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BOOK REVIEW
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 51-52

Ayurveda: The way we need


BAMS, Faculty of Ayurveda, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication13-Jul-2018

Correspondence Address:
Aanchal Sharma
BAMS, Faculty of Ayurveda, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/asl.ASL_147_17

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How to cite this article:
Sharma A. Ayurveda: The way we need. Ancient Sci Life 2017;37:51-2

How to cite this URL:
Sharma A. Ayurveda: The way we need. Ancient Sci Life [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Dec 16];37:51-2. Available from: http://www.ancientscienceoflife.org/text.asp?2017/37/1/51/236542

Author : Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya

Year of Publication : 2015

Edition : First

Pages : 299

Price : Rs.299



Everyday Ayurveda is an effort by Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya who has now been practising yoga and holistic therapies as well as research as a pharmacologist, public health specialist, and practicing physician for over 20 years and has witnessed healing of conditions that were impossible to cure with biomedicine. She lets us embark on her journey of discovering lifestyle interventions such as scraping the tongue and oil massages that are not only preventive but curative as well. These have been written to help assimilate Ayurveda conveniently in one's life in such a way that one starts living by its principles. The book is a handy one and deals with topics such as early morning rituals to choosing what kind of dress to be worn, to opening the five senses to profession, from travel to relationships, a lot of do's and don'ts have been mentioned.

Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya is the first US Fulbright senior scholar, sponsored jointly by the US Dept. of State and the Government of India, to do research and teach Ayurvedic medicine in India. She has been sharing best clinical practices and educational techniques with other Ayurvedic educators. She currently works between her private consultation medical practice in Manhattan and her PhD studies at Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Her other qualifications and experiences of diverse academic background have helped her recapitulate the perception and thoughts of different sections of society in this work.

As the title of the book suggests, it is a guide for self-care to make one curious regarding the basic practices of Ayurveda, gives the idea of traditional medicines and along with that it has various anecdotes of her life with her parents and siblings and with them she has beautifully woven the utility and impact of Ayurveda.

Everyday Ayurveda is a popular book of 299 pages. It has 42 chapters distributed in six parts.

The first part is titled “Early morning rituals and it consists of topics such as - rising early, washing and cleaning face, orifices, teeth and tongue after which she deals with the subject of water in the morning, auspicious objects and framing the day.

The second part is about the five senses: Eyes, Ears, Nose, Voice, Mouth.

The third part is titled “The Bath”. One may wonder what could be so significant about a bath but it's not just a task rather a whole bunch of different therapeutic actions viz. Abhyanga: oil massage; Vyāyāma: Exercise; Prāṇāyāma: Conscious breathing; Vegas: urges of the body; skin and nails; hair shaving and haircut; cleaning the feet and perineum and finally bathing.

The fourth unit is titled “Activities of the Day: Yoga Off the Mat”, this unit deals with subjects such as Sadvṛtta and Dharma; Pūjā: act of worship; choosing dress; travel; profession; relationships and afternoons.

The fifth part is titled “Nutrition: Food”. Food is among the three main pillars of Ayurveda along with sleep and brahmacaryā, so any discussion about Ayurveda would remain abridged without a discussion on food.

In this book, it is emphasised that only food that is good is the one which kindles and supports the digestive fire. Therefore eating freshly prepared food and knowing when it was last living and connected to earth are two key rules to follow. This to a large extent eliminates the use of storing cooked food and eating it stale. Also in order to keep the bugs and rodents at bay, packs of neem leaves can be hanged near vegetables. The author has rightly called Ayurveda as the game of digestive fire and asks people to plan the choice of food, exercise and work in accordance to it.

The sixth part is titled “Rātricaryā: Routines for the night”. It covers the evening and supper; effects of nature: Ṛtucaryā; alcohol and smoking; sex; recalling the day; meditation and night time yoga; getting to bed on time; Rasāyana: Vitality and ending it with the second pillar of Ayurveda- sleep.

In the preface of the book, the entire content is beautifully summed up as - “It is the collection of 42 sections from Ayurvedic granthas (texts) offered with logic, practical hints, some science and some stories.”

The added value of the book is the summing up of key points/gist/essence of each chapter enclosed in a box and mere going through them once will give the lay person a glimpse of principles of Ayurveda. Not only this, every concept has few ślokas with references to validate its authenticity.

The first chapter Rise and shine explains the significance and logic behind rising early during Brāhma Muhūrta which is roughly between 4 and 6 am and the perfect time to go for a euphoric run or meditate to imbibe lightness, clarity and subtle energies as it provides the cleanest oxygen for exercise and for connecting to the purest parts of ourselves. The fifth chapter on washing the face and its orifices is like a guide of home remedies for various skin issues. After all who wouldn't want a flawless glowing skin? There is food for thought regarding various cosmetic products which is summed up by the question: if you don't want to eat them then why do you put them on your skin?

The eighth chapter 'Water in the morning” discusses the practice of ācamana (drinking a handful of water in a hollow made in one's right hand) in an elaborate manner as in the posture, the direction one should be sitting in, quality of water and the references from the classical texts.

All depends on keeping the eye steadily fixed on the facts of nature and so receiving their images simply as they are. — Sir Francis Bacon. Dr. Bhattacharya has given an elaborate description about cleansing eyes in the second part of book. It begins with an explanation about the practice of 'Trāṭaka'- to gaze fixedly to induce meditation and stillness by concentrating on a single point. Sun gazing is the last phase of Trāṭaka among the three phases and is recommended when the Sun touches the horizon. She says that for a plethora of Indians it is a way of life. A brief Anatomy and physiology of each sense organ is described so as to conveniently explain the functioning of Ayurvedic methods in preventing and curing health problems. Since Ayurveda also has the tools for maintaining health, the book emphasises using simple daily practices like splashing cold water in the eyes.

The narration of the incidence of bringing back the person's partly lost vision of one eye and diminished one in another through Netrabasti for 7 days piques an interest in understanding the science behind the pro-life vision benefiting qualities of Ghee. This chapter ends with the claim that since the eyes adapt to aid the mind; the reason for myopia in a few conditions may be that when the events in the surrounding are perplexing for the mind to cope, the eyes shift to see things a little less clearly.

The chapter on 'Sadvṛtta and Dharma' on one hand tells briefly about the history if Sanātana Dharma and the other enlightens about its significance in 'knowing' what is wrong and right and its inseparable bond with Nature. This will serve as a guide for healthy mind and pure conscience. It is quite true to claim that like Sadvṛtta, Ayurvedic principles are grounded in the philosophy of harmony with the universe and cosmos and thus are often interpreted as religion.

The author has unfailingly understood that even invaluable information may appear trivial to the society when its practicability is not discussed. Therefore, at the end of the units of the book, she has given the methods of how one can have a home pharmacy, the best ways to incorporate the rituals and so on.

But Everyday Ayurveda is not a textbook one can use to become an Ayurvedic physician and cure diseases. For that one has to follow classical texts such as Caraka Saṃhitā, Suśruta Saṃhitā, Aṣṭāṅga Hṛdayam and Aṣṭāṅga Saṅgraha etc. But the present book guides one towards a healthy life style in more natural way.

The content of the book advocates the significance of wholesome life and how it is related to relationships. Truth be told, how much ever we run towards modernisation, the very essence of Ayurveda is necessary for the right way of eating, drinking, talking, making love, reacting to a situation; conducting rituals, festivals; customs and almost every other thing we do in our life. Thus understanding how actually Ayurveda works for one's body and soul and those around will definitely help one live healthier.




 

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