Problems of understanding Ayurveda from a Western mindset
Western medical science is fast developing, while Ayurveda is already a fully developed science of its own kind. The two have very different approaches. Conventional medicine and its research methodologies are largely based on classical Newtonian physics and related biological considerations. In contrast, Ayurvedic life sciences are based on a holistic logic now emerging in quantum science. This is why Ayurveda does not follow the organ-oriented anatomy and physiology, and adopts its own function-oriented approach through its alternative theories of Panchamahabhuta, Tridosha, Dhatu, Agni, Ama, Ojas, and Srotas, which cannot be fully explained in terms of conventional anatomy and physiology.
Over the past 50 years, the fundamental sciences have been gradually modifying many notions in physics and bioscience, gradually shifting to quantum logic and nanoscience. In the same sequence, modern science has developed unified field theories in quantum physics, similar to the ancient Indian concept of a unified field of consciousness, in which individual human consciousness (Atman) and universal cosmic consciousness (Brahman) are realized to form a continuum. However, such a unified field of consciousness seems to involve a kind of nonphysical energy, in contrast to the unified field concept in conventional science, which merely refers to physical energy.
The entire basic bioscience of Ayurveda is based on this philosophy, and is in conflict with the conventional reductionist approach that identifies material structures and their functions, that is, structure–function relationships. In this context, it is pertinent to quote the Cambridge Nobel laureate, physicist BD Josephson, who states “The basic premise of western science is that of an objective reality that can be reduced to a measurable uniform formula. Eastern philosophy on the other hand places emphasis on conscious experiences and subjective reality. Quantum theory poses problems for the idea of objective reality. There is difficulty in reconciling the two approaches because the reality is too complex to be reduced to an objectively identifiable formula. Subjectivity has to play an important role.”