The Meaning and Purpose of Ayurveda
The word Ayurveda has a profound meaning that helps us understand its purpose. “Ayu” refers to all aspects of life from birth to death and all aspects of our nature from body to immortal spirit. It is the continuity and harmony between all that we are and all that we wish to be. “Veda” means knowledge or learning at the deepest level, the wisdom of this conscious universe that we can cognize within ourselves and in our own lives.
Ayurveda is the science by which life in its totality is understood. It describes the diet, medicines, and behaviors that are beneficial or harmful for life and consciousness. It provides a wealth of experiential knowledge and practical healing modalities for all people. Not surprisingly, Ayurveda is called “the mother of all healing” because it cares for all creatures as a mother does for her children. It rejects nothing that is beneficial for life but strives to integrate all valid healing methods in an understanding of how life itself operates.
The sages of ancient India bequeathed Ayurveda to mankind as part of the vast spiritual system of Vedic and yogic knowledge. Seeking out of compassion to alleviate the suffering of all creatures, they looked for all methods of removing pain. They created the system of Yoga to deal with spiritual suffering and Ayurveda to deal with mental and physical suffering. Ayurveda is thus one of the oldest and most comprehensive medical systems in the world, with an unbroken. record of clinical experience going back to the dawn of human history.
However, Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine. in the conventional sense of a methodology for treating disease. It is a way of life that teaches us how to maintain health and improve both our energy and our awareness – how to live lifeto our full human and spiritual potential. Ayurveda shows us not only how to eliminate disease but how to promote longevity so that we can realize our goal in life, which is not just gaining material happiness but achieving profound spiritual realization. Ayurveda remains linked to a spiritual view of humanity and contains methods for connecting us to the greater universe that lies both within and around us.
Ayurveda treats the human being as a whole – a combination of body, mind, and immortal soul. It always considers the psychological and spiritual dimension of healing along with the physical in order to address our greater being and manifestation. This makes Ayurveda inherently a truly holistic and integral medical system such as many people are looking for in changing health care circumstances today. As various natural and alternative systems of medicine come to the forefront, and we once more rediscover the power of prayer and meditation, Ayurveda is becoming prominent as a system of medicine that has never forgotten these greater implications of healing. In our examination of Ayurveda, let us first look into the historical and philosophical background of this profound system.