RESUME: AYURVEDA (and everything else)
“The physician does not learn everything he must know and master from a high college alone. From time to time he must consult old women, gypsies, magicians, wayfarers and all manner of peasant folk and random people and learn from them, for these people have more knowledge about such things than all the high colleges.”
What exactly would a physician learn from 'all manner of peasant folk and random people?' I don't think Paracelsus was referring to mere technical information and tidbits of know-how. I believe he was talking about understanding and how to effectively interpret, apply and use (medical) knowledge as a whole. He was pointing to the understanding of the eternal principles of how life really works. He was talking about a proper grasp of the law of karma and how to use that insight in creating health and not just treating disease. If the physician does not know whether he should treat the symptom or remove the cause, if he thinks he is curing a tree by lopping off diseased branches instead of also changing something at the root of that tree, he is operating on an incorrect understanding of the Law of Karma itself and cannot truly help people. In fact, he could end up hurting more than helping which is exactly what is going on in America today where the third leading cause of death, after cancer and heart disease, is iatrogenic disease, or treatment by a doctor!
Indeed, what is going on in the west today is diametrically opposed to what we (originally) would go to a doctor for, our health . . . and these figures are put out by JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association! It seems that most modern-day MD's are not steering by the right star; they have a warped approach to the law of karma (one must define and remove the cause not just define a disease and treat the symptoms with drugs and surgery). Without a proper approach to health and disease; they cannot apply the great information and knowledge of what they do know; how else could such a terrible situation (treatment by a doctor becoming the 3rd leading cause of death) arise? Certainly, this fact, demonstrates they are doing something wrong;
Western medicine has tremendous knowledge and extraordinary machines and technology, they can replace someone's heart that has gone bad and sew a limb back together with a body, joining muscles, nerves and arteries, but they do not know how to create health. They know how to suppress or remove symptoms, but, 'How to create health,' is a story they have not yet heard. They do not believe or understand that the best way to 'fight disease' is to bring about health; what they primarily know is how to remove or suppress symptoms.
Because doctors have not understood nature, the Law of Karma, their own life and have received a specialized education, they often cannot make sense of the stories and elemental symptoms of their patients. Dr. Howard Brody, a family physician, wrote, ". . . stories are how people make sense of what's happening to them when they get sick; they tell stories about themselves. Our ability as doctors to treat and heal is bound up in our ability to accurately perceive a person's story. If you can’t do that, you’re working with one hand tied behind your back.” Stories take into account all types and sorts of things and forces, emotions, seasons, locations, times of day, tastes, combinations, dynamics, etc.
It takes a very well-educated person, a comprehensivist, not a specialist, to most fully understand their own or another person's story. Carl Jung, because of his years-long study of the myths and stories of many cultures, 'discovered' meaning in the lives of his patients and their dreams as well as his own life; he found it in myths and fairytales, the collective knowledge of mankind, not just the personal stories of his patients. He found it in the collective unconscious, not just the personal unconscious. Jung found the images in people's dreams were produced in universally, cross-culturally recurring, amazingly similar patterns and symbols of myths that have been told for thousands of years in many civilizations. As he recognized these stories occurring in people's lives and dreams, he realized that his own story as well as the story of the person he was consulting; the story had far deeper roots and meaning than what could be understood from the experiences of just one civilization, one family dynamic and one present lifetime; Jung attended to those roots and found a greater story.
Jung's recognition of 'archetypal depth' gave direction to the education and experiences I sought for myself; not merely to read the news and hear the stories of the events, people, songs and books of our present-day and age, but to learn the tales of cultures past and present; of myths, religions, histories, and mysteries, and to tell them as well, and for that, one needs a lot of experience, to have made a lot of mistakes and been blessed with extremely good teachers; this is the scent of what I am following, what I seek and hope to create and share.
I have been involved with Vedic Studies for over 50 years. I was initiated as a Teacher of Transcendental Meditation in 1972 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and taught TM for many years, including giving the first lectures to the US Army and the Strategic Air Command.
I originally wanted to become a renunciate monk, but Maharishi told me my energy was already, 'udhvaretas' or upward flowing and that I should serve others in this life without outward renunciation. He instructed me to get a degree in Vedic Studies and then return to him. This was in the early 70’s, and I was graced to find several good professors in the United States, including Raimundo Pannikar, the well-known Vedic scholar at UCSB. I studied Sanskrit and hermeneutics for several years and in 1976 received a scholarship to study with Buckminster Fuller. I later obtained a BA in Religious Studies from UCSB in 1978 with honors, specializing in Hinduism and Buddhism.
In 2004, I completed my Ayurvedic formal studies in India with Dr. Sunil Joshi, a world-renowned Ayurvedic Physician and Panchakarma Specialist. There, I received my Ayurvedic Sadhana Padavika Diploma from Kalidas Sanskrit University of the State of Maharashtra, India – the first such program for Westerners ever offered by an Indian University.
I have heard and read the stories of the epics, myths and Logos. I am a comprehensivist, not a specialist and everything I know is intimately connected with everything else. I write and talk on a variety of topics such as Ayurveda, Yoga Philosophy, Eastern and Western philosophy, Tantric Tibetan Buddhism, world mythology, Buckminster Fuller, the Bhagavad-Gita, Vedanta, Advaita, Kabir, Rumi, Adi Da, Ramana Maharshi, eastern and western history and a wide range of other topics. I am familiar with the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and know many of the commentaries and stories that play such a large role in Indian culture and philosophy. Because of the many rivers of knowledge and experiences I have bathed in,
I have been baptized in many waters of the world
both ancient and modern.
In 2006, I was hired by an Ayurvedic Herb company to travel around the United States and present Introductory talks and classes on Ayurveda.
I created a Keynote movie/ slideshow: Introduction to Ayurveda, that I used to give courses on Ayurveda to Yoga Teacher training courses in the United States.
I made a documentary on the great poet-saint Kabir that has been shown publicly and have published many articles and stories for magazines such as Light on Ayurveda,
LA Yoga, Yogi Times, Yoga Journal and the Point Reyes Light. I have written several books on a variety of topics.
In 2011 I came to India and lived in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, near the Ramana Maharshi Ashram during the winter months, where I taught Ayurveda and gave Ayurvedic consultations. During the summer months (March - November), when it became too hot for me to live in South India, I traveled north to a small one-room cottage in the Himalayas up above Old Manali, Himachal Pradesh, where I continued to study, read and write. In March of 2019, I left India moved to the Mexican town of Ajijic in the central highlands of Mexico
on the shores of Lake Chapala.
In 2004, I founded an organic ghee company (Ancient Organics) in the San Francisco Bay area, it is now rated as the Premier Ghee in the USA. In 2011, I started an organic dairy and creamery in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India:
In 2017 published my first enhanced Apple eBook: How Thoreau's Walden Pond Mixed with the Ganges and Yoga Came to America with Swami Vivekananda.
I have published other books: The Cure of the Mustard Seed (A little book about death and dying), and The Man Who Built the Taj Mahal, A Hanuman Story for Ram Dass
I am presently working on: Matsya Nyaya, The Law of the Fishes or what we call in the west, 'The Law of the Jungle.'
I continue to give consultations on Ayurveda all over the world via Skype and am available for talks, lectures, and considerations on the great tradition of religion and spirituality.