The science behind the comic
Roots of Ayurveda
Chapter 5 ▾
The rise of Baba Ramdev
In June of 2011, a series of events unfolded in the capital city of New Delhi, India that riveted the attention of a global audience. The New Delhi police swept in under cover of darkness to break up an anti-corruption protest against the Indian federal government, killing at least one protester in the process. This action distantly echoed the interventions of police forces of the British empire during the Indian independence movement. At the center of this spectacle was the modern yoga guru Swami Ramdev, or “Baba Ramdev,” a rising star among the spiritual and political elite in India, whose agitation against corruption and so-called “black money” had captured the nation’s imagination. The crowds were dispersed quickly and Swami Ramdev was eventually arrested by the police. Though it may have been viewed as a tactical success for the police forces, it quickly became clear that the move was a political miscalculation, only bringing further validation to Ramdev’s claims of government corruption and further tarnishing the government’s reputation. It also resulted in the establishment of the image of Swami Ramdev as the embodiment of the Indian—and perhaps even Gandhian—spirit, and, suddenly, Ramdev became the spokesperson for a broad swath of the Indian population. The police may well have won the battle, but they clearly lost the public relations war. Commentators from within India and from around the globe questioned the actions of the police and brought considerable media attention to Ramdev and his cause. The situation that played out capped a series of events that have elevated Swami Ramdev to a position of preeminent spiritual and moral authority in India, bringing the discourses and practices of yoga into the mainstream of Indian society and global consciousness in unprecedented ways. The rise of Swami Ramdev as a paragon of modern yoga, and as a modern yoga “revolutionary,” represents the culmination of the projects of many of the key Indian yoga gurus over the past century. His movement links together the principle of yoga as a vehicle for public health with the mass performance of yoga as an integral praxis of Indian nationalism, ultimately aiming to simultaneously bring about the health of the individual and the health of the entire nation. His success in the public sphere is rooted in his large-scale mass-media yoga campaign and the success of his Āyurvedic products, which together have provided the cultural and economic capital for him to become a major voice and agent for change in Indian society. Yoga has long been iconic of Indian spirituality, even if only practiced by a small minority of the population. The efforts of Swami Ramdev may well bring the popularity of the practice of yoga into parity with its iconic status, bringing it into the living rooms of middle class India on an unprecedented scale, with an eye to its ultimate dissemination across the globe.
Introduction to Swami Ramdev: Modern Yoga Revolutionary
Stuart Ray Sarbacker, Oregon State University
Continue reading here: https://www.academia.edu/21198848/Swami_Ramdev_Modern_Yoga_Revolutionary
Chapter 4 ▾
On perfecting the body: Rasāyana in Sanskrit medical literature
by Dr Dagmar Wujastyk, University of Alberta in Canada - University of Vienna.
Rasāyana or rejuvenation therapy has become one of the most successful areas of modern and global forms of Ayurveda: Rasāyana formulations are among the bestselling products of the multi-billion-dollar ayurvedic pharmaceutical industry with burgeoning sales in an expanding global market. Rasāyana treatments are offered both in and outside of India in clinics, spas and wellness centres, the scope and duration of treatments ranging from brief spa treatments to more extensive courses of treatment undertaken in the context of retreats or sanatoria. Explanations for what these treatments offer and what rasāyana therapy is vary, with rasāyanas miscellaneously defined as "wonder drugs", "longevity tonics", "metabolic stabilizers", "energizers", "anti-aging supplements or foods" or "adaptogens" . They are said to "increase natural immunity", make "new again, restoring one's youthful state of physical and mental health as well as expanding our state of happiness", or to establish "wellness in the body by releasing emotional tension and physical discomfort" . Most explanations emphasize the rejuvenating or anti - aging effects of rasāyana drugs and treatments and their positive influence on overall health and wellbeing . With all the differences in detail on what exactly can be achieved through rasāyana therapy, the general consensus seems to be that one can expect moderate or even marked improvements in one's health, wellbeing, and happiness through rasāyana therapy or through the intake of rasāyana drugs. There is some hyperbole, but expectations concerning the potential benefits of rasāyana do not seem too exaggerated and are often centered on the experiental effects of treatments. Confirming Zimmermann's(1992) observations on the modern emphasis on gentle elements in Ayurveda, the rather mild expectations on rasāyana therapy are complemented by equally mild therapies, abbreviated and somewhat softened variations of the ancient procedures they are derived from.
It may come as no big surprise that both expectations on rasāyana therapies, and the methods employed in them have significantly changed since the times they were first described in the classical ayurvedic treatises some 2000 years ago . The earliest medical sources to describe rasāyana therapies in detail, the Carakasamhitā and Suśrutasaṃhitā, outline complex, time - consuming and costly procedures that would place the patient under a considerable amount of physical and psychological strain . These therapies would not have been undertaken lightly and it seems unlikely that they were often attempted . However, the same works also describe alternatives to these procedures that would make use of the same recipes but eshew the more costly and difficult aspects of treatment. Perhaps these could be understood as the true forerunners of modern rasāyana treatments rather than the more extensive ones At the same time, it is very striking how much even the oldest ayurvedic works differ from each other in their approaches to rasāyana . We encounter in them a great diversity in the stated aims of the treatments, in the choice of raw ingredients, in the specific benefits ascribed to certain substances, in the methods of their application, and in their combination in recipes or the ways in which raw materials would be processed before being used as components of rasāyana formulations .
picture credits: http://www.ayuryog.org/
Chapter 3 ▾
Connecting the Threads: The Convergence of Yoga and Ayurveda from 1900 - Present
Dr. Suzanne Newcombe
One of the major aims of the AYURYOG project is to explore the entanglements of yoga and Ayurveda . As a resource to visualise these entanglements in the twentieth century, I am pleased to present an < a href = 'http://ayuryog.org/timeline' target = '_blank' > interactive timeline of key events linked to the entanglement of yoga and Ayurveda from the colonial period to the present .
Over the course of the colonial and post - colonial period, yoga and Ayurveda appear to shift from being largely distinct traditions, to becoming unified under an independent Ministry of AYUSH(Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) in 2014.
However, in the early twentieth century, the yogic philosophy and the techniques of āsana, prāṇāyāma and kriyas are absent from most descriptions of the theory and techniques of Ayurveda.
continue reading this article on AYURYOG’s blog
Chapter 2 ▾
"Modern Ayurveda" is understood to be geographically set in the Indian subcontinent and to commence with the processes of professionalization and institutionalization brought about in India by what has been called the nineteenth - century revivalism of Ayurveda . Modern Ayurveda is characterized by a tendency toward the secularization of ayurvedic knowledge and its adaptation to biomedicine, and at the same time by attempts to formulate a unitary theory based on doctrines found in the classical ayurvedic texts .
“Global Ayurveda”, on the other hand, refers to ayurvedic knowledge that has been transmitted to geographically widespread areas outside of India . Here we may differentiate three broad “lineages” of ayurvedic globalization: the first is characterized by a focus on the ayurvedic pharmacopoeia, beginning with the dissemination of ayurvedic botanical and pharmaceutical lore in the sixteenth century. The study of ayurvedic pharmacopoeia has developed into a full - blown scientific discipline as well as into a hugely profitable pharmaceutical industry in a global market. In line with the ideologies of modern Ayurveda, interest groups concerned with ayurvedic pharmacopoeia stress the “scientific” bases of Ayurveda and promote a secularized discipline stripped of its religious and spiritual connotations .
The second lineage of global Ayurveda is identified in the more recent trend of a globally popularized and acculturated Ayurveda, which tends to emphasize and reinterpret, if not reinvent, the philosophical and spiritual aspects of Ayurveda . This type of Ayurveda has been dubbed “New Age Ayurveda”(…) New Age Ayurveda is particularly prominent in the United States, and increasingly in Northern Europe . Furthermore, it has been reimported into India in the shape of “wellness” tourism that caters both to foreign tourists and urban, middle -class Indians(…)
A third, independent line of global Ayurveda originated in the context of the then - new scholarly discipline of Indic Studies in the early nineteenth century, when Orientalist scholars began to take interest in ayurvedic literature . While the first scholarly documentation on Indian medicine in the form of botanical encyclopedias was not concerned with the conceptual framework of Ayurveda, these scholars were interested in preserving, or even reviving, knowledge of Ayurveda as a historical and philological discipline . Spurred by the notion of a second renaissance inspired by an Indian antiquity, they set out to discover the roots of Indian medicine, printing and translating the medical texts and writing summaries of their contents .
Source: Modern and Global Ayurveda: Pluralism and Paradigms: by Dagmar Wujastyk, Frederick M. Smith
Chapter 1 ▾
Entangled Histories of Yoga, Ayurveda and Alchemy in South Asia
The Ayuryog project examines the histories of yoga, ayurveda and rasaśāstra(Indian alchemy and iatrochemistry) from the tenth century to the present, focusing on the disciplines' health, rejuvenation and longevity practices. The goals of the project are to reveal the entanglements of these historical traditions, and to trace the trajectories of their evolution as components of today's global healthcare and personal development industries .
Dagmar Wujastyk presenting her project at the University of Vienna in August, 2017