Dr. Pranav Bhagwat
The field is more important than the seed, Ayurveda says. In the last article, we have seen how the role of enhancing immunity (vyaadhikshamatwa) enjoys precious position in ayurvedic therapeutics .unless and until we do not make the tissues strong, the treatment is not complete.. Body is more important than bacteria.
Prevention is the key.
Prevention is always better than the cure, they say. But prevention of what? from what? And how to do that? Ayurveda has a unique and thorough way of prevention. It is not limited to certain infectious and allergic conditions as the present day scenario is. The vaccination drives have proven beneficial in preventing certain epidemics .The rabies vaccine is a good example. And some of them are of undoubted value. But not all of them! Many of them have failed to create permanent memory on the cells and ultimately the person falls sick by the same disease in later stage of his life for which he is vaccinated. The rubella vaccine is a one of the examples .
The Lancet , the most revered magazine in the field of medicine, states, rubella vaccination is failed ( may 79). Same is the case with the measles vaccine. The immunological institute in Chennai, which is the biggest institute in the field of vaccination in India, after following up a large population of people vaccinated with BCG vaccine for 15-20 years, has come out with conclusion that BCG VACCINE IS NOTHING BUT A SCAR ON THE ARM. Despite of compulsory BCG vaccination, the tuberculosis for which this vaccine is given kills 5 lakh people every year in India. Few months before in Tamilnadu, 3 children succumbed due to measles vaccination. The company which prepared that vaccine is under scrutiny now. In recent times the vaccination for children is extended to hepatitis B, pneumonia, meningitis also. It needs to re-verify the value of these vaccinations in the present day scenario of child health. Whether we are falling prey to the pressure of multinational drug manufacturing companies? Whether the environments in our country, the geographical, socio-economic nature of our country, the public hygiene are being considered while deciding and implementing strategy for public health? Polio immunization costs rupees 1000 crores to us. In spite of this huge amount of money we still find fresh cases of polio in Uttar Pradesh. Instead if this amount is used in creating social health through education of people, training of few volunteers from the society towards the first aid as is done by dr. Abhay and dr. Rani Bang in Vidarbha, propagating and implementing the strategies for cleaner air and unpolluted water, we can say this is the real prevention..
On top of that there are newer versions of micro-organisms. It will be next to impossible if we start giving vaccines for each and every disease. Whether the immunization policies have shifted from health to economics is really a matter of concern for all of us .and still a bigger variety of degenerative diseases remains a question.
Ayurveda has thought all of this problems. And thus has accepted a macro-approach rather than the present day micro approach towards prevention of diseases. Ayurveda has advocated measures like suvarnapraashana, abhyanga, baal guti, garbhasanskaaras, and masanumasika antenatal care for prevention of diseases in child. One of the greatest institutes of Ayurveda in India is situated in Goa. Gomantaka Ayurveda college is a pioneering institute in India towards propagating this immunity through the suvarnapraashana camps . For adults the approach is entirely different. Ayurveda has understood that the diseases are the results of overuse or misuse of foods, the seasonal changes and their effect on human body, the age, improper conduct as in, for example, lying down immediately after lunch, breaking the rules for example not getting up at least half an hour before sun – rise, overuse or misuse of senses, improper cleaning of the toxins accumulated in the body in day to day life. and external factors like traumas etc.
Ayurveda advocates rules for the daily conduct ( dina charya,) which includes the dantadhaavana, pratimarsha( nose drops for cleaning the sinuses, clearing the intellect, etc.), anjanam ( eye drops for cleaning the eye and preventing eye diseases), abhyangam ( application of oil on the body and rubbing), vyayama ( the amount and type of excercise), snaana( bath), annapana vidhi ( the method to eat the food), puja( meditation ) etc. It also advocates a conduct at night.
Not only this , the regime changes according to season and the course of action is given for each season after taking into consideration the effect of external environment on the internal milieu. For example, since the summer season causes mandya of jaatharagni (weakness in digestive capacity) Ayurveda advocates light diet, both in quantity and quality. Where as in winter i.e. in the months of December and January, the digeston is better and hence the diet should be heavy and unctuous. So the sweets can be enjoyed in this season. Similarly though the afternoon sleep is forbidden, summer is the exception for this. Rutushodhana is another essential advice Ayurveda has given. Rutushodhana is de-toxifying the body using Panchkarmas, in different season as body tends to produce certain disease producing factors in larger quantities in certain season. For instance, in October and November, the pitta is vitiated in the body. This pitta is responsible for the conditions of skin, acid peptic disorders, eye diseases, boils, gout, herpes, erysipelas, hepatic disorders, typhoid fever, malarias, hair fall, graying of hair etc. etc.. This list is quite exhaustive and may be confusing for a medical man. But it requires to evaluate this list in light of ayurvedic principles and then will seem logical. So in October or in November, a de-toxification procedure called as virechana is done to eliminate pitta from body and to prevent these diseases.
Achara-rasaayana is a therapy for social conduct. The principles like obeying elders, respecting teachers, avoiding infidelity are very much of value for our social health. Thus Ayurveda believes not only prevention of diseases but also propagating positive health.
Any disease leaves a scar on the body. So it is the duty of all scientists to investigate these preventive principles of Ayurveda in light of modern investigations and prove the efficacy of this great science for the benefit of the world. In the next article we will consider another interesting aspect of this store house of knowledge called Ayurveda.