Ayurvedic Bazaar: The Background Story
In late 1968, I drove a Land Rover from the factory in England to India where I was to assume my new post with State Department. Christmas in Afghanistan was memorable. There was a Swedish church that held an outdoor service in which real camels came to a manager. No words were spoken. There were carols that lasted 23 of the most uplifting minutes of my life.
I reached India a few days after Christmas. Instead of going directly to the embassy, I went to the home of an Indian friend. Her father invited me to accompany him to meet Prof. Dr. Lokesh Chandra, a scholar, who operated an Institute that studied the influence of India on other cultures, most particularly the Tibetan and Mongolian cultures. It was the beginning of a remarkable post-graduate education. On one occasion, he asked me to take
his wife to see an Ayurvedic doctor.
More than half a century has passed since diving into this fascinating system of medicine. I have literally read hundreds of books on Ayurveda, met dozens of Ayurvedic doctors, attended countless seminars, hosted guest lecturers, underwritten part of the education of Ayurvedic doctors, shared case histories, co-authored presentations and publications, and clinically tested many herbs and herbal formulas. I am not a doctor. I majored in Asian Studies as an undergraduate but I was primarily interested in anthropology and philosophy, my idea being we are here today because our ancestors made many good decisions in the past, but my obsession has always been with destiny so I have woven medical herbalism, ethnobotany, historic methods of treatment in a healing system that includes astrology, diet and plants, music, and darkfield microscopy.
It take a while to tell a story, but let’s return to job as special assistant to the ambassador for low-end poverty. My first assignment was to oversee a study of child nutrition in rural India. I had about 50 graduate students working for me and was sent to Ankara to undergo special training in biostatistics in order to crunch the data properly.
Conditions were, shall we say, less than luxurious, rather perhaps injurious. The sassy part of me wanted to write a book called “The Man in Charge is not in his Seat.” At some point, I was medically evacuated and overheard the doctors in Honolulu saying that I was dying. A Nepali friend visited me in the hospital and said they were killing me and she would return with clothes in the evening and we could sneak out.
It took seven weeks for the doctors to notice my absence. A lab technician had apparently asked why no one collected the report of the battery of tests they had run. The doctors in Honolulu instructed me to report to the Kona Hospital for treatment of tropical infections. They injected something into my arm. I blacked out and fell against a concrete step. The radiologist came out with an x-ray showing a hole through a vertebra and asked, “When you were in Vietnam, you were not by any chance hit in the back by a bullet, were you?” I said, “No”; but she continued, “You’d remember, wouldn’t you?”
Since the x-ray made no sense to me, I ignored it for years until the pain became so
excruciating that I would sometimes just writhe on the floor in tears that would last for days. I had left the State Department in 1970, more or less because of rebellion against both the politics and policies and the medical interventions that I had come to distrust.
The quest for wisdom took over. I spent the early part of the 70s in the Himalayas but returned to Kona in 1972. My mother was ill, but my astrological calculations were that her time was not up. I began working with the chiropractor she had consulted about her health. Dr. Nathalie D. Tucker was a patient and excellent teacher, always however a little stunned by where my curiosity would take us. She referred many people to me and taught me anatomy and physiology and many forms of holistic medicine. I became very interested in vibrations and how different frequencies or patterns manifest physiologically.
In between referrals, I meditated and was blessed with several years of what we might call x-ray vision. It’s perhaps a little difficult to explain, but I could see through “solid” objects. A simple explanation is that I could hold a book, see the print but also my hands underneath the book. Then, if I looked up, I saw a wall with book shelves and the kitchen on the other side of the wall as if the wall simply was not there. This was so bizarre that I didn’t mention it to anyone, but one day, a kahuna named Morrnah Simeona told me this vision would become very important in the future. Morrnah became my next hugely important mentor.
Though praise for my teachers from kindergarten through grad school is almost nil, I was blessed with wonderful teachers from the 70s onward. I had a simply incredible guide in my early astrological studies, Ivy Jacobson. Isabel Hickey came into my life a few years later and gifted me a technique for accessing past lives.
In addition, there were inner and outer plane spiritual teachers. The outer plane ones are easy enough to describe, mostly Buddhist priests and nuns of both Theravada and Mahayana backgrounds, but especially Tibetans, many of whom were long-term house guests. Of these, two stand out as having shaped some of understanding of myself and my destiny: Nechung Rinpoche and Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.
The 70s were a respite and something I would wish upon everyone who is serious about life. So many of us save our questions until retirement or facing the end of the incarnational journey. I was blessed to have the opportunity to go deep within and to take the time to purify my heart and soul while observing a world that was totally new to me.
In addition to the x-ray vision, I saw “invisible” beings who varied from miniature figures who explained details to me about the aura or physiology or karma and full-size beings who were either ghosts or transcendental. Let’s just say some veils were lifted for some years, long enough to expand my sense of reality. It’s probably important to mention that I never used any drugs . . . and have not seen a doctor since the last day at the State Department.
In December 1979, I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was very excited by the creativity of people living there. Almost immediately, I found myself learning yet another method for retrieving information on past lives. It was called the Well Springs Technique and I wrote a book, still unpublished, called “Shadows on the Soul.” It uses classical music to draw the memories out of the body. If I tried to explain how this works, it is because our memories have patterns and these synchronize with patterns in music in a way that we can lift the memories to the surface where they become conscious.
Shortly after this discovery, I met Dr. Shrikrishna Kashyap, a direct descendant of the eldest of the seven rishis. Shyam, as he was affectionately called, became not just an important teacher but also the one upon whom I depended for personal health advice. My spine was giving me more and more grief. I had come to realize that I was shot in the back, not in Vietnam as the radiologist has surmised, but in my previous life as an Austrian woman working in the Underground. I saw two Nazi soldiers bursting through the front door they broke down and firing a pistol at me as I rushed up a stairway in the vain hope of protecting the children I was safeguarding. This was a poignant moment. I had had so much pain for so long and yet my last utterance in that lifetime was “Friedrich”. I understand that at the time he was only three years old so I asked why anyone would choose to incarnate at such a troubled time in Earth history. The response was that, “So your love for him would keep you going in difficult times.”
Shyam offered to try to fill the hole in my spine . . . but he had another story, one I was eventually also able to corroborate. He had a dream in which Milarepa explained the back injury and its impact over twelve lifetimes.
Shyam said he would give me five treatments. If they worked, fine; if not, he said, I would need to consider spinal fusion. I had seen many cases of spinal fusion when working with a chiropractor in Hawaii so I placed my trust in Shyam.
Curious, as always, I asked Shyam what his plan was. He said he would instruct the nadi to direct my nervous system to fill the hole. This was done face down on a low table. I was fully clothed and he did not exactly touch me. I couldn’t see his hands but the nadi are in the aura so I am assuming he was motioning the nadi with his hands. Shyam was a mystic. He had been a yogi in the Himalayas where he ran an eye clinic. He could remove cataracts with his bare fingers, and his fingers were truly divine.
It goes without saying that the strategy worked, and I will be eternally grateful to Shyam for his gift of healing. I also fully appreciate that we do not learn these methods in school. In fact, as I am fast approaching my 80th birthday, I have concluded that most of the important lessons in life are learned “in life” and not “in school.”
During 21 years in Santa Fe, I began writing a series of textbooks on medical astrology. The first volume was dedicated to Dr. Tucker and the second volume to Shyam. The first deals with Stress: The Cause of Disease and the second with The Elements and Constitutional Balance. I believe my understanding of the elements is wider and deeper than what is found in ancient Greek and Ayurvedic texts because I have developed the interface between the elements and psychospiritual nuances as they relate to fate, something I interpret as the intersection between karma and destiny. We make choices in life that are influenced by a combination of patterns carried over from the past－karma－and the acceptance of the spiritual responsibility we accept as souls－dharma.
Ayurveda is one of the most sophisticated medical systems ever developed because while it encompasses the pharmacology of plant medicines and food, it takes into account the uniqueness of each person’s temperament and constitution. It is also spiritually rich in that the interactions between Spirit and Matter are taken seriously so there is no compartmentalization separating the work of doctor from that of a priest. There is coordination between all aspects of life experience so Ayurveda can be a lifelong study, and it leaves a lot of space for medical astrology to find its niche.
Santa Fe was teeming with healers and I studied with many people, attended seminars, read books, and began using herbs in my practice. My involvement with Ayurveda now spans more than half a century. First, of course, I relied on herbs that others recommended, but as time went on, I developed the expertise to create my own formulas.
This may or may not seem important because some formulas have been in production for two thousand or more years, but there are unique issues today that were not addressed in the past. For example, with organ transplants, we have to consider how the body’s instinct to reject anything foreign would impact the transplant. We also use synthetic hormones for various purposes and there are many chemicals that disrupt the action of natural hormones. We are exposed to endless toxins that are exotic. In times past, we were perhaps at greater risk of infections such as the type causing my medical evacuation, but people did not have amalgams in their teeth, fluoridated water, nor a battery of injections from early childhood to the grave.
Diseases have traditionally been divided between chronic and acute, but in our lifetime, the incidence of chronic disease is astronomical in comparison to the past. Start with thinking about autism or Alzheimer’s disease and ask just how prevalent these were a century ago. Think about rheumatism and arthritis, infertility, chemical sensitivity, antibiotic resistance, or even chronic fatigue syndrome. Almost all these conditions are ubiquitous today as compared to any previous time in history . . . so while Ayurveda offers excellent protocols for everything from snake bites to detoxification, some of the issues today are complicated, one of the best examples being metal toxicity. Not only are we concerned about the publicized culprits like lead and aluminum, but the extraordinary risks of mercury, radioactivity, EMF, and genetically modified organisms were not addressed in the ancient texts. In the very advanced treatises on alchemy, there is much to learn about purification of toxic substances, but this knowledge is not widespread nor are the remedies as widely available as needs to be the case.
Using myself as an example, I was hemorrhaging after Fukushima. It happened several times. Blood was gushing from my nostrils and pooling on the floor. The bleeding was painless, and I was thinking to myself that this is a very easy way to die. Then, I remembered I had a South American herb called sangre de grado that stops bleeding. I looked at my blood in the microscope and the erythrocytes were full of microscopic holes.
I could stop the bleeding, but the question was how to repair the electroperforations. So far as I know, there is no protocol for this in any textbook, but it is a modern problem associated with the countless forms of electromagnetic and nuclear radiation of our era. Think of how many times we are exposed to x-rays and where the cell towers and smart meters and routers are in relationship to our daily activities; and we begin to understand that innovative new strategies are needed, but I feel grateful to have had many years to study these matters and to have evolved the skill to address some of the needs of our time.
Dr. Ingrid Naiman
|B.A. in Asian Studies from the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii, 1962|
|M.A. in Economics from Yale University, 1964|
|M.D. from Medicina Alternativa in Copenhagen (should be considered honorary), 1987|
|D.Sc. (honorary) from the Open International University in Sri Lanka, 1995|