The Sanskrit term, “Ayurveda” is derived from the two basic Sanskrit words, Ayus and Veda. “Ayus” means life and “Veda” means science or knowledge. Thus, Ayurveda is defined as the science that deals with life or the knowledge of life. Charaka, the great scholar of the field of Ayurveda, says that the term, “Ayu” consists of senses, body, mind and the soul.

Ayurveda defines healthy person as the individual with balanced rate of Agni (metabolism), Doshas (bio energies), proper Dhatus (body muscles and tissues), and organs and excretes out Malas (unwanted wastes) from the body of the individuals. The healthy individual is self-established with his senses, soul and mind fully in sync with each other and maintaining a total harmony with internal peace.

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This is explained very well -

Sam dosha, samagni, samdhatu malakriyah
Prasannatma, indriyas manah swath abhidiyate!!

Ayurveda is defined as the intricate form of medical science, which was originated several millions of years ago. It is basically defined as the system of science, which makes use of the various principles of nature. This aids in maintaining the overall health of the individuals. It also helps to stabilize the mind and maintain the spirit and soul as well. It aids in retaining a complete balance and equilibrium of the body with the nature. This science has evolved from the Vedas, which contain a lot of prescriptions for the various medical complications of the human bodies. It is basically a discipline or a part of the Upaveda in the Vedic language. One can find the mention of this science in the Atharva Veda as well.

What is Ayurveda?

Hitahitam sukham dukhamayustsya hitahitam
Maanam chaytroktamayurvedah sa uchyate!!

Charak samhita – Su.1.41

EXPLANATION – Ayurveda deals with good/bad and happy/unhappy life. It explains what is appropriate/inappropriate in relation to the life as well as it measures the life expectancy and nature/quality of life.

What is Aayu?

Sharirendriye satavatma samyogodhari jivitam
Nityagschanubandhshcy pyyaryaera ayur ruchyte!!

Charak samhita su 1.42

EXPLANATION - Age is conjuction of the body, senses, organs, mind and soul also sveral synonyms of aayu exist as indicated in this shloka which are dhari – what we achieve, jivita – who is alive, nityag – which is with us always and anubandha – that flows continuously.

The major aim of Ayurveda is to protect an individual from sickness and illness. It helps to sustain life. It increases the longevity of the individuals and helps to get rid of the various disorders, organ mal functioning and diseases of the human body to a huge extent. It contains information, which helps to get away with the illness and preserve the health of the individuals with the help of massages, therapies, diet, exercise and herbal formulations.

Ayurveda preserves the balance between the 5 essential components of nature – air, earth, water, ether and fire. All these 5 essential elements of nature get portrayed in the individuals in the form of three doshas. It is also known as the tri doshas or energies. These are Vata, Kapha and Pitta. Vata relates to elements of ether and air. Kapha relates to earth and water while pitta is related to the elements of water and fire. Pitta elements are also responsible for the proper complete metabolism of the human body. According to Ayurveda, when the level of any of these three doshas exceed beyond a particular limit, the human body tends to lose its control and balance. During that case, Ayurveda recommends certain modifications in lifestyle and specific herbal formulations to eliminate the unbalance. And, this way, this medical science helps in maintaining the perfect balance among the tri doshas perfectly.

Ayurveda defines healthy person as the one, who has all the doshas in perfect balance, appetite fine, body tissues and muscles are functioning absolutely properly and spirit and mind are completely cheerful. Ayurveda says that health is in perfect balance when all the tri energies and agni maintain a balance between each other and elimination of wastes is perfectly in its place. Also, the aatma, manah and the senses are in perfect co-ordination with peace. It is then, that the optimal health or svastha is achieved. This is an ancient science of healing, which provides a comprehensive knowledge of the entire healthcare system of the human individuals. It states that the spirituality, science and philosophy are entirely related to healthy living. Ayurveda provides a holistic definition to the style of living and the essence of body, spirit and mind. It has now evolved to be the best recognized discipline of alternative medicinal formulations of the world. Thus, this science of life provides a complete approach to maintain the wellbeing and health of an individual to a perfect state.

The origin of Ayurveda dates back to around 6000 years. The prime source of Ayurveda is the divine book, the Vedas, especially the Atharvaveda. They have several medical prescriptions to provide relief from the various physiological complications of the individuals. In Vedic language, they form an integral discipline of Upaveda. Some of the other books of knowledge, which contributed to the origin of Ayurveda are Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. Both of them focus mainly on the internal alternative medicine and surgery. A concise compilation of all the above mentioned texts is available in Astanga Hridayam. Based on this, the Ayurvedic science is practiced even today. Sankhaya’s philosophy has the major influence on Ayurveda. It professes that there is an existence of pure awareness in an individual, which gives rise to the primordial energy. This energy is far beyond space and time, with no end or beginning. This subtle primordial energy gives rise to all the actions and qualities of the individuals. These later become the manifestation of the entire spiritual, physical and mental world.

All these four aspects of life help to sustain life or prana in the nature. Prana can never be sustained if any of the above factors is absent. And, these constituents define the nature of an individual. This is known as the “Prakriti” in Ayurvedic literature. The “Prakriti” is further governed by the tri mental energies, known as the Rajas, Tamas and Satwa and the tri physical energies, known as the Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Also, Ayurveda always tries to strike a perfect equilibrium between the important components of the nature. These are earth, air, ether, fire and water. The tri doshas or the physical energies are well portrayed by these important components of nature. An unbalance in any of these components or the doshas leads to the abnormal functioning of the health. The individual falls ill and becomes sick.

The Ayurvedic science expanded to China, Tibet, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Korea in around 6th century BC. This was further spread across the lands via the Buddhist monks. Though, the original form of the pure Ayurveda does not survive today, the effects and impacts are portrayed through the several new concepts, which originated from these places over the years.

Ayurveda, thus, is not merely a health care system. This is a modification of lifestyle, which needs to be adopted to strike a balance and maintain a harmony with the internal existence. Thus, Ayurveda is the wonderful combination of philosophy and science, which tends to strike a balance between the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional constituents of life. It provides a holistic approach to a natural and healthy living. Thus, Ayurveda has evolved to be the science of alternative herbal formulations in the field of medical science. It is a comprehensive study of the various elements of nature, which help to maintain the wellbeing and steadiness of a healthy individual.

Author Bio:-

Dr. Vikram Chauhan is an Ayurvedic practitioner based in Mohali, India. He is spreading the knowledge of ancient healing treatment Ayurveda, not only in India but also abroad. Dr. Vikram has conducted many seminar and workshop on herbal treatment in various nations. Read more