Art of Living Wisdom.

Recently at Pune my wife and I were fortunate enough to meet a renowned master of Ayurveda. He was an elderly gentleman of around 60-65 years with an impeccable reputation as an Ayurvedacharya. It was vouched by many that he can tell the exact number of blocks in your arteries just by checking your pulse (Nadi Pariksha).

We were lucky to get his appointment even though it was one of his ‘off’ days. After doing our ‘Pulse Diagnosis’ (in which fortunately no blocks were declared), we got some time to talk with him. My wife asked him, “How come some people though very old still have a very alert and attentive mind, whereas some people lose the alertness of mind and enthusiasm even at the age of 50 -55 years?”

His answer to this question was an eye-opener.

He explained that, as per Ayurveda the body is made up of seven ‘dhatus’ (seven constituents):

  1. Rasa – Blood serum, lymphatic fluid
  2. Rakta – Blood cells
  3. Mamsa – Muscle tissues
  4. Meda – Fat tissues
  5. Asthi – Bone tissues
  6. Majja – Bone marrow and nerve cells (Brain neurons, spinal cells)
  7. Shukra – Reproductive cells (Eggs & Sperm cells)

ayurveda

Ayurveda has beautifully explained the process of digestion. Ayurveda says that it is the fire (Agni) element in our body which helps in digestion. The digestion process is similar to a distillation column of a refinery. In a distillation column, different constituents get separated from the feed at different temperatures. Similarly during digestion separation of different nutrients from the food takes place at different intensities of fire (Agni). At low levels of ‘Agni’ the Rasa dhatu is produced. For producing Rakta a little higher amount of ‘Agni’ is required. Mamsa requires still more amount of ‘Agni’. And so on. Shukra requires the maximum amount of ‘Agni’ (energy).

Now with age, if we do not take proper care, this ‘Agni’ gets diminished. Suppose the  ‘Agni’ in our body is just sufficient to convert food to ‘Meda’(fat) but not sufficient to generate ‘Asthi’ (Bones), then there will be accumulation of fats. Bones will not get sufficient nutrition. Bone problems will start. At the same time nutrition to bone marrow, nerve cells as well as reproductive cells will get affected. Brain neurons will start showing degenerative changes. Memory, attentiveness and alertness will reduce.

So the key to good overall health is proper digestion. If you don’t want to lose your vitality with age then you have to keep the fire inside you burning. How to keep this fire burning? The Ayurvedacharya suggested simple lifestyle changes and told that the key to maintain the ‘Agni’ was very simple – keep walking.  .

He said that every day one should take ‘nature walk’ for minimum 45 minutes (at a stretch). Exercise inside a gym or any other type of yoga cannot be substitute for this ‘nature walk’. We have to walk in an open unprotected environment for 45 minutes. He said that the hormones released by the body when exposed to unprotected environment are different than those released under the protected environment.

He also insisted that we can have heavy breakfast and lunch but try to minimize or avoid our dinner. We can have fruits and liquids for dinner. We should keep a gap of minimum 3 – 4 hours between dinner and sleep. We should reduce the intake of wheat because wheat flour produces ‘Gluten’ which is not good for digestion. Roti of Jawar, Bajara, Makai or Rice can be taken in place of wheat roti. We should not drink lot of water immediately before or after meals. Only small sips of water should be taken during meals. Water can be taken 15 minutes before meals or 30 minutes after meal.

I have followed these simple steps since last few weeks and I am already feeling much more energetic and lighter.

This interaction with the Ayurvedacharya compelled me to read some more on Ayurveda and ‘Agni’.

More About ‘Agni‘ in the coming post.

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis

Movies to Watch.

Released in 2007, August Rush is a moving drama of hope and unwavering faith, the touching story of the 11 year old protagonist, August Rush, orphaned since birth, yet holding onto this one core belief that it is through music he will find his parents again.

August is born of intense parents, both musicians, and although he is unaware of this fact, his sensitive soul grasps music everywhere. He hears music in the rattle of the tram, in the clanging noises of New York, and all these sounds he intrinsically imbibes and harmoniously transforms in his soul, later creating an indelible and unique stamp on the music he composes.

The movie itself unfolds like a musical composition – opening softly with a scene of August in the fields listening to the music of wind moving through the paddy. It is here right at the beginning that he shares his secret to the audience: “Listen…can you hear the music? I can hear it everywhere…in the air, in the lights, it’s all around us! All you have to do is open yourself up… all you have to do is listen!”

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It is innocence, and a return to the self, a sense of belonging to all of nature and the universe that can make one open to the music of the cosmos, the music that moves the planets and moves the self. It is this “opening” to a higher force or call it the “higher self” that invests the little boy with creativity and such unshakeable faith, even in the face of cruel opposition from those who have lost their innocence.

The boys at his orphanage taunt him and roughly awaken him at night. They have come to shake his faith, to break him, the way some people take joy from merciless acts. The huckster, who falsely claims to be his father, also mocks Evan (August’s birth name) when he is afraid of losing him, by cruelly telling him, your parents must be dead and gone, you are wasting your time looking for them.

This is a movie that will make you wonder…about that mysterious power that brings things together, scatters and then reunites them again. This is a story of ultimate victory of good over bad; one that proves that devotion beats doubt. It reveals that if there is something you want, more than anything else, and that if it stems from a pure intention, the Universe is there to support you, despite all the odds. It is a story of love, undying faith, loyalty, and supreme effort. What ties the trio together is their sincerity to find each other. The flame of faith that burns in them colors the certainty of their coming together.

Spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says life is a combination of fate and free will. When confronted by challenges it is foolish to despair and wail, “This is my destiny! I’m helpless!” Gurudev encourages us to apply our efforts. Our efforts will surely pay, if not bringing us the result that we desire, at least the relief that we tried our best. “Put your efforts and then let go.” The results are not in our hands. So it is best to do your best and then surrender to the Divine will.

life combination

Just when we begin to relax and rejoice at the prospect of a reunion of this star-crossed family, the movie reaches a crescendo as we watch August helplessly snatched away by his foster father, in the midst of the rehearsal for his grand debut performance. The tables turn once again when in a random meeting at the park, where August is back to collecting coins in a cap, his father walks up to him, admires his playing and rekindles his lost faith. Only a few hours before the performance August manages to run away from the peddler; ultimately breaking from the tyranny of deceit and doubt.

The movie ends in a gentle yet powerful finale with the long lost lovers finding each other in the crowd and August, on completing the composition, turning around to face the audience and his parents whom he intuitively recognizes. The movie ends with his winning smile.

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This is a movie for music lovers and those inclined to muse over the dramatic twists of fate, a film that will certainly lift your spirits and rekindle the lost child in you, and make you believe once again: that in this world of uncertainties if you have the faith you can turn your fate around!

Art of Living Wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Vasant season is here !! The cheerful season of Vasant comes afterall the body stiffness experienced during Shishir. Cool mornings and warm afternoons of Vasant open up our limbs ecstatically. The Vasant season is all about beautiful flowers, awesome weather and diverse colorful nature. One such festival that comes during this time is HOLI!!!

With celebration in the air along with colorful faces, the festival of Holi is not just about all this. The scientific purpose is much larger. The energy conserved during the winter months is utilized for the celebrations of Holi. The type of foods eaten in winter produces kapha. This stored kapha begins to melt and dilute in the sunshine of the changed weather causing health problems, obstructing the tubes. Bonfires are lit and coconuts, tender plants of Vasanta, i.e pungent mango and neem flower stalks, are thrown into the bonfire. The smoke emitted from the burning of these plants burns up our kapha on one hand, and on the other, the aromatic steam which spreads in the atmosphere, prevents the new diseases borne out of the rising pitta.

In and around the region of Marwad, there is an old custom to smear the leather in the drums with poison removing herbs before drumming, so that the particles that rise up & purify the atmosphere. Another custom during the Holi festival days is to throw colours and coloured water at one another. Formerly, the colour used was only the colour of boiled Kesuda (flowers of Palasha tree) along with dried Abil and Gulal powders. Kesuda and Mogra flowers are coolants that protect against the heat and sunshine. This custom is meant to check our body constituents from being over heated in summer. Kesuda is a normalizer of pitta, balancing cold and heat. It keeps us cool in the heat and builds up resistance in the blood, preventing disease.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji explains the significance of Holi in a very simple manner, Holi is a festival of colours. Just like in nature there are different colours associated with our feelings and emotions. Each person is a fountain of colours which keep changing. Your emotions and desires burn you like fire. But when they are a fountain of colours, they add charm to your life.

Sudarshan Kriya harmonizes the rhythms of the body, emotions and puts them back in tune with the rhythms of nature. Being in rhythm, we feel good about ourselves, love flows naturally in all relationships.

So, this Holi, lets add this charm in our lives, Let the celebration begin !!!

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