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Ayurveda the science of life

Points to remember
About the evolution of medicine

As we all know that human beings originated in Earth millions of years ago, if we believe
in a biblical point of view or based on Darwins concept of evolution.

Survival was the key word at that time! They have to fight against hostile weather,
animals, scarcity of food etc they had to struggle a lot to get on the top of so called food
chain!

So the rest is history man came up innovative ideas fire, wheel, Iron Age Bronze Age
etc

Perhaps mans quest for survival changed to health in some point of time in human
history. Humans might have closely observed nature; they observed other animals other
forms of life.How they were able to maintain a healthy life and Nature was the answer!
They find everything from nature

Civilizations sprang up in many parts of the world in South America as Incas, Egyptian
civilization, Indus valley civilization by which word India came up.

If you study carefully about all the civilizations around the world all of them offered
something to mankind Incan architecture Egyptian papyrus etc.

Indus valley civilization offered Vedas (Knowledge) to the world. Perhaps its one of the
greatest ideas offered to mankind and Ayurveda is definitely an integral part of Veda.
Ayurveda due to its extensive scientific back ground is termed as first known form of
medical science or its sometimes termed as the Mother of all medical sciences.

According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apaurueya "not of human agency" are
supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called ruti ("what is heard"). Vedic
mantras are recited at Hindu prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions.

Vedas are four in number Rigveda,Yajurveda,Samaveda,Adharvaveda

The Rig Veda, or "Divine Hymns", is the oldest and most important of the Vedas.The
general themes of this work are the praising of the gods, and requests for worldly benefits
such as wealth, health, longevity, protection, and victory. Indra and Agni feature as
particular favourites in the hymns, but 31 other gods are also mentioned.
The Sama Veda contains over 1500 chants. All of these are derived from hymns of the
Rig Veda, but which attain a specifically musical aspect. The Sama Veda is principally for
use in agricultural rites

The Yajur Veda is a collection of chants, often derivative of the Rig Veda, for specific use
during sacrifical rituals.

The Atharva Veda also contains material from the Rig Veda, but these incantations
address the practical everyday realities of daily life.

Buddhism may have been an influence on the development of many of Ayurveda's central
ideasparticularly its fascination with balance, known in Buddhism as Madhyamika

Indian thinkers viewed philosophy as a practical necessity that needed to be cultivated in


order to understand how life can best be led. It became a custom for Indian writers to
explain at the beginning of philosophical works how it serves human beings. All major
phenomena like those observed in nature, fate, occurrences, etc. were outcomes of this
order.

The earliest mention of this appears in the Rig Veda, which speaks of the Brahman, or the
universally transcendent and "ethereal" building block of the entire world. It is described
as dimensionless, timeless and beyond reach of the known frontiers of happiness and
knowledge.

The six schools of Indian philosophy are

Nyaya, the school of logic


Vaisheshika, the atomist school
Samkhya, the enumeration school
Yoga, the school of Patanjali
Purva Mimamsa (or simply Mimamsa )with emphasis on Vedic ritual, and
Vedanta (also called Uttara Mimamsa), the Upanishadic tradition, with emphasis
on Vedic philosophy.

In Indian tradition Knowledge is divine, so does Ayurveda its a divine Knowledge


Its believed that Father of Ayurveda is Brahma supreme creator who gave his knowledge
after witnessing sufferings of man kind.

The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts in the world dating from c. 1500-500BC.So
one could easily imagine how long would it have taken for such texts to emerge around
that period.

All these Vedas depicts in one form or other form about medical knowledge prevailed at
that time.

Its in Atharvaveda that deals with the practical realities of life which explains more about
medicine and surgical procedures. So its widely believed that Ayurveda is the upaveda or
sub Veda of Atharvaveda.

As I told you in the beginning that Ayurveda is deeply influenced by Indian philosophy
Sankhya philosophy is the basic back bone of all underlying principles of Ayurveda.

Let me explain about some of the basic ideas of Ayurveda.

The first one is five element theory

Matter

Solid Liquid Gas


Solid Liquid

Gas
This conversion needs ENERGY
Solid
Liquid
Gas
Energy
Energy
They need SPACE
This theory
applicable to

Living
Things&Non-living
things
SolidEarth

LiquidWater

EnergyFire

GasAir

SpaceEther

These are basically five elements or structural blocks of everything in this universe. Its a
wonderful philosophy which unites us allIts really wonderful to know that we all are
one inspite colour country food we eat money etc etc which divides us all.
Ayurveda depicts harmony in each and every thing.

As I told you earlier that five element theory is applicable to living and nonliving
things.Inorder to know how they function in a living organism they combining in very
specific form to form three Dosha or principles of energy,or dynamic forces.
The doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, one with the others. Doshas are required
for the life to happen. In Ayurveda, dosha is also known as the governing principles as every
living thing in nature is characterized by the dosha

Dosha Related Elements

Vata Air and Ether

Pitta Fire and Water

Kapha Water and Earth

Vata is a force conceptually made up of elements ether and air. The proportions of ether and air
determine how active Vata is. The amount of ether (space) affects the ability of the air to gain
momentum. If unrestricted, as in ocean, air can gain momentum and become forceful such as a
hurricane.

Vata means "wind, to move, flow, direct the processes of, or command." Vata enables the other
two doshas to be expressive. The actions of Vata are drying, cooling, light, agitating, and moving.

Vata governs breathing, blinking of the eyelids, movements in the muscles and tissues, pulsations
in the heart, all expansion and contraction, the movements of cytoplasm and the cell membranes,
and the movement of the single impulses in nerve cells. Vata also governs such feelings and
emotions as freshness, nervousness, fear, anxiety, pain, tremors, and spasms. The primary seat
or location of the Vata in the body is the colon. It is related to the touch sensation.

Pitta is a force created by the dynamic interplay of water and fire. These forces represent
transformation. They cannot change into each other, but they modulate or control each other and
are vitally required for the life processes to occur. (For example, too much fire and too little water
will result in the boiling away of the water. Too much water will result in the fire being put out.)

Pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, body temperature, skin
coloration, the luster of the eyes, intelligence, and understanding. Psychologically, pitta arouses
anger, hate, and jealousy.

The small intestine, stomach, sweat glands, blood, fat, eyes, and skin are the seats of Pitta.
Kapha is the conceptual equilibrium of water and earth. Kapha is structure and lubrication.

. Kapha lubricates the joints; provides moisture to the skin; helps to heal wounds; fills the spaces
in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention; gives energy
to the heart and lungs, and maintains immunity. Kapha is present in the chest, throat, head,
sinuses, nose, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and in the liquid secretions of the body
such as mucus.

Psychologically, kapha is responsible for the emotions of attachment, greed, and long-standing
envy. It is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness, and love. The chest is the
seat of kapha.

Function of the Dosha (or controls)


Vata
Movement
Breathing
Natural Urges
Transformation of the tissues
Motor functions
Sensory functions
Ungroundedness
Secretions
Excretions
Fear
Emptiness
Anxiety
Thoughts
Life force
Nerve impulses

Pitha
Body heat
Temperature
Digestion
Perception
Understanding
Hunger
Thirst
Intelligence
Anger
Hate
Jealousy

Kapha
Stability
Energy
Lubrication
Forgiveness
Greed
Attachment
Accumulation
Holding
Possessiveness

Vata
The movement of::
nerve impulses
air
blood
food
waste
thought

Pitha
The quality of transformation. Pitta controls the enzymes that digest our food and the
hormones that regulate our metabolism. Pitta transforms the chemical/electrical impulses
in our mind to thoughts we can understand.

Kapha

Cells which make up our organs and fluids which nourish and protect them
Concept of Prakruti and Vikruti

According to Ayurveda, your basic constitution is determined at the time of conception. This
constitution is called Prakruti. The term Prakruti is a Sanskrit word that means, "nature,"
"creativity," or "the first creation." One of the very important concept of Ayurveda is that one's
basic constitution is fixed throughout his lifetime. The combination of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha that
was present in the individual at the time of conception is maintained throughout his lifetime. This
is your base point. Notice that different persons can have different combination of Vata, Pitta and
kapha as their basic constitution or Prakruti. This is how Ayurveda can explain the subtle
differences between individuals and explains why everyone is unique and that two persons can
react very differently when exposed to the same environment or stimuli. Your Prakruti is unique to
you just as your fingerprint and DNA. Thus, in order to understand a person, it is necessary to
determine his or her Prakruti.

Ideally, your constitution remain fixed throughout your life. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Every person is subjected to the constant interaction with his or her environment which will affect
the person's constitution at any time. The body will try to maintain a dynamic equilibrium or
balance with the environment. Your current condition is called your vikruti. Although it reflects your
ability to adjust to life's influences and is always changing, it should match your prakruti, or inborn
constitution, as closely as possible. If the current proportion of your doshas differs significantly
from your constitutional proportion, it indicates imbalances, which in turn can lead to illness.
Farther your Vikruti is from your Prakruti, more ill you are. Ayurveda teaches that your Vikruti can
be changed by means of diet and meditation so as to approach your Prakruti or the state where
you have perfect health.