Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2016 Contents A26
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, May 30, 2016
Having lived in a rural area all
my life, on many occasions I would
hear of mothers taking their babies
to "jharay for jaundice." Many ques-
tions popped into my mind about
jharaying and I wondered if it really
worked. Older now and able to
understand the concept a little bet-
ter, my questions took me to several
holy men in Trinidad.
Larry Vinayak Yogesh (fondly
called Baba Larry), spiritual leader
of the Shri Nav Durga Kali Ashram
in South Oropouche, has been
jharaying others since the age of 11.
After he graduated from university,
he started doing it full-time. He
explained that jharay originated in
India as an area of Vedic principle.
It is used as a healing technique.
"Jharay is the act of removing old,
stagnant, evil energy from one s aura,
thus cleansing and healing the body
using mantras along with a medium
such as a cocoyea (made from
coconut branches), a feather from a
peacock, neem leaves, lime, holy
ashes and even salt", said Yogesh.
He added that every medium has a
different effect, but it is the intention
that matters. When jharaying, it is
believed that the therapist/holy per-
son can channel energy into the
patient by means of touch to activate
the healing process of the patient s
body, mind and soul and restore
physical and emotional well-being.
While it is common for pandits
and holy men to jharay, anyone can
do it once they were given the
mantra by their guru or elder. "The
person who receives this mantra then
has a responsibility to upkeep the
power of the mantra by special rep-
etition (known as jugaway) at aus-
picious times such as Divali," said
How exactly is one jharayed?
"Part of the person s positive ener-
gy is transferred to the patient. It is
a selfless act and that is why you
have to be blessed to do this. You
must do it wholeheartedly, with good
intention, having no regrets and
looking for nothing in return," stated
So does jharaying really work?
According to 20 out of 30 people
interviewed, it does.
Yogesh said, "Jharaying really
works. Hundreds of people visit the
ashram on a daily basis to get
jharayed. There is an antidote mantra
for every ailment in life---snake bites,
scorpion sting, jaundice, asthma,
najar (evil eye), headaches, fever,
depression and more." The best time
to get jharayed is at the junctions of
time---early morning, or in the
evening. If there is an emergency,
however, it can be done at any time.
In Islam too, there is something
similar to jharaying called "ruqyah"
which is special prayers taken only
from the Qur an to be recited to
someone to heal them. According
to Maulana Ahmad Muhammad, a
teacher at the Jaamia Madeenatul
Uloom, "ruqyah" emanates from the
teachings of the Prophet Muham-
mad, revealed to him through the
Qur an and through incidents in his
life. He said: "One of the best verses
to recite to someone is Surah Faatiha
(the opening prayer). This can be
recited to a sick person, someone in
pain, someone with bad eye or one
who has been stung by a scorpion
or is possessed by a demon."
Asked if he has helped anyone,
the well-learnt Maulana stated, "Yes.
I have helped a lot of people with
a range of issues." He explained that
in order for the prayers to work, the
one reciting the prayers and the one
who is inflicted must have the belief
and conviction that the words can
help them only through the help of
Can this be done by anyone in
Islam? According to the Maulana,
it is preferred if a scholar does it,
but a common person with the
knowledge of the Arabic language
can recite the prayers to help some-
one. "If a person himself can recite
things like the opening prayer (to
help himself), he should do it instead
of someone doing it for him,"
Ruqyah is accepted under three
conditions: It must be done from
the Qur an and must be done in the
name and attributes of Allah alone,
or with supplication reported on the
authority of the Prophet Muham-
mad, it should preferably be done
in Arabic and the person doing it
must believe that it does not have
power on its own except by the
power of the almighty.
Ruqyah is permissible as long as
there is nothing to do with Shirk
(polytheism or coming out of the
fold of Islam).
So whether one decides to go for
a "jharay" or to choose the Islamic
way and have "ruqyah" done, it all
comes down to one s belief in the
power of the prayers being recited.
Is jharay the cure?
Larry Vinayak Yogesh (fondly called Baba Larry), spiritual leader of the Shri
Nav Durga Kali Ashram in South Oropouche.
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