AARC Health, Jagriti Vihar, Meerut - 250004
Ayurveda is one of the great gifts of the sages of ancient India to mankind. It is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long record of clinical experience. The word “Ayu” means all aspects of life from birth to death. The word “Veda” means knowledge or learning. Hence Ayurveda indicates the science by which life in its totality is understood.
Ayurveda is the collection of principles of healthy living that evolved from the time of the appearance of man on earth. It is not liable to change at any time or at any point of the world. This healing system has been practiced in daily living in India for more than 5000 years. Ayurveda, first recorded in the Vedas, the world’s oldest collection of knowledge, is still the most favored healthcare practice of millions of Indians. A system older than Greek and Egyptian medicine, it is now known to the wider world as a New Age medicine, proving its eternal significance.
Modern medicine tries to treat and remove symptoms rather than treating the patient suffering from it. This stems from the view that all people are more or less the same. Ayurveda makes special contributions by addressing the uniqueness of each patient and by helping each body to heal itself.
The roots of Ayurveda can be traced to the beginning of cosmic creation. Indian philosophers state that Ayurveda originated from Brahma, the creator of the universe. Brahma is not a mere individual but the unmanifest from the Divine Lord, from whom the whole manifest world comes into being. The desire to maintain fitness, health and longevity is one of the basic instincts of all creatures. Ayurveda in this respect sets the pattern for other system of medicine. It is a tradition with an antiquity comparable to that of life itself.
It is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long record of clinical experience. However, it is not only a system of medicine in the conventional sense of curing disease. It is also a way of life that teaches us how to maintain and protect health. It shows us both how to cure disease and how to promote longevity. Ayurveda treats man as a “whole” – which is a combination of body, mind and soul. Therefore it is a truly holistic and integral medical system.
The material scattered in the Vedas was collected, subjected to rigid tests of efficacy and systematically arranged. Such compilations were called ”Samhitas.” Many of these compilations no longer exist. Only three authentic works have stood the test of time and are available today – the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridya Samhita. This great trio – the Brihatrayi as it called – has enjoyed much popularity and respect for the last two thousand years. Although these texts have undergone some modification by various authors in subsequent periods, their present form is at least 1200 years old. They are all in the Sanskrit language.
The Charaka Samhita is the oldest of the three and was probably first compiled around 1500 BC. It is considered the prime work on the basic concepts of Ayurveda. Charaka represents the Atreya School of physicians. It is a systematic work divided into eight Sthanas or sections, which are further divided into 120 chapters.
Sushruta represents the Dhanwantri School of surgeons, and is considered in Ayurveda to be the father of surgery. Even a great American society of surgeons is named after Sushruta. In the Sushruta Samhita there are sophisticated descriptions of diseases and surgical instruments.
The next important authority in Ayurveda after Charaka and Sushruta is Vagbhatta of Sindh, who flourished about the seventh century AD. His treatise called Ashtanga Hridya.
THE EIGHT BRANCHES OF AYURVEDA * Kaya Chikitsa (General medicine) * Shalya Tantra (Surgery) * Shalakya Tantra (Diseases of Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat) * Kaumarbhritya (Children diseases, obstetrics and Gynecology) * Agada Tantra (Toxicology) * Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry) * Rasayana (Rejuvenation), and * Vajikarana (Aphrodisiac/sexology)