To bring the ancient Wisdom of Bharat into the modern age, a penetrating research and enquiry into the philosophical, scientific, spiritual and cultural heritage of India is an absolute necessity. Without such an extensive examination, deeper insights are virtually impossible and this great heritage will remain largely unused and neglected. Cosmic Reality or Cosmic Truth, as revealed through the Scriptures by the spiritual masters, sages, rishis and yogis, was accessed to develop and preserve knowledge and values so as to create balance and harmony in society. India’s true wealth lies in its art, culture, philosophy and ancient esoteric sciences/technology that can be applied effectively in the current context of modern research.
Our ancient rishis and munis were well versed in philosophical and spiritual wisdom while also being skilled in the worldly affairs of politics and warfare. Science is another aspect of life and its exploration that they respected as well. Our spiritual leaders were truly scientists who set astounding examples of original research beyond even the vision of modern times. Their creative and result-oriented practices provided new vision and space for citizens to live sustainably, to share Nature’s resources equitably, to live without violence, fear, oppression, alienation and exist in spiritual harmony leading to enduring peace. In a world dominated by greed and competition, speed and restlessness, pollution and ecological destruction, war and violence, India alone has the blueprint for a healthy developing world based on dharma, on ethical values, a world of freedom and universality.
With the right resources and infrastructure, we can create an ambience that re-invigorates our vital link with nature, promote contemplation, scientific enquiry and dynamic action. Today’s emerging concern and focus of positive sciences relates to higher consciousness. The world is inevitably looking to the wisdom of Bharat, beyond the political boundaries of India, in the hope of a better tomorrow. This cosmic rendezvous inevitably leads to Bharat where wisdom and tradition have been preserved in the annals of our ancient manuscripts and in the living tradition of our sages and seers who know that beyond destruction, the cosmos will reveal again the eternal truths: unchanging and unborn in all beings.
India is currently poised for explosive growth. Historically, most nations that have experienced sustained surges of prosperity focused on one or two key driving forces. Europe grew because of trade and commerce, America exploited its vast natural resources and entrepreneurial energy, Japan harnessed a productivity jump to grow, and China is the world’s low-cost manufacturing hub.
What particular attribute of India can be deployed in order to move to the next stage of growth? Our intellectual and spiritual wealth is perhaps, the commonplace answer. It is hidden in our traditional wisdom and preserved through the sadhana or practice of Yoga, the power of Pranayama or breath control, the sacred healing sciences of Ayurveda, the spiritual message of our hermetic texts and the profound teachings of contemporary sages.
There are several references to the origin of rational medicine and art of healing in the Atharva Veda. Vedic therapy was classified into four categories: Drugs made from the juices of plants and herbs, mantra therapy, divine therapy in the form of prayers and yoga, and drugs created from human research and effort. Vedic India had surgeons who used sophisticated instruments, the knowledge and applications of which were lost with the passage of time. Even the injection of solutions was popular in Vedic times. In fact, like the Hippocratic oath adopted by the west, Vedic India had its own guidelines about the attributes of a good doctor: He should be one who knows the human mechanism of mind and body, can diagnose imbalances, prepare medicines and can prescribe ready remedies. Ayurveda had eight branches of wellness and healing: medical therapy, ear-nose-throat disease, surgery, toxicology, psychotherapy, paediatrics, rejuvenation and virilification. Sunlight and water, the very basis of life on Earth, were two natural elements that were used extensively in treatment.
Yoga and Pranayama have been proven not only to heal, but also to help reverse several ailments, particularly in relation to the heart, mind, respiratory tract and reproductive systems. Stomach ailments can be cured with regular pranayama as also disorders like piles, kidney dysfunction and diseases like tuberculosis and asthma. Regular yoga, under the right supervision, can rectify back and spinal injuries. Herbal treatments, indigenous medicine and recommended diets, pranic healing, tantropathy, gem therapy, urine therapy, massage therapy, Ayurveda, juice therapy and meditation are time-tested methods of healing, most developed in the Indian tradition.
Few other cultures can lay claim to such an immense mother lode of scriptural wisdom and practical solutions for wellness. Yet, for a country so bountiful in knowledge and resources, we have done little to disseminate our ideas and practices to the rest of the world. The time has come for India to harness its growth potential for spiritual and physical wellness. Numerous people from all over the world visit various speciality hospitals and clinics in the US for surgery and treatment. Yet, Indian systems of exercise and medicine can prevent and often reverse these diseases so that there is no need to ever go in for such invasive procedures.
There is no reason why, with our enormous cost advantages, India cannot be developed into a global hub for fitness and well-being. India can be promoted not merely as a tourist and heritage destination but as a treatment and teaching center through its immense potential for healing with the power of pranayama, yoga, Ayurvedic cures, meditation and spirituality. This idea has the potential to make India into a global superpower: not in terms of megatons, but in terms of mega-bliss.