(Translation of a discourse in Hindi on "Devatma Himalaya Evam Rishi-Parampara" Delivered by Rev. Gurudev Pandit Sriram Sharma Acharya - continued from the previous issue)
I was telling you about the angelic contributions of the rishis that laid the foundation of human cultural ascent and civilization aimed at global welfare in harmony with Nature. Have you heard of rishi
Charak? His idol is also enshrined here (at Shantikunj) in one of the rishi
temples, built as mark of our gratitude and reverence.
Rishi Charak had a prominent place among the vedic rishis who were sagacious scientists of Nature. He had discovered enormous number of medicinal plants and herbs in the Himalayan region. He had carried out his sadhana
and research in Kedarnath, Himalayas. The valley of flowers in this region near the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara - tirtha of the Sikhs - was like a paradise those days. Rishi
Charak loved this place and nurtured in it a wide variety of rare plants. What you see here now is only a tiny fraction of the original botanical garden. These days you may have to go much higher up to Tapovan-Nanadanvan, ahead of Gomukh, to see some of the precious Himalyan beauty and finest and rarest varieties of flowers including the real Brahmkamal, which is not found anywhere else in the world!
In an attempt to resurrect the glory of the medicinal Indian plants/herbs and the Science of Health - Ayurveda, we have set up a herbal laboratory in the Brahmvarchas Research Centre, Shantikunj, Hardwar. The unique contribution of this lab is identification and verification of the phytochemical and medicinal properties of the Himalayan herbs with respect to the scriptural descriptions. It was very important to do that, as the morphology and other properties of the medicinal plants, would have changed over the long span of so many thousands of years. Following the tradition of Maharshi Charak, we have also experimented on use of fresh decoctions and dry powder preparations (with the expiry period of 6 months) of these medicines. Excellent healing effects have been observed in hundreds of patients of different types of diseases. Vedic method of yagya-therapy using these medicinal plants /herbs is also successfully applied here.
Uttarkashi region in the Himalayas
still has some Aranyaks. What does Aranyaka mean? Well these are the places where one lives, away from home, in the age group of Vanaprastha Ashram1 to devote all the time and efforts to altruistic services of the society, after fulfilling the responsibilities towards one's family. People in the Aranyaks, also learnt the real meaning and glorious purpose of life. In ancient times, many Ashrams of Rishis used to have both the Aranyaks and the Gurukuls. The Gurukuls2 were ideal schools for the children. I have tried reviving both the traditions in Shantikunj. The children's school here is like a modern model of a Gurukul. You may not find its parallel anywhere in the world.