History of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is an ancient system of life (ayur) knowledge (veda) arising in India thousands of years ago. Ayurveda theory evolved from a deep understanding of creation. The great rishis or seers of ancient India came to understand creation through deep meditation and other spiritual practices. The rishis sought to reveal the deepest truths of human physiology and health. They observed the fundamentals of life, organized them into an elaborate system, and compiled India’s philosophical and spiritual texts, called Veda of knowledge.
Ayurveda was first recorded in the Veda, the world’s oldest existing literature. The three most important Veda texts containing the original and complete knowledge of Ayurveda, believed to be over 1200 years old, is still in use today. These Ayurvedic teachings were customarily passed on orally from teacher to student for over 1000 years. The wisdom of Ayurveda is recorded in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India that reflects the philosophy behind Ayurveda and the depth within it.
Ayurveda greatly influenced health care practices in the east and the west. By 400 AD Ayurvedic works were translated into Chinese; by 700 AD Chinese scholars were studying medicine in India at Nalanda University. Chinese medicine, herbology and Buddhist philosophy were also impacted by Ayurvedic knowledge. Having passed the test of experience it remains essentially the same now as at its inception, although numerous commentators over the centuries have added insight with their analyses.
The philosophy of Ayurveda teaches a series of conceptual systems characterized by balance and disorder, health and disease. Disease/health results from the interconnectedness between the self, personality, and everything that occurs in the mental, emotional, and spiritual being. To be healthy, harmony must exist between the purpose for healing, thoughts, feelings and physical action.
Ayurveda is a careful integration of six important Indian philosophical systems, many physical/behavioral sciences, and the medical arts. One verse from an ancient authority says Ayurveda deals with what is good life and bad life, happiness and misery, that which supports or destroys, and the measurement of life. It works to heal the sick, to maintain health in the healthy, and to prevent disease in order to promote quality of life and long life. Health is defined as an experience of bliss/happiness in the soul, mind, and senses and balance of the body’s three governing principles, seven tissues, three wastes, digestion, and other processes such as immune functioning. Health is not the absence of symptoms. Ayurveda has objective ways to assess each of these, pulse assessment being the primary means.
Its central tenet is that life is a combination of body, mind, senses, and spirit (more than a mind-body system). Nothing exists but for the pre-existence of and working of a Supreme Intelligence/Consciousness – an elemental, all-powerful, all-pervading spirit-energy that expresses Itself through and in the creation. Ayurveda seeks to know this aspect of life, the subjective (internal) as well as the objective (outer).
There are 3 basic energies defined in Ayurveda as Tridoshas (Vaata, Pitta and Kaffa). They are further formed from various combinations of Panch- Mahabhoot in various degrees and proportions which include the earth, the water, the fire, the wind and the space. Each one of them wields an influence on certain part of the human constitution. For example, every opening in the body, the ears and the voids and internal sounds of the body are all belonging to the element of space. The element of fire influences the human form and its glow, the eyes, the bodily heat, the digestive activity and also the feelings of anger and valour.
Definition of Health
AYURVEDA’S DEFINITION OF HEALTH
“samadoshasamaagnischasamadhatu mala kriyaaha|
Prasannaatma indriyamanahaswasthaitiabhidheeyate” – SushrutaSamhita
One is in perfect health when the Three doshas ( vata, pitta and Kapha) Digestive fire ( digestion, assimilation and metabolism) all the body tissues & components (Dhatus) (the entire physical body) all the excretory functions (the physiological functions of urination and defecation) are in perfect order with a pleasantly disposed and contented mind, senses and spirit.
The central concept ayurveda is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata is the air principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system.Pitta is the fire principle which uses bile to direct digestion and hence metabolism into the venous system.Kapha is the water principle which relates to mucous, lubrication and the carrier of nutrients into the arterial system.
The doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, one with the others. Doshas are required for the life to happen. In Ayurveda, dosha is also known as the governing principles as every living thing in nature is characterized by the dosha.
This is called Agni. Agni can be equated to the word metabolism. This includes the digestion, absorption, assimilation. Conversion of the assimilated food into various Dhatus, such as Plasma, blood, muscle, bone, fat, seminal fluid in men and Artava in women and finally Ojas or the vital force of the body
The seven dhatus are the seven tissues of the body. In English they are plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow / nerve, and reproductive tissue. In Sanskrit, they are rasa, rakta, mamsa, medas, asthi, majja, and shukra respectively. These are the structures that make up the body.
The waste products of the body, which include urine, stool, and sweat. Effective elimination of malas is said to be important for maintaining good health.
SWASTHASYA SYASTHYA RAKSHANAM, AATURASHCHA VIKAR PRASHAMANAM”, means: “Preservation to health of healthy person and treating ailments with breaking causative factors of pathogenesis”.
State of Equilibrium;When Tridoshas are in equilibrium, we are in a healthy state. Our body is a temple. It needs to be maintained with proper Aahar(Food) and Vihar(Lifestyle). In those respects, Ayurveda has generously defined Dincharya and Ritucharya with to bring a fine balance with body type, climate type and food type.
State of Pathogenesis: All causative factors of disease internal or external directly or indirectly create an imbalance in these doshas first and only then do the symptoms of the disease manifest. Again, the causative factors can be the food, life style or other activities.