The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Viagra rosogollas, anyone'

Chattarpur (Madhya Pradesh), Sept. 21: Ever tried a Viagra rosogolla'

No, you don’t need to go places to get hold of them. Just catch the next plane to Khajuraho and look up an 88-year-old who has taken a vow of celibacy but peddles a sweetmeat he claims increases sperm count and cures sexual dysfunction!

Guru Shantanand’s rosogollas — made from kavanch seeds boiled in milk, fried in pure ghee and dunked in honey — come at Rs 40 a piece but the people who snap them up come from as far as South America and Europe and the Far East and swear by them.

These are mostly tourists who come visiting the Khajuraho temples but make it a point to search out the guru for cures to infertility, diminished sexual pleasure, nervous disorders and even aging.

Christina Smith has come all the way from Waterford in Ireland to buy the rosogollas after her friend Elizabeth found them very effective for her gynaecological problems. “Now, I am taking one pot for Elizabeth,” she says.

The guru, whose ashram in Laundi is barely 37 km from Khajuraho, beams as he waxes eloquent on the therapeutic value of his rosogollas. Asked if he sold them to make money, he says: “The day I do that, the rosogollas will lose their potency.”

He does not find anything odd about not having opted for marriage and yet choosing to help people with their marital problems.

“In our ancient scriptures, such medicines are mentioned in the context of holistically strengthening one’s body system than merely enhancing sensual pleasure,” he says.

His rosogollas are so popular that Niranjan Shah of Leicester takes them regularly before embarking on exhaustive and demanding “spiritual work”. So does his accomplice Hemant Patel, a homeopath, also from the UK.

“I was earlier in Uganda and now I have settled down in Leicester. The guru’s rosogollas are extremely popular back home. I often distribute them among my circle of friends,” he says, with a wink.

The guru says he has received visitors from as far as Lima in Peru to Tokyo and Seoul in the Far East. Of the eight or 10 groups of tourists visiting Khajuraho every month, at least three call on him.

His rosogollas have a simple recipe. First, he boils kavanch (mucuna prurita, a climbing legume indigenous to tropical countries) seeds in milk. Then, he skins them and adds ayurvedic medicines. Next, the mixture is shaped into rosogollas and fried in pure ghee. They are then steeped in honey for six months. They have a shelf life of two-and-a-half years.

So far, the guru has not let out the secret of his rosogollas — he claims they have no side effects — but is now on the lookout for someone who will not misuse it for commercial gain.

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