By Devakinanda Pasupuleti
Ashtottaram 43) OṀ ĀYURVEDABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
Ashtottaram 43: OṀ (AUM)-AAYUR-VE’-DA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA
ॐ आयुर्वेदभूम्यै नमः
(Āyuh: Long life; Veda: Knowledge, science)
Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine. It is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.
Āyurveda is the science of life. The Vedic Bharatiyās believed in a vigorous life, a life of health, strength, and vitality. They paid as much attention to the culture of the body and the arts of war as to the science of the mind and the spirit. This gradually resulted in Āyurveda or the science of life, the elements of which have been found even in the Ṛigveda. However, it is in the Atharvaṇaveda that a more detailed, and to some extent, systematic treatment of the subject is found.
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Though the word Āyurveda appears to limit its scope to purely physical health, it is not so. Its approach to the science of health is holistic and includes not only the physical but also the mental and spiritual aspects of health in the context of man’s interaction with his environment. While doing so, it deals with several subjects that may be categorized briefly as follows: philosophical speculations about matter and life as also general ethics; biological theories which include embryology and genetics; physiology and pathology; food, nutrition, and diet; general rules of health and longevity; diagnosis and treatment of diseases; poisons and their antidotes.
Āyurvedic medicine is based on the tridoshasiddhāntam where the material bodies of human beings are composed of dosha (impurities, humor), dhātu (component matter), and mala (eliminations). The three doshas are vāta (wind), pitta (bile), and kapham (phlegm). Diseases are said to be the result of the imbalance of the three doshās or humor. During the medieval period, nāḍī-vijnāna (the science of pulse) came to be a major means of diagnosing the condition of the three doshās.
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The seven dhātus (component matter) which sustain our body (saptadhātus) are mentioned. They are: 1) rasa (chyle), 2) rakta (blood), 3) māmsa (flesh), 4) medhas (fat), 5) asṭhi (bone), 6) majjā (marrow), and 7) śhukla (semen). Classical texts of Āyurveda by Charaka and Śuśhruta are well known and most of the standard texts deal with the subject under eight topical headings; hence the appellation Aṣtānga.
There is evidence to believe that Āyurveda has influenced the medical works of Greece. Translations of several well-known Āyurvedic texts into Arabic prove the spread of science in the Arab countries. There is also evidence of its dispersal in Central and Southeast Asian countries. Today, there are many Āyurvedic colleges and universities in America teaching our age-old Āyurvedic medicine.
Millennia ago our motherland has given the knowledge of medicine to the world and is ‘Āyurveda Bhūmi.’