Living the lifestyle of the modern world
It has been shown most obviously, in most cultures of the world, when the Western influence of diet and lifestyle breached that culture’s norms and customs, disease followed. This has been researched and studied all around the world by Weston A Price and published in his book in 1939 Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. The word in sanskrit that describes the Western lifestyle is gramya.
In the first chapter of Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana, the story is described of how Ayurveda was brought to the world by the Rishis due to them seeing that the way of life was changing and that people were now living in what would be considered as cities but is called Gramya and not living off the land in tune with nature. The reasons for this was sloth and greed mainly. They saw that this had affected the human race in a negative way, it brought on disease. For this the rishis sent Rishi Baradwaj to Indra to ask what is there to be done and bring back the knowledge. Ayurveda was that knowledge, the Knowledge of Life (Ayur Veda).
Later in Chikitsasthana (treatment), during the chapter on rejuvenation, it is discussed the origin of physical defects. This is just one of the many places in the texts where the what to do that is beneficial and what not to do that is not beneficial is discuessed. Sanskrit texts do not read like a modern book. Everything is folded in layers and most of it is hidden within the text and context.
All defects of the body are caused by:
1. the intake of gramya (food of mundane worldly people, of bhoga, an enjoyer/partaker/eater of the world, led by the tongue and senses, not lead by intelligence) diet and ingredients of food which is sour, saline, pungent and alkaline* (alkalizing the body, huh?)
2. Intake of dry vegetables (so long kale chips!!!), meat, sesame seeds, paste of sesame seed, and pastries
3. Intake of germinated** (sprouted) cereals and pulses, freshly harvested corns and bristles and pulses, ingredients which are mutually contradictory, unwholesome and ununcutuous (not with oiliness), saline, and abhishandi (that which creates excessive moisture in subtle digestion and creates obstruction of the channels of circulation)
4. Intake of softened, heavy, putrid, and stale food
*It has been thought of for quite some time now that alkalizing the body is a good thing. Another booming industry of water alkalizing machines costing $600 to $1000 or more each sold to naive pop culture. The thought is that viruses and bacterias cannot live in an alkaline system. Creating any imbalance in the system has detrimental affects. Anyone out there have any friends who have been following the alkalizing diet for over ten years care to comment on the health of that friend? Maybe also how much they have aged since they have been following it? Just to prove the point. I can write all i want but until you see it for yourself and hear from others with comments, what are you just gonna believe me and over 5000 years of Ayurveda?
**It has also become popular in Western Ayurveda as well as pop Ayurveda in big cities of India that sprouted grains such as sprouted mung is healthy. The verse above as well as many others is the proof that this is not Ayurveda at all and actually opposite to it. Sprouted grains are abhishandi. Sprouts being healthy is solely a western thought or India trying to follow Western nutritional science.
Physical defects manifest in the following types of people:
1. Those who indulge in irregular intake of food (non habitual, too much, too little, infrequent, too frequent, of no standard frequency or timing), or taking food before the previous meal is digested
2. Those who are addicted to day sleep (can be sleeping in or naps during the day), sexual enjoyment, and alchohol and other intoxicants
3. Those who expose their physique to irregular or excess exercise or excess exertion
4. Those who are subjected to excess fear, hunger, grief, greed, infatuation, and overwork
– Charaka Samhita Chikitsasthana Chpt 1:2 verses 1-2
It is of interest that chapter 1:4 of Charaka Samhita Chikitsasthana starts out by recounting the Rishi’s returning to the Himalayas after realizing their mistake of living amongst and living in the same manner as gramya (modern world “ignorant people”) people and living that lifestyle and eating the food and thus having the results of becoming diseased due to it. Called it “gramya dosha“. When they returned to their old abodes looking for shelter and protection, first Lord Indra welcomes them back and then tells them that because of their association with the people living a with modern habits they have lost their glani (strength of body and mind) and prabhava (energy, original powers and dignity), voice, complexion, and are unhappy and in a state of growing asukhaanubandha (distressed, locked into a growing state of unhappiness) as a result. Associations with these people of those habits is the root cause of all suffering. This way of life afflicts one with shorter span of life, early aging, disease, unhappiness and they have lost tapas (penance), dama (control of senses), niyama (observances of conduct of rules), daana (charity), as well as adhyayana (learning and education).
– Charaka Samhita Chikitsasthana,
Growth, development, and maintenance of the anatomy and physiology of the body is completely dependent on four factors: Kala (time), Swabhava (nature), correct diet, correct lifestyle and absence of obstructive factors in the growth and development of the body. Among these, diet is most important as it nourishes dhatu (tissues) and is responsible for the maintenance of compactness, strength, and formation of an excellent form of dhatu called sara (highest form or excellence of body tissues), which makes a person look young and beautiful. When the diet and lifestyle is defective in the terms of Gramya Ahara (modern society’s diet, a deficient and unplanned or planned without wisdom) and when the beneficial knowledge is not followed regarding lifestyle (i.e., when there is indulgence in day sleep, daily coitus, daily alcohol drinking and intoxications, excessive physical work, lack of exercise, mental and emotional imbalances, etc.) all leads to various progressive pathological changes due to improper utilization of the diet. These pathological changes include loss of compactness of the muscles, looseness of joints, vitiation of Rakta (blood tissue), excessive production of Meda (fat tissue), failure of Majja (nervous tissue) accumulation in bones, failure of production of Shukra (reproductive tissue), and loss of Ojas (vital factor seen in the western lens as the immune system). Different pathologies lead to various symptoms; for example, no enthusiasm due to increase in sleep, drowsiness, and lethargy or even just simply very low agni; the respiratory rate is increased; the person is unable to initiate and perform physical and mental work; the memory, intellect, and complexion deteriorate; and the person become susceptible to various types of diseases and ultimately fails to live out his/her complete lifespan. When all these changes are produced according to kala (time) and svabhava (nature), it is known as Kalaja Vriddhavastha (natural aging). These changes can be slowed down and avoided and this stage may be prevented; if the changes have already manifested, they can be managed. When these changes are produced due to defective diet and lifestyle, well……. Vriddhavastha begins earlier and it is then known as Akalaja Vriddhavastha (untimely aging).