Often everyone must have felt that in this world, leave alone humans, even the most smallest of creatures are always trying to be free from problems and sorrow and are trying to attain happiness. Keeping this hypothesis in mind, we can say that since the time of creation, humans have always been trying to fulfil hunger, thirst, sleep, natural desires and get rid of physical ailments. It is in this manner that Ayurveda came into existence. Nowadays, we practise a number of treatment methods such as allopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy (nature cure), reiki, etc. but Ayurvedic methods exists in our hearts. We see in our daily lives that if someone is suffering from stomach ache or gas, a little parsley or asafoetida is given; it is said that one should not have cold water when there is cough, cold and sore throat and he or she is advised to take basil and ginger tea, basil and black pepper or ginger juice and honey, or else milk and turmeric. Something is hot in nature or something is cold—all these are part of Ayurvedic treatment methods that we have learnt from our elders and practice with easily available items from the kitchen. We get a number of things from our kitchen and garden that we can use as it is in the form of medicine. In this manner, we cannot separate Ayurvedic treatment methods from ourselves at all.
What is ‘Ayurveda’?
It has created a place for itself in our lives. To understand this, we should know the origin of the word ‘Ayurveda’. This word has been created by joining the two words—‘Ayur’ and ‘Veda’. ‘Ayur’ means life and ‘Veda’ means knowledge and science. In this way, the word ‘Ayurveda’ means the scientific knowledge of life. In general language, the art of living life in the right manner is called Ayurveda. This is because this knowledge is not only about curing diseases, it gives all-round knowledge on all essential things on how to live. We can call it a treatment method only in a very narrow sense because it also provides established and lifestyle-linked knowledge related to health and diseases. In reality this knowledge is not only for humans but for all living creatures and affects all physical, mental and spiritual areas of their lives.
Ayurveda is the science that gives knowledge of the good and bad of life, happiness and sorrow, span and characteristics. This makes it clear that Ayurveda is not limited to a particular person, caste or location but it is applicable everywhere to all. Just as life is a truth, similarly these rules and theories are true and important in all situations, i.e. they are eternal and equal in all locations. We get the feeling “Everyone should be happy and healthy”. While doing Ayurvedic treatment we should keep certain things in mind and at the same time we also get certain freedom. These are given in detail below:
1. Treatment of a complete personality:
While treating a person in this method, the health care taker does not look at only the affected region or part of the body showing symptoms, but pays attention to the state of the mind, physical nature and soul. This is the reason that people suffering from the same disease are given different medicines.
2. The psycho-somatic aspect of diseases:
According to Ayurveda, a disease cannot be only physical or only mental. Physical illness has a bad effect on the mind and, in the same way, mental illnesses also affect the physical body. In other words, while treating any illness, the mind and body cannot be completely separated. This is the reason why all diseases are treated as psycho-somatic diseases because the root cause of all illnesses related to Vat, Pitta, Kapha and mental illnesses is one—mistake of the intellect. Behind Ayurvedic medicine and treatment lies hundreds of years of experience of the sages. The main sources of these medicines are plant kingdom (trees and plants), products from the animal kingdom (cow’s urine, cow’s milk, clarified butter, etc.), and natural substances such as metals, etc. There is no use of any chemicals. In other words, these medicines do not have any side effect on our body. Nowadays, allopathic doctors create a fear against medicines containing metals such as copper. However, such medicines are not made directly from these metals or from poisonous vegetable products. Before using them in medicine, such substances are subject to a number of treatments which remove the poisonous aspect of the substance and prepare it in such a way that it can easily enter our body and mix without any harmful effects with the other substances of our body. In this way, instead of being harmful, these substances become beneficial for us.
3. Every medicine is in itself a rejuvenator:
Every Ayurvedic medicine in itself plays the role of a tonic or rejuvenator because in one way or the other it provides nourishment to the body or mind. This is the reason why along with sick people, even healthy people can take these medicines. Just as it removes illness from a sick person, it also nourishes a healthy person, increasing immunity.
4. Importance given to disease-preventing medicine or substances:
In this method, more importance is given to increasing immunity of a person so that diseases are not able to attack the person in the first place. This is the reason why texts such as rules related to food, etc, lifestyle rules to be followed in different seasons, day and night etc. have been developed to be followed in this system.
5. Importance of appropriate intakes:
In Ayurveda, importance is given to those food and drinks that is in tune with the nature of the patient and is able to keep diseases away from the person. At the same time it puts a ban on those substances that go against the nature of the person or increases diseases. In this way, not only does a healthy person retain his health, even the sick person becomes healthy fast.
6. A cheap and simple method of diagnosis:
In modern methods of treatment, the main treatment does not even start until and unless a number of expensive tests are carried out. In this way, the patient has to suffer monetary loss also along with physical and mental discomfort. Opposed to this, in Ayurveda, a knowledgeable health care taker will just check the pulse, etc and give a diagnosis, saving a lot of unnecessary physical and mental problems or expenditure.
7. Curing the root of the disease:
In this method, treatment is carried out in such a way that the main cause of the disease is uprooted. The symptoms of the disease are not treated alone to give temporary relief to the patient. When the root cause of the disease is treated, then the disease is removed for ever from the body.
8. Conservation of ancient tradition:
With Ayurvedic treatment, the hundreds of year’s knowledge of the sages is conserved. In other words, we can conserve the ancient tradition by following Ayurvedic treatment methods.
9. Easy availability of medicines and lack of complicacy:
A number of Ayurvedic medicines are easily available in our kitchens and gardens at homes, and it is easy to procure them. Along with this, for this we have to connect with nature and thus stay away from complex lifestyles.
10. Saving of foreign currency:
Using such medicines is also beneficial from the point of view of national economy. Because all such medicines are available through nature, i.e. we do not have to spend foreign currency in procuring them from other countries, saving a lot of time, money and our energy.
11. Complementary to yoga:
Just as it has already been stated earlier, Ayurveda teaches one to lead a proper life. The aim of Ayurveda is three-pronged—Material benefit, Work and Attainment of salvation. The rules and theories explained in Ayurveda also help in the practice of Yoga. In this way, we see that Ayurvedic treatment methods are unique and follow our lifestyle. We do not have to separate it from ourselves.
Just as it has been stated earlier, ayurveda is not just related to the well being of human beings but to the good of all living organisms. In other words, we also get description of diseases of the animal kingdom and even of plant diseases. Different sages have written different books on this—Aswayurveda (related to horses), Gajayurveda (related to elephants), Gawayurveda (related to cows), and Brikshayurveda (related to plants). In this way, it is clear that the scope of Ayurveda is very broad. Just as this science describes the logical treatment of diseases which are cured with difficulty and incurable diseases, it also gives importance to the fact that the health of normal people is maintained and there is prevention of attack from diseases. For this, there is detailed description of how people should lead their lives in daytime and night time and in different seasons, of the habits to follow or avoid. There is also description of how to fulfil natural desires such as hunger, thirst, etc and how to protect oneself from natural disorders such as problems caused because of old age.
The topics covered in Ayurveda have been divided into eight sections, which are known as the eight streams of Ayurveda.
1. Kaya chikitsa (Internal medicine):
This is treatment of internal disorders with the help of intake of medicines.
2. Shalya chikitsa (Surgery):
It is for special treatment or surgery for simple and complex diseases.
3. Shalakya chikitsa:
Treatment methods related to the head and neck region, which includes diseases of eyes, ears, nose, mouth, shoulders, etc.
4. Agad Tantra (Toxicology):
This deals with the treatment against diseases caused by poison.
5. Bhoot Vidya (Psychiatry):
This deals with mental disorders and diseases caused by planets.
6. Bal Tantra (Paediatrics):
This deals with the diseases suffered by children and new-born babies and their treatment.
7. Rasayan Tantra (Gerontology):
This explains how to keep the body supple and free from ill-effects of old age. This is also a rejuvenation therapy.
8. Vajikaran Tantra (Aphrodisiacs):
This deals with the improvement in sexual performance and treatment of sexual disorders.
Different sages have researched and written different texts on all these streams and these were all practiced in the ancient times. However, the middle ages affected them and a number of texts have been destroyed. Under the supervision of Sage Kashyap, treatment of childhood diseases reached new heights. Sage Shushrut was a scholar in surgical treatment. His ‘Sushruta Samhita’ is still available today. Surgery was at a very high level in those days. There can be found details of births through caesarean operations, skin grafting and plastic surgery. Sushrut is also known as the father of plastic surgery. Even extremely difficult surgeries as that of tumours of the brain and Bhagandar (ano-reactal canal) were prevalent in those days. However, the non-violent tenant of Buddhism affected the treatment badly and gradually this diminished. This was because it was felt that cutting up of the body lead to violence and this in turn affected the other streams as well and they also became less practiced. Nowadays, only ‘Kaya Chikitsa’, Rasayan Chikitsa’, and ‘Vajikarana Tantra’ are still seen. The streams are more or less lost. Efforts are being made to revive that knowledge so that mankind gets rid of ill-affects of chemical based therapies.
No doubt, chemical based therapies are being practised to provide quick relief against pains but they are not found to be curing through the roots of the diseases. For that purpose, nature based therapy is recognized best amongst all.
Be Happy – Adopt Ayurveda