Shiv Kumar Padha
Whatever is there in our body, also exists in the universe. Five basic elements viz earth (Pritvi), water (Jal), Fire (Tej), Wind (Vayu) and Space (Akash) dance around and within us. Ayurveda groups these five elements into three basic types of energy and functional principals, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Ayurveda is a healthy-life style system that people in India have been using for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda emphasizes good health and prevention and treatment of illness through lifestyle practices and use of herbal remedies.Origin: No final word can be said regarding origin of Ayurveda in Basohli, but it is believed that practice of curing the diseases with the use of herbs was in vogue even before sixteenth centaury. This belief has been endorsed by the historical fact that, in compliance with the wishes of Raja Kirpal Pal and in the view of interest of Vaidyas of Basohli, both Pt Kantha Sharma and Pt Shiv Parshada of Basohli compiled wonderful books of Charak and translation of Sutra-Sthana of Sushruta in 1688. It is said that Padha Kunj Lal was in possession of these two manuscripts of Ayurveda.Land of Vaidyas: It will not be an exaggeration if I call Basohli a town of Vaidyas and a hub of Ayurveda in Himalayan states because Vaidyas of Basohli were not only popular in Jammu region but they had earned a good reputation and named all over the areas falling under erstwhile Maharaja of Punjab. Vaidyas of Basohli were well versed in field of Pulse and face reading, patient psychology, symptomatic diagnosis, nature and effects of the vegetations and the minerals used in the treatment. It is popular for the Vaidyas of Basohli that they could feel the pulse of a patient even from ten feet away by holding one end of a thread while the other bound around wrist of patient. The services of the vaidyas from Basohli were utilised by the Rajas of adjoining hilly states. The grateful Rajas rewarded them with bungalows at panoramic tourist places like Dalhousie, Chamba, Simla, Dharamsala and other popular cities of Punjab.Availability of raw materials: Herbs and plants grown in the forests, along the rivulets, on the slopes of the hills were rich source of the raw material used in the preparation of the medicines because the herbs, plants and the minerals were available in abundance there. The basic ingredients of Ayurveda medicines like Amla, Harad, Behda, Billav, Arjun, Nargundi, Amaltas, Ashavgandha, Kantkari, Kamila, Rasount, Giloi, Vasa, Inderjot, Kutz, Haldi Rasount, Aloevera, Muthur and Varian were locally available whereas Kuth Kins, Dhoop, Beladona, Jungli Podina, Jungali Ajwain, Bhang, Daakh, straw berry and Vanfsha were items available at high altitudes. The natives helped the Vaidyas collecting these materials from forests for them.The Ayurvedic medicines prepared by Vaidyas were both cheap as well costly. The costly medicines like Basant Kusumakar, Basant Malti, Sidh Makardwaj, Swarn Bhasam, Abhrak Bhasam used gold, silver, saffron, mercury, pearls etc in their preparation. These costly medicines were prepared specially for patients from Royal family in bulk where a fraction out of bulk medicine was utilized by Royal families while remaining major part of medicines were left for use of the subjects. In many cases, Rajas of Basohli state used to issue these costly items, in good faith, to Vaidyas from the royal stores. In addition to medicines Vaidayas of Basohli were also known for the preparation of different Tails and poultices.Preparation of medicines: Before the preparation of the medicines the ingredients were passed through many stages in order to remove any poisonous content contained. Finally these raw ingredients were thoroughly washed with anti-toxin liquids, Vaidyas manufacture medicines on the large scale using indigenous earthen made equipment like furnaces, ovens, smelters and distillation plants. The use of mortars, and homemade expellers were used for grinding and extracting juices of some herbs or wild fruits. The job of preparation was so accurate and cumbersome that a little mistake at any stage of making medicines could result in serious consequences. Since the whole family of the Vaidyas remained busy in preparation of medicines throughout the day and night, Rajas provided them man-power and the material needed during the preparations. The vaidyas of Basohli were conferred with the honour of Nav Rattan in their courts and guaranteed honorable subsistence in life.Ethical values of Vaidya profession: Inspite of the fact that there were no means of connectivity other than boats, hundreds of patients from around the town thronged houses of Vaidyasm who, after thorough check-up, used to give them medicines for a particular period, free of cost. The patients and their companions were served free meals from messes of Vaidyas. For further reference and follow up purpose a permanent record of patients was also maintained by the Vaidyas. In order to assess effect of the medicine and get the feedback from patients, Vaidyas used to visit homes of local patients till their recovery.Professional proficiency: Basohli Vaidyas were expert in the art of face reading patient psychology and pulse reading to the extent that could tell about the disease of the patient even holding one end of thread, with other end tied with the wrist of patient. They could easily tell about the kind of disease patient suffering only by reading face expression of person taking Vaidya to house of the patient. The Vaidyas always remained in demand due to their mastery in the professions. The Home-made medicines could not cater to the growing need of the patients, the use of automatic equipment in the pharmacies the production of the medicines has been enhanced upto the desirable level enabling the vaidyas to do justice with their noble profession.There is a big list of Vaidyas which the Soil of Basohli produced in past but names of Vaidyas Late Bheem Sen, Kunj, Thakur Dass, Jagan Nath, Rattan Chand, Tek Chand, Bishamber Lal, all from the clan of Padha family of Basohli and Vaid Jagdish Raj Sharma and from among the surviving Ram Niwas Padha, Dr. Yog Raj Padha are worth mentioning. They brought revolution in the field of Ayurvedic medicines and Ayur vedic system of treatment in the region. Though much water has flown in Ravi since sixteenth century the families which were ever engaged with preparation of the medicines are still perusing the vocation and preparing at least a medicine for different common ailments for free distribution. The popular families engaged in the noble work are.
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