AYURVEDA: The Little–known Principles of Wellbeing. 1

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“The condition of health is a reflection of one’s thoughts and a lifestyle” (Ayurveda)

Ayurveda has become well known in the western world since about 30 years ago. So, what need is there to make us turn to this ancient knowledge in a presence of the modern advanced medicine and the up-to-date medical equipment?

Well, it’s no secret that modern medicine treats the symptoms and not the causes, has side effects, creates a dependency on drugs and sometimes causes new diseases.

The essence of modern medicine could be expressed in a few words: “it treats one thing and cripples another”. The reason for such an imperfection is the misunderstanding of deeper fundamentals of illness as a natural reaction for violation of Nature’s laws.

A unique feature of Ayurveda is that it is based on religious and philosophical concepts, which state that a disease is a reflection of one’s thoughts and a lifestyle.

In old times, a physician would advise a patient: “You’re sick because you are too greedy, envious, and angry. If you get rid of it, your disease will be gone”. But if a modern doctor gives such an advice to his patient today instead of prescribing a heap of tablets, he will be fired for a “quackery”.

Ayurveda does not guarantee a complete recovery from a disease since a disease is part and parcel of a physical body. A physical body itself, as a gross covering of the soul, is a symbol of the soul’s fundamental disease, which is a complete forgetfulness of one’s eternal spiritual identity as a servant of God.

And once the soul accepts the physical body, he gets a whole set of problems of the body i.e. physical ailments are the natural consequence of the fundamental spiritual disease.

The first aphorism of Ayurveda proclaims: “The body is the temple of diseases”. And yet Ayurveda recommends a lifestyle that reduces physical ailments to a minimum.

Ayurveda identifies three main causes of disease:

• Improper diet

• Uncleanliness

• Disturbance of mind

As you see an infection is not listed among the main causes, as its effect is secondary. When, due to these three reasons, the body and the immune system weaken, an infection easily attacks the body.

If a person eats properly, is clean externally and internally, has a stable psyche, is self satisfied, spiritually oriented; the risk of infection is practically next to nothing.

We’ll analyze in more detail these three causes of disease.

Improper diet means:

• Overeating;
• Eating at the wrong time;
• Incompatible foods;
• Harmful products;
• Foods, that are non compatible with one’s bodily constitution ( vata, pita, kapha ) and the season.

As for overeating, Ayurveda recommends for normal digestion that a half of the stomach should be filled with food, one quarter with liquid, and one quarter with air.

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There is a special form of thermal energy in the stomach, which is called “a fire of digestion”. To make it burn properly, one should leave a little air in the stomach. If it were filled up to the brim with food, digestion would be slow and difficult.

There is a natural indicator when one should finish a meal – it’s the first burp. It indicates that the remaining air in the stomach is pushed out and if you continue eating that would be harmful for the body.

Having a meal at the wrong time means that there is a connection between the time of the day (or rather the solar activity) and the digestion efficiency.

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It is not advised having a big meal in the morning and late evening when the sun is not so active. At this time the fire of digestion in the stomach is minimal, and therefore breakfast and dinner preferably should be light.

Lunch can and should be opulent enough because the sun is active in the afternoon.

Ayurveda recommends a peaceful and slow meal. It gives a greater satisfaction, better digestion and lesser chances of overeating.

Compatibility of products is a broad topic, and therefore we leave it for now.

meats-fish-poultryAs for the harmful products that Ayurveda mentions, they are meat, fish and eggs. If these restrictions seem to be unacceptable for some reason, one can at least exclude beef and pork.

Pork is basically recycled excrement that pigs are primarily fed with, and beef is a flesh of the most valuable animal – a cow.

No technology is capable of creating a machine that consumes grass and produces milk as a final product. Everything that comes out of a cow (including urea and manure) is useful at all stages of transformation.

Milk surprisingly transforms into cream, sour cream, butter, yogurt, curd or cheese. The Vedas call a cow and bull as mother and father of humanity. Mother cow gives the most valuable product, and a bull, as father is a natural tractor, which helps to plough the land and grow crops.

Killing one’s father and mother for food is not a sign of a civilized life. Especially, when there is an abundance of other foodstuffs around.

In general, Ayurveda recommends vegetarianism, however it does not insist on it. According to the Vedas, there are 400,000 types of human forms of life – from the primitive tribes of aboriginals to the humanoids living in higher dimensions of the universe. And therefore what is food for one is a poison for the other.

Meat, fish and eggs could be the food for uncivilized people who do not really aspire for spiritual perfection. But since Ayurveda is a part of the Vedas, it doesn’t aim just at health as such, but at health in connection with the spiritual destiny of a person.

In this sense, the above-mentioned foods considerably contaminate the body as well as the mind. The Vedas say, “You are what you eat “. No wonder that during the forty-day fasting the strict Christians abstain from eating meat, in order to approach the Easter holiday with a purer consciousness.

Due to the fasting the consciousness gets purified, the finer sensitivity increases and a perception of spiritual values becomes much deeper. What to say of vegetarianism as the norm of all life, if one gets purified even in 40 days! In the end of the day, soy “meat” can be an adequate substitute without the need to kill anyone.

When an animal is killed, it experiences a great deal of fear and anger. Hormones of fear and anger are absorbed into the flesh of a victim and then are served as food. No wonder that people often express aggressive emotions. In this way a vicious trap of karma gets triggered.

Interestingly, the word “meat” in Sanskrit sounds as “mam – sah”. Mam (me), sah (you). An entire cause and effect principle is formulated in this short word, which interprets as: “You’re killing me in this life and I will kill you in the next “. This means that there is also a moral dimension to vegetarianism.

In addition, an animal flesh contains ptomaine and other toxins and parasites are often found in fish. Eggs are the cause of such a dangerous disease as salmonellosis.

Also, the most common diseases of the cardiovascular system, besides stress, are largely attributed to malnutrition and, in particular, an excess of cholesterol in meat products. It causes arteriosclerosis and leads to a weakening of the cardiovascular system.

Such information can inspire a person to become a vegetarian but unfortunately the illusion is strong and faith in a pure lifestyle is weak – “Will I have enough calories and vitamins, if I become a vegetarian?”

For the answer to this question we turn to scientific data. The U.S. National Institute of Health recently conducted a research among 50,000 vegetarians. It turned out that vegetarians live longer and are much less prone to heart disease and cancer compared to people who eat meat.

Doctors at Harvard University found that a vegetarian diet reduces cases of colds and allergies. Studies at Yale University, to the surprise of many, have shown that vegetarians are about two times hardier and five times faster to recoup their strength than meat eaters.

The explanation is simple – the toxins, contained in meat, poison the body and slow down the recovery processes.

It is also interesting to note how many great athletes who have set world records have been vegetarians. The Vegetarian cycling club in England has held over forty percent of the national cycling records, and all over Europe the vegetarian cyclists have consistently made up a higher percentage ofwinners than the meat eating cyclists.

The great vegetarian swimmer, Murray Rose, was the youngest triple gold meddle winner in the Olympic games. He has been hailed as one of the greatest swimmers of all time and has broken many records. A British vegetarian swam across the English channel faster than anyone in history- in six hours and twenty minutes.

Many other internationally famous athletes, past and present changed to a vegetarian diet and found their performance improved. For example, the Austrian weight lifter, A. Anderson, who broke many world records, and Johny Weismuller, who made fifty-six world swimming records. They report no decrease in strength with the change in diet. In fact, their ability seems to increase. Bill Walton, an all star basketball player, was famous for his dynamic hard driving performance. His personal experience has so convinced him of the benefits of a vegetarian diet that he has repeatedly advocated this regimen for others.

All over the world, vegetarian have set many records-in wrestling, boxing, walking, football, cross-country running, etc.. Vegetarian athletes actually have more endurance and energy because their bodies do not have to waste tremendous amounts of energy trying to counteract the poisons in meat

Animals such as horse, buffalo and elephant are strong and tireless. They lift enormous loads and perform the most difficult tasks for a man. None of the predators can compete with them in strength and endurance.

The fact that humans by nature are herbivorous is evident from the anatomy of the body.

( Click to enlarge )

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So it is quite obvious that meat for us is unnatural fuel. If the engine of a Ferrari is designed for premium quality petrol but is filled with an unleaded, of course, the car will go, but very soon it will have problems.

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The same applies to our food. On the one hand, the meat products give a lot of calories; on the other hand, the same calories are used for digestion of meat as being heavier food. The result is the same quantity of calories as in a vegetarian diet, but the body gets an extra load of digestion.

The last aspect of improper diet is a lack of understanding of one’s individual bodily constitution and seasonal changes.

This subject is so vast that it will require a whole book and not an article.

After determining one’s constitution there should be some sort of drafting of an individual diet.

The general idea is this: the diet should reduce the shortcomings and eliminate the excesses of one’s bodily constitution. Moreover, the diet should vary depending on the season just as we change our clothing according to the weather.

In the next article we will look at the two remaining major causes of disease and preventive measures in the Ayurveda.

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