Shilajit: An ObsessionAug 18, 2013
Shilajit, an Ayurvedic herbal substance, changed my life. I have been obsessed with the mineral supplement ever since a yogi in India gave me some almost 14 years ago. While traveling through the foothills of the Himalayas, I encountered this yogi. When he first showed me the black tar-like substance, my first thought was that he was offering me some sort of illicit drug. I was very hesitant to accept and ingest a strange, gooey black resin from an even stranger man who had apparently spent the last 17 years in a cave!
A Rare and Scarce Blessing
We then began to discuss the significance of what he was offering me. Shilajit, he explained, was considered to be the pinnacle of the Ayurveda medical system. It possessed not only profound health benefits, but also divine power. He told me about the mountains where it was collected and that these places were considered to be the abodes of the gods. He told me about the rarity of authentic shilajit and how even to just see it in the high rocky cliffs was considered to be a blessing from the heavens. He said that taking shilajit regularly increased concentration and enabled the user to live for centuries!
At this point I thought I had figured out this man’s intentions. My father is a car salesman so I know a sales pitch when I hear one. Seeking to expose his motives I asked the yogi how much it would cost for me to buy this elixir of the gods. To my surprise, he informed me that shilajit of this quality was not for sale. The villagers living high in the mountains had given it to him to assist in his meditation retreats and he did not have enough to sell. Hmm? This guy was really good. I figured he could sense my skepticism and was using some reverse psychology on me in an attempt to reel me back in for the big sale. I must admit if that was his plan it was working because at this point I was sufficiently intrigued to try some of this stuff!
First Taste of Shilajit
He took a small pinch, the size of a lentil, and told me to place it under my tongue. The taste was not pleasant. It was extremely bitter and earthy. Like what I imagined charcoal or dirt must taste like, times ten! Within seconds, I could feel its effects. I felt energized and awake. There was a subtle sense of tingling throughout my body. My mind felt clear and concentrated. I wanted more!
I expressed my amazement with the effects and asked again if he could sell me some. He again declined. I asked where I could buy some and he then warned that the shilajit the vendors were selling in the market was most often fake or mixed with horrible things like petroleum jelly, cow urine, sugar, or even asphalt. He explained that because of shilajit’s fame and rarity, it is an expensive commodity and so many unscrupulous vendors sell fake versions of the product. I soon discovered how true this was when I began searching for the stuff. I tasted hundreds of so called “shilajit” products that neither tasted like or had the effects of what the yogi had given me that day.
I returned to the States and discovered companies selling capsuled versions of “shilajit” containing powder and recommending high doses that had no effect whatsoever. I contacted wholesalers in India and Russia and had them send me samples of their products but nothing was even similar to the shilajit I had been given by that yogi. I started to come to the realization that I would probably never again taste this incredible substance.
Hunger to Know More about Shilajit and Ayurvedic Medicine
I then enrolled in the Heartwood Institute where I studied Asian healing traditions with Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods. There I learned about many tonic herbs and their profound healing effects. I also learned more about shilajit and its legendary power. This further fueled my obsession to locate the same quality authentic shilajit of the kind the yogi had shared with me. After my studies, I resolved to return to India to search for genuine high grade shilajit.
I could never have imagined the journey I would embark upon seeking this shilajit, Ayurvedic medicine with many amazing powers. In my next post, I will share the beginnings of that journey in which I met many obstacles but remained undeterred. Do you have a passion for shilajit? Have you tried imitation products and been disappointed? Share below!