-By Dr. Modanath Prashrit
How long is the relation of Ayurveda & Nepal?
The relation of Nepal & Ayurveda is as long as the 'Rig-Veda' which is the eldest book of this subcontinent. The proofs of this fact are ' Rig-Veda' & the ancient book of Ayurveda themselves. In 'Regveda' the founder of Ayurveda i.e. Ashwini Kumar, Bhardwag, Aatraya etc are stated in many places and since the date they had their intimacy to Nepal. Ayurveda itself is related to Rigveda. In Charak Samhita, which is a famous ancient book of Ayurveda, it is motioned that for the search & development of Ayurveda there held a conference on the side of Himalaya where different famous ancient Seer were present. ( Sutrasthan 6-13).
Ashwin kumar, Bhardwaj, Astraya etc were present in that conference. Not only this, the above statement of Charak Samhita also declares that the persons famous in Regveda like Bashista, Bishwamitra, Gautam, Agastya etc were also participated that search conference.
These two facts prove that the relation of Nepal & Ayurveda dated at least 4,000 years back. Furthermore, these two statements also prove that the foundation, search & development of Ayurveda were started on this Himalayan belt.
In Vedic literature and ancient religious books like 'Purans', the region of present Nepal was called Himalayan region or 'Himwat Khanda'. Since that time, Himal, Ayiurveda, and Nepal has been related strongly to one another.
The continuation of this tradition:
The relation from Rigveada era & its continuation in also proved by the descriptions of the Buddha & the Kaytilya. The deported ancestors of Buddha by a North Indian King Okkar came and settled down on northern side of the Kapilvastu, before many generation of Buddha's time. This is a famous story on history. Among these deported, the eldest daughter named Piya ( Amrita) was suffered from leprosy. At the same time, a king of Kashi was also suffered form this disease and handed over his duty to his son & went to the isolated areas of Kapilvastu. Both of these were cured of the diseases by a herbal medicine 'Kol'. Both became healthy & beautiful; they got married. They cut down the jungle of Kol and cultivated the area. The offspring were become famous as "Kolia Kabila". (Aarthakatha: Mahakavi Buddhaghosh).
Gautam Buddha himself was a reputed doctor of Ayurveda. There are many descriptions found that wherever he went he treated the patients by the local herbal medicine.
'Kautilya Arthasastra' of third century B.C. also describes the herbal remedies that had been imported to India through Nepal. In third century BC, the Jain Sage Bhadrabahu also came to Nepal for Yoga in the cave on the side of Himalya and he used his efficiency in researching herbal medicines. At that time, about 500 Sages and other personnel of Jain society came to Nepal and they carried off a number of medicines that had been founded out by Bhadrabahu. This is a famous story of Jain literature.
That tradition of Ayurveda medicine has been going on in Nepal. There are many proofs that the system was quite famous in Malla & Lichhibi era of Nepalese history. The history of Shimhadurbar Vaidhyakhana extends back to King Pratap Malla (1642-75 AD) of Malla Era. This system of tradition has been extended to many generations till now.
The 'Chandra Nighantu' that covers the wide range of Ayurveda knowledge in its large 10 texts- present in Shimhadurbar Vaidhyakhana today- is also a milestone to explain the depth and longevity of the relation of Nepal to Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is not only a 'knowledgeable resource' but also an 'economic resource'.
The reason why Nepalese people are under poverty and why should they go to the foreign country for their livings is due to their inability to develop their traditional knowledge given by their ancestors and inability to utilize their valuable resources. Agriculture, water resources, tourism, minerals etc are the possibilities of Nepal to its development. But there is a need of modernized knowledge, research and a much stronger economy for their development. But, a notifiable fact is that, we have Ayurveda, herbal plants and the medicine system based on long practised since thousand of years with more than thousand years study, use and experiment. With the best efforts of government, industrialists and concerned experts, we can develop it worldwide with lesser investment and shorter time duration.
Our water resources are mainly related to Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Though we can export our drinking water to many other countries, hydro-electricity can be distributed not more than that of India, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Tourism, in fact, is a business from exterior. There is lack of mineral resources so as to develop and export them worldwide. In addition Agricultural and veterinary resources to export in significant amount are also impracticable in Nepal. So the resource that is present in large amount and will never finish exporting worldwide even in future generation is the knowledge of Ayurveda and herbal medicine.
Though Nepal is a small country, it is a motherland of different people of different cast, tradition, religion etc. it is also rich in geographical diversity. It has extending from east to west, Himalayas, Mahabharata range, Cure range and Terai with diversified climate and soil. So, it possesses wide variety of knowledge and practice regarding herbal medicine. The various branches of Arya, Mongol, Astrick (Nigro) and Dravid roots comprising various casts, sub-casts etc are in Nepal from all four continents of the world. Moreover, all these varieties of human population have gathered a significant amount of knowledge about herbal medicine and related therapy in Nepal. It will be very difficult not to meet a person in any corner of Nepal who can not say a herbal medicine and a disease that can be cured by that herb. There are still thousands of traditional 'Vaidhya' and 'Aamchi' in Nepal who can recognize thirty/fifty or more herbal remedies and some diseases they can cure.
Nepalese People have more knowledge than the classical Ayurveda Textbooks.
After visiting the different 'Vaidyas' in different parts of the country, it seemed that the traditional 'Vaidyas' are being using and practicing more herbs than those text books of Ayurveda.
The knowledge acquired by the research, use and thousands of years practice after the origin of classical books of Ayurveda; if used collectively with wide research, will seem to be a praiseworthy contribution for the development of Ayurveda in Nepal.
If we enter into the world market by analyzing and relating with modern technology, manufacturing and management, it will be the largest industrial region for Nepal and will raise its glory like Mount Everest.
Why to use expensive Treatment system.
Any person who is suffering form chronic sinusitis or Gastritis has to go hospital, nursing home or private clinics for many tests and findings for months or years and spending thousands of rupees. Moreover, he has to take many dangerous medicines for months, years or more. Nowadays, the Allopathic treatment system is so expensive that one has to sell his buffalo or ox or a peice of land to be cured of his disease. But, on the other hand, thousands of valuable herbs are being wasting everyday, every season. They germinate, grow up, dry off and decay every year. If we go to the green jungle and look around our hundred steps, there will be definitely 20-30 herbs.
I have got some opportunities while on journey form Kathmandu to Narayanghat to share my knowledge about medicinal herbs present on the side of the road on traffic jam. If you have got an opportunity to walk with Late Narahari Nath, he would have identified you more or less hundred medicinal herbs within one kilometer range.
There are many herbs capable of curing any kind of disease in our country. It is obvious that proper treatment of the diseases like Cancer, AIDS etc and those need surgery in not possible by this traditional knowledge but almost 90% of diseases can be cured by the doctors or practitioner of Ayurveda with the locally available, fresh, cheap and affordable medicinal herbs present here and there in our country. If the government pays some special attention and support; University, Ayurveda Hospital, Ayurveda doctors and traditional practitioner develop a champion for the development of Ayurveda, 50,000 trained middle health manpower can be prepared. There will be 12 herbalists for each Village Development Committee. They will grow herbs in their own farm and will collect herbs form their own forest. People will take advantage of the fresh, cheap and locally available herbs in any ailment; furthermore, they can cultivate the herbs in large amount to export internationally.
How much to increase foreign debt?
Nepal, at present, is spending billions of rupees to import expensive allopathic medicine and much expensive equipments and technology. In addition, billion of rupees need to prepare such manpower and the ratio of expenditure in increasing yearly. The foreign debt is also piled up day by day. It is obvious that for the diseases that can not be cured by our own technology and manpower (e.g. Incurable by our own treatment system, those that need complicated surgical procedure etc.), for the study, research, and experiments of severe disease; investment must be done by the country. In spite of the possibilities of production of affordable, locally available medicine by our own technology by our own manpower, our master-plan gives emphasis only on the expensive exported system. They not only ignore all these possibilities, but also say "Ayurveda is a bullock-cart and Allopathy is a rocket". This quotation is not said by other than so called reputed health minister of our country. It is the sentence of evaluation; how farsighted is our leadership?
They not only ignore the manpower that are serving the nation with their full effort by local herbs but also ignore the production of qualitative Ayurveda exports and establishment of industrialize plants relating Ayurveda. Theses all are in the opposite of welfare of both nation and people. This creates a vast gap between wealthy and poor people; this type of policy, on one hand provides the service only for the 'well-to-do' and expels the poor for death and on other hand forces the nation to submerge the lake of debt. That is why changes should be done in the 'Health Policy' that ignores the problem of most people and forces the nation in debt.
The Himalayan herbs or the things of world's attraction:
How people are attracted by the herbs of the Himalaya rather than the herbs of India or Terai region of Nepal ? Why the seer like Balmiki, Vedvays, and great poet Kalidas wrote the Himalaya as the resource of great medicine? Why European researcher concluded that the Himalayan herbs are more potent? Why the herbal companies give emphasis on "Himali herb" while giving an advertisement? What is the specific quality that is related to the 'Himalayan herbs'?
These questions are really important and draw our attention on an extraordinary quality of herbs of Nepal. According to Ayurveda,-" The medicine of that place is the best where the patient has born (is living)". The health related personnel of all specificity accept in one voice that the Himalayan drugs possess especial potency or quality. There is specific logic for that. Any person dealing with ' Apple business' says the apples from Jumla, Kashmir or Marpha (Mustang) are more preferable. This is an example of the geographical and climatic impacts on the potency of the products where they originate. Our Himalayan range is the highest of all in the world and it faces to the south so that it receives plenty of sunlight. These two facts impact on quality of the Himalayan herbs and are famous for their potency from ancient period.
If the Himalayan region and the nearby hilly regions are cultivated profoundly with the herbal medicine and thus grown products are marketed worldwide in their different shapes and forms, our nation and the people of the world will be benefited.