Ayurvedic Medicine – An Overview
Where did Ayurvedic Medicine Originate?
Ayurvedic Medicine originated in ancient India. The history of its origins is as mystical as its land of genesis. According to mythology, Ayurvedic Medicine was gifted to humanity by the Hindu God of Creation, Lord Brahma, when an epidemic engulfed the earth. This ancient field of Indian Medicine is said to have averted a social crisis caused by the widespread illness. Since then, Ayurveda had been a way of life in India.
Ayurveda and Vedic Living
During ancient times, India was a land of knowledge and wealth.
The workings of this advanced society, including minute details of science and technology, were recorded in scriptures known as the four Vedas. The sages of that period embraced During ancient times, India was a land of knowledge and wealth. The workings of this advanced society, including minute details of science and technology, were recorded in scriptures known as the four Vedas. The sages of that period embraced Ayurveda as a way of life. They not only practiced its principles but also compiled the knowledge in treatises, many of which are available even now.
The term Vedic Medicine is synonymous with Ayurvedic medicine. This is because, Ayurveda is an upaveda” or a supplementary veda, and forms a part of The Atharvana Veda (one of four Vedas of ancient India).
The Evolution of Ayurvedic Medicine
The knowledge of this traditional Indian Medicine was passed on orally for generations. The transformation of Ayurveda from an oral to a written tradition was gradual. Despite this, bulk of the knowledge was well preserved.
Two schools of thought exist in the written tradition of Ayurveda – The School of Medicine and The School of Surgery. Charaka Samhita and Susrutha Samhita are respectively the treatises for these schools. Vaagbhata’s, Ashtaangasamgraha, a text containing the essence of these two schools, is the third most important work in Ayurvedic Medicine. These three treatises are popularly known as brihatrayee or the great three treatises.
Evolution of Ayurveda as a way of life :
Ayurveda received patronage and faced persecution due to the political and religious invasions India underwent over the ages. Yet its popularity spread beyond Indian boundaries and reached far off places, like Sri Lanka, with the spread of Buddhism. The main treatises were translated into many languages including Arabic. .
Ayurveda remained a mainstream medical system until the advent of modern medicine in the 16th century. Ayurvedic medicine is still a living tradition despite the dip in its fame, and this field of Indian medicine continues to serve the suffering humanity thousands of years after its divine descent to earth.