Ethnaa, Hakhaas, and Kaatas: Writing about Illness

Many people ask me the motivation behind various concepts in the series. A reader recently asked how the ideas for ethnaa, hakhaas, and kaatas came about, the Haanta affliction, their meditations, and their physical practices respectively.

Ever since I was young, my body seemed at odds with me. I was often ill, often in pain, and often felt like a wight trundling through life. No doctor could find reasons for my various illnesses and therefore no cures could be offered me. I struggled for many years, until a full-day trip to the hospital and several tests brought me the answer: I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a rather painful disease that attacks the muscles and causes insomnia, chronic fatigue, immense joint pain, and cognitive dysfunction, amongst other unwholesome things. When I asked about medicines or treatments, the doctor was very plain with me. He said, "Well, you can take pills that may or may not help, you can exercise and eat only organic foods, or you can be bed-ridden by the time you're 50." I chose the second option, and began looking into holistic methods for helping me conquer this condition. I began going Kundalini and Ashtanga Yoga to help my muscles stay flexible, I cut out all refined sugars and salt in my diet (don't worry: there is plenty of organic dark chocolate in my house), and began Tibetan sound-aided meditation courses to help keep my flares in check. I added an hour of walking and an hour of cycling to the mix, and four years later, feel better now than I ever have felt before.

Duncan Wong reminds me of Hathanta
Conquering my illness and gaining control of my body and mind is what gave me the idea for the Haanta ethnaa and all of their various practices. Ethnaa is their inborn condition that manifests itself in various ways, either through anger, excitement, stress, or anxiety. It can surface at any time, much like a Fibro flare, and can last for minutes or for days. To combat this affliction, the Haanta sit in meditation twice a day and say Haakhas, sacred passages that when repeated soothe the mind and calm the body. Kaatas are movements that, when performed in certain sequences, work to tone and stretch specific muscles, much in the same way Yoga does. I was strict with my diet at first and ate only fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which led to the creation of Phoraas, the rations given to the Haanta Amghari. After eating the same thing every day for months, I never wanted to eat rice and vegetables again, leading to Rautu's vehement hatred of his people's wholesome food.

Fibromyalgia affects many people the world over, and even though I still have flares, I know now how to manage them and how to heal myself, just as the Haanta have learned to control their ethnaa. While my illness provided the basics for ethnaa, writing about how others handle their similar afflictions made me feel a sense of accomplishment for having persevered in an effort to preserve my health. It also allowed me to discover the joys of 70% organic dark chocolate.


  1. I appreciate learning how various aspects of the Haanta world came into being and this posting has impressed me with how much of yourself you have put into the stories.

    Thanks for the explanation and keep managing the Fib!


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