Medical systems such as Ayurveda are considered alternative therapies in today’s world. Some are quick to debunk doctors practicing such therapies as quacks, while others swear by them for relief from any kind of ailment. For some, choosing the right type of therapy can be a confusing affair.
Sadhguru has spoken at length about different forms of medicine, showing us the merits of each type. He stresses on the importance of a holistic approach, rather than supporting any particular type as the best. Presented below are a few snippets of his words…
Sadhguru: When we say health, disease, or ailment, there are two fundamental kinds. One kind of ailment comes to us from outside, an invasion of external organisms; it has to be dealt with in one way. We still find that allopathic system of medicine is the most effective way of handling infections, there’s no question about it. At the same time, over 70% of human ailments are self generated; they come from within the system. For this, the allopathic system of medicine has not proven to be too good. Allopathy can only manage the disease but it can never really uproot the disease because essentially it is about symptomatic treatment.
For most of the ailments that are chronic in nature, symptoms are like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. We are only treating the tip all the time. In fact, today it is an established form of treatment – if you get diabetes, hypertension, or asthma, doctors are talking to you about how to manage the ailment, there’re never talking to you about how to get rid of it. But the manifestation of the disease in the form of a symptom is very minor. What is happening is at a much, much more core level, which cannot be treated with external medicine.
Now if you are really in a state of emergency, going to an Ayurvedic doctor will be a mistake. You go to him only when you have time to recover. In an emergency, Allopathy has better systems than any other. But when your problems are mild and you know they are evolving, Homeopathy, Ayurveda and other systems are very effective means of treatment.
Sadhguru: So what is so different about the medicines of an indigenous kind, which largely get labeled as Ayurveda?
Ayurveda comes from a different dimension, a different understanding of life. Whether it is Indian or not, it doesn’t matter; it is essential for human life. Ayurveda is an effective way of creating health.
A fundamental part of the Ayurvedic system is about an understanding that our bodies are an accumulation of what we gathered from the planet. The nature of the planet and of the five elements that make the planet are very much manifest in this physical body. If you want to handle this body in the most effective and productive way, it is very important that everything you do about this body has a relationship with the planet. So Ayurveda says that every root, every leaf, every tree bark found on this planet has medicinal value. Only a few we have learnt how to make use of this value. What this statement is trying to convey is, health is not something that falls upon you from the sky. Health is something that has to grow from within you, because the body is something that grows from within you. The input comes from the earth but it grows from within you.
So if you have a repair job to do, the best place to go is to the manufacturer, not to the local mechanic. This is the essence of Ayurveda. If we go deep enough into this, we begin to understand that this body is not an integrated thing, but a continuous process involving the earth upon which we walk.
Sadhguru: Siddha or Siddhavaidya is unique to Southern India, fundamentally Tamil Nadu. This dimension of medicine was opened up by Agastya Muni. When he noticed the kind of herbs that grow in the South, he thought about how these could be used. He created a very potent combination; some fantastic usage of material. It is unbelievable how Siddha works. In the Siddha system of medicine, the sages, realized beings and the Siddha doctors were not different. Always the sages practiced a certain amount of medicine because human health is an essential part of going ahead.
Siddha is very different from Ayurveda and I would say it is much closer to the body’s energy system than Ayurveda is. Ayurveda is more disease oriented, whereas Siddha is more health-oriented and simply about rejuvenation.
So the variety of what is available in Siddha may not be as wide a range as Ayurveda, because Ayurveda enters every disease. Siddha doesn’t enter the treatment of every disease. It is mainly about strengthening the inner sources of the body and activating the body in a certain way. At Isha, we have access to certain Siddha systems that are not normally available with other doctors who practice Siddha.
Isha Rejuvenation, located at the Isha Yoga Center, and Isha Arogya clinics, located in various cities in South India, are holistic health centers established by Sadhguru. Find out more about these centers from Sadhguru himself…
Sadhguru: The uniqueness of Isha Rejuvenation is that it is a treatment based on Siddha and Yoga. So, aren’t the yoga programs alone sufficient? When somebody has been ill for a long period of time, just a program may not be sufficient. They may need some more medical support. So we are offering traditional Siddha medicine.
But I still don’t want to turn this into a hospital where we are treating all kinds of ailments. This is more about rejuvenation. We do have a yogic hospital with patients but we make them work all day so that they don’t look like patients.
If anybody comes with a disease, the first thing I do is put them to work and cut down their food intake. They become healthy. That’s half the treatment. The other half, if they do yogic practices they are fine, you know? This works because 70% of human ailments are self-created. The remaining 30%, which is actual disease, needs to be handled differently. So the rejuvenation system is more about activating the energy system to a certain level where the body corrects itself.
The general attitude, intention and ambience of Isha Rejuvenation are not that of a spa. It is a more dedicated atmosphere. People may go to a spa just for pleasure. It’s not that you can’t enjoy this, it has a good ambience but here it is not just about pleasure. We are always seeing how to make a person fit enough to receive the spiritual possibility.
Sadhguru: This year we have opened three clinics called Isha Arogya in Chennai, Salem and a few other places. We are planning to take this to many more places. An Isha Arogya Hospital is coming up, which is a combination of many things.
At Isha Arogya, Siddhavaidya, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Yogic systems, Homeopathy and Allopathy, all six are practiced together at one place. The clinic is generally conducted by allopathic doctors because they are better trained for diagnosis in today’s world.
So people have been asking me, “Sadhguru, how can all these systems happen in one place?” I tell them, “See, I am not committed to any system. My commitment is to human health. You may be committed to Siddha, you may be committed to Allopathy, you may be committed to Ayurveda, but when a man is sick he wants health, he doesn’t care how.’’ Do you care how you should become healthy? When you’re not healthy you want health, you don’t care how it happens. So this combination of things has been working wonderfully. We have been experimenting with this for the past five to six years and now big things are happening. You should make use of it.