The Fortune of Being a Senior Citizen 

Dr. C.L. Prabhakar

sataminnu sarado anti devahyatra nascakra jarasam tanunam

putraso yatra pitaro bhavanti mano madhyareerishatayurgantoh

“Oh you Gods! A lovely hundred years (Śarad seasons) stand before us with in the given span of lifetime. Kindly, do not trouble our mortal physical frame, until we reach to a certain age. The next generation can take charge and get ready to bear the responsibilities of becoming fathers in turn.”

Rigveda 1.89.9

Ramayana expressed a truth that death is natural to all beings while life and living is change. But if a being lives long breathing (svāsan) healthily then we consider him to be fortunate. In other words, if prāṇa-śakti is live, healthy, it is a blessing and the person would be able to witness many things for long time upon this Earth. Therefore, to grow into the stage of senior citizen for any being born on Earth is Fortunate. Here when Valmiki employed the word ‘Svāsa’ he seems to imply health, active life in the granted span of time. Svāsa is the prāṇa and when it is intact activity could be done with such vigour and enthusiasm. Further we have a prayer to Rudra ‘Prathamo Daivyo Bhishak’ (SYV 16 Ch). He needs to bless us long life followed by assurances of health and detachments of unwanted strings of responsibilities. This would help for all to subsist that period of life to go for gains like: friends, health, wealth, and above all sustained memory. In Camaka prasanga of Yajurveda, we have many articles of life programs enlisted. All of them are lending support for hope and optimistic aspirations for necessary comfort. Thereby our faculties and activity shall not be passive. In principle, we have asked for 35 optimistic desires and conditions to go safe with us until the end of being a senior citizen. There are hundreds of positive desires to stay and be fruitful to us in life. For example, one can see developments in various dimensions of life like, family, profession, contacts, religious and spiritual events and distinctions. Such long life leads to growth into being a ‘Śatāyuṣī’ (of hundred years). Right from the age eighty and more years of age, the person is styled as Śatāyuṣī and there are many āśirvāda mantras Veda and other scriptures to confirm health and peace in the life thereafter for the persons in. Prayer is unfailing measure of attainments being proved a Boon and Bonus.

As we are born and brought up as the child of the creator Prajāpati, Atharvaveda, lends a scope by confirming a blessings thus: to reach the old age. Kalidasa too has given the scheme of life:

Saisave abhysata vidyanam Yauvane vishayeshinam!

vardhake muni vruttinam yogenante tanu tyajam!!

Raghuvamsa 1.8

Which means from boyhood to 25 years, earn knowledge as much as possible. Learn arts and sciences as much as possible further. Growing young (25 to 50 years of age) one would enjoy the pleasures, acquisitions and stabilization for richness and sharing, etc. It is stage to gather wealth and properties and discharge responsibilities in many fronts. While at advanced age from fifty years and more; one has to live like a saint and finally with the practice of discipline of Yoga one to prepare to leave the body at the conclusion of living. Moreover, in old age practice the activities gravitating towards those activities of sages and saints and at end yoking the mind with the Absolute. Later evict the soul from body to attain Emancipation.

The motto of life need be, as Kalidasa continues to advise: whatever riches or wealth amassed, gift away at senior age. For a balanced safety, ‘talk judiciously’, eat fewer amounts of food for health. Thus, prepare for peaceful existence and exit.

Tyaagaya smbhrutarthanm Satyaya mita bhashinam!

yasase vijigeeshunam prajayai gruhamedhinam!!

Raghuvamasa 1.7

Taittiriya Upanishad too exhorts the same in its section on Vedic Convocation (vedamanucyacaryo antevasinamanusasti…). In this manner, on the one hand, we can also follow the instructions provided by our great thinkers and on the other gain indications and measures done profusely from our scriptures for an aspirant course of life at old age.

Moreover, the set of four aims marked for people namely Dharma, Artha , Kāma and Mokṣa constitute as their pastimes. An urge is cultivated to make them fulfilled greatly. Also four āśramas (stages of life) are suggested to individuals keeping reverence to worldly life, past times and workable activities, which are – Bhrahmacarya, Gruhastha, Vānaprastha and sanyāsa. Vānaprastha considers as the high time to go up to Śatāyuṣī. It is a stage to elevate mind and adopt the spiritual practices like Yoga, worship, dhyāna, jāpa, prāṇāyāma and more for peace and complacency. When a person turn older, they have to attend personal upliftment which they could not attend during their age of storm. At advanced age it is necessary to turn to Vedanta and mingle with the divine interest. Yajurveda Chapter 18 opens with the mantra that one has to look for the divya vajas that uplifts the life. Divya vajas are the things that would be of utility, personal, impersonal and universal. This is the most crucial time as the parents are in at the edge of old age which is full of experiences of life and eager to enlighten their next generation.

Every day is precious, a gain and a bonus after certain senior age for everybody. Personal ego need at least be reduced and in its place the divine importance is to be installed. So, to live the age of any senior for long with health and peace one needs ‘śānti karmas’ religiously. They begin from Ṣaṣṭhi purti (60 years) of age and go up to Śatāyuṣī. Every decade, after sixty years all need śānti ceremonies. This involves invoking the blessings of elders, gods and the departed ancestors in the lineage on installment basis. Religious observances (tapas of convenient order) add to the effort of seniority.

The flow of time (Kāla) is like river which never turns back. The clock for a senior person is very important and so one has to be mindful. There is a suggestion that one has to do dharma

Ajara amaravat prajnah vidyam artham ca sadhayet|

gruhita iva keseshu mrutyuna dharma macaretḥ||

Hitopadesa

The verse suggests in the course of life, vidyā and Artha need be earned as though mṛtyu is grasping hairs.

Āchārya Śankara says in one of his stotras advises- ‘please reduce the ego and pride everyday little by little to reach zero level (aharahar va garvam parityajyatam). When ego is removed scope for benefits would be at gain. Here, Śankara hints that it is in our hands to send away ego and negativity from us. Śṛi Kṛśṇa gave the importance to a fact that one should uplift by himself as self is all in all and never self be demeaned.

uddharet atmana atmanam naatmanam avasadayet

atmaivahyatmano bandhuh atmaiva ripuratmanah  !!

Bhagavadgītā 6.8

One has to help oneself to uplift. Never one should demean his own self. Self is the friend to self, but self is enemy to one’s own self. Kṛśṇa means here self-reliance is the formula of happiness and more so when people reach senior age. Relations usually neglect the requests.

Self is noble and personal too. Seniors are at the verge of evening walk of life, meaning exit remains closer. Realizing that, they should monitor their time with care and commitment. They must take assistance only when they should. Kṛśṇa said in the Bhagavadgītā that one should uplift oneself. Such instruction is a mark of wisdom to the people, more so at senior stage since children and relations grow busy in their own way.

When seniors practice Vedāntic way of life, realizing its worth in reality, then they would be near peace and in peace too. This piece will help happy ending, the conclusion of life on earth. For any senior individual, death without any hazels and life with no dependence is desirous.

These two are possible when we turn spiritual and revering the divine. This fortune is obtainable by Yoga, which includes dhyāna and accessories to them. Also, one should adopt the inclination of mind to vote for the sense of vairāgya. The awareness of the body, house and township, etc. need not be bothered at invariably. Truly speaking our body is a Traveller’sBungalow taken for lease for a period. But while enjoying ‘be neutral and uncommitted’ like the lotus leaf in a pond (Padmapatra iva ambhasa). For this way of adopted living the mind is to be disciplined and that is possible through the instructions by a guru and practice of them regularly.

The constant prayer is:’ whatever advancement in age and wealth possessed should be prosperous and helpful owing to the effort which is the form of Yajña. One always need to remember the Upaniśadic truth:

 ‘mrutyorma amrutam gamaya’

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

 move from material problems to ultimate pathway of spirituality and the immortality

When God’s grace subsists life of a senior is a FORTUNE and a true BONUS. It is so because Earth, the bhuloka, is the most beautiful loka of lokas. We have attestations given to us in the works of great sages, authors like Kalidasa, Bana and several others in the world Literature. Added to that there would be scope to wash off follies and sins in order to get higher planes of happiness and Nirvāṇa.

In a nutshell, to live a full period of Senior citizen as granted by the providence is a boon. It should be appropriately employed for personal and universal welfare by controlling emotions. Mind can be managed pleasant by studying relevant scriptures. He would have the scope to experience Bhoga, Bhāgya, Saubhāgya and Mokṣa.

Dr. C.L Prabhakar, Professor, Sanskrit & President, WAVES, Bangalore Chapter

Vedic Shield against Visible and Invisible Organisms

Dr. Raghava S. Boddupalli

Introduction

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses, including some that cause the common cold to some that cause major diseases such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). In December 2019, the pandemic outbreak of a novel ‘Coronavirus disease’ (COVID-2019), later termed as SARS-CoV-2, is potentially fatal and a highly contagious disease. Given that in absence of a definitive COVID-19 treatment and the presence of asymptomatic carriers, the conventional intervention measures to curb the rate of infection and deaths are highly challenging. This novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Respiratory involvement, presenting as mild flu like illness to potentially lethal acute respiratory distress syndrome or fulminant pneumonia resembling that of SARS-CoV is the dominant clinical manifestation of COVID-19. Like other respiratory tract infections, pre-existing comorbidities are reported to enhance vulnerability to COVID-19 patients. Although the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2  is not  well  studied  yet,  existing  evidences  suggest likely  resemblances  to  other  SARS-CoVs’ infection; the  acute  lung  injury  resulting  from  aggressive  inflammation  triggered  by  viral replication. People with compromised immune systems, the very old and young and those with diagnosed heart and lung conditions are most at risk of developing complications if they contract an infection like this. While currently there is no cure for this, we can work with our mind and body through natural remedies to greatly strengthen our immune system. If our immune system is strong, then we can fight and prevent any infection.

Homa oblations to control bacterial and fungal pathogens 

According to Vedic scholars, the combination of the powerful energy of the fire and the Vedic mantras/liturgy creates extremely auspicious and purifying vibrations that are beneficial to the people attending yajña or hōma. The homa-ājya that is used in the yajñas is made only from the cow’s milk. Research reports indicate that the cow-ghee contains many essential nutrients, anti-oxidants and saturated fatty acids. These reports provided experimental evidence that the cow-ghee is having anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. The practice of Agnihotra and placing havan (fire offerings) purifies the house and the outside environment. A scientific report states that homa is an effective method to reduce the fungal spores load in small office or room. As per the experiments conducted, the homa fire smoke has the potency to kill fungal spores. In another study, it is experimentally shown that the medicinal smoke emanated by burning wood (samidha) and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs has the ability to effectively reduce pathogenic bacteria in the air. Another report conceptualizes the principle of Agnihotra yajña as having potent pharmacological action. The anti-viral property of the homa needs to be experimented and tested.

Microorganisms in Vedas

The word krimi occurs in the Vedas for different macroscopic and microscopic creatures. Right from germs like bacteria, viruses and others, various insects like kīṭa, pataṃga are referred as krimi. There are two types of krimis viz., dṛṣta (visible / macroscopic) and adṛṣta (invisible / microscopic) were described in Atharvaveda (AV) as an entire hymn [5-5-23].

yō akṣyau parisarpati yō nāsē parisarpati

datāṃ yō madhyaṃ gacchati taṃ krimiṃ jaṃbhayāmasmi

AV 5-5-23(3)

नेत्रों में घूमने वाले, नाक के नथुने में घूमने वाले तथा दाँत में रहने वाले कृमियों को हम नष्ट करते हैं।

utpurastātsūrya ēti viśvadṛṣṭō adṛṣṭahā

dṛṣṭāṃśca dnannadṛṣṭāṃśca sarvāśca pramṛṇākrimīn

AV 5-5-23(6)

सब प्राणियों के लिए दर्शनीय सूर्य अदृश्य कीटों को नष्ट करते हैं। वे दृश्य, अदृश्य सब प्रकाश के कृमियों को मारते हुए पूर्व से उदय हो रहे हैं।

We pray that both the worms (krimi) that we can see, and that we see not, be destroyed. These two categories encompass nearly all krimi (microbes / pathogens). According to their origin and habitat they are categorized as praṇyaśrayī and anyasthānaśrayī. Different śārīrika, mānasika and ādhyātmika vyādhis were thought to be originated from these krimis. These harmful and debilitating (puṣtināṣaka) organisms are recognized by various names based on troubles/sufferings they produce. Sun and fire (agni) were described as internal source of treatment (krimi cikitsa). Today, science also confirms these facts that early morning ultraviolet light rays emanating from sun can be used for various krimijanya-vyādhis. Apart from this, various treatment modalities by using various natural resources, herbal drugs, mineral drugs, fumigation, cleansing (mārjan-prōkṣaṇa) and hymns are described for krimi and diseases caused by them in Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.

Prayer to Soma (god of medicinal herbs), Rudra (primordial doctor) and other deities

sōmārudrā vi vṛhataṃ viṣūcīmamīvā yā nō gayamāvivēśa

ārē bādhēthāṃ nirṛtiṃ parācaiḥ kṛtaṃ cidēnaḥ pra mumuktamasmat

Yajurveda [TS 1-8-22(22)

Oh Soma (god of medicinal herbs) and Rudra! Enter our homes and eradicate morbidity. Drive away and trouble the unfavorable disease from afar. You will remove from us the sin (which is in the form of disease) that is stuck to our bodies.

adhyavōcadadhivaktā prathamō daivyō bhiṣak

ahīgśca sarvāṅjaṃbhayaṃthsarvāśca  yātudhānyaḥ

Yajurveda [TS 4-5-1(2), MS 16-5]

The first anuvaka of Namakaṁ in Śrī Rudram is not only chanted for all-round development of the community as well as the well-being of the chanter, but will also provide protective shield (kavaca) against the visible and invisible enemies like virulent fevers, fatal disorders, absolution from evil stars and bad karma.

udgrābhaṃ ca nigrābhaṃ ca brahma dēvā avīvṛdhann

athā saptnāniṃdrāgnī mē viṣūcīnānvyasyatām

Yajurveda [TS 1-6-4]

Brahma and other devatas improved the two-fold nature (udgrābha and nigrābha) of the ladle, increasing its prosperity. Using this, Indra and Agni drove away and destroyed cholera.

Remedy for germs

atriṇā tvā krimē hanmikaṇvēna jamadaggnināviśvāvasōrbhrahmaṇā hataḥkriṃīṇāguṃ rājāapyēṣāgsthapatir hataḥ।  athō mātāthō pitāathō sthūrā athō kṣudrāḥathō kṛṣṇā athō śvētāḥathō āśātikā hataḥśvētābhi ssaha sarvē hataḥ

Taittirīya Āraṇyaka [TA] 4-36

O Germ! I kill you with the mantra revealed by the ṛṣis Atri, Kaṇva and Jamadagni. The leader of the germs was killed by the mantra revealed by Visvavasu, a Gandharva. The other germ leaders were also killed. The mother and father of the germs were destroyed. All types of germs – big and small, black and white were killed. Moreover, the germs in the bodies of animals like cows and horses were also killed. We offer the havis in the hōma, in the yajñaśāla. Similarly, through this mantra, we keep the enemies, in the tooth of Yama. We can listen to the crushing sound of the enemies, while they are killed.

yā vyāghraṃ viṣūcikāubhauvṛkaṃcarakṣatiśyēnaṃ patatriṇaguṃ siguṃhamsēmaṃ pātvagumhasaḥ

Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa [TB] 2-6-1(5)

व्याधियों को दूर करने वाली विषूचिका यजमान की उसी प्रकार रक्षा करें जिस प्रकार व्याघ्र, वृक, सिंह और पक्षी को जरण दोष नहीं होता।

This mantra implores the deity of cholera, viṣūcikā, to protect the sacrificer from distress in the same way that the tiger, wolf, winged hawk and the lion are protected or spared.

Prayer to Vayu and Prajapati

vātaṃ prāṇaṃ manasānvārabhāmahēprajāpatiṃ yō bhuvanasya gōpāḥsanōmṛtyōstrāyatāṃ pātvaguṃhasaḥjyōgjīvā jarāmaśīmahi

TB 3-7-7(2)

प्राण रूपी वायु और प्रजापति जो इस भुवन के स्वामी है। वे हमारे मन से मृत्यु के भय को हटाये। हम चिरकाल तक जीवन जीये अर्थात् वृद्धावस्था तक ।

It is a prayer for vāyu (custodian of vital air – prāṇaṃ) and Prajāpati, who is the creator and protector of the universe (bhuvanās) – heaven, earth, and hell – (bhuvanasya gōpāḥ) and the people living in them. They relieve us from the attack of mṛtyu (dangers and untimely unhappy occurences) as well as from the sins (aguṃhasaḥ). These may be carried on by the jīva even to the next birth. We have to mark the definite hope expressed in the expression: ‘jyogjīvā jarāmaśīmahi’. This desire is also mentioned as prayer to Sun God in Śaura sūkta. As there are many uncertainties in one’s life, there no guarantee in reaching old age. From birth to death, many mayantarayas (mṛtyu) occur. Hence, they need to be curbed periodically. When this mantra is performed as japa, surely the deities under prayer shall focus this care on the devotees. They promote health and save us from death and distress (Prabhakar, C.L., Veda Nada Sarit, 27(228), April 2020).  

Cure for respiratory diseases

jarāyuja prathama usriyā vṛṣā vātābhrajā stanayannēti vṛṣṭyā

    sanō mṛḍāti tanvaṛujugō rujan ya ēkamōjastrēdhā vicakramē

AV 1-3-12(1)

जरायु से उत्पन्न जगत् से पूर्व सृष्टि में सबसे प्रथम उत्पन्न वायु के समान शीघ्रगामी और अनंत बल संपन्न सूर्य मेघों  को गर्जाते हुए वर्षा के साथ आते हैं। वे सूर्य हमें त्रिदोष जनित रोगों से मुक्त कर। वे सीधे चलने वाले सूर्य जो एक होकर भी तीन प्रकार से प्रकाशित होते हैं, हमारे शरीर को सुख दें।

We pray the Sun, who shines strong even through the heavy clouds and rain, and provide comfort to our body by curing many diseases.

añgē añgē śōciṣā śriśriyāṇaṃ namasyaṃta stvā haviṣā vidhēmal

      añkāṃtsamañkān haviṣā vidhēma yō agrabhīt parvāsyā grabhītā

AV 1-3-12(2)

प्रत्येक अवयवों में अपनी दीप्ति रूप से व्याप्त हे सूर्य! हम स्तुति, हवि आदि से आपको पूजते हैं। आपके समीपवर्ती देवताओं को भी हवि द्वारा सेवा करते हैं। रोगों से ग्रसित इस पुरुष की रोग निवृत्ति के लिए हम आपको पूजते हैं।

In this mantra, salutations are offered to the Sun, who pervades in full brilliance in all creatures. Oblations are offered to the Sun, His followers and other deities to cure us all from the virulent diseases and viral fevers which affect our body.

Remedy through Cow-Urine

idamidvā u bhēṣajamidaṃ rudrasya bhēṣajam|

      yēnēṣumēkatējanāṃ śataślyāmapabravat

AV 6-12-57(1)

इस रोग को दूर करने वाली औषधि को मैं करूंगा यह रुद्र की औषधि अंत काल में सबको रुलाती है। इसका शिव ने प्रयोग किया था।

To cure wrana i.e., all diseases the medicines made available by Rudra are indeed the only cures. According to Monier Williams, wrana stands for wound, sore, ulcer, abscess, tumors, cancer, boil, scar, cicatrix, cracks etc.

jālāṣēṇābhi ṣiñcata jālāṣēṇōpa siñcatal

      jālāṣamugraṃ bhēṣajaṃ tēna nō mṛḍa gīvasē

AV 6-12-57(2)

हे परिचारको! तुम गोमूत्र के फेन जल से घाव को धोओ, यह रोग को दूर करने में श्रेष्ठ है। हे रुद्र! इस औषधि से हमको सुख दो।

The body parts affected by disease and nearest to the disease parts should be thoroughly washed with the mixture of cow urine (gō-mutra) and activated water. This is the most potent remedy blessed by Rudra for giving healthy life to us for the treatment of these diseases.

saṃ ca nō mayaśca nō mā ca naḥ kiṃ canāmamatl                    

        kṣmā rapō viśvaṃ nō astu bhēṣajaṃ sarvaṃ nō astu bhēṣajam

AV 6-12-57(3)

हे देव! हमको सुख मिले हमारे पशु-मनुष्य रोग-ग्रस्त न हों और पाप का नाश हो। संपूर्ण विश्व और उनके श्रेष्ठ कर्म हमारे लिए औषधि के समान हों।

Let there be health for us, peace for us, pleasure for us, let nothing cause injury and harm to us, let all diseases be banished, let all the objects in this world be promoters of our health.

The above mentioned three Atharvaveda mantras [11-13] describe how the urine of cow can be used in treating against unicellular amoeba-like organisms (Vedas call them creatures without mouths). Use of the cow urine is suggested as a mixture with vigorously stirred – foaming water – activated water, similar to the making of homeopathic and bio-dynamic preparations. Research reports indicate that the cow urine has antimicrobial activities and particularly on fugal pathogens. As of now, there is no published report with regard to the measures to fight the virus by using cow urine. It is time to investigate the effectiveness of cow urine against even the coronavirus.

Conclusions

It is unfortunate that now-a-days, humans are facing many diseases. The outbreak of coronavirus has been detected a few months ago. Ishvara being our real inspiration has given us the knowledge of four Vedas to destroy illusion and solve all kinds of problems, including those of medical science. Many fatal infections can be destroyed by performance of yajñas and yāgyās. When we obey the Vedic principles, diseases are either destroyed from its roots or do not even generate. Vedic mantras state that agnihotra purifies food grains, water, and bestows mental and physical strength so that people can enjoy prosperous life. Veda mantras have the ability to drive away the health hazards and sādhana is important for siddhi

Dr. Raghava S. Boddupalli, Institute of Sanskrit and Vedic Studies (ISVS)