The medicine or cure has existed since the time life originated. For all living beings, factors like survival, diseases, started right from the birth. Human beings with their greater intelligence have researched, evaluated and discovered remedies in their own ways. That is exactly how Ayurveda evolved.
What is Ayurveda?
The word Ayurveda can be split into two Sanskrit terms, ‘Ayur’ meaning life and ‘Veda’ meaning the science or knowledge. Ayurveda believes in exploring the natural ways and herbal medicines to improve the overall wellness of the body and consecutively the mind. Ayurveda is still evolving, and finds ways to respond to the new diseases that were not heard of earlier.
Ayurveda is the oldest medical science in the world. It has its roots in India, and has has been effectively used since thousands of years.
With this series we aim to bring the focus back to our forgotten roots of healing, preventing diseases and strengthening through nature and classical Ayurveda.
Ayurveda was first mentioned in Atharva Veda, where several diseases and their treatments were detailed. Later, during the 6th Century BC to 7th century AD, known as the Samhita period, a more organized and methodical development took place in regards to Ayurveda.
As per texts, Ayurveda originated about 5,000 years ago, thanks to the ancient rishis or seers of India who recorded their knowledge of herbs. Ayurveda suggest a link between medicine and Vedas or one can say that origin of Ayurveda can be attributed to Vedas. Vedas, specifically Atharva Veda is the knowledge of living a healthy and balanced life and mentions various illnesses and their treatments.
According to Hindu Mythology, God Brahma created Ayurveda and passed his knowledge to his son, Daksha Prajapati. It was then communicated to the Vedic gods, Ashwini Kumaras. In those times, they became the physicians of the gods, and were known as the ‘Dev’ of Ayurveda. This knowledge was then transmitted to God Indra, who had three physicians as his pupils, namely Aacharya Divodas Dhanvantari, Acharya Bharadwaj and Acharya Kashyapa. The flow of knowledge went on to next generations. From Bharadwaj’s teaching, the student Agnivesha picked and formulated the Ayurvedic text of internal medicine. Agnivesha’s disciple, Acharya Charak did more work. That is how the knowledge was passed down from Gods to sages.
For the survival of humanity, prevention of suffering, and spreading awareness around, many rishis and munis dedicated their lives and wrote their findings in the holy book of Vedas. Rishi Bharadwaja, who lived around 700 BC did some commendable work in authoring Ayurveda.
The basic concept of Ayurveda teaches us that any disease begins when one disturbs the harmony of body or mind with the surrounding environment.
When any of our five senses go against the environment, the body weakens and causes discomfort within, resulting in the form of disease. This environment is conducive for the growth of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, causing dysfunction of organs and nervous system. In other words, it interrupts the flow of energy in the body.
There can be several implications of understanding the cause of disease. But in simple words, if disharmony has caused the disease, the cure is bringing the harmony back. This is the underlying principle of Ayurveda. So jotting down three basic principles of Ayurveda, which hold true at all times, and does not vary individually–
- We should work to prevent illness, rather than responding to it.
- Maintain harmony between your body, mind and environment. Mind and body are closely inter connected.
- Be aware of healthy nutrition, daily movements, and herbal remedies.
Ayurveda strongly believes that every individual has the ability to heal one own self. You just need to understand the dosha type, potential imbalances, and how you can take control if your health goes for a toss. More details provided in Part-2.
Practitioners of Ayurveda believe that the manifestation of illness is not the same for all people, and that sickness will vary based on how their bodies manifest the symptoms.
There are a few qualities specific to Ayurvedic treatment. First, it is not affected by changes in the environment or change in the lifestyle, there might be certain modifications, but the methods adopted to cure the disease will not show any change in the essential approach.
The best part of treatment is that it is specific to each person, and will be designed based on his or her “Dosha” type. An Ayurvedic practitioner assesses the composition of a person as per the dosha type, analyses the illnesses, and recommends a treatment that will treat the dosha imbalance.
To understand Ayurveda, we need to find out about the Dosha types, their combination, and the ways to balance them.
Ayurveda connects you with nature, and the doshas that we are talking about, are also derived from the five elements (i.e. Space or Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth) and their related properties. These represent the five possible states of matter. To know more, continue reading… Part-2.