Ayurveda, the knowledge of life and longevity, is the oldest, most comprehensive scientific discipline, a complete health care or healing system that was preached, practiced and documented in the ancient times by omniscient sages. This knowledge was revealed to them in their spiritual pursuits. Closely associated with the Indian thought process, the origin of this system can be traced to the Vedas, the earliest codified knowledge body, which deals with all aspects of the universe. All dimensions of the plant, animal and human kingdoms are dealt within the mammoth work. This ancient knowledge was then disseminated to mankind around 5000 years ago by sages and seers for the wellbeing of mankind.
Ayurveda is known as the "Science of Awareness". It is derived from two Sanskrit terms - "Ayus" which means life and "Veda" which means sacred knowledge. Putting these words together it literally means 'sacred knowledge about life'. Ayurveda describes health as the basis for carrying out the four goals of human life, which are dharma (virtue or religious merit), artha (worldly wealth), karma (pleasure or sensual gratification), and moksha (liberation). The basic philosophy of Ayurveda is to make people aware of their life style, diet, exercise and mental activities to achieve a perfect balance in mind, body, and soul. Literally, it focuses on uninterrupted physical, mental and spiritual happiness and fulfillment. Ayurveda focuses on absolute perfect health and not disease as any infirmity in the mind, senses and soul leads to illness in the Ayurvedic definition.
Ayurveda system works on the knowledge that the body system is in balance under the influence of three humours Vata (attributed to all movements), Pitta (responsible for all chemical changes), Kapha (responsible for all body construction). In surgical traditions, a fourth humour Rakta (blood) is added.
Ayurveda has the following eight branches
- Kaya Chikitsa (General medicine)
- Salakya Tantra (Diseases of ear, nose and throat.)
- Vajeekarana Tantra (Virilification & Sexology)
- Rasayna Tantra (Anti ageing therapy)
- Salya Tantra (Surgery)
- Agada Tantra (Toxicology)
- Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry)
- Kumara Bhrtya (Paediatrics)