Frequently Asked Questions
Ayurveda, the knowledge of life and longevity, is the oldest, most comprehensive scientific discipline a complete health care system 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. This ancient knowledge was then dissipated to mankind around 5,000 years ago by sages and seers for the well-being of mankind.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word. It literally means the science of life. Ayurveda is not merely the compendium of ‘disease and its management. Life is a vast and all-encompassing phenomenon that includes death. On one side, is a celebration of birth, growth, child bearing, youth and sexuality; on the other side, life also brings forth disease, decay, aging, and loss of vigor. Ayurveda is an ancient art and science that helps us understand this very ‘life’, with all its different shades and colors. It also helps us to understand how best we can undertake this journey and how we transition through the different phases of life. Following the principles of Ayurveda brings about a profound understanding of the inner ability to have a sound body, mind and spirit.
Ayurveda’s ingredients are simply the basic building blocks of the universe itself. The 5 great elements of Ayurveda are: (Pancha Maha Bhootas) – Space (Akash), Air (Vayu), Fire (Tejas), Water (Ap) and Earth (Prithvi). Shake up the 5 elements and you have the recipe for creating this universe in all its entirety and variety.
A person is part and parcel of this universe and can hardly be considered in isolation. The Pancha Maha Bhautik Sharira (body) along with Manas (mind) and Atman (soul) constitutes you and me, the Purusha (the living, breathing, feeling self) in constant interaction with the outer universe (Loka).
The self of the person (Purusha) is a continuum of the universal self while the physical body, composed of the Pancha Maha Bhootas (five great elements), originates from the Pancha Maha Bhautik and receives nourishment from food and drinks of similar composition. Hence, equilibrium between the internal and external makeup of a person is essential for the maintenance of the living body. Since the individual human being is the miniature replica of the universe; the individual (Purusha) and the universe (Loka) stay in constant interaction with each other and derive and draw materials from each other to maintain their normalcy and homeostasis. This interaction and exchange continues in a normal way, by breathing the air and eating natural, healthy foods. If this interaction is wholesome and complete, the body is in optimum health. When this harmonious process breaks down, a disease state begins. Hence, in Ayurveda the main goal of treatment is to restore the harmonious exchange between Purusha (individual) and Loka (universe).
Ayurveda believes that humans are a manifestation of thoughts that create our bodies. In western medicine, we are a material (body) which creates thoughts. This is the basic difference and the reason you may choose Ayurveda because it works using an expansive model that involves the manipulation and understanding of the stream of consciousness and not merely matter (which is one manifestation of consciousness).
Traditional western medicine (and other healing modalities) treats only a part of the patient – the part which is deemed to be ill – the material part. The Ayurvedic approach treats the whole person (physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually) in the belief that one cannot safely split a person into parts. For example, the Ayurvedic healer may assess a person’s thought process, believing that thoughts manifest themselves in the biochemistry of the body. In western medicine, after extensive diagnostics, often the disease or cluster of symptoms is isolated, and the disease becomes the sole area of attention of traditional physicians. Triumph over a particular disease or set of symptoms is considered restoration of health. Not so in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is a natural therapy; hence, it has no or fewer side effects or almost no complications (when taken responsibly and on the advice of an expert) whereas, other systems of medicine often have lots of side effects and can potentially cause several complications.
No not at all. Ayurveda recommends foods that are ideal for your body and mind; not per any specific dietary protocol. While Ayurveda sings the praises of a healthy seasonal, vegetarian diet, it similarly prescribes meats of several animals, fishes and birds. What you eat will depend on which food serves your health and energy needs best. With respect to what you can digest, your Ayurvedic practitioner will offer guidance and recommendations in this area.