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Anna’s Fast Brahmcharya Ayurved & Allopathy

Updated: September 24, 2011 1:38 pm

Anna Hazare, at the age of 74, undertook a fast till death, and was in control of his body and mental functions till thirteenth day when he finally agreed to break his fast. Modern allopathic science considers this impossible. In fact, it prompted MP Lalu prasad Yadav during Lok Sabha debate on Jan Lokpal Bill, to ask for a medical research /investigation on Anna’s fast. The insinuation being that it could be a fraud. He wondered as to how a human body could survive just on water for such a long period.

Many years ago, Shri DR Karthikeyan, a former Director of CBI, had presented on stage in Sai Auditorium, Delhi, a yogi who had accompanied Shri Karthikeyan on a Mansarovar Yatra. This yogi clad only in just one dhoti, barefooted completed his Mansarovar Yatra without eating any food. It was claimed that this yogi would just sit in the sun in meditation and derive all the sustenance that his body required from solar radiations.

There are known to be living in India at present, many an ascetic with records of going without food for up to 100 days at a stretch. It is also reported that with the cooperation of such Indian ascetics NASA of USA has carried out scientific studies to help with astronauts’ nutritional requirements in space travel.

Our ancient scriptures are full of anecdotes like Rishi Valmilki, who in his penance sat for such a long period, that his body was completely hidden in a mound of white ant hill that grew over his motionless fasting body.

Dr Naresh Trehan said on TV that when he expressed his anxiety about Anna’s health during his fast, Anna assured him that nothing would happen to him, as this was the power of Brahmacharya. For skeptics, veracity of this statement has been amply proved by Anna’s confidence in undertaking his fast.

Western education has always thrown scorn at the Indian concept of Brahmacharya. In ancient Indian traditions in society Brahmacharya was promoted during formative years of life of a growing child by his educational atmosphere in a gurukul. Our Indian education system based entirely on western ideas has no place even to mention the word Brahmacharya, let alone teaching and promoting it. But in the Indian psyche significance of Brahmacharya lingers on.

So-called ‘modern’ lifestyle and environment also do not make it any easier to follow the tenets of Brahmacharya.

However, whatever the allopathic science may say, there is an emerging convergence of modern researches that will ultimately force modern medical science to endorse the Indian concept of Brahmacharya.

According to Vedas; ब्रह्मचर्येण तपसा मृत्युपाघ्नत्।। AV11.5.17, death is controlled by hard observance of Brahmacharya. This has been demonstrated to be true beyond any doubts by Anna’s fast.

Famous mantra in Sandhya seeks a long life in a healthy self-reliant body which is found to be entirely in agreement with latest modern science researches regarding importance of ‘vital fluid’ in human body.- तत्‌ -चक्षुर्देवहितं पुरस्तात्‌-शुक्रमुच्चरत्‌1| पश्येम शरद: शतं1, जीवेम शरद: शतमँ शृणुयाम शरद: शतं, प्र ब्रवाम शरद: शतम्‌-अदीना:स्याम शरद: शतं, भूयश्च शरद: शतात्‌ || Yaju 36.24.

This Ved mantra talks about शुक्रमच्चरत् the essentiality of upwards rising of शुक्र—the vital body fluid to ensure proper functioning of all our faculties of seeing, speaking and hearing. In yoga this is achieved by becoming ऊर्ध्वरेता.

Medical science talks about three different terms for this vital body fluid called शुक्र in Vedas. These terms are prostaglandin, semen and brain cells. For all these three Ayurved also has only one term ‘vital fluid’ शुक्र. रेतस्‌ and वीर्य are two terms used to describe different properties/ functions of शुक्र the vital fluid in human body.

But the most interesting part is the finding of modern science about chemistry of the constituents of all these three prostaglandins, brain cells and semen. DHA (Decosa Hexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Ecosa Pentaenoic Acids) are the main constituents of all these three. The constituents remain common but due to different functions in the human body they are given three different names. This shows the similarity in concepts of Ayurveda with modern medical science. The only bold step logically expected from modern science by convergence of their thoughts is to finally endorse significance of Brahmacharya.

But there happens to be a heavy burden on modern society of commercial interests in the form of media, fashion, advertising, that depend on promotion of strategies that do not promote ideas of Brahmacharya. Only a very strong public awareness and emerging will can promote Brahmacharya in society.

Some of the latest modern researches on this subject are being cited below in support of the above presentation.

  1. Prostaglandins

Prostaglandins were first discovered and isolated from human semen in the 1930s by Ulf von Euler of Sweden. Thinking they had come from the prostate gland, he named them prostaglandins. It has since been determined that they exist and are synthesised in virtually every cell of the body. (This is precisely how production in human body of शुक्र is described in Ayurveda.)


Functions of prostaglandins—some basics

They have a variety of physiological effects on the body including:

►  Activation of the inflammatory responses at the sites of damaged tissue, and production of pain and fever. When tissues are damaged, white blood cells flood the site to try to minimise tissue destruction. Prostaglandins are produced as a result.

►  Blood clots form when a blood vessel is damaged. A type of prostaglandin called thromboxane stimulates constriction and clotting of platelets. Also the opposite happens and protastaglandin 12 (PG12) is produced on the walls of blood vessels where clots should not be forming. (The body is very, very clever. It knows what to do, where to do it and when.)

►  Certain prostaglandins are involved with the introduction of labour and other reproductive processes, and the role of fertility. PG12 causes uterine contractions and has been used to induce labour.

►  Prostaglandins are involved in several other organs and systems such as the gastrointestinal tract, cell growth and the immune system response.

DHA, also called Docosahexaenoic acid, is a fatty acid abundantly present in the brain and in semen.

  1. Brain health/memory

DHA is associated with low levels of serotonin in the brain, which is thought to be an important cause of depression. Like the other ingredients in this formula, DHA is being investigated as a possible treatment for combating diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

  1. Sperms affect on Eyesight

Fatty acid composition of erythrocytes and sperm, along with the functional characteristics of sperm, in patients with retinitis pigmentosa: Sperm and retinal cells share important homologies. Both are rich in the highly polyunsaturated fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6[n-3]), and both contain a structural component called the axoneme. Low concentrations of DHA in the retina of monkeys are known to cause visual impairment. Because blood levels of DHA in retinitis pigmentosa patients are less than normal, reduced DHA in the retina might contribute to the visual impairment characteristic of this disease. This study was conducted on the hypothesis that the sperm of retinitis pigmentosa patients might be abnormal and that these abnormalities might infer similar lipid and structural abnormalities of the retina.

METHODS: The lipid composition of erythrocytes and sperm (fatty acids and sterols) and sperm function were analysed in 26 patients with retinitis pigmentosa and in eight healthy men.

RESULTS: The sperm of patients with retinitis pigmentosa had a much lower DHA concentration, a lower desmosterol-to-cholesterol ratio, reduced motility, abnormal structure, and lower sperm counts compared with that in normal subjects. Usher’s II patients exhibited the most pronounced reductions of DHA in sperm. Sperm DHA concentration was positively correlated to sperm motility, to sperm count, and to the desmosterol-to-cholesterol ratio. Lower erythrocyte DHA was also observed in retinitis pigmentosa patients.


CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that the sperm of patients with retinitis pigmentosa, particularly those with Usher’s II, have an abnormal lipid composition that is associated with reduced motility. The possibility exists that these patients might have similar abnormalities in the DHA biochemistry of the retina. Sperm biochemistry and function may be a marker for this disease. A clinical trial of DHA in retinitis pigmentosa is suggested for future study.

  1. Intelligence and Semen correlation

A positive association between general intelligence and semen quality in male humans: Specifically, in a sample of 425 Vietnam-era veterans, we found positive correlations between a g factor (representing general intelligence, extracted from factor analysis of five well-validated cognitive tests) and three independent measures of semen quality: sperm concentration (r = 0.15, p = 0.002), sperm count (r = 0.19, p = 0.001) and sperm motility (r = 0.14, p = 0.002). None of these correlations were mediated by age, body mass index, combat experience in Vietnam, use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or hard drugs or days of sexual abstinence before collection of the semen sample. We argued that although these correlations were small in magnitude, they might be theoretically important for understanding the evolutionary genetics of human phenotypic variation.

From an adaptationist viewpoint, there is little reason to expect a correlation in functional efficiency between two such disparate traits: intelligence depends mainly on brain function and neural development, whereas semen quality depends mainly on testicular function and spermatogenesis. Nonetheless, we hypothesized that there may be pervasive positive correlations among the functional efficiencies of many organ systems because different organs are influenced by overlapping sets of genes. Since most genes are pleiotropic (affecting several traits in parallel), most mutations are likely to have pleiotropic effects in disrupting several traits in parallel. Potentially, such pleiotropic mutations could produce positive genetic correlations in the functional efficiencies of different organ systems, yielding positive phenotypic correlations in different components of fitness, such as intelligence and fertility.

However, in that paper we did not explore the specific biochemical pathways in brain and semen that might be disrupted conjointly by such pleiotropic mutations. Here we address this gap by reviewing some evolutionarily conserved processes that underlie both neuron function and sperm function, focusing especially on the roles of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), exocytosis and receptor signaling. The genetic, biochemical and physiological overlap between brain function and semen function illustrates why pleiotropic mutations may create a general ‘fitness factor’ across many phenotypic traitsnot only in humans, but in all organisms subject to a balance between harmful mutations and purifying selection.

By Subodh Kumar And Dr Ss Aggarwal

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