Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word which consists of two different words; Ayu and Veda. Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge.Thus it indicates ‘The knowledge of Life’. Ayurveda is not only the science of diseases, but it also deals with Life. The definition of Life is – The flow of consciousness. Life is known as ‘The union of the mind, body and spirit’. The science of life is that which makes life understood. It imparts the knowledge with regard to what substances, properties and actions are promotive of life and what are not so. Ayurveda as described by the eminent scholar Caraka, is that which deals with good, bad, happy and unhappy life, its promoters and non-promoters, measure and nature. The subject matter of Ayurveda is not the physical body alone. It also deals with the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. Here in Ayurveda, it is laid down the good and the bad of life, and what is wholesome and what is unwholesome in relation to life as also the measure of life.Thus the subject matter of Ayurveda is not only a physical body but the mind, body and spirit – the tripod. Ayurveda gives us the formulas for living a long life filled with joy. Ayurveda is not limited to the physical body but also deals with the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life.
Ayurveda is a part of Vedas. Veda means pure state of knowledge. As a preventive science and medical system, it was described thousands of years ago in the Rig-Veda (one of the four Vedas ). Vedas date back an estimated 5,000 years so Ayurveda is widely considered to be the oldest form of health care in the world. Ayurveda has influenced many other medical sciences. For this reason, Ayurveda is often referred to as the ‘Mother of all healing.’
Ayurveda has a Holistic concept of Health. Disease free status of the body alone does not mean health. Swasthya (Health) means to be ‘established in the self’. The Ayurvedic view of a healthy person is : Samadosha, Samagnischa, Samadhatumalkriyah, Prasannatmendriyamanah, Swastha iti abhidhiyate. (Sushrut Samhita, Sutrasthan, Chapter 15, Shloka 10) ‘He whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit (self) are cheerful or full of bliss, is a healthy person.’