Vasant Lad shares with us the Ayurvedic perspective on Coronavirus COVID-19.
Wishing you health and wellness at this time.
Take care and be well,
Vasant Lad and the staff of The Ayurvedic Institute
Here is a transcript of Vasant Lad's talk.
Good Day Dear Friends,
As we are aware about the coronavirus; it is a worldwide epidemic. People are in a panic; schools are closed, roads are closed, cities are closed and everybody has to sit in their home in their house with the family. So this is a very critical time.
I was just reading Charaka Samhita and in it, there is a chapter called “Janapada Dvamsa Vyadhi”, which means [refers to] world-wide epidemics. There Charaka says this is a great opportunity to be here at home.
This is a period to go within so we can follow our dinacharya [daily routine]. Wake up early in the morning, brush your teeth, scrape your tongue, rinse your mouth and drink hot or warm water. Have ginger, cinnamon and cardamom tea, regular chai made with tulsi (holy basil, one or two leaves), or even mint, cinnamon and cardamom tea. These herbal teas boost energy.
[Here Vasant Lad quotes a sutra: rogāhāsaravepimandegnam sutarambhuterānitu]
[this sutra states:] As long as we keep our agni (digestive fire) strong, then illness will not happen to us. So, Ayurveda has a great way of prevention. [This is] How we can prevent being affected by coronavirus. Keep your agni strong and, to do that, follow your dinacharya. It is the first important thing that Ayurveda recommends.
For dinacharya, you wake up in the morning, scrape your tongue and brush your teeth. Drink a glass of warm water then do pranayama. There is a package of eight [beneficial] pranayama exercises: Bhastrika, Kapala Bhati, Anuloma Viloma, Brahmari, Utjayi, Utgeet, and finally Sheetali and Sheetkari. Just by doing this package of eight pranayama, we can strengthen our immune system including our pranavaha srotas, our respiratory system. Rasa vaha srotas, our lymphatic system will be cleansed, and that way we can boost our energy. This will maintain the balance of ojas (immunity, strength), tejas (digestion both subtle and gross), and prāna (vital life force).
And there are simple herbal remedies that Charaka has mentioned. Even though there is no common cold, Charaka says that you should take sitopaladi, talisadi, abhrak bhasma, and mahasudarshan churna. Take this preparation, ½ teaspoon three times a day or twice a day, every morning and evening. If you are tired, you may not want to do that. You can make a chai and just put a pinch of sitopaldi or pinch of talisadi into the chai. It will give wonderful flavor to the tea.
That way [with pranayama] we can clean our prana vaha srotas, our respiratory system and it will give us a boosting of energy so that we can keep away the virus. Another interesting health supporting practice is to do some yogasana — camel pose, cobra pose, cow pose, boat, bow, and bridge pose, locust, lotus, and lion pose. If you think that is too complicated, just do Surya Namaskar.
For Surya Namaskar, do a minimum of 7 rounds and a maximum of 12 rounds. We do 7 rounds because there are seven dhātus (bodily tissues). There are 12 important poses in Surya Namaskar. So, do 12 or 7 Surya Namaskar and then do pranayama and then sit for meditation. For meditation you can do So’Hum meditation. For this, sit quietly in lotus pose, siddhasana pose (accomplished) or sahajasana pose (easy), and inhale with the sound “so” in your mind and exhale with the sound “hum”. This is a great opportunity. When you do this So’Hum meditation, you will flower the inner joy, the inner beauty. Then sit quietly and feel your presence. Your easeness is awareness. And that awareness is Sat Chit Anand.
Sat means truth
Chit means Awareness
And Ananda means joy
These are not just three words. They are one and the same thing: sat is awareness, chit is awareness, ananda is awareness. Treat these as awareness and there is awareness. So we have to see what is going on in this outer world. Everything that is going on, it will come and it will go; nothing is permanent in this world. Even this coronavirus will come and will leave on its own accord. But we have to keep our integrity, harmony, happiness and balance between body mind and consciousness. This is a great opportunity to be at home and then eat homemade foods.
At this time enjoy basmati rice and mung dal kitchari with sabji vegetables (a style of cooking vegetables with spices). Hot food is good. It is better not to take cold drinks. No iced water; no iced cold beverage. No yogurt, cheese or ice cream. The cold foods will suppress your agni (digestive fire, digestive capacity) and exposure to cold will diminish your natural resistance. For that reason, try to avoid the cold, but you can have hot water. Sip it throughout the day or while eating food; put a little ginger in the water and make a hot ginger tea that is excellent.
This is the wonderful message from Charaka Samhita from the “Janapada Dvamsa Vyadhi” chapter. This means that during epidemics, they performed doom doomasvanadyay … so as they did during the old days; they would play the drum during epidemics. Doom, Doom, Doom. Even now in India, the prime minister told the people, “You ring a bell or clap just to honor those people who are working to fight this coronavirus.”
So even in your home, you can do puja (ritual), you can do arti (offering of light during puja), burn a little camphor and do arti or ghee lamp. The others in your household can clap during the puja. This clapping sound is a kind of marma. It is a marma of the heart, marma of the lungs, marma of the kidneys, and this clapping will strengthen your energy. It will send a message to your internal organs. So this is also doom doomasvaniaydahya. So doom doom is a mantra. You can chant OM. You can chant Hari Om. Or, you can say Jai Ganesh. All these are very creative, positive vibrations of higher Consciousness and they will support our family, will support our friends, will support our neighbors so that we will stand together, walk together, share together the same truth.
Uthistaha (Rise Up)
Jagrataha (Wake Up)
Prapyavaranbodinva [Let us] Achieve the highest supreme knowledge
Let us walk together, share together, stand together — but not too — close with a little distance, resistance because too much close. Never shake hands, but do Namaste. Namaste is a very beautiful gesture. If you see your friend, do Namaste and this is a wonderful greeting, and there is no direct hand-to-hand contact. So this sangatchadvam (Let us go together) — Let us speak the same truth together. Let us share this wisdom with our friends and be happy and this period will soon go away within couple of weeks. We will see positive vibration and don’t be nervous. Don’t be unhappy. Don’t be sad. Come out. Stand together and you will see the energy will flower into bliss, into peace. Namaste.
(This transcription has been edited for readability. Please visit the Resources section of our website. It has instructions and information about daily routine and meditation as well as lots of recipes for healthy vegetarian foods, all at no cost.)