Ayurveda is a holistic medical system that treats human beings as a ‘whole’ which is a combination of body, mind and soul. In the word Ayurveda, ayu means all aspects of life from conception to death and Veda means knowledge of learning. It is a way of life that describes the diet, medicine and behaviour that are beneficial or detrimental for your life or lifestyle.
Origins of Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest (approximately 6000 years old) scientific medical systems in the world, with a long record of clinical experience. It is one of the great gifts of the Gods of ancient India to mankind. It is not just a system of medicine in the common sense of curing disease. It is also a way of life which teaches us how to maintain and protect our health. According to the four main Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva), they stated that when the God Brahma created the universe with human life, human beings started to feel sick, not doing all Karmas properly as they were supposed to. So the creator of the universe, Brahma wrote Ayurveda which some people call as a fifth Veda.
The Rig-Veda is the foundation stone of the other Vedas, being the oldest of the four and contains concepts of Ayurveda. Its three great Gods – Indra, Agni and Soma – related to the three doshas (body type) of Ayurveda – Vata, Pitta or Kapha.
In Atharva-Veda, we find references to anatomical and physiological factors, the disease process, treatment of specific diseases and other systematic knowledge about Ayurveda. All the material about the science of life is compiled together in the so called as a fifth Veda, Ayurveda and all those compilations are called “Samhitas”.
Due to the invasion of different cultures in ancient India, many of these Samhitas have been lost or burnt, but three main Samhitas are available.
- Charaka: The Medicine Veda
- Sushruta: The Surgery Veda
- Ashtang Hridaya: Lifestyle Management
Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine but is also a way of life.