Rare View

One-Eyed Mama visits an Ayurvedic centre in Kerala to heal her eyesight

One-Eyed Mama aka Aekta Kapoor heads to an Ayurvedic health centre in Kerala to see if the ancient Indian science of life could cure her vision loss.

This is part of my column One-Eyed Mama where I share the everyday miracles I encountered in my life while dealing with vision loss and an empty nest – both at the same time

This March, after more than a year of having lost a bit of vision in my left eye – which I call my Monet eye since it insists on seeing the world the way Claude Monet would have painted it – I decided to try Ayurveda to heal it.

I’ve already met five ophthalmologists so far in different parts of the globe regarding the vision loss, and there doesn’t seem to be any sure-shot and risk-free solution in sight.

So, driven by a kind of sacred attraction and knowing full well that Ayurveda does not guarantee quick results, I decided to go on a pilgrimage into my body and mind.

For 12 days, I quit my work on the computer and at home (which felt empty now that the kids had moved out), and ventured to the Majlis Ayurvedic Health Park near Thrissur, Kerala. Ayurveda is such a way of life here that it’s often the first resort for all kinds of ailments for locals, unlike for metro-dwellers like me, who only consider natural remedies when all else fails. At the same time, it is unusual for women to travel for treatments alone in these parts; they are mostly accompanied by family members. So, I was definitely a rare sort of patient.

The cottage I was allotted at Majlis

Ayurveda, literally ‘knowledge of life’, is a natural system of medicine that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. It is based on the idea that any disease is due to an imbalance in a person’s consciousness and life force. Treatment is always personalised based on each individual’s constitution and elemental forces (doshas).

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. So, what works for me, would not necessarily work for someone else. And even though I was seeking a solution to an eye problem, Ayurveda must still treat me as a whole being and not a sum of various parts. That is why it also requires a certain lifestyle, which – since it is not easy in big cities – can only be achieved by a visit to a retreat for a longer stretch of time.

Dr Krishnadas, the head doctor who runs Majlis, explained to me that there are three doshasvata, pitta, kapha. Imbalance of these in one’s body leads to disease. Kapha imbalances usually lead to problems in the areas above the throat, including respiratory illnesses. Pitta imbalances affect the torso area, and vata issues affect the legs.

Walking around the Majlis compound

Eye problems then fall in the realm of kapha imbalance, which makes sense because I also have other minor issues that affect the top part of the body.

While doing my initial check-up, Dr Krishnadas was surprised to know only one of my eyes had vision loss. “Normally, people have a problem in both eyes. It is rare to see this in only one eye unless there is an injury or wound,” he said.

The very first thought that rushed into my brain was, “Oh thank God!” I was awash in a wave of gratitude. “What infinite grace! Even if I did have some old karma to pay off, at least I didn’t have to go through injury or pain. The vision went away gently. What a stroke of good fortune!”

The conversation set the tone of my stay at Majlis and the themes of my many conversations with the sagely doctor over the next few days. We discussed the essence of Ayurveda, the power of faith in healing, and the purpose of the body in aiding spiritual growth. Both he and I found affinity with the god Krishna, and I joked with him that his name literally means ‘servant of Krishna’ too.

Dr Krishnadas and me after one of my morning treatments

With two treatments scheduled for each day (a specialised body massage in the morning and an eye treatment in the afternoon), I was put on a diet of homemade Kerala food and lots of bitter-tasting syrups and tablets at fixed points during the day. Routine was strictly followed by the clock; there was no room for digression or delay.

Since I was advised to stay away from digital devices and keep my eyes shut as much as possible during the day, I spent most hours watching the incessant flow of thoughts drifting across my mind like an internal television. I chanted mantras, walked around the property, and communed with the trees.

Colours became brighter and the flavour of foods became richer and more distinct. My hair and skin shone like never before. For a few days, I could read the newspaper without my reading glasses – not because my Monet eye was better but because my good eye had sharpened and was seeing without support!

A few days into my treatment, the word ‘disability’ came up in my conversation with the doctor. After all, vision loss fell in that category. “Why see it as a weakness? Your weakness can be your strength,” the doctor said.

His words lingered in my head for hours. The same day, I wrote the first in my One-Eyed Mama columns.

The bench I sat and meditated on – as seen through my Monet eye

Other lessons and inspirations lay in store. Though I had not stepped out of the compound of the health park, I had been on vast adventures inside my mind. I felt more connected than ever before to my body, to nature and to Krishna.

Eventually I returned to Delhi, bright-eyed and wondrous at the stillness inside me despite the cacophony of urban living. My Monet eye did not improve. But I still have hope. Perhaps when the karmic debt is paid and lessons learnt, my vision will return again. I am patiently holding on.

In the meantime, I shall work on another kind of vision, drishti – looking more clearly inside me. Who knows, perhaps when one eye closes, another opens?

Next up: One-Eyed Mama has coffee with Osho

3 comments on “One-Eyed Mama visits an Ayurvedic centre in Kerala to heal her eyesight

  1. Anonymous

    In case you haven’t already seen Ayurveda art of being documentary…..there’s a section on eye treatments also …..thanks 4 sharing ur thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shafeeque

    If your put more information about this Ayurveda center – may be useful for others too..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you AEKTA

    Liked by 1 person

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