'India needs to preserve its knowledge'

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It is not every day that you come across an Austrian who has studied Ayurveda and Yoga through ancient Indian scriptures and is now practicing the same in his own country. So when 59-year-old Dr Wolfgang Schachinger, founding member of the European Ayurveda Medical Association (EURAMA) and co-director of the German Ayurveda Academy, visited Delhi, Metrolife caught up with him to partake some knowledge from his vast reservoir.

Dr Schachinger says that while India is still rediscovering the powers of Yoga and Ayurveda, both are very well-known and practiced in European countries like Austria. That is how he also took to it. “I was about 19 years then, I think, still to get into high school, when I read about Yoga in a magazine of Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji. Yogiji resided and taught Yoga in Austria in those days, and I decided to join his ashram immediately. So even as I studied medicine at the Innsbruck University, Austria and got my degree as a doctor, I continued practicing Yoga with the Maharishi.”

“Once I set up practice as an allopathic doctor,” he continues, “I realised that it does treat problems like heart attacks, cancer etc., but has no cure for lifestyle diseases like diabetes. It has no concept of prevention and is full of side-effects which kill over 10,000 people worldwide annually. I started looking for an alternative stream of medicine and that is when I discovered Ayurveda through studies at the ashram.”

Dr Schachinger went on to learn Ayurveda first through Maharishi Yogi and then Indian teachers in various corners of the world. He also went through scriptures Charak Samhita and Ashtanga Hridayam to get to the source of them.

He says, “Yoga and Ayurveda are like brothers. One takes care of the body and the other nurtures the mind. In today’s world, which is full of stress, unknown diseases and pollution, only these two guarantee holistic health. It is a very sad state of affairs that India, the birthplace of these traditions, is not preserving and promoting them.”

Other than that, he has some more complaints of India too. “I have been visiting this country for the past 20-25 years now for studies but some things just don’t seem to change. There is a huge problem of traffic and waste management here. There is filth all around, cows consume it and it surely enters the food chain. It must be harming the health of so many people.”

He adds, “I love India, its beauty and knowledge but sometimes, you have to be harsh with the people you love. For the same reason, I point out these mistakes to my Indian brethren. I sincerely hope that in future, Indians will fully realise the importance of their knowledge and natural wealth. Conserved well, this knowledge will serve the world for many years to come.”  

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