Dr. Pankaj Naram is an accomplished Ayurvedic physician. His father was a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi and is now a famous doctor of naturopathy, his wife Dr. Smita Naram, is an incredible Ayurvedic physician as well. From homeless orphans in the streets of Mumbai, India, and rescue workers in New York City after 9-11, to Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama, they have cared for hundreds of thousands of patients from all walks of life.
As a young man, Pankaj studied Ayurveda extensively and spent many years in intense study with a Tibetan monk whose specialty was the diagnosis of subtle pulses – yes the kind you have in your wrist. This master physician imparted all his knowledge to Dr. Naram, as well as 2000-year-old documents he says have been passed down in an unbroken line from teacher to student originating from the physician of the Buddha. These documents contain authentic and potent Ayurvedic herbal formulations that still work in today’s world.
Dr. Naram is highly intuitive. By feeling your pulse, he’s able to ascertain your entire medical history in just a few seconds. In fact he was so unbelievably accurate with my diagnosis, if I hadn’t know better, I would have thought he’d been talking to my mother before the session!
I walked into the room, he placed his fingers on my wrist, and within seconds he was telling me that for the past two to three years I had been under a great deal of stress. The stress combined with the fact that I haven’t been able to digest the food I’ve been eating has resulted in my suffering from very dry skin and weight gain. He also told me that I had been suffering from chronic pain in the lower back.
I sat there dumbfounded as he told me the stress had to do with a work situation that was over now (for those of you who know me you’ll know he was referring to one of our other companies that Ric and I had just divested ourselves of – he knew nothing about the history, or that I had even run another company!).
He told me I needed to make adjustments to the types of food I was eating and that my symptoms would start to go away. I conducted the interview with Dr. Naram on April 6th. As I write this less than 6 weeks later, I’ve made some of the recommended adjustments to my diet – I’ve lost weight and inches, have no more back pain, and am feeling much better overall!
While I was at his clinic I saw things much more amazing than the loss of a little back pain, though.
One man came in who was so thin he looked like a good breeze would carry him away. He told the doctor that he was never hungry, he ate only because he was afraid if he didn’t he would die.
Dr. Naram detected an imbalance in the man’s digestive system. As it turned out the there was over an inch and a half difference in the distance between either side of his chest and his navel – each side is supposed to be equidistant. With a few Marma movements and a quick intonation the man had been brought back into balance. The chest was equidistant. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I probably wouldn’t have believed it.
In the waiting room I heard countless stories of people Dr. Naram had helped and was continuing to help. There was one woman who had even come from the UK to see the doctor and to work as a volunteer in the clinic for the New York tour.
The staff showed me letters and stories of others Dr. Naram has helped – some that were just incredible.
Like the woman who had a stroke while watching the events of 9-11 unfold. The stroke had left her right side completely paralyzed. No longer able to speak, for six weeks, she lay in the hospital without being able to move her arms or legs. Despite rehabilitation efforts, there was little improvement.
Dr. Naram used Marma to help her and within six days, she began moving her leg, feeling sensation in her arm and interacting with her loved ones. He touched her neck and shoulder at a particular Marma point that allowed direct contact with the center of communication in the brain. Other than those moments, she was unable to respond. When he did this, she was immediately aware of him, responsive to his instructions, and made noises to indicate that she understood. The light came into her eyes once again. Her body came alive in dramatic ways, bringing her hope, encouragement and happiness.
On the next visit, Dr. Naram again saw her at her home. By doing more, and different Marmas, he helped her to walk with a cane and even to begin speaking! Her progress out of a totally debilitating situation was amazing, and moving to witness. At one point, Dr. Naram teased her saying he hoped she would be there to meet him at the airport on his next US visit, and cook him a good meal. Giving her a goal to work towards helped the woman pass over more hurdles towards once again leading a useful and active life.
There’s also the story of the Ms. Shelby told here in her own words.
Two summers ago, I had what I thought was an ulcer that had been very troublesome off and on for a year. At that time, it flared up very badly and I was so uncomfortable. One of my friends mentioned to me that this fabulous doctor from India, Dr. Pankaj Naram was in town and I should go see him.
After taking my pulse, he asked if I had been to India or Mexico. Actually, I had spent time in these places. Then, Dr. Naram said my stomach problems were due to parasites and that this condition would go away after I took the herbs that he recommended. I had been in so much pain, I did as he suggested and within a month, the problem was gone. It just left!
The medical system Dr. Naram practices is based on imbalances in the main constituents or doshas of the body ie. vata, pitta, kapha. He reads the count, rhythms, speed, and beat of your pulse to determine the precise area of imbalance in your body.
The process seems to be part art, part science, and part magic.
Before we go into our interview I’m going to give you a little crash course in Ayurveda.
Before I went to meet Pankaj I had heard the term Ayurveda but that’s about as far as my knowledge went. When we decided to do a story on him for the magazine I decided I had better give myself a crash course. For those of you who are familiar with Ayurveda you might want to just skip down to the interview, for the rest of us – here’s a little background from one of Dr. Naram’s support sites at www.amritaveda.com.
Ayurveda has 6 fundamental principles that are key.
Pure Herbal Formulas
Amrita Veda Herbal Products, are formulated according to ancient scriptures, and are all created under the attentive eye of Dr. Smita Naram.
The Narams are renowned for their commitment to the quality and effectiveness of their herbal remedies and food supplements and great care is given to the identification and gathering of wild herbs in their most potent condition.
Twice a year the Narams go to the mountain regions of India and Nepal to collect and cultivate the plants in the pure air and water of their natural habitat. If fact part of the funding from the Dr. Pankaj Naram Foundation goes to donating hundreds of thousands of seedlings to the native peoples to keep the ancient art alive.
Accurate Pulse Reading
This is the subtle and holistic diagnostic approach that distinguishes Ayurveda from western medical systems.
Physicians – or Vaidya – are trained to listen to what the patient’s body, mind and emotions are saying through the pulse. He discovers what’s happening in the body and how the whole body mind spirit system is operating and interacting within itself and with the environment. There are 350 different pulse combinations that give very specific information about a patient’s condition and the true causes of a given condition.
With this accurate and individually tailored diagnosis, the Vaidya can prescribe not only herbs but also give guidance on lifestyle, including diet. He can recommend from The Six Instruments of Ayurveda a complete program of treatment that will be of long-term benefit.
A Balancing Diet for Your Constitution
If you feel stressed and tired, or just plain burned out, it may be that you are not eating the right food for your constitution or dosha. In Ayurveda, there are three main constitutional body types – vata, pitta and kapha.
Everyone has all three doshas, but each person has a unique combination of these qualities. As you grow and develop over the years, many factors influence how close you stay to your original doshas or how far you move away from them.
When you eat the foods that push your constitution out of balance, you may experience aching joints, digestive problems, mental instability, respiratory trouble, allergies, skin rashes, and a general feeling of being out of sorts. Left untreated, these conditions can lead to various diseases.
The body and the mind are tremendously pressured with our modern lifestyle. Generally, as a result of this lifestyle and environmental pollution, there is too much heat (pitta) in the body and an accumulation of toxins that Ayurveda calls aam.
One way you can begin to nourish yourself, is by eating well and avoiding specific foods and drinks, or certain food textures and temperatures that are not conducive to your own good health and energy.
Safe for Family and Pets
It’s Dr. Naram’s mission in life to serve humanity and the health of our planet, including all of its natural beauty – plants, birds and animals.
The Herbal Formulas are not drugs or chemicals but food supplements that work naturally in the body and can be taken safely by people of any age. Dr. Naram treats plants and animals with these herbs, as well as uses them to help children with a number of health-related and attention-related conditions.
Compatible with Conventional Medicine
Ayurveda can be used in conjunction with more traditional healing modalities, and Integrative Medicine Programs are now a growing part of health care in the United States.
Under a grant from the NIH (National Institute of Health) research sites have been set up at major hospitals to begin the vitally important work of investigating the ten most promising alternative approaches to some of society’s more pressing and depressing health problems.
At New York Presbyterian Hospital, one of the NIH sites, Ayurveda is being studied as a health care system that can be safely used in conjunction with conventional western medical treatments, such as surgery and drugs prescribed for cancer, heart disease and other conditions.
It is recognized by health care consumers that stress, diet and lifestyle may be major factors in the cardiovascular conditions that are the leading cause of death in our society. Ayurveda directly addresses these issues through the six instruments: herbs, diet that supports your constitution, marma, panchakarma (a cleansing and rejuvenation program), lifestyle guidance including meditation instruction, and home remedies.
Alternative approaches such as Ayurveda are often more effective in treating many chronic conditions, having been tried and tested through centuries of use in other cultures.
Authenticated by Ancient Scriptures
Ayur-Veda (pronounced iye-or-vay-dah) is the Science of Life described in the ancient texts or Vedas of India that go back thousands of years and are considered to be divine in origin.
Ayurveda forms an integral part of the great tradition of personal development and mastery that is at the heart of India’s spiritual heritage. It can be thought of as the healing and dietary side of Yoga and is a complete lifestyle.
Siddha Ved is a body of ancient Sanskrit and Tibetan texts that were entrusted to Dr. Naram by his 125-year-old Tibetan teacher. Siddha Ved is 2000 years old and contains stories and herbal formulas created by the rishis or holy men generations ago.
Currently, Dr. Naram is working on an original translation of Siddha Ved into English.
The Amrita Veda herbal products created by the Drs. Naram are based on powerful and effective formulas found in these ancient medical texts. Though formulated hundreds of years ago, they are able to get at the root of many modern health conditions.
Armed with this knowledge, when I met with Dr. Naram, I wanted for explore his reasons for practicing Ayurveda and see how we, as members of Healthy Wealthy nWise could apply the principals to our lives, to help bring us into balanced abundance.
Liz Thompson: Pankaj, What originally attracted you to Ayurveda?
Pankaj Naram: Well I was a journalist when I was young – to make my spending money. When I was in college asked myself, How can I enjoy my life and still have some pocket money?
I wanted to understand whether to get married or not to get married. So I decided to find people who were married and ask if they were happy, and people who were not married and find if they were happy. I started interviewing people, and while I was doing this work I found one great Ayurvedic physician who was around 85 years old at that time – in 1970-71.
Now I was a very young man at the time, but I was losing my hair – I was becoming bald. After taking his interview I was very impressed with him. I told him what a genius he was and asked if he could help me grow back my hair?
Liz Thompson: Well you certainly have a full head of hair now, so it must have worked!
Pankaj Naram: Yes, it worked very well.
Now this doctor was a very old man and he told me that he was getting too old to do the physical labor of making the formulas. So he told me that I was to go to the forest, collect the herbs, mix everything together according to his direction and eat it.
I started doing it and then magic happened. My hair started growing and my relatives and friends started asking me to make the potions for them too.
So I started making the potions and giving them away. After a time they started giving me money. I thought it was a great job! I had money, job satisfaction, I was happy, and was making a contribution to people’s lives.
I was a very good learner so he said why don’t you study? He gave me great books including some ancient scriptures of Ayurveda that were many many years old.
So I started doing it.
Then he said why don’t you take the course for Ayurveda and become a doctor.
And so I became a doctor.
Now the problems started in my life.
Once I became a doctor I thought I was going to do great things – change the world. I had the goal, but I didn’t know anything. Unfortunately my mentor died during this process and I was lost without any idea of whom I should contact, and who should be my role model.
I was still seeing patients and I came across this man who had severe stomachaches. I said maybe its gas, maybe too much acidity, maybe even a tumor. If nothing is there, maybe it’s a bad relationship with food or your wife. Not the best diagnosis.
You see I was not happy, my life was not working and I was depressed. In that depression and anxiety I started eating and I became very fat. I was 185 -190 lbs. (Dr. Naram is a little over 5 feet tall)
So I was treating this person but then I didn’t see him for many months.
One day I saw him on the road and asked him how he was.
He said, Top of the world!
I said, Oh great my medicines are working…
He said, No, they aren’t working. I met a very old master who is 115 years old. He took my pulse and told me in one minute what was happening with me.
Now I had been talking to him for half and hour every month and not finding out anything, so I decided to go to that master.
I went to him; he took my pulse, and told me exactly what was happening with me. He said that I was in a transition period with a lot of confusion, depression.
He said, Your life’s not working, you work isn’t working, your relationships aren’t working, and you’re broke!
I said, Yes, exactly – what do I do?
I was amazed at what he had done and what he could tell from my pulse. I told him that I must learn this art that he must teach me.
He said, fine, come tomorrow. I went tomorrow, he said come tomorrow. I went tomorrow, he said come tomorrow. I went tomorrow, he said come tomorrow.
We did this for 100 days.
After 100 days I was really depressed and very anxious. But during the 100 days I started observing people.
I would sit outside talking to people as they came to see the master. I would ask them how they were and what their problems were. Some would have cancer and say they were cured, they’d have had severe back pain and it went away, heart disease that they got rid of, diabetes, high blood pressure, psoriasis all cured, so I was getting excited even though I was depressed. I knew I had to learn.
After 100 days I was so frustrated I decided I would go in there and tell them that he had to teach me or I would not leave.
I wouldn’t move, I wouldn’t leave, and I’d stand there like a rock.
He ignored me.
Now after 4 hours I really had to go to the bathroom but I was determined to hold my ground.
He looked at me and said, Do you have to go to the bathroom? Just go.
I said, No I will not, and I just started to cry.
He said OK I will start teaching.
So he took me to the bathroom and said, Clean the bathroom.
I said, I’m a first class doctor, what are you talking about?!
He said, OK, don’t worry, come back tomorrow.
So I started cleaning.
When I was finished he came back, looked around and said, Very bad job. If you don’t even know how to clean a bathroom, how will you know how to clean the toxins out of people’s bodies, people’s minds, and people’s emotions?
What he was doing was breaking my ego. It was then that my 1000-day training program started. 1000 days, day in and day out.
I learned 3 things from him.
- The great art and science of pulse reading
- The secrets of Marma Shakti – the ancient precursor to Chiropractic
- And the lifestyle necessary to live 100 years.
I thought to myself I’m only in my 20s, but I’m already becoming old… how will I survive? By 60 I will disappear! So what does he do that I don’t do? And what does he NOT do that I do? I started to make notes. I started compiling the secrets of how to live 100 years with Energy, Enthusiasm, and Tranquility.
So my life’s work can be summed up in these 3.
Pulse reading, what’s happening in the body mind and emotions and how they’re working, and to fix that – herbal preparation, which my wife Smita does; Marma; and how to live 100 years.
That is the whole focus of my life. In the last 20 years of my work I started with half a dollar in my pocket, and we built it from there.
For pulse reading we are trained to help people though. We must have 100% focus, 100% awareness, and service to humanity. This is not to make a business this is to make a difference in the lives of people so this world is a better place to live.
Liz Thompson: So tell me about your latest projects. I know you’re working on a book right now. Tell us a little about that and what else you’re working on.
Pankaj Naram: Yes we’re in the process of writing a book, and we’re also putting together a seminar on How to Live 100 Years With Energy, Enthusiasm, and Tranquility. The seminar is so powerful that people just don’t want to go home. It lasts 2 hours and people literally just won’t go home, they don’t even get up to go to the bathroom!
Now we’re writing the book How to Live 100 Years With Energy, Enthusiasm, and Tranquility, the second book will be on pulse reading, and the next will be Secrets of Marma, One Minute Transformation, and one will be on Panchakarma – the cleansing of toxins from the body, Diet, Recipes, and the things from Smita’s work. We’re going to be writing all the books together.
Liz Thompson: Wonderful, once they are in print you can be assured we will be making them available to our readers! I can’t wait to see them myself.
Now to take things to a different track; here at Healthy Wealthy nWise our goal is to help our readers lead a more balanced life. That ideal is often at odds with life in the modern world. What kind of advice and wisdom do you have to share with people who may not be familiar with Ayurveda and who don’t have access to your clinics? What can the average person do to benefit from your work?
Pankaj Naram: Well there are quite a few things people can do in terms of changing their lifestyle. For example: Exercise is a MUST. EVERYBODY should exercise. If they can’t do strenuous exercises they should walk or run.
Ghee is very important. Ghee is clarified butter – it reduces cholesterol and is anti-aging.
Plus there are special recipes that people can prepare at home. These will help you live 100 years – I saw my guru using these. When he woke up in the morning he would have this recipe for breakfast
Dr. Naram’s Breakfast Drink
Soak 6 almonds, 3 cardamom pods, 2 t. fennel seeds, and 3 dates in water over night. In the morning remove the pods and skins. Grind everything, add a little more water and drink.
This is a very powerful tonic for vitality, energy, and enthusiasm.
Also you need to avoid sour food and fermented food.
If you want to live 100 years you should eat more Mung Dal (a bean soup), Khichadi (a rice and bean dish with coconut, lime and cilantro), fresh vegetables, and no wheat.
Wheat creates blocks in the body. When a person reaches about the age of 40, the body can no longer flush out the toxins naturally, and if you create more blocks it will be even more difficult for people to flush their systems out. So wheat is out. Unless you are doing hard labor – 3 or more hours a day, your body really can’t digest wheat.
A good tonic we use for gas, acidity, or acid reflux is
Cumin Powder (1t.)
Coriander Power (1/2t.)
Natural Sugar (1/2 t.)
Water (1/2 c.)
Mix it up and take it 2-3 times a day
If you suffer from Allergies mix:
Ginger Juice (1/2t.)
7 Basil Leaves (crushed)
3 Black Peppercorns
Mix with honey and take it.
When taken regularly the allergies will start to subside as immunity starts increasing.
Also if you rub ghee into your temples before bed it gives you very good and sound sleep especially if you are under a lot of stress.
If people want more recipes they can go to http://www.amritaveda.com/recipes.html.
Liz Thompson: Great. Thank you for that. Now I have to ask you this. You and Smita travel all over the world, and are gone from India 6 months out of the year. You work 12-15 hour days regularly, and you also have a 4-year-old son Krishna. How do you maintain balance in your own lives?
Pankaj Naram: Well it is difficult what we are trying to do. We believe in quality love, quality time. When we are with our son we are 100% with him, playing with him, talking to him, listening to him. Sometimes not even doing anything, just being with him. We do not ever shout at him. He is very active and if you just let him run out his energy he becomes calm and quiet.
Liz Thompson: Yes sometimes they just need to run around and get it out of their systems. I know my 6-year-old son Chandler is that way.
Pankaj Naram: It is true. And it is very important that children do it. Otherwise it gets suppressed, and when things are suppressed then there are problems. We also give him almonds and ghee. We wanted our child to be tranquil, happy, and helping humanity, so we created his diet to support that. I have never seen him agitated.
Liz Thompson: That’s incredible. Maybe we should use some of that in our school lunches over here : )!
Pankaj Naram: Yes, Yes. You know another thing that is very important to balance is meditation. It can be very simple. Just sitting by yourself listening to your thoughts – that is awareness. Second is focus – focusing on one thought and eliminating everything else – any thought is OK here focus is what we want. We also use a lot of herbs.
People should also really take herbal supplements Chavanprash, Argyaprabha, Suhruday for emotional balance, Sumedha for mental clarity and mind power. But these herbs are not always easily available.
(Some of Dr. Naram’s herbal supplements are available through amritaveda.com.)
Liz Thompson: So tell me a little more about your practice. You work with patients all over the world, you’re writing books, conducting seminars… Are you also training others to help you?
Pankaj Naram: Yes, we are currently training about 60 Western medical doctors. Dr. Cary is an American doctor working with us in India on our HIV project. Dr. Tom Mitchell works with us here in the United States.
Like I said, we have roughly 60 western doctors in training, some who now no longer even practice western – allopathic medicine – instead they favor Ayurveda. My target is to create more than 1000 doctors and more than 1000 therapists in the next 5 years. We will make this world a better place to live.
Liz Thompson: Tell me about the fundamental differences between Western – Allopathic medicine and Ayurveda.
Pankaj Naram: In Western medicine the concentration is on the condition. It can go very deep molecularly, but in doing so it also loses track of the bigger picture – the system as a whole. Ayurveda looks at the whole system and finds the problem and imbalance in the body through the pulse.
Liz Thompson: So in Allopathic medicine we are treating the symptoms rather than the disease because we don’t usually know what causes the disease, right? So what happens in Ayurveda when you don’t know the cause?
Pankaj Naram: That is the beauty of reading the pulse. In Ayurveda, we do know the cause, and therefore can treat the actual problem.
Liz Thompson: So are you saying that a disease can manifest in the same way and have the same symptoms, but be caused by 2 totally different things?
Pankaj Naram: Absolutely. Take 2 women – one from India, one from Germany. The both suffer from arthritis. The Indian woman has arthritis that stems from being too emotional. The German woman has suppressed her emotions and has arthritis as well. Both problems are totally different, but they have the same effect in the body. We can help both.
You see the whole world is beginning to embrace Ayurveda because it is very holistic. It is not symptomatic, it is not suppressing and it works.
Liz Thompson: Wonderful!