Breaking down Ayurveda
What attracts people to Ayurveda?
- Ayurveda is life + health + cure of disease.
- Ayurveda has a pro-nature approach – everything is in tune with nature, not anti-nature. Many other healthcare systems are anti-nature. Everything caring for health or curing disease should be part of nature.
- Curative measures are safe within Ayurveda. There is a high safety margin.
- Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine, but rather a system for the promotion of health and prevention of disease.
Ayurveda is very ancient it is the UpaVeda of Atharvaveda dated around 10,000 years ago.
Many scholars who believe that Ayurveda originated with the Vedas. It is considered the PanchaVeda or 5th Veda. (referenced from a western history book called Medicine in the Vedas) It evolved independently and parallel to the Vedas.
Ayurveda is a very advanced medical system, developed and found in classic texts – 2 groups of 3 big books (the most senior texts , the most original of which are called Brihattriyas (Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hrudaya) and 3 smaller treatises called the Laghutriyas (Bhavaprakasha, Madhava Nidana & Sharangdhara Samhita). Charaka Samhita we know is a creation called as Agnivesha Tantra and then Charaka commented on it and then it is called as Charaka Samhita, Sushruta treatise written in 1630 AD. So they were not all static texts. Not all written by one person but by many over thousands of years. They have been static only in the last 300 years or so.
Ex. Doshas now we know as Vata, Pitta and Kapha – each of which consist of 5 sub-types.
- Charaka Samhita only discusses 5 types of Vata, not Pitta or Kapha
- Sushruta discusses 5 types of Vata and 5 types of Pitta, but no Kapha
- Vagbhata discusses 5 types of Vata, 5 types of Pitta and 5 types of Kapha.
Ayurveda consists of a gradual and continuous development of knowledge. It was a progressive science when it developed, and it is a progressive science now.
9 Important Factors in Ayurveda to contemplate for life science:
- Pancha Mahabhuta – the five great elements
- Atma – soul
- Manas – mind
- Kala – time
- Dik – space
In the early Ayurvedic texts, the theory of Dosha wasn’t there. The first focus of Ayurveda was on philosophy and physics, not biology. Then when Dosha theory developed, biology came in.
It visualized health, disease and life in terms of very high physics. It later became simpler and more applied, it became biology. Doctors early on made diagnosis in terms of the five elements, not in terms of gross biology. Then they thought further of biology and developed Dosha during the Samhita era.
Fundamentally this is not different than Pancha Mahabhuta, just a choice of physics or biology.
Understanding that Western medicine is one way of understanding the world, but not the only way. Now Quantum physics is challenging Biology. Every system functions together in a Quantum way. The conventional way of describing life is not sustainable. Science is looking for objectivity everywhere in a subjective system. There is a contradiction in the way we study process. Now we are seeing the return to the ancient manger of study of physics as a way of understanding life rise in the mundane world.
Ayurveda is old, but not outdated.
Loka – Purusha/Universe Individual – There is a continuum between universe and individual. This continuum is important for life and for sustaining health. A person is not only and individual but a microcosm of the universe. Health, disease and cure must all be seen from this perspective.
Sabhauva Paramvada/Nature Cessation – In reference to the disease, no disease is permanent or natural. If any disease afflicts you there is a great possibility that it will leave you by itself. Charaka says that our body and mind have a self power of healing that makes it not always necessary to get a doctor. If your power to heal yourself is gone, no medicine will help. If we live that we are part of the whole, and that we have a strong power to self heal, then we don’t need to depend on doctors and medications. Every doctor knows that every patient has the vital power of healing. The mind is very powerful, our perspective is everything in the mundane world. Self knowledge is the highest living.
Ayurveda is all about improving your power of self-healing.
Lots of Ayurvedic medicines are nutraceuticals rather than pharmaceuticals. The majority of them in fact.
Pharmacodynamics: the reaction of the body to medication for temporary reactive benefit. Medicine causes a reaction but ultimately it is not sustainable for long term health.
Nutraceutical effect promotes health of the tissue which then functions better. The body tries to heal the disease with their overall health. Lifestyle, food, and medicine all contribute to this.