Ayurveda, the Upaveda of Adharva Veda, is one of the most ancient and unique healing systems in the world. It is based on an innate philosophy explained in detail in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavat Gita and other religious texts.
The four main objectives of human life are Dharm (Duty), Arth (Wealth), Kaam (Desire) and Moksha (Salvation). Moksha, or the liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths is the ultimate goal of an individual. For attaining Moksha, one needs a sound body and mind, plus the instinct to preserve his health. It naturally paved way to a well-framed medical system in India.
As per the principles of Ayurveda, every human being is a microcosm of the universe, that is, a universe within the universe. Everything in this universe is connected. Ayurveda advocates that the relationship and interaction between energy and matter, individual and consciousness determine the health of a person.
Vaidya or physician is a bridge between the microcosm and macrocosm. In fact he is the dynamic system controller keeping the two complementary systems in equipoise. This concept of Man as an Epitome of universe is the hallmark of entire Ayurvedic philosophy.
The origin of universe is explained in Indian philosophy by the concept of Mahabhutas. According to this concept every living and non-living being in this universe comprises five eternal elements called Pancha Mahabhuthas. In Ayurveda, contemplating beyond this concept is not the job of a physician or researcher.
|Concept of the Mahabhutas or the five aspects of the Universe|
|Vayu (Air)||:||Activity and initiation/dynamism|
|Ap (Water)||:||Cohesive force which keeps the various divergent forces together|
|Prithvi (Earth)||:||This represents man and of all that is manifested in this world|
Concept of Panchakarna
Vedic concept says that every Mahabhutha contains 50% of that Bhutha element and equal parts of other Bhuthas in the remaining 50%, thus ensuring equilibrium in the manifested world.
Concept of Anna as Root cause for Disease / Health
According to Vedic concept, Rasa/Taste/Food is the root cause of all diseases as well as health.
Human Body or Sareera
Following the Samkhya concept of physico-mental conglomeration in Ayurveda, the composition of our body can be explained thus:
5 Elements or Mahabhuthas > Ego or Ahamkara > 5 Organs of Action or Karmendriyas >
5 Sense Organs or Arthas > Mind or Mana
These five components act as material cause or Upadanakarana while the Soul or Purusha or Atma functions as the unifying cause for this complex.
The word Sareera is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Siryate’ (something that is easily broken) or ‘Sriyati’ (to support). This is the basis for the concept of chetana or élan vital.
The union of Sperm or Sukla and Ovum or Sonita in the womb of the mother is the nimittakarana or the main cause for the formation of body. In the womb, the sixteen Vikaras (5 sense organs + 5 organs of action + 5 sense objects + mind) and the 8 fold Prakruthis are made interdependent by the Soul. The presence of self in the womb is responsible for the development of the foetus. The mutual co-existence of self and physical complex and its modification are a must for the body to discharge its normal functions. The body thus is known as Saddathuka (i.e., made up of six constituents namely, five primary forms of matter and self).
|In the womb|
|Akasha||:||Provides space and scope for developmental changes and ensures growth|
|Vayu||:||Helps in shaping the physical mass into organs, limbs, constituents or tissues etc.|
|Agni||:||Mutation and metabolism|
|Ap||:||Helps to cool the system, moistens the mass|
|Prithvi||:||Stabilizes the total mass and gives structural integrity to all organs and to the whole body|
The Sareera thus formed is composed of a sentient part or Chethanayukta and non-sentient part or Achethana. Atma is purely sentient while mind is sentient due to the presence of Atma. The non-living or non-sentient element, as part of a sentient system, exhibits the properties of life.