Origins of Ayurveda
By Zachary Lingh
The early inhabitants of the Indian continent probably moved from place to place, taking with them a treasure trove of herbal remedies and other traditional healing methods. When they settled in places such as Himachal Pradesh in central India, these nomadic tribes started cultivating the herbs that they used for their traditional medicine. Most health practices at that time involved spiritual therapies, animal or plant based medicines and a strict regimen of diet and restriction of movement.
Although practiced for many thousands of years, this form of healing was documented initially during the early Vedic period in India, sometime around the 6th century BC. This was the time when many of the Vedas (texts or manuals) were written by masters of the art (called sages or wise people) as a reference book for future generations. The Vedas created around that time include the Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvaveda and Ayurveda.
Three of the major texts that deal with medicinal preparations, surgical procedures and holistic healing methods are the Sushrutha Samhita, the Charaka Samhita and the Kasyapa Samhita. The authors, Sushrutha, Charaka and Kasyapa were all practitioners of Ayurveda at that time. Most of the people who wrote these texts are believed to be sages who knew the secret to a long life. Some people believe that Ayurveda has divine origins
Based on historical accounts, Ayurveda has been around for over 5000 years. Similar to the pagan way of life, it may have started as a response to the people’s trust in nature and its healing powers. People who believed that the Earth held all the solutions to their problems intuitively reached to the land around them for sustenance. On the days when they didn’t feel so good, they realized that they have done something wrong and that if their diets were corrected and bodies rested, their life would be in balance as before.
It is only in recent years that the physical body alone was singled out for healing. From all accounts, indigent or nomadic cultures had significant knowledge of herbal healing techniques as well as spiritual balancing. It may all seem hocus-pocus to us, but for the patient, this attentiveness and soothing experiences may have helped his or her complete healing.
In today’s world, when someone gets sick, only the physical body is examined. Conventional medicine (Allopathy) does not see the link between mind and body. When we go to a doctor and check our blood pressure, it is usually high. For a long time, doctors used to immediately prescribe strong chemical drugs for this "dangerous condition". Little did they know that the visit itself causes so much stress that the body responds by increasing blood pressure. Now that they are aware of this temporary connection, they have a name for this temporary increase in blood pressure – "White coat hypertension"! And it is temporary! No medication needed.
In ancient times, people depended on the Earth for solutions. What we see around us made us happy and healthy. Whatever we needed to enjoy a fruitful, energetic and healthy life, we could find around us, wherever we lived. The ancient pagans knew the secrets of healing and always used the Earth’s bounty for everything. There were no clinics and no manufactured drugs. No one needed continuous expensive monthly prescriptions to keep them "healthy".
The origins of Ayurveda probably started when the practitioners of herbal remedies noticed that though the patient was healed only temporarily by herbal preparations, they soon returned with similar complaints once again. This made the healers wonder why the body often returns to its diseased state.
One thing to note is that most of these cultures were very spiritual by nature. Religion was created to make mankind more disciplined and to keep them from doing evil things, but the first religious war ended mankind’s belief that religion could do any good.
Spirituality still survives and most of us have some type of spiritual connection. Questions such as "Where did we come from?", "Where do we go after death?" haunt almost all of us who think for ourselves and use our own willpower. Many of us know instinctively that there is more to life than religion. The feeling we get when we help another, the power of love which cannot be measured and the loss of a loved one cannot be expressed with words.
Our thoughts are very powerful. As the old saying goes, "We are what we think."
As Marcus Aurelius who lived in the 1st century A.D. said, "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it". When we have disappointments in life, if we let our guard down and think negatively, we will get sick. On the other hand, if we always stay positive, regardless of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, our health will thrive!
What we are today is the result of our thoughts of yesterday. We have powers we never dreamed of. The only limitations we have are the restrictions of our own mind. Anyone who focuses on negative things will soon find themselves experiencing those very results they focused upon. When the sages noticed the mind-body connection, they realized that the only way to keep disease from taking over our body is to treat the person’s body and mind at the same time. And Ayurveda was born!
Ayurveda has come a long way since this realization. Now, in most of the centers devoted to Ayurveda, people with or without health problems can relax in hot baths, get soothing oil massages, learn meditation and yoga as well as eat well balanced meals as a means to prevent the occurrence of disease.
The whole concept of Ayurveda is that it is easier to prevent disease than cure it. And curing is possible only by treating the underlying emotional and mental trauma first and taking in good fuel (food) so that we coax or persuade the body to heal itself.
The origins of Ayurveda are not clearly known; however, there exists vast amounts of powerful, valuable information that were collected over the ages by people who not only cared for their own generation, but shared this knowledge so that humanity will be able to tap into this intelligence for a long time to come.
Ayurveda – Traditional ayurvedic herbal formulas and vitamins plus extensive reference books and guides on herbal treatments, remedies and individual herbs.
This article was posted by Zachary Ling