IF YOU EXPECT STORIES WHICH STARTS: "ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE WAS A PRINCESS..." STOP READING. HER HIGHNESS PRINCESS GOURI PARVATHI BAYI OF THE TRAVANCORE ROYAL FAMILY - IN HER "TALKS WITH ZUZANA ZWIEBEL" WILL INTRODUCE US VERY MODERN AND OPEN MINDED VIEW ON TODAY'S KERALA SOCIETY AND AYURVEDA.
The word Ayurveda means: Ayur – the essence of life; Veda - the treaties, so it deals basically with life. It is centuries old system of medicines in India. In the olden days, not only in the olden days such my Grandmother days, every house had something to do with ayurveda. Either they cultivated the plants or they used ayurvedic medicines. We had lot of ground to grow the plants. The people, who lived there, knew each plant.
THE TRAVANCORE ROYAL FAMILY is the ruling house of the Indian princely state of Travancore. They lost their ruling rights in 1949 when Travancore merged with the Indian Union and their privileges were abolished by the Indian Union in 1971 by a constitutional amendment. The Travancore Royalty could also considered descendants of the ancient Cheras, Ay-Venad, Pandya and Chola dynasties, due to consistent intermarriages with these lines over the centuries. The members of the family are based in Trivandrum, Kerala and are also the ones who keep alive the traditions and rituals of their ancient dynasty including the upkeep of the famous Sree Padmanabhaswami Temple.
Ayurveda god Dhavantari was a male form, but in Kerala we had matriarchal system in which the woman had lot of power. So things like treatment, which is a household matter really, was in the hands of the woman. Woman decided which way the family would go. My mother was personally very interested in ayurveda.
She had Ayurvedic physicians. From my childhood I remember at least four of them. The one was an employee of the palace. The others were consultants. The Ayurvedic physicians knew a lot, but much of it was transited by word of mouth. The problem with ayurveda came, because they did not write things down.
Ayurveda god Dhavantari was a male form, but in Kerala we had matriarchal system in which the woman had lot of power. So things like treatment, which is a household matter really, was in the hands of the woman. Woman decided which way the family would go.
My grandmother had a long book. It was like a notepad, but it was very long. I remember it. According to prescription - somewhere sundried, somewhere dried in the shade, somewhere dried with cloth – you never rubbed (she is showing it). It was always very gently mopped, so it is how it was done.
She was writing it: strained once at 9:30 in the morning, strained the second time at 11:30. It was all written down. In exact way, so you would not do any mistakes.
The process is same with the children’s diets. For example “curava” - the fresh raggi, you had to strained it very very carefully, because it had little red husk, which would give diarrhea and stomach pain to the newborn baby. It had to be strained six to seven times - fresh. She would supervise that. Then it would be strained, dried and powdered.
And some metallic components, it said how many times it had to be strained through a thin muslin cloth. If you go for a serious treatment, it must always be under the proper guidance.
Every form of healing and medicine has validity. Always. But we have not given enough thoughts; we have not studied it enough to see how these things work in the long run.
Very often - patient visits Marma Vaidyam, who does something - he gives him a medicine, and some “otamuli”, it means the single dose. And then, the patient goes away.
There is no follow up! You do not know what happened to the patient. Whether he recovered; in how many days he recovered; if the recovery was permanent or if he died. So follow up has not been very good.
I really would like to see a clinic, where all the arms of medicine are brought together. Because one can work for you, something else may work for me. Unfortunately, there is no ayurveda specialization in the hospital we support. (But there are few government ayurveda hospitals in Trivandrum).
I think ayurveda is very good for instance, if I have a pain in a knee or for any aches and pains - but it takes time! Short term, you cannot switch it off with the painkiller. Healing takes time, but the ayurvedic massages, the kashayam, the medicines; are very beneficial in the long term.
Read next chapter of THE TALK WITH PRINCESS GOURI Nº2: Ayurveda in Kerala
The Travancore Kingdom Royalty are considered the descendants of the Gods and ancient Cheras, Venad, Pandya and Chola dynasties, who brought the philosophy of ayurveda to the world.
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