The core values of life that the eastern civilization have laid down are slipping like the sand from our hands.
As is the trend in our country, immediately after the higher secondary education wraps up, students overflow the entrance preparation centers for either medical, engineering, other specialized streams or to the educational consultancies for abroad education. I was no exception. I joined a medical preparation center in Putalisadak. But frankly, I was missing something. I was disinterested. A year passed and now it was my second year to try for the medicine seat. Then, I luckily got to know about Bachelors of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS).
Something in it attracted me deeply. I enrolled for preparation in the same old preparation center but now for the course of my choice. I worked hard and got a scholarship in Ayurveda Campus, Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University. That was my educational entry to the field of Ayurveda. It's seven years since then.
Now, I am pursuing MD in ManovigyanaEvumManasaRoga (Psychology and Psychiatry) in Karnataka, India. Looking back, it overwhelms me with profound joy.
Ayurveda is a science of life in its true sense. It can be simply understood as the art of using spices while cooking food in Nepali kitchens. It's a science that teaches you to live meaningfully, managing the Purusharthas(goals) of life (Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha). Thus, the more I learned Ayurveda, the more I understood the purpose of my life and felt a strong sense of belongingness to mother earth.
I see most of youngsters in our nation are confused, just like I was then. Today, the educational system has become such that it is manufacturing mechanized humans who can fill the spaces in the increasingly hostile economic markets. In the process, children lose the sense of belonging to their natural surroundings and get lost in the world of marks, ranks and cheap worldly accomplishments.
I reclaimed the lost sense of belongingness through Ayurveda. The core values of life that the eastern civilization have laid down are slipping like the sand from our hands.
In this context, Covid-19 can be taken as a warning call of nature to mankind that enough exploitation has been done to Mother Nature. Malthus (1798) in An Essay on the Principle of Population had stated that when there is excessive greed and unrighteousness in the world and if population keeps on increasing exponentially, then nature takes positive checks on population in form of famine, misery, disease, pestilence, floods and other natural calamities.
Can this have happened to us in the form of Covid-19?
Ayurveda says that the ultimate goal of life is Moksha (liberation). But before reaching there we have to go through the steps of Dharma (righteousness), Artha (material prosperity and happiness) and Kaama (sensorial pleasure). In short, a person who righteously earns the material prosperity and utilizes it to get the sensorial pleasures gets the reflection of the real nature or eternal truth in himself and gets automatically liberated.
In contrast, the descendants of the great sages are now jumping directly to the material and sensorial pleasures without fulfilling the foremost condition of the Purusharthas. Unfortunately, instead of progressing towards salvation we are advancing towards vices and misery.
Ayurveda says: “That which is in universe, is also in you, that which is not in you, is not in universe”. In physical and metaphysical understanding, it means that the atoms that make our body and the energy that forms our soul is derived from the universe and will get dissolved in the universe, when our soul leaves the body. The message is we should not fuss much about superficial things in this mortal life.
Ayurveda seems to be in my blood and my mother is a person to instill it in me. She gave me turmeric water for sore throat or neem decoction bath for the skin rashes. Cuisines made up of siplikan andjaluko were among the delights of my childhood.
Many mothers of her age in Nepal know about these things. It's a knowledge they acquired from their ancestors. She knows about many local herbs, methods to prepare and their medicinal uses. She collects some of them for immediate use while she stores others for future use.
These are the memories that come to me. Unfortunately, our children’s memories will be exclusively filled with mobiles, video games, junk foods and congested homes. We are turning to tablets, capsules.
The collection, preparations and usage of local herbs and plants for medicinal or non-medicinal purposes makes us self-reliant, economically productive, strengthens our immunity, alleviates the disease and soothes our belongingness to nature. And, in the deep part of the self, one is quenched of the thirst of motherly love of the biological mother.
Let's make this COVID-19 lockdown a vantage point to realize the tender yet strong relationship with our own mother and the mother earth. Let's take a step towards a natural way of life. Ayurveda, Yoga, naturopathy and all other natural sciences are always at your doorsteps. Let’s grab them.
The author is the student of MD ManovigyanaEvumManasaRoga(Psychology and Psychiatry) at Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bengalore.