An Ayurveda wanderer

He has travelled to 41 countries to propagate Ayurveda and has been practising this medical system for over 30 years. He has also been a visiting faculty and also on the board of advisors with the California College of Ayurveda, a premium Ayurveda institute in the Unites States and the entire west. He has worked hand-in-hand with Dr. Deepak Chopra’s father, Dr.(Col) KL Chopra, in one of the best hospital and medical research insitute in the country, where Ayurveda and modern medicine has been integrated – The Molchand Multispeciality Hospital, Delhi. He has also met many heads of the nations, famous sports stars and bollywood stars who has taken his guidance and advice for many of their health and wellness issues. He was also formerly associated with the Ministry of Health, Govt. of Delhi as its advisor on Ayurveda during the tenure of Harsh Vardhan as Health Minister and was instrumental in creating the concept of ‘Swadeshi Arogya Mela’. He is a strong supporter of the Modi government’s efforts to promote yoga and Ayurveda world-wide and thus make it global. These are just few of the many national and international laurels that he gathered in the Ayurveda space.  He has been pulled to Ayurveda not for fame or fantasy but because of its sheer authenticity. This is , Dr. Akhilesh Sharma, and he talks to Ayurveda & Health Tourism magazine, to tell us more about his encounter with this traditional model of healthcare system.

Sir, please tell us about your interest in Ayurveda?

Well, honestly speaking my real interest in Ayurveda started when I was 17 years old at a time when my younger sister who was two years younger than me got sick and doctors found it difficult to diagnose her condition. Eventually, she started losing weight and appetite. People started guessing what she must be suffering from. Some said it was cancer and few others said that it might be TB and so on. There was no ultrasound those days and antibiotics somehow did not seem to work. Then, as a final attempt, I shared the problem with my grandmother who was a spiritual woman. She was also very upset about what my sister was going through and when I approached for a solution to the problem both our eyes swelled. Anyhow, the next morning my grandmother consulted some vaidyas and started reading books that she thought would help to resolve my sister’s condition. So, finally I saw her prepare some decoctions using kitchen ingredients and she gave it to my sister. After drinking my grandmother’s decoction  my sister started showing progress. She was soon seen to be getting healed. Her fever came down drastically and she got back her lost appetite. After observing this progress the doctor we had consulted asked us to continue doing what we were doing even though he was confused about what was happening. This incident inspired me to take my grandmother’s path since I was very much interested in what she was doing. I took this decision despite my father wishes of wanting me to be a diplomat as he was one himself. Also, there was mounting pressure regarding the career I was to choose since I was the only son in the family to carry the lineage.  But, ultimately I knew that I wanted to go my grandmother’s way. This is how my interest in Ayurveda sprang. My grandmother always used to tell me that Ayurveda will be the medicine of the future. And this conviction by my grandmother stayed with me all my life. Even though my grandmother is no more with me today, her beliefs and values have instilled in me a faith in Ayurveda that I will carry all through my life.

How do you think Ayurveda can contribute to a healthier India?

Good question. India is one of the super powers of Asia and the big challenge in this country is reaching out to the 1.25 billion people of this country in the health perspective. Ayurveda can contribute to a healthier India by spreading its remedies and preventive health care model that is cheap and readily available, be it in our kitchens or in our own yards. Thus, it can bring revolutionary changes in India’s healthcare system. It is also, cost-effective, safe, traditional and mostly household. The diets and lifestyles advised by Ayurveda can be easily adopted in our daily lives for us to become healthy. It works wonders in preventing diseases and maintaining health. It also has great curative properties in case of epidemics. Also, all lifestyle problems can be easily cured using the kitchen remedies of Ayurveda. And  Ayurveda also strongly believes that ‘we are what we eat’. Ayurveda also believes that food and medicine are not different but the same. Therefore, understanding and implementing kitchen pharmacology can result in a healthier India. Preventive healthcare models like yoga and meditation along with Ayurveda principles can help in a brighter, better and healthier India.

What are the most sought-after treatments in Ayurveda?

Auto-immune disorders, lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, arthritis, asthma, certain types of cancers and neurological disorders like anxiety, insomnia etc. These disorders are the ones that seek  ayurveda treatment the most.  These can be treated using a variety of medicinal herbs and also through ayurveda-specific practices like panchakarma, shirodhara and the likes.

Will Ayurveda replace modern medicine in the future?

Well, I would put it this way. Modern medicine has its own benefits and merits especially in acute emergency conditions and in surgical procedures. In these areas there has been a lot of technological advancements. Therefore, one cannot replace the other as both has their own merits and demerits. For most effective results, both can be integrated and used. Therefore, Ayurveda can work as an adjuvant along with modern medicine and integration is the way to the future where the best practices of both are combined. Ayurveda does not require any further research, what is required in Ayurveda is implementation of what has been taught billions of years ago. Hence, integration would bring about revolutionary changes in the healthcare system of the world.

Since you are a person associated with the California College of Ayurveda, what are your thoughts on taking Ayurveda global?

Well, I have been associated with California College of Ayurveda almost from its inception days. I am privileged to be on the board of this college along with Ayurveda stalwarts like David Frawley and Marc Halpern. These people have been pioneers in bringing Ayurveda to the west. Therefore, taking Ayurveda global is not just fashion but a dire need of the society. In today’s stress-filled world where stress is becoming an everyday phenomenon Ayurveda seeks intervention. Today, mental imbalances are seen to cause a lot of physical imbalances to the body. Therefore, psychological problems should be resolved through Ayurveda since it is the best and safest approach and it can give the best results. Thus, following Ayurveda for solving psychological issues can result in great relief to humankind. Also, spirituality and healthcare connection has been well narrated only in Ayurveda and Yoga.

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