Love in heart is a universal misconception
| by Dr. Sripali Vaiamon
( April 18, 2012, Brampton-Canada, Sri Lanka Guardian) Aristotal said, “Nature does nothing without a purpose.” Is this the prime reason why our lyricists, poets, novelists and artists grossly misused this invaluable organ in the human body to misconstrue a non-existing purpose. If I quote a few examples of the literature of SINHALA lyrics-
Mahada mandire same-gene sundari mage-rosamal kumari
Apehadata sathutak musuwenam –Ajuthapara lahila
Obe rupehi chaya-enduniya harde-kusuma obemai mage rajinde
Obave apa shakthi,Apa hada thula bhakthi (National Anthem)
Unmadavu premadare- obahadawatha ma handunagathse-ma hadawatha oba handunaganido
Obe depalanga mage tharuna hada pide
If I quote from English-
Mamamia-I have a broken heart
Because my heart is pure
My heart is like a singing bird
Cheerful heart now broken
Love gushed from my heart
Thought the heart be still as loving- Lord Byron
Betray the heart that loved her-William Wordsworth
Farewell the heart that lives alone- William Wordsworth
Give a loving heart to thee-Robert Herrick
Cheerful heart is now broken –Thomas Moore
Artists who draw the picture of the heart adapted the shape of a bo leaf rather than the normal shape of the heart. To symbolize the heart they may feel the shape of a bo leaf is more attractive. However the shape should signify the reality. Perhaps the primitive people who drew it may not have seen a heart. So others blindly follow what earlier artistes depicted. The picture became more prominent from recently, particularly in the western culture from the Velantine Day.
It is the same with regard to literati, poets, lyricists, playwrights and novelists grossly misused love, feelings, emotions and such sensations as manifestations in this organ of the body although there is no mechanism or provision in the heart to generate and sustain such qualities and temperaments from the point of view of medical science.
What is the heart? It is only a pumping station to me as far as the multiple functions of a human heart is concerned. I described this in one of my recent publications-‘Pre-historic Lanka to end of terrorism’ as thus. It is a myoganic muscular organ with a circulatory system for pumping blood in a rhythmic condition to purify and pump into vessels. Don’t think your love to your beloved girl friend will portray in the heart as etched on a rock.
There is no possibility to generate love or any other emotion in this organ and sustain in it because heart has other major functions to perform.
A renowned western doctor, Dr.Harvey and his wife who is also a qualified person in the medical profession, described heart as a musculoskeletal system of the human body is yet another example of the magnificence of our bodies. Some six hundred and fifty muscles interact with over 200 bones and are responsible for every movement of the body.
Probably the strongest muscle in the human body as for its size is the heart. Held in owe by anyone who has ever observe its operations, the fist size masterpiece is a tireless organ for incalculable functions. It beats according to the Doctors, 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime, driving five quarts of blood every minute to every cell in the body to cleanse and nourish the entire system. The heart is divided into two cavities separated by all of muscles. The left cavity pumps blood throughout the body, while the right cavity pumps blood only through the lungs. In this human gadget there is no provision whatsoever to generate love or sadness or any other feeling. Because these functions have been given over to some other vital part of the body by the Mother Nature or by the God as some religious philosophies sketched.
I illustrated the functions fairly clearly in one of my novels, ‘The Therapy’, in dialogue form, in the pages 433-435. Part of it I wish to extract here.
‘During a conversation one lady posed a question to the main character who is an Ayurvedic physician, Sarani.
“Sarani, prior to expressing our views on meditation I would like to get clarified one obscure point. I believe it is also having some relevancy to meditation.”
“ What is it Barbara?”
“To that person of the restaurant, Jackson, when he was leaving, aunty offered him her heartfelt thanks. Can you comment on this? Is there any feeling in the heart?”
“There is. But it is an erroneous view inadvertently express by each and everyone. Feeling does not go to the heart directly, impulses generate in the mind ensconced in the brain.
According to the situation, rhythm of the heart changes and the whole body will feel it on the impact of the thrust. Let me explain it more clearly. Heart is only a pumping station.
Feelings won’t generate directly in this pumping station. Say, if someone gets a suicidal thought, worsening depression, hostility, anxiety, feeling of sadness, and panic, physical hurt, exhaustion, apathy, fear, shock in all these situations information first goes to the mind. Mind sends signal to the heart or elsewhere in the body. If it goes to the heart, sometimes rhythm will vary, pulsation may become fast according to the situation. Some get even heart attack. So in all these situations behavioral pattern of the heart will change to low or high degree. But that does not mean any feeling has generated in the heart, with the information, feelings directly go to the mind.”
“That means if someone says my heart is full of joy or my heart felt very sad. It is not logic!”
“It is a fallacy! But, of course, it has an insignificant impact whenever it receives messages from the brain. You see! Mind is the nuclear of life. Mind is situated in the brain. The brain is the most crucial factory of the human machine.
In the brain there are over hundred billion nerve cells. These nerve cells shaped like spiders, with main cell-body and many tiny legs.
They are called dendrites, act like miniature telephone lines, allowing cells to communicate with each other. Perhaps in future telephone lines will become redundant, but these nerve cells in the brain remain as God created. These cells are called Neurons, where information travels it must pass in between dendrites of the cells and the information is carried by the brain-manufactured chemicals called neurotransmitters. These transmitters send the message to the heart and to the blood circulation. Then feelings in various forms emerge. If the impact is shocking then the heart beat will vary. If the occurrence is a sudden fear, you will get proliferation, hair on the skin of the body will erect. I t is these neurotransmitters enable human beings to solve any intricate problem that they will confront with. If you further elaborate these billions of neurons work together to manipulate knowledge and simulate novel ideas as well as emotions, Emotions increase heart beat and perspiration that accompany fear, anger, happiness or sadness.
Dr.Harvey in one of his books on health describes the function of the brain very explicitly. He says, all body process and functions are under the overall control of the brain. Everything that concern the interactions of cells, tissues and organs are under its control. The brain is the supreme judge of the body’s best welfare.
Mind is in the brain not anywhere else. I can remember one of my lecturers, once said
On earth there is nothing great but man
In man there is nothing great but MIND.
The pace of modern life is too hectic. Sets the mind reeling and rippling. I wish to inculcate little bit of professional opinion on the prominent functions of the heart. Its valves must work constantly to make an unending stream of blood pumped by the heart, the valves must open and close more than once a second, every minute, hour after hour, for a life time. These valves, tendons, muscles and ligaments from an organ of astounding strength keep the man alive to make artistic creations. But there is no art to absorb love in this marvelous creation of the Mother Nature
I wish to reminiscent one glaring instance in the medical science where in December 3,1967, a South African heart surgeon, Christian Barnard, cut out a man’s heart and gave him another. Dr.Barnard’s heart transplant epitomizes the great hope and the great despair of man’s attempt to restore the human heart.
Well it was completely a different heart. Most of the people all over the world got amazed and uttered that it should not have been done, because all the feelings that hitherto gathered in that heart must have completely vanished and new heart means he is a new person! It did not take even a year to realize that notion is completely false.
Presently heart transplant surgery all over the world is something common and every body other than those who are involved in artistic creations are well acquainted with the main function of this vital organ.
In Vasubandu’s ABHIDHARMAKOSHA distinguished 51 types of mental factors out of which feelings come first. In the DHAMMAPADA, it started with MANOPUBBHAGAMA DHAMMA-MANO SETHTHA MANOMAYA.
All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner.
In the Buddhist doctrine mind is the starting point, the focal point and also culminating point. Mind is the source of all good and evil. Mind is the screen on which we view our life.
If we just look into five Skandas or aggregates in the Buddhist philosophy where we could have a psychological analysis of the mind.
Rupa -five organs of senses
Vedana – feelings in reception of physical things by the senses through the mind.
Sannja – the functioning of mind in distinguishing appearances
Sankara – Volition on mental formation
Vinjana – Consciousness, the mental faculty in regard to perception. The second collection include the aggregates of sensation, feelings and such mental factors. These sensations divided into pleasant and unpleasant. And all these sensations generate in the mind and not in the heart. Artistic creators should transfer all their creations relevant to these qualities and temperaments to the mind and not to the heart. That is the Buddhist concept.
On the contrary Christianity and Islam used in several places in their scriptures the feeling of love connected to the heart.
In the Bible the term love has been used 302 times, but may not be all in relations with the heart. However this figure may be different in different editions and revisions and also translations. Similarly in the Qur’an depicts 93 times.
e.g. Mathew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Psalm 24: – He who has a clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
Deuteronomy 6:4 -5. Hear O Israel .The Lord our God, the Lord is one, Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart – King James Bible.
So that Christ may dwell in your heart by faith-that you being rooted and grounded in love. American King James version.
In these their culture used the heart as the symbol of the inner man, the deepest thoughts, deepest feelings. Hence the admonishment to love God with all your hearts, all your minds and all your strength. This I am confident must be engulfed with a different connotation. The different connotation in their usage have to seek clarification from an erudite religious clergy of any denomination of the Christianity as well as an Islamic exponent. Responses of scientists as well as philosophers are paramount to convince and enhance the knowledge of the ordinary laymen.