About Ayurveda

Ayurveda in term is made of two words 'Ayu' and 'Veda'. Ayu means life and Veda means to know of or science, thus Ayurveda defined as the knowledge of life or the science of life. It deals with the total creation with special emphasis on the biology of life. According to the ancient Ayurvedic saint Charak, ’ayu’ comprises the mind, body, senses and the soul.

शरीरेन्द्रिय सत्वात्म संयोगो धारि जीवितम् ।
नित्यगश्चानुबन्धश्च पर्यायैरायुरुच्यते॥

Our Acharyas like Charak, Sushrut, Vagbhatt, Agnivesh, Kashyap, Sharangdhar, Madhav …. defined Ayurveda as:

हिताहितं सुखं दुःखमायुस्तस्य हिताहितम् ।
मानं च तच्च यत्रोक्तमायुर्वेदः स उच्यते ॥

Ayurveda is where all ailments of body & mind are cured
  • In Ayurveda, all natural resources and their effect on body are discussed.
  • It is a science, not only for disease but it has given ‘RUTUCHARYA’ & ‘DINCHARYA’ to stay fit.
  • An eternal knowledge about to cure the disease of all kinds.

Ayurveda is the science where utilization of all foods, herbs, medicines & other natural resources for maintenance of health is discussed. From these definitions, it is clear that Ayurveda is a complete knowledge about life which deals with all the health concerns of the people and also helps in maintaining the wellbeing by holistic approach.




The Object of Ayurveda


स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्य रक्षणम्
आतुरस्य विकार प्रशमनं च।

As Ayurveda is a superior science of the world with holistic approach, the first and chief objective of Ayurveda is to prevent illness and protect health of a healthy person for prolong life. (Swasthasya Swasthya Rakshanam) In behalf of that object ‘DINCHARYA’ and ‘RUTUCHARYA’ are given under ‘SWASTHAVRITTHA’.

The other objective of Ayurveda is to cure and eliminate disease and dysfunction of the body. (Aturasya Vikar Prashamanam cha)




Basic Principles of Ayurveda


Panchmahabhoota

According to Ayurveda, everything in whole universe is composed of five basic elemental substances known as “Panchmahabhoota” as:

  • AKASH (space or ether)
  • VAYU (air)
  • TEJA or AGNI (fire)
  • JALA (water)
  • PRITHVI (earth).

These are mixed in countless varieties of relative magnitude such that each form of matter is distinctly unique. In human being for instance, Akash corresponds to spaces within the body like mouth, abdomen, nostrils etc., Vayu denotes the movements like muscular and nervous system, Teja or Agni controls the functioning of enzymes as digestive system, metabolism, intelligence etc., Jala is in all body fluids like plasma, saliva, blood, digestive juice etc. and Prithvi consists solid structure of the body as bones, teeth, flesh, hair etc. Our five basic sense organs are related to Panchmahabhoota.

Their properties and action are as follows:


PANCHMAHABHOOT SENSORY ORGAN ACTION IN OUR BODY
AKASH SOUND All body channels, space for movement of all body fluids. Creates vacuum in organs.
VAYU TOUCH Controls movements of eyelids, respiration and other motor functions.
TEJA/AGNI SIGHT(VISUAL) Digestion and assimilation of food, controls body temperature and luster of body colour.
JALA TASTE Making things smooth, the adhesive force.
PRITHAVI SMELL Sweet taste, heavy, immobile, compact and rough. Organs as teeth-flesh-nails-muscles etc.


Tridosha

The Panchmahabhoota constitute the three essential bio-components of the living body which are termed as the ‘TRIDOSHA.’

  • VATA
  • PITTA
  • KAPHA

Vata pertains to Vayu and Akash elements. This energy is generally seen as the force which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration and elimination.

Pitta pertains to Agni and Jala elements. Pitta governs metabolism like the transformation of foods into nutrients. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue system.

Kapha pertains to Jala and Prithvi elements. Kapha is responsible for growth and protection. The mucosal lining of the stomach and the cerebrospinal fluid which protects the brain and spinal column are examples of Kapha. When the Tridosha are well harmonized and function in a balanced manner, it results in good health and wellness of the individual. But when there is disharmony or imbalance within Tridosha, it will result in elemental imbalance leading to various kinds of ailments.


Dhatu

‘Dhatu’ is a unique concept of Ayurveda. Our Acharyas have re-categorized the morphophysiological structure of the body into seven Dhatu or the seven basic tissues which are named as:

  • Rasa (plasma)
  • Rakta (blood)
  • Mamsa (muscle)
  • Meda (adipose)
  • Asthi (bone),
  • Majja (marrow),
  • Shukra (reproductive tissue)

There is a very interesting concept in Indian system of medicine about the evolution of these seven basic tissues. Ayurveda believes that Ras is the first Dhatu which is formed in the body, a part of which when matured gets transformed into Rakta. Similarly Rakta gets transformed into Mamsa and Mamsa into Meda and so on… Shukra is supposed to be the last Dhatu to be formed in this sequence. All these Dhatu receive their nutrition through their precursor Dhatu or directly from Poshak Rasa.

The quintessence of all the seven body tissues is called Ojas or vital essence. Ojas is a very specialized vital biometrical which is responsible for sustenance of life and immunity. Ojas is the real bio-strength of the body and it represents the immune system.


Agni Or Biofire

Agni is another important principle governing the basic physiology in Ayurveda. Ayurveda describes thirteen types of Agni as,

  • One Jatharagni effective at the level of gastro-intestinal digestion.
  • Seven Dhatvagni effective at the level of seven basic Dhatu.

Five Bhootagni controlling the metabolism of Panchmahabhoota. It is believed that Jatharagni is responsible for the alimentary digestion and also governs the functions of all the Dhatvagni and Bhootagni. It appears that Dhatvagni and Bhootagni are specific physio-chemical agent which can be compared with the enzymes and endocrine factors which are responsible for all kinds of digestive and metabolic activities


Srotas

The human is made of innumerable channels – These channels which may be gross or subtle are called as ‘Srotas’. For proper functioning of the body, it is necessary that the channels of the body are clean and competent to flow the nutrients, excretables, medicaments as well as the energies and impulses. If the Srotas are blocked the flow of nutrients, energies and metabolites is obstructed and the total body physiology is distorted leading to a morbid status or illness.