Thursday, April 23, 2015


Anti-obesity and Fertility herb: Aloe vera

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  • Shirish Bhate
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 14, 2007 
    Ayurvedic acharyas began investigation of the human body not by
    studying a corpse, but by passing their subconscious mind inside
    their own bodies and gathering the symptoms that individuals
    described and by observing signs that the patient may not have even
    noticed themselves. Over thousands of years, these groupings of
    qualities and characteristics began to paint landscapes that were
    very predictable. The insight obtained by meditation, study of the
    five basic elements making universe made the relationship between the
    symptoms clear, and certain techniques for clearing up the given
    imbalances were discovered.

    In many articles on ayurvedaonline, author has discussed the subject
    of liver playing a fundamental role in maintaining the body fat,
    state of sex hormones and thus fertility, blood purification and
    detoxification of rasa, rakta, mamsa and meda dhatus. Following the
    suggestion that the liver should be detoxed twice a year, several
    members have asked about the liver herbs which can restore liver
    functions, as taking detox procedure is impossible for them. The
    detox protocol consists more of fresh fiber rich vegetables and
    fruits, fatty acids and moong bean either in cooked or sprouted form.

    Liver detoxification is a faster procedure, while achieving liver
    function through herbs is a slow process.

    Ayurvedic herbs for liver from India are so many as mentioned in
    above link, nature having gifted this country with golden land. This
    is often attributed to Vastu principles applying to India as a whole.
    Even if one herb Katuki is now an endangered specie, many other herbs
    are available inexpensive. While many herbs are used in root forms,
    author prefers a herb which can be grown in house itself, without
    having to pay much attention. If you feed a little vermicelli
    compost every week, you will get best quality organic herb having
    maximum medicine content.

    Nature has given us many herbs to obtain and maintain health. Amongst
    such herbs, Ginger, turmeric, amalaki and aloe vera come in fore
    front. They can be planted in house garden too. We take aloe vera
    here for discussion. Previously author described its use in menstrual
    disorders and cosmetics in messages #1464

    For those with science mindset, author would like to take you to an
    article giving fascinating and a little romantic history by a doctor,
    who spent a number of years studying and experimenting with aloe vera
    in clinical setup. He clearly recommends using it in its natural
    form, not processed gel etc In particular, its use for arthritis and
    cancer too requires reading this link. It is surprising that a plant with anti-oxidant properties should survive in most harsh and dry environment with very little water.

    As a liver herb, aloe vera causes deepana, enhancing the agni
    (hunger), improves digestion, reduces undigested ama which gets
    produced when rasa is converted to rakta dhatu. It purifies mamsa and
    meda dhatu also, reducing meda, or reducing excess fat by activating
    liver. In todays world, so many obese people exist, they are all the
    time worried about excess fat/weight, out-of-shape body, sluggist
    reproductive health and reducing mobility. Aloe vera can address this
    type of obesity buildup.

    After an attack of jaundice, if aloe vera is continued for long
    time, liver does not get enlarged again and jaundice does not re-
    visit. Vaidyas use aloe vera along with other herbs such as ginger,
    haritaki(Terminalia chebula), kalmegh(Andrographis paniculata) while
    treating stomach disorders. Aloe vera has amazing curative properties. While it is named "Ghrutkumari" in Sanskrit, "Ghee-
    Kunwar, ghee-kuvar, guarpatha" in Hindi, "Korphad" in
    Marathi, "Lolisara" in Kannada,"Kumari" in Malyalam and
    Oriya, "Chirukuttali" in Tamil and "Chinna kalabanda" in Telgu.

    Its plants are one to two feet in height, having leaves about one
    foot in length (stretching from human elbow joint to end of palm).
    The leaves have thorns on both edges, and if you cut the leave
    transversely a shape like half moon, concave one side and convex back
    side will be seen. Aloe is also found in South Africa and arab

    Aloe is cold, very "snigdha", sticky, pungent after digestion. Its
    extract or ghansatva is easier for digestion, dry, pungent and
    warming. Generally aloe balances all three doshas.
    Other than causing deepana and improving digestion, aloe vera is an
    elixir or sanjivani for liver. The enlargement of liver as a result of jaundice,
    free radicals from fried foods, non-vegetarian foods, alcohol, nicotine, excess
    fats/proteins in food etc is restored successfully when aloe vera is
    taken along with a little turmeric and Kalmegh herb. Saindhav salt makes it more pallatable.

    Aloe vera strengthens glow in eyes. The glow is an indicator of
    healthy balance of alochak pitta. Alochak word itself comes from
    lochana, meaning eye in Sanskrit. Most of us know that drinking
    alcohol makes the liver fatty. Alcohol is now accepted as a social
    custom in parties and gatherings. Even if alcohol is consumed in
    moderate proportion, alochak pitta becomes vitiated and the glow in
    the eyes gets affected. Author wonders how acharyas associated the
    planet Venus with the natural glow in the eyes, and also with taking
    alcohol. Aloe vera restores eye-glow if alcohol consumers take aloe
    vera for few months. Thus Venus damage is restored. Hence, vaidyas practicing medical astrology associate aloe vera as Jupitarian plant, the planet of fertility and growth.This takes us to aloe vera's contribution to fertility, an important area in todays world. Aloe Vera name is Aloe India, denoting its roots in India and South africa, countries with highest population growth rates.

    In one infertile couple, the wife had
    good health, but husband had sperm count on borderline and weak
    motility, as per their previous consultation with a fertility exepert
    in allopathy. They had spent two years in modern medicine treatments, but how chemicals and synthetic "dead" medicine can give "fertility" or "throbbing of life"? The husband had frequent constipation and gases. Due to his business hours, commuting time, he used to return home late, and sleep late. Inadequate time between meal and sex made premature ejaculation a routine.

    He was asked to keep aloe vera plant in the house. After taking aloe
    vera gel in the early morning along with turmeric and a little
    saindhav sal, indigestion, bloating and gases reduced in a month. This gel is removed from the freshly cut leaf, about one inch in length in gradually increasing dose. Premature ejaculation stopped after three months. The sperm count and
    motility had improved a lot after another six month. He had stuck to
    the routine for nine months! Slight change in the daily routine,
    utilizing the fertile days of the menstrual cycle yielded the success
    in another three months. And a healthy baby was born after full term!
    For last three months before conception, they were taking chyvanprash
    and drakshavaleha depending on their pulse.

    But the maximum credit goes to aloe vera. It has Vrisya property
    too. Vrisya herb strengthens semen and sperms. Vrisya also
    means "stambhana", or staying power.

    Aloe vera, like all other herbs addressing genito-urinal system, is a
    diuretic. It treats Veerya dosha and shukra dosha. It cleans
    menstrual flow. It is never used during pregnancy, but is a cure for
    infertility or sterility. If we hang its leaves in house, it kills
    mosquitoes. If you get a burn, apply its gel on the burnt portion of
    the skin. It cools the inflammation and by increasing cell
    regeneration, the wound gets healed quickly, leaving no scar.

    By mixing ghansatva of aloe vera with loh bhasma, asfoedtida, Vaidyas
    make Rajapravartini vati, which helps to regularize menstrual cycles,
    if delay is not excessive. Scanty flow wil increase to normal. But do
    not give the tablet if cycles have shorter spacing or faster
    frequency, commonly observed near peri-menopause. Some pharmacies, in
    order to create marketing monopoly, rename this tablet as Rajasvini
    Vati etc. But once contents on the label become compulsory, users can
    recognize the tablets as traditional only. Though India does not give
    drug patents for ayurvedic drugs, manufacturers invent their own
    names to create a monopoly and consumer brand equity. This is where ayurveda is following allopathic tracks, a disturbing trend to old timers making their own medicines.

    Other uses of aloe vera include treating Vat Gulma , hiatus hernia,
    coatings (sphut, samput, bhavna are other words) while making loh
    bhasma abhrak bhasma etc. If a vaidya uses onion or garlic juice
    while coating these bhasmas, these bhasmas become more potent in
    increasing semen and sperm count+motility. If you visisted Atherton
    article cited earlier, you know that Onion also belong to aloe family.

    Vaidyas prepare a natural alcoholic tincture from aloe vera, termed
    Kumari Aasav. If this is taken in large dosage, it acts as a
    laxative. Pharmacies sell Kumari Aasav No. 1, is used to restore
    liver function when liver is enlarged or jaundice has just set in; It is also used to regularise and balance menstrual cycles. Recently, this was recommended along with Rajavartini Vati for starting cycles after holiday to birth control pills.

    Kumari Aasav No. 3 is milder variety, useful for children, dose being 20-30 droops
    according to age, but always with equal water. Children exhibit
    enlargement of liver as soon as a fever or infection enters. After
    fever is controlled, start this formulation to restore their hunger
    and digestion and liver health. Kumari aasav being
    electrolyte, is the liver medicine of first choice; however, the
    first Indian pharmacy to set foot in U.S. became financially strong
    due to its liver restoration tablet "Liv-52" discussed in message#5921

    [If you surf the net, most of the above medical uses are unproven in
    scientific studies or unsupported by published literature. But why
    triabls should care about publicity media? IF you need health, it is better to be tribals!]


By Caroline Robertson
Ancient Vedic scriptures cite sex as the highest pleasure on the material platform yet, if misused, sex can be the strongest binding attachment preventing us from elevating our consciousness to a higher spiritual reality. Ayurveda, the science of life, sheds illuminating wisdom on the relationship between sex, health and enlightenment.
"Sex lies at the root of life, we can never learn to reverence life until we know how to understand sex" - Henry Havelock Ellis
Today’s sex saturated multi-media portraying orgasmic shampoos, phallic cars and arousing soft drinks would indicate that we are a sex obsessed culture, reminding us that this is our primal drive in life. According to research revealed in  “Sex, A Man’s Guide,” the average American teenager views sexual encounters on TV 14,000 times a year. Despite the hard sell with sex not everyone is buying the assumption that sex is the supreme goal of life.The increased quantity of exposure to sex is matched by the declining understanding of quality loving sex and it's implications. Despite the sexual liberation movement, Master's and Johnson's sex research, the Hite Report and countless magazine articles, sex, for many, remains a dissatisfying and loveless encounter, motivated by lust or loneliness, often sadly devoid of true love, intimacy and pleasure. A recent Oprah Winfrey show on libido cited statistics that 40 million American women suffer from low libido. The audience was full of angst ridden women who couldn’t match their partners desire for sex. Resorting to testosterone creams and HRT, it was an unspoken assumption that low libido was a disease that required treatment. Everyone had bought the multi media lie that we are less than human if we don’t have a voracious and insatiable sex desire. Does that mean Mother Theresa had a less fulfilling and meaningful life than say Hugh Hefner?  
The Ancient Indian scriptures represented in Ayurveda help us to put sex in perspective. It advises judicious indulgence in sex. Emphasising our faculty of disrimination concerning quality and quantity. Sexual union is portrayed as an experience with more profound implications than pleasure. It instructs us how to make sexual union a sacred consciousness expanding experience that opens up our heart to love ourselves and all beings with increased passion. It also teaches that sexual desire is ultimately a yearning for an unconditional loving relationship between ourselves and the divine. A spiritual connection that will satiate all our desires.

The frenetic preoccupation with sex that characterises western culture is often completely unrelated to sexual needs but more an expression of a thirst for intimacy, touch and tenderness. It is borne out of a need to feel loved unconditionally, as a baby is loved . This is reflected in lover's use of 'baby-talk' and seemingly immature interactions.
Obviously love and sex are not mutually exclusive. You can have loveless sex and you can express sexless love. The negative practice of loveless sex is having a dramatic impact on our society today. Soaring incidences of rape, necrophilia, sadism, masochism, pedophilia and incest reflect the incredibly destructive influence of the promotion of loveless sex. Unloving sex is not just available but socially acceptable - brothels, inflatable lovers and promiscuity lead us away from intimacy and sensitivity, towards a dehumanised, impersonal sexuality of perversity. Sex is often used as a tool of domination and power by men whereas women may use sex as a means to manipulate a man or as a love substitute. The choice to remain celibate or a virgin until an opportunity to have a meaningful union with a loving partner is often judged as naive or a sign of mental illness. We have under-valued and under-estimated both the destructive potential of loveless sex and the creative force of loving sex. It is for this reason that many spiritual philosophies share the advice given by Ayurveda, that sex should only be shared by a loving couple as true satiation only arises from the union of emotions, body and soul.

In order to sustain the expression of love in a partnership a bonding relaxation exercise is recommended as a daily practice. 
The couple lie together in the spoon position on their left sides to promote the flow of energy. The partner in need of the most nurturing should lie on the inside, enveloped by their partner. This allows the alignment of the couple’s chakras and the exchange of loving energy. Both partners’ right hands can rest over the inner person’s heart. Lying comfortably together, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Inhaling and exhaling together helps to create a harmony and synchronicity between one another. You may like to incorporate a soothing visualisation to enhance the experience.
Visualise a pink light flowing through your heart chakra and surrounding your bodies creating an aura of love and tenderness. This is to be done without any sexual interaction. 
Benefits of this have been researched by sexologist Dr. Rudolf Von Urban who concluded that this practice creates a resonance effect called entrainment, an alignment of energy fields that triggers profound healing in both partners.

In tantra, sexual union is seen as a sacred activity whose ultimate goal is self actualisation. In the tantric tradition, sex is utilised as a means to raise the flow of energy from the base of the spine to the crown chakra thus re-awakening one's dormant cosmic consciousness. This process is known as utsavam. (Ut meaning upward and savam meaning flow). Another concern of tantra is to integrate one’s inner masculine and feminine polarities. This corresponds to Jung’s exploration of our anima (feminine aspect) and animus (masculine aspect). The tantric tradition is very austere and requires strict discipline to follow specific rituals. True progress on this path can only be achieved under the strict guidance of a Tantric master. Translator of the definitive book on lovemaking for centuries the Kama Sutra, Alain Danielou said in regards to Tantric sex: "Only the ignorant attempt to learn mantras from books and practice rites according to what they read. It is necessary to follow the instructions of a genuine Tantric guru".
Exploring Tantric sex without expert guidance can lead to a disturbance in one's subtle body which may cause psychological and physical imbalances.

According to the Vedas, life can be divided into four main concerns : spiritual duties (dharma), economic development (artha), love or pursuit of pleasure (kama) and liberation from the cycle of repeated birth and death (moksha). Vedic literature states that the wise choose ways of acting that allow them to achieve the four aims of life without letting the pursuit of pleasure lead them to ruin. One is advised to practise all four activities at different times and in such a manner that they may harmonise together and not clash in any way.
With this aim in mind, Ayurveda advises one follow certain observances in order to gain the maximum benefit from sexual union and to avoid detrimental effects.

“For the perfect love tryst Ayurvedic scholar Sushruta recommends a full moon night in a bower of flowers, soft silk garments, sweet and intoxicating perfumes, light and nourishing food and sweet music.” - translated by Robert Svoboda
  • Choose a time when you are both relaxed and aroused. The best time for sex is before midnight to ensure sufficient rest is taken afterwards.
  • Prepare a beautiful, peaceful and seductive setting that provides a feast for all your sense organs. Bathe in or anoint the body in essential oils of Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Neroli or Rose. Incense or oil burners with these scents also contribute to the erotic mood.
  • Dress in attractive, clean attire and wear a fresh flower garland.
  • A lubricant of equal parts ghee and honey may be used.
  • Play special Indian musical Ragas for a romantic mood include: Mishra Telang, Mishra Ghara, Mishra Bhairavi.
  • It is emphasised to take enough time and attention to pleasing one's partner. Both the Kama Sutra and the Ananga Ranga outline in great detail the art of foreplay and emphasise the importance of satisfying both partner's desires. The Ananga Ranga compares a woman to a fruit that only yeilds its fragrance after being rubbed with the hands. The Kama Sutra suggests that during congress the man should make a point of pressing those parts of the body on which the woman turns her eyes and greatly elaborates on techniques of kissing, nibbling, sucking, fondling the hair, caressing and embracing. This contributes to the partner’s ecstasy and satiation.
  • After sex a cool shower, a rejuvenative drink such as warm almond milk with a pinch of saffron and 1 tsp of honey and new clothing are advised.
  • Sex is not recommended during illness as it exhausts Ojas (the body's source of immunity and vitality). Sex can be practised more frequently in winter than in summer. During pregnancy, menstruation and after a heavy meal sex is also to be avoided as it disturbs the natural downward flow of Air and Ether (Apana Vayu)

“Ojas is the sap of our life energy” - David Frawley
Ayurveda classifies the body into seven bodily tissues (dhatus) known as plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), flesh (mamsa), fat (medas), bone (asthi), marrow (majja) and reproductive fluids (shukra). Products of the reproductive system are the seventh dhatu or bodily tissue. The sperm and ovum are considered very important, as they are the end result of the metabolism of the preceding six tissues. In this way the reproductive tissue is the cream of all the body's metabolic efforts. If the quality of the reproductive tissue is pure, then the greatest miracle of the body can be performed, that of creating a child. That same life-creating energy if directed inwards can facilitate renewal of our own body and mind.
The pure reproductive fluids (shukra)  create the subtle essence called ojas. Ojas is not a physical substance but is more like the essential energy of the immune system. When ojas is strong and pure in our being we have a strong aura, bright eyes, strong immunity and mental clarity. Excess loss of sperm causes low immune function, weak digestion, lassitude and mental dullness. 
Unrestricted sexual activity is regarded in Ayurveda as one of the acts most detrimental to health not because sex in itself is bad, but because it strains the nerves, exhausts the bodily tissues, increases vata (air and ether), thus creating dryness and irritability in a person and decreases ojas, the essence of immunity and vitality.
Eminent Ayurvedic physician Professor Subash Ranade shares a view held by Hippocrates when he stated: "Individuals who do not regulate their sexual impulses are more prone to loss of strength, weak immune function, and various diseases owing to depletion of vitality. Those who regulate their sexual energy will have increased memory, power, intelligence, health, and longevity". 
Dr. Satyavrata Siddhantalankar, an eminent Yogi,  is an amazing example of health and vitality in his nineties, much of which he attributes to following the Ayurvedic guidelines for sexual activity. In his book "From Old Age to Youth Through Yoga" Dr. Satyavrata quotes "The Encyclopaedia of Physical Culture" concerning the impact of the loss of semen: "One ounce of semen is estimated by some authorities as being equivalent in energy to sixty ounces of blood." Perhaps that can explain why men often collapse into an exhausted sleep after ejaculation, feeling sapped of energy. Author of The Tao of Loving, Jolan Chang agrees, " When a man has ejaculated, it is like letting the air out of a balloon - he feels flat."
If ejaculation is avoided for a long period of time the sperm undergoes autolysis, breaking up and reabsorbing into the body to contribute towards a more youthful, vigorous body and clarity of mind.
We can learn a lot from animals who regulate and moderate their sexual activity. Even those infamous breeders, rabbits don’t mate in autumn and many species such as wolves mate only for procreation, choosing a monogamous relationship for life.

With an aim to conserve and circulate energy through your body the following technique is used to prevent ejaculation. At the point of peak arousal inhale deeply, place the tip of your tongue on the root of your mouth and tighten the PC muscle. Press firmly on a soft indent in the perineum located between the scrotum and anus. Exhale, relaxing the anal and genital muscles. If the urge for ejaculation continues, squeeze the frenulum (behind the glans penis) with your thumb and forefinger until the urge subsides. Imagine drawing your sexual energy from your genitals to your heart. Gently stroking your genitals to your heart. Visualise a warm pink glow moving from your genitals to your pelvis and to your heart. You can experience an internal blissful orgasm through this process, leaving you energised rather than depleted.

The Ayurvedic system of classifying one’s psycho-physiological constitution according to the predominance of elements gives an interesting insight into our unique sexual behaviour. Our body-type can be determined by completing an Ayurvedic questionnaire or through consultation with an Ayurvedic physician. The three main body-types and their sexual characteristics are as follows.

Vata (air & ether)

A Vata lover tends to be erratic and romantic. Mental foreplay such as flowery poetry or stimulating discussion is the best aphrodisiac for Vata. Touch and sensuality is very soothing and relaxing for highly-strung Vata types. An oil massage combined with soothing music is the ultimate therapy to set the mood. Since Vata people suffer from dramatically fluctuating energy levels they are only interesting in making love when they have the energy, more often in the morning rather than the evening.
Vata types should avoid sexual excess as it depletes their energy and strains their nervous system. Since their body’s are drier than the other constitutions Vata types are advised to take regular reproductive tonics and rejuvenative drinks after fluid loss.
The best partner for a Vata Body -Type : Kapha Pitta or Pitta Kapha

Pitta (fire & water) 

Pitta can personify the archetypical hot Latin lovers. They have a natural passion and gusto for making love. Their  ego- centred desire for strong gratification and stimulation can result in a lack of sensitivity and tenderness with their partner. Sex can turn into a competitive display of prowess for Pitta as well as a vent for suppressed hostility. Pitta have to consciously tune into the needs of their partner and avoid dominating or rushing them. Pitta types always appreciate visual stimulation hence gentle lighting, nice garments and flowers will heighten their arousal. Pitta are the body-type most prone to impotence due to over-excess. They can avoid burn- out by channelling sexual energy into creative pursuits and taking cooling rejuvenatives and a cool shower after sex. Pitta needs to learn to redirect their emotions through their heart rather than through their genitals.

The ideal partner for a Pitta Body-Type: Kapha, Kapha- Pitta or Pitta- Kapha

Kapha (water & earth) 

Ancient figures of the fertility goddess exemplify the qualities of a Kapha lover. These body-types are made for love. Embodying the ideal qualities of endurance, affection, sensuality and sensitivity, Kaphas can be both mother and lover to spouse. They have abundant fertility, making them “good breeders.” This explains why in India the chubbier body build of a kapha is a desirable feature in a partner. Calm, gentle and romantic lovers they can become boring and lazy if unmotivated. Kaphas are also the most likely type to become co-dependant and clingy. They need constant encouragement to develop their own interests, exploring new avenues of self-development.

The preferable partner for a Kapha Body- Type: Anyone with enthusiasm, passion and motivation

Ayurveda divides life into four main phases during which the role of sex changes. The purpose of these phases is to bring an individual fulfilment and satiation of their material desires so they may then transcend material attachments and ultimately attain spiritual enlightenment.
The typical phases of life are as follows:
1) Youth  Brahmacharyam > Birth up to 25 years, celibate student phase
2) Prime  Gaarhasthyam 25 years to 50 years, family life
3) Maturity Vaanaprastham  50 years to 65 years, retire from worldly duties
4) Sunset years Sanyasam 65 years until death, renunciation     
BRAHMACHARYAM  Birth - 25 yrs
Brahma means the knowledge leading to self-realisation and charya means regimen. This is the stage of life where one  learns to control one's senses in order to focus on study and attain a ripened understanding about life. Brahmacharya is also the third rule of social conduct (Yama) advised in the eight-limbed path of yoga.
Control of sexual energy is of special significance in teenage years when the libido hormone testosterone is at its peak. Sexual stimulation at this time will promote testosterone which is linked with hostility and agitation. Reducing sexual stimulus will help to stabilise testosterone and re-direct sexual energy to develop the mind and body. Physical, mental and spiritual maturity is developing during this time. It is the time to build one's character, establish positive habits and develop insight into one's role in society. This is a period of concentrated learning in order to gain wisdom that will enable one to navigate through life's stormy weather. 
Ayurveda advises complete sexual abstinence during this period so that one can channel sexual energy into pursuits of mental and physical development. Emotionally one is deemed too immature to deal with the psychological implications and responsibilities entailed by a sexual relationship. 

GAARHASTHYAM 25 - 50 yrs
" Love doesn't consist of gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction." - St. Francis of Xupery
When one feels emotionally and physically mature enough for the responsibilities of marriage it's the right time to seek out a partner. Traditionally this is the only context for sexual relations. Through the sanctity of marriage one obtains blessings from divine forces, family and friends. Indian Saint, Swami Sivananda warns that anyone we wilfully have sex with will one day be our spouse, either in this life or future lives. He says we will have to continue this relationship until a harmonious relationship is established. This may be one of the reasons that divorce rates are very low in India, there is a feeling that unresolved problems with one’s spouse will simply come in another form.
There are many different ways of meeting a suitable partner described in Vatsayana's "Kama Sutra ". The conclusion is that the marriage based on love called the gandharva marriage brings the most happiness to a couple. 
Indian society was very coy when dealing with matters of the heart. There are many sweet details given concerning the means to attract a prospective partner and entice them into marriage. This usually involved the cunning involvement of the desired partner's family or friends as go-betweens. Once a prospective spouse was found compatibility was scrutinised from all aspects including astrological, familial, physical, mental and spiritual. Often the couple would not have formally met but are attracted to each other by hearing about or seeing each other. If the couple are deemed incompatible by any of these calculations, the union is rarely formed. This is quite different from the basis of many Western unions which are often based on subjective passion and attraction. The Veda has a saying which warns against this: “Relationships commencing in passion’s raging fire often end in the coolest ashes”
The svayamvara marriage of the past was practiced by warrior princesses. When a princess desired to get married her parents would invite all interested suitors to come and apply for their daughter's hand in marriage. Many qualified and attractive suitors would assemble from various regions. They would compete in different tests of physical and mental strength so as to display their qualities to the onlooking princess. When the competitions were over the princess would place a flower garland over the neck of the man she chose as her husband. 
The ideal marriage according to Ayurveda is when a woman loves and revers her husband as a guru and in turn he loves and revers her as a goddess. Neither are considered spiritually superior, but that the act of loving is the means to transformation and the purpose of marriage is to help one another to become greater than they could alone. The saintly Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashrama describes marriage :
" To unite your physical existences and your material interests, to associate yourselves so as to face together the difficulties and successes, the defeats and victories of life - this is the very basis of marriage - but you know already that it does not suffice. To be one in aspiration and ascension, to advance to the same step on the spiritual path- such is the secret of a durable union". 

VAANAPRASTHAM  50 - 65 yrs.
Retiring from worldly duties and living in a secluded peaceful place, concentrating on spiritual practices is known as Vaanaprastham. Traditionally this is the phase of life when a married couple begin to gradually strip away all their material entanglements, turning to spiritual practices with increased dedication. The Vedic concept of the goal of life is to transcend material suffering and attain a blissful state of self-realisation. In order accept a new spiritual reality in life one must purify the heart of selfish desires such as anger, hate, greed and lust.
Vaanaprastham is the period during which work and family obligations are slowly reduced in preparation for the period of total renunciation or sanyasam. Ideally at this time one's children are mature and independant and one is financially secure.  The body is starting to show signs of aging, a reminder that death is inevitable and preparation to face it must begin. The ancient epic "The Mahabharata" illustrates human's unwillingness to face the reality of death when the epic's hero Yuddhistirsa is questioned in order to save his brothers life. The Yaksha asked Yuddhisthira "What is the greatest wonder in the world?" to which Yuddhisthira replies "Day after day and hour after hour, people die and corpses are carried along, yet the onlookers never realise that they are to die one day, but think they will live forever. This is the greatest wonder of the world." Vaanaprastham is the phase of life when one starts to seriously prepare for this reality, a time when one may retire from employment and dedicate one's time to philanthropic pursuits leaving plenty of time for contemplation and meditation. 
Any superfluous material possessions may be given away at this time and a couple may choose to move to a simple, peaceful dwelling, keeping possessions to a minimum. During this time interest in sexual activity naturally declines as one has come to a state of sexual satiation and developed a greater attachment for less sensually oriented pursuits. Plato once quoted an old man on this subject who said "In old age you become quite free of passions of this sort and they leave you in peace; and when your desires lose their intensity and relax, you get a release from slavery to your many passions."
Society today is highly suspicious and even panicked at the hint of any weakening of the sexual drive but the opposite is true in Vedic culture. People who have naturally raised their energy and interests above that of sexual pleasure and developed a higher consciousness are revered as the highest models of wisdom. With age, interest in sex naturally declines, despite many deluded people's attempts to retain their sexual drive with the use of endangered animal's parts such as tiger's penis' and rinosaurus’ horns as aphrodisiacs. A constant preoccupation with sex is not healthy; nor is it in humanity's highest interest. Sexuality should never be suppressed or a source of guilt yet as one's passion to enjoy another's body subdues with age one naturally turns to more enduring and enriching ways to relate to one's partner. The lasting union is marked by a shared passion for life, not just for sex. This is the process of Vaanaprastham.

SANYASAM 65  to death
"As advancing age cools his passions he turns to think of his creator, to study religious subjects and to acquire divine knowledge.”- Ananga Ranga by Kalyana Malla  
Sanyasam means "selecting the most appropriate path." This is when the inward journey really begins. At this time the husband and wife see each other purely as partners in the journey to self- realisation. They will have minimal contact in physical matters and aim to spend their time whole heartedly propagating and investigating the highest spiritual truths of life. Sometimes they may choose to live separately as they fully absorb themselves in spiritual practices and pilgrimages to holy places. This is the time for burning up one's vasanas or  innate material desires. 
Not everyone is expected to enter the sanyasa phase of life as it requires a strong dedication and desire to devote oneself fully to spiritual life. Traditionally this path is only taken up by true spiritual warriors, those driven to experience the rare nectar of complete spiritual surrender.

“An angel doesn’t make love, an angel is love” - Pigar, from the film Barbarella
Some rare souls choose to skip the gaarhasthyam and vaanaprastham phase of life and take to the austere, celibate life of sanyasam for their whole lives. Such people are known as goswamis (male) or goswaminis (female) translated as "masters of the senses." In contrast most people are in the unfortunate position of being godas' or "servants of the senses", having to pamper to their sense's every whim just to feel some relief from suffering caused by sensual hankering. Renounciates don't see their path as austere or difficult as they experience transcendental pleasure far superior to enjoyment offered through any temporary, limited material pursuits.
Healthy celibacy doesn't indicate an absence of sexual energy it simply shows that the celibate has learned to re-direct that energy into other areas of life. Celibacy does not rule out intimacy of human friendships as it is not a question of uprooting sexuality but of becoming sexual in a different way. On the other hand unnatural, repressive celibacy can create serious psychological damage and a perverted attitude towards sex as Krishnamurti elucidates "Chastity of the monk with his vow is worldliness as long as his urges are present."

"The natural man has only two primal passions - to get and beget" - Sir William Osler, physician
Ayurveda instructs couples in great detail concerning the methods to conceive a child with strong health, intelligence and spirituality. The Vedic scriptures count procreation as one of the main fourteen rituals (samskaras) of life. The ritual of conception is known as Garbhadhana samskara or "placing the seed in the womb". A couple is advised to purify and rejuvenate their body and mind in order to create the strongest child possible and to reduce the probability of passing on the handicap of genetic disease patterns. The child's constitutional strengths and weaknesses are fixed at the time of birth so responsible parents can follow all measures to give their child the healthiest start in life. 
A couple should consult an Ayurvedic physician or Ayurvedic paediatrician (kaumara bhritya) at least six months prior to conception in order to undergo the necessary purification and rejuvenation treatments.  The duration and nature of the preparatory therapies depends on the health status of the couple. In order to attract the type of child they desire most the couple spend months before conception practising specific affirmations and visualisations to welcome the child into their lives. The spirit that chooses to enter the womb of the mother is determined by the parent's consciousness at birth. This can determine whether the couples will conceive a child with a lovable, compatible nature or a difficult child bearing many psychic and physical problems.
Spiritual practices are given to the parents which includes reading from scriptures about auspicious off-spring and reciting mantras in order to purify and focus the couple's awareness on the purpose of the sexual union. 
The most auspicious time for conception should be calculated by an astrologer (Jyotishi) in order to avoid any malefic planetary influences. Three days after the completion of menses or at the time of ovulation is also recommended as the best time to conceive. For eight hours before conception the couple practices meditation and affirmations as directed by the Ayurvedic physician, this includes a clear perception of the qualities they would like their child to possess.
The couple can take light, nourishing and cooling foods during the time before conception in conjunction with the prescribed  reproductive tonics. After preparing the room and one's body in the manner described under guidelines for a quality experience, a ritual offering of incense, flowers, water and food can be made to the appropriate source of spiritual inspiration and protection. A mantra to be chanted before conception follows: "ATHIRASI AYURASI SARVATAH PRATISHTHASI DHATA TVA DADHAATU BRAHMA VARCHASA BHAVA." It translates: “May our child, a divine gift from the creator, be blessed with longevity, sacred wisdom, bliss and be welcomed by all.” This empowers the act with a very positive and definite vibration, creating the most conducive environment for the soul to enter the womb.
When the atmosphere is most conducive and stimulating for union the man ascends the bed with his right leg and the woman with her left leg. The couple then unite to share a loving and blissful climax. The Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita states that the best position for conception is the woman lying on her back with the man on top. The Kama Sutra elaborates by suggesting the woman's legs wrap around the partner and they hold together in a tight embrace, increasing the pleasure for both.  It is this sense of ecstasy and contentment along with one's focused intention that will imbibe the child with a healthy and secure mental and physical constitution.

"The aim of virilisation is to enable a couple to produce a healthy progeny who can help them to perform their dharma (life's mission)"- Chakrapani, the commentator of Charaka Samhita.
The branch of reproductive tonics in Ayurveda is known as Vajikarana. The word "Vaji" means one with perfectly healthy sperm or ovum. So the term "Vajikarana" means that which produces healthy sperm or ovum.
The main aim behind this concept is to ensure the production of a healthy, intelligent, well-motivated child by ensuring healthy parents and full sexual ecstasy at conception, the time when the child's constitution is fixed. To ensure this Ayurveda advises full bodily purification before virilization treatment.  Vajikaranas are tonics to both the male and female reproductive organs and they also excite the sexual organs which is more relevant to men since they have to maintain an erection for conception and they loose more sexual fluids than a woman does. 


“ When you perceive yourself as spirit, you will not simply feel love you will be love” - Deepak Chopra
Since the sexual revolution we have come to analyse the mechanics of sexual technique yet failed to appreciate the emotional and spiritual implications of sex. In our pursuit of pleasure, the role of sex has been grossly over-emphasised. Having sex without making love is a shallow and dissatisfying experience. When we make love as a means to expand our heart, our every action, every sound, every caress will express our loving feelings and it can be a transformative experience. However, when most of us reflect on the pleasurable experiences in our life it has nothing to do with what goes on between the sheets. Experiences that reinforce the loving connection with our family, friends, strangers, nature and a higher force bring us ultimate pleasure. 
Vedic wisdom warns against giving undue preference to one aspect of our being, thereby neglecting to develop our full potential. The world’s oldest scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita 111.37, states that  lust is the greatest enemy as it leads to self-absorption, anger and deluded meaning in life. It calls for a ‘love revolution’ where we channel our energy towards the service of all beings. This will result in deeply fulfilling, long-term pleasure. Increasing our capacity to give and receive love is life’s greatest lesson and challenge. To achieve this is the true sign of spiritual evolution as ”in the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone,” St. John of the Cross.

Alain Danielou, translated from Vatsyayana's original: The Complete Kama Sutra, Inner Traditions India Press (1994)
Sir Richard Burton and F.F Arbuthnot, translated from Vatsyayana's original: The Illustrated Kama Sutra, Bookwise (1994)
P.V Sharma, translated from Charaka's original: Charaka Samhita, Chaukhambha Orientalia (1994)
Professor Dr. Subash Ranade: Natural Healing through Ayurveda, Motilal Banarsidass (1994)
Dr. David Frawley:  Ayurvedic Healing, Motilal Banarsidass (1992)
Robert E Svoboda: Ayurveda Life, Health and Longevity, Arkana (1992)
R. K Narayan:  The Mahabharata, Mandarin (1991)
Dr. Satyavrata Siddhantalankar: "From Old Age to Youth Through Yoga"
Motilal Banasidas (1983)
Celia Haddon : The Limits of Sex, Michael Joseph Ltd (1982)
Stefan Bechtel &Laurence Stains : Sex, A Man’s Guide, Rodale Press inc, 1

Friday, April 3, 2015

top 29 dishes across india

Today we see more and more foreign food chains opening up in every corner of India and what we have forgotten is that India, being a diverse country, has so many cultures across different states and each state expresses its tradition through its cuisine. So we have come forward with the traditional dishes of each and every state of India. Enjoy!

1. Kashmir – Tabak Maaz

Kashmir has been divided since the British left India in 1947. Lamb is heavily consumed on both sides of the Line of Control, and forms a substantial part of Kashmiri cuisine. This dish is typical of the region and is commonly enjoyed at wedding banquets and major celebrations. Featuring typically Persian spices, the ribs are marinated overnight to allow the meat to soften and are then cooked until tender. A last-minute dip in the frying pan guarantees all the flavours are sealed in.
1.	Kashmir - Tabak Maaz

2. Punjab – Makki ki Roti, Sarson ka Saag

Sarson da saag (Sarson ka saag, in Hindi, Urdu) is a popular vegetable dish in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan made from mustard leaves (sarson) and spices. It is regarded as the traditional way of making saag, and is traditionally served with makki di roti, which literally means (unraised) corn bread. It can be topped with either butter (unprocessed white or processed yellow butter) or more traditionally with ghee.
2.	Punjab – Makki Ki Roti, Sarson ka Saag

3. Haryana – Kadhi Pakoda (Snack)

Kadhi, a blend of yogurt and besan (gram flour) with besan pakoras, is served with plain white rice. This dish is popular throughout India.
3.	Haryana – Kadhi Pakoda (Snack)

4. Rajasthan – Ker- Sangri

Dried berries and beans cooked with yogurt and Indian spices – specialty from Rajasthan. Lots of spices, oil and yogurt  is used in Rajasthani cuisine. Use of little  extra oil helps to keep the food fresh for a long time as Rajasthan is a hot and humid area. Thisker sangri ki subzi is also made with generous amount of oil and spices and is very good to carry for traveling as it stays fresh for 2-3 days without refrigeration.
4.	Rajasthan – Ker- Sangri

5. Himachal Pradesh – Sidu

Famous sidu is a kind of bread made from wheat flour. It is kneaded with yeast and the dough is allowed to rise for 4-5 hours. Sidu dough is yeast-based, it has to be prepared a couple of hours before you need it. It is normally eaten with ghee (clarified butter), dal (lentil broth) or with hari chutney. It might look boring in the picture, but it’s really going to charge up your taste buds.
5.	Himachal Pradesh – Sidu

6. Uttarakhand – Kaapa

Uttaranchal… Home of so many holy places. Coming to food, other than the regular ‘North Indian food’ (dal-chawal-roti-sabzi), the state has some really different recipes which I wanted to try. There were many more recipes I wish I could have tried, but finally zeroed down on phaanu (with toor dal)kaapa and thechwani.
Kappa is a Kumani preparation of palak (spinach) which is in a lovely green color with a great Kumauni taste. Kaapa is a very nutritious dish as its main ingredient “boiled and grinded spinach” retains all its nutrients. Palak (spinach) is a rich source of iron.

7. Uttar Pradesh – Shami Kebab

Shami kebabs were apparently invented by a highly skilled chef for a toothless Nawab of Lucknow. The Nawab was so fat from overindulgence that he couldn’t get on a horse, and his teeth were all gone, presumably for the same reason. So a kebab was made so fine that it required no teeth to eat it. When I hear stories like that I’m inclined to think, ‘If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.’ But then again, it’s a nice story, and so are the kebabs – silky smooth and stuffed with just a little finely chopped onion, mint and green chilli.
Shami Kebab

8. Madhya Pradesh – Bhutte (corn) Kheer

Known for high nutritional value, purity and longer shelf life, the offered lapsi is widely demanded to make different kinds of dishes. Processed as per the set food standards, lapsi is a rich source of vitamins and proteins.
Bhutte (corn) Kheer

9. Chhattisgarh – Red Ant Chutney

The favorite chutney of the tribe in Chhattisgarh is called chaprah which is made from red ants along with their eggs. The chutney has a pungent and spicy taste that gives you an out-of-the-world experience. These red ants are also used as a garnish for the dishes to make it spicier and hot.
Red ant Chutney

10. Gujarat – Rice panki

Panki is made by cooking a batter between banana leaves. While pankis made with rice flour batter are the most common, other varieties are prevalent, and you’re welcome to try your own! It is worth noting that the presentation of the panki with the banana leaf adds a great deal of aroma as well as visual appeal as it is the conventional way of cooking it right.
Gujarat – Rice panki.

11. Maharashtra – Thalipeeth

It is a special Maharashtrian dish. Also known as the Indian version of ‘multi grain pancakes’. The dough is prepared from a special flour made from roasted chana daal, urad daal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, wheat, and rice.
It is usually served with white water buffalo milk butter and is very popular amongst Maharashtrians. Otherwise it is served with thick ghee or ‘toop‘ (Marathi) or sometimes even with thick curd.

12. Goa – Bibinca

The Goan ethos is one of living the good life. Food plays a big part. Goan cuisine is rich with the flavour of produce found in abundance locally, like kokum (sour fruit), coconut and spices. Any celebratory Goan meal or for that matter, a reference to Goan cuisine is incomplete without lingering awhile over Goa’s best known dessert, Bebinca.
Bebinca is essentially a layered dessert that tastes of the tropics. There’s a hint of coconut and a suggestion of ground nutmeg in the wholesome sweet layers, not to forget some caramelization and finally, rich clarified butter that harnesses all other flavors. The texture is firm enough to retain the layers and soft enough to melt in the mouth.

13. Karnataka – Chiroti

Everything in the Kannada menu has been mordernized, you know ‘gobi manchuri‘ taking the place of ‘pakoda‘, ‘fried rice’ instead of ‘bisibelebath‘. But chiroti has its place. Nothing says indulgence like chiroti. It is the South Indian Emperor Pastry.
Chiroti in itself is just a pastry, it is not sweet but extremely rich. So once the chiroti is placed on a plate, powdered sugar is generously sprinkled followed by warm badam milk. Even as I write these line, my mouth starts to water.

14. Kerela – Aviyal

Aviyal (avial) is a delicious preparation made with mixed vegetables, curd, coconut and seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. It occupies an important place in Kerala cuisine and is a must for Onam Sadya, the Keralite vegetarian feast.
Kerela – Aviyal

15. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – Kodi Kura

Kodi kura (Chicken curry) is one of the most popular dishes in Andhra. Garelu (A snack made with urad dal) and kodi kura is considered to be a great combination in Andhra. This is a curry which is prepared with cubes of chicken cooked with onions and home-mademasala
The origin of the kodi kura is from a small village in Andhra Pradesh called Guntur, which is known for very spicy food. The most important spices used in Andhra region are ginger, garlic, cumin, fenugreek, cinanmom, cloves, cardamom, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, star anise seed and bay leaves.
Kodi Kura

16. Tamil Nadu – Kadungu Yerra

Kadugu means mustard in Tamil and yerra is shrimp/prawn. So, this dish has originated from Puducherry and has the blend of Tamil and French flavor in it. Shrimp is cooked with potatoes, tomatoes and coconut milk with mustard and fenugreek paste. It had a thick rich texture like the french sauces.
Kadungu Yerra

17. Bihar – Khubi ka Lai

Bihar has a dessert associated with each of its city and ‘Khubi ka Lai’ is a specialty of the city of Barh made from khobi seeds, sugar and mawa. Offered in shape of a ball or in a cake shape, khubi ka lai is lightly sweet by taste and similar to the laddo but does not contain solidified milk.
Khubi ka Lai

18. Jharkhand – Marua (Raagi Flour) Roti

Raagi is well known as marua in Jharkhand region. The flour is of black color and mainly eaten by labouring farmers in the villages due to its higher nutritional contents and slow digestive qualities. It has high levels of dietary fibres and is considered perfect for cleansing the digestive system. This is mandatory to prepare marua rotis on “Jeetiya” day in Mithila region and almost all the parts in Jharkhand.
Marua(Raagi Flour) Roti

19. Sikkim – Phagshapa

Phanghapa is a Nepali pork dish from Sikkim. Compared to other curries, it is not very spicy as the only spice used is chillies. This dish was perfect for those days, when we don’t want to have spicy hot curries especially during hot summers. It is lightly flavored, the radish and the pork made a wonderful combination and goes really well with just plain rice.

20. Arunanchal Pradesh – Apong

The Mishing tribe belonging to the Mongoloid race, residing in Assam of Northeast India, has certain unique customs. Some of these are very intresting and perhaps very little known to the people of the rest of the parts of the country and abroad. One such custom is drinking of rice beer (country liquor) which is popularly known among the Mishing tribe as ‘apong‘. During Ali-Aye Ligang, apong, along with chickens and pigs, is offered to the spirits to placate them.

21. Assam – Masor Tenga

Masor tenga (tangy fish curry) is a light and tangy dish, and is one of Assam’s signature preparations. The key ingredient in a tenga is the use of a souring agent which lends the dish a tart tangy taste. There are wide variety of souring agents that can be used to prepare this dish, ranging from the commonly available lemon, tomatoes, sour spinach to more exotic elephant apple, roselle leaves and garcinia.
Masor Tenga

22. Nagaland – Momos

The state does not produce enough food, and depends on trade of food from others states of India. But it has given us the very delicious momos, which is something worth craving for.

23. Manipur – Yongchak Iromba

U-Morok – the hottest chilly in the world grow and is consumed in abundance in Manipur. Iromba is a dish made of boiled vegetables mashed together in a sauce of chilli paste and ngari (fermented fish). It is then served with a combination of herbs as garnish – onion, spring onion, chameleon leaves, coriander, vietnamese coriander, etc. The best garnish for the yongchak irombais with a herb locally known as lomba.
Yongchak Iromba

24. Meghalaya – Tungtap (Fish Chutney) &Jadoh (Flavored Rice)

Tungtap is dry fish paste or chutney and jadoh is a rice and meat delicacy. Fish is charred and mixed with onion, green chili and red chilies to make this fish chutney. Jadoh is similar to pulao where rice and meat is cooked together. Garam masala spices are not used and only spice used is black pepper. The speciality of this dish is that it does not taste that good individually, but the combination together is what really changes your mind set and your taste buds start loving it.
Tungtap (Fish Chutney)
Jadoh (Flavored Rice)

25. Tripura – Berma

Traditional Tripuri cuisine is known as Mui Borok. Tripuri food has a key ingredient called berma, which is dried and fermented fish. The food is considered to be healthy as it is prepared without oil. Flavor wise, berma is more on the sour side. Tripuri food such asbangui rice and fish stews, bamboo shoots, fermented fish, local herbs, and meat roasts are extremely popular within and outside the state.
Mui Borok

26. Mizoram – Zu Tea

Zu Tea

27. West Bengal – Bhapa Ilish

The signature Bengali Ilish dish which has to be on all important menus when Ilish is in season. Hilsa steeped in a pungent mustard sauce steamed to perfection with a liberal dousing of mustard oil is a sensuous experience.
Bhapa Ilish

28. Odisha – Chena Poda (Cheese Cake from Odisha)

Chhena poda is a cheese dessert from the state of Odisha in eastern India. Chhena poda literally means burnt cheese in Oriya.It is made of well-kneaded homemade cottage cheese or chhena, sugar, cashew nuts and raisins, and is baked for several hours until it browns. Chhena poda is the only well-known Indian dessert whose flavor is predominantly derived from the caramelization of sugar. Not only the taste but also the history behind this dish is fascinating.
Chena Poda

29. India’s Capital – Delhi (UT) – Makhani Chicken

Not many know that the state which is very famous for its paranthas and chaat items is the originator of Makhani Chicken (Butter Chicken) and Tandoori Chicken by Moti Mahal in Delhi.
Makhani Chicken
So, next time you are on a trip to any of the states, you know which dish to look out for instead of the KFCs, Dominos and Americal burger chains.