Superpower America and the Ayurveda!
Everybody aspires to travel the world but then visiting America at least once in a lifetime is a dream everyone nurtures! While visitors from India have ballooned, it also looks as if one person from practically every household of Pune & Mumbai seems to have settled down there. And then there are Indians going for work, on assignments or even for supporting the children’s’ households. Whatever the reason, this land of opportunities flaunts and continues to attract visitors.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the U.S. A, in a way my dream to visit this country was being fulfilled. However, what I was not prepared was the most monotonous 30 hours of journey which really made me wonder if this was what I had asked for! At the same time I also could not help but appreciate all those senior citizens who routinely travel here to meet their children!
But then while traveling across the country, visiting various tourist destinations , enjoying all the comforts of life, I could not help but appreciate what these people have achieved augmenting the natural resources with technology and modernization! This is really amazing!
However, this is not a travelogue. But as a matter of fact, while practicing Ayurveda over the past 15 odd years I also tend to see things through the glasses of ‘Ayurveda’! A habit I have nurtured while I have traveled across India and other countries for conferences, on education tours as well as to even conduct trainings. While visiting these places I also seem to have developed an inner eye that keeps observing the people, their lifestyles, their foods and eating habits, their social structures and learning even their mindsets.
During this visit to the U.S., I had numerous opportunities to interact with my relatives, and also some of my patients there. And what I noticed was quite disturbing to say the least…
It also jolted me to suddenly realize that this lifestyle is also finding roots in Indian social fabric under the guise of western advanced civilization…! As Ayurveda proclaims, Diet is the backbone of the lifestyle. ‘You are what you eat…and an ideal example of what the diet should NOT BE, is the way America eats!
The most disturbing aspect of this lifestyle that I noticed was the excessive intake of cold water, coke like drinks and even cold juices. As Ayurveda puts it succinctly, every cold intake leads to accumulations of toxins in the human body. A dietary structure that as it is leads to toxin generation and coupled with accumulations of those toxins with cold beverages…the most ideal situation where diseases occur!!
Look at how (what Ayurveda indicates) the food habits lead to toxins generation… excessive intake of fast food, eating of food that is deep frozen and next moment readied for consumption in the microwave! Excessive inclusions of bread, pizzas & burgers that are usually made out of white flour in daily intake couple further with chocolates, cookies, bakery products, meat, ice creams and alcohol… All this leads not merely to toxin generation & accumulation but also is a cause of for what Ayurveda calls as ‘Kaph Doasha”. And this is the main reason of obesity that this society is grappling with. To add to the woes of the body the standard practices that I found strange was cooking once in a week and eating the same food over the week! I also found people comfortably eating frozen rotis (Indian bread) brought from the super markets!
Ayurveda clearly states that eating stale food leads to numerous diseases. I felt an acute need to explain to this society the necessity of fresh food and a balanced diet that on hand propagates ‘No sugar, low salt, zero calories’ kind of food.
I also noticed a disturbing trend of so called healthy idea of the ‘Smoothie’! The method of making this ‘Healthy smoothie’ that I saw prevalent in the U.S. is a classic example of what Ayurveda describes as ‘ CONTARDICTORY FOODS, by putting all (or any fruit that you can lay your hands on) sorts of fruits, curd, soya milk, tomatoes, etc all blended together. I am still wondering how can this ‘smoothie’ be healthy..? It’s been almost over a fortnight since I have returned but this among others is still haunting me! I realised that such contradictory food consumption is one of the main reasons of generation of toxins in the body that inevitably lead to diseases. Isn’t this contradictory food habit, one of the major reasons for obesity, knee pains, irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, digestive disorders, alarmingly increasing instances of uric acid..? I wonder!
I also saw instances of wrong ‘Life patterns’ what Ayurveda calls as ‘Vihara’…The time one wakes up, exercises, eats and even working pattern that determine, disturb the biological clock… How one goes through the day… being in an excessively air (cooled) conditioned environment again leads to toxin generation…the malls, offices, homes, aircrafts, vehicles are also excessively air cooled. and to top it all one sees people running/jogging or cycling for fitness at odd times like at the peak of the day or even at night!.
Exercise at a wrong time, according to Ayurveda, can be fatal to the human body. It further explains that exercise post lunch can lead to what it calls as ‘Vata rakta’ disease where the uric acid levels shoot up. I saw numerous gyms open and running round the clock…good as convenience so that anyone can come and exercise according his/her own time conveniences…one late evening while returning from a stroll I saw a gym full of people exercising…shocking! I felt that it is better not to exercise than doing it at a wrong time!
Observing the social fabric and the concept of family I realized that individualism and individual liberties as compared to the average Indian, are quite underlined. The standard question that usually haunts an average Indian, “what will people think..?”, does not even pop up here. This society walks the path of what is (so called) ‘rational’ and this, I feel leads to a kind of ‘Draught’ of feelings and relations that are subliminal… the emotional ties of a relationship, the sense of ‘togetherness and love! This I suppose leads to mental depression which is threatening this society… the depression that naturally leads the society to drug abuse and such other evils…quite alarming I think!
Ayurveda does not restrict itself to defining only the physical aspects of diseases, but also comprehensively includes mental makeup. Ayurveda suggests that physical diseases lead to mental illnesses and metal stress leads to physical diseases… I quite strongly feel that Ayurveda will prove to be a boon to this society that is fast losing that vital aspect of mind body balance!
This society that is so determined to achieve things in life can easily achieve the peaks of social progress if it meticulously follows the rules propagated by Ayurveda relating to ‘Ahaar’ (diet) & ‘Vihar’ (life patterns) ‘Dincharya’ (The daily routines) & ‘Rutucharya’ (life routines in every season as per the natural dictates). Routinely undergoing a systematic ‘Panchakarma’ Treatment at the hands of only a knowledgeable Ayurveda practitioner will immensely help them detoxify their bodies routinely besides greatly minimizing health risks as well.
I have also seen that there are many who follow that part of Ayurveda which concentrates on mental health through Yoga & meditation. The progress that these people have done in this area is quite satisfying.
If this society that has accepted all those who keep coming from across the globe in their social fabric with open arms and helped them blend; could really do wonders if it accepts Ayurveda in that same spirit!
God bless America!