Flashback Friday: Ayurveda, The Origins Of Holistic Healing

in Culture

For this edition of Flashback Friday, we’re bringing you Steven Rosen’s January, 1985 article, largely based on the work of Dr. Navayauvana of the Ayurvedic Research Center in San Francisco.

Perhaps the oldest system of natural healing—predating even the Chinese system of medicine—is Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word which means the knowledge of life (Veda—Knowledge, Ayu—Life). A translation which more accurately reflects the scope of its subject, however, would be the “knowledge of longevity.” This is so because the ancient sages of India were extremely careful to distinguish between life, a spiritual phenomenon, and longevity, a term which refers to the proper maintenance of the body.

Though freedom from death and disease has been the cherished goal in all ages, before one can search for immortality there must be a practical methodology for bodily maintenance. The achievement of these dual and interdependent goals is the purpose of Ayurveda. Thus, Ayurveda is more than just an ordinary medical science. It elucidates not only the healthiest interaction of body and mind but also prescribes guidelines for realization of the relationship between body and mind to the eternal spirit within each of us. It is totally holistic.

While the science of Ayurveda was put into written form about 50 centuries ago, it has an oral tradition which dates back to antiquity. Meanwhile, over the millennia, several students of Ayurveda wrote voluminous encyclopedias—the Charak Samhita and the Susruta Samhita (named after their respective authors)—which discussed in detail such subjects as pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, internal medicine, otolaryngology and plastic surgery. Modern scientists are still in awe at the depth and clarity of Ayurvedic information; it is a mystery, and it was conceived way before its time.

An understanding of the Tridosha theory is central to an understanding of Ayurveda. The …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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