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“ That (science) is designated as Ayurveda where advantageous and disadvantageous as well as happy and unhappy life along with what is good and bad for life, it measurement and life itself are described”
Caraka Samhita, sustrastana, chapter 1, verse 41
Ayurveda is one of the most ancient systems of medicine in the world. Vedas, the oldest scriptures on the human wisdom and civilization, are the basic source of Ayurveda. In pre-Buddhist era, it was considered as highly developed medical science. Historical evidences show that the Ayurveda was not limited in India. It had spread in many other countries, which later on modified it as per their needs and environmental conditions. Thus, modified Ayurveda become the system of medicine of those countries. Ayurveda is the mother of many other medical systems of the world. Considering, its ancient status some scholars consider that Ayurveda is eternal. It is as old as we are.
The word Ayurveda is made up of two basic terms- ‘Ayu’ and ‘Veda’. ‘Ayu’ means life and ‘Veda’ means knowledge or science, thus the word Ayurveda stands for the science of life. This clarifies that Ayurveda is not just a system of medicine but it deals with all aspects of life.
Is this knowledge written down somewhere?
The knowledge of Ayurveda had been imparted through hundreds of ancient texts. In the old days the text was written on palm leaves. Now you can also find them on paper. In Sanskrit, Hindi or English.
Basic Concepts of Ayurveda
To understand Ayurveda, it is very essential to know its basic concepts. These are the backbone of Ayurvedic philosophy. Ayurvedic approach to health care is based on their applications.
The basic concepts are:
Pancha Mahabhuta (The five basic elements)
Doshas (Biological elements)
Dhatus (Basic tissues)
Malas (Waste products)
Agni (Biological fire)
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