Details matter. They create depth, and depth creates authenticity. Rules of Nasya.

There is no real way to share the depth and vastness of knowledge that is within Ayurveda to an average general person. People/western practitioners really do not like it when I say things like… that knowledge is nowhere to be found in Western Ayurveda, but it is true. It is hard to be found in India as well, that’s the truth of it.

To share just a tiny piece of the detail that makes real Ayurveda the wonderous and daily humbling experience that it is, as well as the very reasons why it has no context in the modern world, here is just an example.

In Western Ayurveda, Nasya is a part of the daily regime that is given to everyone. It is considered to be putting a few drops of oil (mainly sesame oil but there is even Western Ayurveda Vata oils, Pitta oils, and Kapha oils to use based on your prakriti for nasya) in each nostril in the AM after cleaning your mouth. In Ayurveda this is actually a langhana  (treatment.

 

The truth is that Nasya does not mean nasal drops. It means ‘having to do with the nose’ and the treatment of the nose is vast. It is the entryway to the head and diseases of the head, brain, and senses (as well as anything above the collarbones) are treated in this way. It can be liquid, oil, smoke, or powder. Depending upon the details of the diagnosis of why it is being done. That means that there are obvious indications for it to be done which means that there is a list of contraindicated conditions where it is not to be done because it will either complicate a disease into a deeper and more serious disease.

It is never done:
after a meal, this will lead to diseases of the head
when one has indigestion causes diseases of the head like cough, asthma, vomiting
after taking snehapan
after drinking alcohol
after drinking water or when there is a desire to drink water
after bath, that means after shower too (for those daily regime teachers/follower)
when hungry, will cause vata vitiation
when thirsty, will cause emaciation of the mouth
when tired, will cause pain
when semi conscious or unconscious, will cause complete unconsciousness
when there is Injury, will cause severe pain
after sex, will cause pain in chest, head and eyes
if one is weak, will cause   ”
after exercise, will cause pain in the limbs
in fever, will cause pain
when there is fear, will cause fever
after virrechana, will cause vata vitiation and trauma to the senses
after basti, will cause kapha vitiation, anemia, heaviness, and worms or parasites
when pregnant, will cause harm to fetus
after pregnancy, will cause depletion of tissues
when head congestion/head cold, will cause complications of head cold
when one has a weak personality, will cause depletion of the tissues
in children, will cause depletion
in aged, will cause depletion
in shwassa, kasa, raktapitta, will cause debility and depletion
when there is Suppression of natural urges
(there are some specific nasya that can be given in certain contraindications as a specific treatment like raktapitta above)

There are various kinds of Nasya. It is generally classified into two categories that one of those categories has 5 different types (one of the 5 types is the daily use) and the other category has 2 types. Then Charaka Samhita also has another classification of Nasya by what the part of the herb that is being used such as the leaves, the roots, the bark, etc.

Nasya is used for elimination of the doshas in the head. It is also used in various vata diseases.

There are different dosages given in the different types of nasya. There are different times of day that it is given for the dosha treatment. There are different times of the day it is also given in the different seasons.

When herbal extracts and juices are used for nasya it is known as Avpedana Nasya, when instilling milk, oils are used it is known as Navana nasya, when smoke of various herbs is used it is Dhuma nasya. Dhuma Nasya is given for mental diseases, epilepsy, parasites in the head, and in poisoning cases. When medicinal powder which are strong and applied with special apparatus they are known as Virechana nasya. Also there are two types of nasya depending upon the quantity of medicines or dose that is used when only 2 drops of medicines are used in each nostril for nasya it is known as pratimarsha nasya which is slow to act and less potent and when 8-32 drops are used it is known as marsha nasya which has its age, seasonal restrictions as well as has possible complication possibly vitiating doshas and is used in high vitiated cases.

Pratimashana or the daily use that is popularized in Western Ayurveda has its own timings that it is done for various reasons, like doing it in the AM is to reduce the kapha that is accumulated at night. Hmmm.
After waking reduces kapha accumulated in the night, after brushing teeth strengthens the teeth and cleanses the mouth, while leaving the house prevents dust and allergy, after exercise sex and being tired after waking removes debility and tiredness, after doing the treatment of holding herbs or oil in the mouth and after applying anjana to the eyes improves the vision, after meals cleanses the channels, after vamana cleanses kapha and improves taste, during the day time it rids heaviness and tiredness and promotes mental peace, in the evening gives good sleep, after urination or defecation it improves the vision, and other timings as well.

This is not a list for you to see what you want and then start to do nasya at this time irrespective of having the proper knowledge. Please do not do that. No self diagnosis and treatment okay?
There are details of age limits, times of it to be done in the different seasons, the strength of the individual is to be gauged for the dosage, the strength of the disease will indicate the preparation being used. There are even things that are to be followed as to what not to be done like being exposed to cold, dust and smoke, heat, drinking alcohol, anger, sleeping, travelling and other usage of oils.

There are signs of when the treatment is done correctly as well as when it is done incorrectly that then need to be corrected. If excessive is given, like in the amount of dosage or even the strength of what is being given, at the least it will give a headache, worse is that it will cause disease that they can be very difficult to treat. Just think of it, we are dealing with the head and the senses. Delerium and fainting would not be unusual in excessive treatment. This is why the dosage and the substance being used is very important.

The beautiful details require that beautiful knowledge and make up all of why it is so deep and why it works. All of this needs to be known. ‘Do no harm’ or ‘primum non nocere’ is the first part of the Hippocratic Oath. Everyone should take this verse to heart. Not just any practitioner of a modality. One should keep this in mind always, even for the idea of treating themselves or sharing ‘information’. Superficial information is the vast majority of what we live with today. Consumerism thrives on it.

There is also, in popular sales of Western Ayurveda detoxing under a very popular name in Western Ayurveda and the top selling herb company, a detox package to buy that has you do jala neti (neti pot) then do drops of oil in the nostrils. Oiliness + coldness is not useful in many conditions. In nasya, we are making the nasal passage oily.  Along with it, if jalaneti is done, it will make the area cold. This can lead to worsening of cold, cough, sinusitis etc. anyone that has done the neti pot knows how the water left in the sinuses will drip out hours later if not dried properly. Again, when the details are not followed properly, harm can be done. This is only a warning and proof that you can create disease by not knowing those details of proper treatment.

Article written on Nasya from proper sanskrit texts

 

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19 thoughts on “Details matter. They create depth, and depth creates authenticity. Rules of Nasya.

  1. Thanks for the article. Cool. Even something “simple” as netipot can cause deaths, which you mentioned in this article and can also be easily found online. I did that stuff too.
    https://trueayurveda.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/some-ideas-about-spices/
    Wouldn’t want to mess around without the knowledge.

    I thought I might take the editor task upon me if you don’t mind
    “If one is weak, will cause ”
    This sentence isn’t finished

    “after basti, will cause kapha vitiayion, anemia, heaviness, and worms or parasites” which should be vitiation, but now I’m just nitpicking.

    I never read the Hippocratic Oath so I looked it up. Interesting. I can imagine there’s no(t many) doctors who would swear the old version of the oath in this day and time. Especially with the abortion and euthanasia stuff. And the teacher-pupil relationship. Not sure if it is a genuine version as I don’t speak/read greek, but I thought I might share it here:

    I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asclepius, and Hygieia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses as my witnesses, that, according to my ability and judgement, I will keep this Oath and this contract:

    To hold him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents, to be a partner in life with him, and to fulfill his needs when required; to look upon his offspring as equals to my own siblings, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or contract; and that by the set rules, lectures, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to students bound by this contract and having sworn this Oath to the law of medicine, but to no others.

    I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgement, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.

    I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

    In purity and according to divine law will I carry out my life and my art.

    I will not use the knife, even upon those suffering from stones, but I will leave this to those who are trained in this craft.

    Into whatever homes I go, I will enter them for the benefit of the sick, avoiding any voluntary act of impropriety or corruption, including the seduction of women or men, whether they are free men or slaves.

    Whatever I see or hear in the lives of my patients, whether in connection with my professional practice or not, which ought not to be spoken of outside, I will keep secret, as considering all such things to be private.

    So long as I maintain this Oath faithfully and without corruption, may it be granted to me to partake of life fully and the practice of my art, gaining the respect of all men for all time. However, should I transgress this Oath and violate it, may the opposite be my fate.

    Translated by Michael North, National Library of Medicine, 2002.
    https://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/greek/greek_oath.html

    • Really? It is online that Neti Pot use can cause damage when not properly followed thru with the draining and drying procedure afterwards? I have not bothered to look at what is being said today. At the time of me writing about the “deaths by Neti Pot” there was nothing at all written except the warning of using polluted water, like tap water. Or is it what is still written out there just the ideas of the tap water and creating microbes like they said those two in New Orleans did? There is a huge difference between the two, having blame for something happening externally like the water causing it vs knowing that they did not dry their sinuses so of course bacteria is going to grow. Realize that the masses do not understand the details of the knowledge, they only take a superficial piece of something, like the oil pulling, and they then do it without any idea of the detail and no correlation to the damage they do by not knowing that detail.

      If one is weak, will cause ” – the ” means same as above

      Thanks for sharing. I wrote on this in the post on Charaka Oath. Yes, nothing has any context today in our modern world. no gods, even in ayurveda there is no awareness of anything but the material. Can share that even what is written in the texts about gods is then just omitted or turned into a western understanding of things like bala graha https://www.researchgate.net/publication/293822044_120_pdf_bal_graha being caused by bacterias simply because in the age that we live in we have no experience of that level so we try to form our understanding around what fits the material western paradigm that we understand. Alpa Budhi. Yet then the Indians go to temple to pray to gods. Really quite absurd the whole thing when you look at it.

    • Thank you for your comment.

      Lol no not the drying. Just that there were deaths can be verified within 5 seconds. Then wether you believe their version or not is a second.

      Yes, putting the responsibility elsewhere. Anything but ones own incapability.

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/woman-dies-from-brain-eating-amoeba-after-using-neti-pot-tap-water-to-rinse-sinuses/

      [Health officials say Neti pots can be safe to use as long as you follow the instructions and fill them only with boiled or distilled water.

      “It’s not something to be scared about because it’s extraordinarily rare, but still there’s a lot to learn,” Cobbs said.]

      Lots to learn ;).

      Will check out the post on the oath. Thanks, didn’t think of that.

      Today I read an article on Sadya, a feast in India as you well know. It said how all the food might seem indulgent but is actually healthy because it is prepared with Ayurvedic knowledge. Now, this might actually be true. However, the writer of the article then elaborated on this using only western science of anti-oxidants and stuff. Funny. Or sad.

      Ah just found it. Lol, It’s Indian. Did not remember that. Only proves even more what you say. https://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/onam-2018-here-s-why-sadya-is-the-most-balanced-meal-full-of-nutritional-value/story-2gwLfWrIj9L3VSnBVFxUfK.html

    • “putting the responsibility elsewhere. Anything but ones own incapability.”

      I would reframe this.
      The fact that they cannot know because the proper complete use is not out in the superficial information that the masses grab ahold of and use or that the modern yoga and spiritual world spits out. Just look at yoga books out there with information on doing the neti pot or websites and blogs. Do they say anything about the drying of the sinuses and how to do it to make sure the water is out so that it does not create a problem? Nope. Did Dr. Oz, who is the one on Oprah that made it and overnight pop culture thing, did he teach anything at all about drying the sinuses? nope. Do the Modern yoga teachers (many) that I know personally know anything about it? nope. (by the way, it is really easy to say after the fact that someone knows something like this. Before the events, the neti pot was just like the Oil Pulling or the Golden milk or the thousands of other things I can list here that are put out in the masses with no depth of knowledge. So these people cannot know better. It is not their incapacity, it is certainly their superficiality in just following the zombie sheep but that is also who they are. Karma. What can be said.
      Then there is no correlation to understanding what happened and it gets blamed on the tap water or that they were taking antibiotics before doing the neti pot, yes, that is one I heard as well.

      For clarity, Sadhya is balanced. Not for any reasoning of Western nutrition but from an ayurvedic lens. Research what Ugadi is (April 5th was this year, Lunar New Year) and what is eaten then in celebration. and then Vishnu or Vaishaka, the Solar new year and see what is eaten there as well. And there is a need to understand the regions in which these are celebrated.

      Coincidentally, go outside and look around where you are. Notice the difference in the plants. What is happening? Can tell you that here in California, Just today noticing the green grassy hills are slightly starting to turn brownish. It has started. Related to the astrology signs that are used in the Indian calendar (panchanga)? If anyone else reads this, you too are welcome to comment here on what is going on where you live.

      And Jesse, it was homework to understand what they were eating and why it is balanced. So why? What’s your comprehension?

    • Yes, it is dry. Has been for a while. I just sowed. Not the best time. I wonder why, will look up panchanga.

      On the homework. I’ve researched a bit and pondered on it. Kerala is southern India. It is tropical. It is hot. Where I am from we should not use coconut oil. There I reckon they can. The coldness of it isn’t a problem there. Also we’re in the dry half of the year, sun is moving northward. They have ayurvedic knowledge which they apply with the many different small dishes that the Sadhya is comprised of. I reckon they’re all in there for a reason. I read about them having pickled food at the beginning. Buttermilk at the end. Similar to what I read here. Pickled food is heavy so you start off with that and proparbly more reasons to it.
      They eat bitter foods, because it is spring and it alleviates kapha, the sourness in the dishes stimilates digestive fire, Salt is also a digestive.

      The sweet foods relieve thirst which is nessecary because of the drought of the season. It releaves heat; and gives complexion to skin and hair which are starting to be dried out. I think in general you can say that foods everywhere should be móre bitter in spring universally. More bitter than in other seasons that is. But as it is hot and dry there now they also need unctuousness and sweetness to balance that out. Even if it is kapha season. And they “can get away with it” because they know how to prepare foods in such a way that it is still digestive and still counters the kapha aggravating qualities. To know why and how I need more time and investigate more about what they actually eat during Vishnu Sadhya.

      I live in a country that has cold winters. Most plants die off above the ground and most trees let go of their leaves. They need to “start over” in spring whereas plants in Kerala don’t have that (as much). So while there’s barely any fruits to be found here now, in kerala there is. And it is sweet. and in season, and local, which makes it more digestable allready.

      The saltness I found harder to place. It is digestive yes, but it’s also heating. In excess it creates also thirst. It is also heavy and kapha increasing. hmmm…
      So all I can think of is that some salt is needed in the body, it helps digestion, it helps the body get rid of toxins, helps in removing obstruction and accumula­tion of toxic matter and they know how to balance it’s heating qualities? It’s funny that salt taste comes from fire and water elements. So why would it dry you out? Because of the fire. Pitta is water and fire too, but it can also dry you out if too much. “Persons who pass dry stools with difficulty should take ghee with salt in the midst of meal.” This is a great example of this principle. So by using the appropriate amount you’re able to use it in your own benefit.

      Now, I’ve even read that curd is used in these feasts. First thing I’d think is.. why!? It is heavy, kapha increasing! Bút, it is also and appetizer and a digestive stimulant… so if you use a little of it, at the beginning, with proper combinations it can be actually a good thing.

    • Good, your getting it kinda, but a bit lost in the details. Keep breaking your head on it and studying. This is how you learn. By studying, researching and then experiencing it.

      Did you locate on the map the regions that celebrate? is it only kerala?

      Salt opens the channels. To much will constrict the channels. Salt is used for this. A way you can understand this is simply tasting something then put a little salt, “little”, on your tongue and swish it in your mouth then taste the same substance again. Salt is the most unstable taste as well because it is water and fire, it can go either way quickly.
      i little bit of salt is hydrophilic where as too much salt will dry things out. the texts explain this in that a little salt will give more flexibility whilst too much will create stiffness.

    • I didn’t explicityly say that the order of foods is very important. Or to quote one of your articles “Sweet is eaten first which pacify increased vata. Sour & salt is second to be eaten which increases agni for easy digestion. Bitter & astringent is had after which reduces excessive pitta.”

      This is a great example of some details that haven’t got to do nessecarily with sadhya:
      ” At the beginning of the meal, one can eat a mixture of saindhava lavana (salt) and ginger. This mixture stimulates the digestive fire, taste, and appetite and clears the tongue and throat. It is also stated that at the end of the meal, small articles of sweet taste have to be eaten, to counteract the evil effects of the consumption of saltish, sour (acid), pungent and hot articles of food. Therefore curd which is sweet or sweetened by sugar only has to be consumed at the end of the meal, or if such curd is not available milk has to be taken.”
      https://trueayurveda.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/eating-ayurvedically/

      So I’ll have to research more about what they eat and see if this coincides with the above and the rest of what I’ve learnt.

    • Funny we write about this in an article that emphasizes on details, because the sourness comes from a green mango soup. As I still don’t have a copy of the Bhavaprakash I can’t be sure if the following counts for fresh green mango, but amchur, dried green mango, is actually kapha – pitta hara, light, cooling and has katu vipaka. It is also grahi. All of that seems actually great for spring season. So even though sourness aggravates kapha, generally, the details here put that upside down.

      They also use jaggery (syrup), during Chaitra.. which is mentioned in your article about village knowledge as not being suitable for that month. Will investigate further.

      The place is pretty near the equator so that may change things too. I mean, where I live the sun’s path relatively to the sun never happens straight above us. There, it moves above, northwards and southwards from them, which actually counts for most of India (the tropic of cancer moves through the northern part of India). I’ve always wondered if we even have a wet season here in Holland, like is mentioned in these texts (aka late summer). Will have to investigate that too. Lol.

    • Hard one. I find it confusing that summer is the season with the weakest agni yet agni is highest during noon when sun is at its highest point, right? Funny.

      I think when you live close to the equator your digestion is weaker. Like in summer. It also differs wether you live at sea level or on the mountain. If you live on the equator the sun is right above you twice a year, during the two solstices. Ofcourse there is still the northern course of the sun and the southern course of the sun. But I wonder how that affects them. The further it moves away the better the digestion. The closer it comes (2 solstices) the weaker the digestion. So the Adana kala and Visarga kala are different there. How the interval of dry and wet season is there is something I’d have to investigate.

      The equator doesn’t go through India, but if you live in between the equator and the tropic of cancer or capricorn the sun will still be right above you twice a year. Once during Uttarayana and once during Daksinayana.

      So how does that work with debilitating and strengthening period (with regards to agni)? Is it like living on the equator except a bit more of a “disbalance” as you’re not as nicely centered in the middle. If in the Southern Hemisphere everything is reversed.. than no.. what I’m saying is not so. Southern course of the sun when you’re at the north of the equator is still the strengthening period and the wet season. Northern course of the sun, when at the northern hemispherethe sun is still the debilitating and dry season. When living more northwards these differences, and the way you have to balance them, get more pronounced.

      But a big difference is that the course of the sun, relative to for example most of India, passes them and moves northwards from them, to then “turn around” during summer solstice and move over them again in it’s southward course. Which I’d think is a big difference in comparison with those who live north from the tropic of cancer. Interesting. Complex. hmmmmmm

      Will ponder more.

  2. Hi Brad, here in the UK we had a really warm February, 18-20C, followed by a really cold March and April with icy winds, storms and hail. Nature is confused.

    • Hi
      Yes, This also mentions in the Ayurvedic texts. it is a dosha of the seasons. it is needed to be balanced as well. Watch how many people get ill due to it. It is more that just proves Ayurveda, not that it needs proving.

    • I didn’t realize it, but it is actually very dry here. I noticed dryness, but didn’t know it was excessive. Last summer too. Very dry. The ground water levels are low. Nature, especially in eastern Netherlands is dry.

      They make huge fires during eastern every year. Now, just like 6 years ago, they cancelled it because of the drought. Not that I care about those fire celebrations, but it does say something.

    • It is still spring and thus kapha is still being liquified and has to be balanced is what you’re saying. But due to the (abnormal) drought the meals can be less dry, astringent and bitter. Heating spices have to be kept in check a little due to the dryness most of them create ánd the heat they produce. Heat, which is increasing in the environment aswell. A little more sweetness and unctuousness than usual for spring might be ok to add to balance the weather.

      The new solar year, I wonder why it starts now, and not solstice for example. Why specifically when the sun enters into aries? It is dry where you live too and you say “it has started”. So do you mean to say that because the sun entered into another sign (aries or Mina Rasi, new solar year) the weather reacts to it in the manner it does; creating heat and dryness? So it is actually pretty normal then? Allthough the effect might have been exaggerated due to geo engineering?

    • Whether or not anything has been created by geoengineering does not matter because it would still need to be balanced.

      “I wonder why it starts now” continue to research to understand it.

  3. We do have a rainy season in the Netherlands, it is just not as obvious as for example in the RAIN-forests. You can clearly see it once you pay attention to it. It is hot and dry then it rains allot and then it is extremely hot in september because of heat and water (pitta) creating steam. Feels like a sauna then. Might compare that experience over here in EU with average India. (temp wise)

    6 seasons.

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