Friday, 14 March 2014

Jiva - The Secret Garden

The missing Malaysian jet in the news these days just reminds us how large our mother earth is and how deep her belly of secrets may be. While we try to smarten ourselves with the newest app and keep up with the pace of lessening the divide through latest innovation... there is a part of us that crave for some jungle and its organic calm. The nature connection within us keeps calling. No?

Did you know that Ginger can cure insomnia... or that Easter Lily has the best answer for anxiety? I figured these out only recently.

Exploring wellness from nature through art, I have readied this series that represent medicinal plants in their full bloom. Jiva means 'life' in Sanskrit. I call it a 'secret' garden because we know very little of this huge treasure... and also most of the herbs are extracted from leaves, roots or trunk... not really their flowers. Because flowers draw everyone's attention, I thought it is a good idea to make these beautiful flowers and get the focus down to where it is required.

Coffee and oil colours on paper

Knife and bare hands

Have used dry and wet mixtures of coffee & water with oil colours. Their respective differences/characters have given this unique result.

Exploring wellness from nature through this Secret Garden. The series has 12 flowers representing each medicinal plant - with common names like ginger to easter lily.

Cup of Gold Vine

Easter Lily


Chinese Honey Suckle

Sweet Pea

Blue Wild Indigo


Desert Pea

Yellow Monkey Flower

Handsome Flat Pea

Crown of Thorns

My reason
Centuries back a clan of learned men crossed rivers and mountains to the plains to occupy pristine hilly lands of south India... and along with them they brought seeds to well being for their future generations. I am talking about my ancestors. My grand father was a planter, who despite being a lawyer by profession lived very close to nature. It must be because of him that I grew fond of herbs and their flowers. My childhood memories are not without those vast forests and its blooming shrubs. The estate was a curious wild place for a long long time... until I grew up old enough to know it was an Ayurvedia garden maintained that way. Each plant there had more than just its colourful flowers that we children plucked to play with.

From the garden there... ginger, lemon, pepper and cinnamon made it to grandma's kitchen too. And there were plenty of others that the local medic would parcel and take behind his little bike.

I learnt that for serious health conditions such as hepatitis b to long-term illnesses such depression and insomnia there is complete cure in herbal medicines. Experts say oncology and aids researchers may eventually find their best medicines in the wild. It is a secret garden out there that we must explore for our own good. Tuning to mother nature is just one of those things that make me nostalgic and happy at the same time. Mixing memories with coffee is just as delightful!

Have I ever mentioned that I was keen on being a doctor and wrote the entrance exam for a medical seat in my country? I got through the state's ayurveda college quota, because my ranks were not good enough for an MBBS seat. My elitist grandfather dismissed me from spending my life around smelly oils and massages, and suggested I could drop an year to repeat attempt as that was ok... as I was an year junior to my classmates for having joined school in a hurry. He also reminded that the next attempt should get me the best seat and that he would not be happy if I were to look into people's mouths for a living. In other words he dismissed BDS (dental) seats. Well, I dismissed his whole idea of dropping an year and learning medicine for 5 years or more?! Instead I chose to explore more of nature, language... self discovery and expression.

Contemporary connection
Today we may still have a long way to go before we accept that there is no one system of healthcare supreme to the other. There are millions who need relief. Fortunately though, humans have a fascinating ability to turn a tough situation on its head with ingenuity and there is a growing realization for the wisdom of past. This is kept alive in traditional systems of medicine that provide crucial answers. Placing trust in age-old herbal remedies is the most non-invasive and economical way to good health and life... me thinks!

The world of modern medicine finds itself in a complex situation. On the one hand, advances in genetics, biotechnology, and stem cells are opening new frontiers in medical research. On the other, antibiotics, the most frequently prescribed medicines in modern medicine, are facing tough new territories that manifest research results to find dangerous/complex chemical compositions.

Ancient health care focused on preventive care. Our modern lifestyles are guided by the corporate policies that often have its support systems depending on modern medicine. Doctors recommending traditional herbal products are those few who are wise enough/rather magnanimous enough to believe and allow maintenance of general health and well-being over their professional pressures. Getting doctors to acknowledge the benefits of traditional medicine is still a uphill task. Especially when heavy grants fund research and development of modern medicines. They have their say. It will be controversial if I mention who pharma companies lure professional medics to play with even their ethics to prescribe/over-prescribe dosages.

My reason to turn to nature can be everybody's reason to a better life.

PS: Not a doctor but I can aid healing... thanks to energy healing passed on by masters... and of course art!

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