Introduction

Historical Past

The History of Ayurveda can be found in our Puranas, Asoka’s shila lekhana and in foreign visitor’s writings (Grantham). We can classify History of Ayurveda as below:

  • Pre-Vedic Era
  • During Vedic time
  • Ayurveda’s Literature Era
  • Buddhist Era
  • Mohammed’s Era
  • British Era
  • During Independence

Emergence of Ayurveda

Brahma, the predominal substance of all existence handed over the knowledge of Ayurveda to Prajapathi, the lord of creation. He in return handed over this wisdom to Ashwinis. Ayurveda physicians gave this knowledge further on to Indira, the King of Gods. Indira presented this wisdom to Dhanvanthari, the physicians of the Gods. Dhanvanthari is the one who brewed the drink/nectar of immortality for the Gods (Amrita) and the most decisive battle between the Good God and the Demons took place. Sushrutha, who is considered the founder of Ayurveda as exists today, once visited Dhanvanthari with six other scholars and requested him to present the knowledge of healing power to them. Dhanvanthari granted him his wish.

Pillars of Ayurveda:

Six talented scholars, who received the healing powers from Dhanvanthari (God of Physicians), worked on this medical knowledge and documented this in a text called Agnivesha Samhitha (collection). This collective work named after Agnivesha is the only complete work that exists today and it became the basic background on which Charaka Samhitha was found. Charaka Samhitha is considered to be the one amongst the three main pillars of Ayurveda medicine.

Ashtanga of Ayurveda

In Western Orthodox Medicine, the treatments were divided just a few decades ago. But in Ayurveda, the division of treatments has been classified before 3000BC. In those periods, according to necessity and requirement, Ashtanga were classified accordingly and practiced.

Apart from the above classifications, Ayurveda deals with the below science of treatment also.Along with the above classifications, Ayurveda has its own Thatva (material) which includes Hygienic ways of treatments based on our Indian climatic conditions, food habits and our Vichara.

Philosophy of Ayurveda

Indian Scientist invented that, Universe is made of Panchamahabhootha (5 elements) called, Earth-Prithvi, Aap-Water, Theja-Fire, Vayu-Air and Akasha-Space.

Component and functioning of the nature is similar to human body components and its functions and hence said that, the human beings are also a part of these Panchamahabhootha.

According to Ayurveda, the 3 essential constituents of human body are Dosha, Dhatu and Mala. They are very important as they control our body in cellular level, physiological level and chemical level also.

Like how the Outer Universe is protected by the Sun, Moon and Vayu, likewise our human body is protected by Vata, Pitta and Kapha (three Dosha /tri-dosha).

The three Dosha are Vata-(Space and air elements dominate), Pitta (Fire element dominates) and Kapha (earth and water elements dominate).

By Understanding these qualities, we should be able to do what is needed to keep ourselves in balance.

There are 7 Dhatu and they are Rasa-Plasma, Rakta-Blood, Mansa-Muscles, Meda-Fat, Asti-Bone, Majja-Bone marrow and Shukra- Reproductive fluid or semen.

There are 3 Mala (waste products thrown out of body) and they are Purisha-Feces, Mutra-Urine and Sveda (Sweat).

The concept of “Dosha, Dhatu Mala” theory is the basic philosophy of Ayurveda.

Works on Ayurveda

The Knowledge of Ayurveda was passed on orally through a lineage of sages in India until it was collated and written in a text. Today we find many works or writings on Ayurveda and its treatments. But there are two important works written by our ancient scholars and they are:

  1. Bruhatrayi
  2. Laghutrayi

Bruhatrayi is again classified as:

  1. Charaka Samhitha
  2. Sushrutha Samhitha
  3. Vagbata Samhitha

Laghutrayi is classified as:

  1. Madhava Nidhaana
  2. Bhava Prakasha
  3. Shaarangdhara Samhitha

The last two works of Bruhatrayi and Laghutrayi is known for Ashtanga, Charaka Samhitha for treatment, and Sushrutha Samhitha for general surgery and oto-rhino-laryngology/ophthalmology, Madhava Nidhaana for Roga Nidhaana.

Shaarangdhara Samhitha is known for Baishagnakalpa, Bhava Prakasha for Pharmacology.

A text called Rasaratna Samucha is known for Rasa Shastra (Chemistry) and available even today.

Nowadays, all these books/texts are been translated in many languages and are been popular.

Views on Ayurveda – According to Western Scholars

  • Charles, Ex-Principal of Government College, Kolkata once said to his students, “2000years ago, how Indians said about Ayurveda in their complete conscious, today, am teaching this in my absolute plight”.
  • G.E. Clarke M.A.M.D of Philadelphia said that if today’s doctors throw away modern medicines and their treatment and follow Indian Ayurveda Treatments, the death ratio will come down and can save patients who are suffering from pro-longed ailments.
  • Arnolis I.M.S, Director of Tropical School of Medicine, Kolkata, Said, “Ayurveda is the medicine for Indians, not the modern methods. The treatments are based on Indian food habits. Modern Medical practitioners should learn Ayurveda and take its help/ways to treat patients. Ayurveda Scholars/Doctors are experts in medicines and their experience and technical knowledge are amazing.
  • Johnston M.A.F.R.C.S, said, “Ayurveda is the only Science with full of life and Lakhs of people still believe in Ayurveda treatments. This Science is alive from thousands of years and can successfully treat ailments and cannot be ignored easily”.
  • Hirschberg of Berlin said “Indian Ayurveda Scholars not only introduced Shastra Karma, they practiced it too. We, who practice modern medicine, learnt this method of treatment from them. The method of Transplantation of sensible skin flap is completely Indian Ayurveda Method”.

For we Indians even today Ayurveda is very essential. The reason for this is simple-, how Western Method of Medicines and treatments were introduced based on their food habits and climatic conditions of their countries, Likewise, Ayurveda has been introduced to us based on our food habits and climatic conditions.

Ayurveda places great importance on one’s pathya or lifestyle (eating habits and daily routine). It provides guidance on how to adjust our lifestyle based on the change of seasons.

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of natural and holistic medicine. Allopathic medicines tend to focus on management of diseases, while Ayurveda focus on well-being of people using natural herbs, exercise and yoga practices. It also recommends a proper food habit for a healthier and energetic life.

Ayurveda Medicine is often called as poor man’s medicine because they are less expensive and easily available. Ayurveda is trusted and used by people all around the world in current time also.