History of Ayurveda

the history of ayurveda

Earth, water, fire, air ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.

Besides this inferior nature, O might-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.

Bhagavad Gita 7. 4-5

Ayurveda is based on ancient writings that were originally truths revealed by Sri Dhanvantari, an incarnation of the Supreme Lord.  The principles of Ayurveda are part of the Yoga system, with the clear goal and purpose of elevating human life to the spiritual platform.  In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Bhagavan explains briefly how the material elements that comprise the material universes are His creation.  All bodies, foods, substances and indeed everything seen or thought of in the material world is made of these eight elements.  The purpose of Ayurveda is to keep these elements in balance to promote physical health, longevity and a peaceful mind, so as to better prosecute the mission of human life.

The three gunas – or modes of material nature – are recognized in Ayurveda as the building blocks of the universe.  The natures and qualities of Tamas, Rajas, and Sattwa are understood, and by following Ayurvedic health practices one gradually is elevated from the lower modes of Tamas – ignorance, and Rajas – passion, to Sattwa – the mode of goodness.  Only in the mode of goodness can a person experience the peaceful harmony of mind that is necessary to make good choices about well being and ultimately, to reach the level of transcendence, which is the natural consciousness of the soul.

There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much, or does not sleep enough.

He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.

Bhagavad Gita 6.16-17

Ayurveda recognizes that the real identity of each individual is an eternal soul, who travels from body to body, and that the ultimate goal of life is spiritual perfection.  Therefore, habits which promote the lower modes of nature are not advised, and basic hygienic practices are recommended, many of which are common to practitioners of various branches of Yoga.  There are many daily routines recommended to all, which are especially useful for those interested in advancing spiritually, such as rising early before the sun, taking a morning bath, becoming vegetarian, and observing moderation in sensual activities.

Following the principles of Ayurveda for health is an extremely useful tool – by understanding the nature of one’s own body, and for parents, those of their children, we can live more harmoniously with less trouble and illness, help others, and be living in concordance with the laws of Nature.  Many speculative health systems exist, and no one can follow them all; many are actually detrimental to health and well being.  Many such theories advocate extreme diets or fasting which can actually destroy health.

Many therapies popular today originated in the Ayurveda shastras such as aromatherapy, color therapy, sound therapy, and even the medical sciences of surgery, pre-natal and child care and gerontology are all detailed in Ayurveda.  Even plastic surgery has correlations with Ayurveda – it was originally used to help warriors wounded on the battlefield recover their health and use of their limbs.

One of the most wonderful contributions of Ayurveda is the healing of mental and emotional imbalances not only through diet and herbs, but using the subtle therapies of aromas, colors, various kinds of breathing exercises and meditation, and the science of sensory input.  What goes in through all the senses affects the mind and consciousness, and rather than delving into the past or focusing on one’s problems, Ayurvedic methods directly promote bringing the mind into the mode of Sattwa or goodness, so that mental peace and clarity can prevail over the darkness and confusion of Tamas and the agitation, desire and anger of Rajas.

The content on this website is not medical diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your healthcare provider.

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