The word Ayurveda comes from two root words in Sanskrit, Ayush meaning life or life
span and Veda meaning knowledge. The science of Ayurveda, thus, literally means
the complete knowledge of the totality and longevity of life.
Ayurveda the ‘science of life’, or longevity, is the holistic alternative science
from India, and is more than 5000 years old. It is believed to be the oldest healing
science in existence, forming the foundation of all others.
The re-awakening of Ayurveda reflects the resurgence of the traditional values of
life governed by natural law and reverses the neglect of natural medicine that had
taken place in recent centuries. Ayurveda was obliterated in ignominy and oblivion.
Centuries old clinical and theoretical knowledge became lost and unavailable. Its
effectiveness also became limited since practitioners did not use its comprehensive
approaches. Since ages, sages and physicians have been rediscovering this timeless
health wisdom and today, Ayurveda is practiced by more than 400,000 Ayurveda doctors,
and is recognized by the WHO as an effective health science.
Ayurveda Texts, scriptures & oral traditions ascribe their authorship to Charka,
Dhanvantari, Sushruta, Kashyap, Vagbhata, Sarangadhara Samhita & others.
- Charka's Samhita, a text with which Ayurveda begins, consists of 120 chapters divided
into 8 parts covering pharmacology, food, diet, diseases, their diagnosis and prognosis,
the treatments, anatomy, embryology, and pharmacy.
- Sushruta Samhita, consists of 6 large sections which deal mostly with surgery, treatment
of wounds, diagnosis and extraction of splinters, pathology, anatomy, ophthalmology,
dentistry and child care.
- Vagbhata Samhita is considered to be the compendia of Charka and Sushruta Samhitas
presented in a well organized and thematically structured composition.
- The ancient Ayurveda science also deals with Alchemy and its medicinal uses, plastic
surgery, gynecology, cosmetics, medicinal plants, their uses and manufacturing processes
of herbal formulations.
Ayurveda, said to be a world medicine, is the most holistic or comprehensive medical
system available. Before the arrival of writing, the ancient wisdom of healing,
prevention, and longevity was a part of the spiritual tradition of universal religion.
Healers gathered from the world over, bringing their medical knowledge to India.
Veda Vyasa, the famous sage, preserved the complete knowledge of Ayurveda in writing,
along with the more spiritual insights of ethics, virtue, and self-Realization.
"The knowledge of Ayurveda was handed down from Brahma to Daksha Prajapati, onto
the Ashwin twins (the divine doctors), then passed to Indra. Sage Bharadvaja volunteered
to go to heaven to received this wisdom from Indra, and so became the first human
to receive the knowledge of Ayurveda. He passed it to Atreya, then onto Punarnavasu
and finally Agnivesha"
The methods used to find this knowledge of herbs; foods, aromas, gems, colors, yoga,
mantras, lifestyle, and surgery are fascinating and varied. The sages, physicians/surgeons
of the time were the same sages or seers, deeply devoted holy people, who saw health
as an integral part of spiritual life. It is said that they received their training
of Ayurveda through direct cognition during meditation. That is, the knowledge of
the use of the various methods of healing, prevention, longevity, and surgery came
through divine revelation; guessing or animal testing was un-necessary. These revelations
were transcribed from oral tradition into written form, interspersed with aspects
of mortal life and spirituality.
Passages related to Ayurveda from the various Vedas were combined into separate
books dealing only with Ayurveda. Among the Rik Veda's 10,572 hymns are discussions
of the three constitutions (doshas): Air (Vayu), Fire (Pitta) and Water (Kapha).
Topics comprised organ transplants, artificial limbs, and the use of herbs to heal
diseases of the mind and body and to foster longevity.