The Magic of Maharishi Ayurveda
In this series of four articles, Anand Shrivastava, Chairman and Managing Director of Maharishi Ayurveda Products Ltd. based in India, shares his memories of the beginning days of Maharishi Ayurveda
First Lesson in Quality Control by Anand Shrivastava
To tell you honestly, I did not have any experience or any knowledge in those days, around 1984, when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi started looking into ayurveda.
It so happened that when Maharishi asked who should take care of the production of the herbal products, two of our most respected vaidyas (ayurvedic physicians), Triguna-ji and Balaraj Maharishi, pointed their fingers at me. I was really surprised to see this and I was not able to respond. Maharishi said, "Fine, just do it" and I started with his blessings.
With the best of intentions, I asked many people who should become the chief of production. Someone suggested a very famous vaidya who had experience in a big ayurvedic pharmacy. I asked him whether he would like to join, and he was very happy because everybody wanted to participate in or to contribute to Maharishi-ji's efforts. Everyone was very appreciative — and still is — of Maharishi-ji's efforts in the area of meditation, yoga and, of course, ayurveda. So this vaidya, who was working in a very good ayurveda company, joined us and we started working in the area of production.
The very first product we made was a famous rasayana called Chavan Prash. This vaidya guided me in buying the ingredients from different places. We gathered everything as he ordered, and we started making Chavan Prash. It took 4 or 5 days of our attention and we were ready with a big vessel of a few hundred kilo of Chavan Prash. We were very happy and put a small quantity in a silver bowl and presented it to Maharishi-ji with the greatest smiles on our faces, saying, "Maharishi-ji, this is our first product."
Maharishi-ji was very happy that we had come up with our first product in 4 or 5 days. Maharishi gave the bowl to Triguna-ji, who took a little bit from a spoon. After tasting it, Triguna-ji asked us whether we used only the best quality ingredients or not.
And we replied proudly, "Yes, we did, we used all the best quality ingredients."
Then Triguna-ji asked about one ingredient, called vanshlochan. It's a secretion that gets deposited inside the hollow stem of a very special kind of bamboo. According to the ayurvedic texts, it is very effective for cough and cold.
So he asked us where we bought it, and this other vaidya replied that it was bought from a famous place and that it was the best quality.
Then Triguna-ji asked, "How much did you pay for it?"
The vaidya said something like eight rupees a kilo.
And Triguna-ji said, "For eight rupees a kilo you cannot get the real vanshlochan. It should cost 80 or 100 rupees."
Then this vaidya said, "No, no, we bought the best quality, and this is what I have been using throughout my life and whatever ingredients we have used, they are always the best quality."
Triguna-ji said, "No, this is not the real vanshlochan, this is just a chemical imitation of that," but the other vaidya continued to argue with Triguna-ji.
Maharishi was saying, "You are claiming to be the best person in ayurvedic herbal manufacturing, and yet you have used this fake material, this synthesized vansholchan."
And the way Maharishi-ji was scolding this person, I thought that this was the end, that Maharishi Ayurveda was not going to go any further than this first product (which had come out to be a big failure). Then somehow Triguna-ji intervened and we started discussing something else.
But Maharishi was still expressing concern. He said, "No, no more until you finalize what you are going to do with this kind of thing." Any kind of pacifying that we tried did not work. And then Maharishi said, "Immediately go and destroy this false product."
In the middle of the night, he made all of us who were responsible for buying the imitation ingredient dig a big hole in the ground and bury the whole thing. And we did it ourselves, as there were no workers available at that time of night. We buried the entire batch, and then we reported back to Maharishi-ji that we did it, and we told him that we were not going to compromise on the quality of our ingredients or the process ever again.
That was my first lesson in quality control.
And whenever there is any kind of offer — you know, you always get a practical person saying that this is a lower rate or that we could get some kind of cheaper ingredient — whenever I get such offers, this incident crops up in my mind and then any kind of compromising situation just vanishes. That first lesson is always in my mind whenever we are making any Maharishi Ayurveda product.
Next issue: The Maharishi Ayurveda Difference
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.