By Swami Harshananda
Bhutavidyā literally means psychiatry and the science of spirits.
Works on Ayurveda (science of health and longevity) generally deal with eight subjects, one of which is ‘bhutavidyā.’ It deals with diseases of the mind as well as psychic conditions caused by super natural forces. Some experts say that bhuta means ghosts and similar bad spirits who cause abnormal psychological conditions. Others say bhuta represents microscopic organisms such as virus, bacteria that are not visible to naked eye. Ayurveda also lists karma as a causative factor of certain diseases. Bhuta Vidya deals with the causes, which are directly not visible and have no direct explanation in terms of tridosha. The remedies recommended were prayers, oblations, exorcism as also some drugs.
Bhutavidyā is one of the nineteen branches of Knowledge (vidyās) mentioned in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad. In this context, it refers to the science and art of involving, inviting or controlling disembodied spirits.
- Chāndogya Upaniṣad 7.1.2
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore