Monday, 23 May 2011

Origin of Ayurveda

Origin of Ayurveda

Ayurvedic medicine originated in the early civilizations of India some 3,000-5,000 years ago. It is mentioned in the Vedas, the ancient religious and philosophical texts that are the oldest surviving literature in the world, which makes Ayurvedic medicine the oldest surviving healing system. According to the texts, Ayurveda was conceived by enlightened wise men as a system of living harmoniously and maintaining the body so that mental and spiritual awareness could be possible. Medical historians believe that Ayurvedic ideas were transported from ancient India to China and were instrumental in the development of Chinese medicine.

AYURVEDA is a science based on ancient Indian philosophy. The Vedas encompass the whole knowledge of the Universe. There are four Vedas, namely, Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Amongst these, the Atharvaveda mainly deals with different facets of health.

The main body of Ayurveda is found in the fourth Veda - the Artharvaveda. Ayurveda is an offspring of the Atharvaveda and is also considered as the fifth Veda. Ayurveda is recognized as an upa or supplementary Veda in its own right. It contains the description of various diseases and their aetiology, and recommends the correct diet and behaviour regimen to counter those diseases.

Mythology has it that Brahma, the creator, imparted the knowledge of Ayurveda to Prajapati Daksha who, in turn, passed it on to the Ashwinikumara twins who were the physicians to the gods. The Ashwinikumaras then offered this knowledge to Lord Indra. Lord Indra instructed Dhanwantari to spread this invaluable science of longevity on the earth. Sushruta, a renowned surgeon and student of Dhanwantari, wrote his famous compendium on surgery - the Sushruta Samhita. The credit for the famous treatise on general medicine, the Charaka Samhita, goes to Charaka who probably lived sometime between the second century B.C. and the second century A.D.. Sushruta Samhita and Charaka Samhita are the two ancient treatises on which Ayurveda is based.

Ayurvedic philosophy provides a link between the living and non-living matters of the universe and indicates the origin of human and plant life from the five basic elements which are earth, water, fire, air and ether.

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