Meet your meat through Ayurveda


Though they clearly do not encourage the consumption of meat as regular food, the ancient Ayurvedic texts explain the nature and effects of various types of meats in a very peculiar manner for those who do. First of all the animals are classified in a very interesting manner. When you look at the list, you can find birds like crows, sparrows or owls in the same category of animals like cows, camels or bears. One would wonder why ? What kind of a classification is this ?

Classification according to various parameters

In Ayurveda, the different meats are not classified according to the morphology of the living entity or their nutritional value. The different types of meats are classified according to the behaviours of the animals, birds etc their eating methods, activity patterns, sleep patterns, habitat and such other characteristics. Why ? This is because our ācāryas were concerned more about knowing the effects the different meats would have on the human body. For example, all the meats are usually hot in potency (virya) but there are some exceptions which are cooling in potency and these are all grouped under a separate category.

The meat of carnivorous animals are characteristic in the fact that they produce a pungent (katu) effect after digestion (vipaka). The male and female of the same species also have different effects on the human body when consumed. Who would imagine that ?

The different parts of the body of the meat of the same animal have different effects on the human body when consumed. There are also differences in the effects between two legged and four legged animals.

Need to know the pathologies to appreciate the classification

Though the descriptions of the foods are in the early part of the literature, one will really be able to appreciate the descriptions only after having studied the physiology and pathological variants that occur in the human body. For example when it is said that the meat of carnivorous animals is good for chronic hemorrhoids (jīrṇa-arśas), one will need to know that the pathology of chronic hemorrhoids is due to a vata kapha disorder resulting from irregularities in agni and apana vata.

Natural behavior of the animal influences qualitative effects of the meat

The behavior of the animal influences the effects that its meat produces. For example if an animal sleeps too much, eating the meat of that animal will result in increased kapha in the gross body as well as tama guna in the subtle body. If an animal eats a lot of different types of leaves and actively jumps around all the time, its meat will be light and easy to digest. The effects of different meats on the various bodily functions are also described. This means that the acharyas of the past had devised various methods to understand that. Of course there can always be some exceptions which are categorized separately.

Modern and Ayurvedic classification

Here again the functional nature of the Ayurvedic science becomes apparent as opposed to the structural nature of modern nutritional science.

To classify a food based on its carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamin and mineral content is a structural evaluation. The fact that a certain meat contains more protein does not make it any healthier.

To classify the meats based on whether they are heavy or light to digest, laxative or constipative, influence on the three doṣas and so on is a functional classification. The latter is preferred in Ayurveda.

To determine which kind of meat is healthy

“Meat of animals that are freshly slaughtered, clean and young is suitable for consumption. Meat of animals died naturally, emaciated, rich in fat and those which have died of diseases, drowning or poisoning are to be avoided from being consumed.” (Reference – AH. Su. 6. 69). This means that meat that is transported or stored in refrigerators are not recommended according to Ayurveda as beneficial for the body. So much for the meat industry. It appears that the only possibility of eating meat that is healthy in any way is to kill the animal and eat it immediately. Or else it is nothing but slow poison.


Thus we can conclude that the effect of the meat on the human body is more important than the taste or nutritional value. And this is how Ayurveda has classified them as beneficial or not. Of course the classification in the ancient texts does not include the case of an animal who is chained in a closed space all his/her life, injected with steriod hormones and antibiotics, cruelly exploited, beaten, tortured, stripped of his/her skin while alive and painfully slaughtered. Imagine what effect it would have on our bodily functions ! We may need to add that as a special category when we update the texts. Thank you for reading.

Reference: Ashtanga Hridayam. Sutrasthana. Chapter 6

P.S: This article is not meant to recommend or promote meat eating in any way. The author of this article is himself a strict vegetarian for the past 25 years. Ayurveda does use meat or meat products in certain life saving medicines.


How to study Ayurveda – Part 2



Recently my eyes happened to fall upon an advertisement for an online course in a specialized subject of Ayurveda for westerners.

Such specializations are undertaken by students in India after completing their BAMS degree for five years and a firm grounding in the principles of Ayurveda. It set me thinking “Is this appropriate? Do most of the western students have the basic tools to enable them to study and comprehend such advanced subject matter? Is Ayurveda going in the right direction in the western world? What are the teachers who are teaching these courses aiming to achieve? Will the right ends be achieved? Is it a camouflaged way of compartmentalizing Ayurveda?” and so on.

Some of the specialization courses undertaken in India are Panchakarma, Kaumarabhrtya (Pediatrics), Shalya chikitsa (Surgery), Kaya Chikitsa (General Medicine), Prasooti and Stri roga (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Manasa roga (Psychiatry), Bhaisajya Kalpana and Rasa shastra (Pharmacology) etc.

In the Caraka Samhita, Siddhi Sthana, 12. 49 it is stated:

दुर्गृहीतं क्षिणोत्येव शास्त्रं शस्त्रमिवाबुधम्॥४९॥
सुगृहीतं तदेवज्ञं शास्त्रं शस्त्रं च रक्षति॥४९॥
dur-gṛhītaṃ kṣiṇotyeva śāstraṃ śastramivābudham||49||
su-gṛhītaṃ tadevajñaṃ śāstraṃ śastraṃ ca rakṣati||49||

“If the knowledge of śāstra is not received in the proper way, it destroys the receiver like a weapon. If the knowledge of śāstra is received in the proper way, it protects the receiver like a weapon.”

Here the great sage Caraka, in the very last chapter of his book, is reminding us of the importance of receiving knowledge in the proper way and warning us of the consequences if it is not done so. Ayurveda is a double edged sword. It is of interest to notice that Caraka has first mentioned the result of not receiving the knowledge properly rather than the result of having received it properly. Hence we have to be very careful knowing that we are dealing with a highly inflammable substance.

Fundamental is the foundation

It is not wrong to have a desire to study specialized topics in Ayurveda. At the same time, one should understand that without a strong fundamental understanding, one will only be wasting time (or even causing harm!). We all know that a building is as strong as its foundation. Will our house keep standing when the “big bad wolf” (the imbalance in a patient) comes and starts to huff and puff ? Unlike in modern medicine, when we try to specialize in a particular topic in Ayurveda, we will need to always keep going back to all the fundamentals. This is why it is often said that if one knows the first section of the ancient text (sūtra sthāna) properly, there is no need to study anything else. If we turn it around we can also say, “If one does not study the first section of the ancient text (sūtra sthāna), then there is no use of studying anything else.” Because everything else is only an adaptation of the same fundamentals into another area. Why else would the students who were trained traditionally be taught the first verse of the Astanga Hrdayam for six months? Of course the gurus were not crazy.

Back to the fundamentals

In modern medicine for example if one becomes a gynaecologist, it is not really necessary to remember the course of the radial artery or the biochemistry of muscle contraction, which one studied in the first year of medical school. But in Ayurveda you will need to remember each and every teaching of the sūtra sthāna in every step of advanced study. In Ayurveda when you go to an ophthalmologist for example, they are not only checking your eye. The symptom in the eye is only an indication of what is going on holistically in the body. And to connect in that manner, one should have all their basic principles thorough. This is because modern medicine is based more on structural application (How it works?) while Ayurveda is based more on functional application (Why it works?). The difference is subtle.

Whenever I would ask a question to my teachers about an advanced subject matter, they would advice me to go back and read certain verses from the sūtra sthāna. I went to study from some of the senior specialized vaidyas, and they told me to come back after studying sūtra sthāna.

Some students ask me “What are the Ayurvedic medicines for Scleroderma? What is the Ayurvedic treatment for Psoriasis?” Studying a specialized subject is not about memorizing a list of herbs and medicines that can supposedly be prescribed in advanced disease conditions. Such a memorization of lists is very easy.

According to one of my respected teachers,

  • the most superficial vaidya is one who prescribes a medicine for a disease that is indicated in the verse describing that medicine. eg. Guduchyadi kashayam in vomiting.
  • the second level vaidya is one who looks at the cause and prescribes the medicines given in the chapter describing that disease. eg. Dadimadi ghrtam for pandu.
  • the third level vaidya is one who is capable of analyzing the avastha of the imbalance (situation) as well as the medicines/lifestyle/diet with respect to the fundamental concepts of Ayurveda and make a customized prescription. eg. Vidaryadi kashayam for lumbar disc prolapse knowing that we have a situation which is a vata dominant, vata kapha disorder where the dry quality of vata is more aggravated than the cold quality.

The third level of vaidya is what we should be aiming to become.

Putting our education to the test

I would logically assume that the intention to study a specialized subject is to help people who are suffering from various specialized ailments. Or is it meant to refer patients to go to India? We can test ourselves when we try to perform nidāna and cikitsa of a rogi after completion of our studies. If we are unable to successfully provide comfort, relief and cure to a rogi who comes to us, then our study has not reached its fruition. After having undergone these “specialized” courses without having a strong foundation in the basic principles, no one will be able to accurately diagnose and treat (though it may not be legal to use that term in the west) a patient. That is what we are intended to do as healers, right? And if our intellect brings up the argument that it is not within the legal scope of doing that, then why waste time and money doing such courses? Yes one may even argue that “we have to start somewhere.” But if we start in the wrong place, the more we travel, it will only take us further away from the actual goal.


The most important aspect of Ayurveda education is to root ourselves in the fundamental basic concepts including Ayurvedic anatomy and physiology. Then one should move ahead to study the basic principles of diagnosis and treatment. And after that one should understand the specific patterns of disease progression in the body. Finally one can learn to apply all the above three aspects into studying a specialized area of Ayurveda. This will shape us into independently thinking vaidyas. Otherwise we can only hope to become expert technicians at best.

Please note that this article is not meant to criticize or disrespect any individual. It is written only to promote the learning of Ayurveda in the proper manner as explained in the texts and in the traditional way. Thank you.

Ayurveda – The need of the day

This is the redaction and translation of a foreword written by Aryavaidya P. S. Warrier for a book on fundamental principles of Ayurveda by K. C. Kunjuraman Vaidya. It was written in 1990 in the malayalam language. This is one of the best books on foundational principles that I have come across.


KC Kunjuraman Viadyar has already earned our praise for having worked in the philosophical and practical realms of Ayurveda for about half a century. He has gathered knowledge and experiences, strengthened and nourished by study, contemplation and profound repeated meditation. This has helped him to fulfil the dharma of a vaidya to propagate them, having understood the needs of the time, according to one’s capacity in an exemplary manner.

The fundamental principles of Ayurveda are being described here. He is nicely contemplating upon the difficulties and contemporary needs of the science of Āyurveda in the present day. With a feeling of responsibility, KC Kunjuraman Vaidya’s writings have given shape to the desires of all our Vaidya brothers and scientific enthusiasts in the form of a book.

What comes to mind on this occasion is when a few days back I was invited to a talk and had to confront this pertinent question. The question was “What should be the relevant and adequate message to melt the network of illusion formed by the opposing and supporting arguments faced by Ayurveda today?” The answer that came to my mind naturally and effortlessly was “To firmly understand that Āyurveda is a science.” I am searching my soul to find the reason why such a thought entered into my mind.

The threat to Ayurveda

The Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Industry is at the fore front when it comes to glorifying or vilifying the science of Ayurveda. Now a days, Ayurveda has become synonymous with the medicine manufacturing business. This is not a distortion that has only affected the Ayurvedic treatment sector. That  which has become affected by this disease to the extreme limit is the one which has been imported, and now taking the upper hand to propagate the wrong path, through various channels and divert health care into the pits of destruction, prospering under the patronage of multinational companies and having the unenviable position of providing leadership in the area of health care, camouflaging itself under the fallacious nomenclature of being “modern” and passed off as civilized – is none other than the western medical system. Though we have attained political independence, culturally we are still subjugated by the slave mentality of colonial rule which follows us constantly in our thoughts and continues to influence our conception of what is good and bad. As long as there exists a society that gives more importance to money power, those who can generate more profit will always have the best opportunities and the upper hand in all dealings. In such a scenario, it is but natural that Ayurveda also gains popularity as only a business. But if this “un”natural progression is not arrested, it will lead to the destruction of Āyurveda from its very foundation.

Ayurveda is the philosophy

Ayurveda does not mean some medicines and treatment modalities. Prevention of disease through a healthy lifestyle is more important than curing diseases. The most profound aspect of Ayurveda is its philosophy of life. There is a lot of evidence to illustrate that Ayurveda is attracting many leading western scientists. What is attracting them more than the medicines, diet, lifestyle, cleansing, rejuvenations and aphrodisiacs is its philosophy of life, it’s approach to interpreting natural phenomena. It is the same thing that fascinated our vaidyas too.

What is “Ayurvedic” medicine?

As the popularity of Ayurveda increases, many modern pharmaceutical companies are manufacturing several medicines under the label of Ayurveda. Since plants have much importance among ayurvedic medicines, many of the herbal preparations these companies manufacture are being misunderstood as ayurvedic medicines. Some companies even have a label that says “Ayurvedic”. They forget that Ayurvedic medicines are only those which are made according to the principles of the Ayurvedic philosophy intended to balance the three doṣas, with the ingredients transformed in a scientific manner. To prepare such medicines, one must have perfected the understanding of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda through the process of constant and profound meditation. This was the method uncompromisingly implemented by the previous ācāryas.

Traditional v/s Scientific

While referring to Ayurveda, it has become fashionable to use the phrase “coming in a traditional lineage”. There is no harm in calling it like that. There are many traditional methods of treatments among different groups of people in different parts of the world. There are many treatments for fatal diseases that are used by tribal communities. But Ayurveda and Chinese medicine are not just traditional. They are both developed using very foundational scientific principles, accepting the experiential and philosophical inputs from various sources. They are also verified through many observations and experiments, have grown with the progress of science in the world and have the ability to incorporate any modern scientific understanding, based in true scientific techniques.

Modern medicine and Ayurveda – different approaches

Modern medicine and the above two sciences (Ayurveda and TCM) begin from two different approaches and observe the same scientific truth from two different angles. The former begins from a structural understanding and progresses towards the functional. The latter starts from the functional understanding and progresses towards the structural. The goal of science is to unify principles and practice. This justifies both the approaches. At the same time, unless each science is used according to their own principles, one cannot obtain expected results. It is not the fault of the science. In the present scenario, the relevance for all the sciences to work in an integrated manner is increasing. In such a situation, the need for a strong foundation in the basic principles is to be seriously understood. This is the reason why I consider this book about foundational principles of Āyurveda to be addressing one of the most important needs of the day in the field of Ayurveda. It can put a full-stop to the deviations occurring in the area of health care, awaken the need and give encouragement to improve our expertise in the Ayurvedic medical science that we are practicing. I am sure that this effort which is worthy of all praise will receive the respect it deserves and that this priceless composition will obtain wide publicity. Hearty congratulations to its author who is working tirelessly. Desiring that this work will get an encouraging response from the scientific and medical community in all humility I offer my best wishes”.

Rtucharya – Herbs used in Rainy season in medicated gruel (Karkkidaka Kanji)

Karkataka kanji (the traditional rice gruel consumed in the rainy season – month of karkata or Cancer)

It contains the special rice called shashtika sali (brown strengthening rice) and several medicinal herbs.


പച്ചമരുന്ന്‍ Medicinal herbs
രാമച്ചം Vettivaria zizanoides Uśīra
ഇരട്ടി മധുരം Glycyrrhiza glabra Yaṣṭimadhu
ഞെരിഞ്ഞില്‍ Tribulus terrestris Gokṣura
പുത്തിരിച്ചുണ്ട Solanum anguivi Bṛhati
ആവണക്ക് Ricinus communis Eraṇḍa
ഓരില Desmodium gangeticum Prṣṇiparṇi
മൂവില Pseudarthria viscida Śālaparṇi
തഴുതാമ Boerhavia diffusa Punarnava
കരിങ്കുറിഞ്ഞി ?? disputed Sahacara
കൊടിത്തൂവ Tragia involucrata Dusparśa / Vṛścikāli
കുറുന്തോട്ടി Sida cordifolia Balā
വയല്‍ച്ചുള്ളി ?? disputed Kokilākṣam
താമരവളയം Lotus stem
നിലപ്പന കിഴങ്ങ് Curculigo orchioides Musali
ചിറ്റന്തല്‍ ?? ??
പാല്മുതുക്ക് Ipomoea digitate Vidāri
കുമിഴ് Gmelina arborea Gambhari
പതിമുഖം Prunus cerasoides Patmaka
ശതാവരി Asparagus racemosus Śatāvari
പൊടിമരുന്ന് Powdered herbs
വയമ്പ് Acorus calamus Vaca
അയമോദകം Trachuspermum / Carum Ajamoda
ചുക്ക് Zingiber officinale Nāgara
ജീരകം Cuminum cyminum Jīraka
പെരുംജീരകം Foeniculum vulgare Fennel
ജാതിക്ക Myristica malabarica Jāti
ജാതിപത്രി Myristica fragrans Jātipatri
കരയാമ്പു Syzigium aromaticum Lavanga
അമുക്കുരം Withania somnifera Aśvagandha
കാക്കുംകായ Entada rheedii African dream herb
ഏലക്കായ Elettaria cardamomum Ela
വിഴാലരി Embelia ribes Viḍanga
ഉലുവ Trigonella foenum-graecum Methika, Dīpani
ആശാളി Lepidum sativum Kāravī

Modern medicine & Ayurveda – Appreciating fundamental differences



Ever since I began to study Ayurveda, I have noticed a strange phenomenon among much of the Ayurvedic fraternity (not all of them) and many of the contemporary books to try and explain the concepts of Ayurveda using the concepts and terminologies of Allopathy (modern medicine). Regardless of how good the intentions may be, these explanations leave the students endlessly confused (or in an illusion of having understood Ayurveda). Such a study undermines the ability of any student to analyze the presenting complaints of a patient from the Ayurvedic perspective and formulate an Ayurvedic treatment plan. (without which it is impossible to practice Ayurveda!)

Many have argued that this method makes it easier for the students to understand Ayurveda. It reduces the alienation towards the subject and puts them at ease, it helps to integrate both the sciences, it helps to explain the disease and treatment plan to the patients, we have to start some where and so on. If we think hard enough, we will agree that none these arguments justify the end result.

Both are valid sciences but it is injustice to both sciences to interchange the concepts. It is like asking a carpenter to fix the plumbing using his carpenter tools.

The answer lies in understanding the differences between the origin and development of the fundamental concepts of Ayurveda and Modern medicine. They are:

1. Modern medicine progresses from first observing and understanding the structure of the body, organs, tissues, cells etc and then project this understanding to explain they way they might function in the body. (i.e. How the structural understanding can explain the functions)

2. Ayurveda progresses from observing the functioning of the body, organs, tissues, cells etc towards building the the conceptual understanding of how their structure might be in the body. (How the functional understanding can help understand the structure) This is why sometimes a word that expresses a structure in Ayurvedic parlance may correspond to more than one physical part of the body. eg. Hrdaya can mean mind, anatomical heart, cardiac region and head.

Though both may appear to be the same, they are so very much different.

This can be observed in their methods of diagnosis:

Allopathy relies more on sophisticated machines to evaluate the structural aberrations in the body in order to try and explain the short comings in the function. All observations of function and subjective experiences cannot be accepted as valid unless they are explained by the means of a structural aberration.

Ayurveda, on the other hand, relies on the observation by the physician into the subtle changes in the functioning of the organs through a detailed history of the issue to understand the subjective functional aspect of the story. All the structural findings are subordinate to the observation of changes in function.

Both the aspects are present in both sciences. But with the passage of time, the fundamental concepts upon which they are built becomes more and more apparent.

This is why their treatment orientations are also different.

Modern medicine tries to influence the structure in the hope of trying to consequentially influence the functions. Hence we can see sometimes that structural corrections are made though they may not carry out the function. (eg. Operation is successful but patient is dysfunctional.)

Ayurveda tries to influence the functional aspect in the effort to try and consequentially influence the structure. Hence we can see sometimes that functional corrections are made though they may not have fully restored the structure. (eg. Pain is gone but MRI still shows aberration)


The ideal scenario would be to use Allopathic concepts and terminologies to explain the diagnosis and treatment used in Allopathic medicine. And it will be best to use the Ayurvedic concepts (siddhanta) and terminologies (pada) to explain the diagnosis (nidana) and treatment (cikitsa) used in Ayurvedic medicine. Thank you for reading.

How to study Ayurveda?


I have been thinking a lot about this. Most of us have been educated and trained since our early age in the western thought process. It appears that we need to undergo a restructuring of our thought process or let me say a “paradigm shift” in order to properly comprehend and apply any of the vedic sciences. I am specifically addressing the science of Āyurveda here.

The eastern and western medical systems are fundamentally different in their approach. It is not just about learning the three doshas, some new herbs, a different diet, some formulations, Indian cooking, massage, marma points or even life style (comprising of a few routine cleansing and strengthening practices are what are usually taught in the name of Āyurvedic lifestyle).

It needs a restructuring of the thought process. Unless this happens, we are not really able to touch the core of Āyurveda. That could be a possible reason why some of us find it difficult to study the classical ancient Sanskrit texts – because the underlying thought process does not subconsciously agree with what we are trained in. This does not usually happen when we try to read some of the anglicized versions of Āyurveda where the author has made a deliberate effort to fit Āyurveda into the western mould – to make it agreeable to the western minds by equating scientific terminologies from Āyurveda to modern or western medical terms (though they do not actually mean the same). This may seem emotionally and intellectually easier. But as we go deeper into the science we reach a dead end. Especially when we try to apply that kind of learning to a real scenario, we become very restricted with limited options. But this is far from the truth.

One who has truly understood the concepts of Āyurveda will experience their options open up to infinity upon progressing in their studies and applications. Newer and newer ways of applying the same basic concepts will spring up in the minds of the students and practitioners. This is how many of the traditional vaidyas in India developed their own regional unique styles of practicing the same philosophy of Āyurveda – For example, the Kerala style of panchakarma treatments and rejuvenation therapies.  This is the reason why in the traditional style of education, the student was only taught the first 14 chapters of the Ashtanga Hridayam out of a total of 120 chapters. Imagine if you would join an Āyurvedic school and they would teach you the first 14 chapters of a textbook that has 120 chapters! Some might say, “this is not fair. I paid up for 120 chapters! I want my money back! ”   That is just a striking example of the western paradigm. You get what you pay for, right? There is a price for everything and everything is for sale.

Each word in the ancient texts is like a huge library of encrypted information. The more we read or study them, the meanings begin to unfold one by one. This is not the case with the anglicized versions. To be able to study them in the proper frame of mind, we need to cultivate or develop the Vedic thought process. I can hear you asking “What is this Vedic thought process?” Of course we also need to know what is not the Vedic thought process.

I am giving below, a short tabular description (though it is a western style to put information in neat little boxes) showing some of the differences between both the eastern and western thought processes including those of the respective medical sciences. Each of these points can be elaborated in detail to explain this dichotomy. Meanwhile I leave it open for you to ponder and interpret…

Western  Eastern
 Linear  Circular
 Atheistic (sometimes covered atheism)  Theistic
 Sees everything separated (reductionist)  Sees everything interconnected (holistic)
 Materialistic  Spiritual
 Mood of exploitation  Mood of service
 More and more specialization (knowing everything about nothing)  More and more going back to basics
 Less than 500 years old  More than 5000 years old
 Sometimes illogical  Always logical
Does not understand energy system of body  Works mainly through the energy system
 Mostly palliative (symptomatic) Mostly curative (trying to correct basic cause)
 Emphasis is on treatment  Emphasis is on prevention
 Relies mainly on direct perception (pratyakṣa)  Relies mainly on yukti and āpta vacana
 Emphasis on objectivity  Emphasis on subjectivity
 Has unavoidable side effects in treatment  Has avoidable side effects in treatment
 Less emphasis on diet and lifestyle  More emphasis on diet and lifestyle
No concept of harmony with the environment  Harmony with environment is the cornerstone
 Divisive  Unifying
 Looks for causes outside  Looks for causes inside
 Trying to destroy the invader  Trying to change our own environment
 Destructive  Constructive
 Exclusive  Inclusive
 Micro to macro one inside the other
 Microcosm and macrocosm are similar
Replacing old theories with new theories which disprove them  Including new theories to old ones
A changing truth (theory keeps changing)  An unchanging truth (theory remains the same)
Disease is a phenomenon coming from the outside (external) and attacking us Disease is primarily due internal factors which may at times be triggered by external factors
 Based on the understanding that life is nothing but a combination of chemicals Based on the understanding that life is a divine spark
 Linear thought process  Circular or a networking thought process
Operates out of the advanced theories, not so much going back to fundamentals – the methods of treatment and protocols are more or less fixed – there is no real need to go back to fundamentals unless for theoretical discussions and reasons Have to keep going back to the basic fundamentals – it means that one cannot practice effectively unless one knows how the methods of treatments have been derived from the fundamentals because the methods have to be customized and modified according to many factors
 Standardization is the norm  Customization is the norm
 No equivalent in modern medicine  Similarity of the universe and human being
No relation between character of a physician and healing ability  The character of the physician (following principles of dharma) influences the healing ability
 Medicines are dead chemicals  Medicines are living embodiments of energetic signatures of herbs, animals and minerals
 Fixed reference point  Changing reference points
 Concept of body is based on physical structure  Concept of body is based on energetics
 Concept is applicable only in a fixed context  All concepts are applicable from micro to macro
Dead anatomy  Living anatomy
Primarily quantitative and secondarily qualitative  Primarily qualitative and secondarily quantitative
 Primarily structural and secondarily functional  Primarily functional and secondarily structural
Believes that the function is dependent on the structure. If structure is intact, function will not be affected. Function is not dependent on structure alone.
 No such concept  Everything is inside everything else and everything is outside everything else.
 Sāmānya (general principles) and viśeṣa (specific principles)
 Standard protocols are supreme and physician should follow it Yukti (logical conclusions) of the Vaidya is supreme… every physician can have an individual unique approach to the same problem. Texts are only meant to assist and point us in the right direction.
Objective evidence is more important than subjective experience (if investigation reports are negative, patient’s subjective feelings may be dismissed as irrelevant) Subjective experience is more important than objective evidence (in certain treatments, the symptoms disappear in spite of investigation reports still showing defects) – energetic correction
 Enslaving  Empowering

Having said that, we are well aware that the thought process of the modern medical scientists (myself being one of them) are also undergoing a rapid evolutionary change. Many new concepts like mind-body medicine, functional medicine and other theories are being explored. It will take some time before we come full circle and these percolate into the curricula in medical schools and the practitioners on the ground level.

Some people may disagree or pass me off as being narrow minded, pontificatory or impractical, and others may agree with this as true. How the two different types of thought processes came to be is another discussion. We will need to get into the history, evolution, epistemology and ontology of both the sciences to understand that. We will do that in another article. Thank you for reading.

Lord Nrsimha and the nine planets

Deity Name Planet
Bhargava Narasimha Sun / Surya
Karanja Narasimha Moon / Chandra
Jwala Narasimha Mars/ Kuja / Angaraka
Krodha (Varaha) Narasimha Rahu
Paavana Narasimha Mercury / Budha
Ahobila (Ugra) Narasimha Swamy Jupiter / Guru
Malola Narasimha Swamy Venus / Shukra
Yogananda Narasimha Saturn / Shani
Chatravata Narasimha Kethu

Bhallataka Rasayana

Bhallātaka rasāyana

Bhallātaka is boiled in cow dung water for four hours and dried in shade.

Take 10g daily – start with 10g as ksheera kashayam and increase

Before each dose, give 1 ounce of ghee to gargle and swallow, apply ghee on the lips, otherwise severe dermal reaction can aoccur. Patient should be on exclusive milk diet.

Bhallataka Rasayana Ingredients: 
10 g of each of
Bhallata (Bhallataka) – shuddha – Purified Semecarpus anacardium
Shunti – Ginger – Zingiber officinalis
Vidanga – Embelia ribes
Loha bhasma (Lauha) – Bhasma (Calx) prepared with Iron.

Rasatarangini, Taranga, 24 : 484-486

Srotas – the unique concept in Ayurveda

Srotas is the unique concept in Ayurveda. As is the case with vata which is the inevitable component in every movement, so is the case with srotas which provides the pathway for every movement. These channels need not be anatomically present always; sometimes it is a physiological channel, sometimes it is a biochemical channel and so on. It shows that visualizing the srotas as a vessel or tube is an injustice done to the observational skills of our great Ayurvedic vaidyas and gurus. They have definitely recognized the unparalleled physiological and biochemical events occurring in our bodies and summarized all those events into the concept of srotas.

Following this principle, a blood vessel should never be considered as rasavaha or raktavaha srotas only. Instead by understanding the physiological events occuring inside the circulatory system we can suggest that it is combination of many srotas working at the same time. All those functions of each of the srotas are going on inside the circulatory system. This is how the concepts in Ayurveda should be understood.

How are diseases named in Ayurveda

Gulma – why the name gulma – samhati paripindita rūpatvāt … gulma sabda – dictionary meaning of gulma is a type of bushy and densely growing plant – it means when the consistency of the dosas becomes dense – where do you find those dense dosas – in which disease – samhati rupa is thickening – paripindita is hardening – eg of such a disease is tumor, atherosclerosis, PCOD (can be gulma or śopha), – there are 2 types of gulma – it can be gulma svabhāva (thickening)or vyāsa (without mass and only functional variation)

another disease called śūla – is śūla the same as pain? – pain is the main lakshana of gulma and śūla – a disease is named in the following ways : dharmatovā sāmyatva arthatova tat samīpatva … why is a disease named in a certain way – dosas following the dharma of condensing in gulma is an eg of dharmatah – arthatah means something like śūla – if there is no condensation but the lakshana is present in gulma sthana, it is śūla – pārśva śūla can be pleurisy

hrt śūla is kapha māruta  samruddhatvāt rasa mūrcchitah – rasa is causing the murcchana of kapha and vata – uchchvasa avarodhah – ie there is dyspnea on exertion – hence angina is not found in hrd roga but in śūla – eg for samīpataḥ is udara coz the disease has a tendency to express in the abdominal region – udara is not ascites – upasnehavat annasāro… – it can be ama, vidagdha or vishtambha – lipid metabolism is included in this