Ayurveda dates from the Vedic period in India. It is a part of the Atharva-Veda, the 4th book of the sacred Indian scriptures. It is the oldest known medical treatise and uses herbal tinctures, minerals, and metal substances to treat patients. These ancient texts even taught surgical techniques, including rhinoplasty, kidney stone extractions, suturing, and foreign body extraction.
In Ayurveda, a holistic approach is elementary, in which physical existence, mental existence, and personality are viewed as units, with each element influencing the other. A disease most commonly begins in mental existence, transfers to a physiological state and, if not treated, into physical pain. Look how a cold starts. First, our life or feelings are turned upside down, which then turns into body aches. In the worst case, a fever puts us in bed for a few days.
Ayurveda perceives body energies very subtly and translates nutrients and mental stimulation into the cellular make-up of our body. These forces are elements of the immune system and are manifested in the end products of food, images, air and liquids that we take in every day. These so-called Ojas are the essence of all cells and gives strong immunity, vitality, and happiness. Without Ojas, we cease to live. By maximizing our sense of inner peace and harmony, we gain more Ojas. Meditation, yoga and healthy nutrition are excellent ways to achieve this.
Beside of Ojas, Tejas is responsible for our cellular intelligence, which controls our makeup in relation to our body components. Tejas gives luminosity to our skin, eyes, and hair, and creates a glow. If someone is described as enlightened, it is due to Tejas. For those who see auras, a halo is the manifestation of this light.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, 16 different channels (Srotas) maintain and transport blood, fluids, and nutrients, support venous and lymphatic systems, control the muscles and nerves, provide energy and lubrication, support the skeletal system, memory, and mental abilities, reproduction, elimination, all other bodily functions. Unhealthy or blocked channels cause disease.
Western Medicine vs Ayurveda
Western medicine recognizes the same body functionings described in the ancient Indian books, although this is done with a different approach. The Western method is analytical, reducing, and generalizing, while Ayurveda always looks at the personality as a whole, including our body, mind, and emotions. It is a very finely tuned understanding of our body considering all the connections within the body and the surrounding world.
Ayurveda is not a static medicine. It evolves and adapts. Today’s lifestyle differs significantly from that of thousands of years ago, but since Ayurveda is a living tradition and does not consist of firm dogmas, it can adapt and modernize.
While teaching the concept of Ayurveda, I see that people many times reconfirm me and start to understand themselves and their metabolism better. There are many different diets today like vegan, raw vegan, keto and many more. In combination with an Ayurvedic approach, they can be more balancing and beneficial and lead to a harmonious and happy life.
I am in awe at the knowledge that the ancient Indian people produced. In their ancient scriptures, there are many references to Rishis and Gandharvas, heavenly beings who once lived on earth and gave humankind their divine teachings. I wish we would better understand the past, their explanations on how the universe works, and more easily accept the myths that come from this unknown times.
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