Fun Facts about Contemporary Ayurvedic Practitioners- Deepak Chopra & Dr. Vasant Lad

“We can’t talk about our own health without understanding our place in our environment, because in order to fulfill our potential we have to live in the context of our surroundings. We have to know our place in the ecosystem of which we are a part, and this means living 'consciously': being aware of nature and how it affects us and how we, in turn, affect nature.” -- Sebastian Pole

Ayurveda originated in India more than 3000 years ago and remains one of the world’s oldest medical systems and traditional healthcare system in our country. Using the concept of Prakriti (body’s constitution) and Doshas (life forces), it promotes the use of herbal remedies and natural elements of the earth.T he terms Ayurveda combines the Sanskrit words ‘ayur’ (life) and ‘veda’ (science or knowledge). And hence is often defined as the science of life which indicates to find the right balance in every area of our life including our physical, emotional and spiritual well being.

Two of the most eminent names that you are most likely to hear among contemporary Ayurvedic Practitioners are Vasant Lads and Deepak Chopra. Today we are going to share with you their journey and a few fun facts about these two world-renowned personalities.  

VASANT DATTARAY LAD

The heart is a gate-less gate to divinity. Move to the heart. We are all hung-up, stuck in the head - that is our problem. The only problem is that we think too much. There is only one solution - get down from the head to the heart. All your problems will disappear. Problems are created by the head. The heart is innocent. The heart is a fountain of love.” -  Vasant Lad

Vasant Lad is an American author, an Ayurvedic Physician, professor, and director of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was born in India and completed his Bachelor and Masters degree from Pune. He later moved to the USA and founded Ayurvedic Institute in 1984 which is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico after having served as a Medical Director for three years in Ayurvedic Hospital and a Professor in Clinical Medicine for seven years in Pune University College. Vasant Lad has been an author for numerous books and is respected throughout the world for his knowledge of Ayurveda.

Here are a few facts about his journey are -

He believes Ayurveda is useful for everyone as the main objective of Ayurveda is to preserve and maintain health. He admits that he is a very serious student of Ayurveda and Yoga. He follows what Ayurveda teaches and does Yoga every day. He only has two meals. He skips breakfast and prefers to eat khichdi or some vegetable curry in the evening.

He sincerely believes that you don’t need anything to become happy. True happiness is your being, your existence, and your life. Happiness does not depend on money or drugs. Happiness is when you have clarity and compassion in your relationship.

His Guru was his father’s Guru. His father used to wake up early each morning and do pranayama and meditation. He would sit and observe his father and how his father’s meditation impacted his surrounding. How people would whisper and become quiet and walk slowly so that there would not be any sound from their feet. He was mesmerized by the impact of the peace that was coming from his father’s meditation.

When he was a small kid, he was certain that a Guru would have a long beard, matted hair and some dhuti and rudraksha. But when he met his father’s Guru for the first time in a very small room packed with people, he was shocked to see how the guru turned out to be such a simple and an ordinary old man sitting on the platform.

His Guru had once predicted that he would become a very good Ayurvedic student & teacher and that he will go abroad, to England, to America & Germany. He also said that he would end up writing books later on in life and will also teach people about Ayurveda. Vasant Lad was taken aback by these predictions since he did not even know English.

When he first came to America, it was a culture shock. In those days, there were no Indian grocery stores, so no Indian spices or Indian food options were available. They had to manage by going to the Co-op and buy whole wheat flour & cinnamon, cardamom and so on.

His wife, Usha used to make chapatis and the people loved them, so much so that she would sell them to the students.

Today, he believes it is not him, but his Guru’s blessings and the mission of the divine master for him to come to the Western world and start teaching Ayurveda, writing books & articles and traveling and giving lectures, seminars & webinars.

“According to Ayurvedic principles, by understanding one’s self, by identifying one’s own constitution and by recognizing sources of doshic aggravation, one can not only follow the proper guidelines to cleanse, purify, and prevent disease, but also uplift oneself into a realm of awareness previously unknown.”  -Vasant Lad

DEEPAK CHOPRA

“Every time you have tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future” -Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra is an Indian-born, American author, public speaker, alternative medicine advocate and a prominent figure in the new age movement. Through his books and videos, he has become one of the best known and wealthiest figures in alternative medicine. Chopra left his endocrinology practice to become the Maharishi’s corporate officer and run an Ayurvedic clinic in Massachusetts. He believes that the human body is composed of energy and thus human aging is fluid and changeable, depending on the determination of one’s state of mind.

Few facts about his journey -

He has a habit of sleeping for only 6 hours and wakes up at 4 AM.

He believes in the lightness of being and ensures it by eating a big salad.

After studying medicine in India, he ended up in Boston, US and began his career as a doctor.  

.In high school, Chopra wanted to be a journalist or an actor. It was a character in Sinclair Lewis story “Arrowsmith”, that inspired him to become a doctor. The reason he left traditional medicine was just the fact that there is a lot of frustration when all you do is prescribe medication, you start to feel like a legalised drug pusher. Chopra has also appeared on the popular television show, the Oprah Winfrey show to promote his book.

He also had entered the recording industry with some help from the pop superstar Madonna.

Chopra is now the executive director of Sharp Healthcare’s centre for mind-body medicine and has co-founded the chopra Centre for well-being. TIME magazine has called him “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine” and listed him as one of the top 100 heroes of the century.

“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible” -Deepak Chopra

All the principles of Ayurveda are based on universal principles like heat and cold, five sense organs, pancham elements. These are all universal and will never change. Fire, air, sky, light, water were there 5,000 years back, and they are there today. Only the form is changing but not the principle. Health is becoming more and more a commodity to be purchased. Whereas in Ayurveda it is held that health is a way of life, it has to be inculcated, it is a culture. This means strengthening the person and making the person self-reliant more and more. Thus you would always get to see Ayurvedic practitioners ditching western medicine and go for the good old traditional style.

 

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