The Story of Chyawan Rishi and Ayurveda’s Most Important Concoctions (quoted from Padma Purana & Bhavishya Purana)
Chyawan Rishi was the son of Rishi Bhrigu and his wife Puloma. After imbibing the necessary teachings from his father Bhrigu, Chyawan ventures into the forest to embark upon a penance (tap) for further enlightenment. Many decades pass in this penance; the Rishi remains rooted to his spot, unmoving, in a state of super-consciousness. A tall, conical anthill forms around the Rishi enveloping him completely; all that is visible is an anthill with 2 holes in the exact spots of the Rishi’s 2 eyes. The energy and glow of penance radiate through his closed eyes thus preventing any obstruction forming before his eyes.
Into this same forest comes Princess Sukanya with her entourage. Sukanya is 16 years old, and is the daughter of King Sharyaati and has come for a ride through this ancient forest with her group of friends. Walking along the forest tracks, Sukanya chances upon the anthill that has formed over Chyawan Rishi; she is fascinated by the size of the anthill, and the glowing rays that are emitting from 2 holes towards the top. After scrutinizing the anthill from all angles, curiosity gets the better of her, and she picks up a stick and probes it into the 2 holes to try and gauge the source of the light rays. Little does she know that she has probed the stick into the Rishi’s eyes; blood starts oozing from the eye holes, the penance of Rishi Chyawan is broken, and he emerges from the anhill with a blood curdling shriek.
The Rishi breaks the anthill and rises to stand to his full height; blood is oozing from his eyes, and he realizes he has been blinded. Sukanya realizes what she has done and faints in fear. Her father, King Sharyaati is hurried to the forest to take control of the situation. When Sharyaati arrives in the forest, and is face to face with Chyawan Rishi, he realizes that this is no mean situation; the Rishi has just awakened with the full power of his decades-long penance and is just about to unleash the wrath of his curses on the King, his daughter and his kingdom. Sharyaati goes down on his knees, confesses his daughter’s crime, begs forgiveness and in a final bid to appease the angry sage, he offers his erring daughter, Sukanya’s hand in marriage to Chyawan Rishi. The sage accepts and forgives.
Sukanya begins her married life with Chyawan, and serves him with acceptance and dedication. Chyawan is pleased with her commitment to him, and requests a son from her. Sukanya agrees, but voices her reluctance to make love to an aged Rishi with all bodily signs of old age from graying hair to wrinkled skin to creaking joints, while she herself is only in the youth of 16 years. The blind sage understands and asks her for a year’s time.
Chyawan takes to penance again and propitiates the celestial physicians/doctors, the Ashwini Kumar(s) – [always in plural, as they are the twin sons of Surya***]. The Ashwini Kumar(s) descend to earth and urge the sage to ask for a boon. Rishi Chyawan asks for a prescription to restore youth to the human body. The Ashwini Kumar(s) relent, grant the sage his youth and his eyesight, and also leave behind the requested prescription along with a seed, for the benefit of all humanity in the ages to come.
Rishi Chyawan, in all his youthful splendor, returns to wife Sukanya. Then, he plants the seed received from the Ashwini Kumar(s) and vows to spend the rest of his life in research of Ayurveda so that he can restore health and youth to humanity.
The seed takes root, blossoms into a tree, flowers and delivers its divine fruits. This divine fruit documented in the Ayurveda is the Indian Gooseberry or Amla. Working on the various permutations and combinations of the usage of the Amla fruit, Chyawan Rishi pens the most intricate and sought after chapters in Ayurveda – the chapters dedicated to youth and health. Chyawan’s most famous invention the `Chyawanprash’, in its undistorted prescription is said to comprise 80% of the extract, juices and pulp of the Amla fruit in addition to other additives.
Chyawan Rishi also formulated and documented the benefits of Ayurveda’s most favored prescriptions – Amla choorna (dried amla in powdered form) and Triphala choorna (an equal proportion of the 3 fruits of Amla, Haritaki (Harad), Bibhitaki/Vibhitaka (Baheda) in powdered form.
In the Yauvan (youth) Samhita chapters of Ayurveda, Chyawan Rishi mentions in his treatise that youth is recognized from the “backward arch of its back, and the inward arch of its abdomen…”; he also states that when both these arches begin to lose their defined shape, then one can presume that aging has set in. When bones become porous and lose their density, the shape of spine and joints change; and when vata, pitha and kapha are disturbed from their natural balance, gastric imbalances set in, and increase the girth of the abdomen. These disturbances then lead to sagging skin and graying hair, thus completing the onset of the aging process.
Chyawan Muni’s prescription for youth and health/Triphala:-
Chyawan Rishi’s prescription of Triphala choorna entails taking Triphala in its powdered form, whipped in a little bit of water, and swallowed. Triphala by no means has an acceptable taste, but that is the least of all mentions. In Ayurvedic texts, it is a divine concoction, and taste is not an important parameter.
- Triphala is recommended for:- toning of the gastro-intestinal tract, toning of the colon, curing constipation, and systematic removal of residual waste matter and toxins, intestinal cleansing, digestive balance, better food assimilation, serum cholesterol balance, better blood circulation, bile duct opening, sluggish peristalsis reduction, headaches reduction, uterine health, respiratory health, kidney health, liver health, cardio vascular health and hemorrhoids.
- Triphala starts its regeneration process by purging the system of toxins, beginning with intestinal toxins. Triphala’s most immediate effect will be to induce evacuation of toxins from the system. The accumulation of toxins in the body will determine the number of evacuations the body makes, after every dosage of Triphala.
- Sometimes, when the intestinal tract is clogged with toxins, and Triphala cannot push the toxins further down the tract, then it induces vomiting. Vomiting purges the body of excess phlegm and acids, and this will automatically loosen the intestinal tract muscles (phlegm/acids constrict muscles) for evacuation with the next round of Triphala powder.
- The after-effects of Triphala are an indicator of the level of body toxins. The higher the after-effects, the higher the toxins. As the body cleanses itself of accumulated toxins, the after-effects of Triphala will periodically reduce to the point that finally the body will absorb all the components in Triphala with no side-effects. That is the physician’s benchmark that your body is relatively toxins-free.
- A continued dosage of Triphala after you have reached the point of no side-effects, then Triphala will divert its components to work on excess body fat starting with the intestines; the visible effect will be on the abdomen and stomach region. Burning excess body fat with Triphala is not an instant process, but it is as sure as the process of Triphala’s detoxification. Triphala will have to enter the body’s fat cells, agitate and aggravate the layers of accumulated fat to open up, break the fat into smaller portions, and then burn them systematically. Slow but sure. The Amla component of Triphala nourishes bones, hair and skin. This will systematically restore strength to bones and joints; luster and glow to skin and hair; and the texts promise that the Amla component can actually reverse grey to black in hair cells. Maybe the Vedic texts did not account for modern day pollution, pollutants and free radical cell damage, but rest assured, that if started at an early age, the graying process will not occur or at least greatly delayed to a ripe old age.
Chyawan Muni’s prescription for youth and health/Amla:-
- Triphala is known for its agitating, aggravating and purgative effect on body cells and tissues. Till the body gets used to and accepts the inputs, Triphala can have a disturbing effect on both the taste buds and the body, with its detoxification properties. So, for those who would like to start off on a milder prescription, with more or less same effects and minus the drastic after-effects of Triphala, it is recommended to start with pure powdered Amla. Amla is tastier, milder, with same effects but shows its effect over a slightly longer duration period than Triphala.
- To emphasize the regenerative effect of Amla, I will need to quote my personal usage experience and results following the use.
- Roughly between 2000 to 2006, which can be described as the most intense phase of my infertility treatment, I suffered from multiple ailments: Multiple allergic conditions like asthma, rhinitis, sensitive skin; ENT and lung conditions like recurring inflammations of the ear passage, complete blockage of the nasal passage, inflammation of the throat and upper respiratory tract, reduced lung function; stomach conditions like inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract, erosion of stomach tissues. Added to this, constant pressure on abdominal muscles on account of recurring asthmatic and gastric attacks led to weakening of bladder muscles leading to attacks of incontinence and severe backaches in the lower-middle back region. Add to this an ongoing process of fertility treatment, procedures and medications (as doctors were not willing to compromise on time) – and I think the system headed for a complete breakdown. The permutations and combinations of medications (for every detailed ailment + infertility) to be taken, so that one prescription did not hamper the effects of another lead to a monstrosity of research that turned me into part-medical practitioner in my own right.
- Every research, every experiment, more or less led to a similar conclusion – that almost every possible drug for any possible ailment will hamper the effectiveness of specialized fertility medications. That pushed me to a wall every time. If I gave up on other medications, the system would collapse and fertility treatment would automatically be rendered impossible. If I continued with other medications, the doctors would take no guarantee for success of fertility treatment. And doctors and medical science pretty much failed to come up with alternatives in my case; try and balance both was all they had to say.
- Somewhere in the midst, or perhaps towards the end of this trying period, I started my self-prescribed experiments with alternate therapies. I got to the root of Homeopathy and Ayurveda. Going to practitioners was not an option with me, I tried all of that, but their miniscule non-existent drug dosages and the long time frame that went with it pushed me back by several months after each visit. So I got the texts and studied them. I managed to get hold of old volumes of homeopathic texts from an equally old, customer-friendly shop of Dr.Reckeweg’s German formulations in Bangalore. I would study, make notes, go back and ask for formulations and tinctures; combine them according to my ailments and consume them. I confirmed beyond doubt that unless taken in disastrous quantities, homeopathic prescriptions are incapable of causing serious side-effects.
- There was one thing I discovered about my body during allopathic treatment, that my body needs and only responds to much higher doses than the prescribed normal. I observed doctors upping the doses of my inhalers, my antibiotics, my antacids, and practically every other drug (including specialized fertility drugs) that I was taking; then the results would show. I used that information and sometimes doubled, tripled and even quadrupled the doses of my homeopathic drugs than what was suggested in volumes. It worked. I saw visible reductions in the symptoms of my various ailments, and noticeable reduction in the use of allopathic drugs; body was also responding better to fertility drugs. Then I encountered a new roadblock – the cost of homeopathic formulations, and especially those imported from Germany which I preferred for their potency and efficacy, was monumental. On a household that runs on 1 salary, the monthly cost of medical experiments was almost equal to the monthly cost of specialized fertility treatment. That was neither practical nor acceptable.
- That was when I shifted gears to Ayurveda. Ayurveda was definitely more affordable but infinitely more cumbersome. Compared to the small vials of Homeopathic formulations that I could pop into my handbag, carrying sachets of different powders and tablets of Ayurveda to be taken at different intervals was depressing and more so, impractical. Ayurveda was also a series of self-induced experiments as practitioners now bored me. I saw results, good results, but working on a body that is high on internal toxins meant that very often the body would reject the taste and texture of the medicine and throw up. It wore my patience out. Then somewhere towards the fag end of my patience, and just before I gave, I chanced upon an old volume dedicated exclusively to Amla, given to me by a benevolent shopkeeper. The text was in Hindi; if reading the fine printed text was tiresome then translating the language’s nuances, description of anatomy and its varied explanations was utterly draining. Google bailed me out. Finally, I decided to give Amla a try.
- I formulated my dosage and consumed a tablespoon of Amla powder whipped into a glass of hot water every 1 hours. Ridiculously high dosage people warned me but I persisted. After 3 months and 3 kilograms of consumed Amla powder, my ailments were down to half their intensity; another 2 months and 2 kilograms of Amla, doctors were amazed with my new test reports. Stomach ulcers healed, stomach lining regenerated with fresh tissue, no inflammation anywhere in the gastro-intestinal tract, no backaches, reductions in inches around the stomach that made my gynos very happy, I came down to 2 inhalers from 4, and no inflammations in the ear-nose-throat region. What remained were asthma, rhinitis and infertility. It made the perusal of the remainder of my fertility treatment fairly manageable. I made a slight mistake though; had I persisted with my obsession for Amla for a while longer, I may have succeeded in naturally regenerating my uterine tissues also, who knows. But my urge to make up for lost time made me choose specialized fertility treatment and there I was strictly advised to do away with every other alternate therapy till the complete duration of the treatment; which I did. Well, I gave it my best shot, but as they say, God always holds the final results.
- But to close the point I set out to make – Chyawan Rishi’s Amla therapy works. And how!
*** The story of Ashwini Kumar(s), twin sons of Surya – maybe next time.
5/1/2012 11:12:14 PM