A Brief Introduction to Ayurveda and it's History.


Ayurveda is something that we should all incorporate into our everyday lives. It is one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems and comes from India. The wonderful thing about Ayurveda is that it is so beautifully logical, once you get the hang of it, it's easy to integrate into you'r every day life.


What does the word Ayurveda mean?

Ayurveda literally translates to knowledge or science of life

Ayu = life

Veda = Knowledge or Science


History of Ayurveda

Where does all of this knowledge come from? If you practice yoga you may have heard of the "Vedas" or "Upanishads", but here is a little summary of the historic texts.


Vedas

As we've already mentioned, the word Veda means science or knowledge. There are 4 Vedas that are considered the cultural encyclopedia of India.

  • Rig Veda - Verses/Mantras

  • Saam Veda - Music/Rhythm

  • Yajur Veda - Sacrifice

  • Atharva Veda - Plants and Medicinal

The Atharva Veda is the mother of Ayurveda.

The Vedas are incredibly scholarly works, it is said that it will take more than a lifetime to fully understand the Vedas. To make this information more accessible, the Upanishads was written.


Upanishads

The Upanishads is a commentary on the Vedas. It is made up of 108 and verses that are short and simple, to make it easy for students to memorise. The word Upanishads, literally translates to "sitting near too" as in when students were sat near and listening to their teachers talk about the Vedas. Even though this was a simplified version, it was still considered to be quite scholarly, so these verses we made into stories, the Puranas.


Puranas

There are 18 puranas in total, puranas are ancient stories, they contain the same truth as the Upanishads but are put into stories to make them easier to understand. The last purana contains one story you might well be aware of, the Bhagavad Gita.


Brihat Trai

Brihat = Major, Trai = Three, these are the three major Ayurvedic texts.


The knowledge of Ayurveda was passed from Brahma -to- Daksha -to- Ashwiki Kumara (the first ever physician) - Indra (King of the Devas).


When humans began to settle into towns and villages, they began to get disease and illnesses this led to people wanting to seek out a way to have a healthy life, civilisations sent people to find Indra and the Devas, as it was known that they were healthy and they wanted to discover their way of life. Two books were created from this:


Charaka Samhita

Samhita = Summary, Charaka is the author. Written roughly 3,000 years ago in Western India in what is now known as Punjab. Charaka is attributed with being the Father of Ayurvedic Medicine.

As the story goes, Bhardvaj was a soldier that volunteered himself to seek out Indra to find the information, he brought back the information to Atreya who had 6 students which he passed this information too. Agnivesh was the most promising of these students and wrote the most successful compilation, this was then edited and compiled by Charaka into Charaka Samhita.


Susruta Samhita