Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in United Kingdom-7/2

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in United Kingdom

National Council of Hindu Temples, Leicester, United Kingdom


Registered Office :
National Council of Hindu Temples (UK)

Introduction to Ayurveda
The word 'Ayurveda' is derived from two words—'Ayus' meaning life and Veda meaning 'knowledge' or 'science'. So the literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is 'The science of life'.

Life or Ayus, according to Ayurveda, is a combination of senses, mind, body and soul. So Ayurveda does not just limit itself to the body or physical symptoms, but also provides comprehensive knowledge about spiritual, mental and emotional health.
The traditional healing system of Ayurveda is based on a theory of balance between the body (physical), the soul (spiritual) and the mind (psychological).

Ayurveda has two main goals:

• To maintain the health of the healthy.
• To heal the sick.

The ultimate aim of Ayurveda is to always maintain good health and well-being. And health, according to Ayurveda, is not merely eliminating the physical symptoms of a disease, but also restoring the happiness of the person's mind and soul. Often people may not be suffering from physical problems but they may very unhappy and disturbed mentally. According to Ayurveda, such a person would be in a state of ill health.

Problems like depression, anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia, originate mainly from sickness of mind and soul. Unfortunately, most of our actions and activities today, are related to materialism and our physical body. We rarely pay attention to our other half, which is equally important—the mind and the soul. The diets and lifestyles we follow for achieving peace and happiness may not be healthy for our inner selves. Since we are no longer taught the importance of mental and spiritual health—we remain unhappy, depressed, anxious and insecure, despite our best efforts. This is clearly indicative of something being wrong in our approach.

Ayurveda helps us in our endeavor to find happiness in life by teaching us the appropriate lifestyles to adopt. It teaches us how to live in natural balance by following the right diet, daily regimen, lifestyle, actions and activities.

Ayurveda is the perfect solution for all our needs. Not only does it help people understand themselves and their needs, but it also provides guidelines on diet, lifestyle, exercise regimens and much more. But above all, Ayurveda teaches us to live in harmony within our society, with nature and with the universe at large, without disturbing the delicate natural balance.

Basic Principles
According to Ayurveda, the five basic elements in nature are, space (akash), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (jala), and earth (prithvi). In our bodies, health is a state when these elements remain completely balanced. Conversely, imbalances lead to disharmony, which ultimately leads to disease.

All aspects of nature can be explained in terms of the elements, including seasons, times of the day, geographical and topographical location and even more subtle aspects like emotions.

Dosha Constitution
According to Ayurveda, the elements are represented in a human being as vata, pitta and kapha, known as the three doshas or biological forces.

Vata is comprised of the elements air and space and is responsible for all movement related functions in the body, such as respiration, circulation and thought. On an emotional level it is responsible for such positive emotions as creativity and flexibility and its' negative aspects are fear and anxiety.

Pitta is composed of fire and water and is responsible for metabolism, including digestion of food and life's experiences and for hunger and thirst. Emotionally it is connected with courage, ambition, anger and pride.

Kapha is comprised of water and earth and is responsible for cohesion; it provides the body's structure. It governs emotions such as love and devotion, greed and jealousy.
Everybody is born with a unique combination of these three doshas and this is termed as their prakriti or constitution.

Apart from these Ayurvedic body energies, there are also other elements:

These are the basic tissues which maintain and nourish the body. There are seven dhatus—plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow and reproductive fluid. The quality and quantity of each dhatu and its balanced functioning is very important for good health.

These are the waste materials produced as a result of various metabolic activities in the body. The main mala are urine, feces and sweat.
Proper elimination of mala is equally important for good health. Accumulation of mala causes blockages in the body, resulting in diseases.

These are channels, which are responsible for transportation of food, dhatus, malas and doshas. Proper functioning of srota is necessary for transporting different materials. Blockage of srota causes many disorders.

'Agni' means fire. According to Ayurveda, there are 13 types of agni in the body, which carry out different metabolic activities. This may be compared to different types of enzymes responsible for digestion and metabolic activity in our body.
Ayurveda is as old as humanity itself. Before it was recorded down within ancient texts, the wisdom of Ayurveda was transmitted orally, from teacher to disciple, over thousands of centuries. These classical texts had been written anywhere between 4000 and 6000 BC. Although this knowledge developed in India, it does not belong to any particular country, religion or civilization.

Ayurveda is based on unchanging and universal principles which are inherent in the natural world. Ayurveda is eternal
Arogya, Breast Cancer, Fibromyalgia, Mind Types,  The Mind Withing, Stress, Understanding Yoga,
Veg or Non-Veg, Spring Renewal, Spring and Kapha and Agni.

Arogya -- A State of Complete Health

By Dr. Partap S. Chauhan

Health, according to Ayurveda, is not merely the absence of physical symptoms but a state called "arogya" which literally means "not imbalanced" or, in other words, "a state of balance". And the balance refers to body, mind and soul.

Although modern or Western medicine is still trying to find a relation between mind and body, Ayurveda has already described in detail that a human being is not merely the physical body but a combination of body, mind and soul. Imbalance at any of these three levels can cause physical as well as psychological symptoms in a person. Very often it is seen that a person suffers from some physical symptoms like skin disease, migraine or diarrhea but nothing abnormal is found in investigations.

All investigations including chemical analysis of blood, urine, stool as well various scans come out normal and it is inferred that there is nothing wrong with the person. Generally, vitamins and minerals are prescribed or the person is told to see a psychiatrist. The person continues to suffer from the symptoms without any change. Ayurveda offers solutions to such patients, as the cause of the disease in such cases is the imbalance of mind, which cannot be detected by any investigations.

In this modern age, when mental pressures have increased tremendously, specifically in the last decade, I have observed that a large number of disorders originate from a disturbed mental state and then affect the physical balance. This finally results in appearance of physical symptoms. Surprisingly, I was able to help patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, SLE, and Multiple Sclerosis by offering them treatment to regain their balance at the psychological level.  In cases where the root cause is in the mind, just offering treatment to the body won\'t help much. Even if we try to subside the symptoms with some chemical or natural medicines, they will come back as the root cause still lies with the person. 

Ayurveda has a wonderful approach to investigate the person as a whole and provide solutions accordingly. In addition it helps the person realize importance of the 'soul' and ways to cater to its need. In this age of materialism, we fail to feed the mind and soul and mainly take care of the body alone. The body is a gross part of the human being but its importance is less as compared to mind and soul. That is why a person feels sleepy, inactive and lacking energy when in a depressed state, although the body is healthy. This indicates the mind and soul are more important than body. This can also be seen in case of handicapped people, who do not have complete body organs but still perform skills, which even a normal person cannot.

In order to attain health and happiness, which we all are trying to do, it is necessary that we try to understand our physical and psychological nature. In addition, it is also necessary to develop a positive attitude in the mind. Greed, anger, envy, attachment to material things, and ego are the enemies of mind and cause its imbalance. The soul likes non-violence, truthfulness, love and harmony. That is why we experience a state of happiness when we have a harmonious relation with our spouse, at work, in the family, in the society, with the environment or with the universe.

Ayurveda is a subject that talks about the needs of body, mind and soul in detail. It is an instruction manual for every human being. It advocates the methods by which one can attain a state of complete balance at the levels of the body, mind and soul. In other words, it helps us to attain the state of "arogya". In order to achieve anything in this world, a state of "arogya" (health) is necessary.

Ayurveda - The Mind Types
By Dr. Partap Chauhan

People of Sattvic nature are intelligent with a good memory. They are instinctively clean and ordered, take good care are health—conscious. They are calm, gentle and considerate of others—polite and helpful to all, with good manners. They seek to improve themselves, even though already knpowledgeable, and are focused on work, self improvement and intellectual or spiritual pursuits.

They are highly positive in nature, demonstrating generosity,kindness, openness, fairness (equity) and forgiveness. They readily share what they have and enjoy doing so, but expect no reward in return. Sattvic people see life as a productive learning experience and do not begrudge their position, nor hold grudges. They do not seek to accumulate wealth or status, to dominate others or impose their will. Their mind is clear and peaceful, and they are honest, humble and quiet. They are spiriyually inclined and have a strong faith and belief in God, often engaging in selfless service or charitable activities.
Those with a sattvic nature express happiness, enthusiasm and joy. They are flexible, moderate, regular and balanced in habits and activities.
Sleep is minimal, yet deep and refreshing. Food that is fresh and not extreme in terms of preparation or taste is preferred (not heavily spiced  or very sweet).

There are seven types of sattvic nature:
1. Brahma - respectful, sincere, discriminating;

2. Mahendra - studios, courageous and learned;

3. Varuna - attractive, tolerant, kind, pleasant;

4. Yamya - shows initiative, leadership, timely action;

5. Kubera - virtuous, patient and diplomatic;

6. Gandharva - wealthy, cultivated, enjoys musicand art; and

7. Arsa  self - controlled, clever with good memory. 

Those that are rajasic in temperament are dynamic and seek to control and dominate others. They are medium in intelligence and have a variable memory. Those with a rajas guna value prestige and authority and so seek power, status, fame, wealth and recognition.

Rajasic people are never satisfied with their position or possessions- they always seek to accumulate more and enjoy flaunting what they have. In addition, they seek continual gratification of desires (sex, food), stimulation of the senses (music, color, fragrance) and entertainment (parties, functions, festivals). However, they are often distracted or quickly bored.

Gentrally they are very ambitious as well as highly active and industrious. They can be brave and courageous, but often display jealosy, maliciousness, cruelty and egotistical behaviour. Those with this temperament can be extremely determined, manipulative, selfish and proud.

They can often be rude, arrogant and angry and usually respond with irritation to external stimulus. In terms of spirituality, they are doubtful and questioning, A negative, sometimes cynical attitude is prevelant.

Those of rajasic nature rarely give unconditionally. It is always done with some reluctance and to demonstrate generosity (or with some expectation) rather than general altruism. Relationshis are therefore based only on their own needs and desires rather than on reciprocal interest and regard. Sleep is disturbed or troubled by intense dreams, so is not refreshing. Food that is strong and excessive in flavor (spicy, hot salty) is preferred. Stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco are consumed regularly.

There are six types of rajasic nature:
1. Asura proud of achievements and possessions, self praisng, brave but ruthless;
2. Raksasa cruel, intolerant, eats, drinks and sleeps excessively;
3. Patsacika unclean, abnormal or irregular diet and routine, weakness for the opposite sex;
4. Sarpa cowardly, deceptive, envious, fearful;
5. Preta greedy, spiteful, lacks discrimination; and
6. Sakuna passionate, unstable, ruthless, excessive appetite.

Those demonstrating a tamas guna are ignorant, lazy and fearful with poor memories. They are usually apathetic and insensitive in nature.
They show little consideration or regard for others. And are coarse, brash, immoral or violent. They may be stubborn or obstinate, and inattentive to those around them. Tamasic people show little or no desire to improve physically or mentally, or lack the will power and discipline to do so.

Tamasic individuals do not engage in anything that is physically or mentally taxing, and will avoid any work at all if it is possible. They seem almost to be entirely engaged in (thinking about) eating, drinking, sleeping , sex or idleness. They are dishonest, unclean in habits and have no regard for their health. Often they show no initiative and minimal interest in , or understanding of, spirituality. They have little or no faith in God. People with tamasic nature are frequently sorrowful or depressed.

Those predominantly tamasic in nature demonstrate no love except that based on the own sensory gratification, so relationships are totally exploitative, they rarely give, instead preferring to take or even obtain through deception, Often, they complain about their job or position in life although show no motivation or take no action to change it.

Tamasic people sleep heavily and are not easily roused from sleep, and are usually sedentary. They overeat, and consume food that is overcooked, sweet and heavy or stale, cold, preserved and processed. "Fast food" or "junk food" and meat constitutes a large part of their diet.
There are three types of tamasic nature:

1. Pasava low intelligence, animalistic behaviour, excessive indulgence in sleep and sex. Disobedient;
2. Mattasya unstable and changeable in character, cowardly, consistent desire, excessive intake of liquids; and
3. Vanaspatya excessive consumption of food, no interest in education or learning about other people and the surrounding world.

Ayurveda on non-vegetarianism
By Dr Partap Chauhan

There have been some misconceptions about vegetarian food, and the role of vegetarianism in an Ayurvedic diet. Some authors have even claimed that Ayurveda is based on vegetarianism due to religious reasons, rather than any biological or health grounds.

It is accurate to say that original Ayurvedic principles included eating meat infrequently, and that Sage Charaka mentions that meat is nourishing when prepared and eaten under certain circumstances. However, this was under vastly different conditions. Meat formed a small proportion of the overall diet, and was obtained through traditional hunting methods and the animal lived in its native habitat and natural environment.

Charaka Samhita provides guidelines for eating both vegetable and animal products. It does not state or recommend routine meat eating. Rather, it states that meat is nutritious for the alleviation of certain diseases and when dehydrated, emaciated, weak or convalescing.

The text also mentions that meat is 'unwholesome' when it comes from an animal  that has been raised in a habitat that is not its natural environment or in an area that it is not native to. Animal meat is toxic if the animal has eaten food that does not form part of its natural diet or does not come from its normal environment.

It is clear that meat, as it is prepared today, does not meet these guidelines for healthy eating. Besides, biologically humans are also more suited to a predominantly vegetarian diet. Academics from the University of Arkansas and the John Hopkins School of Medicine have conducted extensive research to prove that the teeth and jaws of human ancestors were used for cutting through foods like fruits, nuts, shoots, leaves, flowers and insects-not the flesh of other animals.

Moreover, meat is a not an easily digestible food and the long digestive process often leads to the formation of toxins—and when accumulated in the body, produces kidney stones, gout, gallstones and rheumatism. Dr Jenson, a leading American nutritionist, expresses this concept clearly when he says that, "Animal proteins putrefy very quickly in  the intestinal tract, and that is why we should be careful with meats…meat is one of the most putrefactive foods…toxic protein byproducts may find their way into the bloodstream, where they cause a great deal of trouble."

A human can develop from birth with complete nourishment and experiencing total health with a purely vegetarian diet. In fact, various studies have demonstrated vegetarians have a longer lifespan, lower incidence of particular cancers and higher bone density than non-vegetarians. A balanced intake of vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes and seeds provides sufficient quantities of protein, as well as all of the required vitamins and minerals without the need for any supplements in the form of vitamins.

Ayurveda accords paramount importance to food and food habits in maintaining good health. Caraka, a Sage physician of ancient India, says food is life. Ancient texts are replete with examples of the very high status given by ayurveda to food in curing diseases as well as maintaining health. They lay stress on vegetarian food, which is termed sattvic (the most desirable for human consumption among the three categories to which ayurveda assigns all food, the other two being rajasic and tamasic in that order of declining desirability).

Regular consumption of sattvic food items helps prevent disease and maintain good physical, mental and spiritual health. According to Ayurveda, eating sattvic food and practicing a sattvic life style are the best preventive medicine.

Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic food
Sattvic food is fresh, pure and vegetarian. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, whole grain breads, nuts, seeds and salads. Foods that have a naturally sweet taste are sattvic. This does not include refined sugar products, but refers to anything that has a sweet taste without any additives, such as grains (rice, wheat and barley), breads, honey and fruits. Milk, herbal teas, pure fruit or vegetable juices and water are also included in this group. Organically grown foods are preferred, as fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals and preservatives are tamasic. Mushrooms, onions, garlic and the excessive use of spices should be avoided, as they are rajasic and/or tamasic. Alcohol, products containing caffeine (coffee, chocolate, tea, cola) and meat should eliminated from the diet. (See Chapter 4 of Eternal Health - The Essence of Ayurveda by Dr Partap Chauhan for more details) 

Misconceptions about meat intake in ayurveda
Authentic ayurvedic dietary advice is based on a purely vegetarian diet. There have been some misconceptions about vegetarian food, and the role of vegetarianism in ayurveda. Some authors have even advocated the use of meat in their dietary guidelines, or proposed that people with a vata constitution need the proteins that animal foods provide. Others claim that ayurveda is based on vegetarianism for religious reasons, rather than any biological or health grounds.

It is true that eating meat was included in the original ayurvedic texts, and that Caraka mentions that meat is nourishing when prepared and eaten under certain circumstances. However, this was under vastly different conditions to those of meat production and consumption in modern times. Meat formed a small proportion of the overall diet, was obtained using traditional hunting methods, and the animal lived in its native habitat and natural environment.

Caraka provides guidelines for eating both vegetable and animal products. The characteristics of animals not to be eaten are described. Caraka does not recommend meat be eaten routinely, which is how it has sometimes been interpreted. Rather, Caraka states that meat is nutritious when used for treating certain diseases, those weak or convalescing, and in states of dehydration or emaciation. If the animal has died a natural death, has been killed by other animals or with poisonous means, is very thin, fat, old or young, eating its meat is detrimental to health. (Caraka Sutra Sthana 37:311)

Human anatomy and meat
Biologically, humans are more suited to a predominantly vegetarian diet. The teeth and jaw are not structured for a carnivorous diet. Academics from the University of Arkansas and the John Hopkins School of Medicine have spent years analyzing the design and wear patterns of human teeth, and links to the diets of primates and fossilized remains of our ancestors. Teeth with moderately sharp cusps, like ours, were only used for cutting through foods like fruits, nuts, shoots, leaves and flowers.

Carnivores have biological features that differ from herbivores. Their intestines are short and digestive acids very strong. The length of the human intestine is three to four times that of a typical carnivore, and digestive acids weaker. Meat therefore takes a long time to process, sometimes exceeding several days. In that time, a significant amount of toxicity (ama) is produced. This is a form of self-poisoning.

Dr Jenson, a leading American nutritionist, expresses this concept clearly when he states "Animal proteins putrefy very quickly in the intestinal tract… Fermentation takes place in an under active bowel and favors the multiplication of undesirable toxic bacteria, while the friendly acidophilus bacteria may be almost destroyed."

Will we get proteins from vegetables?
The value of meat in a human diet is usually linked to its protein content. It is a widespread fallacy that this protein is vital for human sustenance and cannot be obtained from any other source. Proteins required for physical strength and health are found in a wide variety of foods. If a "protein quality" rating scale of 1-100 is applied to various foods, poultry is ranked 67 and fish 80. In contrast, milk is ranked 82, grains are 50-70, legumes, nuts and seeds are 40-60 and green vegetables around 80.

The daily requirement for protein is markedly less than many people assume. In modern times, the problem with Western diets is usually excess consumption of protein rather than a deficiency. Many components of protein used by the human body (amino acids) are actually manufactured internally. Of the 22 amino acids that protein provides, the human body produces 13 without any input from dietary sources. The remainder can be obtained from plant foods.

Some people assume that vegetarian diets lack the B group of vitamins B12. This vitamin is essential in the diet, and a deficiency can lead to fatigue, poor concentration or memory and insomnia. Sufficient intake of B12 can be obtained from milk, cheese, and whole grains. A balanced and varied vegetarian diet prevents the need for any supplements of the B group of vitamins. 

Importance of balanced intake
Animal protein in the form of flesh is not essential for human growth and development. A human can develop normally from birth, and obtain complete nourishment and experience total health, with a purely vegetarian diet. In fact, various studies have demonstrated vegetarians have a longer lifespan, lower incidence of particular cancers and higher bone density than non-vegetarians.

A balanced intake of vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes and seeds provides sufficient quantities of protein, as well as all the required vitamins and minerals for health, vitality and energy. There is a huge range of tasty and satisfying vegetarian recipes that are easy to prepare and sattvic in nature. Vegetarian food does not mean bland, tasteless or raw vegetables and salads!

Although Ayurveda may be associated with particular spiritual principles, such as not killing living beings, the vegetarian facet of the diet can also be related to a literal interpretation of Sage Charaka as well as biological considerations of human physiology.

Ayurveda - The Mind and Within
By Dr. Partap Chauhan

Mind, or mana, plays an important role in all the aspects of our lives.
"Lakshanam manaso gyansyabhavo bhava aiv cha."
According to Charak Samhita, this means that the appearance and non-appearance of knowledge is the characteristic of mind, which indicates the existence of mind. Even in the presence of soul, senses and objects, knowledge does not appear because the mind is not associated with this combination. When the mind is attached with the soul, senses and objects, then knowledge arises.
Knowledge of various objects at the same time is a symptom of the mind. That is to say, the mind is capable of many senses simultaneously
"Sukhadhyupdabdhi sadhana mindriya manah."

This means that mind is the factor which is responsible for the knowledge of pain and pleasure. Many times, we hear people say their mind is upset, that they feel sad, that they are not stable, and so on. We never hear anybody saying that the body is sad or glad, simply because knowledge is the characteristic of the mind, not the body
"Manasa lakshansm cha sparsharahitve sati kriyavatvam."
That is, although intangible and invisible, the mind is able to work and function. On the basis of above description, it is clear that mind is the cause for the knowledge which arises with the contact of senses and the soul in a sequence. For instance, when the mind is engrossed in something, we become oblivious to the sights and sounds surrounding us, though the sound waves reach our ears.

The soul is the subject of knowledge, and as such depends on the senses (external factors) and the mind (internal factor) for various functions such as feeling, experiencing, retaining, and finally liberation, which is believed to be the ultimate goal of humanity.

This mind is not located all over the body like the soul but is an atom. This is one of the theories that Charak propounded.
"Uddhi indriyabhigrala pravartate."
The mind directs the sense organs. Because of this, senses can work. Only in the presence of the mind, they perform their own actions. So,mind is the regulator of the senses.

Even self-control of the mind can be achieved by the mind itself, not by others. Many mental states have been proposed by the ancients to promote goodness (the sattvic quality of the mind. The most usual, yet effectual, among these states are patience, tolerance, truthfulness, tranquility, positive attitude, non-violence, benevolence, love, gratitude, and bliss. Yogic processes are helpful in exercising control over the mind.

Ayurveda - Reducing Stress - The Ayurvedic Way
By Dr. Partap S. Chauhan

Knowing that people today lead busy lives, and don’t have time to read complicated books (the reading of which could potentially cause even more stress), I have written this article with the aim of providing a simple, yet effective reference.

Each one of us has experienced stress in our lives, which can be brought about by so many reasons: financial concerns, family problems, work pressure, and so on. Stress can also be brought about by environmental factors such as not receiving sufficient natural light and air, chemicals from food, and the intake of stimulants, including caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol.

According to Ayurveda, stress is a state where the mind is imbalanced. The mind is considered to be balanced when it is not agitated, and is clear and stable. When the mind is in a stable state, the individual has the maximum potential to act or behave in ways that continue to keep the mind in a balanced state.

More specifically, the mind has three states or “guna”. They are “sattva” (knowledge, purity), “rajas” (action, passion) and “tamas” (inertia, ignorance). Mental disorders or imbalances are caused when “sattva” decreases and “rajas” and “tamas” increase. As  “sattva” decreases, mental strength, determination, and the power to discriminate (to distinguish right from wrong) also decrease. When such a state is prolonged, the mind becomes stressed. This may then lead to other mental disorders like anxiety, depression, fear and nervous debility.

As mentioned earlier, in this jet age, each one of us is exposed to some amount of stress. Some of us can handle stress in a better way than others. In our own lives we come across situations when we can efficiently deal with high amount of stress. There are also occasions when a little stress is difficult to overcome. This depends on the quantity of “sattva” we have at a particular time. When situated in a state of high “sattva” a person is calm, thoughtful, patient, tolerant and demonstrates a high positive attitude. On the other hand, high level of “rajas” and “tamas” leads to a state of hopelessness, despair, impatience, fear and anxiety. In such a situation, a person becomes confused, lazy and weak in mental power. Such a person demonstrates negative attitude, and is unable to deal with mental stress.

To conclude, one should try to attain the state of high “sattva” and minimize “rajas” and “tamas”.  “Rajas” and “tamas” also have a role in various functions in the body like action (passion) and sleep. When “sattva” is in abundance, the functions of “rajas” and “tamas” are positive and constructive. In this state they help us in attaining a state of balance or health. For example while expressing anger or negotiating a business contract, you do express passion (rajas) but if “sattva” is high, one can come back to the balanced state. In other words, the negative emotions appear only externally and will not harm your mental health.  In the decreased state of “sattva”, the functions (actions) become negative and create a state of imbalance. In this state the person is overcome by “rajas” or “tamas” and may express  destructive actions. Such actions are breaking things while being angry, stabbing while fighting, feeling envy and jealous towards your own family members, exploiting your juniors, violence, or even murder. Therefore the state of “sattva” plays an important role in attaining mental health.

Below are some methods of increasing “sattva”, which if followed, will bring about results remarkably fast.

In Ayurveda, food is considered to be an important medicine for both mind and body. Food not only nourishes the body but also has a close relation with mind. In order to reduce stress, one should try to choose foods that increase “sattva”. Natural, fresh and vegetarian food items increase “sattva”. Fresh fruits, fruit juices, vegetables (raw or cooked or boiled), vegetable juices, sprouts, nuts, dry fruits, honey, milk, ghee, fresh butter, and buttermilk are the best to increase sattva. Please do not be misled by “fresh frozen” food items available in stores and try to get “fresh seasonal” items.

Try to cut down, or if possible stop, the use of black tea, coffee, white flour products, chocolates, white sugar products, deep fried foods and hot spices. These items increase “rajas”.

The foods that increase “tamas” are foods that contain no “prana” or life energy. These include meat, fish, eggs and foods that are spoiled or contain chemicals. Some of these foods may contain nutrition for the body but their effect on mind is detrimental. Ayurveda cares for the complete person (body, mind, soul) and therefore advises vegetarianism. In order to keep your mind healthy and balanced, it is advised to  become vegetarian. Vegetarian food does not mean bland, tasteless or raw vegetables and salads. There is a huge range of tasty and satisfying recipes that are easy to prepare and are “sattvic” in nature.


Mind has a very close relation with breathing. A person has short and shallow breathing when anxious or stressed and has deep breathing when relaxed and happy. Next time you become stressed, watch your breathing. Try to slow it down. Take a relaxed position and breathe deep using the abdomen muscles. Let the diaphragm expand while breathing in, and contract while breathing out. This will immediately relax you. At other moments too, try to observe your breathing process whenever you can and breathe from abdomen. It is always good to take short breaks at regular intervals from the busy schedule and relax (by abdominal breathing) for a few minutes. The world will remain as it is and nothing will change if you stop and relax for 2-3 minutes. Like this, you will be able to perform better and achieve your goals faster.

Exercise is not only good for physical health, but is also good for recreation and relaxation of mind. It changes the levels of hormones in the blood and may elevate the mood affecting brain chemicals. It is advisable to do some exercise according to your strength at a regular time of the day, preferably in the morning. The exercise should initiate action in all parts of the body. Brisk walking is a good exercise to start with. You can walk a few kilometers according to your strength. Yoga is also a very good form of exercise as it is in line with the Ayurvedic principles. Playing indoor games and swimming (not for competition) is also relaxing.

Meditation is a method of calming your thoughts by focusing on an object for a period of time. One can concentrate on an object, picture, sound or “mantra”. One should sit in lotus position or a comfortable posture while meditating. In recent years, a lot of research has been done in this area, and it has been found that meditation slows down the breathing process, normalizes blood pressure, relaxes muscles and helps
to reduce anxiety and stress.

It is very important to take short breaks from work and relax the mind. A Yoga posture known as “Shavasana” or “dead body pose” is a simple way to relax. Lie down on your back with legs a bit apart and hands making a 15-degree angle with the body. Let each and every muscle of the body be relaxed. Close your eyes and focus your mind on your breathing. Breathe deep and watch your breathing in your mind. This posture can be done for five minutes once or twice a day.

A gentle massage on the head (with or without oil), using your favorite aroma or fragrance, listening to soft music, chanting of “mantras” and prayers also help to relax the mind and thus should be used whenever possible.

 Ayurvedic Remedies:

Applying oil on the body (abhyanga) at least once a week is a good method to relax the body and mind. Pouring oil on forehead (shiro dhara) is another popular Ayurvedic remedy for relaxing the tension in nerves and head. If you have access to Ayurvedic herbs you can use Brahmi or Shankhapushpi in powder form internally.  
Other Remedies
Keeping a record of what causes you stress and then eliminating that cause from your routine helps to manage stress. While dealing with stress, it is important to fight against the negative thinking process. It is necessary that we become aware about our present. Generally we live either in the past or in the future and our mind is not even aware of our present actions. It is beneficial to focus the mind on the present action. This helps one to become aware of the negative thoughts and other causes responsible for stress. Once we become aware of the negative thoughts or the causes of stress, we can try to eliminate these by thinking rationally and positively.
 Another way of increasing the state of “sattva” and stabilizing it is learning about self. Reading spiritual books and exploring spirituality can put things into perspective and help in reducing stress.

Although all these remedies provide some relief from the mental stress immediately, it is important that you make them a part of your life process. That will keep your mind in a state of high “sattva”, and you will be healthy, happy and peaceful always.
Ayurveda - Understanding the Real Yoga
By Dr. Partap Chauhan

What does one achieve by Yoga? In Sanskrit, "Yoga" signifies 'connecting the soul to the Supersoul' (God). Yoga is a process in which the person clears the negative mental impressions, gets the mind and senses under control and creates a connection or link with God. In Patanjali Yoga Sutra, an authentic textbook of Yoga, the definition of Yoga is given as follows:

Yogash chitt vritti nirodha

A simple translation of this verse reads, "the complete stopping of mundane desires arising in the mind is known as Yoga". The mind is an ocean of material desires, not only from the present life, but also from previous lives. According to Vedic philosophy, the mind along with subtle body, senses and soul, transmigrates from one body to another. Mundane desires that arise in the mind remain there, and unless one cleanses the mind of these, it is not possible to realize the consciousness or the soul. And without the realization of the soul or consciousness, it is not possible to connect it to God. Therefore to connect to God, which is also termed as moksha or Liberation, it is necessary to stop or remove such desires from the mind.

This process of removing of mundane desires from the mind, realizing what is "consciousness" or "the soul" and then connecting it with God, is known as Yoga. Yoga is a discipline, a process that one has to practice. Depending on which method a person follows to curb such desires, Yoga is classified into many types as follows:
1) Gyana yoga - Attaining realization through knowledge.
2) Karmayoga - Attaining realization through action.
3) Bhaktiyoga - Attaining realization through devotion.
4) Mantra yoga - Attaining realization through mantra (chanting special words or prayers of God).
5) Rajyoga - Attaining realization through meditation.
6) Hathayoga - Attaining realization through practice (physical, mental processes) and

Astanga (eight parts) of Yoga:
The Patanjali Yoga Sutra describe eight parts of Yoga, known as Astanga Yoga. Asta means 'eight' and anga means 'parts'. The following are the eight parts of Yoga according to Patanjali.
1. Yama
2. Niyama
3. Asana
4. Pranayama
5. Pratyahara
6. Dharana
7. Dhyana
8. Samadhi
The ultimate goal of Yoga is to attain the stage of samadhi, which is the eighth and last part of Yoga. In this state, a man is away from all types of materialistic associations and is linked to God. To achieve samadhi, one has to start from Yama and practice all the eight parts sequentially.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees   and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection)

(The Blog  is reverently for all the seekers of truth, lovers of wisdom and   to share the Hindu Dharma with others on the spiritual path and also this is purely  a non-commercial blog)


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