You may of heard of Ayurveda before and related it to something vaguely healthy, possibly even Indian. I know a few years back that was certainly me. Even though I had no knowledge on the subject, if I saw something labelled 'ayurvedic' for marketing purposes I thought 'Yeah, great!' But what does it actually mean?! For the next couple of weeks my blog posts will be devoted to introducing you to the subject.
Ayurevda literally means the science of life or the knowledge of living.
All cultures have their own ancient healing methods. For where there is life there is also death and where there is health there is also disease. So our ancestors created their own systems of healing based around their surrounding environment and the inherent nature of their peoples.
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that was developed in India and has survived till present day.
Our modern day understanding of health and medicine is learned and developed through logical deduction, analysis and questioning. In referencing our modern day understanding I am in no way underestimating or devaluing the importance of our contemporary understanding of health and the body, it is also truly wonderful!
In contrast, Ayurvedic knowledge was developed through experience, observation and acceptance. When ayurveda was developing, people had less control over external influences such as their environment. They therefore had to train their intuitive abilities, so that each generation would hand down their experiential knowledge from generation to generation, until it was formally organized into what we now know as Ayurveda.
There is a contrasting story on the birth of Ayurveda, that can be found in the The Charaka Samhita, one of the main ancient ayurvedic texts. It describes the sages or rishis (wise men) becoming concerned with the suffering of mankind, so they decide to call a meeting of great sages, in the hope of gaining more insight into the source of self and the health of man. So rather than looking outward they turn inward through the method of meditation. Through their meditation they connect with the ultimate source of self and in turn the ultimate source of nature is also revealed and the science of Ayurveda is expounded.
Two explanations for the origin of Ayurveda. In both cases the importance is placed on experience. Whether that be through intuitive, generational knowledge or meditative self realization, both originate in the human experience. What we should take away from these explanations is that we should continue this exploration for ourselves. Yes, we should read and study Ayurveda but we should also take time to taste, sense and feel it for ourselves.
To be continued...