It’s been around a year and a half since I stumbled upon this world. A small nudge was provided to me around 4 years ago when on a family holiday in Germany, I was sitting next to my father on a train ride and asked him a question. “Pa, if you could choose to be born in any country in the world and everything remains the same – your family, work, etc., which country would that be?” My father is a deep thinker and a bit of a philosopher. He took this question to heart and closed his eyes and thought about it – for so long that I thought perhaps he had fallen off to sleep! But then he finally opened his eyes and said, “I have given it a lot of thought and I have finally concluded that the only country I would like to be born again in is India.” I was quite surprised by this response because my father spent a big and formative part of his life in Germany, has close friends there and keeps going back. We all have grown up highly influenced by Europe and I had thought he would choose a European country.
I asked him why. He answered, “because the level of sophistication of ancient Indian thought, the nuanced philosophy, the heritage of its wisdom along with its richness of culture, craftsmanship and diversity is what shapes me. Everything else feels quite flat in comparison.” That was interesting! And it got me thinking. I have always considered myself as someone who is rooted in India and is deeply appreciative of our culture and heritage. But I hadn’t spent much time to get to know our rich heritage of philosophical thought.
I got back to India and to my hectic life of work and kids and forgot all about it, or so I thought! But somewhere I started wondering about where I come from, how do I relate to the larger world, what is my connect with the universe… maybe it is a life stage thing, but I was definitely looking for some answers. I started looking for connections between the mind, body and soul.
As I searched, I picked up a book which I had read nearly twenty years ago, Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur. It had made a big impression on me when I had first read it and now it literally opened up another whole world for me. As I re-read it the one thing which made immediate sense to me is something which is quite obvious and yet somehow, we overlook it or we are conditioned such that we don’t see it. And this is about a holistic approach to well-being. “…Modern medicine works only on the level of molecules – of matter – without reference to the sentient human being, the unique and complex person who actually feels ill. Life is the totality of experience, not merely a collection of physical part, and human experience happens fundamentally through the filter of the mind and senses on the level of consciousness. How we view the world and how we feel about things affects our experience, and experience changes the body. When modern medicine asks where the body is diseased but not why the patient is ill, it ignores the basic truth of our experience. Most disease results from a breakdown in the immune system; immune breakdown results from stress; stress is due to perception; and perception derives from consciousness.”
According to Ayurveda, the source of all creation – all that we know and all that we do not yet know – is the unseen, ever-present, infinite field of pure consciousness. Consciousness is not just the source of creation; it is also the goal of knowledge and experience – the goal of human existence. The ultimate purpose of Ayurveda is to provide everyone the means to this fulfillment. This principle – of consciousness as the source of all creation and experience – is fundamental to Ayurveda.
For me this was a huge realisation – that we have that consciousness within us – it is that potential that we all carry – we just need to tap into it. And how to do that is what this journey is about.