Some of us might fancy heaven and the afterlife, but who among us, given a chance, would not want to be youthful again? And if we do have to age, do so gracefully, almost imperceptibly, to enjoy a life of celebration and fulfilment. Novel scientific means can mask physical signs of ageing, but requires lots of effort and plenty of money to keep the process going, and in any case, they do precious little for the mind. Yet, there’s a sacred, age-old Indian technique to help us retain our youthful vitality in both body and mind.
In our recent festival day at Gurukul, people were captivated by the variety of events. There were classical dances and folk music, informative seminars and wholesome harvest food. We couldn’t help noticing the excitement of some of our visitors from America, in particular Oana, who joined our rice harvesting team. They spent almost five hours in the field, braving the pouring rain. The visitors followed the story of rice, starting at 6 am with the reap, followed by the sequence of activities until the new rice was slowly tickled into boiling milk and simmered to perfection with the aroma of auspicious rice pudding, keeping everyone awake till 3 am the next morning.
“This is an everyday wellness beverage; you should drink this on an empty stomach every morning,” Vaidya Priyanka summoned her students, continuing the morning session of their class on Kaya Kalpa. As Vaidyaji eloquently elaborates, “Kaya Kalpa is a wisdom tradition of rejuvenation, with specific dietary, exercise and breathing regimens to improve the vitality of all our organs and systems of the body. It is possible to down and reverse physical degeneration, by addressing the ageing process at a cellular level, and literally renew cellular biochemistry to bestow the body with luminous health.”
Vaidyaji’s presence is vibrant, effusive and enthusiastic. Following her instructions, her students prepared their Kaya Kalpa drink for the morning. In 200ml of warm water, they added ½ tsp cumin seed, a pinch each of black pepper and turmeric powder, juice of a lemon and ½ tsp of honey. “Mix well and sip for 15 minutes, and let’s stay in silence for five minutes when you finish the drink,” she reminds them. Kaya Kalpa (literally means body-immortal) is the profound Vedic knowledge of ancient India, and shows visible positive results for people who follow its tenets.
Vaidyaji teaches Kaya Kalpa through a Gurukul system of education in the US, and has over 9,000 people, the world over, following her special diet, along with meditation and yoga. The results are obvious when you see her students; grace and happiness seems to flow from their inner self effortlessly. Little is known about Vaidyaji’s active compassion and concern for girls who suffer atrocities in this world. She has adopted 18 girls, many of who are now married and settled happily. She says with happiness, “I have many grandchildren now.” She was clearly an inspiration for so many at the festival.
At lunch, her students gathered around our Rasa kitchen and prepared a Kaya Kalpa recipe, a deliciously crispy mixture of vegetables (1/2 cup each of shredded beets and carrots, and ¼ cup of radish), juice of two lemons, one tsp of ginger juice, 1/4 tsp amla powder, Himalayan pink salt to taste and chopped coriander leaves, mixed well and marinated for two hours, and eaten at room temperature. Vaidyaji has a mind boggling variety of nutritious recipes, many of which are showcased on her YouTube channel, AUMcuisine.
Vaidya Priyanka is a woman spearheading a noble mission of embracing holistic food with traditional flavours and spirituality. It has been well accepted by a very conscious group of people who follow a vegan diet and other holistic practices to bring the mind in harmony with the body.
The author runs the London-based Rasa chain of restaurants