Transcript of video by Dr Donn Brennan:
The earliest signs of ageing are described quite beautifully in Sharngadhara, one of the old texts of Ayurveda. I’ll read you the quote. It says, “With each passing decade, the body loses, one by one, childhood, growth, lustre and complexion, intelligence, skin health, strength of sight, virility, valour, discrimination, the use of the organs of action, the use of the senses, and, finally at the ripe old age of 120, one loses life itself”.
So, here is summarised, very clearly, the reality that ageing is an ongoing process. It starts from the moment of conception, and progresses, as we progress through life, until it comes to an end, when we come to an end. So, it’s part of life.
In chapter one of Charaka Samhita, the most ancient text in Ayurveda, it says that ageing is a disease. Furthermore, Charaka says ageing is an incurable disease. So, where does that leave us? Fortunately, Chakradhari, a later text, points out that, though an incurable disease, ageing can be managed, by use of Rasayana.
How do we manage the disease of ageing?
The question is, can people, with the same diet and routine, age differently? And, if so, why? Well, yes, obviously, people do age differently. And – Ayurveda is very informative in this regard – it is because each of us is unique.
The same diet, and the same routine, the same lifestyle, the same experiences of life, are going to impact differently on people who have a different nature. Which is why each of us should use Ayurveda to understand our own nature and recognise what is the diet, lifestyle, routine and experiences of life that keeps us in balance and integrated, so we can prevent, or manage, our process of aging.
For everybody this process will be slightly different. That’s why it behoves each of us to use the knowledge of Maharishi AyurVeda to recognise, to help us to wake up and realise, who we are and what suits us. We have to take responsibility for our own ongoing process of ageing and manage it appropriately.
Attend to health, not disease
Maharishi AyurVeda is very much aware that consciousness is the essence of our being; it’s fundamental. And, whatever you put your attention on, grows in life. So, if you’re attending to disease, complaints and problems, you’re miserable. It’s a very subtle, but very genuinely useful paradigm to focus on health.
So, rather than thinking about ageing, we think about how to rejuvenate. That is why Maharishi AyurVeda is focused on Maharishi Rasayana; the processes of rejuvenation. We talk about this in terms of the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM). We talk about this in terms of your feelings, your thinking and your behaviour. All of these are ways that you can, by virtue of keeping balanced, maintain a youthfulness.
How to rejuvenate each day
There is a lovely quote from Vagbhata, if I can find it, which, I think this summarises the behavioural aspect of things. What Vagbhata says is, “Those who speak the truth, who never become angry, who lead a spiritually pure life, and are always serene, are considered to be rejuvenated daily”.
I think it’s a nice little summary of how, when our thinking, feeling, speech and action are aligned to very uplifting values, they serve to rejuvenate us and help us remain youthful.
So much can be achieved through the practice of Transcendental Meditation and through right behaviour.
What we’d also like to think about is the whole field of diet and digestion. But, where to start with that? There’s so much information, and we have gone through it again in so many different ways. So, there are other little videos that you could probably look about diet and digestion. (Visit: http://www.maharishiayurveda.co.uk/videos/ayurveda-knowledge-videos)
And the final thing that we need to think about is Maharishi Rasayanas. (Visit: https://www.maharishi.co.uk/blog/maharishi-ayurveda-rasayanas-herbal-masterpieces-of-vedic-india)
What are Rasayanas?
In Ayurveda, the term Rasayana is given to anything that enlivens and extends life. Rasayanas are holistic in nature and tend to promote vitality, balance and health throughout the whole mind/body system.
The word itself means to enliven (Ayana) the essence (Rasa) of life. Certain daily routines promote a Rasayana effect, such as going to bed early and getting up early. Certain foods, such as ghee and sweet fruits, are said to be natural Rasayanas.
Over thousands of years Ayurveda has developed a whole science for the creation of Rasayanas using specific and highly detailed formulations that include herbs and minerals. Such Ayurvedic Rasayanas are exceptionally potent and are designed to enliven the innermost intelligence, not only of the body, but also of the mind.
Using this science of Ayurvedic Rasayanas, and carefully following all of the traditional processes, Maharishi AyurVeda experts in India have create a series of Rasayanas, which produce a deep yet gentle and balancing effect on the whole psychophysiology.
To create the highest quality Rasayanas, Maharishi AyurVeda ensures that hundreds of fresh herbs are harvested at the best times and in the best locations in India. Thousands of local villagers have been trained to gather herbs from the wild.
To create our Rasayanas, wildcrafted herbs (uncultivated herbs that are gathered from the wild) are used wherever possible. Where wildcraft harvesting poses a threat to the natural environment, the required herbs are cultivated on our own farms in Rajasthan and Uttarkhand, without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides.
Traditional methods of harvesting have been created, using the knowledge of Ayurveda, to maximise the beneficial effects of each herbs. According to Ayurveda, the potency of each herb will naturally vary according to the season, the cycle of the moon and even the time of the day, and the recommendations of when to harvest often vary from herb to herb.
Adhering to the age-old traditions, specifying when to harvest and how to produce the final Rasayana, helps ensure that every formula naturally achieves its maximum potential.
Each of the herbs or minerals used in Rasayana formulas have their own actions, and many of the individual ingredients have wide ranging health effects. When combined together, utilising the enlightened wisdom of the ancient Ayurvedic Rishis, the whole become far greater than the sum of the parts.
In other words, the potential health benefits of a particular Rasayana can be of a far broader range than those of the individual herbs and minerals they contain.
In the creation of Maharishi AyurVeda Rasayanas, each ingredient is carefully selected. We also take care to adhere to the exact proportions and processing methods prescribed in the ancient texts, or passed down in Ayurvedic family traditions. This is to ensure that the maximum synergy is produced between the separate ingredients and this, in turn helps optimise the health benefits of Maharishi AyurVeda Rasayanas.
Creating wholeness in the body
To help maintain our mind/body balance and our health, at any one time numerous interrelated physiological functions, biochemicals and hormones need to act together, with great precision and in exact proportions.
The enlightened originators of Ayurvedic Rasayanas had a profound insight into the natural laws that underlie each aspect our body and that underlie the whole of nature. This insight helped them create complex formulas, combining a variety of ingredients from the natural world, to support the whole range of our physiological functions.
For example, the combined actions of the ingredients of a typical Rasayana may involve the following factors:
- The three types of mental functioning:
- acquisition of information (Dhi)
- retention of information (Dhriti)
- recall (Smriti).
- Metabolic transformations, digestion, the emotions and their effect on heart functioning (Pitta).
- Moisture balance, physical structure and strength (Kapha)
- The junction points or gaps (Sandhis) in the step-by-step production of the seven tissues and fluids
- Nutritional fluid, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerves & bone marrow and reproductive fluid (Dhatus)
- The micro-circulatory channels (Shrotas) that transport nutrients and energy and that can be blocked by improperly digested impurities (Ama)
- The finest product of digestion and the master co-ordinator (Ojas) between consciousness and the body’s three underlying principles (Doshas)
- Assimilation and metabolism (Agnis)
- The vitality and strength of the mind and body (Bala).
One Rasayana ingredient is the mineral compound Abhrak Bhasma, which is formed from mica that has been slowly heated and cooled more than 100 times. This rare ingredient takes about five years to produce using traditional methods. With modern equipment, Abhrak Bhasma can now be produced within six months.
Maharishi AyurVeda recognises that carefully following the ancient formulas, and paying meticulous attention to each detail, is necessary to bring out the full range of benefits of each of these time-tested Rasayanas.