Ayurvedic Spiritual Therapies: Resources for Health and Healing

Manasa Ayurveda therapies include daivavyapāsraya which is often described as 'spiritual therapies'. Ayurveda is not bound to any religion and is not itself part of religion so its recommendations for health through spiritual practice can benefit those of any or no faith. For example, for Muslims, such an approach may centre around the Quran, whilst Christians can find sources of inspiration for healing within the Bible : 

قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا هُدًى وَشِفَاء

And declare (O Muhammad) that [the Quran] is a guidance and healing for the believers
— al-Fussilat, 41:44
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
— Proverbs 4:20-22

The Āyurvedic classical text, the Aṣṭāñga Hṛdayam was written by Vāgbhata, an Āyurvedic doctor who happened to be a convert to Buddhism. This foundational classic Ayurvedic text advises the use of specific mantras and dhāraṇīs (recitations) mentioning ‘Avalokita’ and ‘Natha’, referring to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, and Acala-Natha (Achalanatha; Lord Immovable) (AH.Utt.V.49-51).

Acalanatha is especially efficient in removing all kinds of obstacles which lie in the way of one’s undertaking, religious or otherwise. His other title is “the great destroyer of hindrances”. The Pali suttas make reference to the Buddha’s ‘unshakable’ liberation and being ‘steadfast’ (e.g. AN.6.45; AN.3.84; AN.3.103; MN.I.357). To further inspire and illustrate this quality of immovability, imagery was used in an early sutta of ‘the pillar in the king's frontier fortress’, with a ‘deep base… securely planted, immobile and unshakable’ (AN.7.67). Use of imagery to represent the quality of immovability seen within the early Nikayas may have provided the basis for the adoption of iconography now associated with Acalanatha, and which is described in the Maha-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi Tantra:

…He holds a sword and a noose, his plaited hair hangs from the left of his head, he is well adorned and one of his eyes squints. He abides amidst his own light, wrathfully seated upon a rock. His face is creased with anger, and he has a robust youthful form
— MVA.II.40

To embody the qualities of Achalanatha, the Maha-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi Tantra advises mental recitation of the mantra of Acalanatha and use of His mudra (as well as other ritual practices) (MVA.XI.85). The Ayurvedic Aṣṭāñga Hṛdayam also mentions the therapeutic use of dhāraṇīs invoking 'Natha' and the popularity of Achalanatha has spread internationally. The video below, made in England, includes contemporary English versions of dhāraṇīs calling upon Achalanatha. 

Gut-Wrenching News?

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 12.40.40.png

We use expressions like having “gut-wrenching” experience, having situations that make us “feel nauseous” and feeling “butterflies” in our stomach.

These expressions tell us something and we use them for a reason. Emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness and elation can trigger symptoms in the gut. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion and also to thoughts: the thought of eating can release the stomach's juices before food gets there, and this connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut – our stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.

A review of 13 studies highlighted by the Harvard Medical School showed that patients who tried psychologically based approaches had greater improvement in their digestive symptoms compared with patients who received only conventional medical treatment.

In our approach to the mind, mental health and wellbeing, Manasa Ayurveda recognises the importance of the gastrointestinal (GI) system. As part of our assessment process we assess agnibala digestive function according to a scientifically validated Ayurvedic assessment.

Following personal consultation, our clients are issued a full personal report which includes analysis of their current digestive function and suggestions as to how this can be improved through diet, lifestyle and suitable therapies. We also monitor changes as digestive function is improved and re-balanced. If you would like to find out more about our approach, feel free to go ahead and contact us

The Origins of Ayurveda – Myths & History


This article discusses the premodern interactions between Buddhist and Ayurvedic traditions and formed part of an MA thesis entitled: Developing Buddhist Ayurvedic Counselling and Psychiatry for mental health service provision in England (Copyright belongs to the author). 


   
  
   
  
    
  
   Normal 
   0 
   
   
   
   
   false 
   false 
   false 
   
   EN-GB 
   X-NONE 
   X-NONE 
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
    Kasyapa Buddha: principal teacher of Ayurveda?

Kasyapa Buddha: principal teacher of Ayurveda?

It is widely accepted that Ayurveda came into existence long before the emergence of the historical Buddha and that the evidence for this can be found in Vedic literature, in particular the Atharvaveda, which, with a devotion to the removal of disease, was the principal source of medicine during the Vedic period of Indian medicine (p.118, Sharma, 1992; pp.1,14 Zysk, 1992).

Brahmanist-inclined traditionalists assert the continuity from Veda to Ayurveda; Ayurveda being seen as a timeless upanga or upaveda of the Atharvaveda. However, there is actually no mention of the word ‘Ayurveda’ in the Atharvaveda and the question has been raised as to whether Ayurveda really existed at the time of the creation of the Atharvaveda (p.12, Haldar, 1977). Wujastyk (1998, 2003) has argued that the Atharvaveda, does not form an obvious precursor to classical Ayurveda; the medical material within Vedic literature being ‘…remarkable, more for its differences from classical Ayurveda than for its similarities…’ (p.xxix, Wujastyk, 1998, 2003).

According to classical Ayurvedic texts themselves, the origin of Ayurveda is traced through a lineage of divine, semi-divine, and venerable transmitters; Hindu divinities being the ultimate fountains from which medical knowledge has issued: 

'Bharadvaja, the ascetic of eminence, desirous of long life, having known (about Indra) approached Indra - the lord of immortals and protector of the devotees. Daksa got the Ayurveda as propounded by Brahma; from the former, the Asvins got it in its entirety and Indra got the whole of it from the Asvins; so as directed by sages, Bharadvaja approached Indra (CS.Su.I.4-5).

Such proclamations are not, however, universally accepted as the final word on the question of the origins of Ayurveda. According to Wujastyk (1998; 2003) such claims within Ayurvedic texts are not evidence for Vedic medical history, but rather evidence of a bid by medical authors for social acceptance and religious sanction. The argument of Zysk (1991) is that such origin myths are likely to have been superimposed on previously existing material in an intellectual endeavour to render a fundamentally heterodox science orthodox; to establish a body of knowledge as brahmanic through applying a ‘veneer’ of Hindu mythology that was told and retold in later Ayurvedic classics such as the Astangha Hridaya (AH) (p.5;8;117-8, Zysk, 1991):

'Brahman, remembering Ayurveda (the science of life) taught it to Prajapati, he (Prajapati) in turn taught it to Asvin twins, they taught it to Agnivesa and others and they (agnivesa and other disciples) composed treatise, each one seperately' (AH.Su.Su.I.2-3).

Despite the narrative of divine lineage presented within these origin myths, according to Zysk’s analysis, Indian medicine was not a product of an orthodox brahmanic intellectual tradition. The brahmanic hierarchy may have denegrated medical practitioners, excluding them from orthodox ritual because of their pollution through contact with impure people (pp.4-5, Zysk, 1991) and from the perspective of social and religious history, it is not within brahmanic orthodoxy, but early Buddhist literature, that clear evidence of the foundations of Ayurveda can be identified:

‘...the very earliest reference in Indian literature to a form of medicine that is unmistakably a forerunner of ayurveda is found in the teachings of the Buddha... As far as we know, it was not yet called ayurveda, but the basic concepts were the same as those that later formed the foundations of ayurveda...' (p.31, Wujastyk, 2003).

Early Buddhist literature (which describes health as the ‘highest gain’; Dp.XV.204), directly references known illnesses and treatments of the time and adopts technical terms such as ‘dhatu’ which may have been borrowed from respected contemporaneous medical traditions (p.246, Larson, 1987; p.42, Mitra,1985). Sik (2016) investigated ancient Indian medicine according to various versions of the chapter on medicine in the extant Vinaya Piṭakas. Illnesses examined in these texts include:

‘…autumnal disease, wind diseases, disorders of humours or elements, fever, gastrointestinal disturbances, headache, jaundice, snakebite, poisoning, ocular diseases, itchy lesions, carbuncles, wounds, other skin problems, perineal diseases, foot ailments, and insanity…' (Sik, 2016).

Liyanaratne (1999) has claimed that the Girimanandasutta of the Anguttara Nikaya precedes the earliest Ayurvedic treatises by five or six centuries (p.72, Liyanaratne, 1999). It describes forty-eight forms of disease according to their location, type, cause and nature. The Brahmajala and Samannaphala suttas of the Digha Nikaya are among the earliest authenticated Buddhist texts (p.65, Liyanaratne, 1999). They enumerate livelihoods (jivaka) which include a range of medical therapies prescribed within Ayurvedic treatises. In these suttas the therapies are described as ‘brutish arts’ and distained as means of wrong livelihood; however, in the Vinaya the practice of some of these therapies is explicitly allowed.

Natthukamma (Skt. nasya – nasal therapy) and sirovirecana (a specific form of nasya) distained as means of wrong livelihood in the Brahmajala and Samannaphala Suttas, are permitted according to the Vinaya: “I allow, monks, (medical) treatment through the nose” (Vin.I.204). Clearly any distain is towards the prospect of Buddhist monks receiving remuneration for the provision of those services, not the therapeutic interventions themselves (p.27, Zysk, 1992). In fact, of all the occupations during the time of the Buddha, the medical profession appears to have been valued the most by the Buddhists as in full keeping with the principle of right livelihood (samma ajiva) (p.228, Dharmasiri, 1997; p.118, Sharma). Medicine was always a significant part of Buddhism throughout the development of the religion (p.70, Zysk, 1992), and where prompted by compassion combined with charity, involvement with the practice of nursing or medicine was not distained by the Buddha, but is actively encouraged (p.17, Liyanaratne, 1999):

“Monks, you have not a mother, you have not a father who might tend you. If you, monks, do not tend one another, then who is there who will tend you? Whoever, monks, would tend me, he should tend the sick' (Vin.I.302).

It can also be observed that the Brahmajala Sutta explicitly mentions that sramanas as well as Brahmins were engaging in the practice of these therapies (natthukamma (Skt. nasya – nasal therapy) etc.). Consequently, Vedic influences (such as specific knowledge and healing approaches originating in the Atharvaveda) may have become more connected with some early medical traditions than others. This appears to be supported by the fact that whilst Susruta mentioned three hundred bones in the human body, both adherents of the Vedas and Cakara's school held them to be three hundred and sixty (p.13, Haldar, 1977). Whatever the remaining early Vedic influences within the various medical traditions, it appears likely that the earliest Ayurvedic practitioners operated among the sramanas, outside brahmanic restrictions:

‘…Unaffected by brahmanic strictures and taboos, these sramanic physicians developed an empirically based medical epistemology and accumulated medical lore from different healing traditions in ancient India. Ideally suited to the Buddha's key teaching of the Middle Way, this medical information was codified in the early Buddhist monastic rules, which gave rise to a tradition of Buddhist monastic medicine during the centuries following the founder's death' (p.117-8, Zysk, 1992).

Pandey (2015) emphasised that the traditional medicine in Buddhist India was ‘undoubtedly the forerunner of Ayruveda of today’ (p.472, Pandey et al, 2015), Laiyanaratne (1999) has recognised that the development of Ayurveda took place principally in a ‘Buddhist matrix’ with the Sangha playing a major role (p.xi, Laiyanaratne, 1999) and Dharmasiri (1997) has emphasized that ‘…Ayurveda medicine itself is primarily of Buddhist origin with substantial Buddhist contributions throughout its history...' (p.209, Dharmasiri, 1997). Both the AH and Astangha Samgraha acknowledge the contribution of the Buddha to medicine in their opening verses by paying homage to the Buddha both explicitly (in the AS) and surreptitiously (in the AH):

'Obeisances to the Buddha, who by the power of knowledge and spells has subdued the mighty serpent called citta (mind)…
…I bow my head in reverence to that One (rare, unique) physician, who has dispelled from this world, quickly, all the rogas (diseases) commencing with raga (desire, lust) etc...’ (AS.Su.I.1).
‘Obeisances be, to that Apurva vaidya (unique/unparallelled/rare physician) who has destroyed, without any residue, (all) the diseases like raga (passion/desire) etc…’ (AH.Su.I.1).

From the time of the earliest suttas, the Buddhist tradition has emphasised that it is ultimately not Brahma, but the Buddhas who are true source of knowledge and wisdom (DN.I.222), and in these texts, Buddha is recognised as ‘the principal teacher of medicine’ (p.8, Zysk, 1992). In Buddhist Sri Lanka and Tibet the Brahmanist mythological lineage through which the origin of Ayurveda is traced has been maintained but with variations which explicitly emphasise the Buddha as source. According to Tibetan tradition, the Buddha Kasyapa (see image above) is firmly identified as the principal teacher of medicine (p.49, Dash, 1976; p.47, Clifford, 1984), and in the Vaidyalankara, an Ayurvedic text written in Sri Lanka, it is explained that the historical Buddha made Ayurveda clear, by getting Jivaka to learn it (Jivaka was the Buddha’s own physician, but is not mentioned in Brahminist Indian tradition concerning the origin of Ayurveda) (pp.395-6, Liyanaratne, 1999).

On this basis, the early Buddhist sangha ‘soon became the principal vehicle for the preservation, advancement, and transmission of Indian medical lore' (p.38, Zysk, 1992), and Zysk (1992) suggested that ‘Buddhist monastic medicine represents the earliest extant codification of medical doctrines...’ (p.84, Zysk, 1992); however, early Buddhist texts do not possess the word ‘Ayurveda’. Instead, the word 'tikiccha' is used (pp.131-3, Narayana & Lavekar, 2005). The names of three Vedas, i.e. Rgveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda are occasionally referred to in Buddhist canonical works, but there is also no mention of the word ‘Ayurveda’ in these, or the Atharvaveda. The Chandogya Upanisad also does not include the term Ayurveda, but it does mention bhutavidya (which became a branch of Ayurveda), which is also mentioned in the Buddhist Digha Nikaya (DN.I.2.I). On this basis, it seems unlikely that the term ‘Ayurveda’ was deliberately excluded or displaced in early Buddhist suttas. As stated by Wujastyk (2003), although the teachings of the Buddha refer to a form a medicine that is ‘unmistakably a forerunner of Ayurveda… As far as we know, it was not yet called ayurveda’ (p.31, Wujastyk, 2012).

Buddhist India contributed much to the spread of Ayurveda through the support of King Asoka (ca. 269-232 B.C.E.) who was an enormously influential convert to Buddhism:

'Asoka, Beloved of the Gods, issues the following proclamation: For more than two and a half years, I have been a lay disciple [upasaka] of the Buddha. More than a year ago, I visited the Samgha [the Buddhist religious orders], and since then I have been energetic in my efforts...’ (Maski Rock Edict).

Ayurveda was taken to all those countries where Asoka sent his Buddhist missionaries. It spread to Sri Lanka, China, Southeast Asian countries, Tibet, central Asia and beyond (p.168, Varier, 2005). The second rock edict of King Asoka (ca. 269-232 B.C.E.) at Girnar proclaims that everywhere in the kingdom medical treatment was to be provided to both humans and animals:

'...Medicinal herbs, suitable for men and animals, have been imported and planted wherever they were not previously available. Also, where roots and fruits were lacking they have been imported and planted. Wells have been dug and trees planted along the roads for men and animals' (Rock Edict II).

But despite Asoka’s support for medical treatment, he is also reported to have called for reprimanding those who wrongly handle surgery (p.168, Varier, 2005). It is possible that this was a consequence of potentially harmful surgery being undertaken for profit where safer and less invasive (but also less profitable), treatments were available; however, Varier (2005) has claimed that these reprimands along with the ‘Buddhists aversion in experimenting surgery in animals’ were detrimental to the practice of surgery (p.168, Varier, 2005). Dash and Kashyap (1987) made similar criticism by claiming that Buddhists ‘prohibited the practice of surgery among several other professions’ and thereby gave a ‘death blow to the medical practitioners’ (p.ix, Dash & Kashyap, 1987). A case recorded in the Vinaya, where a monk got a fistula operated by a surgeon called Akasagotta might appear to support a Buddhist rejection of surgery:

‘“Monks, one should not have lancing done within a distance of two finger-breadths of the private parts nor a clyster-treatment. Whoever should have either of these things done, there is a grave offence”’ (Vin.1.216).

But as Talim (2009) argued, it is ‘not proper’ to ascribe the decline of traditional surgery and medicine in India to Buddhism (p.93, Talim, 2009). The ‘rejection of surgery’ by the Buddha seen in the Vinaya (Vin.1.216), was of a specific surgical procedure, made in a specific context in which the lancing of an ulcer by Ākāsagotta, a monk who was a surgeon before joining the Sangha, was a failure, and the patient suffered. Surgery requires ongoing practice and a monk cannot play with the life of other monks on the basis of his previous experience (p.92, Talim, 2009). The Buddha made clear: “The skin, monks, is tender at the private parts, a wound is hard to heal, a knife hard to guide” (Vin.1.216). Jivaka was also a disciple of the Buddha who was a surgeon, but unlike Ākāsagotta, remained a householder. He maintained his surgical practice but was never advised by Buddha to discard surgery (p.92, Talim, 2009). Barring the example given above from the Vinaya, the Buddha had not objected to surgery and certainly never discouraged surgeons who were householders. A positive and intimate familiarity with surgery and the training of surgeons within Buddhist circles is evidenced within the Visudhimagga (Vis.136):

'Again, when a surgeon’s pupils are being trained in the use of the scalpel on a lotus leaf in a dish of water, one who is too clever applies the scalpel hurriedly and either cuts the lotus leaf in two or pushes it under the water, and another who is not clever enough does not even dare to touch it with the scalpel for fear of cutting it in two or pushing it under; but one who is clever shows the scalpel stroke on it by means of a balanced effort, and being good at his craft he is rewarded on such occasions' (Vis.136).

With the rise of Mahayana Buddhism, medical study (chikitsa-vidya) became one of the five sciences (vidya) for bodhisattvas, either monk or lay, to acquire for healing the sick, and medicine had become identified as one of the means (upaya) to liberation (p.67, Zysk, 1992). Eventually, many Mahayana monastreries in East Asia operated clinics, dispensed medicines and ran medical institutions and colleges (p.22, Zysk, 1992). The symbiotic relationship between what are now known as Buddhism and Ayurveda facilitated the spread of Buddhism in India, led to the teaching of medicine in the large Indian conglomerate monasteries, and assisted the acceptance of Buddhism in other parts of Asia (p.6, Zysk, 1992). 


For the full reference list please contact us

The photograph in this post is by Gerd Eichmann - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9401488

 

This article on the premodern interactions between Buddhist and Ayurvedic traditions is an extract from an MA thesis entitled: Developing Buddhist Āyurvedic Counselling and Psychiatry (BĀCP) for mental health service provision in England.

Crisis Support

Crisis Support.jpg

Manasa Ayurveda means Ayurveda for the mind. We are serious about mental health and wellbeing. Our service offers a traditional natural and holistic Ayurvedic approach to mental health. Our service is in demand, so we seek to ensure that everyone who approaches us has access to direct support when they need it.

A mental health crisis can mean different things to different people. In a mental health crisis, you might feel so distressed that you want to harm yourself or someone else. You might hear unpleasant voices, or feel that people are watching you or trying to hurt you. At such times it can help to tell someone you trust, maybe a family member or a friend. They can be with you and help you decide what to do. They can also contact services on your behalf.

If you need urgent help:

Call 111 to speak to the free NHS helpline for anyone with an urgent healthcare need. Tell them if you need a translator. They can:

  • give you self-care advice
  • connect you to a nurse or GP
  • book you a face-to-face appointment
  • send an ambulance, if necessary
  • direct you to the local service that can help you best

If you are with someone who has attempted suicide, call 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives.

If you need less urgent help:

Don’t suffer in silence. Get help. You could:

Speak to your GP. They can put you in touch with local services.

Contact the Samaritans - Call for free: 116 123 (24 hours a day) email: jo@samaritans.org

London and national contacts:

Services for people who need help and those who are worried about them (numbers beginning 0800 and 0808 are free to call from landlines and mobiles. 0300 numbers are local rate).

Alcoholics Anonymous
call: 0800 9177 650 (24 hours) www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) For men of all ages.
call: 0800 802 58 58 (5pm to midnight) www.thecalmzone.net

Dementia
Alzheimer’s Society
call: 0300 222 11 22 (various times) www.alzheimers.org.uk

Domestic Violence Helpline
freephone: 0808 2000 247 (24 hours a day) email: helpline@refuge.org.uk www.refuge.org.uk

FRANK (Drugs and alcohol advice) call: 0300 123 6600 (24 hours a day) www.talktofrank.com

HOPElineUK. For those aged up to 35. call: 0800 068 41 41 text: 07786 209697 email: pat@papyrus-uk.org www.papyrus-uk.org

LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender+)
Switchboard
call: 0300 330 0630 (10am to 10pm) www.switchboard.lgbt chris@switchboard.lgbt

National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) call: 0808 801 0331 (various times) www.napac.org.uk

Rape Crisis
(Support for women and girls)
call: 0808 802 9999 (various times) www.rapecrisis.org.uk

SANEline
call: 0300 304 7000 (6pm to 11pm)

Silverline - support for older people call: 0800 4 70 80 90 (24 hours) www.thesilverline.org.uk

Victim Support
call: 08 08 16 89 111 (various times) www.victimsupport.org.uk

Manasa Ayurveda Hospital in Sri Lanka wins International Health Care Award 2017

Dr Saman Hettige was awarded the "Sustainable Development Goals - International Health Care Award 2017" at the 55th International Congress of Integrative Medicine in Bali, Indonesia. He was awarded for his contribution to making the Neelamahara psychiatry tradition "popular internationally".  

The Manasa Ayurveda hospital in Sri Lanka practices the Neelamahara psychiatry tradition which has continued for around 350 years in the Neelamahara Buddhist temple and surrounding village community. Ancestors of this tradition include both Buddhist Monks and lay Buddhist Doctors (see below). 

'Manasa Ayurveda' means "Ayurveda for the Mind" and as well as for the Manasa Ayurveda Hospital in Sri Lanka, this name has also been used for the 'Manasa Ayurveda Pharmacy' in India and for our specialist service in the UK offering 'Ayurveda for the mind, mental health and wellbeing'. Although the name 'Manasa Ayurveda' is used in common, these services are not part of the same organisation or company. Manasa Ayurveda (UK) remains independent from Manasa Ayurveda pharmacies and hospitals in India and Sri Lanka. Manasa Ayurveda (UK) is directed by mental health professionals registered and insured in the UK.

Manasa Ayurveda (UK) owes a debt of gratitude to Dr Saman Hettige for sharing knowledge and experience, and for supporting our efforts to introduce Ayurvedic psychiatric therapies in the UK. Some key ingredients used by Manasa Ayurveda (UK) are sourced directly through the Manasa Ayurveda hospital in Sri Lanka, and Manasa Ayurveda (UK) therapies are directly informed by first-hand learning and clinical experience within the Manasa Ayurveda Hospital in Sri Lanka. Manasa Ayurveda (UK) is proud that the Neelamahara tradition continues to inform our therapies.

Many congratulations to Dr Saman Hettige and the Manasa Ayurveda Hospital in Sri Lanka.

 Dr Saman Hettige at the International Health Care Award Ceremony 2017

Dr Saman Hettige at the International Health Care Award Ceremony 2017

Ancestors of the Neelamahara Tradition

 Rev. Dr. Werehera Sobitha  (1854-1886)

Rev. Dr. Werehera Sobitha  (1854-1886)

 Rev. Dr. Erawwala Seelalankara  (1906-1935)

Rev. Dr. Erawwala Seelalankara  (1906-1935)

 Rev. Dr. Dehiwala Dhammaloka  (1935-1971)

Rev. Dr. Dehiwala Dhammaloka  (1935-1971)

 Ayur.Dr. Indrasena DeAlwis  (1950-2000)

Ayur.Dr. Indrasena DeAlwis  (1950-2000)

 Rev. Dr. Dehiwala Buddarakkitha Thero  (1965-2013)

Rev. Dr. Dehiwala Buddarakkitha Thero  (1965-2013)

 Ayur.Dr. D.S. Hettige (1965 - 2013)

Ayur.Dr. D.S. Hettige (1965 - 2013)

 Ayur. Dr. S. Hettige - Present day Managing Director Manasa Ayurveda Hospital - Neelamahara

Ayur. Dr. S. Hettige - Present day Managing Director Manasa Ayurveda Hospital - Neelamahara

Manasa Ayurveda - Service User Feedback

The following is written feedback from Manasa Ayurveda clients and service users in London:

'For me a very positive well-being session. I hope to maintain a wellbeing attitude daily. I like the Ayurvedic approach’

‘I was happy and it was interesting what you use’

‘Very helpful and beneficial’

‘Having the peaceful sensation of a face massage is certainly worth having long-term’

‘Today was different in terms of more detail focus on feeding the senses and possible outcome; very useful and mindful and interesting’

‘very sufficient with the therapist’

‘I was interested in everything, it was something new’

‘Being able to verbally express my feelings around family life and circumstances has been mentally and emotionally de-stressing’

‘Extremely relaxing and I had positive reflections on wellbeing’

‘Mindfulness… I find very interesting in terms of its apparent simplicity though NOT simple and needs my attention and practice’

‘Very interesting’

'Today’s session was extremely beneficial and relaxing, beneficial discussing my sleep and wellbeing patterns; extremely useful for service users’.

'Very practical and beneficial’

‘The Nasya oil was introduced to me in today’s session; very soothing. I hope this will in time alleviate my congestion. I look forward to Ayurveda sessions’.

‘Excellent treatment’

‘The massage was very helpful and teas’

‘The mindful, sensual, wellbeing impact of Ayurveda creates thoughts of the possibility of a healthier future’

‘Very beneficial experience’

‘Today’s session was most helpful for me. Discussion on sleep, wellbeing and talking around my feelings helped greatly’