Understanding Vaidyagrama

Vaidyagrama healing community was born of a desire to create a healing environment in the classical Ayurveda tradition drawing upon all the knowledge available in the classical texts relating to Indian knowledge systems. While there are many concepts from the classical texts that are incorporated in vaidyagrama, here we will focus on the value system and management system that we desire to have in vaidyagrama.

While pondering over this, the texts again gave us clear directions using the concept of the “panca mahA yagna” which each of us needs to adopt in our daily lives. While this may be viewed as a thanksgiving, it is also a means to growth and evolution wherein it is these little acts of awareness that help to build the value base from where the larger vision is easily achievable. Thus vaidyagrama desires to create a community where the following principle value is cherished

Love & Respect (bhakti & arcana) for

  • Mankind including patients, friends, colleagues & family (manuSya yagna)
  • Environment including all living and non-living beings (bhUta yagna)
  • Past which creates the Present and helps us to view the Future (pitR yagna)
  • Learning leading to wisdom (brahma / RSi yagna)
  • Self; the cetanA within one’s own self (deva yagna)

This is the “panca mahA yagna” which is so beautifully enunciated in all our scriptures. At vaidyagrama, some of the activities that have been initiated / will be initiated in pursuit of the panca mahA yagna include :

  • bhU sevA – serving the environment; looking after the environment; maintaining environmental harmony; being in sync with nature.
  • rogI sevA – serving patients using the principles of Ayurveda.
  • jnAna sevA – serving the quest for learning.
  • go sevA – looking after animals, especially the cow.
  • vRddha sevA – serving senior citizens including our parents.
  • bAla sevA – serving / looking after children and inculcating in them similar values.
  •  nara sevA – serving our fellow human beings.

It is this holistic perspective which will enable the achievement of our primary vision. Namely “Authentic Ayurveda for universal wellbeing”

Some of the secondary values which are essential to support the primary value of bhakti include :

ahimsA non violence not hurting our fellow beings in thought, word or deed; removing rAga (attachment), dveSa (enemity), IrSyA (jealousy), lobha (avarice), krodha (unjustified anger), mAtsarya (unhealthy competition / selfishness) and moha (delusion) from our lives
adveSTA sarvabhUtAnAm no enemity/hatred towards any being
maitra karuNaca friendly & compassionate
nirmama non-possessive absence of prejudice; judging each situation on its given merits;
nirahamkAra absence of ego clear solutions emerge in the absence of the ego
santuSTam satatA always content being content with what is essential for the achievement of the puruSArthAs;
drDhanizcaya firm conviction unshakeable faith in the vision; enables alignment of all thoughts, words, decisions & actions in line with the vision
anapekSa free from wants no greed (lobha); only need (kArya or prayojana)
saGga vivarjita free from attachment
abhyAsa continous practice without patience, persistence and perseverance, nothing is achieved.
tyAga sacrifice sacrificing our attachment to this body and temporal material needs; and focusing more on the AtmA and the achievement of the larger vision.
karmaphala tyAga sacrificing the fruit of one’s work focus on the achievement of the vision and working towards it will suffice; the result is not in our hands.
yojana team yoking our combined efforts to the
analasatA active; pro-active absence of procrastination; what is to be done today should be done here and now; do not postpone to tomorrow.
Ardhika sharing if we are not governed by greed (lobha), then we will be happy to share what is available with everybody around us; the desire to take more or steal will no longer exist.
kSamA forgiveness mistakes are made by everybody; ability to forgive, learn and move on is essential.
jignyAsa desire to learn critical value.
sevA bhava desire to serve critical value; comes with nirahamkAra
satyam truth honesty; integrity; transparency common vision; the entire team becoming a family.

LIVING according to the vedAs / Ayurveda

Some points :

  • svasthasya svAsthya rakSaNam; Aturasya vikAro prazamanamca – first, protect the health of the healthy; then, remove the ailments of the diseased; basically “prevention is better than cure.”
  • The goal (lakSya) of any community, is dukha nivRtti and sukha prApti – removal of sorrow and achievement of sukha or mokSa or liberation or freedom or bliss. At every level, within a community, if this understanding is applied, then the realization comes that sukha prApti in the community happens only with the “yojana” of the entire community to the particular vision.
  • zarIram Adyam khalu dharmasAdhanam – the zarIra (body) is the first instrument of dharma; hence this body needs to be protected and taken care of; and this body needs to engage in that dharma for which it was created (in a community, the zarIra can mean the community and fulfilling the vision for which the community was created is the community dharma)
  • Understanding dharma – that which holds everything together as a harmonious whole or system as well as gives the zarIra a better standard of living and a higher quality of life (based on definitions from the mahAbhArata and vaizeSika
    darzanam of kaNAda)
  • Vidura Niti (zlokA 48) says – dharma is the one highest good; and forgiveness (kSamA) is the supreme peace; knowledge (vidyA) is one supreme contentment; and benevolence (ahimsA), one sole happiness.
  • This dharma is divided into three major groups :
    1. sAmAnya dharma – which are the common duties, responsibilities and tasks applicable to every individual in the community; it has primarily to do with
      • dhAraNam (sustaining or holding together)
      • pAlanam (protection of people, resources)
      • poSaNam (development of self, community and environment)
      • viniyogam (disposal including re-use, re-cycle, re-store)
    2. vizeSa dharma – which are the specific duties, responsibilities and tasks applicable to specific “varNAs” or groups within the community
    3. Apat dharma – which are the duties and responsibilities in an emergency
  • In a situation of Apat dharma, there is no varNa classification and everybody does what is required to keep the ship afloat in the particular situation; here also, there is a procedure to the management in the emergency
  •  To enable the smooth execution of the dharma – sAmAnya, vizeSa or Apat – there are clear procedures and practices.
  •  If the sAmAnya and vizeSa dharma are properly implemented and followed, the need for the Apat dharma is very rare; on the other hand, if there is no clearcut implementation of the sAmAnya and vizeSa dharma, then the Apat dharma will be in force all the time leading to complete confusion and conflict – everybody does everybody else’s job leading to lack of responsibility and accountability.
  • To enable the smooth implementation of the different types of dharma, there are AcArAs (practices or systems), zIla (behavioral practices), nIti (moral and ethical values) and nyAya (justice – natural and manmade) – only if all this comes together with a clear uddeza zuddhi (clarity of purpose or vision), is mokSa or absolute bliss achievable – in the context of a community, this is a state of “harmonious bliss” where people are no longer working but “just living happily”
  • The creation of a protocol or system to manage a particular situation is after going through the following steps –
        •  nidAna – identification of the cause
        •  pUrvarUpa – understanding the prodromal symptoms
        •  rUpa – identification and grouping the symptoms
        •  upazaya – through a process of informed trial and error, arriving at the nearest diagnosis and appropriate solution
        •  samprApti – understanding the nature or course of the problem
  • This is the Ayurveda model for the diagnosis of a problem and the determination of a solution which is either one or a combination of –
        • daivavyapAzraya cikitsA – long term corrective action considering the distant past and the foreseeable future
        • yuktivyapAzraya cikitsA – logical immediate corrective action considering the immediate past and the near future
        • satvAvayaya cikitsA – long term corrective advice and teaching
  • To explain the above using an example – if trees are being felled leading to destruction of the eco-system, the corrective action will be a combination of the above as follows –
        • Since the felled trees cannot be reinstated, new trees are planted which will take a few years to grow and reach the level of the felled trees (daivyavyapAzraya)
        • Immediate nourishment of the soil through nutrients and water, and care of the newly planted trees till they can survive on their  own (yuktivyapAzraya)
        • Education of the community regarding the ill-effects of felling trees and changing their mindset in this regard (satvAvajaya)
  • This is the model of management that needs to be applied to every situation to ensure a long term and permanent solution as also to ensure a long-lasting harmony within the community.
  • The model of corrective action at the individual level includes the sAma (advice, discussion), dAna (gift, sacrifice), bheda (denial, threat) and daNDa (punishment) model – but if the correction does not generally happen at the sAma and dAna levels, then the enterprise cannot be sustained. If bheda and daNDa are regularly used in a community, it is a reflection of the absence of shared vision and values across all levels in the community.


These are just a few points which have been put together from various texts:

arthazAstra, cANakya nIti, vidura nIti, bhagavad gItA, bhAgavatam and of course the Ayurveda texts.This is in no way complete. However this should help to understand what we desire at vaidyagrama healing community and how to achieve it. Only sustained and persistent effort of the highest level will enable us to achieve our vision and most importantly for everybody to be happy.