New Age vs
Traditional (Classical) Ayurveda
By Ved Kovid, Durgadas (R.A.P)
(c) Ved Kovid, Durgadas. All Rights Reserved.
At Arogya Ayurvedic Health Ltd, Durgadas's approach to Ayurveda is unique, in that it encompasses a Traditional Ayurveda approach that one finds in India and in classical Ayurveda texts, not the distortions by American Ayurveda or 'New Age Ayurveda', which deviates from Tradition.
As a Hindu in a Vedic lineage, Durgadas has grown up around tradition and seeks to also retain it. As such, this article expresses his views regarding comparisons between Traditional and New Age Ayurveda.
Traditional Ayurveda has been promoted in the West by the likes of Dr. Vasant Lad and Durgadas's teacher, Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley).
New Age Ayurveda looks at employing palliative (shamana) techniques for Panchakarma (five detoxification actions in Ayurveda) and primarily Spa therapies alone.
Traditional Ayurveda employs specific and detailed methods of Panchakarma beyond palliative care for treating disease. Specific massages according to various complex preliminary therapies beforehand as specific massage techniques and therapies prepared accordingly and given along with specific laxatives to remove toxins from the body and with specific oils (where required) for treating various disorders locally. Other preliminary therapies as internal oleation are also administered and strict, bland diets (as kichari).
New-Age Ayurveda, rejects surgery and sees it as a modern invention and technique to be avoided. Ayurvedic Practitioners instead go for the spiritual methods, which often contradict the classical texts, which stress when surgery is required.
Traditionally in Ayurveda, surgery recommended in severe conditions that include vascular surgery, fistulas hemorrhoids, brain surgery (as in Bhoja Prabandha), amputations, dentistry, cataracts, kidney stones, C-sections, cancers, facial reconstruction (plastic surgery) etc.
Physician Charaka notes six methods of surgical procedure (Chikitsasthana, XXV.55) - incision, puncturing, excision, scraping, scarification and suturing on which he notes (56-60) according to various diseases, thus pointing out the role of surgery (shastrakarma) even in his treatise, often considered as merely one on "internal medicine" alone as stated by expounders of New-Age or America Ayurveda.
The great physician Sushruta (Sushruta Samhita, Sutrasthana, I.17-21) also notes the importance of Shalyatantra (surgery) and it's antiquity in Indian mythology as being used as the method to heal even the gods themselves from whence it came.
Cancer for example in Ayurveda was cut out and cauterised in Ayurveda if it did not go by specific and powerful herbal and alchemical formulas (akin to modern medicines). Alkalis were also used. Cauterisation has been replaced by Radiation Therapy today and powerful herbal and other formulas by Chemotherapy, which have their place.
New Age Ayurveda views Marmas (vital spots) as energy centres for activation and healing through acupressure or stimulation and also healed by methods such as Reiki and Pranic healing by laying the hands on the patient.
Traditionally, Marmas are vulnerable and require varma (armour / protection). Sushruta Samhita (Sharirasthana, VI, 41-43) states marmas should not be damaged in any way, which also means no use of acupressure nor acupuncture on them traditionally, as these cause damage and aggravate the doshas (and organs they relate to), which includes cutting, hitting, fire even near them causes issues (Sushruta Samhita, Sharirasthana, 35 & 41).
The commentator on the Sushruta Samhita, Dalhana himself states the definition of Marma is "Marayanti iti marmani", which means that a Marma is one which causes death (if damaged). Yogic Healing of Marmas was done via various Pranayamas (breathing techniques) that had specific effects to reduce the aggravation doshas (biological humours) in the body, not by energy-methods of healing. Pastes and oils are also used to heal them as gentle massages (not acupressure).
In New-Age Ayurveda, Pujas (offerings) etc. are seen as magical healing processes and Deities as Cosmic Energies with supernatural powers. Daiva Chikitsa and Sattvavajaya (Spiritual therapies and Psychological therapies) seen as primary methods of "faith healing" systems and as magical methods of supernatural methods of healing the psyche in terms of energies and powers.
In Traditional Ayurveda, Deities correspond to a series of bhutas (elemental forces) and also indriyas (senses) and organs of the body (Shatapatha Brahmana, XII.9.1.1-17; Sushruta Samhita, Sharirasthana, I.7). They are also bacteria, viruses etc. caused by elements and poisoned air causing bhutonmada (elemental-caused insanity). (Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana, XI.45).
In Traditional Ayurveda, Pujas etc. are seen as psychological tools for healing understanding mental effects and environment effects they had scientifically. Daiva Chikitsa (Divine therapies - ritualism) form a part of Sattvavajaya (psychological healing for restoring purity to the mind - placebo effects) for healing psychological disorders is understood in its specifics for various forms of psychosis and also Yukti-vyapashraya (rational therapies - viz. surgical methods, herbs and formulas, diet etc.) employed for healing (Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana, XI.46, 54). They impart sattvas (purity) to the mind and senses and also help reduce negative samskaras (karmic residue) behind the diseases by nature of their good / positive actions.
Traditional Ayurveda states that opposite therapies according to the mental disorder should be adopted (Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana, XI.46) , showing "spiritual
therapies" are mental distractions / psychological tools for also providing detachment of the mind, mental disorder etc.
In New-Age Ayurveda, Schizophrenia and Insanity are said to be caused by psychic possession alone aggravating the doshas.
Traditional Ayurveda (Charaka, Sushruta, Sutrasthana, I.25) states that such psychic disorders are caused by anger, grief, fear, exhilaration, sadness, lust, greed etc. Madhava Nidana (XX.14-15) states insanity is brought on by fright, loss of wealth, death of family members, excessive sexual desire etc. as well as bhutas (elemental bacteria, viruses and impairment to organs as previous stated).
View of Meats:
In New Age Ayurveda, Vegetarian and Vegan Diets as per Yoga (sattvic) applied to all, whether they are suitable or not.
Traditionally, meats as well as vegetable substances given various therapeutic actions according to constitutions and also diseases. Vegetarian or purely sattvic diets indicated in some cases where they cause issues according to their chemical reactions in the mind-body complex, such as in psychological disorders (Charaka Samhita, Chikitsasthana, IX.96) and also in excess can cause cancer or tumours of the muscle (Bhava Prakasha, Madhya Khanda, III.44.22-23 / Madhava Nidana, XXXVIII.22-23)
Diagnosis and Disease:
New Age Ayurveda on Diagnosis and Disease:
-Diagnosis by questioning with emphasis on pulse, tongue etc. as also auras and psychology of the person and doshas
-Predominant doshas as per charts or questions determines one's Prakriti or biological constitution (superficially), which is then given emphasis alone
-Diseases are classified according to the three doshas alone, ignoring traditional concerns and deeper causes and treated generically
Traditional Ayurveda on Diagnosis and Disease:
-Diagnosis by full medical history, questioning, palpitation of various parts of the body, which includes pulse rhythms, looking at skin, tongue, eyes, diet, lifestyle, age, sex etc.
-Biological types (Prakriti) is differentiated and tailored as per one's psychology, age, sex, climate, seasons, digestive and exercise strengths, tissue and other examinations and abilities, weaknesses of the individual etc. as well as vyadhi (disease) and treated accordingly
-Diseases are classified into various forms according to genetic, karmic, accidental / external causes etc. and derive from a variety of forms including dual-doshic, triple-doshic, raktaja (blood) etc. and several other forms treated differently and other causes are noted and also treated specifically according to these, not generically
Durgadas, director of Arogya Ayurvedic Health Ltd himself hails from a long lineage of Traditional Vedic Hindus who have preserved these ancient sciences and knowledge of Yoga, Ayurveda and other Vedic Sciences.
In addition, he is formally certified in Yoga and Ayurveda Teaching, Ayurvedic Astrology, Ayurvedic Clinical Practice, including Ayurvedic Pharmacy, Panchakarma Therapy and teaching Vedic Studies of all aspects (Jyotish, Astrology; Tantra; Yoga etc.), and hence bring in a more traditional Integral Ayurveda, as opposed to what many are doing in the West today – often a quick session taking the pulse and giving a few herbs.
Durgadas is also the creator of Purna Ayurveda, a complete integral system of Traditional Ayurveda and also Vaidik Para-Yoga, a system based on the oldest *original* teachings of Yoga!
Having researched several ancient Vedic texts for years, during his training in Ayurveda, he also researched the classical texts deeply as per the guidance of his lecturers and has written several books on their deeper wisdom, which he also brings out in his unique practice.
We hence closely follow the ancient traditional texts and expand on the traditional systems of disease analysis and Constitutional analysis also, by considering all such factors.
Seasonal changes, climates, age and sex amongst other factors also play important roles in diseases and imbalances.
Vedic Astrology gives us a special insight into how not only the moon phases, but also planetary cycles can affect our psyche and patterns (such as sleep and moods) according to placements at the time and location of out birth, relative to the planets and their distances. We can compare this to the Moon and how it affects the tides, but in a more subtle manner, related to karma. Scientists now admit there is "life after death" and are also researching this field.
The noted Psychologist, Carl Jung also noted the place of Astrology and others such as Ian Stevenson have done extensive research proving reincarnation to be valid also and playing a role in our lives (through karma). Ayurveda understands karmaja (karmic) causes of diseases as the causal factors behind atmaja (genetic) diseases, inherited through the mother or father, as in great classics such as Charaka Samhita that describe embryology and genetics in detail for the first time.
This hence brings in a more Traditional Ayurveda, and is what we wish to promote for people in the Western world, especially here in New Zealand, where Ayurveda is relatively new, and often misunderstood in its complete and Traditional system of healing!
Finding an Authentic Ayurvedic Practitioner
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