the need to sleep; the compulsion to procreate for perpetuation of the species; and the instinct for survival.
In animals, these basic physical functions are instinctual, and wholly governed by nature. Animals cannot transgress the limits set by Nature, and as long as they remain within their natural habitat, they are unlikely to lose their vigor and become unhealthy.
Man, on the other hand, along with the body, is blessed with a mind, intellect and a soul. Perception and imagination are faculties of the mind; reason and inventiveness stem from the intellect; and within the soul lies his emotional and ethical substance. Man has also been endowed with the power of creativity and a conscience, that gives him the power to discriminate between right and wrong. All these attributes make man unique.
Man, however, is also susceptible to the temptation of greed and lust. Disregarding the essential balance of life, and the power of discrimination, man has become a slave to unrestrained sensual pleasures. This unfortunate human disposition to live an unnatural lifestyle, causes imbalances in the psycho-physical-intellectual-spiritual make-up of the individual. Over-indulgence in sensual pleasures causes ill-health, sometimes endangering life itself. This has necessitated a major spurt in Man’s requirement for drugs, remedies, clinics and hospitals. The advances made in medicine and surgery have achieved remarkable success. Yet, despite qualitative and quantitative advance in healthcare, many diseases remain resistant to drugs, and new drug-resistant viral strains continue to appear. The failure to control certain killer diseases has caused despondency in allopathic medical circles.
This dilemma has engaged the attention of many thinkers for some time now. The World Health Organisation (WHO) coined the slogan “Health for all by the 21st Century”. But if health issues are pursued with the current methodology, it is difficult to visualise how this commendable slogan will be realized. There is a basic contradiction in remaining confined in an approach that only looks at symptomatic cures. Without a radical new a approach to the subject, it does not appear possible to eradicate disease, let alone ensure ‘lifelong health’.
Hence, a new approach is required. India’s two ancient Shastras (sciences), Yoga (including Naturopathy) and Ayurveda, provide pointers to finding an alternative path, as their main goal has always been the maintenance of lifelong health. These Shastras do not treat the body in isolation, but treat it as a part of a psycho-physical-intellectual-spiritual continuum.
The key to lifelong health lies in maintaining a subtle balance between body, mind, intellect and soul — the four aspects of human life. To achieve this, it is important to establish a model that puts the theory into practice.
In pursuance of this goal, Deendayal Research Institute, has established, Arogya Dham — The J.R.D. Tata Foundation for Research in Yoga, Naturopathy & Ayurvedic Sciences.
The Arogya Dham campus, spread over 43 acres on the banks of the Madakini river in Chitrakoot, aims at providing a model for the realization of a new life system, by taking an total overview of human development with Yoga, Naturopathy and Ayurveda. As the objective is to study the impact of parentage, family background, environment, upbringing, as well as the properties and effect of Yoga and Ayurveda on a life adapted in according to these principles, Arogya Dham has established the following facilities:
Out-Patient Department (Nidan Sadan):
As the 500 villages in the radius of 50 km from Chitrakoot will be the area for the experimental model for ‘lifelong health’, an out-patient department for the treatment of diseases of villagers has been established. Though treatment is solely through Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, diagnosis is through both, Ayurvedic and modern allopathic techniques, that include a Pathology Lab, X-Ray, Sonography, etc. The out-patient department also gives its patients tips on hygiene and the prevention of disease. The doctors in the Department visit villages to examine patients and teach the villagers the principles of Yoga, Naturopathy and Ayurveda for lifelong health.
Yoga & Naturopathy Centre (Yoga Vigyan Sadan):
Yogic treatment is becoming more and more popular throughout the world. Most people follow only the physical exercises, the Asanas. These exercises are only a part of Yoga, and not the complete process. Asanas by themselves cannot ensure lifelong health. Pranayama and Dhyana (Meditation) has to be practised alongwith Asanas for lifelong health. Aroghadham provides this integrated form of Yoga Therapy along with Naturopathy. Naturopathy starts with purification of the body. A process, described as Panchkarma, and the cleaning process of Naturopathy, have been clubbed together in Arygo Dham.
Maternity & Paediatric Centre (Matru Sadan):
Children are born in every village. This process is as old as life itself, and will continue as long as their is life on earth. But no improvement has been made in obstetrics in the countryside till today.
As a result of this callous negligence, Lakhs of new-born babies and pregnant women die every year. The Government has been unable to tackle this widespread problem.
There are two basic tasks involved during childbirth. One involves cutting the umbilical cord, and the other is caring for the mother. For both these tasks, the traditional village midwives are ill-trained. The instruments used to cut the umbilical cord is often not sterilised, and many infants suffer from tetanus and other diseases as a consequence. Also, the mother is not cared for adequately or hygienically.
The Maternity & Paediatric Centre will act as a hospital for the care of pregnant women, with an operating theatre for Cesarian operations, where necessary, and also have a intensive neo-natal care centre. It will also act as the focal point of a ‘Midwifery Training Programme’ that will be conducted in the 500 villages in the Chitrakoot Project, and provide the necessary tools for the implementation of the programme.
As dental care does not fall under the purview of Ayurveda, a state-of-the-art dental unit with 2 dental surgeries, a X-ray unit, and dental laboratory has been establish, to treat dental patients as well as to spread knowledge of dental care and hygiene through the 500 villages in the Chitrakoot Project.
In-Patient Department (Swasthya Sadan):
The advance of science and technology has caused greater pollution, increased consumerism and promoted an artificial lifestyle. As a result of this, it is difficult to find truly healthy people. Nobody seems to be drug free. The need of the hour is to find and provide a way of life that conforms to the modern age and also gives us lifelong health. This is the purpose of Arogya Dham.
To help in the research of this path, chronic patients suffering form different types of diseases have been selected and kept as indoor patients. The doctors will study the patients to establish the root cause of the problem. As the aim is to provide lifelong health, even for these patients, Arogya Dham promotes an atmosphere of a health resort rather than a hospital.
The in-patent department has been designed for 100 patients. Accommodation has been arranged in wards of 50 beds, with room that accommodate 4-8 beds. There is one nurse and one attendant for every 16 patients, who record all data concerning the patients.
In Arogya Dham, patients are expected and encouraged to participate in gardening and other recreational activities so that they can overcome their ‘patient phychosis’.
Canteen and Recreation Centre (Ahar-Virar Sadan):
Ayurveda proscribes various diets for the treatment of particular ailments. The canteen follows Ayurvedic percepts of dietetics in the food preparation for the patients to ensure that a holistic Ayurvedic regime is followed.
A recreation centre with a host of indoor games is also available for use by the patients and staff.
Health Cottages (Swasthya Kuteer):
Family, or environmental health, is a concept that is the key to lifelong health. To promote this, 5 star accommodation in 16 2 bedroom cottages, 2 suites and 4 single rooms will be available for individuals, couples and families to regain their physical and mental balance in the beautiful Arogya Dham campus. Facilities for those who stay at the Centre will include Yoga and Meditation, Naturopathy treatment, Ayurvedic Treatment (where required), a Fitness Centre, an Ayurvedic Beauty Treatment Centre, a suitable Ayurvedic diet, and a swimming pool.
Ayurvedic Research Centre (Ayurveda Sadan):
Although the evidence of the effectiveness of Ayurveda as a alternative to curing disease and maintaining a healthy body is available in abundance, there is a lack of standardisation and scientific validation of the herbs and preparations used in Ayurveda. This is a great hinderance in its acceptability worldwide. To overcome this shortcoming, the research centre consists of 5 modern labs, with the latest scientific equipment, to standardise and validate Ayurvedic herbs, in accordance with allopathic protocols and to try and isolate the active ingredient, so that, in the future, the preparation can be presented as a ‘medicine’, acceptable around the world. These include a Pharmacognosy Lab; a Bio-molecular Lab; a Tissue Culture Lab; and a Core Instrumentation Facility.
The Research Centre, which has a MOU with CSIR and The Department of ISM&H, Ministry of Health, Government of India, will also serve as a Quality Control Testing facility.
Pharmacy (Chitrakoot Rasashala):
After diagnosis, it is essential to provide proper Ayurvedic medicines for the treatment of the patients. The medicines available in the market are not prepared in strict accordance with Ayurvedic texts. Therefore, Arogya Dham has started its own pharmacy. All the medicines are manufactured here in accordance with the Ayurvedic texts. As the purpose of Arogya Dham is to propagate Ayurveda as a modern alternative, a FDA approved state-of-the art pharmacy is also being established to produce Ayurvedic medicines that conform to world standards after testing and standardisation has been established in the research centre.
As the objective of lifelong health can only be achieved, specially in rural areas, if it is sustainable, the requirements for the treatment should be locally available. To help villages identify locally available herbs, a herbal garden with more that 400 Ayurvedic herbs has been established in Arogya Dham.
Library & Documentation Centre:
As Arogya Dham is essentially a research establishment, a reference library is a key unit. Renowned Ayurvedic practitioners have donated rare books and manuscripts to the library. Arogya Dham is collecting health literature form different parts of the country and abroad to keep the library updated.
As many different therapies are being tried at Arogya Dham, a large mass of data will soon be available at the Centre on Yoga, Naturopathy and Ayurveda. This information will be collated in a database and link it to the worldwide web through VSAT, so that it can help research scholars throughout the world and propagate the benefits of the alternative system being established at Arogya Dham.
An air conditioned Seminar Hall has been established in Arogya Dham to hold national and international seminars and workshops on the sciences and their application in rural areas.
A Research Scholar’s Hostel is also being established.