What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, which literally means “The Science or Knowledge of Life”, is a traditional natural healing system of medicine originating in India. It is one of the oldest health care systems in the world that can be traced back 5000 years to Vedic era. Ayurveda has had an influence on many other systems of medicine throughout history, from the ancient Greeks in the west to the Chinese in the east. It is the foundation of Tibetan and Sri Lankan indigenous medicine that bought in Ayurveda with along with Indian Buddhism.
Ayurveda, whilst a medical system that has many treatments for the differing ailments of the body, is also wholly bound up with the psychic and spiritual side of ones health & well-being. The Ayurvedic approach to health therefore is holistic and considers the healing of mind body & spirit as essential to a person’s health. Ayurveda also reflects its heritage as part of the Vedas in incorporating spiritual perceptions such as the law of Karma, death & rebirth and the evolution of higher consciousness in humanity.
In order to understand Ayurveda we must first examine its spiritual and philosophical background. This viewpoint can differ widely from the modern scientific viewpoint. Ayurveda is based on a particular cosmology, a cosmology of cosmic evolution and the evolution of life. Before we go into the cosmology and evolution, let us first examine the spiritual and historical background of Ayurveda.