What is Ayurveda?

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A nineteenth-century watercolor of a physician taking a pulse. (Photo: Wellcome Institute Library, London)


What is Ayurveda?

 

Ayurveda treats the whole person,
not just the disease,
and
emphasizes disease prevention
rather than the cure of symptoms.

 

Spiritual Ayurveda

     "Around 1500 B.C. the book, the Charak Samhita discussed these spiritual principles. It said that even if Ayurvedic doctors had a complete knowledge of Ayurveda but could not reach the inner Self or soul of the patient, they would not be effective healers. Furthermore, if the practitioner were more concerned with fame and fortune, and not with spiritual development (Self-Realization), they would not be effective healers.
    To understand the spiritual nature of Ayurveda, we must know something about the Vedic roots of philosophy, spirituality, and universal religion. According to the ancient Vedic scriptures of India there is a goal to life. We are not simply born, to live, and then to die without some meaning or purpose. Albert Einstein reflected this idea when he said God does not play dice with the universe. Order and reason exist in life. According to Vedic philosophy life is Divine and the goal of life is to realize our inner Divine nature. Ayurvedically speaking the more a person realizes their Divine nature the healthier they are. Thus it is the responsibility of the Ayurvedic doctor to inspire or help awaken the patient to their own inner Divine nature. Positive thinking or love is the best medicine. ..."
    The Ayurvedic Encyclopedia by Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha, page 8.

 

Ayurveda, literally, "the science of life," is the ancient Indian art and science of healing and rejuvenation through the use of natural herbs, roots and minerals. It is said that over 3000 years ago, Nature revealed the curative and therapeutic properties of each tree, plant, herb, root and flower to a great sage, Dhanwantari, as he sat in deep meditation in the midst of a forest. Ancient Rishis and sages continued to learn of the beneficial link between the vegetable, mineral and human worlds, and discovered that bodily health comes from cultivating a harmonious balance of Nature's three subtle energies, or doshas: vata, pitta and kapha, which are present in all life and matter. The doshas have certain qualities or attributes which characterize their effects on the human body. The individual remains healthy as long as these elements are in a state of equilibrium. But if this equilibrium is disturbed beyond a point, the body succumbs to disease and decay. Ayurveda provides rational means for the treatment of many internal diseases which are considered to be obstinate and incurable in other systems of medicine. Simultaneously it lays a great deal of emphasis upon the maintenance of positive health of an individual. It thus aims at both the prevention and cure of diseases. Ayurveda also studies basic human nature and natural urges like hunger, thirst, sleep, sex, etc and provides measures for a disciplined, disease-free life.


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