Origin History of Ayurveda, Introduction to Ayurveda


AYURVEDA HISTORY Hello friends, The National Library of Ayurveda Medicine is pleased to present a new episode on Ayurveda. The present release is part of a Video Lecture series prepared for the education of Ayurveda literature. The information is in accordance with the academic curriculum of Ayurveda studies in India. My name is Dr. Sumit Kesarkar and I will be your host throughout this video, which discusses the Origin, History, Golden Period and the subsequent Decline of Ayurveda. We start with an Introduction to the term Ayurveda. The term Ayurveda is composed of two basionyms: Ayu and Veda. Ayu is derived from the primary word Aayus, meaning Life. The basionym Ayu is explained in Charak Samhita Sutrasthanam as a combination of Sharir or the destructible body, Indriya or Sense entities in micro and macro forms, Satv or the Mind. and Aatman or Indestructible Soul. The word Veda originates from the word Vid which means Knowledge. Thus Ayurveda roughly translates as the Knowledge of Life. The origin of Ayurveda could be roughly traced back 5,000 years, when writing was not even evolved in its physical forms. It is believed that the Vedic knowledge was passed through COGNITION or was gained through MEDITATION. Knowledge of the use of various methods of healing, prevention, longevity and surgery came through DIVINE REVELATION. These revelations were transcribed from the oral tradition into book form, interspersed with the other aspects of life and spirituality. The earliest scripts would have been written on perishable materials such as BHOJAPATRA, which is the bark of the Himalayan plant BETULA UTILIS. The manuscripts could not be preserved over time or required utmost care due to the perishable nature of Bhojapatra and subsequently the later scripts were inscribed on STONE AND COPPER PLATES. Scholars of Vedic literature and Indology contemplate that SAGE VED VYAS would have been the first person to document major portions of Ayurveda in addition to other Vedic literature through his spiritual enlightenment and deep introspection of the cosmos. The Vedas are comprised of 4 major books, which deal with various aspects of life. THEY ARE: Rig (Rik) Veda Sama Veda Yajur Veda Atharvaveda Of all the four Vedas, the Rig-Veda is accepted as the oldest surviving treatise on the planet, dated as long back as 3000 B.C.. Rig-Veda details the concepts of Cosmology on the principles of Sankhya Darshan. References to the Tridosha theory of VATA PITA AND KAPHA, which forms the basis of Ayurveda are sporadically found in the Rik-Veda. Herbs and their use as medicines and pathogens or Krimis are also discussed. However it is in the Atharvaveda where major references of Ayurveda are found. Ayurveda is hence considered as a supplement or Upveda of Atharvaveda. Atharvaveda gives a systematic description of Ashtang-Ayurveda or the 8-fold branches of Ayurveda. ASHTANG AYURVEDA. Ashtang Ayurveda progressively developed in individual streams around 1500 B.C. The 8 branches of Ayurveda are: Kay-Chikitsa which could be equated to Internal Medicine Shalyatantra to Surgery. Shalkyatantra to the study of Head and Neck, Ophthalmology and Oto-Rhino-Laryngology. Agadtantra to Toxicology. Bhoot-vidya to Spiritual Healing and Psychiatry. Kaumarbhrutya & Prasutitantra to the study of Pediatrics & Gynaecology. Rasayan to the study of Geriatrics and Rejuvenation. Vaajikaran to the study of Reproduction and fortification of Carnal pleasures. Ayurveda and its streams were propogated through two schools at that time. Atreya Sampradaya or The School of Physicians of which Charak Samhita is a major treatise. Dhanvantari Sampradaya or The School of Surgeons of which Sushrut Samhita serves as a major treatise. These two schools made Ayurveda a more scientifically verifiable and classifiable medical system. Ayurveda practice was at its peak in the Buddhist era around 520 B.C. This period saw the growth of Ras-Shastra and Siddha medicine, which is marked by the prominent use of Mercury, Sulphur and Metals in conjunction with herbs to prepare medications. Prior to this, Ayurveda medicines were only constituted of herbs and certain minerals. Due to the rich progress of Ayurveda, formulations during this period and their high effectiveness, the science was highly patronized, with many foreign scholars visiting India to learn this craft. and by the time of the the regime of Chandragupta Maurya around 304BC – 298 BC, Ayurveda was an established health care system of India. This period hence could be classified as the Golden Period of Ayurveda However the Buddhist era could also be marked as the pivotal point for the decline of Dhanvantri-Sampradaya, which specialized in Shalyatantra or Surgery. Emperor Ashoka, around 304 BC – 232 B.C., influenced by the Buddhist teachings after the famous Kalinga war, implemented the path of peace and spirituality, thus refraining from injury and bloodshed. The decision had a massive impact and by 250 B.C. Ayurveda Shalyatantra was almost non-existent. Conversely, the spread of ATREYA SAMPRADAYA or the school of physicians was rapid The Mughal invasion of India saw destruction of many Ayurveda treatises as the Mughals razed down ancient universities like Takshila and Nalanda, which housed huge compilations. The Mughals were known for their high indulgence in carnal pleasures. Therefore, during the Mughal regime the Rasayan and Vaajikaran streams of Ayurveda recieved heavy patronage, taking Ayurveda to a magnamous level and continued to do so until India faced colonization by the British, which resulted in the massive decline of Ayurveda practise and the implementation of our modern health care system. I hope this video was informative and made the subject clear. Comments and feedback are highly appreciated and you can leave them by visiting the NLAM website or likewise by writing to me Thank you for watching. [SUBTITLES CREDIT:NLAM]

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