Bodhena’s experience with ayurvedic medicine
In September 2008 I had my 60th birthday. I was feeling fine, my body was in decent shape, and this had given me the confidence to pack my backpack another time to embark on yet another journey to India to celebrate the occasion. This time I was heading north, to the mountains. First stop, Dehra Dun.
While everything seemed to be going quite well in my life, I still could not ignore that in recent years there had been a few reminders that I was not a spring chicken any more. Most notably, in the last two years or so I was periodically feeling pain in my left heel from an inflamed Achilles tendon. Also, there was something not quite right with my knees – at times, they were feeling rather wobbly, and when I’d sit crosslegged on the floor (as I had been able to do all my life), there would be pain, particularly in my right knee.
Apart from a deep respect, I did not know much about ayurveda. Still, there was something about it that felt quite intriguing. I was certainly curious, and so I decided to give it a shot while in India. My intention at the time was to consult an ayurvedic physician about my general condition and to see what his recommendations would be. So, after my friends at the Osho Om Commune in Dehra Dun had recommended Vaidya Harsh Sehgal, I visited him in his office on September 16.
After an in-depth consultation he recommended Rasayan Chikitsa to me, an ayurvedic herbal food supplement with supposedly rejuvenating effects. As he explained, as the human body ages it increasingly loses the ability to draw nutrients from food, and in turn becomes more susceptible to disease. A major function of the herbal treatment is to reverse this tendency. And he added that there was basically nothing wrong with my body, and that the condition in my heel and knees would get better since they were symptoms of the aging process.
Well, the whole matter felt just too convincing to turn down, so I acquired a few months worth of herbal remedy and started taking it as prescribed. I was also aware that any results would probably take a while to kick in. And I would be travelling in India, which can be quite challenging at times. Living conditions would sometimes be far from optimal for the treatment. So I left Dehra Dun in as what can be described as a no-expectations-mode (and did have quite a wonderful trip, by the way).
It wasn’t until late November of the same year that things started to fall into place. Meanwhile, I was back in my native Germany. I was still taking the remedy, but was not necessarily looking for any results. Then, one fine morning as I looked into the bathroom mirror, I happened to notice that a liver spot of circa 3 mm diameter, that had been sitting beneath my left eye since over a year, had vanished. Wow, I said to myself, what is going on? I checked the backs of both of my hands – most of the liver spots that had been there had either completely disappeared, or had become quite faint.
And this was only the beginning. I remembered my left heel, felt into it, and honestly couldn’t recall when for the last time I had felt any pain there. And within a few weeks the condition of my knees improved to the point where I could sit crosslegged again without any pain, and would continue to improve more over time.
Furthermore, the level of my vital energy has noticably increased. I feel that for instance during walks, when there is much more of a spring in my step than during the time before. (I am not suggesting that I had been dragging myself along … still, the difference is quite apparent.) During the winter months, when there is a considerable amount of snow here, I find it much easier to deal with the cold, outdoors as well as indoors. It does not appear to creep into my bones as much as it had in recent years.
I have been a vegetarian since my early twenties, and throughout most of my adult life my weight has been somewhere around 65 kg (at 175 cm). It dropped a few kilos after I switched to a largely vegan diet about 17 years ago. However, during the last few years it had dropped below 60 kg, and it was clear to me that it would not be advisable to lose much more. (To gain weight by eating a lot of junk food was out of the question for me.)
Within a few months after starting the Rasayan Chikitsa regimen, I noticed that my muscles were responding to physical training again. (And by this I mean light training, like riding my bicycle or a brisk walk. No heavy duty stuff.) Amazing! Whereas my arms had been getting a bit thin, all of a sudden I am having a biceps again (or rather, two of them). All in all, my body weight has increased to between 62 and 63 kg, which feels just right, and I have no problem maintaining it at that level.
And lastly, my skin, in particular the area below my eyes, has become much more taut. Also, there has been much less growth of callous skin around my toenails, something that had been bugging me a bit for a several years.
Before I close, I’d like to add a few observations. Obviously, Rasayan Chikitsa is not something where you pop a few pills, and then everything is fine. To work optimally, it needs to be supported by an appropriate lifestyle and diet, and it is certainly a bonus if your body is in a relatively clean condition, and not overweight and full of waste and toxins.
The ayurvedic guidelines I’d received had originated in an Indian context, and I needed to see how they would translate into the German environment I was living in – quite a difference in many instances. However, I wasn’t doing too bad with the way I was living and eating, I wasn’t so far off the spirit of the recommendations, and I needed to make only a few adjustments. Of course, I am not Mr. Hundred Percent – there is still room for improvement, and I keep working at it.
Another factor contributing to the success of the treatment has certainly been my spiritual path. I have been a sannyasin for 33 years, and the years I spent living and working in the communes around Osho have given me a solid foundation for later years, when I would be living more on my own. Since many years now I have been practising Vipassana meditation, and I sit regularly, every day. A major byproduct of my practise has been a more peaceful, quiet and balanced mind, and this has been having an increasingly positive effect on many areas of my daily life.
Meanwhile, Rasayan Chikitsa continues to work very well for me. And sure, I am not expecting to live forever. Someday I’ll have to cash in my chips, and I am standing in the queue like everybody else. But while I am around, understandably I’d prefer to do so in a relatively healthy body, as long as I have any choice about it. And here the treatment is the factor that is making a major difference, and the result is a remarkably improved quality of life.
For those of you that are further interested, here is some additional information:
Rasayan Chikitsa is 100 percent herbal. It comes in the form of small pills, consisting of about a dozen herbs, and a powder, consisting of about 17 herbs, all manufactured at Trilok Ayurveda, and to be taken three times a day. It is not a ready-made formula, but is mixed according to the needs of the individual patient. A major quality of the herbs is that they are very potent antioxidants that evoke and amplify the body’s own healing process.
If you cannot come to Dehra Dun in person you have the option of an online consultation (see website). For a supply of the remedy, transfer the necessary funds with Western Union (as per instructions), and it gets shipped to you promptly via ‘speedpost’. A month’s supply costs 2700 Rupees, and the charge for shipping and handling for a six month supply is 3000 Rupees (a bargain for what I’ve been getting out of it). Ask at Western Union what the current exchange rate is. It has been taking two to three weeks to receive a shipment.
The first time I had to get it through customs has been a bit tricky, since the folks there did not have a clue what that stuff was. However, there is a ‘to whom it may concern’-letter that comes with the package, and eventually they faxed a copy of that to our county office of ‘consumer protection’ (Verbraucherschutz), who in turn determined that everything was totally legitimate. And, this is very important, technically Rasayan Chikitsa is an ‘herbal food supplement’ (as opposed to ‘medicine’). Lastly, although the shipment was declared as a gift, I was asked for the value, and according to the figure you quote you have to pay customs duty.
Vaidya Harsh Sehgal, Trilok Ayurveda, Dehra Dun, U.A., India, www.trilokayurveda.com
Bodhena took sannyas in the late seventies in Pune where he worked first as a handyman for the group department, then as a Krishna Guard. After living in Geetam and working in the maintenance department he was invited to the Ranch where he worked in construction, security, Magdalena Cafeteria, Chaitanya (accounts) and as a paralegal at Rajneesh Legal Services. In early Pune II he worked for the Rajneesh Times and then again as a guard, at Lao Tzu House. In recent years, he has been living in Clausthal, Germany, practising nowhere to go and nothing to do. bodhena (at) hotmail (dot) com