Birth of New Goshala “Lakshmigrama”
At Vaidyagrama, as is the case all over India, we revere the cows. Here, in the Goshala, we have 11 cows and 4 bulls. Overlooking the cows there is a Shrine to Lord Krishna. Since the number of cows in the Goshala has increased, the space was insufficient and the extension was needed to accommodate the growing, revered inhabitants! As a result, in August 2016, the auspicious extension Lakshmigrama was born!
Revered Former Priest of Badrinath, Shri Badari Prasad Ravalji, performed the Puja at the Lakshmigrama. The inauguration was done on August 17, 2016 by Shri Huburtus and Ms Heike Seegebarth Indians believe that cow is Gow Mata (In india the Cow is revered as a Mother) and Annapurna (Wife of Siva and Goddess of Plenty). The Churning of the Sea during the Amrit Manthan brings to light the story of the creation of the cow. Five divine Kamadhenus (wish fulfilling cows) Nanda, Subhadra, Surabhi, Sushila, Bahula emerged in the churning.
The inauguration of Lakshmigrama was performed by Shri Huburtus, Ms Heike and the Revered Former Priest of Badrinath, Shri Badari Prasad Ravalji, performed the Puja at the Lakshmigrama. Puja at the Sri Krishna shrine was performed by our own revered Dr Hari Kumar!
One of Vaidyagrama’s Aims: A Green Healing Village!
Improving the green cover around Vaidyagrama is one of the primary aims of Punarnava Trust. Every day the guests leaving the hospital plant trees around Vaidyagrama. These young trees are then lovingly cared by the staff, and enjoyed by all, patients, staff and doctors alike. In this way, the trees are themselves part of the healing process, and Vaidaygrama has become (a much loved) Green Healing Village.
Krishna Jayanti, Celebration of the Birth of Krishna
Krishna Jayanti (also known as Gokulashtami) is celebrated all over India, commemorating the birth of Krishna. Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, worshipping Krishna, staying up until midnight, and offering prayers at the special time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishna's infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes everywhere! At midnight, devotees gather around for devotional songs, dance and exchange of gifts. Some temples also conduct readings of the Hindu religious scripture Bhagavad Gita, in which Krishna is primary!
At Vaidyagrama, Krishna Jayanti was celebrated with a lot of joy, singing praises of Lord Krishna, making sweets as prasad and distributing it to devotees. Bhajans and Keerthans marked the day!
August Origami Workshop for Village Children
Premdhara Momo is a Vaidaygrama family member, who is devoted to the children from the nearby villages. She expressed a desire to conduct a workshop on Origami (a Japanese art of folding paper to decorative shapes and figures) in August.
Thus, 28 children from the village visited Vaidyagrama, to learn and enjoy with Premdharaji. All the patients joined in the activity, and soon the children were having fun folding and making shapes with paper and also playing with the balloons which Premdharaji lovingly brought from Singapore. She also led the kirtan with the children. The day was a wonderful gift for the village children, and was enjoyed by one and all.
First Saturday Community Lunch and Medical Camp at Rottigoundanur
Every month on the first Saturday of the month, the volunteers enthusiastically feed the villagers, and also provide a free Ayurveda medical camp at Rottigoundanur. All the old people wait for the Saturday to enjoy the meal. The lunch is lovingly prepared at the Punarnava Trust Kitchen, with some of the villagers who work in Punarnava Trust lovingly joining in the work. Shyne, as his name suggests, is a smiling volunteer who enthusiastically shares his culinary skills, making mouthwatering dishes for the villages. He is ably supported by Rukmini from Rottigoundanur, Pushpa from Thirumalayampalayam and Sivabagyam from Veerappanur. All the other volunteers from Punarnava and Vaidyagrama lend a hand in the cooking.
This quarter, we had the support of the Therapy Students Michele, Nirmal, Sangita and Vinita who, as well as helping with the cooking, took part in transporting and serving the food to the villagers. All in all it was a joyous occasion. Cynthia Shannon, our patient turned volunteer from Australia, also joined in to support. The menu for August was chapati, fried rice, Soya curry with onion and potato, pickle, buttermilk and banana.
Therapist Sindhu’s Baby Shower
Vaidyagrama is proud of its family, which includes all staff, the patients, volunteers, guests, flora and fauna. It was a joyous occasion, this month when Sindhu, our therapist, married to Biju (our male therapist) was given a baby shower, followed by a sumptuous lunch for every one (except of course the patients)! We celebrated and eagerly await the new member to be born into the Vaidyagrama family. Every day food is being distributed to the old and needy members of the community. In addition, Annam beneficiaries are receiving regular medical care. Each month, during the medical camp on the first Saturday, we arrange consultations for all the beneficiaries of daily meal.
Organic Vegetables at Vaidyagrama
The soil at Vaidyagrama was once dry and infertile. As the years have gone by, using the Agnihotra ash, compost from the biogas plant, cow dung and mulching with dead leaves, the land has become very fertile. We can see the visible changes in the quality of soil. Now, the plants thrive on being watered once every few days. The fruits of the land are a sight to behold! Many types of vegetables such as the red pumpkin, white pumpkin, Papaya, string beans, ridge gourd, okra, tomato, chilli, spinach, radish, tapioca, bottle gourd etc are grown on the lands of Punarnava and Vaidaygrama.
A beautiful garden is coming up at Balagrama under the care of Shri Ravi Kumar. The flowers and young plants and lately the vegetables are a sight to behold. Ravikumarji spends all his time in the garden watering them, caring for them and planning for growing more vegetables etc.
Famous Bharatanatyam Gurus Perform at Vaidyagrama
The famous Bharatanatyam Gurus, Padma Bhushan V P Dhananjayan Sir and his wife Padma Bhushan Shanta Dhananjayan, stayed at Vaidyagrama for a few days recently. They took part in all the activities and also performed a dance for the staff before leaving vaidyagrama.
Healing Prayer Narayaneeyam at Vaidyagrama
The healing prayer, Narayaneeyam, was recited at Vaidaygrama in June. All the patients, staff and many guests participated in the Puja. The elder pious ladies from Coimbatore city came to Vaidyagrama in the early hours and chanted the slokas till evening. The nine avatharas of Vishnu, ending with Krishna, were chanted. The recital ended with a Vilakku Puja (pujawithlampsasdeities) was performed by all thepatients and staff. As ever, it was a very spiritual experience for one and all.
Punarnava Ayurveda Institute International Training Courses
Punarnava Ayurveda family added another feather in its cap by forming Punarnava Ayurveda Institute. The Institute will conduct therapist training courses for Indian and International students.
The certificate will be issued by Bharat Sevak Samaj, a Government of India Enterprise, under whose membership the institute is conducting classes. The first batch of therapist training of 6 months duration, a Certificate course in Ayurveda and Panchakarma, has 4 students including 3 International and one Indian.
We have one more course of 1 year Diploma in Ayurveda and Panchakarma, which has 3 students presently. We invite anyone interested in undergoing therapy training, be they Indian or International, contact us to know more about these courses.
AuEra Living Homes Construction Commenced !
The construction of the AuEra living homes began in earnest in August! The first two houses, among the 10 to be constructed, is now expected to be ready by December 2016. The construction is being done by stabilized rammed earth technology.
Charity dinner hosted by Friends of Vaidyagrama
Every year, Daniela ji and Florian ji conduct charity dinner at their home in Austria and invite their friends to take part in the same. They collect donations for some of the activities of the trust and donate all the proceeds to the Trust. We thank each and every member of their team for this support.
'Glimpses of Vaidyagrama'
I arrived at Vaidyagrama on Sunday 3 July 2016. My home is in Canberra, the Federal Capital of Australia, south west of Sydney. I left my house at 5.15am and arrived at Vaidyagrama via Singapore nearly, 23 hours later.
I came for 28 days of Panchakarma treatment on the recommendation of Jacinta McKewan, my Ayurvedic practitioner and old friend. It was my second wonderful Panchakarma treatment as I had six weeks at Poonthottam in Kerala in January 2015 under Dr Ravi.
I came specifically to improve my fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and osteoporosis. And I was thoroughly stuck, down a big hole, being newly retired and not knowing what to do with all my time. I was very bored, lonely and isolated. I was really only going through the motions of life - just. My spirit and passions had disappeared down the hole with me.
So I was excited to come to Vaidyagrama, full of anticipation, open to whatever might evolve. I was also a little daunted by the advisory notes that Aparna had emailed a few days before my departure, recommending that I limit my walking, talking, laughing and reading during treatment, all the things I so missed in my low state in Canberra!
I kept a Journal while in treatment at Vaidyagrama and I found this piece that I wrote on Day 8, Monday 11 July. I am happy to share it with you. I will call it 'Glimpses of Vaidyagrama'
Recipe of the Month from Kavitha’s Cooking Class!
Broken Wheat- 1 cup
Onion – 1, finely chopped
Carrot – 1 finely chopped
Beans – 5 to 6, finely chopped
Ginger – a small piece, grated
Curry leaves – few
Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp, finely
Salt to taste
Coconut Oil – 2 tsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds – 1⁄2 tsp
Moong dal– 1 ts
Heat a pan with oil and ghee.
Temper with mustard seeds and mung dal. Once the dal turns golden, add the chopped onions, green chilly, ginger and curry leaves.
Sauté until onion turn pink.
Next add the vegetables, carrots, beans, and sauté for another minute.
Now add the broken wheat and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat.
Add 2.5 cups of water, salt. Mix well and bring to boil.
Cover and cook for 10 mins on slow fire.
Once the liquid has dried, open the lid and drizzle the lemon juice.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve hot with a chutney or Sambar.