Basics of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is the Science of Life and it originated in India. The word Ayurveda is the combination of two words Ayu (Life) & Veda (Knowledge). It is one of the most ancient medical sciences of the world. Its roots are in Atharvaveda, the oldest recorded compendium of wisdom on the earth (6000 B.C.)
The object of Ayurveda is to preserve and promote the health of a healthy person as well as cure the disease. Good health is the fundamental prerequisite to acquire materialistic, social and spiritual upliftment of human beings. Therefore, one should follow the rules of good health as described in Ayurveda.
Concepts of Ayurveda are based on the various Indian philosophical systems (schools). Ayurveda refers to the six Indian philosophies but predominantly follows (1) Nayay Vaiseshika philosophy (2) Sankhya Yoga philosophy and (3) Philosophy of Yogadarshana. Accordingly, human body is an integrated combination of five elements, mind , intellect and soul (jivatma). It also recognizes “Supernatural force” in the system of philosophy, whom we call “Paramatma” and who is omnipresent, universal and eternal but who is separate from the “jivatma” or individual self.
Human body has three components i.e. Sattva, Raja and Tama, which interact with the biological components Vata, Pitta and Kapha and decide the psychosomatic constitution of an individual ( Prakriti). Every individual has a peculiar body- mind constitution which is responsible for the health or disease pattern of an individual. Ayurvedic concept of examination of constitution ( Prakriti Pareeksha) is to know body, mind constitution while selecting diet, medicine or treatment regimen, which is a special feature of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda refers two sets of famous texts, each consisting of three books viz.,
- Brihattrayi i.e. the three major classics
- Caraka Samhita (1500-1000 B.C.)
- Susruta Samhita (1500-1000 B.C.) and
- Vagbhata (600 A.D.)
- Laghuttrayi i.e. the three minor classics
- Madhava Nidana (700 A.D.)
- Sarangdhara Samhita (1300 A.D.) and
- Bhava Praiksha (1600 A.D.)
Besides these classics, there are many more books (there number goes in hundreds) have been contributed in the propagation and clinical practice of Ayurveda.
The Universe, according to Ayurveda is composed of five basic elements – Panch Mahabhoots viz. Space (Akash), Air (Vayu), Fire (Agni), Water ( Jala) and Earth (Prithvi). As the human body is similarly constituted, there is a fundamental similarity between universe and man. A healthy balance between microcosm (human being) and the macrocosm (universe) is the basis of health and peace.
Ayurveda is based on the theory of three humours (Tridosha) i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha, seven tissues (Saptdhatu) i.e. fluid components of the body (Rasa), Blood (Rakta), Muscle tissue (Mamsa), Adipose tissue (Medas),Bone Tissue (Asthi), Bone marrow (Majja) and reproductive elements (Sukra) and immunity/strength (Ojas) and three biowastes (Trimalas) i.e. Urine (Mootra), Faeces (Pureesha),and Sweat (Sweda). A balanced state of aforesaid factors, is the state of health and when this balance is deranged it results in a state of disease.
Caraka Samhita and Susruta Samhita (1500-1000 B.C.) of Ayurveda provides comprehensive preventive-promotive and curative aspects of health through eight major clinical specialities.
- Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine)
- Salakya (Dealing with the diseases of Ear, Nose, Throat, Eyes & Dental problems )
- Shalya Tantra (Surgery)
- Agada Tantra (Toxicology)
- Bhutavidya (Psychiatry)
- Kaumara Bhritya (Paediatrics, Gynaecology & Obstetrics)
- Rasayana Tantra (Rejuvenation Therapy)
- Vajeekarana (Aphrodisiac/Andrology)
These major eight specialities have been further developed to may sub-specialities of Ayurveda including the paraclinical specialities.
According to Ayurveda, health is the dynamic integration of body (Sareer), mind (Satwa) and spirit (Atma). Ayurveda, the science of life lays great emphasis on preservation and promotion and health, thereby preventing the disease. Elaborate description are available on personal hygiene, which includes diet and regimen during day (Dinacharya), during night (Ratricharya), seasonal routine (Ritucharya) and behavioural and ethical practices (Sadvritta). Observance of certain rules regarding suppressible and non-suppressible nature urges also pave way towards positive health.
In Ayurveda the process of learning , research and clinical practice are experiential and scientific. Like other systems of ancient Indian learning, Ayurveda is discovered through most recognized schools of acquiring knowledge and producing advance evidence (Pramanas) viz. (1) Direct prescription through sense organs (Pratyaksha), (2) Inference (Anumana) (3) verbal texts form many of the trust worthy persons, who knows truth and communicate correctly (Atpopadesha) and (4) logical/rational interpretation (Yukti), etc.
The diagnosis in Ayurveda is based on two-fold approach to diagnostic viz. (1) Examination of the patient i.e. Rogi- pareeksha : and (2) Examination of disease i/e. Roga-pareeksha. Therefore, Rogi-pareeksha is essentially concerned with ascertaining the constitution of individual and status of his health and vitality. This is achieved through ten-fold examination for patient (Dasavidha Pareeksha) comprising of (1) Constitution (Prakriti) (2) Disease susceptibility (Vikriti), (3) Essence (Sara), (4) Compactness (Samhanana) (5) Anthropometry (Pramana), (6) Compatibility (Satmya), (7) Mind (Satwa), (8) Digestion capacity of food (Aharasakti), (9) Physical strength ( Vyayamsakti) and (10) Age (Vaya). The general examination is made through popular eight types of examination of patient (Ashtasthana pareeksha) comprising examination of Pulse (Nadi), Urine (Mootra), Faeces (Mala), Tongue (Jihwa), Voice (Shabda), Touch (Sparsha) , Eye/Vision (Drik) and Stature (Akriti) and also considering the state of Pathways in internal transport systems (Srotas) and Digestive fire (Agnni).
Ideal treatment according to Ayurveda is one, which cures the disease without causing any side effect.
The objective of curative treatment in Ayurveda is to restore the balance humours (Doshas), Body, tissues (Dhatus) and bio-waste products (Malas). Three classical therapeutic streams advocated by Ayurveda are (1) Therapies with inexplicable mode of action (Daivyavyapasraya chikitsa),
Dr Pashupati Nath
About the Author
He is a well renouned Ayurvedic Doctor (MD), he gives treatment to the patients through the physically,psychological and spiritual way of Ayurveda
Reference – Guidelines of Basic training And Safety in Panchkarma