Ayurveda is India’s premier indigenous system of medicine, which has stood the test of time. Thousands of years, not decades. Tibetan medicine has a lot in common with Ayurveda, and probably shares the same origins, but Ayurveda is more well-known, and it’s said to be more complete.
My first experience with Ayurveda came in 1980, when I was really sick from the air pollution in Delhi. Although I didn’t have TB, I sounded like an advanced tuberculosis patient when I breathed, and I was going downhill fast. Then a friend gave me a jar of Chyavan Prash (Maharishi Ayurveda brand, in case you are interested) to try, and within three days I was completely cured.
Shortly after that, I had a consultation with Dr. Brihaspati Dev Triguna. TrigunaJi, as he is known, is one of the greatest living vaidyas, or Ayurvedic doctors. His diagnostic abilities are legendary. He knows virtually everything about one’s physiology just by touching a person’s pulse for a few seconds. In my case, it was over in seconds, but he absolutely nailed everything that was wrong with me at the time. TrigunaJi is retired now and has completely turned his practice over to his son.
On another occasion, I was recovering slowly from a very serious case of food poisoning when my friends insisted on taking me to one of Delhi’s best Italian restaurants. I hadn’t been eating much, but the idea appealed, so I went along. I was still sick when I walked in, but completely cured by the end of the meal. I asked one of the vaidyas how that could be, and he told me about the principle of okasatmya, which means eating the food that your mother fed you as a child. In other words, your comfort foods can have a powerful effect in restoring balance to the physiology. I love that one!
There’s a lot more to say about Ayurveda, so I’ll continue with this topic in the next post. And I’ll tell you about another great vaidya, who isn’t retired, so you can actually go and see him.