Ayurveda (the science of life) is one of the branches of vedas. It is regarded as upaveda of atharva-veda butit is a stream of the knowledge coming down from generation to generation since parallel to the vedic period , from the time period since the creator Brahma himself prior to the creation and Believed to have been passed on to humans from the Gods themselves. Ayurveda developed and evolved into what it is today from several ancient treatises, most notably Adharva Veda which dates back to five thousand years. It is called eternal because nobody knows when it was not there. All this shows its long tradition and deep attachment to the Indian culture.
Ayurveda ‘the Science of Life’ is a holistic system of medicine from India, which evolved from Brahma sages of Ancient India some 3000-5000 years ago.The principles of Ayurveda shows man as a complex whole, including our external and internal environments. The ancient Vedic literature by sages has clearly laid out instructions to maintain health as well as fighting illness through therapies, massages, herbal medicines, diet control and exercise.
Ayurveda says that “The journey of whole life is sacred”.
Definition of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a healing science which comprises of two words Ayu + Veda. Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge or science. So the literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is the science of life. Ayurveda is a science dealing not only with treatment of some diseases but is a complete way of life.
Ayurveda defines life (Ayu) as the proper coordination of our four elements The soul (atma), The mind (mana), the senses (indriyas), and the body (shareera).
Principles of Ayurveda:
Ayurveda aims at making a happy, healthy and peaceful society. The two most important aims of Ayurveda are:
+ To maintain the health of healthy people
+ To cure the diseases of sick people
A Person is seen in Ayurveda as a unique individual made up of five primary elements.
These elements are ether (space), air, fire, water and earth.
Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are imbalanced in the environment , they will in turn have an influence on us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the influence of these elements .
The elements combine with Ether and Air in dominence to form what is known in Ayurveda as Vata Dosha. Vata governs the principle of movement and therefore can be seen as the force which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration and elemination etc.
The elements with Fire and Water in dominence combine to form the Pitta Dosha . The Pitta Dosha is responsible for the process of transformation or metabolism. The transformation of foods into nutrients that our bodies can assimilate is an example of a Pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism.
Finally, it is predominantly the water and earth elements which combine to form the Kapha Dosha. Kapha is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. It also offers protection , for example, in form of the cerebral-spinal fluid,which protects the brain and spinal column. The mucousal lining of the stomach is another example of the function of Kapha Dosha protecting the tissues.Disease-free condition is the best source of virtue, wealth, gratification and emancipation while the disease is destroyer of this source , welfare and life itself
Subject Matter of Ayurveda
Ayurveda provides knowledge of aetiology or cause, symptomatology and therapeutics or treatment, best way for both the healthy and the sick continuing since time immemorial and virtuous which was first known to Brahma the creator.
‘Ayuh’ means the conjunction of body, sense organs, mind and self and is known by the synonyms dhari, jivita, nityaga and anubandha.
Salient Features of Ayurveda
There are several aspects of this system of medicine which distinguish it from other approaches to health care:
- Ayurveda describes three fundamental universal energies which regulate all natural processes on both the macrocosmic and microcosmic levels.That is, the same energies which produce effects in the various galaxies and star systems are operating at the level of the human physiology–in our own physiology. These three universal energies are known as the Tridosa.
- Ayurveda is a complete medical system which recognizes that ultimately all intelligence and wisdom flows from one Absolute source (Paramatma).Health manifests by the grace of the Absolute, acting through the laws of Nature (Prakriti).Ayurveda assists Nature by promoting harmony between the individual and Nature by living a life of balance according to her laws.
- It focuses on establishing and maintaining balance of the life energies within us,rather than focusing on individual symptoms.
- It recognizes the unique constitutional differences of all individuals and therefore recommends different regimens for different types of people. Although two people may appear to have the same outward symptoms, their energetic constitutions may be very different and therefore call for very different remedies.\
- Finally, the ancient Ayurvedic physicians realized the need for preserving the alliance of the mind and body and offers mankind tools for remembering and nurturing the subtler aspects of our humanity. Ayurveda seeks to heal the fragmentation and disorder of the mind-body complex and restore wholeness and harmony to all people.
- To balance the elements and the doshas of the body and the senses, there are many treatments, therapies, and exercises available. To balance the elements of the mind, meditations, mantra, and exercises are often used. Massage and rasayana treatments, along with visualization, pranic breathing, and other practices,allow personal access to intuition, and the innate knowledge of the soul.
- Ayurveda believes five basic elements Pancamahabhutas (space,air,fire,water and earth) manifest in the human body as three basic humours known as tridosas(Vata,Pitta and Kapha). These three govern creation,maintenance and destruction of bodily tissues as well as the assimilation and elimination.Each person is born with a unique combination of these dosas which decides their basic constitution called Prakruti.Understanding of each person’s Prakruti for deciding their personal diet and exercise pattern, supplements and medicinal herbs,cleansing and rebuilding therapies that is right for them are among the chief methods, Ayurveda employs for the maintenance and restoration of health.
Health is not just a state of the body. We interact with the seasons, planetary changes of the earth, and moon, other planets, as well as orbiting relationships within our lives, our loved ones and friends, co-workers etc. We affect and are affected by every other animate and inanimate thing in existence. Bringing all of this into balance is the key to living healthy.
Ayurveda is that which deals with Ayu (life) or promotes life-span
Ayurveda is that which deals with good, bad, happy and unhappy life, its promoters and non-promoters, span and nature
Definition of Sarira(Body)
The science of Ayurveda has simplified the organizational layout of the human body into three basic components, Dosa(Body Humours), Dhatu (Tissue) and Mala (Impurities).
Body is originally composed of dosas, dhatus and malas and as such try to comprehend their characters being delivered hereafter.
Purusa is defined as combination of the five great elements and consciousness.
The Ayurvedic philosophy says that an individual is bundle of ‘spirit’,desirous of expressing itself,uses subjective consciousness or Satva to manifest sense organs and a mind. Spirit and mind then project themselves into a physical body,created from the five(Panca) great (maha) eternal elements (bhutas) together called thePancamahabhutas –which arise from Tamas.The entire science of Ayurveda is based on the “five great elements” (Pancamahabhuta) theory.The sense organs then using Rajas to project from the body into the external world to experience their objects. The body becoming the vehicle of mind, for gratification of senses.
The Bhutas combine into ‘tridosas’ or bioenergetic forces that govern and determine our health or physical condition. While the three gunas (Rajas; or activity, Tamas or inertia and Satva , which balances the first two) or psychic forces determine our mental and spiritual health.Ayurveda is thus a holistic system of health care that teaches us to balance these energies in order to achieve optimum health and wellbeing.
Definition of Health
One whose Dosas, Agni and function of Dhatu and Malas are in the state of equilibrium and who has cheerful mind, intellect and sense organs is termed as “Svastha” (Healthy).
Ayurveda has Eight divisions such as-
Kayacikitsa(Medicine),Salakya(dealing with disease of supra-clavicular region- ENT. & Optha.),Salyapahartrka(dealing with extraction of foreign bodies- Surgery) ,Visa- gara–vairodhika-prasaman(dealing with alleviation of poison, artificial poison and toxic symptoms due to in take of antagonistic substance – Toxicology ),Bhuta Vidhya(dealing with spririt or organisms- Psychiatry Medicine ),Kaumarabhrtya (Pediatrics ),Rasayana(dealing with promotive measures – Rejuvenates ) and Vajikarana ( dealing with aphrodisiacs-Aphrodisiac)
2.Salakya (Ent. &Optha.)
4.Visa Vigyan (Toxicology)
5.Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry Medicine)