An Introduction to Ayurveda

The history of medicine is as old as the history of mankind. Man has eternally endeavored to keep himself free from three types of miseries: physical, Mental, and spiritual. Thus, the knowledge that fails to deal with all these Three aspects cannot give the perfect balance to human beings. Traditional systems of medicine have developed in various parts of the world during different ages. Among these various systems of traditional medicine, Ayurveda stands out distinctly as not only a system of great antiquity but also as an organized system with distinct aims and objectives. Ayurveda is one of the great gifts of the sages (or rishis) of ancient India to mankind. It is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world with a well-established record of clinical experience. However, it is not only a system of medicine that cures the disease but a complete philosophy of life that teaches us how to live and how to maintain, protect and improve health.

It shows us how to cure disease and how to promote longevity. Ayurveda is the science that imparts all the knowledge of life. Ayurveda treats the human as a whole, a dynamic interdependent combination of body, mind and soul. Therefore, it is a truly holistic and scientific medical science.

Ayurveda is the .“science of life.” as it is popularly known. It first originated in India although it is difficult to establish the exact time period of its conception. The origin of Ayurveda as an oral tradition is estimated at around 6000BC. The great rishis or seers of ancient India observed the fundamentals of life and organised them into a workable system. Ayurveda was their gift to us, an Oral tradition passed down from generation to generation.

 Ayurvedic teachings were recorded as sutras. Sutras are succinct verses in Sanskrit and they contain the essence of a topic. Sutras acted as memory aids for students who memorised entire texts that their guru or teacher would bring alive by expounding on the deeper knowledge contained within the verses. The entire Ayurvedic teachings are in the Sanskrit language.

 Ayurveda is currently spreading to almost all parts of the world, just like yoga, which originates from the same philosophy. Ayurveda is composed of two words: ayu meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge. Hence, Ayurveda indicates the science by which life in its totality is understood. It is a complete way of life that describes every detail of life: diet, exercise, living conditions, medicine and behaviours that are beneficial or harmful to life.

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