge,” “teaching,” “moralistic,” “disciplined,” “religious,” “ethical,” “experienced,” “having super natural owers,” “counselor,” “guide,” and “following celibacy,” which resembles with the symptomatology of Geschwind syndrome such as, hyper-religiosity, hypergraphia, hyposexuality, emotional liability, grandiosity, and obsessive-compulsive like symptoms. Conclusion: There is marked similarity found between GVRSG and Geschwind syndrome and Ayurvedic diagnosis of Guru, Vriddha, Rishi, and Siddha bhootonmada/grahonmada is suitable for Geschwind syndrome.

Keywords: Ayurveda, bhutonmaada, Geschwind syndrome, hyper-religiosity, hypergraphia, hyposexuality


How to cite this article:
Mamidi P, Gupta K. Guru, vriddha, rishi and siddha grahonmaada: Geschwind syndrome?. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2015;3:40-5

How to cite this URL:
Mamidi P, Gupta K. Guru, vriddha, rishi and siddha grahonmaada: Geschwind syndrome?. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2017 Oct 22];3:40-5. Available from: http://www.ijoyppp.org/text.asp?2015/3/2/40/205523


  Introduction Top


Bhutavidya” (Ayurvedic psychiatry) is one of the eight branches of Ayurveda. It is explained as the branch which lays down incantation and mode of exorcising, evil spirits, and making offerings to deva (divine beings), pishacha (class of demon fond of flesh), gandharva (class of demon fond of entertainment), yaksha (living super natural being/ghost), and rakshasa (class of demon fond of violence) for the cure of diseases originating from their malignant influence.[1]

In Ayurveda, description of psychiatric problems is explained under the heading of “Unmaada (psychosis).” Again, unmaada is classified into two groups based on etiopathology and treatment, doshajaunmaada (occurs due to vitiation of three humors inside the body) and bhutonmaada or grahonmaada (not related to vitiation of humors and not caused by the factors inside the body). Doshajaunmaada is treated by using internal medicines or panchakarma (five major body cleansing therapies) and aimed to correct the vitiated dosha (humor) or dosha's whereas bhutonmaada is treated using various forms of psychotherapies (often drugless treatments).[2]

Bhuta/Graha

The word “bhuta” has different meanings in different contexts like, microbes in the context of vrana (ulcer) and in the context of psychiatry the word “bhuta” denotes, super natural power/demon/external force/paranormal force or being similar (imitating) to a person or famous personality (either living or dead), animal, or an object.[3]

The similarities shown in appearance, behavior, speech, posture, gait, and other psychomotor activities to the characteristics of the respective bhuta (personality) is the basis behind the concept of bhuta in Ayurvedic psychiatry.[4] The word “graha” means, which catches or seize (demonic possession), is used to denote the unknown, unexplainable pathologies. AcharyaSusruta used the words both graha and bhuta synonymously.[5]

Grahonmaada/Bhutonmaada

Certain psychological disorders are caused by unknown or idiopathic factors. In these psychoses, the affected individual will exhibit superhuman abilities or qualities. Hence, they were named according to the configuration, speech, gait, or behavior of those inhuman creatures or superhuman celebrities.

The detailed description of the pathogenesis of doshonmada is mentioned in Ayurvedic classical texts but when these rules are not able to explain the symptomatology of unmaada, that condition is called bhutonmaada.Bhutonmaada is characterized by, nonhuman behavior and psychomotor activity seen in a person such as supernatural speech, valor, potency, activities, intelligence, knowledge, and strength all of a sudden without any visible or known etiopathology (idiopathic, sudden personality changes).[6]

Observing the nonhuman characters (not seen/impossible for a normal person) in a human being in his qualities/activities such as general knowledge, special knowledge (of science/arts/philosophy), speech, physical activities, strength, and valor such person should be understood as seized by demons. The person who imitates in form (appearance), temperament, language (speech), gati (movements/psychomotor activity) or any other activities as like any demon, he should be understood as having been seized by that demon. They (bhutas/demon) are of 18 kinds, such as deva,danava (demonic) and other categories.[7]

Guru,Vriddha,Rishi, and Siddhagrahonmaada (GVRSG) is a type of bhutonmaada/grahonmaada.[8] Till date, there was no clear understanding about etiopathology, symptomatology, and management of GVRSG. No works have been conducted on this topic. The present article aims at better understanding of GVRSG.


  Guru, Vriddha, Rishi, And Siddha Grahnonmada Top


Susruta has described eight types of bhutonmada.[9] In CharakaSamhita 11 types were described.[10] In AshtangaHridaya, 18 types were explained.[11] The number of bhutonmada's has been increased from 8 to 18. One cannot limit bhutonmaada's to a particular number because all these classifications are on the basis of similarities shown by the individual to some prominent personalities known at that time. For example, if the activities of the abnormal person resemble a hero, or a politician or a sports person then the condition can be called as unmaada with the name of that particular hero or politician or sports person. If an abnormal person becomes highly obsessed with particular object then he can be called as afflicted with unmaada with the name of that particular object. The numbering and naming of these bhutonmada's are only relative, considering the present day lifestyle they can take any name or feature. The number of graha's is innumerable according to Sushruta.[5]

Among the 18 types of bhutonamaada's explained by Vagbhata, GVRSG is one of them.[8]

Guru

The word “Guru” denotes a teacher or a spiritual parent or preceptor or one who instruct pupil in shastra's (scriptures)/various sciences or giver of knowledge. In Indian culture, Guru is considered as most revered person as by the knowledge given by him expels the darkness of ignorance. In ancient India parents used to send their children to the house of Guru for learning various subjects like science and art. Guru is the primary source of knowledge, and he was expected to maintain very high standard of morality.[12]

Vriddha

The word “Vriddha” denotes an aged person or experienced person or a head of any group or society. These people used to get respect from each, and every member of a group or society and they acts as counselors, serve the society by their problem-solving skills, experience, and knowledge.

Rishi

According to some scholars, the etymological meaning of the word “Rishi” is one who dances ferociously or with quick movements on being possessed by the divine spirit, in short sorcerer. Later, the word “Rishi” means any ascetic or sage who possesses great knowledge. By doing penance and practicing austerities many Rishi's gained supernatural powers.[13]

Siddha

The word “Siddha” denotes an ascetic who has achieved enlightenment or one who is accomplished or one who has attained siddhi (paranormal capabilities or supernatural powers). The siddhi is attained by practicing consistent meditation or tapas or yogasadhana (practicing yoga). There is a concept of ashtasiddhi (eight powers) in Hinduism, i.e., anima (reducing one's body even to the size of an atom), mahima (expanding one's body to an infinitely large size), garima (becoming infinitely heavy), laghima (becoming almost weightless), praapti (having unrestricted access to all places), praakaamya (getting whatever one desires), ishatva (possessing absolute lordship), and vashitva (power to subjugate all).[14]

Etiopathology of bhutonmaada

The main cause for bhutonmaada is prajnaparadha – committing of mistakes (transgression of rules, unrighteous behavior) either in the present life or in the previous lives, arising from pursuit of kama (desires), etc.,[15]graha/bhuta seize the person during specific times only those are called “Chidra's.” Chidra (the time of) commencement of sinful acts, in brief, activities contrary to all the rules and regimen of good conduct described in Ayurvedic classical texts.[16]

Symptomatology of Guru, Vriddha, Rishi and Siddha grahonmaada

He who exhibits in his speech, food and activities, the features (of graha's) which are invoked by/named in the curses of the preceptors, elders, sages, and persons having specific powers should be understood as seized by that graha.[8] He who develops features in respect of power of cursing, study knowledge, form (dress, manners, etc.), thinking, activities, foods, etc., specific of any Rishi (sage), Guru (preceptor), Vriddha (elder), and Siddha (ascetic) should be understood as seized by that graha.[17] One whose behaviour, diet, speech are such that they bespeak of a curse, spell or obsession ascribable to teacher, elder, adepts, and sages should be known to be insane due to possession by them.[18]

  • Gurugrahonmaada (in which the person imitates or behaves like a preceptor)
  • Vriddhagarhonmaada (in which the person behaves like an experienced or aged)
  • Rishigrahonmaada (in which the person behaves like a saint)
  • Siddhagrahonmaada (in which the person behaves like, he has some supernatural powers).


In brief, if a person insidiously or suddenly without any visible or known cause started to behave (sudden personality change) like a Guru or Vriddha or Rishi or Siddha [Table 1], then it is called grahonmaada by that particular name whom the patient's behavior resembles. According to AcharyaVagbhata,bhutonmaada can be judged by gyaanaadiapaurusha (abnormality of behavior/change in personality). It means that there is sudden change into the gyaana (knowledge), vigyaana (intelligence), vaak (speech), cheshta (behavior), bala (strength), and paurusha (aggression).[17]
Table 1: Similarity between Guru, Vriddha, Rishi and Siddha grahonmaada and Geschwind syndrome

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Management of bhutonmaada

According to AcharyaCharaka, treatment of psychiatric problems includes gnaana,vignaana (spiritual and scriptural knowledge), dhairya (patience), smriti (memory), and samaadhi (meditation). The main aim of treatment for psychiatric disorders is to minimize psychopathology and it can be achieved by sattvaavajaya (psychotherapy) as well as other treatments like daivavyapashrayachikitsa (drugless therapies).[19] Avoiding harmful or unwholesome regimens and adopting useful wholesome ones in regard to dharma (customs/duties), artha (possessions/wealth/business) and kama (desires/sex), serving persons well versed in the nature and cure of psychiatric conditions and acquiring knowledge of oneself, the place, family, time, strength, and the capacity are the principles of management of mental disorders explained by AcharyaCharaka. The person should consider again and again which is useful and which is harmful for self.[20] Hence, one should consider his limitations and should adopt virtuous path of living. In Ayurveda, for prevention of mental disorders AchaaraRasaayana (virtuous path) is also explained.[21]

In the treatment of deva,Rishi,pitru and gandharvagrahonmaada, strong/powerful nasal drops, etc., should be avoided and only mild recipes such as drinking of ghee (medicated), etc., should be administered.[22]


  Geschwind Syndrome Top


Geschwind syndrome, also known as Gastaut–Geschwind, is a group of behavioral phenomena seen in some patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). It is named for one of the first individuals to categorize the symptoms, Norman Geschwind.[23] This syndrome includes five primary changes; hypergraphia, hyperreligiosity, atypical (usually reduced) sexuality, circumstantiality (excessive verbal output, stickiness), and intensified mental life (deepened cognitive and emotional responses).[24]

Temporolimbic personality is associated with personality traits and psychiatric symptoms collectively known as “inter ictal behavioral syndrome” or “Geschwind syndrome, “ and it is characterized by affective dysregulation, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, grandiosity, schizophrenic like symptoms, dissociative states, hypergraphia, and hyper-religiosity.[25]

In Geschwind syndrome patient's personality acquires new traits such as, grandiosity, obsessive preoccupation with ethical and religious matters. A person who is humorous suddenly manifests as a rather obnoxious mix of inflexibility, moralistic, religious zeal, and self-aggrandizement due to Geschwind syndrome.[26]

Hyper religiosity

The incidence of religious experiences ranges from 0.4 to 3.1 in patients with partial seizures.[27] Hyper-religiosity is characterized by, increasing religious thoughts, excessive religious speech, and heightened state of religious conviction with personality change with unknown etiology.[28] Patient is preoccupied with metaphysical component which may take the form of nascent and excessive intellectual interests in religion, philosophy, or moral issues.[29]

Hypergraphia

Hypergraphia can be explained as the overwhelming urge to write. It is seen in TLE, bipolar mood disorder and schizophrenia.[30] Hypergraphia can take the form of excessive writing, drawing, or painting [29] or tendency to write minuscule letters in compact space.[31]

Hyposexuality

Hyposexuality is one of the most frequent (28%–67%) interictal abnormalities observed in patients with epilepsy. The majority of hyposexual patients showed global diminishment of libido and potency.[32] Markedly, diminished sexual interest occurs with TLE, hypothalamic lesions, and right hemisphere brain injuries.[33] Hyposexuality may take the form of, lack of interest in the opposite sex [31] or relative decrease in sexual interest or arousal.[34]

Aggression, fear,[29] becoming angry on slight provocation,[31] intense emotion and unusual patterns of social interaction [25] are also seen in the patients of Geschwind syndrome.

Etiopathology, course, and prognosis

Specific symptoms that characterize the Geschwind syndrome, such as hypergraphia and hyposexuality might be pathogenically related to hippocampal atrophy.[35] Temporolimbic hyperresponsiveness might generate partial seizure-like symptoms and behavioral/emotional responses that resemble interictal phenomenon among individuals free of central nervous system pathology.[25] The pathology of hyper-religiosity is complex and not fully understood, and hippocampal magnetic resonance imaging study revealed the role of the right hippocampus in the development of religiosity, but causality could not be determined.[28] Overall the etiopathology of Geschwind syndrome is not clearly understood till date. Geschwind syndrome can endure for weeks and gradually evolve into a chronic interictal state.[26]

Differential diagnosis

It is difficult to distinguish symptoms of Geschwind syndrome from schizoaffective manic type presentation, which can manifest as grandiose beliefs, religious delusions, and overactivity. Schizoaffective disorder patients may show the features such as hypergraphia, religious preoccupation, and hyposexuality. A case of Geschwind syndrome has been reported in the setting of schizoaffective disorder and in the absence of a known comorbid diagnosis of TLE or frontotemporal dementia.[36] In a case report, there is a description of a patient affected by frontotemporal dementia, who showed all the personality changes of Geschwind syndrome without having epilepsy, and suggests that clinicians should be aware of several other features in frontotemporal dementia, such as hyposexuality and hypergraphia.[37]


  Similarity between Guru, Vriddha, Rishi And Siddha Grahonmaada And Geschwind Syndrome Top


There is no detailed description regarding etiopathology, symptomatology of GVRSG in Ayurvedic texts. According to Ayurveda, while treating a new or unknown disease, naming of a disease is not having that much of importance as it serves only the purpose of communication. It is difficult to have specific names for all diseases. However, the three factors, namely, etiology, site of affliction and peculiarities in manifestation should be considered for proper planning of treatment.[38]

Common etiology, pathogenesis, course and prognosis explained for bhutonmaada is applicable for GVRSG also. Signs and symptoms of GVRSG also not clearly explained in Ayurvedic texts, so there was lack of proper understanding of this condition. It is difficult to correlate GVRSG with any particular disease or syndrome as there is scarcity of literature regarding GVRSG in Ayurvedic texts.

People such as Guru,Vriddha,Rishi, and Siddha in ancient India are known to have qualities such as, “knowledge,” “teaching,” “moralistic,” “disciplined,” “religious,” “ethical,” “experienced,” “having supernatural powers,” “counsellor,” “guide” and “following celibacy” etc., If a normal person, without any known/visible cause, suddenly or insidiously starts behaving such as Guru,Vriddha,Rishi or Siddha or mimic the above qualities then that person is diagnosed as having GVRSG. The symptomatology of Geschwind syndrome like, hyper-religiosity, hypergraphia, hyposexuality, emotional lability, grandiosity and obsessive compulsive like symptoms resembles with the signs and symptoms of GVRSG. There is marked similarity found between GVRSG and Geschwind syndrome in terms of etiopathology, symptomatology, and nature of the disease [Table 1].

Rationality of bhootonmada

Though there is a belief in public that these bhuta's/graha's are some supernatural powers which seize the humans; this concept is contradicted and cleared by AcharyaCharaka by saying that “neither the gods nor the goblins cause the disease in the human. In fact, the person himself (his misdeeds) is the cause for all of his diseases.”[39]AcharyaVagbhata explains this further as, these disorders are given specific names due to similarity of the person affected in appearance, action and language, etc., with that of any creature, object, animal, divine people or demons etc.,[7] According to AcharyaSushruta, there are innumerable graha's based on their actions, appearance and behavior of the individuals.[40]


  Conclusion Top


There is a scarcity of description regarding etiology, pathogenesis, signs and symptom, and management of GVRSG in Ayurvedic classical texts. It is very difficult to understand/compare this condition to any particular psychiatric disorder/syndrome. Geschwind syndrome which is characterized by hyper-religiosity, hyposexuality, hypergraphia, etc., features has shown resemblance with GVRSG. The Ayurvedic diagnosis of Guru,Vriddha,Rishi, and Siddha bhootonmada/grahonmada is suitable for Geschwind syndrome.

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Conflicts of interest

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Acharya BJ, editor. Agnivesha, Elaborated by Charaka and Dridhabala Commentary by Chakrapani. Charaka Samhita, Nidana Sthana, Unmada Nidanam Adhyaya, 7/21-22. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan; 2008. p. 225.  Back to cited text no. 39
    
40.
Acharya VJ, Acharya NR, editors. Sushruta. Sushruta Samhita, Commentary by Dalhana. Uttara Tantra, Amaanusha Upasarga Pratishedha Adhyaya, 60/6 and 22. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Orientalia; 2009. p. 794, 796.  Back to cited text no. 40
    



 
 
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