About Ayurveda

HISTORY

Ayurveda is one of the oldest health sciences that originated in India, many thousands of years ago. This life science was brought to life from the quest of the sages of India to add meaning to. Based on the deepest knowledge of symbiotic relationship between Nature and Mankind, Ayurveda contains extensive secrets of cosmic intelligence that govern the creation and also heal the multidimensional aspects of humans. Unlike other health sciences, Ayurveda is not an invention! It is rather the perception of the sages during deep states of meditation where they witnessed the existence of Ayurvedic principles.

 

The compilation of Ayurveda happened between 1500BC and 500 AD approximately. The eight clinical branches of Ayurveda that are practiced even today in the East, were documented in multiple treatises called Samhitas, Nighantus , and others. The first reference to Ayurveda was found in the Vedas – the oldest literature on planet. Therefore Ayurveda is considered a wing of Atharva Veda in which the practical integration of various school of thoughts like Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika are flawlessly amalgamated into Health care.

DEFINITION

The term Ayurveda can be divided into two. Ayu means Life and Veda Means Wisdom. Ayurveda is the Wisdom of Life. The Author of the Treatise called Charaka Samhita, Acharya Charaka quoted that Life is a harmonious and symbiotic amalgamation between Body, Senses, Mind and Spirit. The compilation of Ayurveda contains vast knowledge about the dynamics of living a contended, productive, happy and meaningful life.

FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

DOSHAS

Ayurveda postulates that the universe is formed by the five subtle elements namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. These principles exist in the human being in three different forms and are called ‘tri doshas’. They are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

VATA

Vata is the kinetic principle responsible for all the movements in the body. It is formed from air and space elements of the universe. The word Vata has its origin in the sanskrit root ‘ Va ’ denotes movements. Vata is characterized by lightness, dryness, roughness, coldness, mobility, fineness and non sliminess. Respiration, peristalsis, excretion, expulsion of foetus, menstruation, ejaculation of semen, sensory and autonomic activities, musculoskeletal movements are the examples of functions of Vata.

PITTA

Pitta is the thermal principle. It has qualities like mild moisture, heat, liquidity, sourness, pungent and sharpness. The word Pitta is derived from the Sanskrit root tapa which means heat. Pitta is the body intelligence that manages digestion, catabolism, heat, vision, valour, hunger, thirst, intelligence and energy. It is formed of fire and water elements of the universe.

KAPHA

Kapha is derived from the Sanskrit word slish which means water or to bind. It is the hydrating principle characterized by oily, coldness, heaviness, sweetness, stability, sliminess and softness. Kapha manages the anabolism, strength, potency, stability, lubrication, nourishment, tolerance and contentment. Kapha is constituted by earth and water elements of the universe.

PRAKRUTI AND VIKRUTI

Every human being possesses all the three doshas or principle energies. The ratio in which each of the doshas are present in a person is decided at the time of conception.

 

This individualistic psycho-physical constitution of a person is called Prakruti.

 

An Imbalance or Vikruti happens to a person when Diet, Lifestyle, Stress and Environment are not in favour of the constitution. The uniqueness of Ayurveda is that it is the only life science that applies techniques for preventive health care rather than disease management.

CONCEPT OF HEALTH/ WELLNESS

Health in Ayurveda is known as Swaasthya . Maharishi Charaka answers that a person can be Swastha or healthy only when the following conditions are fullfilled:

  • 1. Balance of the thirteen types of Agni (Metabolic Fire)
  • 2. Balance of the three Dosha (Functional Humor)
  • 3. Balance in the seven Dhathu (Structural Entity)
  • 4. Balance in evacuation of three Mala (metabolic waste product)
  • 5. Harmony of mind, body and sensory organs

Interestingly, the World Health Organisation’s definition of health matches this 5000 year old definition. WHO defines, “ Health is not a mere absence of disease, but a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing”. Ayurveda opines that by balancing the three Dosha (functional humors), thirteen Agni (metabolic fire), seven Dhathu(structural entities) and three Mala(metabolic waste) one can feel physical wellbeing. Mental and social wellness come from a balance of the mind and sensory organs. Together these lead to spiritual awakening of an individual. When a person becomes established in the state of Swaasthya, then health becomes a dynamic expression of life.

Ayurveda is therefore considered as a holistic health science. By practising the ayurvedic knowledge of appropriate diet, lifestyle, seasonal regimens, mental hygiene and social norms, one attains Swaasthya.