Though treatment through Marma therapy has been carried on effectively for many years through Dr SK Joshi and his associates , training has been informal, individualised and in apprentice mode. To spread the practice of Marma science it was considered important also to have a formalized group training, despite the several precautions to be taken in imparting training, mainly its misuse by commercially oriented practitioners and the in-built dangers of a potent tool being wrongly applied.
The first Mrityunjay Mission formal Basic Level training course was held from November 22 to 28, 2010, in Haridwar. There were 29 trainees, mainly not drawn from a professional medical background. There were, among the trainees, volunteer therapists, relatives of patients undergoing Marma therapy, Yoga and Ayurveda students from Gurukul Kangri University, Patanjali Yogpeeth and Shanti Kunj, Haridwar, and a group of students of astrology (there being a close link between Indian astrology and Vedic medical sciences).
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The course consisted of 2 days of theory, 3 days of practicals with introductory lectures, a day of assessment and feedback and a valediction day. Lectures combined with audio-visual presentation and models, covered the background of Vedic Medical Sciences, the medical ethical codes stated therein, Anatomy and Physiology (according to both western and Vedic sciences), the theory of Prana (life force) in Ayurveda, precautions in the use of Marma therapy and the preparation of the therapist through Mantra and Yoga, the inherence of Marma in Yogic practice and the relationship between the two.
The location of the Marma points in the human body was presented, according to the texts. However, in the practical training, only the points for common diseases were dealt with, and certainly points that could be dangerous were avoided. 35 out of 107 points in the body were taught to trainees. A table was given indicating what points were applicable particularly to diseases like urinary disease, diabetes, hyper cholesterol, gout, hypertension, epilepsy, acidity and stomach ache, sciatica, cervical spondylosis, frozen shoulder, painful knee joints and osteo-arthritis. Self-Marma technique, for daily practice of re-energising and prophylaxis, formed part of the practicals.
Courseware was distributed to trainees consisting of the in-course lectures augmented by visual sheets of Marma techniques for self- therapy as well as therapy for patients. There was also a standing exhibition showing charts of Marma points and treatment through them, their location and technique of stimulation. There was also exhibited a Marma bed (nadi shaiyya ) embedded with sea shells, stimulating marma points for general patients, as well as a plaster bed model (Marma shaiyya) with protrusions made for individual patient requirements. The exhibition carried press stories of various Marma Chikitsa camps of Mrityunjay Mission. Several patients were brought in as demonstration cases.
Swami Advaitananda, Trustee and Treasurer, Shivananadashram, Rishikesh, and himself a recipient of Marma therapy, inaugurated the training course. Speakers and honoured guests at the inaugural function included Prof Vishnu Dutt Rakesh, (former Director, Vaidic Shodh Sansthan), Prof Mahavir Aggarwal (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Gurukul Kangri University and Vice-Chairman, Uttarakhand Sanskrit Academy).The objectives and activities of Mrityunjay Mission and objectives of the training course were presented by Mrityunjay Mission Members Shrimati Akhila Ghosh, Dr Mridul Joshi, Shri Avik Ghosh and Dr KK Pandey.
The course was directed by Dr SK Joshi, President, Mrityunjay Mission, who gave the body of the lectures. Each days session began with recitation of the Mrityunjay Mantra and prayers for universal welfare. Members and associates of Mrityunjay Mission participated in organizing, managing and conducting the course. There were guest lecturers each day,–Prof VK Sharma, Dr DD Upreti, Prof Ishwar Bharadwaj, Prof Yogesh Mishra, Prof BD Joshi – and their lectures covered Anatomy and Physiology, Herbal Medicine, Yoga, and Marma Science.
The Valediction was performed by Prof Swantantra Kumar, (Vice Chancellor, Gurukul Kangri University).Present along with him were-Dr Karmayogi (Registrar, Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya), Prof Mahavir Aggarwal, Prof BD Joshi, Dr Gyanendra Pandey (Govt Ayurvedic College, Jamnagar). The Valediction was also graced by the Venerable Presence of Shri Swami Hari Shankar Giri, of the institution on whose premises the course was held, namely the Vishwa Kalyan Sadhanayatan. At the valediction, certificates of participation were distributed to the trainees.
The feedback from our training course was that the trainees had a sense of satisfaction at the knowledge gained by them and the skills acquired such that they could practice therapy on themselves and offer it as a service among members of their family and community and others. They were interested in furthering their knowledge through advanced courses and wanted a networking among participants. The spirit of service and discipline was absorbed by the participants along with a renewal of interest and knowledge of our own Vedic heritage of medical science. Marma therapy was a permanent take-home gift to be used and spread as a very effective measure for relief and cure in many cases of disease and suffering.
One of the major outcomes of this training course was the welcome announcement by Gurukul Kangri University Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar of Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya -, 2 major institutions,- that they will introduce Marma course in their regular teaching programme.
In fact, the initial exposure of 5 days to the Gurukul Kangri faculty and students took place between 31st January and 4th February.