As we mentioned earlier, rasayana karma does not technically belong to Panchakarma therapy, but forms its own system within Ayurvedic science. However, the rasayana therapy increases the effectiveness of Panchakarma’s rejuvenating processes. Rasayana actually means “that which increases the essence of each dhatu, starting with rasa.”
When people hear about the rejuvenating properties of rasayanas, it is common for them to want to take them immediately, without going through the necessary procedures to make the body receptive to their influence. This will not work for three reasons:
(i) The rasayanas are very refined and concentrated herbal and mineral formulas that take a strong digestive capacity to metabolize.
(ii) Imbalanced doshic functioning impedes delivery of these substances to the dhatus.
(iii) The ama and malas stored in the dhatus block their ability to assimilate these special compounds.
As a result of these three factors, rasayana therapy does not generally achieve its desired effect until after Panchakarma. Digestion must be strengthened, the doshas must be balanced and impurities must be eliminated from the dhatus through Panchakarma therapy in order for the rasayanas to work.
The ancient texts prescribe many types of rasayanas, and each has a specific effect on body and mind. Some nourish the dhatus, reverse the effects of aging and re-enliven the body. Other formulas increase physical strength and stamina and help the immune system, as well as pacify and nourish the doshas. Certain rasayanas, like vajikarana karma, increase physical vitality, energy and virility and generate the reproductive health necessary to create healthy offspring. They also enhance spiritual vitality and mental strength.
Many herbs and herbal formulas are commonly given after Panchakarma to produce specific benefits:
• Ashwagandha pacifies and balances vata.
• Brahmi and manjista pacify pitta.
• Ginger, black pepper and pippali improve the digestive capacity of all the dhatu agnis and pacifies kapha.
• Amalaki increases sattva, thereby improving the clarity, stillness and positivity of the mind. It also pacifies both pitta and vata.
Most of the clinical experiences I have shared with you so far have related to the effectiveness of Panchakarma and rasayana therapies on specific diseased conditions. However, as I have repeatedly stated, Ayurveda and Panchakarma are ultimately about reestablishing a conscious connection to wholeness. The following case, and many like it, have repeatedly verified for me that this ancient system does, in fact, accomplish this goal.
A man came to me for Panchakarma therapy who had no real health problems of any consequence. Rather, his stated objective was to raise his level of awareness, of the atma within himself. He underwent a six week program of cleansing and rejuvenation with Panchakarma and then I started him on a course of rasayanas. He subsequently related to me that about a month after completing the treatment, he experienced the dawning of a whole new level of awareness.
He noticed his mental clarity and comprehension were much greater than they had ever been in the past. He also said that his sense of humor had grown to “outrageous proportions.” But the most impressive result, he said, was the growth of a sense of lightness, freedom and non-attachment. He reported that he felt much more surrendered to the experience of the divine within himself, and that much of the “struggle of life” had dropped away.
Such an experience demonstrates that when the false covering of ill-health is removed from the mind, senses and body, our true nature or prakruti shines through and is intimately connected to the universal prakruti.