Introducing Ayurveda: What can it mean?

“Ayurveda is a holistic system of natural health care that originated in the ancient Vedic civilization of India.”

Hari M. Sharma writes this in a well-researched chapter in the book, ‘Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine’.

It has been debated that the arrival of ‘English Medicine’ with the foreign rule in India led to a steep decline in the inclination towards this indigenous form of medication. The loss of interest eventually caused a large section of the Ancient Ayurvedic knowledge to become fragmented and misunderstood. But today, thanks to Maharishi Yogi whose deep exploration into the classical texts has revived the wisdom of Ayurveda. The classical texts that we benefit from include the Charaka Samhita and the Susruta Samhita. Along with the Ashtanga Hridaya the three classical texts are known as the major texts or the Brihat Trayi.

Ayurveda, according to Sharma, etymologically arises from the Sanskrit words: Ayus meaning “life” or “life span,” and Veda meaning “knowledge”. He goes on to state that the root words suggest a ‘completeness or wholeness of knowledge’. As we understand now, the focus of the medication practiced in the Ayurvedic school of thought is oriented towards the ‘person’ rather than the disease. This, scholars contend, is the crux of the Philosophical sophistication of Ayurveda as against western (modern) disease-centric pharmacological treatments.

And now, we step into the threshold of Indian Medicine- the ancient body of wisdom yet to offer its contribution to world medicine. It is only imperative that we have a feel of the underlying philosophy that gave rise to the medical reasoning of Charaka and Susruta. Await another crisp piece, soon!