Religion, Beliefs, and Ways of Life

Masochism and Sadism 

Masochism is the term used to describe when a person must have pain inflicted upon him/her to fulfill sexual desires.  Sadism is the term used to describe when a person must inflict pain upon others to fulfill sexual desires.

Bind my ankles with your white cotton rope so I cannot walk. Bind my wrists so I cannot push you away. Place me on the bed and wrap your rope tighter around my skin so it grips my flesh. Now I know that struggle is useless, that I must lie here and submit to your mouth and tongue and teeth, your hands and words and whims. I exist only as your object. Exposed.     

–The Pleasure of Pain, Article by Marianne Apostolides

· Masochism and sadism are common mainly with middle and upper-middle class adults.

· Those classified under these terms were considered to have a psychological disorder, but now it is accepted as a lifestyle.

· Freud was the first to truly take on the challenge of studying masochism and sadism, concluding with the idea that they are pathological. (he believed that they had to do with or were caused by a mental disease/disorder)

· The sadism one would normally hear about when connected with masochism is not full-blown; real       sadism is the sexual desire to inflict pain upon those that don’t want it. (basically meaning, they want      to violently rape)

· These desires can derive from childhood experiences or can develop during childhood.

Spiritual Pain/Spiritual Suffering

Cultural interpretations of pain and suffering may conflict with goals of palliative care. Spiritual frameworks and religious traditions influence how persons interpret and experience physical pain. How mind, body, and spirit are understood in relationship to each other and, in some cases, in relationship to a deity or deities is important to understand Sometimes, these cultural and religious interpretations of pain and suffering can conflict with the stated goal of palliative care: to relieve pain and suffering. This is why a holistic, interdisciplinary assessment of pain is necessary. Also, Plans to manage pain pharmacologically often fail or patients do not comply with these plans when the larger spiritual framework is not adequately understood and integrated into the plan of care. Spiritual practices may help in the management of physical pain. Increasingly, medical staff, recognize the palliative nature of religious and spiritual practices Spiritual pain and suffering may be caused by physical pain and other symptoms Loss of personhood Despair Feelings of abandonment by God As patients and families ask questions about their illness, discuss treatment plans, or carry on casual conversation, listen for phrases suggesting explicit religious beliefs such as:                        
“If God wills it...”                        
“It is in the hands of the man upstairs”                         
“This medicine is a blessing”                        
“When she makes her transition...”
Also pay attention for statements that speak to a more general philosophy about illness, fate, the value of life such as:                       
 “You play the hand you are dealt”                         
“He’s always been a fighter”          
“There are some things worse than death”


Thaipusam is an important festival observed by the Hindus of southern India during the Tamil month of Thai, January until February. Outside of India, it is celebrated  by the Tamil speaking community settled in Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka and elsewhere around the world.

Dedicated to Lord Murugan or Kartikeya
Thaipusam is dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan, the son of Shiva and Parvati. Murugan is also known as Kartikeya, Subramaniam, Sanmukha, Shadanana, Skanda and Guha. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati presented a lance to Lord Murgan to vanquish the demon army of Tarakasura and combat their evil deeds. Therefore, Thaipusam is a celebration of the victory of good over evil.
 Thaipusam actually celebrates the birthday of the Hindu deity Subramaniam. On this occasion, Hindus show the sincerity of their faith. It is a time for making and fulfilling vows. Devotees pray for divine help and make vows. When their prayers are answered, they fulfil their vows. To do this, a devotee would pierce his cheeks, tongue, face or other suitable body parts with sharp objects. Next his friends or relatives load a *kavadi on his shoulder. Finally, in a trance-like manner, he goes on a 4km journey of faith.

* A kavadi is a cage-like structure carried by devotees during the Thaipusam Festival. It is traditionally decorated with peacock feathers and aluminium plates  which show images of Hindu deities. Sharp spikes criss-cross its lower section.

An elaborate kavadi might weigh up to 15kg! It is quite something just to lift it. But these chaps I saw actually walked with them for 4km - kavadis, skewers, hooks, spikes and all!

Some of them even skipped and danced with their kavadis. Either they have great endurance or they have some supernatural help.