In my last blog I had described what was wrong with the Western lifestyles. But if I leave it at that I would be blamed for criticizing a lifestyle without reason or explanation. Very often almost all of us eat wrong foods, follow wrong routines. These inadvertent mistakes usually cost us in the later part of lives. So, what is the basis of my observations that I made in my last blog..?
Ayurveda as a science of medicine owes its origins in ancient India. Ayurveda consists of two Sanskrit words – ‘ayur’ meaning age or life, and ‘veda’ which means knowledge. Thus, the literal meaning of Ayurveda is the science of life or longevity. Ayurveda constitutes ideas about ailments and diseases, their symptoms, diagnosis and cure, and relies heavily on herbal medicines, including extracts of several plants of medicinal values. This reliance on herbs differentiates Ayurveda from systems like Allopathy and Homeopathy. Ayurveda has also always disassociated itself with witch doctors and voodoo.
AYURVED! As everyone across the globe know, that this ancient Science of India is basically a philosophy of leading a healthy life. It is a well documented discussion that primarily harps of the ‘Preventive’ side of treatment…a combination of two words: AYU+VED, LIFE+KNOWELDEGE! Ayurved originated as part of the ancient VEDAs more specifically the ATHARVAVED!
Ayurved also explains various diseases and how imbalance in the human body occurs. Ayurved has also evolved into many other healing methodologies at various stages in history and has become a basis of a plethora of healing systems including the Tibetan, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Greek, to name a few! In these modern times, Ayurved is also seen readapting itself to the new onslaught of diseases to become a truly UNIVERSAL HEALING SYSTEM!
The Vedic Sages took passages from Atharva Veda and created separate books dealing exclusively with Ayurveda. Atreya Sanhita is the oldest medical book in the world. Atreya was the son of Rishi Atri. Atri was the son of god Brahma and one of the seven immortal Rishis in Vedic literature. Rishi Atri was Acharya (Teacher) of Ayurveda. The Vedic Brahmanas were priests who performed religious rites and ceremonies. They were also considered as Vaidyas (Physicians of Ayurveda). These sage physicians were the surgeons in the ancient days. These deeply devoted holy physicians considered health to be an important part of spiritual life. It is believed that the Vaidyas received their training of Ayurveda during meditation which was later transcribed into book form. Beginning of Medicine and Surgery in India is thought as the gifts from god Indra to Sages Bharadwaja, the patron saint of medicine and Dhanvantari, the patron saint of Surgery. These two main schools made Ayurveda a more scientifically verifiable medical system (around 1500 BC). These two scholars passed their knowledge to two worthy men Atreya and Sushruta. Both Atreya and Sushruta practiced medicine around 800 BC.
The practice of surgery has been recorded in India around 800 B.C. This need not come as a surprise because surgery (Shastrakarma) is one of the eight branches of Ayurveda the ancient Indian system of medicine. The oldest treatise dealing with surgery is the Shushruta Samahita (Shushruta’s compendium). Shusruta who lived in Kasi was one of the many Indian medical practitioners who included Atraya and Charaka. He was one of the first to study the human anatomy. In Shusruta Sanhita he has described in detail the study of anatomy with the aid of a dead body. Shusruta’s forte was rhinoplasty (Plastic surgery) and ophthalmology (ejection of cataracts). Shushruta has described surgery under eight heads Chedya (excision), Lekhya (scarification),Vedhya (puncturing), Esya (exploration), Ahrya (extraction), Vsraya (evacuation) and Sivya (Suturing). Sounds intriguing..?
Let’s read it in my next blog.
Happy reading.