By the Kindness of Great Gurudev Sant Shri AsaramJi Bapu
AROGYANIDHI An Divya Grantha ( divine Book )on Ayurveda & Healthy Living.
Books on Ayurveda on Every Thing Pranayam Vidhi Yogaasan,Yogic Mudra, ways of Healthy Living, Mantras,Upasana,Yogic Sadhana,Ayuvedic Aoushadhi Herbs, Plants & Trees,Surya Chiktsa, Remedies Prevention,Treatment & Permenant Cure.
Arogyanidhi Vol1 & Arogyanidhi Vol2
Ayurveda from Param Pujya Sant Shri Asaram Bapu Ji Ashram official website http://www.ashram.org
Lord Dhanwantari is regarded as the god of ayurvedic medicine (Ayurveda) in the Hindu religion. People pray to Dhanvantari, asking him for improved or good health for themselves and for others. Dhanvantri Mantra forms the part of prayers offered to the lord. Mantra of Dhanwantari with its meaning is as follows:
Dhanavantri Maha Mantra
“Om Namo Bhagavate
Amrutha Kalasa Hasthaaya
Sarva Bhaya Vinasaya
Sarva Roga Nivaranaya
Trai Lokya Pathaye
Trai Lokya Nithaye
Sri Maha Vishnu Swarupa
Sri Dhanvantri Swarupa
Sri Sri Sri
Aoushadha Chakra Narayana Swaha”
ॐ नमो भगवते महा सुदर्शनाय वासुदेवाय धनवन्तरये अमृत कलश हस्ताय
सर्व भय विनाशाय सर्व रोग निर्वाणाय
त्रैलोक पथये त्रैलोक निधये
श्री महा विष्णु स्वरुप श्री धन्वन्तरि स्वरुप
श्री श्री श्री औषध चक्र नारायण स्वाहा ll
Meaning: We pray to the God, who is known as Sudarshana Vasudev Dhanvantari. He holds the Kalasha full of nectar of immortality. Lord Dhanvantri removes all fears and removes all diseases. He is the well wisher and the preserver of the three worlds. Dhanvantari is like Lord Vishnu, empowered to heal the Jiva souls. We bow to the Lord of Ayurveda.
Om Sankham Chakram jaloukaam dadhad amruta gaTam chaaru dOrbhis chaturbhih l
sookashma svachchhaati hridyaam sukha pari vilasan moulim ambOja nEtram ll
kaala ambha uda ujjjvalaangam kaTi taTa vilasad Chaaru peetaambaraadhyam l
vandE Dhanvantarim tam nikhila gada vana prouDa daavaagni leelam ll
In Sanskrit, Ayurveda (Ayur-Veda) means the “Science of Life,” in the sense that life is the integration of body, mind and consciousness.
Dhanvantari the God of Ayurveda (also known Dhanwantari, Dhanvanthari) (धन्वंतरी) is an avatar of Vishnu from the Hindu tradition. He appears in the Vedasand Puranas as the physician of the gods (devas), and the god ofAyurvedic medicine. It is common practice in Hinduism for worshipers to pray to Dhanvantari seeking his blessings for sound health for themselves and others.
Origin of Ayurveda
The Lord Himself is the first divine physician. He is the best among physicians.
When the body is afflicted with senility and diseases, the holy water of Mother Ganga is the medicine and Lord Narayana, from whose holy feet Ganga emanates, is the great physician.
Dhanvantari is depicted as Vishnu with four hands, holding medical herbs in one hand and a pot containing rejuvenating nectar called amrita in another. The Puranas state that Dhanavantari emerged from the ‘Ocean of Milk’ and appeared with the pot of nectar during the story of the Samudra or Sagar manthan whilst the ocean was being churned by the devas and asuras, using the Mandara mountain and the serpent Vasuki. The pot of Amrita was snatched by the Asuras or Demons, and after this event another avatar, Mohini, appears and takes the nectar back from the Asuras.
Dhanvantari Tryodashior Dhanteras
Birth day celebration of Lord Dhanvantari, the God of health, healing and cure, is celebrated with great enthuiasm and happy environment, by the practitioners of the Ayurveda every year, on Dhan Teras, two days before Deepwali, the Hindu festival of Lights. In the Samudra Manthan, Lord Dhanvantari appeared with the keeping Amrit Pot, Shankha, Chakrra and Jalauka each one in his four hands.
Once upon a time some distinguished sages happened to meet on the Himalayan mountains, among them being Agastya, Ashvalyana, Asita, Badarayana, Balikhya, Bharadwaja, Chyavana, Devala, Dhaumya, Galaya, Garga, Gautama, Gobhila, Harita, Hiranyaksha, Jamadagni, Kamya, Kankayana, Kapinjala, Kashyapa, Katyayana, Kaundinya, Kushika, Langakshi, Maitreya, Markandeya, Narada, Parashara, Parikshaka, Pulasthya, Sankhya, Sankritya, Shakuneya, Shandilya, Sharaloma, Shaunaka, Vaijapeya, Vaikhanasa, Vamadeva, Vasishtha, Vishwamitra and many others. All of them were well-versed in philosophy and practised religious austerities. The subject of their conversation was the ‘ills that the flesh is heir to’. They began to complain: “Our body, which is the means of attaining the four aims of life, viz., virtue, worldly pursuits, pleasure and liberation, is subject to diseases which emaciate and weaken it, deprive the senses of their functions, and cause extreme pains. These diseases are great impediments to our worldly affairs and bring on premature death. In the face of such enemies, how can men be happy? It is necessary, therefore, to find remedies for such diseases.” They turned to sage Bharadwaja, and thus addressed him:
“O Sage! Thou art the fittest person among us. Go thou to the thousand-eyed Indra, who has systematically studied the Ayurveda, and by acquiring from him the knowledge of that science, free us, O sage, from the scourge of diseases.”
“So be it,” said the sage, who at once went to Indra and thus accosted him: “O Lord, I have been deputed by the parliament of sages, to learn from you the remedies for the direful diseases that afflict mankind; I pray you, therefore, to teach me the Ayurveda.”
Indra was pleased with the object of his mission, and taught him the Ayurveda in all its parts. Bharadwaja recounted the precepts he had acquired to the other sages who had deputed him, and with the knowledge of this science they were able to live in health and happiness.
Indra taught the science to his pupil Atreya, who wrote several works. Atreya Samhita is a celebrated book. Atreya is one of the oldest authorities on Hindu medicine.
Brahma propounded the healing art first. He composed the Ayurveda consisting of one hundred chapters of one hundred stanzas each. It is the oldest medical book of the Hindus. It is divided into eight parts:
(1) Shalya: Surgery. (2) Shalaka: Treatment of disease of the eye, nose, mouth, ears, etc. (3) Kaya Chikitsa: Treatment of general diseases affecting the whole body, such as, fever, diabetes, etc. (4) Bhoota-vidya: Treatment of diseases caused by evil spirits. (5) Kumara Bhritya: Treatment of infants and of puerperal state. (6) Agada: Antidotes to poisons: (7) Rasayana: Treats of medicines which promote health and longevity, which preserve vigour, restore youth, improve memory, cure and prevent diseases in general. (8) Vajikarana or aphrodisiac: Describes the means of increasing the virile power, of giving tone to the weakened organs of generation.
Nidane Madhava Shreshthah, Sutra Sthane Tu Vagbhatah;
Sharire Sushrutah Proktah, Charakastu Chikitsake.
It means Madhava is unrivalled in Diagnosis. Vagbhata in principles and practice of Medicine. Sushruta in Surgery and Charaka in Therapeutic. In his old age Madhava became an ascetic and assumed the name of Vidyaranya (forest of learning).
Charaka is said to have been an incarnation of Shesha—the Serpent God with a thousand hoods—who is supposed to be the depository, of all sciences, especially of medicine.
Charaka, the son of Vishuddha, a learned Muni, flourished during the Vedic period. Some believe him to have been born at Banaras 320 years B.C. He was the greatest physician of his day, and his “Charaka Samhita” is still held to be a standard work on medicine.
Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Ayurveda are the oldest and most reputed treatises on Hindu medicine now extant. Charaka Samhita is generally believed to be the oldest work on Hindu medicine.
Atreya taught the Ayurveda to six pupils, namely Agnivesa, Bhela, Jatukarna, Parasara, Harita and Kharapani. Agnivesa first wrote a book on medicine. It was edited and corrected by Charaka.
Next to Charaka the authority on Hindu medicine is Vagbhata, who flourished about the second century before Christ. He was an inhabitant of Sindh. Vagbhata wrote Ashtanga Hridaya. This is a mere compilation from Charaka and Sushruta.
Dhanwantari, the surgeon of heaven descended upon earth in the person of Dividasa, king of Banaras for teaching surgery. Sushruta learnt surgery from Dhanwantari. Sushruta treats of anatomy, surgical diseases, surgical instruments, operations.
The general diseases such as fever, diarrhoea, chest diseases etc. are treated in the book called “Uttara-tantra”
Madhava or Madhavacharya, who wrote several works embracing almost all branches of Hindu learning was born in Kishkindha now called Golkonda in South India.
Bhava Mishra, author of Bhava Prakasha lived in 1550 A.D. He was considered to be the best scholar of his time in Madra Desha.
Madhava Kara wrote the book Nidana. This is a concise treatise, on the causes, symptoms, and prognosis of diseases. It is a text book on pathology.
Chakrapani Datta wrote Chakradatta Sangraha. It deals with the treatment of diseases.
Bhava Misra was an inhabitant of Banaras, where he is said to have had no less than four hundred pupils. Bhava Misra wrote a book called Bhavaprakasha. It is a comprehensive treatise compiled from the works of preceding authors. There is additional information on the properties of drugs, accounts of new drugs and of some new diseases like syphilis.
Then followed Sharangadhara, son of Damodara, who wrote a treatise bearing his name. The work is divided into twenty-five chapters, and is a very popular work.
There are several works in Sanskrit devoted especially to the description of the synonyms and properties of drugs and articles of diet. The oldest treatment on this subject is the book called Raja-nighantu.
Bhela, Jatukarna, Parasara, Kharapani and Harita wrote medical books.
Agnivesha’s “Nidanajnana”, a treatise on diagnosis, is still admired.
Harita Samhita is a standard book. This was dictated by Atreya in reply to Harita’s questions.
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from Rishiprasad sant Shri Asaramji Ashram monthly Spiritual magazine
Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word comprises of two words, ayus, meaning ‘life’ and veda, meaning ‘science’, thus ayurveda in literal sense means the ‘science of life’. It is a system of traditional medicine with its origin in the Indian subcontinent. It has been a popular and influential system of medicine in entire South Asia. The earliest literature of this traditional medicine system is said to have appeared during the Vedic period in India. The most influential of these Ayurveda literatures has been the Sushruta Samhita and the Charaka Samhita. Ayurveda is said to be a fully developed medicinal art with a number of unique and exclusive medicinal therapies and surgical procedures for the treatment of various ailments and diseases.
Eight Branches Of Ayurveda
Ayurveda, being a vast science is divided into eight branches, which are collectively called as Ashtang Ayurveda. Like any other modern medicinal therapies, Ayurveda believes in specialized treatment for different body parts. Thus, the medicinal art have been categorized under branches that deal with psychiatry, internal medicine, treatment of eyes, ears, nose, throat and head, toxicology and gerentorology separately. Ayurveda is the first ever medicine system to categorize pediatrics, aphrodisiacs and surgery as the branches of any medicinal science.
List Of The Eight Branches
Kayachikitsa -Internal Medicine
Shalya chikitsa -Surgery
Bala chikitsa- Pediatrics
Graha chikitsa- Bhoot Vidya – Psychiatry
Urdhvanga chikitsa-Treatment of eyes, ears, nose, throat and head
Damstra chikitsa- Agad Tantra -Toxicology
Jara chikitsa- Rasayana- Gerentorology
Vrishya chikitsa- vajikarana- Aphrodisiacs
Ayurveda is oldest medical science known to mankind and mainly aims at healthy living and long life unlike other medical science which simply focus on the treatment of ailments and diseases. According to Ayurvedic science, there should be proper balance between the inner constituent elements of the body for a healthy existence.
Ayurveda is a very elaborate and vast medicinal science. It deals with several kinds of complex ailments and surgeries. The science of Ayurveda is divided into eight different categories in order to clearly demarcate the treatment of one ailment from another. That is why the science of Ayurveda is often referred as Astang Ayurveda i.e. the life science with eight branches.
Ayurveda is an ancient medicinal science. It originated in the Indian subcontinent about 5000 years ago and is considered to be one of the most advance medical therapies existing in the world till now.
Rasayana Chikitsa is the branch of Ayurvedic science, which deals with various aspects of preventive health care. This branch of Ashtang Ayurveda aims at achieving a long and healthy life. It includes longevity, improved memory, health, youthfulness, glow, complexion, generosity, strength of body and senses.
Ayurveda is the holistic approach, which is mainly concerned with the treatment of the body. In the process, the person undergoes a change in the lifestyle, which includes change in food, clothing and sometimes even residence. Ayam and vyayam, yogasadhana and gati are some of the vital components that are included in an ayurvedic treatment.
One out of the eight branches of Ayurveda, Shalakya Tantra deals with the etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and treatment of diseases that are located above the neck region such as the head, ear, nose, eye and throat. It is responsible for all types of problems in and around the head.
In the ancient India, surgery was principally pioneered by Ayurveda. Shalya Chikitsa is a significant branch of Ayurvedic science. The name of the sage-physician, Susruta, is synonymous with surgery. From his treatise Susruta Samhita, we have become aware of the thousand of years ago sophisticated methods of surgery that were practiced in India.
Vrishya Chtikitsa is a branch of Ayurveda that explains the art of producing healthy progeny for the creation of a better society. It deals with various diseases like infertility and conditions relating to weak shukra dhatu or the vital reproductive fluids of the body. Vrishya Chtikitsa is also known as Vajikarana, which means the medicine or therapy by which a man becomes capable of copulating with a woman.
Ayurveda Acharyas of Ancient India
Humankind got ‘life of knowledge’ through many Ayurveda practitioners. The knowledge is transferred to present generation by ways of palm scripts and word of mouth from Ayurveda masters to students.
We can’t gather information about the life story of the thousands of seers who spend their lives to nurture and spread the knowledge for the benefits of humankind. Ayurveda is ascribed a divine origin and the acharyas approached Ayurveda, medicines with religious fervor.
The divine handling of the knowledge must be one reason that Ayurveda was today made available to the whole humankind.
Acharyas like Bhagvan Sushruta,Charaka, Vagbhata, Atreya, Bhavamisra etc don’t claim Ayurveda started with them. In fact they generally acknowledge Ayurveda practice of many other seers who lived before them and their contemporaries.
We know about these acharyas, because of the texts they have written or because of other texts that mention their names and works.
Ashtangahridaya; the Essence of Eight Branches of Ayurveda
The term Ashtanga Hridaya literally means the heart of eight organs (of Ayurveda). Asthangahridaya tells what you can find in this great Ayurvedic classic by Vagbhata, written in the fifth century AD.
The above slogan tells that kaya chikitsa (treating physique or body), bala (baala) chikitsa (pediatrics), griha chikitsa (psychiatry), urdhvanga chikitsa or shalakya tantra (eye, ear, nose and parts above neck), salya tantra (surgery), damsthra chikitsa (toxicology) and jara chikitsa or rasayana chikitsa (rejuvenation therapy), vrishya chikitsa or vajeekarana chikitsa (aphrodisiac therapy) are the eight branches or organs (angas) of Ayurveda.
Ashtanga hridaya is the book that tells in detail about all the eight angas of Ayurveda. It is the sum total of all knowledge spread across millions of slogas from thousands of books written by eminent Ayurveda practitioners and teachers from the past. All topics regarding Ayurveda are concentrated to some 7000 slogas in Ashtangahridaya.
Astagahridaya tells in detail about dinacharyas (daily routine), ritucharyas (seasonal routines) etc. Ritucharya is the method of adjusting our daily activities like taking bath, food and drinks, work and travel, entertainment, rest and sleep etc. It also details the methods of controlling our thoughts, words, action, and even what we look at and see.
There is a sloga in Ashtangahridaya, which we can regard as the corner stone of health;
Â Nityam hithahara vihara sevii
Â Sameekshyakaree vishayeshuasakthaha
Â Datha samassthya paraha kshamava
Â Napthopaseveecha, bhavatya rogaha
The meaning of the sloga goes like this Â–
Take good food, do moderate physical exercise, think well before starting risky ventures, live a life of self respect, give alms according to your capacity, love all alike, tell only truth, maintain composure under pressure, be forgiving, mingle with good people Â–
The brief sloga tells about the ingredients of good physical and mental health. Deviating from this lifestyle can cause diseases.
The Reliability of Ashtangahridaya
Vagbhata Acharya, in the concluding part of Ashtangahridaya inscribes a sloga as follows.
Â Manthraval Samprayokthavyam
Â Na Meemamsyam Kadhanjana
The translation goes like this Â– this much (the scripts of ashtangahridaya till this point) is an accumulation of memories from past experiences. Practicing them will give scalable results. Continuously recite this as a mantra. Thus, you will get the powers and you can utilize this knowledge with confidence.
Ashtangahridayam indeed is the concentrated form of all knowledge of practitioners of Ayurveda till the time of Vagbhata. All the knowledge in Ashtangahridaya is in highly processed (samskrita) form. One can be said to be a vaidya if he has this knowledge.
No one can prove even a word in Ashtangahridaya untrue. It not only have the treatment methods, medicines, etc listed, but also the lifestyle requirements, the root-cause of diseases, etc are all true according to the uncountable Ayurvedic practitioners that bear witness to the effectiveness of Ayurveda.
The Earliest practitioner Dhanvantari
Dhanvantari was an early Indian medical practitioner and one of the world’s first surgeons. Based on Vedic traditions, he is regarded as the source of Ayurveda. He perfected many herbal based cures and natural remedies and was credited with the discovery of theantiseptic properties of turmeric and the preservative properties ofsalt which he incorporated in his cures.
Being a very skilled surgeon according to the standards of his time, he is widely believed to be the pioneer of modern medical practices like plastic surgery and all other medical feilds.
As a result of the brilliance and achievements he displayed in the field of medicine he was chosen as one of the Nine Gems in early Indian King Chakravarthy Maharaja Vikramaditya’s court.
According to traditions, he taught surgery methods and procedures to Susrutha, the Father of Ayurvedic Surgery.
Charaka Samhita by Acharya Charaka — Ancient Ayurveda Books
Charaka samhita is the main Ayurvedic text that deals with medicines and non-surgical methods of Ayurvedic treatment. Charaka Acharya lived in third or second century BC. Charaka Samhita is one of the three major classics of Ayurveda. Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridayam being the other two.
Charaka compiled the work of a student of Athreya Acharya, Agnivesha on general medicine, which was mainly the teachings of the Acharya.
Just like most ancient Ayurvedic scripts, Charaka Samhita too is in poetic form, mainly to facilitate easy memory by the students. It generally discusses kaya chikitsa, one anga (branch) of Ashtanga Ayurveda.
Charaka Samhita treats life as a form of consciousness and knowledge. Charaka Samhita (charaka samhitha, charaka samhidha, etc) tells in detail about health, hygiene, diet, lifestyle and medicine. Snehan and Swedan karmas are also described in detail. It also has directions about the method of constructing a vaidya sala (hospital).
Charaka samhita tells about the root causes of diseases, diagnosis of diseases and treatment of different diseases. Human anatomy, sense organs, physiology, panchakarma, etc.
Charaka samhita has a typical slogan which tells that a person has better chance of survival if he is hit by lightning than if he is treated by a fake vaidya (Ayurvedic practitioner).
Bhavaprakasa by Bhava Minsra is believed to be written in 16th century AD.
Bhava minsra (also Bhava Misra, Bhava minsara, Bhava Minshara) describes in detail the basic concepts of Ayurveda. It tells about healthy living, causes of diseases, symptoms of diseases, and cure of all diseases. It also tells about preparation of medicines from plants, animal products and minerals.
An Ayurveda practitioner must be open to new ideas. Bhavaminsra describes about medicines from outside India. It is also the comprehensive source for accurate information about the origin of Ayurveda in India. The origin and development of India was in a systematic manner till the time of Bhavminsara. Foreign invasions caused the ruin of this science of life in the 16th and 17th century, which saw a revival in 18th and 19th centuries.
Sarngadhara Samhita — Ancient Ayurvedic Books
Sarngadhara Samhita is a practical handbook for Ayurveda practitioners. It is regarded as one among the top six ancient scripts of Ayurveda. While Sushruta samhita, Charaka Samhita and Ashtangahridaya are considered the major triad of Ayurveda, Sarngadhara Samhita, Madhavanidana and Bhavaprakasha are considered the minor triad.
In Sharngadhara Samhita, Acharya Sharngadhara make deliberate attempts to make the language simple and easily understandable. He also omitted a lot of details, mainly due to the spread of the major triad of Ayurveda classic writings. It is believed that the book was written in the 15th century.
The book is divided into three sections.
The first section (prathama khanda) of the book tells in detail about the weights and measurements, time and place to collect herbs, the effect of seasons on the quality of herbs, methods of diagnosis, human anatomy and physiology, human constitution (dosha types), appropriate food and diet, etc. Diagnosis of condition by studying pulse is described in detail.
The middle section (madhyama khanda) describes the methods of preparation and mixing of herbal extracts to make medicines. The mixing methods of fresh juices, hot and cold infusion, mixing of powders (choornas), preparation of Gulika (gutika-pills), oils, ghee, arishta, dhatusudhi or purification of metals or minerals and Rasa (medicines with mercury).
The last section (uttara khanda) describes in detail all the five karmas of panchakarma Â– sneha, swedan, vaman, virechan and basti. It describes different kinds of basti (enema).
Sarngadhara samhita is also spelt Â– sarngadhara samhitha, sarngadara samhita, sarngadara samhitha, sarangadara samhita, sarangadhara samhitha, etc.; Â– accurate spelling is pending.
Madhava Nidana or Madhava Nidanam is an ancient book that comments to some extent on Sushruta samhita, Charaka samhita and Astangahridaya. It doesnÂ’t tell in detail about treatment options by tells clearly about different diseases and deals with kaya chikitsa, bala chikitsa, shalya tantra, damstra chikitsa and shalakya chikitsa.
Sushruta Samhita by Acharya Sushruta — Ancient Ayurveda Books
Sushruta samhita written some 3000 years ago by an ancient acharya of Ayurveda, Sushruta is regarded as the basic knowledge of surgery. Sushrutha was a great surgeon of ancient times. It is also regarded as one of the four principal books on surgery. In his book, sushrutha samhitha, he also describes the methods of Panchakarma.
Surgery is an anga (branch) of Ashtanga (eight-branched) Ayurveda and is named Shalya Tantra or Shalakya Tantra.
Dhanvatary, who is considered the god of medicine and surgery is believed to hand over the knowledge of surgery to Sushruta. In the ancient times, physicians practicing surgery were known as Dhanwantareyans, because of their perceived connection with Lord Dhanwantary.
SushrutaÂ’s main forte is plastic surgery. His description of procedures of plastic surgery in this ancient book closely follows suite with modern plastic surgery procedures.
Sushruta says there are 76 conditions that affect eyes. He prescribes accurate surgical methods for 51 of them.
Sushruta also describes the sastras (weapons) to use for surgery. The weapons are sharp, with long handles and have striking similarities with modern surgical equipments. He lists weapons to make deep but sharply targeted cuts, remove or replace tiny parts, needles to sew severed flesh and muscles together, etc. He also suggests hygienically cleansing the room, weapons, hands of the surgeons, etc by smoking appropriate herbs, washing the weapons in boiled water and with appropriate herbal additions.
The Indian names of surgery is sastrakriya or sastra karma. Both means an action with a weapon.
Sushruta recommends surgery only for situations where medicines are incapable of curing the condition.
In addition to details of surgery, Sushruta Samhita also describes more than a thousand diseases and conditions, problems associated with aging and mental illnesses.
He also tells in detail about prasoothi tantra or Ayurvedic midwifery.
Sushruta Samhita lists 700 medicinal herbs. He also tells the methods of preparation of medicines.
Sushruta Samhita is spelt in many different forms. A few among them are susrutha samhitha, sushrutha samhitha, susruta samhita, sushruda samhida, susruda samhida, susrudha samhidha, etc.
Astanga Samgraha, written by an Ayurveda acharya named Vagbhata in 6th century AD is the compilation of the works by both Charaka (Charaka Samhita) and Sushruta (Sushruta Samhita). Vagbhata later concentrated Astanga Samgraha to a new book Ashtangahridya (ashtanga hridaya). The essence of Ashtanga Samgraha is visible in Astanga hridaya).
Another difference between Ashtanga Hridaya and Ashtanga Samgraha is that the former is written in prose and the latter in poetic (verse) form. There are also doubts whether the two are written by the same person or by two different persons with the same name.
Ashtanga means eight branches and samgraha means compilation in concentrated (abstract) form.
Ashtanga Samhita, ashtanga samhitha, etc also refer to astanga samgraha.
Bharadwaj -Ancient Ayurveda Acharyas
Bharadwaj is one among the prominent personalities of Ayurveda acharyas of ancient India. Some myths say Seer Bharadwaj received the knowledge of life from Lord Indra for the benefit of humankind. He received this knowledge of life as he was sent to the gods to learn a method to combat illnesses and sufferings on earth by a group of seers.
The life stories of Bharadwaj are found in Matsya Purana, Hariwarsha Purana etc.
Atreya Acharya was a student of Bharajwaj. From Atreya acharya, Agnivesha learned Ayurveda.
Vagbhata is known to Ayurveda students for the compilation of Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita by Ayurveda Acharyas, Charaka and Sushruta in his own words in the form of astanga samgraha and Astangahridaya.
His attempt to make available the full knowledge of Ayurvedic knowledge is commendable. He lists in simple language, the methods of diagnosis, medicine preparation, and treatment.
Vagbhata says in astanga hridaya
Â Â“idamagama sidhathval,
Â Prathyaksha phala darsanal,
Â Mantraval samprayoktavyam
Â Na Meemamsyam Kathanchana:Â”
It means, this (Ashtangahridayam) is the collection of past experiences. Its use gives tangible results. So, like a mantra, utilize its power by constant meditation and use it with confidence.
Sushruta can rightly be called the father of surgery and plastic surgery. He practiced salya tantra (surgery) in 600 BC. Some researchers tell that Sushruta wrote his books somewhere between 400 BC and first century AD. Even if the latter claim is taken into account, you can ensure that Sushruta is the first in the world to narrate a clear-cut process for surgery, with accurate details of the sastras (weapons) to use, which have striking similarities with modern surgical equipments in every aspect.
He clearly describes the method of doing plastic surgery on a nose, or an earlobe. The method of reconstruction of a mutilated nose from cheek tissue is acceptable even today.
Susruta believed that one cannot be a complete vaidya (Ayurveda practitioner) without the complete knowledge of medicine and surgery. However, it may not be right to believe that Sushruta invented surgery or plastic surgery. It might have been practiced by many physicians before him. It is possible that he just elucidated the details for the first time.
Susruta was born in the family of Viswamitra, a prominent figure in Indian mythology. He practiced medicine and surgery under Divodasa Dhanvantari. Surgeons of ancient India were called dhanvantareeyans, because Lord Dhanvantary is believed to transfer the knowledge of surgery to humankind.
Susrutha also recommends giving wine to the person before performing surgery. This wine gives numbness to the person and leaves the person insensitive to the operation.
Madhavacharya’s contribution to Ayurveda includes his inferences to pathology and diagnosis of diseases.
He lived in south India in 9th or 10th century AD. Madhavanidana is the authentic book that describes nidana or the diagnosis process of various diseases. Madhava described pathology, diagnosis, causes, symptoms and conditions of various diseases.
Jivaka or Jeevaka is a much quoted name in the history and teachings of Ayurveda. The main reason can be JivakaÂ’s test, the test given by his teacher, Atreya Acharya on completion of his medicine studies. He, like other disciples of Atreya had to bring a herb or a leaf with no medicinal value. Jivaka, could not find such a plant or a herb. However, it was only a manifestation of superior knowledge he had on the value of plants, herbs and all elements of nature.
Buddhist texts have elaborate mentioning of Jivaka as the physician of Lord Buddha. Like sushruta, Jivaka also is believed to perform surgical procedures.
Charaka lived in India in third or second century BC. Charaka Samhita, his book on Ayurvedic way of life and treatment has words of wisdom that modern researches and medical science accept after a gap of 2,000 years. He took the knowledge from Acharyas like Athreya and Agnivesa.
Prevention is better than cure Â– this sentence can appear to be a clichÃ© today, but Charaka Acharya has told about the importance of lifestyle balancing for a healthy living more than 20 centuries ago. In his book, he details each and every aspect of leading a healthy life, eating healthy food, finding medicinal herbs when someone feels unhealthy or diseased, the quality of herbs occurring in the nature and its effect on human body.
Charaka puts a direction for everyone who attempts to practice Ayurveda Â– a physician who is not capable of entering the body of a person with the lighted lamp of knowledge cannot treat diseases.
Charaka Samhita is the first Ayurvedic text that details the body types, the three doshas or tridosha. Charaka is also the first to describe the processes of metabolism and immunity. Metabolism or digestion and absorption of food can vary in persons of different dosha types. The same amount of food can give different levels of nourishment and energy to different persons. Identifying the physical type of a person is thus the most important part of Ayurvedic treatment.
The three doshas Â– vata, pitta and kapha when in a balanced state, the person enjoys health.
There are some differences of opinion about Charaka as a person. He is believed to be the son of a nomadic sage. There are also counter opinions that Charaka is a group of Ayurvedic practitioners that traveled from one place to another. They served with Ayurvedic treatment to people wherever they went.
Bhavamisra Ancient Ayurveda Practitioners
Bhavamisra or Bhava Misra was an Ayurvedic practitioner lived in 16th century AD. His contributions to Indian medicine include his compilation of vast treatise by Bhava Prakasa. The compilations have reference to all the different branches of zoology and medicine Â– anatomy, embryology, physiology, pathology, diseases, diagnosis, medicines, etc.
He is also the first to explain several concepts appearing in ancient Ayurvedic scripts. Bhavamisra studies medicine systems prevailed in other countries like Persia and Sri Lanka.
Atreya Acharya was the teacher of Agnivesh or Jeevaka (Jivaka) who was the physician of Lord Buddha. Atreya had Ayurvedic education under Bharadwaja. His original name was Punarvasu. Atreya means the son of Atri. Atri, the sage is believed to live in India between 8th and 6th century BC. Atreya Samhita, a collection of 46,500 verses on Ayurvedic concepts is his work.
He is the first to describe six tastes Â– sweet, astringent, bitter, sour, salty and pungent are the six tastes that humans experience. Each taste has specific effect on human body and characteristics.
He classifies diseases as curable and incurable. He also directs the practitioners to choose the patients to attend and not to.
He is the first to give a detailed description of diseases, its causes, and cures. Atreya has also classified poisons and toxic substances.
The cornerstone tridosha concept of Ayurveda is also a contribution of Atreya Acharya. Charaka, Sushruta, Vagbhata and other ancient Ayurveda practitioners got the basics from Atreya Acharya.
Although no one can give an accurate picture of the origin of Ayurveda as a life science, the oldest available records of this complete science of life and medicine runs to and ends at Atreya Acharya.
Ayurveda, India’s Ancient System of Herbal Medicine
Ayurveda as Part of the Vedas
The great Ayurvedic Acharyas have confirmed that Ayurveda is also part of the Vedas.
Susruta, one of the greatest Ayurveda Acharyas says in his Samhita (1.1.5) :
“Ayurveda is an upanga of the Atharva Veda, containing 100,000 verses in one thousand chapters. Brahma is the author of these verses.”
While hands and legs are angas of our body, toes and fingers are upangas
Ayurveda is the oldest form of health care in the world. It originated in India over 5000 years ago, and was taught for thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples. The purpose of Ayurveda is to heal, to maintain a high quality of life, and to increase the longevity of the individual. It is an art of daily living that has evolved from philosophical, spiritual and practical insight –from understanding the complexity of Creation to the daily individual needs of cooking food. Although used for thousands of years, Ayurvedic principles have never changed, since they derive from universal laws of nature that are eternally true.
In Sanskrit, Ayurveda (Ayur-Veda) means the “Science of Life,” in the sense that life is the integration of body, mind and consciousness.
The basic foundation of Ayurveda is also on the same platform. The life or Ayu is fully comprehended as eternal and beyond the bodily existence. Such knowledge (veda) makes the phrase “knowledge of life”, viz., Ayurveda.
Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through diet and lifestyle, proper cooking methods,yoga and meditation practices, proper exercise, herbal nutrition with Ayurvedic herbs, as well as cleansing and rejuvenating Ayurvedic therapies (including abhyanga, shirodhara, nadi swedana, etc.) and Panchakarma, Ayurveda’s unique deep detox and rejuvenation program.
Ayurveda, a Science of Self-Understanding: the Individual Constitution (Prakruti)
Ayurveda states that by understanding your own unique nature or constitution you can begin to understand how you interact with the environment and therefore make choices that will lead you toward greater health and well being.
There are eight departmental limbs (ashtanga) of knowledge in Ayurveda:
1) salya – surgery
2) salakya – treatment of head
3) kaya cikitsa – treatment of ordinary diseases of body
4) bhuta vidya – treatment of influence of goblins
5) kaumara bhrtya – treatment for children’s diseases
6) aagada tantra – antidotes to poisons
7) rasayana – science of rejuvenation of body
8) vajikarana – revival of sexual strength
In a nutshell, Ayurveda defines “disease” as the natural end result of living out of harmony with your original constitution. So the Ayurvedic approach is very individualized and holistic, as your path to optimal health is different than that of any other individual, depending upon your unique constitution, or prakruti, as well as factors such as your habits, your environment, your family medical history, and so on.
The Ayurvedic system believes that your individual constitution (prakruti) is recorded at the time of conception and birth as a genetic code that can be expressed physically and mentally as disease proneness and emotional response. This constitution is determined by vata, pittaand kapha, which are the three doshas, or psycho-physiological dynamic principles that govern the individual response to the environment, both physically and emotionally, and promote the disease process when out of balance.
Many factors, both internal and external, can disturb this balance and bring about changes in your original constitution that may lead to disorders and disease. Some of these factors can be emotional and physical stress, improper food combinations and choices, physical trauma, or seasonal and weather changes. Once you understand how these factors affect you on a constitutional level, you can take appropriate actions to nullify or minimize their effects and eliminate the causes of imbalance. In this sense, Ayurveda empowers you to understand and gain control over your own state of health.
Understanding the Interaction of Doshas and Qualities in Ayurveda
Ayurveda states that like increases like. For example, the summer has attributes similar to those of pitta dosha —hot, liquid, light, mobile, and penetrating. Therefore, in the summer pitta in the body tends to be increased. Vata is light, subtle, dry, mobile, rough, and cold. So in the fall, which also exhibits these attributes, vata will tend to be increased in the body. Kapha is liquid, heavy, cold, sticky, and cloudy. In the winter, when these characteristics predominate in the external environment, internal kapha tends to be increased. Your individual constitution is a dynamic entity, and vata, pitta, and kapha are dynamic energies that will affect and be affected by the environment and other factors in various ways. An Ayurvedic regime and lifestyle, along with healthy routines, known as dinacharya, will enable you to gain more awareness and control over how those factors can be diminished, so as to maintain your optimal health and well being and prevent disease.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, became famous as Nimai pandita (pandita means a great scholar of the Vedas; having been born under the medicinal neem tree, He was known as Nimai) from His early childhood, because of his erudite scholarship of the vast ocean of Vedic literature. He compared the ten essential subjects of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana with the ten medicinal roots of the Ayurveda (Dasha mulas).
He explained that, just like the dasha mulas made into an “arishtam” cures the diseases caused by the imbalance of the three dhatus, viz., kapha, vayu and pitta (mucus, air and bile ), in the same way the dasha mulas of Srimad Bhagavatam (the ten root subjects) will cure the diseases of material identification caused by the imbalance of the three gunas, viz, sattva, rajas and tamas (goodness, passion and ignorance)
Medicine and healing are the two most important physical sciences explored and developed in the Vedic times.Hatha yoga, Tantra physiology, Siddha and many other yoga schools of study extensively deal in their anatomy sections with subjects from the diffusion of energy in the body through the nervous system (based on the chakra linked management of energy) up to the study of embryology, heredity and genetic codes.
Ayurveda, the Science of Longevity – Panchakarma for Cellular Rejuvenation
From the time of birth until death, the body is engaged in maintaining life. That is its sole purpose and mission, and each cell has the intelligence to do so. Yet in the modern, fast paced world, the levels of stress and environmental imbalance make it harder for your body to stay healthy and your mind to remain calm and positive, which in the long run affects you on a cellular level as well, as all this creates and accumulates toxins in your body. From an Ayurvedic point of view, the doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) play an important role in the maintenance of cellular health and longevity: Kapha maintains longevity on the cellular level; pitta governs digestion and nutrition; and vata, which is closely related to the life energy (orprana), governs all life functions.
. In the Dhanvantari-samhita of the Garuda Purana indigestion is called the “parent of all diseases” and according to Ayurveda all diseases have their origin somewhere in gastro-intestinal tract where undigested, raw material called ama is allowed to accumulate. Therefore so much emphasis is put on not overeating. Due to indiscretion in eating habits and improper digestion due to anxiety and anger and / or uncleanliness of food, ama begins to accumulate either in the stomach or in the upper part of small intestine. This is the first of five progressive stages of disease, technically called chaya. In this chaya stage diseases are best treated. Ayurvedic medicines are very effective at this stage as well as at later stages. Allopathic medicines do little or nothing in chaya.
The ama can accumulate also in the lower area of the large intestine due to some kind of blockage there. The nature of ama is going to vary according to the predominant diet and makeup of an individual.
The place of origin of disease is called the mulasthana (root situation) and Ayurvedic medicines aim at interfering with it there.
There are three doshas. They are known as vayu-dosha, air or the nervous system; pitta-dosha, bile or the metabolic system; and kapha-dosha, mucus-phlegm or the excretory system. In fact, all understanding of the science hinges around these. Although this is a simplification of their actual position, the gross understandings of these three doshas are air, bile and mucus. The nature of ama will be predominantly one, or sometimes two of these.
The subtle symptoms which are present during the chaya stage are apathy, heaviness, bloated feeling in the abdomen, pallor and some loss of appetite. Few persons are intelligent enough to start treatment in this stage.
The next stage is called prakopa. Because the problem has not been rectified, the accumulated ama begins to liquefy at the mulasthana. Thirst, burning sensations, sour eructations (belching) and flatulence (unexpelled air in the stomach) are symptoms of this stage. Toxins begin to seep outside the walls of either stomach or intestines and enter channels of circulation. This is called vitiation of dosha (remember, the ama is of the nature of doshas). A dosha becomes vitiated when too much of it has been consumed and thus it builds up as ama. Few patients treat a disease at this stage either.
The third stage of disease is called prasava, the spreading stage. The wandering toxins spread through one of the three main circulatory systems of the body, namely the alimento-respiratory tract, the blood or the vital organ-bone-joint system and settle at the first weak spot, a site where no local resistance has been built up. The symptoms of this stage are nausea, loss of taste and painful abdomen.
The fourth stage is called sthana-sanskriya. Toxins or dosha has found its site and is accumulating. Thus an improper balance of one of the three doshas is growing in the body. Good health is equivalent to static balance of the doshas in the body and bad health is equivalent to imbalance among them. At this stage of sthana-sanskriya unwanted bacteria or viruses accumulate to breed in the environment. The disease emerges in full and everyone rushes to the physician who then administers an antibiotic to cover the symptoms.
Ayurvedic medicines are prescribed to eliminate the specific dosha buildup and vitiation, called dosha-kara. The germs which cause the disease have their habitat taken away from them. This is the right way to cure disease.
But along with the medicines there must be a proper program of activity for true effectiveness. Trying to ignite a fire while pouring water on it is the philosophy of the deluded. Therefore we have to know the eight pillars of disease prevention according to Ayurveda:
1. Dina-charya, the prescribed bodily regulations
2. Ritu-charya, consideration of the season
3. Shad-vritta, the proper mental culture
4. Timely attention to nature’s calls
The four subordinate pillars are:
5. Inherent qualities of liquids and solids
6. Rules for eating
7. Proper sleep
These, of course, could expand into a whole book in themselves. Thus we are going to present a general synopsis only. Strictly following Srila Prabhupada’s sadhana complemented with common sense and intelligence incorporates almost all of these understandings.
B. The eight pillars of disease prevention
Dina-charya means a daily routine. We can see that the Ayurvedic recommendation and our spiritual master’s formula run on parallel tracks. The following program is recommended:
1. Wake up early and attend to nature’s calls. Wash the mouth and clean the mouth.
2. Brush the teeth with neem twigs which are pungent, bitter and astringent in taste.
Neem tooth brushes are very good because right away early in the morning they neutralize the heavy sweet mucus buildup in the mouth. The use of sweet toothpastes is congenial to the unwanted mucus buildup.
3. Clean the tongue thoroughly with the fingers and a stick used as a soft brush.
4. Clean the eyes, ears and nose. Use cold water for both but only as cold as prevents detrimental bodily reactions.
5. Take regular exercise but not too much.
6. After breakfast proceed to your regular duties.
7. Eat lunch in a happy frame of mind.
8. Have a light evening meal and go to bed on a comfortable bed early.
Ritu-charya means the seasonal adaptations. The seasonal divisions in the East have their following Western counterparts:
1. March-April, Vasanta-ritu, spring
2. May-June, Grishma-ritu, summer
3. July-August, Varsha-ritu, monsoon
4. September-October, Sharad-ritu, short summer
5. November-December, Hemanta-ritu, winter
6. January-February, Shishira-ritu, cold winter
November to February is the time for eating very plentifully and much exercise, building a solid foundation for the rest of the year. The appetite is more powerful during these months.
Vasanta-ritu is the doctor’s favorite because illnesses are most common. This season is kapha-kara, i.e. mucus builds up automatically. Light diet, limited sleep (none in the afternoon), avoidance of sweets, fats and liquids that produce mucus is recommended.
Grishma-ritu is the season of dehydration, exhaustion, lack of energy and lethargy. Cold but not hot fluids, cold baths and swimming. Too much exertion and sunshine should be avoided. The diet should be light and free from pungent and sour foods. Because nights are short, some sleep during noontime is recommended.
Varsha-ritu means the rainy season in Asia, analogical elsewhere. Digestive power is poor and lack of sunshine as well as a cloudy atmosphere are uncongenial to health. Ginger, black pepper and lemon juice may be taken to reinforce appetite. Leafy vegetables should be taken sparingly. The rainy season increases vayu-kara. Foods should be hot and light with ghee, curd and honey. River water is to be avoided for drinking as well as daytime naps, too many liquids and overexposure to elements.
Sharad-ritu has its counterpart in the West in “Indian summer”. This season is pitta-kara, bile increasing. Cool, sweet, bitter and astringent foods are wanted. They produce anti-pitta-dosha reactions. It is essential to avoid curds, overeating, early morning dew and daytime sleep. Many Vedic scriptures enjoin that exposure to the sun during this time is inauspicious.
Shad-vritta means mental culture. Ayurveda has a much more all-encompassing disease pathology than any other system as it states that practically all diseases have a psychic base. We have outlined the gross disease pathology (chaya, prakopa, etc.) but the actual pathological process is initiated in the mental field and certainly all chronic diseases stem from basic mental moorings. This point is always kept in view by a vaidya or kaviraja when prescribing medicines and regiments.
The two mental doshas are actually the lower modes of nature (rajo and tamo guna). A person of predominantly vayu nature is said to have a subtle psyche of rajas and one of kapha is said to be tamasic to some degree.
Anxiety and anger are two main mental pollutions that give rise to the gross disease. On all of the prescriptions for taking Ayurvedic medicines there is a list of prohibitions. On many of them it is said that a return to normalcy requires situation and / or activity free from anxiety and anger.
Shad-vritta principles are presented in more in-depth manner in Bhagavad-gita. Thus in avoiding disease following Bhagavad-gita’s formula is mandatory. Ayurvedic recommendations:
1. Be noble in your thoughts and deeds. Have compassion for all living beings.
2. Do not waste energy in avoidable talk. Speak the truth.
3. Give up inimical thoughts, cultivate friendly ones.
4. Avoid self-denigration, self-torture, self-praise, etc.
5. Do your duty carefully without attachment to results.
6. Maintain mental equilibrium both in success and failure and other opposites.
7. Have respect and liking for learning and the learned. Cultivate patience and forgiveness.
4. Timely attention to nature’s calls
Intuitional reflex desires and actions are triggered by the vayu-dosha. Of course, yoga is meant to limit them but while we are in the conditioned stage and do it unwisely or artificially there will be negative results. This is accepted as one of the four pillars of disease prevention. The vayu-dosha becomes vitiated when basic bodily needs are not attended to and diseases of that nature begin to manifest. Retention of urine or faeces for a long time, not sleeping when needed and not drinking when thirsty produce various diseases. Suffice is to say that all natural instincts should be attended to promptly, although Ayurveda also emphasizes that all negative feelings like envy, anger, lust, etc. are to be squelched and replaced with transcendentally positive ones.
Ayurveda puts some emphasis on eating what we desire as a nature’s way to correct imbalances in the system. Of course, lust can trick. Therefore it is essential to get Ayurvedic knowledge on how to eat what foods for what kind of dosha vitiations.
5. Inherent qualities of liquids and solids
The extent of these side pillars of Ayurvedic disease prevention could take up this whole booklet ten times over. Proper food combination is a science in itself.
Except in summer and October heat water should be used sparingly. Drinking water (best one hour) before a meal leads to lessening of appetite and loss of weight. Water drunk during the meal sparingly can help passage and digestion of food. Water after the meal leads to obesity.
Coconut water is nutritious and digestive and while quenching thirst it flushes out the bladder and kidneys. Cow’s milk is a tonic, good for brain power and complexion. Buffalo’s milk is good against excessive appetite and insomnia. Cow milk is always the milk of choice. Buttermilk is light, astringent and a good digestive. It neutralizes many diseases originating from kapha.
One should be careful with curds since they are blood heating, constipative and heavy to digest. During Vasanta and at night they are not to be eaten.
Modern science groups ghee with oils and fats but Ayurveda does not as ghee is considered just the opposite – cooling and synthetic. It is a part of many Ayurvedic remedies and is also a good digestive.
Of the awned grains, rice as a class is considered easy to digest, cooling, leaving little residue and thus constipative. Some rice is tri-dosha-ghna, since it keeps all doshas in equilibrium. Wheat, as a class is heavy to digest, oily, kapha-kara and life-sustaining. Corn is astringent and good for reducing weight.
The legumes are rich in protein, especially various dahls. Mung dahl is highly recommended as it is easily digested and doesn’t cause as much flatulence as the others.
Most of the vegetables mentioned in old Ayurvedic texts are little in demand or no longer available, while in the fruit category grapes and pomegranate are most recommended, the former being good for the bile and thirst and the latter being a sedative, good against cardiac complaints and primary acid, a tri-dosha-ghna.
Every foodstuff has a digestive nature (heavy, medium or light), a predominant rasa (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent or astringent) and specific effects on specific organs or processes. The following five general points are also important to take into consideration:
1. Foods are inherently light or heavy but the cooking may change their status (for example, a light rice rendered heavy by turning it to sweet rice).
2. Combination of foods changes the digestibility. This refers to the more known food combining technique which groups foods as acid fruits, sweet fruits, green vegetables, starch vegetables, starches, sweeteners, oils and fats and proteins. This understanding is based on how acids, amino acids and alkalines digest food. Some major rules are not to mix fruits, especially acid ones, with vegetables, or two different proteins together, or starches with proteins, etc. These rules become more important the more is eaten. If eating is minimal and digestion is sufficient, there will not be fermentations or decompositions in and everything will be digested. Prabhupada confirms this in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
3. Different cooking flames, water addition, nature of utensils (avoid the poisonous aluminium!) and added oils, etc. must be considered.
4. Land, manure, fertilizers and insecticides affect food.
5. Time of the day, hunger, consciousness of the cook, indigestion (if any) are other important factors. Also, Prabhupada points out that food unoffered to Krsna increases disease only.
6. Consciousness while eating
Meals should be taken:
1. in easy, pleasant frame of mind
2. fresh, hot, with ghee which facilitates digestion, assimilation and excretion
3. not hurriedly nor a too long time – the former leads to indigestion and the latter to overeating
4. according to likes and dislikes (with intelligence)
5. in proper food combination, including all six rasas with astringent and bitter edibles used judiciously
6. with water just sufficient to quench the thirst
7. without undereating or overeating
8. with one fourth of the stomach filled with water, one half filled with food and one fourth left for air
7. Proper sleep
Lack of proper sleep results in bad health, malnutrition, unhappiness and lack of strength. Keeping late nights nor sleep during the day are healthy. The former leads to the above mentioned maladies, the latter to obesity. Daytime sleep is recommended in infancy, old age, overexertion, indigestion (morning only), asthma or any very painful disease (except in snakebite or poisoning when all sleep is taboo). Drinking milk, oil application to the head, happy mind and congenial company are factors favoring sound sleep.
Scientists have showed how flowers flourish when listening to classical music while heavy rock makes them dwindle and die. The differences in consciousness of a human who grows up in mellow rural town versus one who battles through the urban drill are well established. The evolvements in human society were not present when the Ayurveda was put into writing. It simply mentions that marshy, moist climates with tropical mountain and rainfalls between 70-200 inches per year are kapha-kara (leading to colds, coughs, etc.), whereas dry, hot, arid areas with little water and yearly rainfalls of 10-15 inches are vayu-kara and pitta-kara. Places which are not so extreme are called sama-dosha (equal), with rainfalls 25-65 inches per year, and are generally healthy or tri-dosha-ghna. If one has certain disease tendencies it is best to live in environments producing opposite effects. The art of Ayurveda is based on this balancing since human beings have been endowed by the Lord with free will, ability to rationalize and advanced intelligence.
C. Six rasas
1. Sweet (madhura rasa) are the majority of foodstuffs.
Characteristics: kapha-kara, vayu-ghna (vayu limiting), mostly earth and water, antidote to bitter, pungent and astringent foods
Prolonged overuse: sleepiness, obesity, defective digestion, asthma, colds and coughs
Examples: rice, wheat, mung dahl, sugar
2. Sour (amla rasa) foods tingle the throat causing a hot sensation.
Characteristics: pitta-kara, vayu-ghna, earth and fire, antidote to bitter items
Prolonged overuse: aging, pallor, increased thirst
Examples: acid fruits like amla and pomegranate
3. Salty taste (lavana rasa) adds a savory flavor to foods and drinks and is a digestive.
Characteristics: pitta-kara, vayu-ghna, water and fire, antidote to all the five remaining rasas
Prolonged overuse: increased thirst, early baldness, rough skin and a decrease of bodily luster (“oja”, the famed saintly halo due to the semen moving upward)
Examples: all salts
4. Bitter taste (tiksa rasa) favors digestion, intellectual power and restores taste.
Characteristics: vayu-kara, kapha-ghna, air and ether, antidote to the madhura rasa
Prolonged overuse: nervous diseases, debility, hardness and wasting in general
Examples: turmeric, green vegetable leaves
5. Pungent taste (katuka rasa) helps digestion and suppresses oral infections.
Characteristics: pitta-kara, kapha-ghna, air and fire, antidote to madhura rasa
Prolonged overuse: excessive bodily heat, cutting and piercing aches, leanness
Examples: ginger, asafoetida
6. Astringent taste (kashapa rasa) favors complexion and dries up internal moisture.
Characteristics: kapha-kara, pitta-ghna, air and earth, antidote to sour and pungent items
Prolonged overuse: obstruction of excretory channels, fits and tremors
Examples: haritaki, lodha tree fruit. Honey and buttermilk also have astringent qualities along with their primary madhura nature, as many foodstuffs contain more than one rasa.
By proper combination of these six tastes every day, avoidance of excessive or deficient ones and increasing antidotes to excessive or deficient ones the tri-dosha is kept in healthy equilibrium. Ayurveda medicines are designed in this way and people who don’t have time to become involved in complexities of proper combination take Ayurvedic tonics which supply them needed elements in proper proportion besides relying on them when disease actually manifests.
D. Tri-dosha, sapta-dhatu, tri-mala
Proper understanding of tri-dosha is the basis of Ayurveda knowledge.
Vayu-dosha is composed of air and ether. In limited context it is called air, in a more complex understanding it is referred to as the nervous system and life airs. Respiration, energy and impulses, energetic and wavery mind. Primary seat in the body is colon. It is the gross representation of rajas guna.
Pitta-dosha is composed of fire and water. In limited context it is called bile, in a more complex understanding it is referred to as the metabolic system. Digestion, thirst, hunger, body heat, smooth skin, memory, bravery, possessiveness and avarice. Primary seat in the body is ileo-jejunum. It is the gross representation of sattva guna.
Kapha-dosha is composed of water and earth. In limited context it is called phlegm or mucus, in a more complex understanding it is referred to as the excretory system. Stability, oiliness, solidity, strength, intelligence, neutrality, friendship and forgiveness. Primary seat in the body is chest. It is the gross representation of tamas guna.
Each dosha has five subdivisions called dosha pentad with specific functions in specific places. For example the five divisions of vayu-dosha are called prana, udana, vyana, samana and apana airs. They are located in skull, chest, heart, navel and pelvis respectively. Their presence in the body makes them three main pillars sustaining life functions of all animate creation.
Right from the time of fertilization one of these doshas manifests as a dominant factor determining characteristics of an individual with triple classification:
Vayu-ja persons: tall and lean, dry body with little sweating, earthy color of skin, very hairy, fickle mind, very talkative, capricious appetite and thirst (prefer hot and oily dishes), constipative tendencies, fond of traveling and enjoying life, unsteady sleep with dreams of storm and sky.
Pitta-ja persons: medium build, excessive sweating, pinkish skin, early baldness, impatient mind, somewhat talkative, excessive eating and drinking (not fond of hot and oily dishes), quick evacuation, brave and ambitious, average sleep with dreams of fire.
Kapha-ja persons: short and stout, profuse sweating and oily body, whitish skin, hairy, steady and patient mind, rather silent, normal appetite and thirst (not fond of hot and oily dishes), steady evacuation, disinclined to move about, deep sleep with dreams of earth and water.
Besides these three doshas Ayurveda acharyas have described seven dhatus which maintain the body and are primarily composed of one of the doshas.
The first dhatu is called chyle (in Sanskrit “rasa”), a precursor of blood, nourishing the body and mind. Blood is called rakta and is the dhatu nourishing muscles and flesh, maintaining complexion and sustaining life functions. Blood has been considered by some Ayurvedic experts to be equivalent to the fourth dosha and homeopathy puts much emphasis on it. But standard Ayurvedic texts give it a position of the dhatu which is considered subordinate in importance to tri-dosha. Muscles (mansa) embrace the skeletal structure, nourish fatty tissues and help with excretion. Fat or adipose tissue (meda) greases limbs and eyes and ensures stability by nourishing the bones. Bones (asthi) maintain the body structure and nourish bone marrow (majja) which forms bulk inside the bone cavities, gives strength and nourishes the semen (sukra) which gives strength, intelligence and ability to procreate.
After the increased dosha has liquefied and is spreading, it usually finds its place somewhere in one of these dhatus. All of them with the exception of bones and blood are comprised of kapha-dosha (earth and water) and thus the madhura rasa foodstuffs which consist mostly of carbohydrates are primarily needed to nourish them and to maintain kapha-dosha. The majority of what is considered edible foodstuffs such as rice, grains, sugar, mung dahl, etc. are composed of earth and water because that is what the body is mostly made of. Bones are vayu-dosha (thus so much pain to the nervous system when they break) and blood is pitta-dosha, the characteristic of water and fire.
To round off the simple yet wonderfully scientific scope of the body by Ayurveda besides the tri-doshas and the sapta-dhatus there are tri-malas. Mala means “bad” in Sanskrit and these three elements are the faeces, urine and sweat. Although they are unwanted, they serve some positive purposes. Faeces give temporary support in general besides keeping up the body heat. Urine maintains fluid balance by throwing out unneeded liquids ingested through consumption and sweat retains moisture in the body, greases the skin and helps the growth of hair.
Process of digestion
Foodstuffs break into one of three doshas. They are in a delicate, static balance. When too much of any builds up, it forms the ama which liquefies, finds a weak spot, roots and already present but dormant bacteria, viruses or parasites take advantage of it. The disease appears. If not enough of a particular dosha is consumed then the dosha as well as dhatus depending on it become weakened. By nature humans have subjective (although comparable) percentage of doshas and thus everyone’s needs are subjective.
Simply by following Ayurvedic prescriptions and with some basic knowledge of the bodily makeup anyone can very easily regulate health. It is important to follow the eight pillars of disease prevention with proper sadhana and with taking Ayurvedic health tonics one can avoid dangerous side effects of chemical medicines.
E. Therapeutics in Ayurveda
Chikitsa means “therapeutic measures” in Sanskrit. There are two basic chikitsas. Branhana chikitsa is the nourishing measure – the disease is cured by more proper nourishment. Langhana chikitsa is divided into two: shamana and shodana. Shamana is using gradual sedative measures such as controlled fasting, exercises and diet restriction. Shodana is the radical method to uproot serious dosha vitiation through vomiting (vamana vidhi), enemas (basti vidhi), purgation, bloodletting, surgery, etc.
Ayurvedic medicines mostly add nourishment and restrict buildups of ama. Shodana presents great relief when properly done but most people are adverse to apply it and if they do they lack proper knowledge. Although shodana should not be neglected when disease have reached serious proportions before one should use Ayurvedic medicines. This gives one free time to study the holy sastras which can help to transcend the material world with its diseases forever.
Dhanvantari Mala Mantra (Dhanvantari Shloka)
Chanting of this mantra 108 times during Brahma Muhurta (starts 96 min before sunrise) will free the human body from all diseases.
om namo bhagavate vaasudevaaya
“O my Lord, Sri Krsna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You (om namo bhagavate vasudevaya). You incarnate as Dhanvantari, holding a pot of nectar (amrta kalasha) in Your hands (hastaya). You destroy all disease (sarvamaya- vinashana) and are the master of the three worlds (trailokya-natha). I offer my respectful oblations to You, O great Lord Visnu (sri-maha-visnave namaha).”
Mantra to cure all types of diseases
Dharmarajavrata (mantra mahodadhi) Eliminates all diseases:
Even if you are suffering from incurable diseases wake up early in the morning,
ॐ क्रौं ह्रीं आं वैवस्वताय धर्मराजाय भक्तानुग्रहक्रते नमः ।
aum kraum hrim a am vaivasvataya dharmarajaya bhaktanugrahakrite namah
Do constant jap of this mantra. It will help cure all your Diseases and deliver you from all sins and afflictions.
Divya Mantra from Parampujya Guru Ji Sant Shri AsaramJi Bapu Divine Mantra -Chant-This-Mantra If No Medicine Works
JAI GURU DEV