Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.

Talk:The Individual and Medicine

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Relationship between an individual and the medicine is vital, both from the individual's own point of view as well as the nation. The state has the power to impart and an individual has got the capacity and inclination to learn this essential enlightenment. This requires a recasting of the educational program of the State. It is easy to pursue this basic education and the results are certain to follow. The objective of science of medicine is two-fold and each individual would do all the diligent efforts in his power to achieve this. They are:

  1. The preservation of good health and prolongation of life.
  2. Combating the disease.

The first of these two aims may be gained by proper living, by the right regulation of diet, exercise and habits all of which are possible for each individual immaterial of the fact that he or she possesses the necessary enlightenment and education. The second objective aims to confront and withstand the disease. It may not be possible for every individual to acquire an elaborate or deep knowledge of diagnosis and therapeusis. But when the complaints are minor and demand nothing more than a familiar and simple drug or an easy manipulation of diet or conduct, every individual or family ought to be able to manage for himself or itself without having to resort to outside help.

This self-sufficiency of the individual and family in the preservation of health and the checking the disease, is an ideal condition not only for an individual but also for the nation. The right way to achieve this is through education at the primary and the secondary stages. With the attainment of this hygienic and medical self-sufficiency by all the residing families of the state, it helps the state to pursue the problems of serious and difficult forms of disease and epidemics with greater intensity and concentration. This was the actual scenario of the ancient India. There was a broad and universal system of education, enlightenment and elementary knowledge of medicine or personal hygiene which formed a part of secondary education.

Rules for Health[edit]

The desire to live long and that too with the perfect functioning of sense-organs is inborn in human beings and Ayurveda has aptly catered to this need. It has enabled people to achieve the best possible results from life. Ayurveda is primarily the science of positive health and secondarily the science for the cure of disease. It prescribes precepts and rules that would ensure the smooth running of the intricate mechanism of the human body without any kind of hitch or hindrance. A person who is aware of the principles of homologation consider it desirable to acquire homologation regarding food and behavior to things which are antagonistic to the characteristics of the country and the causative factors of the diseases prevalent there. These and other diseases occur in those who do not observe the rules of healthful living. Hence, a healthy man should be diligent in the observance of the rules of healthy living. One should eliminate the accumulated morbid matter in the months of Caitra, Śrāvaṇa and Margaśira.

Significance of Daily & Seasonal Regimen[edit]

After the preliminary preparation of the body, the wise physician should go ahead with the oleation, sudation, purification procedures of vomition, purgation, enemata and errhines according to the season. Thereafter the physician skilled in the science of climatology should administer alternative and virilific remedies of tested efficacy systematically as indicated.

Thus the body-elements being restored to the normal state, susceptibility to disease disappears, the body elements gets the momentum and the pace of age is slackened. Such is the procedure laid down for the prevention of the endogenous diseases. He who rightly observes the rules of health laid down here will not be deprived of the full measure of the hundred years of healthy life.

Code of Conduct for Health[edit]

Hygiene plays a pivotal role in Indian medicine. This code of health lays down the regimen of daily life in general. The modifications and variations in different seasons is the application of these rules made according to the individual constitution of men. It comprises of instructions about diet, activity, work, rest, sleep, sense-purity, sex-hygiene and behavior in general. It's domain covers not only strengthening the physical powers of the body, but also increasing the vitality of all the senses and the psyche. It contains specific injunctions and clear-cut do's and don'ts with regard to the natural urges of the body and mind. It is not the puritanic precept of abstention; it is the full-blooded life that is aimed at giving full scope, within healthy limits, to pleasures that the flesh can enjoy. It aims at helping the man overcome the handicaps of nature and age.


Ayurveda's field of observation and application extends to all the aspects of man including body, mind and intellect. Its hygiene and philosophy known as Swāstha-vṛtta is supplemented by Ṣadvṛtta or the right life which inculcates the discipline of the senses and regulation of the moral life so as to accord with the happiness and benefit for not only the betterment of a single person but for the society as a whole. It is therefore social and universal in its conception and application and comprehends a physical, mental and ethical framework of life. It is an entire way of life that Ayurveda expounds embodying philosophy, eugenics, ethics and healing. The human body is self-stoking, self-adjusting, self-repairing, self-preserving, self-asserting and self-multiplying machine. It has intelligence, feeling, individuality and purpose. It is an organism much beyond the concept of mechanism.

Health and Season[edit]

The aim of Ayurveda is to study human body as a whole and with all the social, seasonal, climatic and regional environs aspects. It would be an ordeal for a man to go through the same daily routine for all the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. Not only this, it would indeed adversely affect him if he followed a rigid routine in all the varying seasons. Nature has been bountiful in bestowing a variety of seasons to the country. Three chief seasons are :

  1. Shivering cold of the winter
  2. Scorching heat of the summer
  3. Downpour of the monsoon

It also undergoes the intermediate seasons of Śarad or the season of transition from the monsoon to winter characterized by harvest festivals, placid atmosphere and clear nights. Vasanta or the spring, season of flowers and color feasts, season of joyous youth and temperate air and thirdly the pre-monsoon season of hard toll and high expectations, Pravrit.


The Ṛtu-cārya prescribed in Ayurveda is a code of injunctions to change or to modify the daily routine of diet and behavior to suit the different seasons. It lays down rules of behavior and diet to get adapted to the requirements of the varying seasons. Special emphasis is laid on the time of conjunction of two seasons when the vagaries of both the seasons co-exists. A special procedure of habituation and withdrawal of personal regimen is prescribed; for what may he conducive to health in one season may act quite contrarily in another season. Cold which is agreeable and wholesome in hot days is dis-aggreeable and unwholesome in cold days.

The code of personal hygiene does not end here. Its most important part and purpose begins hereafter. Man is to be preserved in perfect health for the longest span of life possible for him. A human is not going to be a passive, static, obedient, vegetative organism. He will transgress the limitations of diet and behavior. As a consequence, his body-mechanism will be too much strained, disordered or worn out. He may have to encounter the unusual environmental changes of time and place. The instructions regarding the avoidance of such strain and disorder are the peculiar methods expounded by the Ayurvedic science.

  1. To give a thorough overhaul to the body-machinery as a whole by inunction, sudation and quinary purification procedures.
  2. To strengthen the vital force of life to counteract the effect of wear and tear by vitalization and virilification.
  3. To prepare it for any emergency of unexpected circumstances of season or place which may adversely affect the body, special prophylactic measures have been advised.

Seasonal regimen plays an eminent part in immunizing the body, virilification and vitalization having already increased the body-power to fight against diseases. The quinary purification procedures cleanse the body and reduce the chances of susceptibility of the body to the onslaughts of disease. Vitalization and virilification procedures replenish the worn out tissues, preventing the approach of old age, promoting longevity. They help in the re-creation of the body, a recreation in its literal sense.

Household Remedies[edit]

Drugs difficult to obtain, must be collected and stored. Radish, peach, spinach, Damanaka[1], Indian hog-plum, phut cucumber, common cucumber, brinjal, ash-gourd, bottle-gourd, telinga tikus[2], potato, linn[3], cowage, sambo, garlic and onion etc, the seeds of these and such other medicinal plants should be collected and sown in their proper season. In the back yards of houses, the family grew a small garden of medicinal plants along with pot-herbs. The following herbs were to be grown in the backyards of houses:

  • Plots of greens and vegetables
  • Clusters of sugarcane
  • Cumin
  • Mustard
  • Bishops weed
  • Dill seed plants
  • Tamala shrubs

Importance of Home-Remedies to Women[edit]

Knowledge of seasonal regimen was even more important for the women to learn so that they knew how to protect the family from the drawbacks of unwholesome diets. The woman should be informed of what things are delectable in the diet. She must know and serve the food which is not only liked by the family members but also should be beneficial for their health. Besides this general knowledge, every house-wife took care to keep a storage of the common but useful drugs. Drugs like salt, oil, fragrant and pungent drugs and pot-herbs should be preserved in the house.

Each family was able to prepare its own exigencies, tinctures, medicated wines, decoctions and linctuses.

Purpose of Planting Medicinal Herbs Around the State[edit]

On special occasions, people were allowed to manufacture white liquor or medicated wine for use in diseases and other kinds of liquor. Round about a village and along the road-sides were planted trees and plants and shrubs that were of real medicinal value. This is borne out by an inscription of Asoka, the great Buddhist emperor of India. The State allowed the people to pluck the leaves and fruits and bark of these trees for medicinal purposes only. It is a familiar thing even today in the villages for an old dame of a household to go out into the outskirts of the village in the morning, for culling some herbs, leaves and bark for the ailment of the children, men and women of the family. Ordinary cold, cough, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, jaundice and many such minor maladies are within the compass of a family possibilities of cure, without resorting to regular professional aid.

It was the aim to disseminate this elementary and general knowledge of personal and social hygiene as well as general principles of diet and medicine which were within the scope of attainment of every individual and family. Just as certain degree of acquaintance with geography, science, history and arithmetic is deemed as an essential part of a civilized man's mental equipment, it was very necessary for him to learn the general principles of hygiene, and the functioning of his own stomach, heart, lungs, intestines which is physiology, and easy and simple methods of curing cuts, wounds and boils, ordinary fever, cold, headache and such other everyday ailments. This was not only of great individual advantage like a stitch in time which saves nine in the form of doctor's bills or non-repairable damage to his health, but it also reduced the medical burden of the state. This was a national blessing and created an idealistic society.

Secondary Education[edit]

The secondary education was given in high schools or Gurukulas where every student was bound to study compulsorily the five subjects:

  1. Sabdavidyā or grammar and lexicography
  2. Silpasthānavidyā or arts
  3. Cikitsāvidyā or medicine
  4. Hetuvidyā or logic
  5. Adhyātmavidyā or science of spiritual philosophy

On completing this course, a student was considered fit to select any special branch of study and join the University. An elementary knowledge of medicine was considered necessary for all the students. They were taught the elementary rules of preservation of health and how to live a full span of life in perfect health by taking care about diet, personal hygiene, actions and character. This shows the importance of the medical science, the basic knowledge of which was considered necessary for every individual. No wonder that the medical science thus became the most popular science of the Aryan civilization.


Observation of these rules and regulation of personal hygiene was moreover preached by the religious code, as purity of heart and mind cannot be generally achieved in an unclean or unsound body. A sound mind presupposes a sound body. Hence cleanliness and preservation of sound health became the subject of religious codes and were enforced in every religious ceremony.

Dharmasāstras are full of injunctions regarding purity, ablutions, diet, regulations, behavior, mental and physical discipline. The daily routine and seasonal conduct known as Dinācārya-Ṛtucārya as well as the general lines of hygienic life known as Swāsthavitta are given in elaborate detail in the medical treatises. These formed a part of the universal curriculum of education and ethics. Simple but very important facts that make for a healthy life were the common knowledge to all the people. Few of them have been denoted as belows:

  • Cleansing the teeth, tongue, ears, eyes and skin
  • Bath
  • Inunction
  • Massage
  • Non-suppression of the natural urges
  • Selection of food and drink
  • Occasions for avoidance and indulgence in the sexual act
  • Usefulness and manner of taking certain eatables like curds, butter-milk, honey and ghee


  1. Its botanical name is Artemisia Vulgaris - mugwort.
  2. This plant is also known as purslane.
  3. It is also known as Indian tulsi.
  • The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India