© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

Health Ayurveda Plants Mantra Tovil Treatments

Mantra Healers

Mantra are recitations that are “chanted” by a healer at special times  during the day or night according to the special prescription for that particular mantra. They have magic effects – protective, curatative or even to cause harm. They are used during Tovil Ceremonies to summon the yakka (demons) and ghosts etc and also during all parts of these magical ceremonies. If a person is sick a healer may be summoned who will recite the appropriate mantra at the special time to effect a cure. These mantra are usually accompanied by the application of mixtures of oils, yellow root etc which the healer will smooth on the patient’s forehead whilst reciting the appropriate mantra. They may also tie a band around the patient  typically around the arm or waist.

This protective amulet was prepared for this boy and placed around his neck by the healer, whilst protective mantra was recited.

This woman learnt some curative mantra from her father who was an Ayurvedic healer. She and her husband have a vegetable stall at a local market . She is straightening my arthritic finger that I could not bend. She rubbed a special preparation of oil onto the finger whilst gently manipulating it. All the time she was reciting a curative mantra. The treatment took about 20 minutes. When she had finished I could move my finger as normal and there was no longer any pain. When I offered payment for this wonderful relief, she refused saying that if she took payment she would lose her skill and healing powers. (By helping people she is gaining merit for a “higher” re-incarnation.)

Following this session, the pain had disappeared and I could move my finger freely.

On two other occasions I was helped by mantra healers. On one occasion, whilst in a remote paddyfield area,  I developed a fever and flu like symptoms and feared I would be unable to attend an annual  Pirit Ceremony for a local man who had died some years previously. The family I was visiting, kindly called a local mantra healer. He recited mantra whilst he prepared a mixture of tumeric and coconut milk/oil in a saucer. Then whilst reciting another mantra he smoothed my forehead with the mixture of coconut milk and tumeric from the saucer. This session took about 30 minutes. Then after a nap, I felt much better, the symptoms had disappeared  and I was able to attend the pirit.

On the other occasion, I had been troubled by mosquito bites on my leg that had turned septic. Another local mantra healer was called. He recited a mantra over the infected area on my ankle. After a few days the infection cleared up.

Neither of these mantra healers would take any payment although they were obviously poor.

A traditional mantra village healer I met in 1994.

She is standing in the entrance of her special house where patients consult her. Inside is a shrine dedicated to the Deity Kataragama from whom she receives her gift to cure patients.(Hence the red implements she utilises in her “treatments” as red is the colour associated with this Deity). The villagers consult her for a range of problems. After diagnosis she prays on them and may also  advise in addition, a pilgrimage to Kataragama Temple to make a special pujah. (See Section on Deities).

She has on several occasions “Fire Walked” during the Kataragma Esala (July) Perahera. She displayed her certificate for this. She related that she recites the special Fire Walking Mantra and then enters a trance and thus does not feel the hot embers nor do her feet burn.

In addition to receiving small fees and gifts for her healing from grateful patients, she is a Janashakthi Bank member and  supports herself by micro business activities such as Stone Crushing (see section on Janashakthi Bank Society.)