Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ayurveda – The rising of a new world

Since the time ancient civilization earmarked itself on the pages of history, chronicles related to the development of ancient system of healing could well be found scattered around various texts. It is evident from the time immortal that quest of longevity is deeply inscribed in the mind of human beings and adopting a healthy life style including the freedom from life threatening diseases remained on the top of the agenda through out the evolution of mankind. When history was first written on the pages in form of a script, along with the furtive of evolution were penned down the secrets of healthy living for the references of ancestors. Vedas are full of such kind of wisdom. It was the time when such references were used and various parts of information were brought together in form of an authentic knowledge by some of our eminent sages to establish the holistic system of healing. As far the history concerned, Ayurveda is all about the wisdom arising from the constant observations and a science purely based upon the self experiences. The principle of five elements and theory of evolution are an example of strong metaphysical understanding of the mass. Induction of massage coating an example of moulding a strong wood with constant smearing of oil followed by hot fomentation is another excellent piece of mind application.

It was a discussion amongst some altruistic sages that brought out the best and the oldest system of medical fraternity who were worried about the decline of the social health around the globe. Acharaya Bhardwaj was the first among those who professionally started imparting Ayurvedic wisdom to his immediate descendant Acharaya Atreya, and the latter took an initiative to set up the first school of Ayurvedic Medicines. It is the time when Ayurvedic wisdom which was transferred orally until now took a form of written scripture. Agnivesha, a student of Acharaya Atreya framed his knowledge in form of a text and his work was upheld across the arena of intellectuals. He named his book as Agnivesha Tantra. Till date the book remains the main pillar of Ayurvedic wisdom and is famous by name of Charaka Samhita. It is mandatory to mention the probable time of this creation at this point, which dates back to astonishing 2500 B. C. back. Only the legacy of Agnivesha who is least rewarded for his work sustained the time and till date benefiting the man kind.

While the conservative system of medicines developed to its heights of success, at the same time land of snake charmers gave rise to another legend in the field of operative medicines – the Sushruta. With his excellent and mind boggling surgeries, he laid down the foundation of Modern surgery. He is the one to innovate the famous lithotomy position widely used across the globe. He again has the famous incision point under his belt for eye surgery, and no doubt why he is father of modern surgery today. It was his own legacy that he dared to successfully operate under the non availability of strong and reliable anesthesia. Both of the branches vis- a vis Ayurvedic Medicines and Surgery developed together and wrote a new script of success with a vision of futuristic social health. Later it was well carried upon by then gallant human beings, that by virtue of their hard work they laid a foundation of modern pharmacology and pharmacogonosy. It is the time of Acharaya Vagbhatta and other eminent sages, who went into the field of research and intensive pharmacological evidence in form of Nighantu and other texts are available till date. At the same time when other fields were developing in the field of traditional medicines, a new lease of idea gave birth to the development of alchemistry; a branch of medicine that deals with the study of metals and their property of healing. Mercury, the most poisonous metal was used to cure the life threatening diseases. None the less, this art was also used to create the lost wealth of then spend thrift kings by turning mercury into the Gold. Ayurveda, considered as Ashtang comprised of eight fully developed branches having their own specializations. The maestros of the field left back their footprints in form of their written scriptures on papers for their descendants, alas! Hardly could be restored and saved; thanks to the lack of print and electronic media, and also to the generations riding high over money making machines at the cost of their own health.

While knowing my own roots, I came across an interesting story about the name of Kangra town situated near to the famous hill station Dharamsala, it is also the abode of Goddess Durga – Bajreshwari. The place used to be called as Trigarta (valley covered on three sides by peaks) or Nagarkot. There lived a family who was engaged in the business of stitching the torn earlobes of the ladies fancying heavy metal rings. They were so good at the business that later the place itself came to be known as Kaan Gad in local language which means to stitch ear lobe. Due to the ease of pronunciation it became Kangra later. How true the story is, nobody knows but it left a great deal of impression on my mind about a family that had the courage and skill to change the fate of a dynasty.

A system that fulfilled the medical and social demands of man kind had its downturn not because there was a fault in the system but just political reasons were enough to destroy the wealth of the wisdom. Foreign invaders, wherever they came from had an agenda of destroying rich Indian culture and heritage. Nalanda University, then abode of the knowledge was set on fire which kept on burning for entire 6 months turning the knowledge into the ashes. Few of them took away the literature for their sake, and left a big lag. Even before that with up rise of King Ashoka, Ayurveda Surgery had to bear a major set back. Once the king turned Budha, all the surgeries were banned and anyone who practiced it was held responsible for prosecution. Many of the eminent personalities shirked their shoulders from the profession to avoid social embarrassment. Adding an insult to the injury, while British invaded India they slapped everything they had on India, and Indian culture

As the evolution rode over the fast track of development, and the world saw a major power shift from east to the west, India started looking tame in its own boundaries. British rule in India made life difficult f

or the survival of its heritage and the way western system of healing was pasted over Indian society, played a major role in uprooting the age old system from the land of its own. Faster results produced by the western system of healing lead it to the top priority in the world of healing, and the lack of evidence based practice further pushed Ayurveda on the back foot. It was also the reason that developed nations refused to accept Ayurveda as a medical system and it ended up in a folklore practice only.

Also was the fascination of top authorities of this nation to please the developed countries and to keep dancing on their tunes that further deteriorated the image of this system and much of the credit goes to the practitioner of this science also, who felt privileged to be called upon Doctors instead of Vaidyas.

But, life is like a clock and the one that goes down has to rise in any circumstance. The might of Ayurveda could never be denied and the science that has the strongest basic principles rises again just like phoenix. The world realizes once again that being healthy is a bliss, and it is far better to maintain health than spending your hard earned money over an illness; and that is what the aim of Ayurveda is, “swasthasya swastha rakshanam i. e. to maintain the health of a healthy being.” Ayurveda, a science of life stresses upon adopting a healthy life style in order to avoid potential health hazards, and incorporates daily and seasonal regimens of well being, and one should always put constant efforts to follow the simple advises in order to remain healthy.

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