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...Reading, Introdution to Ayurveda

by Spyros Kapnias - Garudananda

"Man is the epitome of the universe. Within man, there is as much diversity as in the world outside. Similarly, the outside world is as diverse as human beings themselves." Charaka Samhita

Because that everything in the universe are entireties in entireties, it is impossible the Yoga disciplines in some moment of their apprenticeship they do not seek at least to learn the principals of Ayurveda.  Yoga from the opinion of Ayurveda is concluded in it and we can accept it because Ayurveda means "science of life." Thus a more complete comprehension of the principals of Ayurveda sure will help us in our yoga practice and in self-consciousness.    

Ayurveda is India’s ancient, traditional, natural system of medicine and health care, that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years.

Ayurveda is India’s ancient, traditional, natural system of medicine and health care, that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years.

Ayurveda is India’s ancient, traditional, natural system of medicine and health care, that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda conceived and developed by the sages, rishis, and natural scientists through centuries of visualizations, observations, experiments, discussions, and meditations. It is presently in daily use by millions of people in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and indirectly through it being the major influence on Thailand, Chinese and Tibetan Medicine.

The word "Ayurveda" is a Sanskrit synthesis of the word āyus meaning "life", "life principle", or "long life" and the word veda, which refers to a system of "knowledge, science". Thus "Ayurveda" roughly translates as the "knowledge of life", "science of life" or "practices of longevity."

According to Charaka Samhita, "life" itself is defined as the "combination of the body, sense organs, mind and soul, the factor responsible for preventing decay and death, which sustains the body over time, and guides the processes of rebirth". According to this aspect, Ayurveda is concerned with measures to protect "ojas", which includes healthy living along with therapeutic measures that relate to physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony.

Atharva-Veda is the earliest Indian text (approx. 1500 BC) with much medical information, one of several Vedas, upon which Ayurvedic medical practice is based on.

According to tradition, Ayurveda was first described in text form by Agnivesha, in his book the Agnivesh tantra. The book was later redacted by Charaka, and became known as the Charaka Samhitā. Another early text of Ayurveda is the Sushruta Samhitā, which was compiled by Sushruta, the primary pupil of Dhanvantri, sometime around 1000 BCE. Sushruta is known as the Father of Surgery, and in the Sushruta Samhita, the teachings and surgical techniques of Dhanvantri are compiled and complemented with additional findings and observations of Sushruta regarding topics ranging from obstetrics and orthopedics to ophthalmology. Sushruta Samhita together with Charaka Samhitā, served as the textual material within the ancient Universities of Takshashila and Nalanda. Charaka listed 500 remedies and Sushruta over 700 vegetable medicines.These texts are based on a holistic approach rooted in the philosophy of the Vedas and Vedic culture. Holism is central to ayurvedic philosophy and elements of holism is found in several aspects of ayurveda.

The basic principal of Ayurveda is that the entire universe is part of one singular absolute. Everything that exists in the vast external universe (macrocosm), also appears in the internal universe of the human body (microcosm). The human body consisting of 50-100 million cells, when healthy, is in harmony, self-perpetuating and self-correcting just as the universe is.

Ayurveda is based on the view that the elements, forces, and principles that comprise all of nature - and that holds it together and make it function - are also seen in human beings. In Ayurveda, the mind and the body not only influence each other but they are  one unique field of energy. Together they form the man, mind-body. There can be no mental health without physical health, and vice versa. In Ayurveda, symptoms and diseases that could be categorized as mental thoughts or feelings are just as important as symptoms and diseases of the physical body. Both are due to imbalances within a person, and both are treated by restoring the natural balance mentally and physically. In Ayurveda your whole life and lifestyle must be in harmony before you can enjoy true well being. Lifestyle interventions are a major Ayurvedic preventive and therapeutic approach. The universal consciousness is an intelligent, aware ocean of energy that gives rise to the physical world we perceive through our five senses. Ayurvedic philosophy and practices link us to every aspect of ourselves and remind us that we are in union with every aspect of nature, each other, and the entire universe.

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