Ayurveda is the science of life. The linking of the two Sanskrit words, Ayu - life and veda – knowledge or wisdom aptly describes the essence of the ancient system of medicine from India. The ancient Vedic tradition, cognized by the great Indian seers, offers a wealth of knowledge for a healthy and meaningful life.
Ayurveda is a 5000 year old healing tradition which teaches us how our lives can be enriched, enhanced and extended without interference from disease and ageing. It propounds that good health is not simply the absence of disease, but a state of harmonious and dynamic balance on all levels encompassing environment.
As Ayurveda, part of Atharvaveda, (the last of the four Vedas) is timeless and unbounded, it has relevance even to the present day. Dating back to 5000-10,000 years it is widely considered to be the oldest form of health care in the world and has influenced the other systems of medicines and, it is often referred to as the ‘Mother of all medicine’. It came to the earth through Lord Brahma and down to us through the sages.
Ayurveda is eternal
Ayurveda is a collection of principles of healthy living that evolved from the time of appearance of man on earth. It is not liable to change at any point or any time in the world. This healing system has been practiced in daily living in India for eons and is still the most favored health care practices of millions of Indians. A system older than the Greek and Egyptian medicine it is known to the wider world as ‘New age medicine’.
Aim of Ayurveda
Dharmaartha Kaama Mokshaanaan Arogyam moolamuthamam.
The ultimate aim of Ayurveda is attain moksha (liberation) through a healthy living. The philosophy of Ayurveda believes that everything in this universe is composed of 5 elements, the panchamaha bhootas. They in turn constitute the three doshas or bio-energetic forces that govern our constitution. The trigunas – satwa, rajas and Tamas or the psychic forces determine our mental and spiritual health. Ayurveda teaches us to balance all these to live a healthy, happy and contented life.
Hence it is quoted in the texts in the context of ‘SWASTHA’ that he whose doshas are in a balance, appetite good, all the body tissues and all the natural urges are functioning properly and whose mind, body and spirit (self) are blissful, he is a healthy person.
To complement this Ayurveda says, life is a combination of
- Physical body
- Five senses, five functions
All these four faculties in good harmony is life. Ayurveda recognises that the mind and the body are but the two manifestations of the same consciousness-Mind as the field of ideas and the body as the field of molecules and organs. Each tries to help keep the other working and healthy extracting nourishment from the environment.
Elimination of impurities of the emotional wounds are as important as the elimination of the waste matter from the body to have true, physical emotional and spiritual health.
Modern risk factor hypothesis pales into insignificance in view of the most elaborate knowledge in Ayurveda. Some of the recent additions to the modern medical list like hostility form the basis of the Ayurveda risk factors viz., Anger, depression and sorrow, extreme fear exhaustion, in-compatible foods, sedentary living and too much salt and spices lead to most major killer diseases. The solution is also simple.
Have food in moderation and that which pleases the mind. Do not cheat or tell lies. work very hard. Forgive others even of they hurt you. Treat all as your own kith and kin. Health would be yours always.
Vedic wisdom follows non-linear mathematics (Vedic mathematics) and the laws akin to modern quantum physics. It is therefore the right approach for holistic assessment of health and disease. Its aims are not only to heal the sick, but also to preserve life by preventing illness. Hence is it the most complete system of health care known.
Ayurvedic treatment is based on restoring the disturbed balance of the 3 doshas – Vata – Pitta and Kapha and the treatment is tailored to individual needs and could be broadly classified into
- Detoxification - Panchakarma
- Herbal medications
- Meditation and prayer
There are 8 branches of Ayurveda integrated at all levels. Surgery, medicine gynecology, pediatrics, toxicology, Otorhinolaryngology, rejuvenation and virilification therapy. Medical ethics were discussed in great details as early as the Vedic period itself. History has enough data to show how the ancient Indian texts and pundits were taken to Greece by the army of Alexander the great. The myriad cultures, languages and beliefs, as diverse as Indian philosophy and religion are all intertwined encompassing her vast history with Ayurveda getting mentioned everywhere as an inseparable part of human life in India, show the greatness of Ayurveda.
There is an awareness of the growing importance of this system of sustaining life in various parts of Europe, North America, S.E Asia and Japan, where they have started medical schools in Ayurvedic system. Many of the ancient methods could be studied using the modern methods of inquiry. Thousands of medicinal plants mentioned in the ancient texts could hold the key to future inexpensive pharmacology. In all Ayurveda is Authentic, Scientific and highly beneficial.
It is a preventive as well as a curative science. It is a mind body healthcare system evolved to help human beings get the maximum out of their lives in a perfectly natural and healthy way through daily and seasonal regimen, good conduct, yoga and spirituality. That way Ayurveda instills in you, a view of life that is holistic and congenial to enjoy the pleasures of life in a sustainable way, without disturbing the rhythm of life!
People from abroad traveling to India have found spiritual depth and have committed themselves to exploring their own spirituality as an alternative life style in their own country. It is significant that despite the cultural distance to India, western populations develop a strong link to Ayurvedic values which they adapt into an alternative lifestyle. It appears that the west finds something in Ayurveda that compensates for the separation from its own spiritual values.
Ayurveda appeals as it awakens the ability inside the individuals to initiate the healing processes. People recognize the need for a paradigm shift to move from a fear based perspective to a love based holistic approach.
Individuals who have been intensely searching for something that evokes their insight into the deeper connections of the web of life have embarked on a serious journey to find out what is that they are searching for. Their enquiries found a fertile ground in Ayurveda which they have taken on board as a path of life, hungry to be exposed to the wonderful wisdom and living practices of Ayurveda. Kudos to the Jewel of India ‘AYURVEDA’.