As we can see humanity all over the world is suffering. There is also an honesty and concern in the medical (allopathic) community for this human suffering. However, they don’t have the answer for most of the sicknesses. When they don’t have an answer, they create a hype or a syndrome to name a sickness. It is a fact today that psycho-somatic diseases increasingly continue to spread although causes and symptoms may vary.
While conventional systems are doing their best, on their own they are unable to heal this oozing humanity. Many traditional healers and alternate practitioners are also working very hard to help people.
Despite this suffering, this era also embraces an awakening of awareness precipitating a yearning not only for a diagnosed health but also for a perfect health with peace and feeling well.
There are many modalities of healing, each one different yet significant to the whole. There is no institutionalized path to healing but there is merit to the practices and systematic approaches which have existed previously and have been relevant for specific periods in time.
At this point Ayurveda can play an important role for our suffering humanity. It is a clear science, a science of focusing on our body and mind; Ayurveda is an ancient science used to focus on the mind and health. It requires observation, not beliefs, and seeks experimentation and not obedience.
As per Ayurveda we are not supposed to have any sickness whether mental or physical. But our physio-psychological aspects change due to the influence of social, environmental and cultural factors. Our life may be viewed as conditioned per the norms of family and society. Some of these conditions are against our nature. Unhealthy foods, lifestyles, thoughts, emotions etc. create pathological changes in our body and mind. We call these aspects toxins. Any incident either good or bad has an effect on our life-force, and the breathing through our body becomes part of our memory in the subconscious mind. Sometimes this reflects immediately and sometimes it lies there as a physical or psychic scar. It may react later when these scars start oozing in the form of symptoms and disease.
In the context of health, our body is an ‘organization’ established in a balance between the natural forces of creation and destruction. When the balance is upset, our normal rhythms and health are disturbed and we either over-create or over-destroy. This gives rise to the development of toxins - which cause disease and ill-health - because they are not in harmony with the cosmic organization. If the disease is left unattended to during the initial stages, the toxins grow and challenge the existence of the physical 'organization'. The energy and activity of the body is directed to nourish the toxins and slowly the whole being becomes out of tune with cosmic harmony. This is what a major disease entails.
At the initial stages, pathological materials or toxins are transitory and simple practices can help restore the natural balance in the patient. The role of the Ayurvedic physician is to restore natural balance by intervening in the pathological cycle and reinvigorating healthy processes with the help of appropriate diet and herbs.
Just 50 years ago, scientists used to think that our eyes, ears, nose and our other senses, and the mind, were nothing but openings to reality, bridges to reality. But within 50 years the whole understanding has changed. Now they say our senses and the mind are not really openings to reality but guards against it. Only two percent of reality ever gets through these guards into you; ninety-eight percent of reality is kept outside. And the two percent that reaches you and your being is no longer the same; it has to pass through so many barriers; these barriers are different layers of our body.
There are five layers to the human body: - The first layer is SHARIRA-the physical body. A fertilized egg is produced after fertilization of the female ovum by the male sperm. This is our physical body. In intra-uterine life, the maternal side takes care of this physical body and after that, nature and the world take care of it. Whatever we eat will become our physical body. The body is the only factory which changes bread into blood, inorganic to organic. The physical body is the result of seed passed on from our ancestors through our parents. All modern science is about this physical body only.
The second layer is PRANA-The life forces. After birth the first job is to breath. It is not only the lungs that are breathing - all the cells and tissues are breathing. Ayurvedically breathing is not only an exchange of O2 and CO2. All of existence and the cosmos is breathing through us. Breath in is life and breath out is death.
The third layer is MANA-The body of thoughts and emotions. You are no doubt aware of the fact that with our every expression of emotion, our pattern of breathing changes. When we are happy our breathing will be relaxed, in anger breathing is fast, and in sexual intercourse breathing is different. These various breathing patterns are reactions by the physical body to MANA, the body of thoughts and emotions.
The fourth body is BUDDI- the body of beliefs, religion and conditioning. The first ten years of a child is important. During this period the child learns language, relations, religion, etc. He is conditioned according to his environment. Any physical or emotional trauma during this period will reflect through their life. Any thought in the mind will go to the BUDDI body which will interpret the thought according to its conditioning, whether it is right or wrong. Only then will the physical body react.
The deepest and fifth layer is ANAND KAYA- the spiritual body. It is the deepest layer of our body. Ayurvedically it is the seat of the soul, the bliss body. It is a state of complete peace and self-enjoyment. It is happiness without reason. As per Ayurveda sickness is not the problem. Sicknesses are like milestones. They come to seek the attention of our mind and body so as to make us aware that we are doing something wrong. Sickness provides direction to change our way of life. Diseases provide us with instructions to follow directions given by nature.
When our sense of intelligent awareness is clouded by bad health and incorrect lifestyle choices, we often make decisions and react in ways that are negative to our happiness and health. When we act against our nature, our physical and emotional body reacts by creating further disharmony. The cycle becomes unhealthy and difficult to break. This state of non-health or disharmony results in various signs and symptoms.
The first and most important part of Ayurvedic treatment is the consultation. The diagnostic process includes interpreting the symptoms of each patient in Ayurvedic language, as well as by the use of modern techniques e.g., routine laboratory tests, radiological and ultrasonography to exclude certain disease and to monitor progress.
An Ayurvedic consultation with me entails concentrating on characteristics, symptoms, habits such as appetite, diet, digestion, climate preference, voice, physical strength, endurance, the nature of sleep, dreams, sexual drive, the nature of emotions, personality traits, mode of expression, memory and lifestyle amongst others. This helps me to understand a person as a whole. By understanding these I am able to discover the root causes of their problems and other associated symptoms.
In Ayurveda we try to understand our patient as a whole and to find out more about the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual elements that constitute him/her. Ayurvedic knowledge brings about a new interpretation of the self for the patient by using forms of examination related to the biological history of the diseases in its entirety. It enables an Ayurvedic doctor to determine a patient's body constitution, age and strength of an individual, and assess the signs & symptoms of the disease in order to diagnose the disease, the causes, the doshas, and the affected body elements.
In every era, man has searched in thousands of ways, for true health, for what is not evident, tangible and material. The path towards this somewhere is yet unknown, a rough sea, mined with dangers ... with tricksters, gurus, healers, doctors, and so-called masters wanting to impose their vision of things.
The concept of health has two components: true health and diagnosed health. Many times the person is declared to be healthy, but he is stressed, has disturbed sleep, and is bloated. The patient battles with bowel movement every morning and feels something is wrong. Yet often this is termed as psychosomatic disease or neurosis, or imagination.
In my opinion the journey from diagnosed health to perfect health is the great quest ... the mission of Ayurveda. The quality of our inner emotions directly determines the quality of our health. We must be vigilant to prevent negative emotions and thinking from creeping into our inner life. When we make the choice to be positive in emotions and healthy in behaviour, a multitude of health benefits will naturally be ours.