Ayurveda is beyond beginning and ending. A science of eternal healing, it is compared to a vast ocean, and studying Ayurveda to swimming across. A true teacher can teach one how to swim, but the swimming is up to the student; it is a lifelong journey. -Dr. Vasant Lad
When I think of Dr. Vasant Lad, warmth fills my heart, my eyes water a bit, a heartfelt smile on my face appears and gratefully feel inspiration to learn more and serve others. Last week I08 or so students had the pleasure of spending time with this respected and known pioneer of ayurveda, Dr. Lad, in a six day workshop at the Ananda Ashram in Monroe, NY.
I am still downloading my experience from the workshop, consisting of two lectures per day with Dr. Lad, संस्कृतम् sanskrit (ancient language) classes, delicious सत्त्व sattvic (pure) food, yoga classes, walks in the woods, meditation, canoeing on the Saraswati Lake and lots and lots of संघ sangha (community).
It was so profound how Dr. Lad could graciously create an environment for the beginner and the more advanced aspirant as he spoke pure and deep about the pulse diagnosis, the physical and energetic channels of the body, living in moment to moment awareness, talks of healthy food and healthy relationships, natural remedies, breathing exercises, rejuvenation to improve vitality, medicine making, relationships and the path of divine love. ‘Wow, can you imagine?’ (something he might say inviting our curiosity).
He would start his class chanting sweetly, humbly referring himself as ‘the speaker’, all the while channeling ancient information in a sincere, organized and joyful approach. He fed us with his melodic voice of the sutras and other mantras for healing. When we would do our part as a group of the call/response, he would wear an innocent, blissful smile.
Dr. Lad’s heart is undeniably full of compassion for suffering, calling to my mind my own mother’s endless, selfless, unconditional love. As each of us vulnerably approached him individually to have a pulse assessment, he gave his wisdom as to who we are, where we are out of balance and what we can do to improve ourselves. He stayed late, assisted us on his “lunch break” time, he tirelessly gave fully to individual and the group. He was loving us.
Although I learned many techniques, recipes, philosophy and applications, the real teaching that resonated in my heart is to be compassionate in this world. Some of the wisdoms I felt from Dr. Lad’s teachings were: “Decrease the separation between ourselves and nature as well as between ourselves and other beings. Listen. Begin to understand that anger is only love that did not get a chance to express itself. If we can let go of our identification from our thoughts, emotions and feelings we can let go of suffering. The heart is the seat of consciousness. The mind is the inner instrument of experience. Ask ourselves the question ‘who am I?’, but do not seek the answer. We are eternal bliss.”
Trust your instincts, find the teachers who are right for you heart, who show you ways to lessen the space that separates you and your true nature. Then, when you are ready, teach others in the same light.
Gayatri Mantra (GUY-ah-tree)
Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
On the absolute reality and its planes,
On that finest spiritual light,
We meditate, as remover of obstacles
That it may inspire and enlighten us.
Gayatri is a mantra of physical, emotional, and mental healing, purifying the subtle karmas, protection from the onslaught of obstacles, and of spiritual awakening or Self-realization.