About Ayuverda

Ayurveda is a total encompassment of all aspects of a human life -from birth till death. No doubt a large part of it is ascribed for medicinal practice, nevertheless, a considerable part is, as well, devoted to varied types of discourses – not only on the multifarious scientific bearings on human life his environment. These includes his/her way of life, his attitude, his diet, his physical and emotional relationships and an optimum atmosphere for an individual thus creating a great and healthy Society.

A scholarly version of Ayurveda says: “It is not merely a compendium of medicine but it is a fountainhead of the total knowledge that covers biological, spiritual and ethical bearings on which human welfare rests. Most of the Ayurvedic books are written in Sanskrit and hence understanding Sanskrit is considered vital in the proper comprehension of Ayurvedic texts.

We have to thank the scholars of the past and present who are tirelessly working for understanding and deciphering the great Ayurvedic knowledge and interpreting for the present generation so that the knowledge of a great tradition is not lost.

What does the term Ayurveda Stands for
The term is composed of two roots,  ‘Ayu:’ means Life and ‘Veda’- means Science or Knowledge. Thus Ayurveda means the ‘Knowledge/ Science of Life’.

“Hithahitham Sukham Dukham Ayusthasya Hithahitham

Maanam Cha Thacha Yatrokthamaayurvedam Sa Uchyathaey” Cha. Soo

“The science that deals with four forms of life, Benevolent Life (Hithaayus), malevolent life (Ahithaayus), Happy life (Sukham Aayus) and Unhappy life (Dukhaayus), those which are Wholesome (Hitham) and Unwholesome (Ahitham) to life, the measurement of life (Aayusha Maanam) and life (Aayus), is said to be Ayurveda.”Charakam Soothrasthaanam.1-41.

The Beginnings : Vedic Age

The age of the Veda’s (The Knowledge era). Veda’s are considered to be doctrines of great Knowledge on earth (5000-6000 BC). It is said that whatever you understand in the world is written in the Veda’s and what you fail to understand about the world you have to learn from the Veda’s. Such is the vastness of these doctrines that it would take a lifetime to understand and decipher the same to comprehend them. But many universities and scholars are in the process.

The four Veda’s are

  1. Rig Veda
  2. Yajur Veda
  3. Sama Veda
  4. Atharva Veda.

Ayurveda is considered as the upaveda of Rig Veda and Atharva Veda. Ayurveda being a complete doctrine on its own, it is also considered as the fifth Veda by some school of thought.

Rig Veda has got the  and how these primal forces relate to the three psycho-physiologic constitutions of man known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Yajur Veda contains the Vedic rituals and practices that aim to improve health and longevity. It is in the scriptures of the Yajur Veda that the concept of organs and tissues (dhatus) are introduced. 

Sama Veda contains musical chants that are said to bring health, harmony and well-being to body, mind and soul.  Ayurveda stresses the importance of mantra, music and sound therapies for healing at the deepest level.

Atharva Veda contains references to specific herbs, the treatment of particular diseases and other systematic knowledge about Ayurveda and deals with the daily routines of man. 

Other secondary texts known as the Upavedas contain other knowledge useful to healing. 

Dhanur Veda - contains intricate knowledge of the marma points (acupressure points on the body) that promote healing in specific organs.
Sthapatya Veda - shows the healing forces inherent in directions and how to use these in building houses, temples and hospitals. These forces called “Vastu” help generate more healing prana (life force) in the proper environment.

Gandharva Veda - shows how music and movement can heal the body and mind.  Vedic music is used to balance and harmonize the elements within us that change with the days and seasons.
Ayurveda is also connected to the six limbs (Vedangas) of the Vedas: Jyotish (Vedic Astrology), Kalpa (Vedic Ritual), Shiksha (Pronunciation), Vyakarana (Grammar), Nirukta (Etymology), Chandas (Metrics). 

Tradition of Teachers.

Brahma → Prajapathi  Asvini Kumara’s  Indra  

Bharadvaja (Atreya), School of Medicine

Dhanvantari (Susruta), School of Surgery

The actual period of their ascension is still debated.

From 2000 – 300 BC, Ayurvedic knowledge was reformulated and supplemented by observations and experimentation from subsequent generations of Ayurvedic scholars.  Still maintaining the spiritual roots of the system, the medical material was collected and tested for efficacy and systematically arranged into compilations known as Samhitas – which literally mean “collections”. 

Charaka Samhita – 1000 BC, contains 8 section and 120 chapters

Sushruta Samhita 600 BC, 6 sections and 186 chapters

Ashtanga Samgraha 500 -600 AD, 6 sections and 150 chapters.

Together they are called Brihattrayi or “great trio”.  They constitute the oldest and possibly the longest medical texts in the world.

During the Buddhist period of 300 BCE – 1000 AD, the knowledge of Ayurveda spread to far west and east (thus showing a hint that Ayurveda have been the mother of all medicine).  Medicinal herbs were planted along the sides of the public streets to be used freely by all.  During this time, India was considered the pinnacle of learning and medical glory was at its zenith. Ayurvedic physicians were invited to the Middle East for consultation and were put in charge of hospitals there.  The cultural influence of India expanded to currently what is popularly known as Tibet, Indochina/Indonesia, Afghanistan and Persia, through the dedication of monks and yogis, who carried the sacred knowledge and means of healing to all who were open to it.  During this time, the Ayurvedic texts were translated to Arabic. The Unani or Islamic system of medicine never lost touch with its parental source and even today works with many Ayurvedic herbs and principles.  One thing notable is that although Sushrutha is considered as the “Father of Surgery”, during the Buddhist era there has been a decline in the practice of surgery, courtesy to the non-violent political agenda.

With the independence of India in the early 20th century, Ayurveda has been revived with new schools being built all over the country.  This ancient system of healing is being taught along with allopathic medicine in many of the universities and colleges throughout India and the rest of the world. 

Having said that the actual origins is still a debatable issue but the bigger question would be, should we waste our time on the origins or rather put our intelligence to comprehend what wealth need yet to be discovered and present it for the future wellbeing of mankind..

Mythological History and Origins.

Like any little child who likes stories and fantasies the origins of Ayurveda and the divinity of the same, have been poetically described as a Mythological story. Thousands of Years ago there was a terrible and catastrophic war between the gods and the demons and at the end of it they made peace. And on looking back they realized the grave destruction they have bought upon earth and to restore the balance there was only one solution. Which said that they have to both Churn Ksheera sagara (Which means The sea of Milk - Conceptually The Milky way). And in that process they gave birth to Health, Prosperity, the God of Health (Lord Dhanvanthari) and all living beings and last but not least the human beings who is considered to have the qualities of both Gods and Demons, the one creation who possess the free will to choose from.

So much for the stories and history, it is for the wisdom of man to understand that these are concept’s put in subtle way, for people to understand that there is more to life than what they see with naked eyes. But unfortunately some people only look at it as mythological stories failing to understand what it really interprets to.