WRITTEN BY - Dr. CHAYA JAMBIGI
TAGGED AS - INDIAN EXPRESS
The head is said to be the Uttamanga (best organ). It is an abode of all the Indriyas (sense organs). The netra (eye) is the main sense organ gifted by god to human beings. Ayurveda has stated the importance of an eye with the quote ‘Sarvendriyanam nayanam pradhanam’, meaning ‘eye is the prime sense organ among the all sense organs’.
It is described by Sushruta in detail. Sushruta has written 19 chapters in Uttartantra explaining the medical, surgical and preventive aspects of netra.
Netra Tarpana is a unique Ayurvedic therapy providing treatment to the eyes. It relieves the strain due to constant glaring at computer and TV screens, refractive errors of the eyes, chronic conjunctivitis corneal ulcer, dry eye syndrome and eye diseases due to aggravation of vata and pitta toxins, glaucoma, improper co-ordination and loss of movement of the eye balls, pain and burning sensation in the eyes.
Freshly made dough rings filled with medicated oils or ghee are placed around the eyes, and gently filled with herbal healing to bathe and lubricate the eyes and surrounding area. As a side benefit, Netra Tarpana also helps address sagging around the eyes and crows feet.
Looking intently with an unwavering gaze at a small point until tears are shed, is known as trataka by the acharyas. Trataka is a deceptively simple but powerful practice. Trataka means ‘to gaze steadily at a fixed point’ and there are two forms of the practice. One is ‘bahiranga’ or external trataka and the other is ‘antaranga’ or internal trataka. Bahiranga is easier to practise because one simply has to gaze at an object or symbol. However, antaranga trataka involves clear and stable inner visualisation of an object.
In the practice of trataka an object is gazed at until its subtle form manifests in front of the closed eyes. The point of concentration is usually a symbol or object which activates the inner potential and can absorb the mind. The symbol most commonly used is a candle flame, because even after the eyes are closed, the impression remains naturally for some time, and then antaranga trataka can easily be performed.
The purpose of focusing the eyes on an external object is to arouse the internal vision and make it absolutely steady by stopping the eye movements.
According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Swatmarama, “Trataka eradicates all eye diseases, fatigue and sloth and closes the doorway creating these problems. It should carefully be kept secret like a golden casket.” Trataka benefits not only the eyes but a whole range of physiological and mental functions. It is therapeutic in depression, insomnia, allergy, anxiety, postural problems, poor concentration and memory.
Trataka unlocks the inherent energy of the mind and channelises it to the dormant areas of the unconscious. Physiologically, trataka relieves eye ailments such as eye strain and headache, myopia, astigmatism and early stages of cataract.
Triphala strengthens the muscles of the eyes and improves eyesight. It is helpful in curing eye problems like cataracts, glaucoma and conjunctivitis. It also reduces the redness of the eyes. Triphala is very helpful in treating impaired vision. Triphala nourishes the nerves and tissues of the eyeball, including the eye lens. Cow’s ghee balances the vitiation of the vata dosha and normalises it.