The question of animal testing in ayurveda can be seen as practically and ethically unnecessary. The ancient ayurvedic herbs are effectively being used today to treat our modern illnesses, so we have no need to test them. At our ashram and clinic, we personally see results in treating multiple sclerosis pain, the HIV virus, asthma, PMS, Candida, addictions of drugs, overeating and smoking, metals illnesses and more, using herbs the rishis have suggested, such as mahayogaraj guggul, ashwagandha, shatavari, musta and turmeric.

A part of the treatment that is not measurable is considering the whole person – foods, environment, career (dharma), relationships and spiritual life. There is no magic pill, even in ayurveda, that heals people other than faith in the Divine. We help people rediscover their inner Divine nature, giving them the tools to heal and showing them they have the empowerment that allows for their inner self-worth to develop into holy inclinations. We treat people as God; we treat animals as God also. Since the first cause of illness is a loss of faith in the Divine, by seeing our clients as Divine and treating their life as whole or holy, we provide the first medicine.

There is a saying in ayurveda. If there are two doctors – one who knows everything about ayurveda, but uses it for his own personal ends, and another who knows only a few basic treatments but has a sincere desire to help – the latter is the better ayurvedic physician. A few herbs work for us, so we use them. Let doctors pray and find more spiritual approaches to healing through sadhana and following the ancient sages advice until their own Self Realization begins to light their path.

There is a parallel between the path to Self Realization and ayurveda, the spiritual science meant to assist us on the path to Moksha. Just as we must let go of tamas, rajas and even sattwa for Samadhi, so too ayurveda healing can be seen as a positive rajasic or active approach to healing or letting go of tamas, while and moving towards sattwa or purity. Rasayanas (rejuvenation therapy) can be seen like sattwa, developing the purest, healthiest mind, body and spirit possible for the purpose of stilling the mind for inner realization for the inner Self to develop.

We create nirvana through all five senses. This is holistic healing. This cannot be measured by harming animals, but only by helping those animals which are already ill. The parallel is that by focusing on the Divine, researchers will find more spiritual ways of healing people than by testing animals.

For the doctor who feels they need to work with new herbs, let them also follow this parallel. Let them not look to the lower forms of testing, but let them look inward for Divine inspiration. It is God alone who brings Divinity. We must not claim responsibility for the Divine action expressed through us. It is stated in the guidelines of yama and niyama (practical and ethical behavior) that it is unethical to think we (small self) do anything. For true proof, we must see ourselves as being an instrument of the Divine, not thinking 'I' can do anything, but that it is God who is working through me.

For those who think they need to kill animals as a profession, like a fisherman, the guidelines say it is not good, but if you feel you can justify this under the heading of profession, then make sure there is no other justification for killing in your life. Guidelines are just what they say they are, guiding one's life ever closer to the Divine. This does not mean finding loopholes or excuses to deviate from one's spiritual path. Ethically and practically, we see Veda is science, there is no separation. The goal of life is to realize the Divine inside and in between. As we grow in Self-realization, we realize animal rights.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.