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Foundations « Ayurveda in Nepal

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Foundations

The Sanskrit medical word Ayurveda means “Science of Life.” Life, the physical state of being alive, includes both the mind and the body.  It is the ultimate goal of the mind, its intrinsic nature, to pursue happiness and to reject suffering.  The cause of the happiness and the suffering experienced by the mind is the result of what happens to the body.  This creates the dynamic experienced by all living beings: The mind rejects suffering because its destination and goal is happiness, yet the existence of suffering is an inescapable truth for all corporeal sentient beings.  Therefore, our minds, from our first breath, take on the task of leading our body away from suffering. Continue reading ‘Foundations’

The Historical Background of Ayurveda

The true history of Ayurveda starts in the time of the Vedas, the ancient Holy Books of the Aryans (“noble ones”).  Hindu mythology tells us that Lord Brahma, the creator of the world, transmitted the knowledge of Ayurveda to mankind.  The four Vedas are called Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda.  They were written about 3-5 thousand years ago.  All the Vedas contain medical knowledge based upon the principles of Ayurveda, especially the Atharva Veda. Continue reading ‘The Historical Background of Ayurveda’

The Eight Limbs of Ayurveda

Ayurveda was formally organized into eight sections or branches called Astanga (“eight-limbs” of) Ayurveda.  A founding sage was chosen at the conference to head a committee on each branch and to write the defining text.  All the texts were written in Sanskrit, the language of the Aryans.  This formed the basis for the different schools and traditions that evolved over the ensuing centuries.  The names of the chairman from each branch are known, but many of the texts were lost and only available as a result of references from existing texts. Continue reading ‘The Eight Limbs of Ayurveda’

Tridosha Siddhanta: The Theory of Balance

Tridosha Siddhanta is the central concept of Ayurvedic medicine, the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily substances called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  All Ayurvedic physicians firmly believe that these ancient ideas, based in the spiritual knowledge discovered by the Rishis and Munis, exist in harmony with physical realities.  These are the Ayurvedic concepts that allow physicians to examine the status of whole system homeostasis.

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Ayurvedic Understanding of Physical Properties

From the examples and definitions given for Vata, Pitta and Kapha, it is clear that proper discernment of the three fundamental bodily substances is based upon their defined physical properties.  A physical property by nature increases the power of one category’s properties while simultaneously decreasing the power of opposite properties.  That is, they are additive and subtractive.  Intake or application of a greasy substance, for example, will increase the greasiness in an organism and decrease its dryness. Continue reading ‘Ayurvedic Understanding of Physical Properties’

Important Ayurvedic Textbooks

This section is an overview of some of the most important textbooks used by Ayurvedic physicians. Continue reading ‘Important Ayurvedic Textbooks’

The Different Aspects of Vata

The great concept of Vata, the symbolic Ayurvedic “biological mobilizing agent,” is very broad in meaning.  It encompasses many seemingly disparate meanings.  In order to be understood, identified and applied for medical purposes, it must be investigated in detail in its different manifestations.  Here we present the aspects of Vata from eight points of view: Continue reading ‘The Different Aspects of Vata’

The Different Aspects of Pitta

Like Vata, the great Ayurvedic concept of Pitta, the symbolic agent for “biological energy,” is a very broad term in its meanings and applications.  In order to be properly understood, identified, and applied for medical purposes, it must be investigated in detail with regards to its different manifestations.  In this chapter we present Pitta from eight points of view: Continue reading ‘The Different Aspects of Pitta’

The Different Aspects of Kapha

In order to identify the Ayurvedic concept of Kapha, the symbolic agent for the sources of biological energy, and to properly apply it for medical purposes, it has to be investigated in detail.  Here we present eight different aspects of Kapha: Continue reading ‘The Different Aspects of Kapha’

Diseases Involving Two or More Systems

Many diseases involve two or more out of balance systems.  In such cases, the treatment differs based upon the combination of factors.  Knowing how to treat such disease processes properly is very important for two reasons.  First, such combinations are the rule rather than the exception in clinical practice, and second, the methods derived from a purely theoretical analysis can appear to be contradictory.  Empirical evidence gathered over the centuries has shown the most effective ways to deal with such complex diseases. Continue reading ‘Diseases Involving Two or More Systems’