Mahatma Gandhi, The Pioneer Naturopath

    “It is Health that is real Wealth and not pieces of gold and silver” quoted Mahatma Gandhi, the pioneer Naturopath. According to him, it is impossible to observe any basic principles of life without truth.

Mahatma Gandhi laid foundation of Naturopathy in modern India, known as ‘Father of Indian Naturopathy’. He strongly believed in healing techniques of nature and knew about properties of mud and advocated this therapy for everyone, poor and rich alike. Gandhiji was greatly influenced by Adolf Just’s book, Return to Nature. Mahatma Gandhi founded the ‘Nisargopchar Gramsudhar Trust’ and established the very famous ‘Nisargopchar Ashram’ – Nature Cure Centre in the small town of ‘Uruli Kanchan’ near Pune in March 1946. During his stay at Uruli Kanchan Ashram Gandhiji treated many patients with dietary advice, mud poultice and water therapy.

Gandhiji’s introduction to nature cure began with his conviction in vegetarianism. Apart from a cultural habit, and a vow administered by his mother, he learnt why it was right to be a vegetarian by reading: Henry Salt’s A Plea for Vegetarianism, Howard William’s The Ethics of Diet, and Anna Kingsford’s The Perfect Way in Diet while he was doing law in the 1880s in London. For him, vegetarianism is in spiritual harmony with the rest of Nature.

Fundamental principle of Naturopathy believes that, we should not disturb what nature has given. Sweets, chocolates, Sugars, excess condiments are bad for health.
Nature has created vegetables, fruits with unique taste and colors. Each has unique taste, which is agreeable to most of the animals, birds, and insects. Human beings are in the habit of modifying taste of natural substances e.g. Sugar cane is modified to sugar; wheat modified to white flour, biscuits, cookies, and fruits to Jams and Jellies. All modifications increase the taste and we lose control over palate, overeating follows, which ultimately results in to ill health.
Habit of eating tasty food increases the desire to eat more. Habits once formed are difficult to shed. In naturopathy there is a concept of “No breakfast”. Depending upon the age one should have two to three meals a day. It is our experience that after the age of 60, 2 meals a day are sufficient. Breakfast should consist of fruits only. Food, he advised should be taken like medicine.  

Gandhiji believed in fasting, He considered Aakash Tatva as ‘Aarogya Samrat’. An occasional fast, say once in a week or in a fortnight, will enable to balance evenly. Even if we are unable to fast for the whole day, we should miss one or more meal during the day. This will promote reconstruction and healthy building of all cells and body process. Fasting can be considered as a holiday for the digestive system to rejuvenate and energize the complete body system. Fasting has miraculous effect in chronic diseases. After fasting one should come back to normal diet in a stepwise manner. Long fasts must be done in some nature cure center under observation.

Regular exercises, yoga is essential for maintaining vigour and stamina. It is the use of air element (Akash Tatva), which keeps the body in alert state. Gandhiji advocates brisk walking in the open air for 4 to 10 kms as the best exercise. Exercise acts as a great stress reliever. Long walks with rhythmic breathing, morning and evening have tranquilising effect.

On his 150th birth anniversary, let’s honour the memory of the great Mahatma fondly known as ‘The Father of the nation’ and try to live according to his principles.

Go back to nature, go back to natural living.  

Achieve, Natural health with yoga