The Magic of Maharishi Ayurveda
In this series of four articles, Anand Shrivastava, Chairman and Managing Director of Maharishi Ayurveda Products Ltd. in India, shares his memories of the beginning days of Maharishi Ayurveda. This is the second story in the series.
The Maharishi Ayurveda Difference
by Anand Shrivastava
After the very first lesson of quality [see last month's installment], I started looking deeply into the process of creating ayurvedic products. It seemed to me that we needed two things: to systematize the steps and to ensure that every step followed the authentic ayurvedic tradition, as Maharishi had instructed us.
In those early days in the mid-1980s, when we were first starting operations of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International, I was unable to identify any of the medicinal herbs. For me, a leaf was a leaf, and in order to identify a particular herb I had to ask our expert in plant identification.
The expert could identify the herbs properly, of course, but I said to him, "What happens if you are absent tomorrow, or if you are gone for a week, who will identify the herbs properly?"
He had no answer. I knew we had to work out a reliable system that did not rely on just one person's expertise. For that I invited several vaidyas, experts in dravyaguna (medicinal plants), and also scientists from the area of botany, and they came up with objective methods of identification that could be used 365 days a year.
Once we had a secure system of identification in place, I said, "Now that we can ensure that the right leaf is going into the formula, can we also ensure that each herb is of high enough quality and is potent enough to create the desired effect?"
So we came up with a system for identifying the herb's active ingredient. We standardized the quantity of active ingredient required in order for each herb to pass inspection and be used in our products.
We also came up with high standards for the quality of the herbs. If an herb was picked before or after its peak, or was damaged or inferior in any way, it was discarded. Only the highest quality herbs passed inspection.
In addition to the plant identification and quality of herbs, we followed the instructions from the ayurvedic texts to avoid herbs grown near population centers. We trained people to collect wild herbs from the mountains and other uninhabited regions.
Later, it became widely known that the herbs growing near population centers absorbed high levels of contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals from air pollution. Of course, in the days of antiquity when the ayurvedic texts were cognized, the modern pollutants weren't there, yet there could be micro-organisms and bacterial contaminants. So we found that the guidelines for safety of the herbs, safeguarded by rishis in the past, also worked for modern times.
We started testing products for pesticides and for heavy metals to make sure that none of these contaminants entered our products. Our products are tested many times during the process, and today we are the only ayurvedic processing facility to be certified by the World Health Organization GMP and the GLP.
Thus, step by step, we developed procedures to ensure that our products are clean, free of contamination, and full of vital energy.
Another important area was to make sure the herbal formulas included the correct proportions of each herb as described in the ayurvedic texts. I remember when our factory first opened, we were manufacturing an herbal formula, and one day we discovered that we had run out of two of the ingredients. I told the vaidya that we would make the batch tomorrow, after we obtained the missing ingredients.
When I came the next day to the factory, I arrived a little late, and I found out that the product was ready. I was very happy with the manufacturing vaidya, with the chemist, and with the efficiency of our people, and I started praising them for obtaining the missing herbs and getting the batch made.
The vaidya in charge of manufacturing said, "Don't worry about the missing herbs. I just increased the proportion of some of the other herbs, and now this product is ready."
I said, "This formula had ten ingredients but you are telling me that you made it with only eight! How and why did you make it without all ten ingredients?"
"Don't worry, nothing will happen," he said.
"This is exactly the problem," I told him. "If your attitude is like this, even though we have been given such great knowledge, nothing will happen. This product will be a complete waste."
I continued, "I don't want nothing to happen, I want something big to happen. And for that, we all have to be very careful about using the right ingredients, about using only the highest quality of ingredients, and the right proportions."
Then finally our people understood. It took several years of continuous hammering on these points to teach our employees that we must at all times adhere to the ayurvedic texts. It is only by following the authentic formulas and procedures that our products have attained such a high level of quality. We have also used the latest technologies in manufacturing to ensure that the highest level of cleanliness and purity as described in the ayurvedic scriptures is maintained.
This is the secret ingredient of Maharishi Ayurveda products — every formula embodies the ayurvedic tradition in its completeness, as inspired by Maharishi.
Next issue: Creating a Disease-Free Society
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.