Ayurveda is derived from the words AYU and VEDA. Life is AYU. VEDA stands for knowledge or science. Ayurveda is the term for “life science.” As stated in the Charaka Sutras 1 through 4, Charaka defines it as “That science designated as Ayurveda which deals with advantages and drawbacks as well as happy and unhappy stages of life as well as what is good and bad for life, its measurement and the life itself.” All living things, both animate and inanimate, are included in Ayurveda. It is separated into three principal branches, namely,
- Nara Ayurveda – dealing with human life
- Satva Ayurveda – the study of animal life and its ailments
- Vriksha Ayurveda – the science of plant life, growth, and illness
It is abundantly obvious that Ayurveda is a way of life that promotes total good health and spiritual development in addition to being a medical system. We are going to learn about the origin of Ayurveda and its progress over the years in this article.
According to Ayurveda, achieving one’s four most important life goals—Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha—requires having good health. Without sound, positive health, none of these four objectives can be accomplished.
Positive health is defined as:-
(a) Dosha Dhatu Samya (well-balanced metabolism)
(b) Atma Prasanna, Indriya, and Manah (happy state of the soul, senses and the mind). Here, “senses” refers to the five senses. Gyanendriya, or the senses of smell, taste, sight, touch, and hearing, together with Karmendriya, or the organs of action, including the reproductive and excretory systems, mouth, hands, and feet.
The origin of Ayurveda dates back to the Vedic era. The majority of information on health and disease is found in the Atharva Veda. According to historians, Atharva Veda includes Ayurveda. However, the oldest Veda, the Rigveda, also lists ailments and curative plants. There are hymns in the Atharva Veda that refer to drugs like Acorus calamus and Phyllanthus Embelia. The Rishi Conference, which took place on the foothills of Mount Himalaya during the prehistoric era, is when the systematised form of Ayurveda first emerged.
Charaka Samhita is the earliest Ayurvedic text that has been codified. Another standardised text is the Sushruta Samhita. The Charaka tradition was claimed to have been passed down through Atreya, whilst the Sushruta tradition was said to have been transmitted through Dhanvantari. While the Charaka Samhita focuses on internal medicine, the Sushruta School is predominately concerned with surgical methods and techniques.
The Charaka Samhita also lists Agnivesh, Bhela, Jatukarna, Parashar, Harita, and Ksharpani as some of Atreya’s first students. Each of them independently wrote treatises in the area of internal medicine. Charaka Samhita and Bhela Samhita are the only two of these six that can currently be found in their original form; Harita Samhita is also available, although its veracity is debatable. Foreign invasions caused the loss of many texts, which was a major setback for this old understanding of existence.
The evolution of medicine in India has not been constant over time since the origin of Ayurveda. The science and practice of medicine have been around since the Vedic era and have advanced steadily throughout the early centuries of the Christian era. After thereafter, creative output decreased, although up until the 10th century, modifications and commentaries of earlier works were still being published. Before Bhavaprakasha’s arrival, there was a significant pause between the 10th and 16th centuries. After this new work, there hasn’t been a significant addition to Ayurvedic literature.
Ayurveda is not the science of health, it should be kept in mind. Its scope extends beyond the treatment of illnesses and includes healthy living, disease prevention, and social and personal cleanliness.