By Prabhath P April 2005 Immortality may not yet be sighted but the legendary kayakalpa, still in practice, staves off the effects of old age, restoring youth and increasing lifespan. An elixir of youth capable of at least reversing the ravages of aging, if not bestowing immortality, has always been one of the enduring dreams of humanity. Though immortality still remains beyond reach, there is an ancient practice, kayakalpa, that restores youth and increases lifespan. Kaya means body (physical and subtle) and kalpa means transformation. Kayakalpa aims to arrest the degeneration of the body by rejuvenating, immunising and regenerating the body cells and tissues through a holistic transformation of mind, body and soul. It is best to do kayakalpa before the age of sixty. Kayakalpa Principles and MethodsThe roots of kayakalpa can be traced back to tantra and the ancient healing systems of siddha and ayurveda. Physical degeneration and regeneration happens through decay (catabolic) and the cellular growth processes (anabolic). Kayakalpa brings these processes into equilibrium through purification and nourishment. Thus degenerative diseases are cured through comprehensive rejuvenation ensuring longevity. Legendary siddha seers are believed to have lived for thousands of years using kayakalpa. Herbal medicinal elixirs in paste form called rasayana constitute the essential aspect of kayakalpa treatment. Rasayanas are given only after purifying and detoxifying the body. Before rasayana therapy, the unique tridosha type is determined to tailor the treatment accordingly. In the classical ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita, there is an exclusive chapter on rasayana. Ashtangahridaya also describes rasayana. The five-fold purification treatment panchakarma, swedakarma (induced sweating), suitable and nutritious diet, yoga and meditation are integral to kayakalpa. There are only approximately hundred practitioners of kayakalpa in the world. According to Dr. Sreeraj, Resident Doctor, Rajah Healthy Acres, a division of Rajah Ayurvedic Hospitals, Kerala, ‘The rasayana chikitsa is still very relevant as a preventive measure and also as a curative measure. The fast pace of modern society is a cause for various physical and mental illnesses. So rasayana therapy is the suitable remedy for most of these problems.’ Rasayanas increase ojas (life’s vitality) and sattva guna (mental/spiritual clarity), balance the humors tridosha (vata, pitta, kapha) and maintains rasa, the vital fluid produced by digestion, which sustains life, leading to enhanced immunity. Some important rasyanas are chyavanaprash, agastya rasayana, drakshadi lehya, ashwagandhadi rasayana and brahma rasayana. These rasayanas are made from herbs like amalaki (gooseberry, a powerful rejuvenative herb), haritiki, triphala, bhringaraja, ashwagandha, punarnava and chitraka. Ancient kayakalpa originally involved two modes of therapy. Kutipravesika: Kutipravesika means living in a kuti (cottage). The patient was required to undergo all the kayakalpa procedures, living in hibernation in a specially constructed cottage secluded from the world, for 90 days. This is a process that requires intense discipline and only very few yogis were able to meet the challenge. Legend has it that the first ever kutipravesika procedure was conducted by the celestial physicians Ashwini Kumars for the senile sage Chyavana who thus regained youth. Vatatapika: This is an easier method mainly involving rasayana therapy only, which can be carried on while leading a regular life. Panchakarma and withdrawal from the world are not required. But benefits are only moderate compared to kutipravesika. Rajah Healthy Acres became the first institution in India, in nearly hundred years, to conduct the rigorous kutiprave sika kayakalpa rasayana treatment. The patient was Columbian, Perseo Agualimpia, 51, from Miami, who came with the complaints of partial loss of hearing, indigestion, ulcer and knee-joint pain. Perseo’s interest in Buddhism, Tibetan medicine, Mata Amritanandamayi, and his experience in yoga and meditation made him confident of volunteering for the challenging hibernative healing process. A panel of six ayurvedic experts provided guidance for the project while the resident doctors of Rajah Healthy Acres conducted the daily procedures. Perseo was put through 45 days of preparatory procedures. Preliminary Procedures:o Abhyanga (complete body massage)o Snehapana (drinking the medicated ghee indukantham)o Elakizhi (medicated oil massage with herbal poultices)o Pizhichil (massaging body by squeezing linen dipped in herbal oil)o Swedana (induced sweating) Panchakarma Purification Therapies:o Virechana (purgation)o Different types of vasti (medicated enema)o Vamana (induced vomiting)o Nasya (nasal cleaning with herbal drops) Other Procedures:o Karnapooranam (cleaning the ears with herbal medication)o Nethratharpanam (eye drops) o Shirovasti (retaining herbal oil on head) Afterwards, Perseo was confined to a specially built kuti hut. He was asked to do an offering (dana) as per ancient guidelines before he entered the kuti. The arrangements were the following:o Blue window curtains were provided because the patient liked blue.o All electric lights were removed except blue zero-watt bulbs in the bedroom and drawing room.o The bed was replaced by grass mats (methapaya).o Nets to repel mosquitoes, flies.o Fan was not given at first but was provided later when the patient requested.o Telephone, TV, refrigerator, mirrors, clocks and calendars were not allowed.o CD player to hear chantings was allowed.o A bystander always stayed in the adjacent room and the same doctor visited the patient regularly.o The kuti was fumigated once in three days.o Fresh clothing and bed sheets were provided daily.o No visitors were allowed.o Daytime naps were not allowedo He was not allowed to meet women.o Vehicles were removed from the cottage premises.Perseo’s daily routine in the kuti:o 6 a.m. Waking upo Yoga sessiono Warm cow’s milk was the only drink allowedo 8.15 a.m.: Regular visit by the doctoro 8.30 a.m.: Abhyanga (oil massage) and bath in warm water for body, and lukewarm water for heado 9.30 a.m.: Brahma Rasayana is given on empty stomach starting with 150 gms which was gradually increased over many days to 450 gms. Later, the quantity was gradually reduced.o Listen to mantras or meditate.o Food allowed only once daily. o Sleep by 9.30 p.m. Perseo couldn’t complete the 45 days in isolation. He had crawling sensations in the body. By the 28th day, he started having strange angelic visions. At this point it was decided to withdraw rasayana and bring him back to normal life. Diet was changed to normal vegetarian food. The visions ceased after stopping rasayana. Perseo was later shifted out of the kuti. Modern medical and laboratory investigations were done before and after the kuti process to assess the patient’s condition. The results were amazing.o Perseo’s grey hair turned blacko Complexion became fair and skin was smootho Hearing loss, mouth and skin ulcers, joint pain and indigestion were completely cured.o Concentration, memory and attention improvedo Laboratory tests showed overall improvement in health ‘I feel like I’m living in the 1980s,’ announced Perseo after the treatment. ‘I feel 80 per cent more energetic,’ he also remarked. He seemed to have attained a higher level of consciousness. When he came out of the kuti, his eyes were sparkling and his persona was completely glowing. Vaidya Shrikant Bagewadikar, the famous ayurvedic expert, flew out from Mumbai to check Perseo and verified the age-reversal. Dr. Franklin’s Panchakarma Institute and Research Centre, near Thiruvana-ntha-puram, Kerala, offers a modernised version of kayakalpa without isolation. The package includes rasayana, panchakarma, sweda, massage, karnapoorana, yoga and meditation. Ayurveda Yoga Retreat, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, has an anti-aging kayakalpa package. This proprietary program is a combination of ancient ayurveda, yoga and meditation therapies for age-reversal. Breaking the Gender BarrierThe ancient texts on kayakalpa offer guidelines from a male viewpoint as the procedure was done by male rishis on their colleagues. Dr. Bryan Miller and his wife Dr. Light Miller, Directors of the Ayurvedic Day Spa and the Center for Well Being, Florida, (www.ayurvedichealers.com), conducted the kutipravesika kayakalpa therapy for the first time in the West in 2003. Dr. Light Miller who volunteered, became the first woman to undergo the ancient method. Bryan Miller and the ayurvedic expert George Soucy performed the treatments. Light Miller remained isolated in the kuti for 30 days. In the first two weeks, she subsisted mainly on fresh green juices and special rejuvenative herb teas. In the last five days, she took one meal a day of steamed vegetables. Every other day, Light received a four-hour kayakalpa treatment. On off days, she had ayurvedic massage with special essential oils. The remainder of her time was spent in yoga, meditation, mantra chanting and deep rest. She remained secluded from sound, air movement and light with the occasional use of a ghee lamp. Light reported many paranormal experiences including seeing the entire kuti hut illuminated with mysterious light, visions of Dhanvantari (the patron god of ayurveda) and Jesus Christ, personal dark night of the soul experiences and deep feelings of connectedness. Kayakalpa InternationalDr. Raam Pandey, President of Kayakalpa International and Kayakalpa Alchemy Foundation, trained in pre-Vedic sciences and tantra received his medical degrees in siddha, ayurveda and homeopathy. In 1979, he synthesized ancient kayakalpa techniques in complete form, establishing retreats in California. The web site www.kayakalpa. com details Dr. Pandey’s kayakalpa therapy, which is a unique s
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