Ayurveda: The Message of Dr. Light Miller

Greetings, and welcome to The Ayurveda Report.
Today I’m very honored to have Light Miller with me on the show. She’s my Ayurveda guru,
so there’s something special about that, plus she’s like my second mom. And I’m really,
really pleased to be able to share with you her personality, her characteristics, and
her incredible wisdom and experience from the heart of Ayurveda. Light has 35 years of experience in Ayurveda.
She’s one of the pioneers of bringing Ayurveda to the United States and to the West. Her
journey is quite remarkable, and she studied with Panchubhai Chotai, who was one of Gandhi’s
personal physicians, who was with Gandhi, while Gandhi was fasting during the hunger
strikes that helped in the process of giving independence to India. In this interview, Light shares her message:
how Ayurveda is rooted in self-knowledge, and in the family, and in the traditions of
wisdom and spirituality and healing, all coming together in our contemporary scene.>>And I think the most important thing for
me is that people begin to take a look at themselves and the cause of their problems…
and begin to heal themselves. Becuase healing doesn’t come from a practitioner or doesn’t
come from someone outside of yourself. Healing comes from within. And I think my
biggest message is to look inside and begin to look for a system of support… into coming
together with yourself… because everybody needs a guide, everybody needs a consultant,
someone who practices Ayurveda to guide them through it. But I think the most… to be
a catalyst for them, whether it’s that they’re ill, or that they’re studying. We all need someone to take… hold our hand…
take us there. But I think the work is within. After many years of practice, I am very clear
that the work comes from within us. Living Ayurveda, living every day, creating rituals.
Daily rituals that you have for yourself, like Abhyanga [Ayurvedic Massage], for example. Taking care with a self massage… to be able
to have a routine. I think one of the things we lack in, in this world, is routine.
>>Yeah.>>Systems that have been practiced for thousands
of years, that have been effective. And then begin to implement it in a daily basis.>>Well that’s one of the things that I find
is most important with all of my patients, is helping them to integrate the knowledge…
that they can daily have a routine.>>Mm-hm.
>>It doesn’t have to be the same routine that was practiced in the ancient India.>>Mm-hm.
>>You know, it’s something that they can do today. You know?
>>Well that’s not possible, because, you know, India was, when Ayurveda began, was
very different. People lived communally, people lived in villages. People lived very close
to the earth, and we have a very fast active society. But it’s like you said before, there’s many
ways to begin to integrate. Every day – doing something for yourself that you add – and
as you add the little… you begin with Abhyanga, And then you begin to change your diet, and
you begin to add herbs into your diet.>>Mm-hm.>>You begin to integrate. So it’s not something
that can happen overnight, because…>>Right.
>>…people eat junk food, people live in cars. I mean…
>>Different stresses…>>… you think of here in LA, the stresses
of everyday. But integrating something every day.
>>Mm-hm.>>And making it a habit, because we’re creatures
of habit. And we, we get very addicted to our ways, and if we can become addicted to
living more whole, more whole, and become addicted to having a practice, something that
you do everyday for yourself…>>Right, addicted.
>>then it can grow… and it can be used to grow. Yeah.
>>Addicted to the positive and life nurturing.>>Yes, and nurturing yourself.
>>Yeah.>>Because one of the things that I think
that this society is lacking is, for example, taking care of yourself.>>Mm-hm.
>>Becuse if you can’t take care of yourself first, you have no buisness taking care of
other people. You know, I see mothers sacrificing constantly…
>>Right.>>…for their children. I’m going to give
you an example, I had a woman who… her daughter’s been very, very ill… and she really is affecting
everything that she does. And she just takes care of her daughter and
is not taking any, any time for herself.>>Cool. And, and then a lot of times we see
the same pattern happening>>Mm-hm.
>>With moms who have a kid who’s autistic, or who has, you know, different kinds of diseases
that are very, very serious chronic diseases.>>Mm-hm.
>>The moms will just exhaust themselves into it. And so when they come to my clinic, I’m
like, “Hey, can we take care of you too?”>>Yeah.
>>Because that “field” will change if they take care of themselves.
>>That’s right because… you know, from a place where we reflect, particularly with
children. I think that one of the biggest gifts is that,
if we are taking care of ourselves, they learn how to take care of themselves.
>>That’s right! Exactly.>>It’s a mirror of what they see.
>>Exactly.>>I mean we can preach to children. We can,
you know, can do a lot of things, but them watching you live, nourishing yourself, they
begin to nourish themselves.>>And what you said about the, the uh, looking
within, you know, to find the strength to heal and the strength to be able to nourish
>>You have to look within and see what’s blocking you. And you have to look without
to see what you… logistically… figure out.>>Yeah. And you have to have, find someone
who really is living it. Because what I find with Ayurveda today, I mean, I find so many
fat… too many overweight Ayurvedic practitioners. Sending people that are out of balance, themselves!
so I think in looking for someone to…>>Mm-hm.
>>…be your guide, or to be your, your catalyst for you to learn Ayurveda it’s important that
you look at the person and see, is this the right person? Because people are, I… I find that today
particularly, people are desperate.>>Right.
>>People are living all the time… wanting something. They know they’re missing something,
and they don’t know what that is. And in that missing place, they just grab.
>>Right.>>And the society is turned to grab! Shop! Shop. Get! Get! Get!
>>Right.>>And people are blinded a lot of the times,
by people that don’t know what they’re doing.>>Or, or are inexperienced because it takes
so long as a practitioner to bring your life to a place where you really are embodying
Ayurveda. Right?>>Yeah. Particularly in this society, you
know, we are so conditioned. Our conditioning is so… to look out, to do for others, to…
busy schedule, to make money. Our life is based on that activity. That is the consciousness
that most people live in. And when you have a practitioner that can take you through the
steps, it will take some time. You know I always say to people, “Well you
have to brush your teeth”. People tell me, “Well I don’t have time to do a self massage”.
And I say, “Well, you have time to brush your hair and put makeup on. Just add another ten
minutes of just taking care of yourself”. And mothers, especially mothers… we were
talking about mothers before. They say, “But I don’t have time, I have to get the kids
to school”. Well, come back from… from taking them to school and take some time for yourself.
>>Right, right.>>Because if you don’t take time for yourself,
you have no business even raising children. I mean that’s, I mean…
>>Mm.>>…that’s a harsh truth for me… but…
and it begins deeper than that. You know, for me, when a couple is getting married,
I always recommend that they do Panchakarma first.
>>Right.>>They cleanse their body, and they purify,
because they’re gonna have a baby. Get to know who you are. Get to know, your
system, and how your system is working, you know. Detox first, and then have a baby. And
plan what you do. And, you know, the beginning of Ayurveda, we have pediatrics, and pediatrics
is more just than… how to raise your child. Pediatrics was you and your husband being
in harmony in your relationship.>>Thank you! tThat’s very true.
>>Being in harmony with each other. My next book is going to be about Ayurveda and pregnancy.
It should be out next year. And one of the things that I wanted to prove… that people
need to plan these babies.>>Mm-hm.
>>People don’t just, can’t just, make love and get pregnant, and you know. But there’s
a consciousness. It’s a, it’s a way you prepare your body to bring life into the world. And,
I think there’s so much education that needs to happen to be able to live an Ayurvedic
>>And to be able to integrate that into our busy active society. Information, information,
information! And I think that once you have a practitioner, it’s important that you follow
that person’s system. And if you get on a, on a, on a blockage with yourself, you call
your practitioner…>>Right, you interact with the practitioner.
>>Interact. Yes, and we get…>>And get them to give you guidance.
>>Yeah, because…and it has to be somebody that you trust, somebody that you can feel
really good about, too. And picking a practitioner, I think it’s essential that you feel good
about who they are. And that you feel good about their training
particularly, you know because schools are cranking practitioners on a daily basis! And
you know a lot of people come to me after they graduate from one of these schools, and
say, “I know nothing”.>>Yeah, that’s right.
>>”Can you help me?”.>>So…>>You mentioned that.>>The experience of being a… one of the
senior practitioners and pioneer of bringing Ayurveda to the West, you can look back on
the evolution of these schools and how all of this thing got started.
>>Even my students that actually come to school, they don’t do a good an apprenticeship
program, a lot of time are lost, you know.>>Mm.
>>And I’m very, you know, I’m very technical in the way I do things. And very… anyhow,
and I find that one of the things that happens with our students, that if they don’t apprentice,
they cannot give back.>>Mm-hm
>>To, so I’m always open to having a student living with me and things like that, and actually
integrating Ayurveda into everyday life. Because it begins in the morning. Because
from the moment you open your eyes, and you begin to… give thanks for the day… and
you begin to take care of your duties, and take care of yourself.>>What we’re really talking about here and
when we started the conversation about a practitioner, a person who’s looking for a practitioner,
or looking for a practice… and how long it takes to integrate that practice into their
life. So the, the observation that I have is, that
there’s a big conversation going on about, you know, who is an Ayurvedic practitioner,
who’s an Ayurvedic doctor, what are the criteria in training, for someone to be able to practice
Ayurveda? And, there are a lot of, a lot of people who are saying, well, it’s this many
hours, and these many schools, and things like that. And then there’s a group of people saying
it is about meeting a person and having a heart-to-heart transmission with that person,
Your guru, somebody who you want to learn from, who embodies the practice fully, a mature
practitioner. So, just summing that up. You know, on the one side we have institutional
approach, and on the other side we have a personal approach.>>I think they’re both important. I think
that going to school and learning the… actually, book work is important. But more important
to me is people who live it. You know, people who, and I think both are important. So going
to a school gives you a certain technicality, a certain awareness. And then having teach that in someone, who,
is a practitioner, who can take you in and teach you the, the actual living it, is important.
>>Mm-hm.>>So I think they both have some import.
Now, I’m not gonna say well, you shouldn’t go to school and… you, you know… you should
only do Gurukula programs. But I think that it’s a balance.
>>Mm.>>It’s always about balancing. To me, Ayurveda
are finding balance, and finding that bliss, and that heart-connection with whoever you
study with.>>Right.
>>And, I think education in America has become very linear.
>>Mm-hmm.>>Like everything else in, in US. Because we are linear, very ah.. functioning…
and both are important. But living, and having a practice and understanding
what is it that you’re doing is just as important. Now, I think that the way I would see… if
I was to run the educational system of Ayurveda… I would see first the school systems, you
get the basics, understanding of it, and then go on to an apprenticeship program.
>>Mm-hm, okay.>>A Gurukula program, which is what we call
it India. Because the extension of the teacher is really important. I know my best students
are the people who have actually apprenticed with me and actually have lived with me and
watched me live am Ayurvedic lifestyle. So, for example I have someone right now that’s
working with me, and she’s lost 40 pounds. Kapha girl, very out of balance, and she’s
lost 40 to 60 pounds in the last year and a half. So she’s integrated Ayurveda into
her life, slowly, instead of just all at once. Because you know, when you’re overweight and
you have a lot of excess mass in your body, you can’t just lose it overnight.
>>Right.>>If somebody gave you a tea or pill to lose
weight. It’s a process, and for her, I mean, she’s just radiant. I mean everyday I get
to look at her and I say, oh my God, what a change, what a transformation.>>Mm-hm, she’s made the change inside.
>>She’s made the change inside, you know, she’s learned to integrate it.
>>Yeah. That’s a great example. You know one of the things, the other thing about…
talking about embodying Ayurveda in relationship to training is that it’s almost as if we have
like a “no no”, “don’t talk about it” if you, if you have one opinion or another, right?
Among practitioners. It’s almost like a politically correct thing.
So, like, for example, for me, I would abolish all the schools instantly because I’m like
an extreme person, my personality, right? So I say only with the guru, just do it like
the old way.>>Yeah.
>>But you’re saying that there needs to be a balance.>>I think there needs to be a balance because
people also believe in a system that’s based in education. Remember that. Education means
something, going to school means something, you know?
>>Right.>>And… to people… to the people who are
paying for it, the parents that are paying for it, or the husband, they want to know
that there’s a degree, there’s some kind of certification…>>Right. Right.
>>…going on. Because that’s, that’s the linear thinking, you know?
>>Right, it’s like a European model of education that has come to America. And even in India
with the Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine [BAMS], it’s based on a European colonial model of
>>You know?>>You know, I was very fortunate, as you
know, I didn’t, I, I didn’t do the Colonial training. I just moved in.. I just came in
and worked hands on with my teacher, and that’s how I became a practitioner. And I find that
the people who have done that with me are better practitioners than the ones that are…
actually have only done the schooling, as I said before. So I think, everything’s a balance, and the
degree, the diploma means a lot to some people, certification means something to some people.
Our society’s based on that, so…>>Right, right.
>>To fit in, you have have it. I think that… and having an approved school, to some people
that means a lot. And I mean, right now, as I shared with you
before, I want to do licensing for Florida.>>Oh.
>>Because if there’s a State that needs to have an integration of something holistic,
it’s Florida, because we are behind.>>Mm-hm.
>>Florida is definitely a State that’s very behind. So like California and Oregon and Colorado
are progressive, we are in a State of… that is… totally medical.
>>You mean, your practice, because you’re based in Florida?
>>Yeah, based in Florida. So, for me, it’s about always finding ways and loopholes in
which my practitioners can practice without getting in trouble with the law, you know?>>Right.
>>So right now, I, I wanna begin to work towards some kind of license and I’m not even
going to use the word, medicine. Because the word medicine scares the politicians. It’s
a lifestyle, it’s about integration. Like we talked about: what is wrong with doing
self massage for your children, what is wrong with… for yourself, or doing self massage,
massaging the children on a daily basis, or having tea time at home. And having plenty of drinks instead of buying
sugared drinks and bottled drinks. Making your tea on a daily basis where the kids can
go to the refrigerator and have tea and have medicine. So to me prevention plays a very
big role right now in this time in society. Because we’ve taken the health food stores,
and became grocery stores, and became supermarkets.>>Yes. You’re talking about the difference
right now between the health food and conscious eating movement…
>>Mm-hm.>>…in the Seventies, versus today.
>>Yeah, I remember in Laguna Beach, going to the health food center with things in brown
bags, and you have to bring brown bags. So we’ve become commercialized. Health has
become a commercialism, and, it’s good again. You have to wait…[and see]. Like I said,
I always look at balance. It’s good ’cause more people are going to Whole Foods, and
they’re buying and becoming aware. So there’s definitely a tremendous amount of progress
in the fact that people are knowing that there’s different qualities of food.>>Ah, yeah. Very good point.
>>But at the same time, we… the whole idea of Ayurveda’s to get back to nature, to get
back to yourself, to get back to simplicity! You know?
>>Right, And not the magazine called “Simple Living”, and that’s the million dollar magazine…
>>Yes.>>That’s in all the Whole Foods, right?
>>Exactly, but it’s… it’s how you live your life. It’s in the harmony we work at
home with the children. It’s in the little snacks that you home-made…
>>Mm-hm.>>…And put some herbs in it so they can
have better digestion. You know, like we made Bryan’s very big…
my husband is very big at making Almond-Cinnamon-Cardamom balls, you know?
>>Mm-hm.>>It takes him five minutes to do it. Or,
apple spice, you know. So, instead of going to the health food store and buying a package.>>This is a good point.
>>Yeah.>>Because integrating the, the benefits.
It means that you actually put the love and the awareness into it yourself.
>>Mm-hm, mm-hm. And it’s so simple! So, for me, Ayurveda’s very simple. Ayurveda’s very
basic.>>Mm-hm.>>So my goal when I teach people is to bring
them back to that simplicity.>>Mm-hm.
>>Not give them a bunch of pills, and have them to go the health food store and buy a
bunch of vitamins. My goal is always to simplify their life.
>>Mm-hm.>>To make their life easy, you know. So,
when I make a tea we make a lot of tea.>>Right.
>>So that all day long, your kids can go to the refrigerator and drink teas that are
preventing their colds, and are preventing their, their ear aches, and are preventing,
you know, whatever…>>Yeah.
>>…runs in the family.>>Right.
>>You know, all. And you know of course I’m big on essential oils too. So, I think that
diffusing the oils on a daily basis.>>Right, in the home.
>>In the home is really important.>>Mm-hm.
>>And I think that as we… mothers, particularly, play a very important role for me, in, in
the educating of their children…>>Mm-hm.
>>and living that…>>Right, right.
>>…the Ayurvedic lifestyle, because when your mother begins to see how simple it is,
the kids are happy to do it.>>And you know, a lot of times we hear, “Oh
Grandpa, Grandma used to do that”, or “Mom used to do that, but I don’t do that anymore”,
right? So there’s been a breaking… and it’s now
important for us if we want Ayurvedic awareness to reclaim…
>>There’s been a breaking… in, in some, for example I’m in a very Latin community
right now, which is great for me because I get to practice my Spanish, but they always
say that. They always say, “My grandmother used to do enemas on me. My grandmother used
to do cleansing, my grandmother used to go to the backyard when I was sick and grab the
herbs”.>>Right, right.
>>And make a tea, or make a scrub, or make something, simple, and I say, “well you can
do it too”. You know?
>>Yeah! And you, and you have to do it!>>You have to do it. You know, so…
>>If you wanna break the grip of the…>>If you want to break the grip. So I’m very
lucky that way because the Spanish community really… has the memory of it. I think Western Americans have a little harder
time with that>>Right.
>>Because we’re being taking pills for 50, 60 years. But the Latin community in South
Florida, for me, has been a shifting awareness, because these people really remember their
roots, and they remember Grandma going out into backyards. And of course, I think it’s really important
that wherever you live you have herbs.>>Mm-hm.
>>I mean, I think house plants are outdated, and they also, you know, I think that…
>>You’re saying, “Swap out the house plants for some herbs”
>>Some rosemary, some basil that grows so well…
>>And aloe…>>…and aloe and things like that so you
have your medicine, right? Especially we don’t know what’s gonna happen
with the herbs. There’s a lot of advocate… people advocating now herbs, and uh… I really
wanna see more simplicity more people doing their own tinctures, their own medicated oils.
>>Right.>>Simplifying. So a lot of my message, to
me, is simplify your life. “Back to Eden”. And, maybe I’m behind [laughter]
back to Eden…>>That’s a long time ago!
>>It was a long time ago, yes. [laughter]>>To really get back…
>>But it’s your own personal Eden, right? Because one person’s Eden might be totally
different from another person’s.>>Might be completely different yes, yeah,
for sure, for sure.>>The spiritual aspect of Ayurveda, you know?
It’s something that I’m always concerned is not being brought out in our contemporary
>>For me, it’s the most important aspect.>>It is the most important aspect of it.
Because, without knowing the Self, your true Self, it’s almost impossible to go to another
level. So, without taking time, like I said, to get
to know your own Atman, your own awareness, you… who you are, the connection that you
are with that Divine Self. If we don’t teach that, I’m just teaching food. We’re just teaching…
you know… how to survive in the world. And Ayurveda… Ayurvedic foods are about
finding, mastering ourselves.>>Hm.
>>Mastering… getting to… we talk to the beginning, off the camera about the, the “Mahat”,
the greatness that we are.>>Mm-hm.
>>And we all have it! It’s just discovering it.
>>Mm-hm.>>The power of the universe is within us. We are microcosms of the universe. We’re a
tiny little universes that can grow into this expansion…
>>Mm.>>…of awareness. So if we are of the same
substance as the universe, and the Elements that live within us, that means we have an
opportunity to be as great as the Universe.>>Right.
>>And that takes spiritual practice. That takes clearing our Karma. That takes going
deeper into who you are, and your purpose here. It is something that I was quote Chopra
on, is that karma can be erased overnight.>>Hmm.
>>In a second you can burn your Karma by just having the awareness that you are more
than just your thoughts, that your mind is unlimited, that we’re unlimited beings. And for me, that is where you’re gonna teach
it, so with that spiritual background, we will, we will have it. We will lose the essence
of Ayurveda [without it]. So I think that it’s, it’s a process of evolution for us.
And, without the spiritual aspect of Ayurveda, it’s [just ]a mind body medicine. You cannot get away from Spirit.
>>Right, and it, I, I think what I’m hearing from you is that just healing your body and…
>>And “feeling good” and “looking good” and having “beautiful skin”… you know… I just
taught a class in Puerto Rico, unfortunately it wasn’t well attended. It was about Ayurveda
from inside out. Beauty from inside out. We think by looking
good, it’s enough. “My skin doesn’t have a flaw. I am perfect”. If my… and, “If I have
the right weight for my body type I am perfect”. If I look like the model, and if that model…
if that body… is filled with anger and fear and anxiety….>>Diseases, right?
>>Disease is right around the corner!>>Yeah.
>>You seee, that’s the disease. Without looking at the lineage of the pattern of family systems,
you know?>>Mm-hm.
>>One of the things that we have lost is family. We have lost family systems, we have
more single mothers…>>Mm-hm.
>>… than ever in the history of humankind. So therefore, we’re losing the family. The
connection of the grandmothers and the wise, the teachings. And having my mother, I realize
the gift that she is in my life, and I’m more than honored to take care of her at this age
of 92, because I realize my roots, I realize the essence of goodness. And the children are realizing the wisdom
that she has.>>Mm.
>>I don’t think they were aware until I had her in my space, Bodhi is really awakening.
It’s creating a shift in my oldest boy, tremendously, because, you know, we don’t grow around our
grandmothers….>>Right.>>…anymore. And the caring and the love
that grandmother can bring to a family.>>One of the things that, and that’s related
to this spiritual, the process of family is not separate from spirituality, if you think
about okay, in this body you’re incarnated… before that you’re dead, you’re nowhere…
before that you had another life okay, another family, right. So our whole incarnational process happens
around family, and then that the whole process of our understanding our past lives or the
fact that this spirit leaves the body, comes back in the body, is related to this idea
of the ancestors. So that the aspect of purifying family here, purifying family lines that have
existed in the past… ancestry… that’s kind of like a major foundation…>>I’m gonna take it to another level! In
that, it’s that, I believe that all the students that come to me, have been with me before.
>>Wow.>>And I’m just retraining their minds, because
my, my work and my Gurukula program, my apprenticeship program is so intertwined with their lives.>>Mm-hm.
>>You know, even in the classroom setup. I’m so involved with their daily problems.
>>Mm-hm.>>You know, I, I bring them to light. I talk
about them. And so much of my teachings I base on spirituality.
>>Mm-hm.>>You know, ’cause we can’t, we can’t heal
the mind if we don’t heal… if we don’t heal our spirit… you know, so if we don’t get
to that spirit. Part of healing the mind is getting to that
spirit. Sifting through the dirt so you can see the light.
>>And part of clearing the mind and the spirit so that one can receive wisdom… is you know,
is, is critical I think.>>Mm-hm. Yeah. I always say in class, when
you connect, everything will be given to you.>>Mm-hm.
>>And we really connect with our soul, when we sit in meditation, and we’re able to feel,
and we’re able… everything is given to us. The teachers will appear, the right people
will come, and then the money will come.>>Right, right.
>>Because we’re living.>>There’s a sustenance, the Vishnu part of
the deal.>>The sustenance, the the, yeah. The Vishnu
part of the, of the, the Provider… that will begin to happen because you are connected.
I believe that some of my own struggles at times have been lack of staying connected.>>Mm. Sure.
>>In any stage of my life. Not that I’m perfect, I know that I’m still growing. I’m still developing
myself. But when I tap into that Source, things… things begin to open up. When I’m really tapped
into that Source, which is Purusha itself, you know?>>Yeah, that’s right.
>>Purusha means Spirit. Purusha means the greatness of ourselves, a “big” part of us.
>>Right.>>When I tap into it things just begin to
unfold. I could be in the darkest place and I shift that into awareness… and… of who
I am, and things begin to unfold. It’s when I hold on that things get muggy,
or get dark, you know? So, and it’s a constant process.
>>Yep.>>Of awakening… a constant.. trust. It’s
a trust process, that staying in integrity with your own Divinity, is the key to living
on this Earth, and bringing mind and body and Spirit into harmony with one’s Self. And as we ingrain that in to our consciousness…
because we remember, we came from many lifetimes, and we’ve all been many things. So as we bring
that awareness, we get back to that light, to that true Self, and without that Divinity
I don’t think that you can totally heal.>>Mm-hm.
>>That faith, that trust, in your Divine, it is the essence of who we really are. And
from that place, that doesn’t mean things will immediately open up, but you, you will
be able to break through the obstacles of life.
>>Right, right. You find your power.>>You find your power.>>For more content on Ayurveda, healing,
yoga, and Vedanta, follow Kailas. If you need an Ayurvedic consultation, I am available
internationally over Skype and Google+ and you can get more information about how to
get an Ayurvedic consultation by clicking here. And if you’re in Los Angeles, schedule
an appointment. And remember, I’m available for workshops,
presentations, and consultations in your city. I look forward to hearing from you, and I
welcome you to my practice, so take these blessings for your journey. Ashirvad. Namaste.

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