As Seen from the Eyes of Devotional Vedanta

By Bruce Martin

Reiki is a conscious healing energy, emanating from the One conscious Source, which pervades and transcends all of manifestation. Reiki is a specific potency of that unlimited Source, endowed with the frequency to bring healing on all dimensions of embodied being, from the physical, to the energetic, the emotional, the mental, extending in its highest aspect even to the spiritual. It works on the energetic system of the recipient, facilitating the release of blockages that initiates a process of healing and re-harmonization of the microcosm of the body-mind system. By endowing the recipient with its own radiant frequency, it also helps to bring the individual system into balance with the forces of nature and the cosmos. Thus Reiki is not only conducive to physical well-being, but nurtures awareness of the self’s interrelation with the Whole. In Sanskrit this is termed as svasthya (or health), which literally means to be established in one’s own self. Reiki is conducive to this state of being.

Reiki is a conscious energy, intrinsically of the nature of awareness. Since it acts directly on the energetic system of the recipient, without dependence on the nature of the awareness of the healer, it knows exactly how and where to move to provide the optimal opportunity for healing to take place. As such, Reiki can never harm anyone and is never subordinate to any personal ambition of the healer. The healer, as such, is merely a channel for the energy to reach the recipient, and hence the assessment of oneself as a healer is of no relevance in Reiki. There is relevance, however, in the awareness that facilitates functionality as a channel. In other words, the more a channel is attuned to the energy it facilitates, the smoother the flow of energy will be to the recipient from the source; the more transparent the transmitter, the less to impede transmission.

Expression of Divine Love

Reiki is directed toward the highest good of all beings, and as such it is an expression of Divine Love, stemming from the mercy of God. For this reason, the primary criterion to function as a Reiki channel lies in the awareness of oneself as a chalice to welcome sacred energy and allow for its transmission. This demands continuous work of internal cleansing (or seeing through, and beyond, the contractions of ego), because a receptacle must be empty in order to receive. In fact, emptiness, like the vacuity of space, is the basic and intrinsic characteristic of awareness, and it is this quality that is essential to welcome this pure flow of healing Love.

Although consciousness, at every moment, remains fundamentally untouched by, and distinct from, the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of which it is continuously aware, it is the identification with all these mechanisms, and the sense of continuity we attribute to them, that fortifies the self-concept, imposing a conventional and conditional idea upon unconditional awareness. This inner contraction upon a superimposed self, which is also a contraction away from unconditioned and unlimited Reality, diminishes the space in which energy and awareness can flow.

A Reiki channel, therefore, works not only to release negative feelings and emotions, such as anger, jealousy and envy, but must also break the more tenacious aspiration for notoriety as a healer, a being of light, a master and so on. In short, all self-concepts, however noble, must be seen through. To rest in the simple awareness of one’s interconnection with the Whole is the state of emptiness in which the ultimate good of the Whole can fill one’s being and be transmitted to all that is contacted. It is not the will to heal that is important, but the will to be healed. It is not the individual who heals, but the totality.

A Deeper Level of Joy

When the receptacle of awareness is emptied, the waves of God’s compassion gradually overwhelm the being, and the healing vibration of Reiki is transformed into the energy of love. The container itself vibrates with that energy, becoming, in a sense, the whole in the form of love, which naturally flows out, unbounded, toward all of creation. In this state, Reiki is viewed not as a practice, but as a consciousness of love and healing that is alive in the soul. When the soul welcomes this energy of love, allowing it to pervade the being, it becomes that energy. The self becomes Reiki. The self becomes Love. And Reiki can help the sincere practitioner to perceive the deepest aspect of Love, wherein God and all His creatures become beloved to us. Our intention is then directed towards bringing happiness and well-being to all, and through their happiness we perceive a deeper level of joy, or ecstasy. This is the mysterious ingredient of this healing practice. The more we avail ourselves to others through the agency of divine will, the more we are filled by the energy of love.

Reiki is a state of consciousness, involving the very essence of the being. As such, it focuses the awareness of the Reiki facilitator in the present. Each moment is unique and requires total presence—to be available simply to what is, without imposing any personal notion of what we think should be. Each soul that comes to us is a unique flower in the Creation, with particular shape, color, and fragrance, and so the experience related with each and every being is completely new and fresh. With an openness to experience the uniqueness of each particular soul—something never experienced before—we must be available from the center of our being, with complete presence of being. This is why, for the facilitator, Reiki is concerned with the moment, because it is in the fullness of our own participation that the encounter with the healing energy, and with the recipient, reaches consummation. In the absence of awareness, the moment is lost. No doubt, we will have other experiences, but not that particular one, the one of this moment.

God and His Energy Reciprocate

The more we avail ourselves to the energy of love, the more complete we become. The experiences of life that carry significance are those directly connected with love. Without it, all experience remains superficial, involving only the periphery, and not the center, of our being. So, openness of heart is essential. It is through the heart, the seat of consciousness, that energy flows, and intuition is received as a gift of the Divine to guide us through life, experiencing and realizing the Self.

Intuition is, in fact, a key tool in Reiki. The placement of hands on a patient is guided not by the mind, but through intuition. We need, rather, to drop the mind, so we can feel, through the heart, the flow of energy, and so move the hands in accordance with the actual need of the recipient. Reiki itself will guide us. That is why it is so important to be in the moment, to be aware. Otherwise the moment could be missed, and so too the real help required by the patient.

The more one’s awareness is attuned to the frequency of love, which is the conscious principle underlying Reiki, the more that energy will respond to our invitation. In the Bhagavata Purana, one of the sacred texts of India, it is written that God relates with each and every beloved devotee in the exact form they specifically cherish and with the reciprocal mood to that with which they approach Him. This indicates that God, or the Absolute, reciprocates with us in direct accordance with the attitude and transparency of the love with which we approach Him. Reiki energy, as discussed already, is a conscious potency of the Divine, intrinsically of the nature of love, and so it acts in the same way.

Awareness without the Sense of Doership

Dandavat at RadhakundaWhen people take up energetic healing or spiritual practices, such as yoga, Chi-gong, Reiki or meditation, the results are different for each individual. Sometimes it is observed that people may dedicate themselves to specific practices for many years and achieve an advanced level of skill, but still miss the essence, the awareness that lies at the heart of all practice. On the other hand, there are some individuals who are able to quickly and easily grasp not only the technique, but the essence as well. This is due mainly to the consciousness with which one approaches all such types of cultivation, and even life in general.

As long as the sense of doership is prominent, the impetus to practice is coming not from the total heart, from the seat of unconditional awareness, but from the fragmented sense of an independent self, able to achieve results through personal effort. So, although persons operating from this perspective may be dedicated to their practice, the emphasis will necessarily be on mastery of the discipline, since no more than this is within the grasp of the striving ego. As long as the door of the heart is yet unopened, essence remains hidden, and so, the conscious energy that carries the vibration of Love is without a vehicle for expression.

When the sense of doership is abandoned, one necessarily also gives up the feeling of personal accomplishment that accompanies it. The sense of the fragmented self loosens as one recognizes oneself to be a conscious receptacle through which the conscious Whole may express Itself. With this awareness there is nothing to be achieved through the practice other than the opening of the heart to one’s unity with the Whole. Being overwhelmed by the presence of Love, one stands simply as a witness to that which has no past and no future, but is ever-existent in the immediate now. It is in this emptiness, in the space created for divine energy to flow, that essence can express itself, bringing not the limited results available to a fragmented ego, but the unlimited healing and transformative potential of the conscious Whole. It is this awareness that is relevant to Reiki.

4 thoughts on “REIKI AND THE HEALER”

  1. Thanks for writing about Reiki from the Vendata perspective. From what I understand Reiki is a relatively new practice that was rediscovered in recent history. I have wondered if there is any mention of similar healing practices in Vedic literature. Perhaps it is mentioned within some Ayurvedic practices? I am curious to know. Thanks so much for sharing this insight! Haribol!!

  2. The Vedic Roots of Reiki

    “Skilled, dexterous and empowered by the Divine for healing is our left hand, for it removes blocks in the free flow of joy. And yet more potent is this divinely empowered right hand, for it contains all medicinal capacities of the universe, its all auspicious healing touch bringing peace, harmony, welfare, opulence, joy and liberation from all toxic conditions of matter–birth, death, old age and disease.”
    – Atharva Veda
    Most of us are familiar with energy healing methods in one or more of their many forms: Pranic Healing, Jin-Shin-Do and Reiki are among the more widely recognized therapies, with the last-named being by far the most popular and widely-dispersed.

    Though simple to learn and practice, Reikis history has until recently been surrounded by myth, innuendo and legend. Rumor and counter-rumor, along with intentional fabrications and distortions, have been the near-impenetrable substance of Reikis story, and curious practitioners of this healing art have often been confounded when they made attempts to discover the true nature of their legacy and lineage.

    It should come as no surprise to practitioners and students of ayurveda that as is the case with so much else, Reiki appears to have sprung originally from ancient Indias fertile intellectual soil. Though widely believed to be a Japanese creation of the early twentieth century, Reiki appears to have been but re-discovered in that country, countless millennia after energy healing first made its appearance amongst the rishis who gave ayurveda to a suffering world.

    Reiki was not alone in being ancient Indias gift to the island empire of Japan. According to Stephen Knapp, author of Proof of Vedic Cultures Global Existence (World Relief Network Publishers, Detroit USA, 2000; pp. 242-244) Indian influence can be most acutely seen in religion. Knapp states that, inter alia, the Vedic deity Ganesh was worshipped in Japans imperial palace in the summer months on the Ganesh Chaturthi days per Indian tradition. Contemporarily, Ganesh (Japanese: Shoten, or Kangijen) is among the most beloved of protective deities and is officially installed in the Hoshanji temple on Mount Ikomei in Nara and in the chief temple in Osaka City. Durga is also worshipped, the Sanskrit Kalidevama having translated itself into the Japanese Kariteimo. Indias Kubera became Japans Bishamon, and Varuna, Shiva and Vishvakarma crossed the Japanese Sea to become known as Suiten, Daikoko and Bishukatsuma respectively.
    Indias tradition of honoring the ancestors on Navaratri as well made its way to Japan, as did much else.

    According to Dr. S. Venu Gopalacharya in his World-Wide Hindu Culture and Vaishnava Bhakti (published by the author, 1997; pp. 114-5) historical evidence exists for Koreas ruler once having sent to Japan a large number of Mahayana texts as a gift to the Japanese emperor from which time religious, cultural and scientific contacts between Japan and India grew exponentially, with the Japanese government funding Buddhist and Hindu scholars at the great university at Nalanda. According to Knapp (op.cit., p. 244) Reikis ayurvedic roots made the journey to Japan embedded in the Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures brought there.
    Reiki was developed in Japan by one Mikao Usui at a time when Japanese society was experiencing a period of rapid change and social and cultural upheaval. It was not until the 1850s that an insular Japan opened itself up to the Western world; for two centuries starting in the mid fifteenth century, all Europeans had been expelled from Japan. No Japanese were allowed to leave their country. Religions not long-standing parts of Japanese life and culture were declared illegal and all Japanese were forced to register at Shinto temples, whose theologies had been taken up as a state religion.

    It was the United States and European powers that finally forced Japan to open its borders, its economy and its civilization, to the outside world, and this event led to a great flood of new ideas and esoteric systems coming into Japan from all over the world.

    Mikao Usui, Reikis re-discoverer, was born in 1865 near Kyoto and died on March 9, 1926. Contrary to now widespread belief in and out of the Reiki community, he was no Christian, much less a Christian minister or missionary. He grew up in a Buddhist family belonging to the Tendai sect and one of his siblings was a physician. As a child he entered a Tendai Buddhist monastery near Mount Kurama, the venue at which years later the tenets of Reiki were said to have been revealed to him by a supernatural agency and in later life he seems to have espoused the Shingon sect of Japanese esoteric Buddhism imported by the monk-scholar Kukai after the latters study in China and India.

    Reiki is the Japanese name for the healing method rediscovered by Usui from Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures found in monasteries in Japan. Reiki means universal energy, or all-pervading force and Ki, Chi, Qi, and Prana, are all synonyms for the life force that flows through and about human and animal bodies as well as supposedly inanimate forms. Prana in the Vedic view is the cosmic force that gives life to the body and mind and flows through and about the subtle, energetic body whose structures include the chakras, koshas and nadis through which prana flows, and which exist within and throughout the physical body, the two communicating at sensitive points on the latters surface known as Marma points, and delineated in the Vedic healing art of Marma Vidya. If some trauma or pathological process occurs to disrupt the normal balanced flow of prana through the body, disease occurs.

    Reiki practitioners are initiated into the method gradually over a series of levels or grades (ordinarily, three) by a process known as attunement. Attunements are given by a Reiki Master that enables the student to open his own energetic system to ki (cosmic force) and to serve as an effective channel and focal point for that force. Students are instructed and supervised in practice sessions to recognize pranic flow in themselves and their subjects. Each human body has certain contact points (corresponding to Marma points) on the body that act as particularly effective areas for the transfer of pranic energy or ki, most commonly, the palms, fingertips, frontal and dorsal body in the areas corresponding to the chakras, forearms and feet.

    The practitioner transfers ki, or prana, to these points on his patient’s body causing an increased, more natural and more complete flow of energy within the patient. At the contact point there very often develops an intense heat or tingling sensation. Among higher level Reiki practitioners, orthographic symbols delineating particular aspects of ki are used to amplify the potency and immediacy of treatment. Intention counts for much (or some Reiki Masters insist, all) in Reiki practice, and distance treatments wherein the practitioner and subject are in separate locales are both widely used and held to be very effective. According to Dr. Pankaj Naram of the Ayushakti Ayurvedic Clinic in Mumbai, a practitioner of both marma vidya as well as Reiki (as reported in Hinduism Today, Winter 2003) Therapeutic touch, Reiki, polarity therapy and many other techniques utilize the same transfer of energy by a laying on of hands. Like these, marma vidya can effectuate healing by applying the hand over the areas corresponding to marma points, making it unnecessary to actually come in contact with the skin surface.

    Some Reiki Masters have added considerably to Usuis canon by implementing more attunements, introducing new symbols and methods and even inserting different beliefs into Reikis history, making the quest for historical authenticity an even more difficult and complex one.

    Nonetheless, some historical clues are more or less evident, and continuing investigation is likely to shed growing light on Reiki’s Indian origin.

  3. Such a thorough response. I was under the incorrect perception that Usui was a Christian. Not that this made a difference to me, but it made the story of Reiki’s discovery very confusing. I believe that story has been propagated to increase acceptance of Reiki in the West. Thanks for this elaboration, I have been inspired to look into this further.

    1. Comment by Bruce Martin: “I think the above is an excellent follow up to the article and provides much practical and largely unknown information linking the ancient science of Ayur Veda to other traditional healing systems of the East. In the article my orientation was not at all historical or even cross-cultural but rather philosophical, to point out the deeper trans-phenomenal implications of Rei-Ki (i.e. the union of consciousness and vital life energy) as understood or revealed through the insight of devotional Vedanta. From this perspective the ultimate transcendental source of healing, that may be designated in Japan by the term Rei-Ki, is the same entity that may also be indicated through the term Ayur Veda, the Science of Life (i.e., consciousness and vital energy). The article was meant to inspire a fresh philosophical perspective on healing, and Prema Nidhi has supported this to show the root connection in pragmatic terms.”

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