Monday, December 22, 2008

Eight parts of Ayurveda


Dear Readers,

Radhekrishna to all!

Let us see the link between the discussion in our previous post with a western reference.

Hippocrates Aphorism (460 BCE)

“In every disease, it is a good sign when the patient’s intellect is sound and he enjoys his food; the opposite is a bad sign.”

This clearly shows the similarity in thinking between the eastern and western cultures in the field of medicine as far as the tests of cure are related. In the previous post we had mentioned about passage from Astanga-hrdaya, a book written by Vagbhata which also lays emphasis on the same point.

Now we shall take a look at some Sanskrit shloka’s which are from Indian books written on medicine and related topics. In this post let us look at a sloka which describes the “Eight Specialities in Ayurveda”:

Tasyaaurvedasyaangaanyastau tadyathaa
kaayachikitsaa saalaakyarn salyaapahartrkam
visagaravairodhikaprasamanam bhutavidya
kaumaarabhrtyakam rasaayanam vajikaranamiti

The parts of this Ayurveda are eight, they being internal medicine, relating to the upper branches of the ear, nose, throat and eye, surgery, toxicology, psychiatry, paediatrics, science of rejuvenation and the science of aphrodisiacs.

Source: Caraka-samhita, Sutra-sthaanam, Adhyayah 30, Paragraph 28 (1st Century BCE)

We will continue this thread in the next post.

Section II: Information on Indian herbs:

A herb that grows in Kashmir called as Gul Banafsha (Hindi) also known as Violet flowers in English and Viola Odorata (Latin). Its dried flowers are available everywhere in the country.

1. It is effective in fevers, catarrh, pleurisy, pneumonia and cough

2. A paste of flowers applied to the forehead also relieves headache

That concludes this post. Till the next forthnight Radhekrishna to all….

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The test of cure in Ayurveda



Dear Readers,

We concluded the discussion on the five types of prana in our previous posting. This topic on the five types of pranas has been explained to our readers in a very detailed and simplified manner over the last 17 weeks. Hope the readers have enjoyed this topic.

Before we began the topic on “the five pranas”, we were explaining the tests in Ayurveda by which a physician used to ascertain whether a person had been cured of his illness or not. The Ayurveda test is simply what every single patient looks for and understands as relief from illness. These tests are health-centric and match well with the patients understanding of well being. The nature of the tests warrants the attending physician eliciting the status from the patient, as he cannot declare the patient cured through measurable parameters like temperature or blood pressure. 2000 yrs ago, at least in this land; our Bharatha Bhoomi, the doctors understood cure the same way as the patients did. These tests for discharging a patient as cured are relevant for illness of any kind.

Let’s begin a fresh topic for this fortnight. But before that let’s take a look at the paragraph below.

[A passage from Astanga-hrdaya, a book written by Vagbhata]
Handling the root cause:

“Sages know man as having his root in his mind and the branches below (i.e. the body is controlled by the mind). Therefore, a physician who strikes at the very root i.e. the mind, the crucial factor, in any disease whatsoever; would conquer the diseases more quickly.”

Source: Bhela-samhita.

From the above paragraph, it can be concluded that the test to check whether a patient has been cured of his illness was very simple and logical; unlike the tests carried out today.
We will look at a western reference to the above paragraph in our next post and then begin with a fresh topic.

Section II: Information on Indian herbs

The herb we will tell you about in this post is called as Bhinaula (Hindi) also known as Cotton seed in English and Gossypium Indioum in Latin. Its uses are as follows:

1. It is used as a part of cattle feed
2. It enhances milk yield
3. It is very good in cases of general debility, cough and asthma
4. It is an antidote for opium and dhatura poisoning

Till the next forthnight, radhekrishna to all the readers.

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Friday, November 21, 2008

The five pranas and the mind


Dear Readers,
Radhekrishna to all!

In this article we will conclude our explanation on the concept of Prana. Let us look at the last sub topic i.e. link between the Pranas and the Mind.

Prana and the Mind

The mind also has its energy and Prana. This is derived from food, breath and impressions externally.

  1. Prana governs the intake of sensory impressions.
  2. Samana governs mental digestion.
  3. Vyana governs mental circulation.
  4. Apana governs the elimination of toxic ideas and negative emotions.
  5. Udana governs positive mental energy, strength and enthusiasm.

    On a psychological level, Prana governs our receptivity to positive sources of nourishment, feeling and knowledge through the mind and senses. When deranged it causes wrong desire and insatiable craving. We become misguided, misdirected and generally out of balance.

    Apana on a psychological level governs our ability to eliminate negative thoughts and emotions. When deranged it causes depression and we get clogged up with undigested experience that weighs us down in life, making us fearful, suppressed and weak.

    Samana Vayu gives us nourishment, contentment and balance in the mind. When deranged it brings about attachment and greed. We cling to things and become possessive in our behavior.

    Vyana Vayu gives us free movement and independence in the mind. When deranged it causes isolation, hatred, and alienation. We are unable to unite with others or remain connected in what we do.

    Udana gives us joy and enthusiasm and helps awaken our higher spiritual and creative potentials. When deranged it causes pride and arrogance. We become ungrounded, trying to go to high and lose track of our roots.

    Coming to the second section of our article in this post, the herb we will tell you about is called Nigand Babri (Hindi).

1. It is a variety of the Holy Basil (Tulasi)

2. It is a wild plant that grows in the rainy season

3. It has blood purifying qualities

4. It is also used for curing ringworm, scabies, leucoderma and even leprosy.


Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Linking the Pranas with breathing


Dear Readers,
Radhekrishna to one and all!

Let us see the role played by Apana, Samana and Vyana Vayu’s in the creation of the human body, in this article.

Apana Vayu creates the openings in the lower part of the body, those of the urino-genital and excretory systems.
Samana Vayu creates the openings in the middle part of the body, those of the digestive system, centered in the navel. It opens out the channels of the intestines and the organs, like the liver and pancreas, which secrete into it.
Vyana Vayu creates the channels going to the peripheral parts of the body, the arms and legs. It creates the veins and arteries and also the muscles, sinews, joints and bones.

In summary, it can be concluded that Samana Vayu creates the trunk of the body (which is dominated by the gastro-intestinal tract), while Vyana Vayu creates the limbs. Prana and Udana create the upper openings or bodily orifices, while Apana creates those below.

Pranas do not exist only on a physical level.
The navel is the main vital center for the physical body. The heart is the main center for the Pranamaya Kosha. The head is the main center for Manomaya kosha.

Moving ahead let us now see the link between Prana and the Breath.

Prana and the Breath

Breathing is the main form of Pranic activity in the body. Prana governs inhalation. Samana governs absorption of oxygen that occurs mainly during retention of the breath. Vyana governs its circulation. Apana governs exhalation and the release of carbon dioxide. Udana governs exhalation and the release of positive energy through the breath, including speech that occurs via the outgoing breath.

In the next article let us see the link between Prana and the Mind.

Coming to the second section of the post, the Indian herb that we will tell about today is called Rai (Hindi) which is known as Brown Mustard in English and Brassica Juncea in Latin.

It is a plant which resembles the Mustard plant (Sarson in Hindi)

It yields similar seeds used in plasters for pleurisy, pneumonia

The powder of this plant is used for inducing vomiting in cases of food poisoning or ingestion of other harmful substances.

A pinch of its powder taken with meals hastens the process of digestion and also increases appetite.

That concludes the article for this forthnight.

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The five Pranas and the physical body


Dear Readers,

Radhekrishna once again! Wish you all a very happy and noiseless Deepavaali.
As this is a festival that marks the supremacy of good over the evil, take a pledge today to remove evil representing Raavana that is present in the minds of all of us and install goodness representing Rama in the hearts.

As we promised in the previous article, let us see the link between the five pranas and the human body. It is the prana’s due to which the physical body is capable of moving, eating, speaking and doing all the other actions. Let us know how the pranas work exactly to design the body to perform various actions.

Just to refresh, Pranas are five in number and they represent five metabolic functions. Prana (respiration), apana (excretion), samana (digestion), vyana (reversal; e.g. cough, sneeze, hiccups, vomit etc) and udana (circulation).

How Pranas Create The Physical Body :

Without Prana the physical body is no more than a lump of clay. Prana’s sculpt this gelatinous mass into various limbs and organs. They do it by creating various channels. These channels (are called Nadis in Hinduism), through which the pranas can operate and energize gross matter into various tissues and organs.

Firstly Prana Vayu creates the openings and channels in the head and brain down to the heart. There are seven openings in the head namely, the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and a mouth. These are called the seven Pranas or seven Rishis in Vedic thought. Udana Vayu assists Prana Vayu in creating the openings in the upper part of the body, particularly those of the mouth and vocal organs. The mouth, after all, is the main opening in the head and in the entire body. It could be said that the entire physical body is an extension of the mouth, which is the main organ of physical activity, eating and self-expression.

Let us see the functioning of the other prana’s also in the formation of the human body in the next article.

Coming to the second section of the article, we mentioned about the plant called as Mahua in our previous article. It is known as the Indian Butter Tree in English and Bassia Larifolia in Latin. Let us see some more uses of this plant in this article.

1. The paste of its flowers ground along with Strychos beans acts as an antidote to snake poison

2. The vapours of boiling mahua leaves relieve the pain of orchitis. Orchitis is the inflammation of the testicles.

3. Lastly, this plant is also used for production of intoxicating drink

The last use might seem very controversial but it is also important to know the harmful uses of the herbs so that such uses can be avoided.

That concludes the article of this forthnight. Till the next one after fifteen days, Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Monday, October 06, 2008

Example related to the concept of Prana


Dear Readers,

As mentioned at the conclusion of the first section of the previous article, let us look at the concept of prana by relating it to the example which even a layman can easily understand.

This is much like the working of a machine:
Prana brings in the fuel, Samana converts this fuel to energy, Vyana circulates the energy to the various work sites. Apana releases the waste materials or by products of the conversion process. Udana governs the positive energy created in the process and determines the work that the machine is able to do.

The key to health and well-being is to keep our Pranas in harmony. When one Prana becomes imbalanced, the others tend to become imbalanced as well because they are all linked together. Generally Prana and Udana work opposite to Apana as the forces of energization versus those of elimination. Similarly Vyana and Samana are opposites as expansion and contraction.

Now that “the Pranas as processes” has been properly explained, the next thing that we will discuss about as regards the five prana’s is the relationship between the five pranas and the physical body. But for that please wait till the next posting!

Section II: Information on Indian herbs

In this article let us see the herb named Mahua (Hindi) also called as the Indian Butter Tree in English and Bassia Larifolia in Latin.

1. It is a large tree with leaves resembling those of the mango tree.

2. Its dried flowers resemble dried grapes

3. The stone of its fruit yields oil used for various purposes

4. Flowers of its tree are very nutritive

5. It acts as an aphrodisiac and increases mother’s milk

We will continue to discuss on some other uses of this plant in our next article. Till then Radhekrishna!

Please let us know your thoughts about the newly introduced section of description of Indian herbs. Your feedback is highly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The concept of Prana



Radhekrishna to one and all,

We concluded the detailed description of the five pranas in our previous post. In this article let us try to understand them in a simplified way.

The five Pranas are essentially energies and processes that occur on several levels. However we can localize them in a few key ways:

* Prana Vayu governs the movement of energy from the head down to the navel, which is the Pranic center in the physical body.

* Apana Vayu governs the movement of energy from the navel down to the root chakra.

* Samana Vayu governs the movement of energy from the entire body back to the navel.

* Vyana Vayu governs the movement of energy out from the navel throughout the entire body.

* Udana governs the movement of energy from the navel up to the head.

As a simple summary we could say that:
* Prana governs the intake of substances.
* Samana governs their digestion.
* Vyana governs the circulation of nutrients.
* Udana governs the release of positive energy.
* Apana governs the elimination of waste-materials.

In our next article we will relate the working of the 5 pranas by taking the example from our day to day life.

In our second section; for this posting, we will tell you about the herb named Dhania (hindi) more often called as Coriander in English and Coriandrum Sativum in Latin.

1.It is an ingredient used in recipes of Indian curries

2.It is carminative and cooling agent

3.Paste of coriander seeds ground in water and applied to the forehead relieves headache

4.It is useful in bloody flux

5.If it is steeped in water overnight and taken after straining, it helps reduce sexual desire

6.If taken with curdled milk, it checks diarrhea

That concludes this article. Radhekrishna to all the readers! Do lots of chanting of Radhekrishna namam and enjoy the supreme bliss.

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The concept of Prana


Dear Readers,
Radhekrishna once again,

We have been discussing the concept of prana for the last one month. Let us move ahead to know about the remaining three pranas i.e. Udana, Samana and Vyana in detail in this article.


Udana, literally the "upward moving air," moves upward and relates to qualitative or transformative movements of the life-energy. It governs growth of the body, the ability to stand, speech, effort, enthusiasm and will. It is our main positive energy in life through which we can develop our different bodies and evolve in consciousness.


Samana, literally the "balancing air," moves from the periphery to the center, through a churning and discerning action. It aids in digestion on all levels. It works in the gastrointestinal tract to digest food, in the lungs to digest air or absorb oxygen, and in the mind to homogenize and digest experiences, whether sensory, emotional or mental.


Vyana, literally the "outward moving air," moves from the center to the periphery. It governs circulation on all levels. It moves the food, water and oxygen throughout the body, and keeps our emotions and thoughts circulating in the mind, imparting movement and providing strength. In doing so it assists all the other Pranas in their work.

We will discuss some more points on this concept in our next article.
Let us come to the second section of the post.

The herb that we will tell you about today is Marwa (Hindi) also known as an Wild Marjoram in English and Origanum Majorana in Latin.

It is a variety of Ocimum (Raihan Tulsi).

* The plant has violet flowers and has many medicinal uses

* It is a remedy against flatulence and stomach ache

* Intestinal worms and other stomach troubles are allayed by its use

* The paste of its leaves reduces pain of testicles

* That concludes our article for this forthnight. Till the next forthnight, Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Friday, August 22, 2008

The concept of Prana



Radhekrishna Dear Readers!
Continuing the thread from our previous posting, let us see the meaning and functioning of the five pranas in our body.

The Five Pranas

Pranamaya kosha is composed of the five Pranas. The one primary Prana divides into five types according to its movement and direction. This is an important subject in Ayurvedic medicine as well as Yogic thought.


Prana, literally the "forward moving air," moves inward and governs reception of all types from the eating of food, drinking of water, and inhalation of air, to the reception of sensory impressions and mental experiences. It is propulsive in nature, setting things in motion and guiding them. It provides the basic energy that drives us in life.


Apana, literally the "air that moves away," moves downward and outward and governs all forms of elimination and reproduction (which also has a downward movement). It governs the elimination of the stool and the urine, the expelling of semen, menstrual fluid and the fetus, and the elimination of carbon dioxide through the breath. On a deeper level it rules the elimination of negative sensory, emotional and mental experiences. It is the basis of our immune function on all levels.

We will discuss about the remaining three pranas namely Udana, Samana and Vyana in our next article.

Moving to the second section, the herb that we will tell you about in this post is Kattha (Hindi) also called as Catechu in English and Acacia Catechu in Latin.

1. It is the dried juice of Kher tree

2. An essential ingredient of betel leaf more popularly known as Paan

3. It is a contipative agent which stops dysentery

4. It is a good remedy for dry cough when taken with turmeric and sugar candy

5. Equal weights of arecanut and catechu ground fine when rubbed on teeth tend to strengthen them.

6. It cures thrush also.

We will continue the same topic in the next article.
Till then Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The concept of Prana


Dear Readers,
Radhekrishna to all of you!!

We concluded our article of the previous forthnight by beginning the concept of ‘Prana’. In this article we will see this concept in detail.

Prana is the universal principle of energy. It is vital force. It is all pervading. It may be either in a static or dynamic state. It is found in all living things from the gigantic to the minutest. It exists in the form of a unicellular amoebae to man and from and ant to the elephant. "It is Prana that shines in your eyes, Prana that the ears hear, the skin feels, the nose smells, the brain and the intellect do their functions. Fire burns, river flows, wind blows, through Prana. The aircraft moves in the air, train and cars move through Prana. Radio wave travel through Prana. Prana is electron. Prana is force. Prana is magnetism and Prana is electricity." Even the sun, moon, the clouds and the very earth we live on is a blessing of Prana. Knowledge is Prana. The whole body works with Prana shakti. Human body derives this Prana through breath. As is common knowledge breath and life are practically synonymous. To breathe is to live and to live is to breathe. Breath is intimately connected with body and mind. It is the bridge permitting access to the nervous system, mind and vital energy (Prana shakti). Breath, body and mind are all energized by the vital life energy. However, this vital energy is itself activated by subtle body (Taijasya Sarira). At the ultimate end of this chain is soul or consciousness. Russian scientist Mr. Acnnyon and Mrs. Valentina Kirlian developed this technique of photographing this energy and it can be seen by anyone in photographs and by electron microscopes.

According to Patanjali founder of yoga science there are five types of Prana :

* Prana Vayu
* Apana Vayu
* Samana Vayu
* Udhana Vayu
* Vayana Vayu

1. Prana Vayu - Prana controls the breathing process taking place inside the chest. In the form of oxygen Prana takes its energy.

2. Apana Vayu controls the excretory organs and the reproductive organs.

3. Samana Vayu helps in the process of digestion and controls hunger.

4. Udhana Vayu controls the vocal chords, this helps in breathing air and eating food.

5. Vayana Vayu governs circulation at all levels.

We will go into more details as regards each type of prana in the subsequent articles.

In our second section the herb about which we are going to tell you is “Kukraunda”; known as Blumea Lacera in Latin.

Some of its features are as follows:

1. It is a herb with leaves resembling those of a tobacco plant and has yellow flowers
2. It is efficacious in bleeding piles
3. It is a killer of intestinal parasites
4. It is a very good remedy for resolving inflammations of all kinds

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Monday, July 21, 2008

Overview: Test of cure


Dear Readers,

Continuing from where we left in the previous article, we had started the explanation of some shloka’s that describe the “Test of cure” for a diseased person. The test of cure at that point in time was very simple. Let us look at two more shloka’s in the same context.

Kaaryaphalam sukhaavaaptih, tasya lakshanam

Meaning: Attainment of good health is the fruit of this effort. Its characteristic is the contentment of the mind, the intellect, the sense organs and the body.

Anubandhastu khalvayuha tasya lakshanam
praanaih saha samyogaha

Meaning: Is not longetivity the long-term result? Its feature is union with life energy (prana *)

Prana: The breathing which is done by living things due to which we are alive. In other words life, vitality or vital air, principle of life. Usually plural in this sense as there are five prana’s in all – prana, apana, samana, vyana and udana.

Source: Caraka-samhita, Vimana-sthanam, Adhyaayah 8, Paragraph 89-91 (1st Century B.C.)

Let us discuss about these five types of prana in brief our next article.

Coming to our second section, the herb that we will be telling you about in this article is Karanjwa also known as the Fever Nut in English and Caesalpinia Bonducella in Latin.

· It is a wild plant growing into a bush has bitter fruit and leaves
· Its leaves are a remedy for malarial fevers
· The kernel of its fruit purifies the blood and kills intestinal parasites
· Its kernel if roasted in shell and then powdered helps cure asthma
· Its also used in case of flatulence and scabies

That concludes the article for this forthnight.

Till the next article, Radhekrishna to all our readers.

It’s a sincere request to all the readers that please provide your valuable feedback and suggestions on the articles posted on this blog.

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Overview: Test of cure


Dear Readers,

In this article, let us look at some shlokas from hindu scriptures. These describe the symptoms by which one can test whether a person has recovered to normal from a ‘disease’ state.

Karyam dhatusaam yam tasya lakshanam
Vikaaropasamah. Parikshaa tvasya rugupasamanam
Svaravarnayogah shariropacayah balavrddhih
Abhyavaharyabhilaashah ruchirahaarakaale
Abhyahrtasya caahaarasya kale sayagjaranam
Nidralabho yathaakaalam vaikarinaam ca
Svapnaanaamadarshanam sukhena ca
Pratibodhanam vatamutrapurisaretasam muktih
Sarvaakaarairmanobuddhindriyaanaam caavyaapattiriti

Meaning: The task is the equilibrium of the primary fluids (humours). Its characteristic feature is the pacification of aberrations. The test of cure is the abating of the disease, normalcy of the voice and colour (of the skin), non-decay of the body, increase in strength, desire for eating, interest (Ruchi) in eating, timely digestion of the food that is eaten, getting sleep at the proper time, not having nightmare, waking up happily, the release of wind, urine, excrement and semen, non-impairment of the mind, intellect and sense organs in all aspects.

Ruchi means both interest and taste. One test of complete cure mentioned here is both interest in eating and appreciation of the taste while eating.

We will continue this in our next posting with some more shlokas on the same theme.

Coming to our second section, the Indian herb that we will explain about in this posting is Ajwain (in Hindi)
Caraway seeds in English.
Ptychotis Ajowan in Latin.

1. It is used as a spice for vegetables dishes and other foods which tend to produce flautulence
2. It is pungent in taste and has a small seed with a strong smell
3. It is of particular help in disorders of the liver, stomach and the intestines
4. It is an essential ingredient of nostrums for relieving colic.

That concludes our posting for this forthnight. Till the next posting, Radhekrishna to all the readers.

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Western view on Eastern medicinal system


Dear Readers,
There is a news as regarding our blog on Science and Hinduism. Beginning from this posting, we start a new separate section on this blog at the end of the article. This section shall include the description of Indian herbs, flowers, fruits, roots etc and their medicinal properties.
According to a study, these can cure up to 95% of all diseases! Sounds astounding? But its nevertheless true!
So enjoy reading this section to gain more knowledge about Hinduism and the science hidden in it and make the best use of it by spreading it amongst friends, relatives and family.
We dedicate this beginning of new section to our beloved Poojyashree Shree Amma and Guruji Mahan Brahmashree Gopalavallidasar as a humble samarpanam for the occasion of Guru Purnima. It is because of Them that we are what we are today. Pranams to Gurujiamma and Guruji.

Continuing the thread from the previous posting, we discussed certain points on the
philosophy of Ayurveda and a shloka from the Caraka Samhitaa describing which described the factors responsible for the promotion of strength.

In this posting, take a look at this extract below which throws light on what the western
world feels about our (Eastern) systems of medicine:

Eastern systems of medicine attach more importance to nutrition and prevention of disease than western medicine, and we should be more open minded to indigenous sian systems of medicines like Ayurveda and Tai Chi. Certain CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) practices such as acupuncture, bio-feedback, yoga, massage-therapy and Tai Chi may be useful in contributing to the achievements of the nation’s health-goals and objectives. The application of CAM practices to cure chronic diseases and disabilities is a largely unexplored area. CAM principles and practices are useful not only in preventing some of these diseases but also in enhancing recovery and preventing further illness. Increased research in this area will help to determine how CAM principles and practices can best be used to meet the goals of the healthcare system.

Dr. James S. Gordon, Final Report of the White House Commission,
Executive order no. 13147, 22 March 2002.

After reading the above report, the word that immediately comes out of the mouth is, wow! That’s the kind of respect our medicinal systems have in the U.S!
So please, please….. be proud of our Hinduism!

Coming to our new section the first substance that we describe about is Ginger.
(Adrak) in Hindi

(Zingiber officinale) in Latin

Some features of ginger
· Ginger is used extensively as a spice.
· The root of the plant is used; it is known for its quality of helping digestion.
· It increases appetite
· Reduces the flatulence caused by certain foods like black gram (Urad Dal).
· It increases natural body hear if taken with jaggery in water
· It is beneficial in disorder connected with the formation of phlegm in the respiratory tract.

That concludes our article for this forthnight. Till the next one, Radhekrishna!
Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Friday, June 06, 2008

Ayurveda: Philosophy



Dear Readers,

In the last five months, we have discussed leach therapy, some basics on Ayurveda and about the herb called as Ashwagandha.

Today, let us discuss about the philosophy of Ayurveda:

Ayurveda is a system of medicine that is holistic. It is holistic in more ways than one.

· It looks at the body as a whole.

· It looks at prevention and care in addition to treatment.

· It looks at food as an essential ingredient of good health and treatment in addition to medication.

· It looks at the body and the mind.

· It considers genetic and environmental factors.

Ayurveda has a medico-social and medico-philosophical approach to health and treatment. It concerns itself as much with good health and disease-preventing lifestyle as with the treatment of illness.

Moving ahead, let us take a look at an extract from a Hindu scripture which speaks about ‘The factors responsible for promotion of strength’

Balavrddhikarastvime bhaavaa bhavanti. Tadyathaa

Balavatpurushe kale ca sukhasca kaalayogah

Sattvasampacca svabhavasamsiddhisca yauvanam

ca karma ca samharshasceti.

Meaning: These factors are strength promoters. They are: birth in a place of strong men in times of strong men and in a pleasant climate, healthy seed and uterus, nourishing food, good physique, good maintenance, healthy mind, natural disposition, youth, action and cheerfulness.

Source: Caraka-samhitaa, Sharira-sthaanam, Adhyaayah 6, Paragraph 13 (1st Century BCE).


The causative factors listed here include:

· Genetic and environmental

· Physiological and psychological

Besides, there is no preoccupation with disease and treatment. The science emphasizes the role of factors like food.

…. to be continued

Sarvam Guruvarpanam

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Withania Somnifera



Radhekrishna! The topic of discussion in the last one month has been the herb named Ashwagandha. In Ayurveda, ashwaganda is considered a rasayana herb, a herb that works on a nonspecific basis to increase health and longevity. This herb is also considered an adaptogen which is a nontoxic herb that works on a nonspecific basis to normalize physiological function, working on the HPA axis and the neuroendocrine system. The roots and berries of the plant are used in herbal medicine. In Ayurveda, the fresh roots are sometimes boiled in milk, prior to drying, in order to leach out undesirable constituents. The berries are used as a substitute for rennet, to coagulate milk in cheese making.

Seven American and four Japanese firms have filed for grant of patents on formulations containing extracts of the herb Ashwagandha. Fruits, leaves and seeds of the Indian medicinal plant withania somnifera have been traditionally used for the Ayurvedic system as aphrodisiacs, diuretics and for treating memory loss. The Japanese patent applications are related to the use of the herb as a skin ointment and for promoting reproductive fertility. The U.S based company Natreon has also obtained a patent for an Ashwagandha extract.

Another US establishment, the New England Deaconess Hospital, has taken a patent on an Ashwagandha formulation claimed to alleviate symptoms associated with arthritis.

Its pretty clear from the above evidence that this herb is indeed a great blessing to mankind. But the irony is that such an important herb is known to a paltry few in our country! The foreigners are more interested in doing research on this herb and obtain patents related to it.

Let us look into some more current references on this herb.

Scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have developed a herbal stress buster. The drug 'Composite Indian Herbal Preparation' or CIHP–I, was prepared with 15 commonly available herbs, including Ashwagandha, Brahmi & Chyawanprash. The defence institute of Physiological & Allied Services (DIPAS), in association with the Army Medical Corps, has completed extensive drug trials involving over 3,000 soldiers. The 'CIHP–I' was found to be beneficial for soldiers serving at high altitudes , cold areas and also in low intensity conflict situations that expose them to intense stress and high altitude sickness. It was found to be effective in improving physical & mental efficiency.

That concludes our information dissemination on the herb Ashwagandha. We will take you through something new in the next one.

Till then do more and more chanting of the Radhekrishna namam and obtain true peace of mind.


Sarvam Guruvarpanam

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Withania Somnifera



Radhekrishna to one & all,
We began the description of the herb called as 'Ashwagandha' in our previous article.

Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means "horse's smell", probably originating from the odor of its root which resembles that of sweaty horse. The species name somnifera means "sleep-bearing" in Latin, indicating it was considered a sedative, but it has been also used for sexual vitality and as an adaptogen. Some herbalists refer to ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, since it is used in ayurvedic medicine in a way similar to that ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

For your information, below is the scientific classification of this herb:

Withania somnifera Scientific classification


















W. somnifera

Synonym: Physalis somnifera

Now let us see the usefulness of this herb.

The following shloka describes the same:

Medhamsmrtimkantimanamayatvam Aayuh

Strisu praharsamparamagnivrddhim

Meaning: The Rasayana promotes intelligence, memory, luster, immunity and longevity, strengthens sense organs and sexual excitement, stimulates (digestive) fire, gives (good) colour (to skin) and maintains favourable (state of) vata (wind humour).

Rasayanasyasya narah prayogat
labheta jirnoapi kutipravesat

Jarakrtam rupamapasya Sarvam
bibharti rupamnavayauvanasya

Meaning: By taking this medicine, even an old man casts away all senility & bears the form of fresh youth.

Source:Bhavaprakasa–nighantu, Guduchyadiganah Slokah – 179 (Vedic period) Caraka–samhita, Siddhi–sthanam, Adhyayah 1, Slokah 74,75 (1st Century BCE)

…. to be continued

Sarvam Guruvarpanam

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Withania Somnifera



Dear Readers,
Radhekrishna once again!

Continuing form where we left, let us learn more about the secrets in Ayurveda in this article.

“A weed is a plant whose value has not been discovered.” This sentence means that in Ayurveda, everything is considered to be useful as medicine. It sounds astounding but it is true. The statement that, ‘Truth is stranger than fiction is apt for Ayurveda or more broadly, to Hinduism!

Let us peek into an example from the glorious past of India which supports this view:

Once a well known student in Takshashila (in present Pakistan) university was Jivaka who as the royal physician of King Bimbisara of Magadha (in present Bihar) acquired great fame. A story from the life of Jivaka merits quoting. After the completion of studies, Jivaka’s master asked him to search for any substance within the radius of several miles, which could not be of medical use. Jivaka returned empty handed and passed the examination proving a central belief in Ayurveda that “nothing exists in the universe which cannot be used as medicine”.

Moving ahead, as we promised in the previous article, let us learn about a herb found in India and its usefulness. The name of that herb is ‘Ashwagandha’.

The botanical name for Ashwagandha is ‘Withania Somnifera’.

The description of this herb is explained by the below shloka:

Balya rasayani tikta kasayosnatisukrala

Meaning: The Ashwagandha is an astringent, bitter and hot (in potency) medicine which removes defects in Vata and Kapha (humours), white leprosy, swelling and general debility. It energises and enhances sperm.

If you watch advertisements on TV by any chance, then you must have heard tea making companies’ advertise, launching their latest type of tea. The ad would mention that unlike other types of tea, this one is different as it contains herbs; one of them being Ashwagandha. After reading the above shloka mentioning the diseases cured by this herb, its very clear why, isn’t it?

We shall continue with the information on this herb in the next posting.

Till then do lots of chanting.


Sarvam Guruvarpanam

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ayurveda, THE SAVIOR



Radhekrishna to one & all,

In the two most recent articles we have been talking about Ayurveda, its importance and about its growing popularity. Let us continue the same and look into the reasons why it is better than other medicinal branches.

The Ayurveda pharmacology is based mostly on herbs. In Ayurveda thinking, the converse is also true. Ayurveda considers every single herb a potential medicine. In the days of yore these herbs grew naturally in the forest areas and were gathered by Ayurveda students and practitioners. Since our independence in 1947, in the last 60 yrs, the forest cover of the country has come down to 22% of total land area. The districts of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka border presided over by the forest brigand Veerappan being the only honorable exception where the forest cover in fact has grown. Today Ayurveda should be released from the handicap of inadequate availability if herbs in nature.

In olden days, an Ayurvedic practitioner prepared drugs individually for each of his patients. Since independence, the population of the country has grown from 345 million to 1 billion. Today, the doctors do not have the time and patience to formulate the drugs individually. There is, therefore, a need for mass production of Ayurvedic drugs.

In the last 50 yrs, the western science has developed and fine tuned the technology for converting medical knowledge into prescription drugs. This methodology including clinical trials is intended to ensure a high degree of safety for the user–patient in addition to product efficacy.

Could the knowledge of Charaka, Sushruta and the other Ayurvedic seers be tapped and delivered to the populace using the production methodology currently available? In practice, today we do have a company which aims to deliver the same. Its business model is based on the above description and that company being Himalaya Drug Company of India.

After the initial revolution in medicine, the birth rate did slowly gradually increase and the death rate did go down. So also the life span of the people also increased. However, this was possible due to artificial medicines prepared using chemicals (which are based on disease curative approach), which cannot be a substitute for herbs as medicines which are available naturally (and are based on disease preventive approach). The artificial medicines have several side effects and provide only temporary relief. Hence it is seen that though people live longer nowadays, the quality of life has significantly deteriorated. The old people live only in the literal sense of it i.e. they continue to breathe and their heart continues to beat. But in majority of the cases, people after a certain age become bed ridden and hence a burden to the people whose duty is to take care of them. Neither do they enjoy their life, nor do the care takers enjoy their own life due to the requirement of constantly monitoring them.

And this situation is becoming worse day by day. Its not just old people but nowadays even youngsters have problems of low blood pressure, weak teeth, diabetes, asthma to name a few. Recently when a person visited his dentist for a check up, the dentist out of his own free will mentioned that with due passage of time, the resistance power of human beings to face diseases is decreasing. He said that soon, human beings would stop getting the so called 'wisdom tooth' or the third molar which are 4 in numbers. He said the total number of teeth would shrink from 32 to 28. Further in another case, a person's blood pressure suddenly became low due to the tension of writing an exam and the fear of failing and falling in the eyes of one's parents. Also, student suicides have become so common nowadays as you all are very well aware!

Very true, considering the urban lifestyle which is flooded with issues like pollution, working over time, mental and physical stress, targets at work, seasonal pressures at work, ignorance towards health, hankering for more and more degrees to get better jobs and be successful, hunger for money, hunger for fame and the list is just endless. People today seem to have forgotten the true purpose of human life! What a pity!

Let us see something interesting in our next issue on an Indian herb and its use.

Do more and more chanting of the Radhekrishna namam and realise the true bliss.

… to be continued,

Sarvam Guruvarpanam

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ayurveda: Basics




We continue our introduction of Ayurveda. As mentioned in the previous article it’s a part of Atharva–veda, youngest of the four Vedas. Nowadays it is observed across India that corporates who are in the FMCG sector (Fast moving consumer goods) are continuously trying to shift their focus to bring in some or the other 'herbal' element in their products. They are using this technique to increase the sales of their products. This is because people nowadays are becoming conscious and aware that herbal products are good for health. The examples include herbal tea, herbal soaps, herbal tooth pastes, products like chavanaprash etc.

This thinking is absolutely correct; there is no doubt about this. India is a treasure house of herbs. Earlier people had good knowledge pf herbs. The doctors of the ancient times better know as 'Vaidyaji' (this term can be heard in old Hindi movies) had profound knowledge of herbs and they had the ability to cure all types if illnesses using proper blend of different herbs. Mother Nature or 'prakriti' has given us enough medicines in the form of herbs to cure any and every disease. This is very true; whether anyone believes it or not. However, the knowledge of these has got lost in generations. Hence we have to depend on western medicinal branches like allopathy for curing diseases which treat prevention and cure differently.

However, Ayurveda is holistic; it does not try to draw a line between food and medicine, prevention and cure. The world is waking up today to the wisdom of 3,000 years. Pharmaceutical companies all over the world are working overtime developing and bringing to the market herb–based products which blur the line between food and medicine. The health care and herbal segments of the traditional pharma manufacturers are merging to bring out health and nutrition oriented products for common aliments like cough, cold, dermatological and digestive problems.

In the absence of adverse side effects, the Food and Drug Administration authorities across the world approve these formulations for use without prescription from a qualified physician, which is called as OTC (over the counter) drugs in industry parlance. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, there are about 400 families of flowering medicinal plants of which 315 families of plants occur in India. Thus India, with both the knowledge system and the material base has the potential to assume leadership in the pharmaceutical industry in the coming years.

The plant properties in the Indian tradition were discovered through a method in the Indian tradition different from that of western science. This is described in the traditional textbooks as Dravya–guna–shastra (science of the property of the materials). The challenge for the Indian scientists is to develop intercultural bridges between Dravya–guna–shastra and modern Pharmaceology. Such bridges can only be built when there is mutual respect and scientists feel that they own the indigenous knowledge as much as they own modern science.

On this note, let us continue our discussion in the next article. Till then Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvarpanam.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ayurveda: Basics



Radhekrishna to one and all! We concluded with the topic 'Leech therapy' in our previous article. Let us start with a new topic this time.


Atharva–veda, the youngest of the four Vedas (placed as earlier than 5000 BC), contains hymns on diseases and their treatment. It also talks of the eight branches of Ayurveda. Shilajit (black bitumen), a material used as a drug even today in Ayurveda was found in the Mohenjo Daro excavations (3500 BC). These two are indicative of the scientific handling of diseases in India from a very early date.

In this country, learning and preservation of knowledge has been through an oral tradition which is built on a succession of teacher–mentors and disciple–followers. In the field of medical science, these teacher–disciple lineages are traced to three original teachers:

  • Atreya (Internal medicine)
  • Dhanvantari (Surgery) and
  • Kashyapa (Gynecology and Paediatrics).

Some of these teacher–students had, defying the prevailing practice, chosen to document what they had heard, seen & learnt. The teachers to whom the survival of the ancient knowledge can be owed are:

  • Charaka (1st century BC) of the Atreya school, who codified the precepts and practices in internal medicine.
  • Sushruta (6th century BC) of the Dhanvantari school, who codified surgical practices.
  • Vagbhata (6th century AD) of the Kashyapa school, dealing with Gynecology and Paediatrics.

The names of the authors vouch for their being compilers:

Charaka – the one who had traveled (and learnt);
Sushruta– the one who had heard well (and learnt);
and Vagbhata – the one who is eloquent (in communicating what he has learnt).

The three epochal works (Charaka–samhita, Sushruta–samhita and Ashtanga–hridaya), of these illustrious authors, are referred to as the Brihat–trayi – the Big Three of Ayurvedic literature. Then there is the Laghu Trayi, the Small Three made of Saragadhara–samhita, Madhava–nidana and the Bhava– prakasha.

The periods of the authors only indicate the time of the knowledge being codified and reduced to writing, while the knowledge itself would have endured for several centuries preceeding the compilation.

…to be continued


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leech Therapy



Dear Readers,

Radhekrishna to all! Let us continue with our discussion on leech therapy.

We left you with a few unanswered questions isn't it? But as we have always done in the past, we are back with the answers for you.

When a leech bites a person, it does not actually cause pain. Yes, it's difficult to believe but true. In fact, even if a leech bites a person, it takes some time to pass before the person realises that something is biting him! In addition, the bite instantaneously anesthetizes the bitten spot giving the leech the time to take its fill.

This combination of action is precisely what provides the patient relief from arthritic pain.

Now as regards the second question; relating to a substitute to this leech therapy in science: To combine all the attributes involved in the leech therapy treatment i.e. painlessly effected flow of blood; in a chemical substance or a combination is a challenge enough. The delivery is in fact considered a bigger challenge. There are doctors

who believe that modern chemistry and gadgetry cannot improve upon what the leech can do. The leech, tiny as it is, absorbs blood at an extremely slow pace. The leech would also let go as soon as it has its fill. This combination virtually eliminates the risk of excessive extraction of blood. Achieving a similar result would call for delicate instruments and continuous attention from a nurse with attendants risk of human error.

So as you can see, there is little science can do to substitute something which Hinduism has got to offer! The scientists themselves say this thing! It's not that we are trying to create a false impression in the minds of our readers!

Let us know look at some more examples of modern day where this therapy has been rightly given the respect that it deserves!

Leech treatment is more main stream than what is commonly understood. In 1985, a BostonVietnam used the procedure on a five year old boy whose ear had been bitten off by a dog. There are atleast 2 companies in the United States of America– Leeches U.S.A Ltd., Long Island, New York and Biopharm of Charleston, South Carolina – whose business is supplying leeches for medical purposes, vouches for this practice gaining ground & acceptance in USA.

This is a classic example of how a study of history (of medicine, in this instance) helps. The 'why' behind the solutions of yore can be figured out and alternative more convenient vehicles for delivery of the solutions can be synthesized to suit the modern times.

On a concluding note, leeches are approved as 'medical equipment' by U.S.F.D.A

Do keep on chanting the Namam of Lord Radhekrishna and keep enjoying the bliss!

We will begin with a new article the next time.

Sarvam Guruvarpanam

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Leech Therapy




In the previous article, we saw the use of leech in Hinduism for curing arthritic pain. Doesn’t it sound astounding and marvelous? A creature which sucks blood helping a person in curing his pain?

But nevertheless its true dear readers! Therapeutic use of leech finds mention in Ayurveda.

Let us now look at some research and experiments conducted by the scientists.

To test whether leech therapy is really effective, the below empirical evidence is available:

In 2003, in a paper by Dr. Andreas Michalsen and colleagues from Essen, Germany, titled "Effectiveness of Leech Therapy in Osteoarthritis, of the knee", was published in a recent issue of Annuals of Internal Medicine. 24 patients with osteoarthritis, caused by wear and tear of the ageing knee, were given a one–shot leech therapy. Four to six leeches were allowed to attach themselves to each knee and drink blood for about an hour. 27 others with the same ailment were given twice daily doses of the painkiller Dicofenac for a month.


Leech therapy was better than drug therapy! 'Prakriti' or nature will always win!
Why is it so? Why does leech therapy work?

While the ancient Hindus knew what to do, today's scientists have identified why the leech therapy works.

Nature has endowed the leech saliva with some purpose–specific chemicals:

· Vasodilator, a histamine that increases the diameter of our blood vessel

· An enzyme called hyalurondase, which breaks down hyaluronic, the material that bonds connective tissues and

· Hirudin (named after the specie of leech that is commonly used for blood letting), which inhibits blood–clotting

The combined result of these chemicals is increased blood flow.

So there lies the secret, dear readers! That’s the reason why the leech proves effective.

But then a question comes to the mind: That wouldn’t it pain if the leech bit a person? Isn't Hinduism suggesting a rather bizarre solution? Further, can't there be an effective medicinal substitute for this? Does science have the answer? Wait till the next issue to find out the answers to these questions!

Till then do more and more chanting. Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvarpanam

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Leech Therapy




We mentioned in the year 2008 kick–off article that even foreigners admire the spiritual wealth of India. But today this wealth seems to have been lost in transit from generation to generation. In this article, we begin with a new series of topics. As promised we will take you through the marvelous science that is hidden in our evergreen Hinduism.

Many of us know what a 'leech' is. It is a small creature whose main food is blood. If it clings to a human body, it starts sucking the blood from that part of the body. From a layman's point of view, this creature is a menace.

However, in Hinduism, this creature is considered to be useful in curing arthritic pain.
Sounds astounding? Well read on to know more about it.

The below mentioned Shloka with its source as one of the scriptures in Hinduism, describes how the procedure should be carried out:


Atha jalaukovasekasadhyavyadhitamupavesya
samvesya va viruksya casya tamavakasam
mrdgomayacurnairyadyarujah syat
Grhitasca tah sarsaparajanikalkodakapradigdhagatrih
salilsarakamadhye muhurttasthita vigataklama
jnatva tabhi rogam grahayet
Argrhrnantyai ksirabindum sonitabndumva
dadyacchastrapadani va kurvita
Yadyecvamapi na grhniyattadanyamgrahayet


Then making the patient treatable with leaches sit or lie down; if he does not have a wound, roughen an opening with the powder of mud & cow dung.

  • Paste the leeches with the water of mustard, turmeric & incense
  • Let them soak in a pot full of water for 48 minutes
  • Confirm that they get rid of their tiredness
  • then have the wound gripped by them

Covering the leech with smooth, wet, white cotton, leave the mouth alone uncovered. If she does not bite, give her a drop of milk or blood or cut the wound. Even then if she does not bite, then, pick another.

Source: Surusta–samahita, Sutra–sthanam, Adhyayah 13, Paragraph 19 (6th Century BCE)

There are many questions unanswered at this point of time in your minds such as:

1. What makes the leeches so capable of being used for such treatment?
2. Isn't this treatment painful?
3. Can't there be a simpler & easier procedure for this disease in medical science?

To know the answers, wait till our next posting. Till then Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvarpanam

Saturday, January 05, 2008

India - A spiritual treasure house!



Radhekrishna to one & all! A very happy new year to all the Readers of our blog! We begin this year with something different.

In the image above are the thoughts of an Englishman. As you can all read, the person clearly mentions that 'We need to break the back bone of the country to be able to rule it.' And that backbone happens to be its spiritual & cultural heritage. This is a statement made during the time when the Britishers were conquering nation after nation & they had their sights on India also.

This is an ample proof of the power that spirituality & cultural heritage of our country has! It even has the power to resist an outsider country invasion! Though a foreign recognises it, but unfortunately so many citizens of our own country either dont know anything about it or they dont realise it! They are more inclined towards the western culture!

The foreigners are getting more and more inclined to know about our country. Every year so many foreigners come to India & visit the pilgrimage places & claim that they get peace of mind & solace! They donot have any reason to make false claims. They say only what they truly experience. Further examples include the foreigners researching on our Indian languages like Sanskrit & trees like the neem tree, the latest fashions abroad being the Salwar Kurtas and so on. There are ample proofs to show that westerners are simply amazed by the culture, heritage & spirituality of India. This is something which we should all know and take pride in; that we belong to such a great country.

However, we seem to have lost that sense of pride. We run behind western cultures nowadays!
People like to listen to rock & pop music instead of bhajans & devotional songs. The rock and pop music sounds so meaningless & noisy. It feels like someone banging a set of utensils! Further people like to wear dresses like trousers & skirts instead of Sarees & salwars. They dont mind even if they have to expose their bodies. People like to spend nights in discos & pubs instead of going to bed early & getting up early.

Truly, the backbone of our country seems to be broken! Its no wonder that incidents like the one that happened on new years eve in 2007 & 2008 happen. The victims, attracted by the western cultures, wanted to spend the new years night outside their home & had to face horrible consequences. If they had a little knowledge of our Indian culture & heritage, which forbids females from staying outside the houses very late, then such incidents can be easily avoided. It can be counter argued that it is the fault of the offenders. However it should be noted that after all said & done, the ultimate sufferes are the victims & not the offenders.
The victims should have known that whether a paper is brought near fire or a fire is brought near a paper, its the paper that is reduced to ashes & not the fire. So the best & simple solution is to stay away from the fire!

The purpose of our blog is exactly that! We wish to impart knowledge about the greatness of our Hindu culture & its supremacy over all others.
Do keep reading!
Till the next forthnight,

Sarvam Guruvarpanam

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