Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian Subcontinent. It is an
eternal science that dates from antiquity. This sanskrit term consists of two words, ‘Ayu’ and
‘Veda’. Ayu refers to ‘Life’ and Veda refers to ‘Science/Knowledge’. Literally Ayurveda
translates to ‘Science of Life’.
The beauty of Ayurveda lies in prevention of the disease meaning it does not wait for you to
fall sick instead it gives you healthy practices not to fall ill. And that’s the true beauty of
Ayurveda. Having said that, the two fundamental objective of Ayurveda is; I would love to
quote a verse from the classical text
“वथय वायरणंअतरुय वकार शमनाचा II”
- Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam (वथय वायरण)ं – To preserve the health of
- Aturasya vikara prashamanam cha (अतरुय वकार शमनाचा) – To completely
eradicate the disease of the sick.
The principles of this ancient wisdom are time tested and authentic. It has extremely
explored natural methods for improving the wellness of the body and mind. Ayurveda
strongly believes in “Panchamahabhuta Siddhanta”, where it states that every living and
non-living thing, moving or inert object on this planet is made up of these basic five elements
with the predominance of one maha bhuta and nothing is devoid of these five elements.
They are the basis of all cosmic creation. These fundamental elements of the cosmos are
Aakaash (space), Vayu (air), Agni (fire), Prithvi (earth) and Jala (water) having the qualities
like Shabda (sound), Sparsha (touch), Rupa (vision or sight), Rasa (taste) and Ganda
(smell) respectively. These connect to our five senses; they serve as the portals between the
internal and external realms. Ayurveda groups these five elements into three basic types of
energy and functional principles called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
In ayurvedic practices, every human being on the earth is different and made of different
prakruti (a unique constitution) and thus the treatment protocol must be designed as per the
individual. In particular, it is a must to assess the composition of a person’s dosha (prakruti
analysis) or the illnesses (vikruti analysis) they’re experiencing and customize a preventive
or a curative wellness accordingly. In a colloquial language, I can say “One size doesn’t fit
all” Or may be “One man’s food is another man’s poison”.
A unique emphasis is made on the concept of Agni (digestive fire), a universal principle of
transformation mediating between the internal and the external, manifesting as our digestive
fire in the digestion of food, transforming substrates into such form that can be assimilated at
tissue level and their metabolism. Thus ensuring optimal health both at physical and mental
level. And every disease manifests due to reduced digestive fire which leads to indigestion
(ama) and blocking the channels of circulation inturn causing various disease conditions.
Ayurveda, an ancient science of life, is so vast that it would be impossible for any one
person during his lifetime to master it all, so meticulously the voluminous science was made
available for study and practice in 8 separate disciplines without disturbing the basic
principles by our ancient scholars. Because, specialized subjects ease the practice in the
medical field. .
The eight main branches of Ayurveda are:
- Kaya Chikitsa – General medicine
- Bala Chikitsa – Paediatrics
- Graha Chikitsa – Psychiatry
- Urdhvanga Chikitsa – Diseases and treatment of Ear, Nose, Throat, Eyes and Head (neck
and above region)
- Shalya Chikitsa – Surgery
- Damshrta Chikitsa – Toxicology
- Jara Chikitsa – Geriatrics
- Vrushya Chikitsa – Aphrodisiac therapy
Another most important part of Ayurveda is Panchakarma. It consists of comprehensive
bio-purificatory procedures which are unique to specific people, disease condition, season
and other factors. It consists of five purificatory therapies, which does total mind-body
rejuvenation with various medicinal herbs, oils, ghee, powders etc. To undergo these
bio-purificatory procedures one must have a strong willpower (pravara satwa). To remove
any disease by its root, panchakarma is an opted method of treatment in Ayurveda. These
cleansing protocols have to be done under the supervision of a panchakarma physician and
never by self.
To sum it up, Ayurveda being rooted in remote antiquity has survived and grown from time
immemorial, through the vicissitudes of the seasons. Ayurveda is not only getting popularity
in India but across the globe as well. Let’s learn this beautiful holy science together and
bring certain changes in our life with clarity towards health and illness. I will unlock the
hidden concepts along the way. We have just started our journey. Stay with me.