Punarnava Healing Community Inc.

262 Upland Road, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA

© 2018 Punarnava

a 501(C)3 corporation

Trust Activities from Oct. 2015 - Feb. 2016

February 29, 2016



Harvest Festival | Pongal


Punarnava family celebrated the Harvest Festival of Pongal at Vaidyagrama, as it does every year in January, along with all the patients, staff and all the well-wishers.

The annual Harvest Festival of Pongal is celebrated on the 14th of January every year, and is the only Hindu festival that follows a solar calendar. It marks the beginning of Uttarayana, the Sun's yearly movement northward for a period of six months. Uttarayana is considered auspicious, as opposed to Dakshinaayana, or the southern movement of the sun. Thus, it is an important time for scheduling of important events.


The festival is celebrated over a period of four days. On, the first day, Bhogi, old clothes and materials are thrown away and fired, marking the beginning of a new life. The second day, the Pongal day, is celebrated by boiling fresh milk early in the morning and allowing it to boil over in the mud vessel, a tradition that is the literal translation for Pongal. On this day people prepare savories and sweets and visit each other’s homes, exchanging greetings. The third day, Mattu Pongal, is meant to offer thanks to the cows and buffaloes, who so selflessly plough the lands. On the last day, Kanum Pongal, people go out to picnic.

At Vaidyagrama, as in Hindu temples across Southern India, bells, drums, and conch shells signal the commencement of Pongal. Rice was cooked in the mud pots until it boiled over, symbolizing a bountiful harvest. Some of the rituals performed on this day include the offering of vegetables, sugar cane and spices to the gods, as well as the chanting of prayers. Attendees of the Puja consumed the offerings as Prasad (blessed food), thus exonerating themselves of past sins.


The harvest festival of Pongal symbolizes the veneration of the first fruit. The crop is harvested only after a certain time of the year, and cutting the crop before that time is prohibited. Thus, Pongal signals the end of the traditional farming season, giving farmers a break from their arduous routine and sets the pace for a series of festivals to follow in a calendar year. Maatu Pongal (felicitation and Puja of

the cattle) was very much celebrated at Vaidyagrama. Sweet pongal was prepared as Prasad and offered to everyone there.




Health initiatives of Punarnava Trust - Dengue Fever Prevention Program


Nilavembu Kashayam Distribution

Indian Name- Kalmegh, Botanical name Andrographis Panakulata



The Kashayam is prepared by boiling 3 grams of dried and powdered Nilavembu leaves with 1 liter of water. The mixture is cooled and 20-30 ml is consumed as a single dose.


Dengue Fever Prevention Program

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is prevalent throughout the tropics and subtropics, similar to the geographical areas where malaria is found. It can be fatal, in 1per cent of cases. However the symptoms can be quite severe and take up to two weeks to subside, and many more weeks to recuperate from lingering muscular weakness. Symptoms include severe joint pain, muscular weakness (myalgia), exhaustion, and rash. The presence of fever, rash and headache (the "dengue triad") is characteristic of dengue fever. The acute phase of the illness with fever and muscle pain lasts about one to two weeks 

Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), a specific syndrome, tends to affect children under 10 years of age, causes abdominal pain, hemorrhage (bleeding), and circulatory collapse (shock).

Because it is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat it. For typical dengue fever, the treatment is directed toward relief of the symptoms

(symptomatic treatment).

As per the Govt of Tamil Nadu directive, Punarnava Trust took the initiative of distributing a kashayam to all the nearby villages. The kashayam was prepared at Vaidyagrama and it was administered to all the villages. This kashayam is a preventive medicine and it is to be internally taken at least once every month.

The most effective prevention of dengue fever would require control or eradication of the mosquitoes carrying the virus that causes it.


Balagrama Children's Home


Construction of the new 16 room (4000 Sq ft.) children’s home is complete, but the kitchen is yet to be constructed. We are planning to build a 1200 sq ft kitchen and work is about to begin.

Shri Ravikumar and Smt Latha have graciously agreed to take care of Balagrama and

are presently in the process of helping us make the lands surrounding Balagrama green. More than 800 trees, shrubs and flowering plants have been planted. A medicinal plants garden is being planted. So, Vaidyagrama community is slowly widening. This will be followed by the children coming to stay in Balagrama once the kitchen is ready.




Agraharam welcomes its first 3 families!



Dr Omprakash and family, Dr Aruna & Hakeem, and therapist Pradeep and family have moved into Agraharam homes. We wish to welcome them wholeheartedly to Vaidyagrama's traditional housing for its Vaidyas and staff. Soon there will be more people coming to stay at Agraharam. We have built 16 homes and each house has 3 rooms. We are very happy to accommodate volunteers and patients needing to stay for longer duration after the treatment.

An Agraharam or Agrahara is the name originally given to any village inhabited by Brahmins. Agraharams were also known as Chaturvedimangalams in ancient times or ghatoka, and boya.

The name originates from the fact that the housing in agraharams were arranged in lines of houses on either side of the road. Traditionally the temple to the village god was at the centre, thus resembling a garland around the temple. According to the traditional Hindu practice of architecture (Vastu) and town-planning, an agraharam is two rows of houses running north-south on either side of a road. One end of which would be a temple to Siva and at the other end, a temple to Vishnu. In Tamil Nadu, one such example is Vadiveeswaram.

With Brahmins taking up professions in urban areas and some migrating abroad. Agraharams are vanishing fast. Many of the traditional houses are giving way to concrete structures and commercial buildings.




Project Annam



Distribution of food is going well in the 11 villages in Thirumalayampalayam. We have now completed a 1 year cycle and are moving ahead with renewed vigour and confidence. All this is possible only with the very generous support of so many of you, who have been making the contribution of $40 US on your respective birthdays. The cost of providing free meals to the villages is very substantially underwritten by this initiative. We thank you all, and hope you will remain with us this year and in the years to come.




Monthly free Ayurveda Camp and Community Lunch



The monthly Free Medical Camp and Community lunch took place on February 3rd at Rottigoundanur village. 260 packets of food were distributed in the village.




Narayaneeyam Recital



This month Narayaneeyam was conducted on 3rd February and 14 people came from Annapoorneswari temple to recite the prayer, which took place all day, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Close to 30 people did the puja for the lamp in the evening and received the blessings.




Simultaneous translation



Equipment purchased during the conference is proving a boon for staff at Vaidyagrama, as now as they are able to hear satsang from some of the patients every week. Last week it was Agnes ji's turn to speak to the staff. She described her experience at Vaidyagrama and this indeed is a very good opportunity for the staff to hear first-hand from the patients about all the good things they do so well. And also some of the areas of their work they can improve upon!



Promoting AYURVEDA



Punarnava family put up a stall in the mega medical exhibition which was held at THE WESTERN GHATS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL,3G Road, P.G. Pudur, Ettimadai, Coimbatore - 641 112 on 29 and 30 Jan 2016. This exhibition was visited by thousands of people from the nearby areas of Coimbatore including students from most of the schools and colleges. The team from Punarnava interacted with the public and introduced them to Ayurveda and Ayurveda living.






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