India’s Healing Gift to the World
Ayurveda is the world’s most ancient, yet uniquely futuristic medical system of healing and health care. It could be understood as the compilation of the basic principles of life that originated with the birth of human intelligence to heal and is not prone to any fundamental change at any time or in any part of the world owing to its true understanding of human body and life itself. This efficient system of treatment is with no potentially harmful side-effects.
‘Ayur-veda’ literally, is the ‘Science of Life’ or rather the ‘Science of Longevity’. It relies completely on herbs and other natural substances to heal.
Ayurvedic system of medicine/ health care is believed to have originated in India, during 5,000 BCE, as an oral tradition and later textual versions were formulated. Developed at about the same time as Hinduism and much before Buddhism, this art of healing replaced/ compounded all the earlier knowledge and principles on disease and healing those were formulated in scriptures such as ‘Atharva Veda’. Until then, disease was usually explained in terms of possession by various demonic entities. Innumerable references in Vedic literature bear testimony to the extensive practice of Ayurveda as early as 4000 B.C.
Ayurveda soon spread to the neighboring countries of China, Mongolia, Burma, Thailand and Indonesia. Later it was in Europe and started flourishing in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria etc. It is now more often appreciated as the best alternative system of medical treatment for an array of illnesses as well as a promising wellness system.
Three great scholarly-scientist-saints behind the early compilation, research, development and growth of Ayurveda were Charaka, Sushrutha and Vagbhata.
Ayurveda consists of two segments – ‘Swastha-Vritha’ and ‘Athura-Vritha’. The former deals with directions for maintaining good health, rather for keeping diseases away, whereas the latter deals with treatment of diseases/ disorders.
Ayurveda teaches us how to maintain life in a state of perfect health and what causes diseases. It is a complete medical system comprising of eight branches, collectively known as ‘Ashtangas’. They are ‘Kayachkitsa’ (General Medicine), ‘Balachikitsa’ (Paediatrics), ‘Grahachikitsa’ (Psychiatric Medicine), ‘Oordhwanga Chikitsa’ (E.N.T), ‘Salya Chikitsa’ (Surgery), ‘Damshtra Chikitsa’ (Toxicology), ‘Jara Chikitsa’ (Geriatrics) and ‘Vrisha Chikitsa’ (Aphrodisiac Treatments). Ayurveda once had a well-developed surgical system (Shalya Chikitsa) with pioneering efforts of Sushrutha. Unfortunately, due to total neglect for a long time, the practice of this surgical system has become almost extinct today.
Ayurveda considers a patient in entirety – of physical, mental and spiritual levels – while treated. With advanced researches bringing to light more and more of the influence of mind activity over body functions, Ayurveda is fast becoming a holistic alternative to all other systems of medicine. Thanks to boundless diagnostic expertise, efficacious and wide pharmacological wealth and a different perspective of approaching diseases, Ayurveda offers cure to almost all illnesses.
It is founded on the ‘Thridosha’ theory. The three doshas are ‘Vatha’, ‘Pitha’ and ‘Kapha’. The three doshas exist in man right from his birth. The state of these doshas stays through one’s life with constant fluctuations depending on factors like the age, time, food intake etc. Any imbalance of their normal status in an individual produces a state of disease. The Ayurvedic physician’s role is to stabilize them always in equilibrium, understanding the individual constitution and what is causing the imbalance.
Through routine and seasonal regimens, Ayurveda ensures perfect health, especially in the stressful, pressurized modern life style. The common health issues people encounter today are life style disorders, chronic fatal diseases, immunity disorders, allergic reactions and degenerative disorders. Indeed modern medicine has contributed a lot to the science of healing, but a holistic and safer approach of treating diseases is sought more by the health conscious masses. Ayurveda adopts such a holistic remedy to achieve absolute rooting out of the source of any ailment through its several unique methods of balancing the doshas advising the right diet based on the individual’s body constitution and herbal medicines, treatments with broad and subtle effects like ‘Panchakarma Therapy’ etc. Growing awareness of this efficient system of medicine around the globe is creating a greater demand for Ayurveda.
In every profound sense Ayurveda is the mother of all healing systems from its eight principle branches have reformed into the main braches of modern medicine as it is practiced today, including massage techniques, diet and nutritional counseling, herbal remedies with naturopathy, plastic surgery, psychiatry etc. All these have roots in Ayurvedic philosophy and practice.
Ayurveda focus on the utmost service of mankind reflecting its philanthropic philosophy – “Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu” (Let everyone in this world attain happiness).