What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic system for healing of the body, mind and soul with over 5,000 years of history. Its name comes from Sanskrit and means “science of health and life”.
For the first time Ayurveda healing was described in the ancient writings called Vedas. According to the Vedas, the holistic healing system appeared thanks to the ancient wise men and healers who had reached enlightenment during meditation. For thousands of years, their knowledge of health, life, and the Universe has been passed on from teacher to a disciple in order reach us, the modern people.
According to Vedic science, man is part of the Universe and as a tiny particle of it has his or her own goals to which he or she is supposed to strive and which he or she must achieve. The life goals set before men are four – Dharma (fulfillment of duties), Artha (acquiring wealth), Kama (satisfaction of desires) and Moksha (liberation).
In order to be able to achieve our goals, we need health and that is what Ayurveda is aiming for – to help us be healthy so that we can pursue our goals.
Following the ancient Indian healing practices, Ayurveda treats man as a set of physical, astral and causal levels, and in the prevention, treatment and diagnosis it considers all three aspects of health.
Or in short… Ayurveda is the art of living in harmony with ourselves and nature. This is a science of life, health and curing.
The goals of the Vedic science are to maintain the health of healthy people and heal the sick, and this is done only by natural means.
What makes the Ayurveda treatment so unique?
According to Ayurveda, the health and diseases we suffer from are a reflection of all aspects of our lives – career, eating, relationships with people, mental attitudes, spirituality. When any of these aspects are not in harmony, all other areas of life begin to suffer.
Therefore, Ayurveda teaches us how to live in harmony with ourselves with those around us and nature in order for us to be able to maintain the balance in our souls and bodies.
Living in compliance with the laws of nature does not mean just a balanced eating. “In compliance with the laws of nature” in Ayurveda means to follow the laws of nature and to live in harmony with it. Do we pay attention to what is happening around us? Do we strive not to break the balance? Do we live in compliance with the laws of nature? If the answers are positive, this means we have achieved a life that is in conformity with the laws of nature and pure.
Unlike modern medicine (our article on the difference between traditional medicine and Ayurvedic medicine) which cures all patients the same way according to symptoms that they exhibit, the Ayurvedic treatment recognizes the individuality of each person. According to the Vedic science, each person has a unique constitutional energy (Prakriti) and needs a different treatment.
*Understanding for health
In no other medical system will you find this unique balance that Ayurveda reveals. According to the Ayurvedic medicine, by “health” one should not only understand a physical body without diseases. Health in Ayurveda is achieving harmony between the physical body, the mental stability and the spiritual balance.
The concept of health in the Vedic medicine is based on the understanding that each person is a “loka – purusha samya” (a reduction of the Universe). As long as there is balance inside and outside of the human being, then they are in good health, but if this balance is broken it can lead to an inability to recognize the right way of life, the right foods, the right purpose of life and duty. All this leads to breaking of the balance, damaging the doshas and lack of understanding of Dharma.
Again something that is often underestimated in modern medicine but which, according to the Ayurveda treatment, is of paramount importance. The Vedic science is of such importance to preventative measures, because it is much easier to maintain health than it is to be restored.
What is Dharma in the Ayurvedic medicine?
Dharma is the first goal of life in Ayurveda. The name of the first goal comes from the Sanskrit word ‘dhra’ for which it is difficult to find only one translation but its meaning is defines as follows: carry, maintain, establish, to fulfil duties, duty.
Dharma is a sublime goal, a world and universal power that holds everything in perfect harmony. According to Vedic philosophy, everything in our world has its Dharma. People, animals, blades of grass – we all have Dharma and we must follow it to keep the balance inside of us and in the Universe.
Following Dharma is very important in Ayurveda because, according to the ancient teachings, if we follow our Dharma, we will achieve harmony in our life. If we live by the rules of nature, we will not only be physically healthy, but we will also achieve balance in all aspects of life and will follow the other life goals.
Dharma is our duty and our obligation towards our family, the socium, the nature and the Universe.
If we do not understand our Dharma and follow somebody else’s, we will see obstacles everywhere.
How to follow our Dharma?
Nature is the greatest teacher of all. We don’t need to have deep knowledge of the Ayurveda treatment in order to find our way. It’s enough to look closer at nature: The sun rises every morning following its path, the birds wake up, the sunflowers look at the sun to bathe in its light and warmth. At dusk, when its duty has been fulfilled, the sun leaves its place to the moon, the birds nestle and the sunflowers “fall asleep”; all in nature follows it’s Dharma. It’s the same with people!
If our work makes us feel bad, then it is not our Dharma. If we live with someone who makes us unhappy, it is not our Dharma.
If what we believe to be our duty brings us negative emotions, weariness and sadness, we must just stop doing it and find the thing that brings us joy and pleasure. And it does not matter if it’s work, love or something else.
Following your Dharma means to find balance and harmony in life which make you happy and peaceful!
How Dharma does influence our health?
We’ve already mentioned that each person has a mission and has his or her Dharma.
The problem is when we don’t carry out our life goal but someone else’s and we don’t realize it!
When a person is following their mission, they are not tired or nervous because of what they are doing. If we don’t realize what our mission is, then we suffer and fall ill.
Scientists from the University of Massachusetts have studied the factors which provoke the appearance of the most common modern diseases like heart attack, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, angina, diabetes, cancer.
In the course of the study it was shown that during testing of their mental state by 90% of the people that have had a heart attack common features are found. The most disturbing common feature was the dissatisfaction with the activity they carried out. These people have been doing an activity for years that they do not like and does not satisfy them but they continue to do it, nevertheless. It turns out that dissatisfaction with the duties they have been performing despite their reluctance has led to the cardiovascular disease.
According to Ayurveda, the heart is the organ that symbolizes our “I”. Our Atma (spirit, spiritual essence) is localized in the heart. In the immediate vicinity of Atma is Paramatma (the primary spirit, the Super soul).
When the dissatisfaction with the activity that these people were performing has had a negative impact on the heart (“I”); the heart attacks and infarction were quick to follow.
Dissatisfaction with life’s goals affects not only the heart, it is also in the basis of many more dangerous diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, and others.
This means that if one does not live in harmony with his or her unique nature and performs not his or her own but the duties of someone else, it also inevitably affects his or her health.