Bhagavan Ramana and Herbal Medicine
Dr. Mannikam

On a new 1000-page information multimedia CD, Ramana Arunachala, to be released in the spring, there will be some pages devoted to "The Maharshi and Medicine." In these pages Ayurveda and Siddha medicine will be discussed and a number of Bhagavan's herbal treatments will be given. The two recipes printed below follow a description of how they were learnt by Dr. Manikkam, a devotee-doctor living in Tiruvannamalai.

I was born at Pavalakkundru in Tiruvannamalai as the last child of my parents. My mother Alamelu and father Venu were both ardent devotees of Sri Bhagavan. When Bhagavan was staying at Pavalakkundru, the place was being managed by a math. The head of that math introduced my grandfather to Bhagavan. Later it was the same head of that math who introduced my father also to Bhagavan. My parents have sat at the Maharshi's feet a number of times to learn from him the secrets of herbs and herbal medicine. The Maharshi would give them detailed instructions on the preparation methods of various medicines which my parents duly and faithfully recorded. Once, during a conversation with Bhagavan, my father told him that the castor plant did not possess enough juice. It was also hard to find the plant in the environs of Tiruvannamalai. Bhagavan then asked my father to go to Athimur on the Javadhu hills, near Polur. There, he was told, was a lake on the banks of which the plant would be found and ample juice could be extracted. My father went to Athimur and found the plant at the exact location mentioned by Bhagavan.

Following in the footsteps of my parents, I am also deeply devoted to Bhagavan. I pray for his grace always and I have no doubt in my mind that it is he who is guiding me in my profession. I scrupulously follow Bhagavan's recipes and formulas of herbal medicines and use them for treatment of patients. By Bhagavan's grace, I have been able to cure patients who come to me for treatment.

It may not be superfluous to mention that Bhagavan's medicinal recipes are perfect and eminently curative. The credit therefore goes to the Master. I consider myself only an instrument in his hands. It is also a matter of great satisfaction for me that many of Bhagavan's devotees consult me on their health. This is what gives me soul-fulfillment. I have also made it a point to give free treatment to the poor who cannot afford the costs of treatment and medicine.

I am happy to share with the world some of the herbal medicinal recipes of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Saraswatha Churnam

Ingredients required: dry ginger, liquorice, rock salt, the long pippali, cumin seeds, turmeric, barberry, calamus root, saussurea, omum. All these should be bought in equal measure.

Preparation: All the above ingredients should be carefully ground, made into fine powder and mixed together. Take a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) and a half teaspoon of the powdered mixture and mix thoroughly. Consume twice a day.

Parts of herbs used in the above: roots, seeds and salt.

Body parts for which the above is used: Brain and nerves.

How does it act?: Soothes nerves, restores calmness to an agitated brain and mind, acts on tissues, restores vitality.

What are the symptoms and indications that will necessitate the use of the above medicine?: Loss of memory, sluggish brain, insomnia, weak muscles and tissues.

Precautions: None, there are no side effects.

Ashta Churnam

Bhagavan Ramana's recipe for this particular medicine is different from the traditional practice, and herein lies Bhagavan's speciality. In most traditional recipes, the physician follows a set pattern. All ingredients are taken in equal measure. Bhagavan also follows this method in some of his recipes. But mostly, he differs from the common physician in this aspect. Each ingredient is proportionately selected and mixed, depending upon the strength and properties of the ingredient. This is the essential difference between Bhagavan's recipes and those traditionally followed by physicians. Bhagavan's formulations are more potent and effective. Another great advantage is that these recipes are the handiwork of the supreme Jnani and therefore not only the physical, but also mental and spiritual results of these recipes are manifold and invaluable.


Black pepper - 9 parts,
Dry ginger - 7 parts
the bigger Cummin Seed - 5 parts
Rock Salt - 5 parts
Long Pippali - 5 parts
Cummin Seed - 3 parts
Omum - 2 parts

Clean all the above ingredients well and convert them into fine powder. Rice should be well cooked and mixed with ghee. Take a spoon of the above churnam and mix it well with the rice and then consume it. The above prescription cures indigestion, poor appetite, stomach ache and is also good for rheumatism.

Removal of Misery

D.: When duhka (misery) overpowers me, enquiry is impossible.
M.: Because the mind is too weak. Make it strong.

D.: By what means?
M.: Sat-sanga, Isvara Aradhana, Pranayama (association with the wise, worship of God, breath control).

D.: What happens?
M.: Misery is removed; our aim is removal of misery. You do not acquire happiness. Your very nature is happiness. Bliss is not newly earned. All that is done is to remove unhappiness. These methods do it.

D.: Association with the wise may strengthen the mind. There must also be practice. What practice should be made?
M.: Yes. Practice is necessary too. Practice means removal of predispositions. Practice is not for any fresh gain; it is to kill the predispositions.

D.: Abhyasa (practice) should give me that power.
M.: Practice is power. If thoughts are reduced to a single thought, the mind is said to have grown strong. When practice remains unshaken it becomes sahaja (natural).

D.: What is such practice?
M.: Enquiring into the Self. That is all. Atmanyeva vasam nayet ... Fix the mind on the SELF.

D.: What is the aim to be kept in view? Practice requires an aim.
M.: Atman is the aim. What else can there be? All other aims are for those who are incapable of atmalakshya (having the Self for the aim). They lead you ultimately to atma-vichara (enquiry into the Self). One-pointedness is the fruit of all kinds of practice. One may get it quickly; another after a long time. Everything depends on the practice.

- Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, No. 290

This is from THE MAHARSHI News Letter