Proper Chai Tea
The old fashioned Indian way:
Get Red Label Tea (available from Indian shops incredibly cheap) or any other black tea to your liking. There is one brand in a yellow and green bag that begins with a D that is the cheapest of all, and my favorite by taste. (Really, old India.) Also, I understand that Rooibos (a healthier red noncaffeinated) tea is good.
Mix Homemade Chai Masala. This can include:
Ground Cardamom Seeds
Green Cardamom Pods
Ginger, fresh if possible
Be creative here. The right balance depends on your dosha, the season, your vikruti, many other things, so just try a balance. You can always adjust it later. Fresher spices are better. You don’t need much.
2 (American sized) servings:
Boil 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon tea, and 1/2 teaspoon chai mix for 4 minutes.
Add 1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons sugar (preferably sucanat; I even once used raisin juice successfully). Bring to a boil (watch carefully so that it doesn’t spill over), reduce heat and allow to simmer until ready to serve. But really, the boiling points are essential here to give a full body.
A bonus is that with boiling, the tea leaves get saturated and heavy and hence, sink to the bottom of the pot.
Avoid tea bags. To my senses, they just color the water with a dusty pretaste of the potential power of the spices.
Don’t get me started on the mixes used in coffee shops. Yech.
Everybody likes authentic chai and it’s pretty easy.
Sutra of the day: That repetition of a word [it's] meaning [is your] experiencing/becoming.
What you do repeatedly is what you are. – Aristotle
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are like a hyperdimensional door with many locks. Each suutra seems to be the key.
It’s hard to have a favorite, but this week’s one for me is:
taj-japas tad-artha bhaavanam (1.28)
The grammar of this sutra is straightforward unlike that of many. The vocabulary is crystal-clear.
In translation it is:
In that repetition of a word [it's] meaning [is your] experiencing/becoming.
There are very good words to choose to repeat, a whole science called mantra to it.
Perhaps, start primordial and say the simple all encompassing “Om”, the word suggested by the Yoga Sutras, but don’t say it too much, or as Dr. Lad has said, you may just psychologically lift off the planet forever.
Maybe it’s better to say God, God, God, God, God, God….
There are some other mantras that are good for us all, and then there are ones given to us personally by a trained yogi.
Really, there is a whole field in itself and I’ll just leave this post at briefly alluding to it.
Whatever you say with repetition, you become. So be careful of what you say. And with that care, become anything.
Surprisingly Good Mung Bean Pudding
This recipe is as simple to make as it is satisfying.
It is a big hit and something of a conversation-starter!
5 parts of coconut milk (not coconut water)
Heat on a stove at medium low until it starts bubbling a bit.
1 part sugar, preferably sucanat
Stir until it has dissolved. Take off the stove.
1 part mung bean flour
You’ll need to stir slowly and completely to get the fine flour to mix in.
Add a good deal of ground cardamom, but not too much. (For 1 liter of coconut milk to start with, I add 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom.) Same thing goes with some high quality vanilla.
Allow to cool before serving.
Vaata and Pitta decreasing, Kapha increasing.
On the Spiritual Nature of Foods
from a conservative Catholic web site:
Does the Spirit even speak through the very construction of vegetables and fruits?
A sliced carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye…and yes science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes. A tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. All of the research shows tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food.”
Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows that grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food. A walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neo-cortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over three dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.”
“Kidney beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys,” it is pointed out. “Celery, bok, choy, rhubarb and more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23 percent sodium and these foods are 23 percent sodium. If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.
"Eggplant, avocadoes and pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female — they look just like these organs. Today’s research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? …. It takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them). Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the motility of male sperm and increase the numbers of sperm to swell to overcome male sterility.”
“Sweet potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics,” we are told. “Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries. Grapefruits, oranges, and other citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.
“Onions look like body cells. Today’s research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes.”
What a good article. The original had beautiful pictures that made the piece sing.
"On one side is scientific inquiry, with its breathtaking record of achievement and understanding. On the other side is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), an umbrella term for remedies that are based on tradition and spiritualism, which receives heartfelt anecdotal support but little else to vouch for its efficacy."
I am still amazed at this debate. On one hand we have a tradition that a short 150 years ago had their surgeons sharpening their knives on the bottoms of their boots (Western medicine) and on the other (CAM) there are treatises 3000 years old that describe the microscopic structures of virii and bacteria.
Medscape’s “Integrative Medicine Resource Center” has nothing on realEvidence Based Medicine, the results for thousands of years of billions of people treated with Ayurveda.
Suspicious doctors scoff at small study sizes for Western CAM while minimizing their active scope of practice.
See my bibliography for references to my attempts to bridge the two fields, CAM and science, that are not very far apart at all.
Neuroscientists tell us that children do science natively and naively. Adults do Ayurveda, globally and completely.
Ancient Organics Ghee
Like an individual wave rising from the ocean, it is not separate from the ocean. Just so, anything truly organic is ancient and anything ancient is organic.
My first review will be on Ancient Organics brand ghee.
They are fully worthy of the high honor.
Ghee is an essential to Ayurvedic cooking. It is a rasayana (medium), it is a food, it is a nectar. Well, just read the article linked to above.
I met the guy who makes this ghee at last year’s Ayurvedic Conference. I was impressed by his clarity, calmness, and glow even in the midst of the rajasicvendor spaces.
He explained to me that the ghee is made under the full moon when its powers peak. Mantras are said.
I waited until a friend ordered some. I might have been put off by the price: 32.50 for 32 ounces, plus substantial shipping and handling. (They now offer smaller jars.)
I had some and I was convinced.
If you use ghee, this is real ghee, the right way.
The taste is smooth, cooler and denser but less oily than other commercial ghees. The color is richer, perhaps from the higher chlorophyll diet of these cows. They use Stauss fermented butter for extra Agni. (There is lots of information on how they do everything on the company’s website.)
It’s not just marketing pap. I was a tad bit cynical at first, but the free sampling won me over in an honest way.
My friend uses it on everything now and I’m convinced, it is THE ghee to use, for cooking and for medicines.
I may review other ghees, but the reviews will all be in the negative. This is the first commercial ghee that feels like its life force is intact.
An interesting trivia is that Ancient Organics ghee was determined by Gourmet magazine to be the best “butter” in America. That used to be on the Ancient Organics website but now is not. I don’t blame them for removing it.
Anyway, I wish them well in their height of gheedom.
From the last paragraph of Newton’s Principia Mathematica:
” And now we might add something concerning a certain most subtle spirit which pervades and lies hid in all gross bodies; by the force and action of which spirit the particles of bodies attract one another at near distances, and cohere, if contiguous; and electric bodies operate to greater distances, as well repelling as attracting the neighboring corpuscles; and light is emitted, reflected, refracted, inflected, and heats bodies; and all sensation is excited, and the members of animal bodies move at the command of the will, namely, by the vibrations of this spirit, mutually propagated along the solid filaments of the nerves, from the outward organs of sense to the brain, and from the brain into the muscles. But these are things that cannot be explained in few words, nor are we furnished with that sufficiency of experiments which is required to an accurate determination and demonstration of the laws by which this electric and elastic spirit operates.”
Note the focus on sense organs and spirit a la the definition of Ayur.
Doing some research, I found that there is considerable controversy over this issue! But to me it seems to be fueled by preconceptions and emotions.
Yes, it turns out that he did study the “humours” and alchemy, what in Sanskrit is the inestimable rasa shastra.
All I am saying is that I hear the voice of a fellow Ayurvedic Astrologer in the top paragraph.
Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine by Harish Johari is my favorite go-to book for Ayurvedically innovative recipes that reach to the heart of old India.
It has a decent introduction to Ayurveda for those just starting out, yet can also finally answer those more esoteric questions of how to for example, properly use cumin seeds or bitter gourd.
It is a complete recipe book too in the sense that everything from chutneys to chai is covered.
My favorite recipe is Chickpea Soup with (Fresh) Garam Masala, on page 113. It’s like poha, simple, but delightful (like all his recipes actually) and a wow-er. All his recipes are so delicate and strong and sensitive. (Gosh, sounds like a good man — sorry, couldn’t resist.)
I do not doubt that if one ate from the recipes in the book for 3 weeks (perhaps with an Ayurvedic consultant to point out appropriate recipes) and did yoga with breathing, healing would be obtained.
The late wonderful Harish Johari was a Vedic man, writing books on Tantra, Cooking, Ayurveda and more. They all are exceptional: beautiful, simple, and powerful; a tasty sampling of the perfect life.
Sutra of the day: by sanyama [perfect regulation of thoughts] on the Sun, knowledge of the worlds
bhuvana jnaananam suurye sanyamaat (Yoga Sutras, III.26)
By sanyama [perfect regulation of thought via dharana, dhyana, and samadhi) on the sun, knowledge of the worlds.
Ammachi, Karunamayi, even the Hymn to the Ganga refer to the three worlds.
I think it’s interesting that by the Sun, one may have knowledge of these worlds. Not just our solar system.
The “three worlds” makes sense from an advanced physics view, that there is one “brane” to the side of us, one that we are in, and one to the other side of us.
I am also thinking of the Surya Siddhanta (“Abilities from the Sun”, a grand mathematical treatise on the solar system) but I think this sutra actually goes beyond that, from the world, to the three worlds (the bhuvana or the planes of existence). I like that word, bhuvana, coming from bhu – to be and -vana, a place to dwell, often used for forests.
I have absolutely no cognitive experience of the three worlds and can’t comment further.
kaaya ruupa sanyamaat tad graahya shakti stambhe caksuhuh prakaashamprayoge’ntardhaanam (Yoga Sutras, III, 21)
By sanyama (cessation of mindstuffs) on the form of the body, while suspending its ability to be seen – that is, the disconnecting of the light to the eye – there arises invisibility (placement within)
Word has it that the Great Maharishi Mahesh Yogi would sometimes give this siddhi to select members of his meditation group in the early days of the movement. He stopped when it was apparent so to speak that the comrades of the dissapeared siddhas got upset.
The technology inherent in this ancient sUtra is striking too in that the Western military is just catching up no
Renay Oshop - teacher, searcher, researcher, immerser, rejoicer, enjoying the interstices between Twitter, Facebook, and journals.