Wars are won through military strategy. The pandemic was nothing short of a war and had created fear and panic amongst each one of us. Everyday there were numerous horror stories of the devastation caused by the dreaded virus. Snippets of positive news were quickly obliterated by a flood of alarming information. The worst of the phase is done, but the long term effects are now slowly coming to the fore.
As Ayurveda practitioners the most common question we have to answer at the moment is? There are no prizes for guessing that it is “What does Ayurveda have to contribute in the such situations?” these enquiries are made to understand the pandemic from the Ayurveda perspective and to possibly find a quick fix to win over it and everything in between. So what is my answer to such questions? Is it a straight forward YES/ NO answer? Is it only about prescribing immunity boosters, pills, decoctions, kitchen remedies or other therapies? Or is there something deeper that we need to understand about how the science of Ayurveda approaches such challenges.
The science of Ayurveda is primarily a set of tools, which is designed to be used for leading a healthy and fulfilling life, as opposed to being merely a science of healing. As a result no subject related to human existence however offbeat it may seem is beyond its sphere. In other words Ayurveda can and should influence every single aspect of human existence. When one understands this, it becomes evident that one cannot just buy health, immunity, resistance packed in a box of pills. All these are the outcome of the choices that we make on a day to day basis. Choices about the type of food that we eat, to the lifestyle that we lead, thoughts, speech, actions, interpersonal relationships and our general behaviour towards the world that we live in. In short choices related to everything that defines human existence. Correct choices will lead to health and the not so prudent choices will lead to ill health. Seems so simple and yet feels astonishingly difficult to achieve.
Here again Ayurveda helps in making the right choices through the use of YUKTI. What is says is that one needs to arrive at a decision based on solid reasoning. Reasoning is the action of thinking about something in a logical and sensible way. Making an informed choice after due diligence. Every individual is blessed with a survival instinct. An innate sense of what is good or bad for himself. This is further augmented with wisdom -wisdom that has been learnt over generations or the collective wisdom of society, or from an expert or any other credible source. Using reasoning backed by credible wisdom to weigh the pros and cons of any action almost always ensures success. And this precisely what is expected from every individual. Be it about making a choice related to diet or lifestyle to selection of a career or a doctor. Problem is individuals often leave behind logic and make impulsive choices which may cause harm. The reasons for such occurrences may be peer pressure, misinformation or fear and stress. One must guard against such behaviour especially in current times.
Ayurveda thus has a very simple yet ingenious approach towards health promotion and disease prevention. It is about consistently making more correct choices than wrong ones on a daily basis. Dramatic outcomes often have subtle distant causes. So our health can only be maintained through our consistent efforts. As is oft repeated, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Small and simple steps in the right direction can chisel away at the biggest problem.
Dr Gaurav Desai MD
Dept of Agadtantra
Gomantak Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya & Research