Rishi Markandeya has said in Van Parva of Mahabharat that in the final phase of kaliyug ancient sciences of Yog and Ayurveda will be misrepresented and sold in the market for profits by businessmen having little or no experience of the real sciences. Anyone having even the slightest knowledge of these sciences would know that these sciences were intended for the benefit of creation and their results are perfect precise, that they were never sold off the shelf and also that any attempts to commercialise these practices renders them ineffective. A perfect example of the above is the real life story of Nirupma(name changed) who did more harm than good to herself by turning to a so-called Ayurvedic practitioner…
Nirupma at 63, suffered from borderline high sugar and cholesterol levels. A friend advised her to approach a doctor who claimed to be an Ayurvedic expert. Given the credibility and efficacy of the ancient Indian sciences, Nirupma found merit in the friend’s suggestion and acted upon her advice.
The ‘doctor’ prescribed certain medicines which he termed as bhasmas that were packaged and sold by a chemist right outside his clinic. A week later Nirupma observed a slight drop in her cholesterol levels and concluding that the medication was working revisited this doctor. The doctor increased the medication manifold.
Month and a half later, Nirupma developed severe stomach pain and acute diarrhoea. She told the Ayurvedic doctor about her symptoms who asked her to continue with medication as prescribed. When the pain did not subside, Nirupma was compelled to visit a senior doctor at a reputed private hospital. She told him of the symptoms but did not think it necessary to mention the medication she had been taking. The doctor conducted a series of tests, all of which came out to be normal leaving him baffled. By now Nirupma’s state had worsened and she needed someone to escort her to the hospital. So a close relative went with her to the doctor and while discussing her case, mentioned the Ayurvedic medication she had been taking. The doctor instantly caught on to that piece of information and advised a lead level test and asked her to be admitted to the hospital immediately for colon cleansing.
The causes of lead toxicity in India are limited – children acquire it from the toys painted with leaded paints and by chewing pencils and adults get it by working in industries that manufacture these products. In non-industrial workers, the only cause for lead poisoning was found to be Ayurvedic medicine prescribed by quacks like the one Nirupma visited, as confirmed by a senior doctor of Internal Medicine at PGI, Chandigarh.
Getting the tests done for lead toxicity itself was a challenge as the blood samples had to be sent to Mumbai and reports could only be obtained 4-5 days later…which confirmed lead poisoning. By then the lead in Nirupma’s blood had damaged the bone marrow, reducing the haemoglobin to critical levels and also causing possible damage to liver and brain. What is worse is that medicines available in our country for lead poisoning were termed as poison by the doctors who prescribed a medicine that was unavailable locally. After many efforts, the medicine was finally sourced from a manufacturer in USA. The reason why it was so difficult to find was apparent…it cost 2 lakhs for 2 bottles of the medicine, a dosage which lasted merely 15 days! By this time the hospital bill itself had run into a couple of lakhs, not to mention the ordeal of tests she underwent – MRI of the brain, 3D ultrasound of pelvic region as well as of the liver, 8 rounds of colon cleansing, countless blood tests and 4 days of being put on IV.
Post discharge, Nirpuma sent the Ayurvedic medications she was consuming for lead level tests…it was found to be more than 300 times the permissible levels!
This is not to say that Ayurvedic sciences are primitive or redundant or harmful, even till date there are vaids who can identify your disease by feeling your pulse and also cure you of things that modern medical science does not have a cure to, however such vaids are rare to find and do not sell Ayurvedic prescriptions off the shelf in a clinic. This is an appeal to the readers to be careful and to learn to distinguish real from fake and not fall into the trap of quacks like the one Nirupma came across. Ayurvedic bhasmas are extremely potent and preparing them is a long drawn and expensive process which involves chanting of mantras, purity of thought and will only bear results if the process to prepare them has been handed down by Guru as per ancient Guru-shishya parampara, without any commercial exchange. So please don’t select your vaids by watching television and do not buy Ayurvedic medicine from companies doing mass production through machines.
Guest Author: Tarun Sarin