Ayurveda: The Science of Life and Mother of the Healing Arts

Chapter 32 Ayurveda

The Science of Life and Mother of the Healing Arts

image History

In ancient India, it was custom for a teacher’s instruction to be recorded by his students, who would eventually repeat the same information orally to their own disciples. Thus, according to the different interpretations given by various disciples of Ayurveda, a number of treatises were written. Although specific instructions differed, the basic principles remained the same.

Ayurvedic teachings were orally transmitted for thousands of years and then written down in melodious Sanskrit poetry. The contents of a number of Sanskrit verses, or shlokas, although written many centuries ago, still sound a note of familiarity in today’s scientific environment. Ayurveda, in its first recorded form (vedas: the world’s oldest literature), is specifically called Atharveda.

image The Major Schools and Specialties

image Philosophy

Ayurvedic philosophy is based on the Samkhya philosophy of creation. It has influenced major strains of philosophy in both Eastern and Western civilization. The word Samkhya is derived from the Sanskrit words Sat (truth) and Khya (to know). The Rishi Kapila (Rishi means realized beings or seers of truth) realized the Samkhya philosophy of creation. They perceived the following:

Purusha is formless, colorless, and beyond attribute. Prakriti has form, color, awareness, and choice. Prakriti creates all the forms of the universe and has three attributes (Gunas): Satva (essence), Rajas (movement), and Tamas (inertia). It is also represented by Brahma (the god of creation), Vishnu (god of protection), and Shiva (god of destruction), which together comprise a cycle active in this universe.

In Prakriti, the three attributes are in balance. Whenever this balance is disturbed, they interact to bring about the evolution of the universe, yielding the cosmic vibration of Aum. The cosmic intellect (the Mahad) manifests itself as ego (Ahamkar), which, through the help of Satva, manifests the five senses and five motor organs, which together constitute the “organic universe.” Ego further manifests into the five basic elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth), which, under the influence of Tamas, create the “inorganic universe.”

Satva is a creative potential (Brahma), Rajas is a kinetic protective force (Vishnu), and Tamas is a potentially destructive force (Mahesh). These three—Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva—are constantly operating in the universe.

image Physiology

The five elements manifest within the body as the Tridosha (Dosha means protective or, when out of balance, disease producing). The Tridosha are the three humors, or basic principles, described earlier—Vat, Pit, and Kaph.

From the bodily combination of ether and air comes the bodily air principle, Vat Dosha. Likewise, fire and water combine as Pit Dosha, or fire principle, and earth and water produce the Kaph Dosha, or water principle.

These three control all biological, psychological, and physiopathologic functions of the body, mind, and consciousness. They produce natural urges and individual tastes in food, flavor, and temperature. They govern the maintenance and destruction of bodily tissue and the elimination of waste products. They also are responsible for psychological phenomena, including the emotions of fear, anger, and greed, as well as the highest order of emotions: understanding, compassion, and love.

Sep 12, 2016 | Posted by in MANUAL THERAPIST | Comments Off on Ayurveda: The Science of Life and Mother of the Healing Arts
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