February 3, 2011 – Panchakarma Day 6 and Lunch at a Friend and the Fortune Telling Cow

February 3, 2011

February 3, 2011 – Panchakarma Day 6 and Lunch at a Friendand the Fortune Telling Cow


Devi Mom and Younger Sister (the smallest was still at school)

Panchakarma was a quick and pleasant affair this morning…Just a lovely massage and then off to my long awaited, and postponed several times visit to devi’s house.  Devi is one of the massage girls at the clinic and if you’ve followed my journey over the past couple of years, know she comes from an extremely poor family.  Five daughters, only the oldest managing to get married before the father lost his job over 12 years ago and stopped supporting the family.  Mother is only in her 40’s looks like she is 70 and has a really hard and sad existence – brining in fodder from the forest everyday for their one cow who gives a little milk, which if she is lucky, she can sell.  Other than that, devi and her next older sister work to support the family.

At any rate, I love this family, and her mother in particular.  Without language we have become friends.  We seem to understand each other on a soul level.  She said today that her dream was to be able to build a room where I could live and then the two of us could chat and drink chai every day together!

I’ve helped them in very small ways over the years as I really don’t have money for anything big.  But the few small things, a new sari, a sweater, this year a blanket/quilt, new shawl and a couple of used sweaters…all these things have brought great joy to a women who has never had anything in her life.

And this family, this mother and her daughters, are so loving and caring, for each other and for others.  Today, as always when a visit, I had lunch at their house and then we went to sit up on the roof in the sun.

relaxing up on the roof

laughing when explaining to me about the fortune telling cow

Devi sat combing her mother’s hair, for no other reason than they both enjoyed it.  I am linking here to posts from the last couple of years as well just to give you an idea of the simplicity of their lives and our developing friendship. You can also see pictures of their cow etc., and more of the “house” in these posts.  Last year I was able to put together $200 and with that money, they built a toilet.  For the first time in their lives, they do not have to go out to the forest to tend to the needs of nature, and I can visit for a little longer knowing there is a toilet available.

While we were up on the roof a guy came along with a cow all dressed up.  They girls started giggling and then the Mom and the three girls went downstairs to the guy and the cow and they came into the house and something went on and then he went on to the next house…when they came back up, with much pantomime and searching for words, what it turns out that is is a “fortune telling cow”.  Of course they all know this is ridiculous, the guy has just trained her to shake her head up and down or left and right, in response to questions people put to her (at his command of course).  But out of compassion, even the poorest of people will always invite him in, ask some questions, and then pay him by putting rice or flour or lentils or whatever into the sacks hanging on the cows side.

Fortune Telling Cow

I had a lovely few hours with them and now sit up on my rooftop, at 4:30 in the afternoon, still being warmed by the sun which has not sunk behind the trees yet.



View from the penthouse roof!!

Panchakarma – Vamana

February 3, 2011

And Now:  Vamana for your Reading Pleasure!!

Dr. Arora

I’ve decided to just give to those of you who are reading about this for the first time, a little overview of what the technique is and how it went for me over the past three years that I’ve been doing it. (The first year I did panchakarma it was not included in the program with a different doctor, and even though I tried to get Dr. Arora to let me pass up on the procedure, he would not accept me for panchakarma if I didn’t agree to the entire program.  So I did.  Below you will see three years of progress in Vamana for your “reading pleasure”, if you choose to read it.!

2009 – or “womitting” as it is called here.  This was the day I was really dreading even though Dr. Arora said it was really a very simple procedure.  The one thing I have never been able to suffer was throwing up…luckily only one of my kids ever did it, and it was the only thing I could not deal with while my kids were growing up.  I’d simply run the other way.  I myself never throw up…probably a subconscious holding back of something my body needs to get rid of…and if I ever am near the smell of vomit I get truly ill.  So I was imagine a most traumatic day waiting for me, despite the doctor’s assurances.

Well, I arrived on an empty stomach at 9:30 in the morning.  Lakshmi took me into the next room and asked me to sit on a stool facing the toilet.  And then she came in with a large jug containing a liquid, poured some into an enormous metal cup, about the size of 2 regular glasses, and told me to drink it, quickly.  I asked what was in it and she said just salt and honey.  I took a quick taste and at least it didn’t taste vile.  Just salty with a hint of sweet and so wasn’t difficult to drink.  Just the quantity was difficult as I had to drink 3 of those large glasses which was close to 6 regular cups, all at once, quickly, without stopping.  That in itself is enough to make you want to throw up.

Then she simply started massaging both my stomach and the back of my neck and told me to put two fingers down my throat and press my tongue…in other words, make yourself throw up.  And then dr. came in to check up on me as well.  What in effect happened, was that whatever went in, came right back out…like a flushing out…no smell whatsoever…just plain clear water.  The salt makes it like saline solution so it doesn’t burn the throat lining when coming back up.  And it was so simple, I didn’t understand what it could possibly have done.  But while I was vomiting, my nose started running and eyes started tearing, and thought it was just from the vomiting.  After they decided enough had come out, I was asked to lie down and Lackshmi gave me a light massage, through my clothes, over my whole body and told me to rest for 5 minutes.  The doc came back in and explained that the part of the body from the Hara (navel area) up to the top of the head, is ruled by Kapha dosha and this, as I know, is the dosha which deals with mucous.  And THIS is what the vomiting is meant to do.  Release all extraneous fluids and  mucous from the body, which is why my nose was running and my eyes were tearing.  The doc said my nose would probably run for the next few days if I had excess mucous (it didn’t run at all after that first time) and my eyes would tear (they still are tearing and it is not 36 hours or so later).  He said it is good to do this procedure even at home, even once a month to keep the body cleared.  And particularly good to do as the flowers begin to bud at the beginning of spring to clear the mucous from the body before the pollen starts to blow around…thus preventing allergies!…  Makes sense.

2010 -Just a quick note, to say they I have just completed what is for me the most difficult part of panchakarma, called Vamana which is translated as vomiting but really means flushing out. It really is not vomiting, but I always found the idea terribly difficult to accept and last year was very difficult for me to go through it.
This year, I spoke with the doctor first about my fears and stress with the issue but he gave me ideas about how to make it easier. Last night and this morning I meditated on a quick and easy process and outcome, and when I got to the clinic I was feeling good actually. Devi, the therapist who would be helping me with it today came in. She said it is very good I am doing vamana today…”you feel very good after”… I asked her if she had ever done it and she said no. So, I asked how she knows it feels good after and she answered “doctor say so”. I then jokingly suggested that today, she should take a crack at it…she goes first and I help her, and my turn. Without a second of hesitation she replied “no possible…after vamana must to rest and I must to work so no I can do it!”. She is a sharp one for sure!! I told this to the doc and he had a good laugh! Anyway, we began, with me having to drink quickly a liter of black salt mixed with honey. I managed about ¾ of the liter when I felt I could not drink another drop…the doc came to help as well and said it was OK for me, and then gave me some herbs to drink which would make you vomit even if you had NOT just drunk almost a liter of salt and honey! And then, even without putting my finger down my throat, it all began coming up…but very gently…just everything that went in, gently coming up and cleansing the whole upper part of the digestive system. I finished easily, laid down for a gentle chest massage, had my herbal tea and am now ready to leave. It has left me tired but with a very tranquil feeling of accomplishment and pride in myself.

2011 – Went in today feeling relaxed and calm about the whole procedure…drank the water easily, almost the whole liter, took the herbs and everything immediately flushed right back out.  Fingers down throat a few more times and the rest found its way out with no problem.  Less tears and nose running as I’ve begun this panchakarma in a more balanced state than ever before.  It was easy, I relaxed for awhile, had my herbal tea, and then on to the rest of my day which you read about in the previous post.  From today on Panchakarma is easy sailing for me…this is the only procedure I find distasteful and it turned out to be a cinch!

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