What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine originating thousands of years ago in India. The word Ayurveda derives from ayu and veda. Ayu means life. Veda means science or knowledge. Ayurveda means the science of life. Charaka defines “That the science designated as Ayurveda is that which deals with advantages and disadvantages, as well as happy and unhappy states of life together with what is good and bad for life, its measure and life itself (Charaka Sutra 1- 4)”. Ayurveda encompasses all living beings, human and non-human. It is divided into three main branches, namely Nara Ayurveda, which deals with human life; Satva Ayurveda, the science that deals with animal life and its diseases; Vriksha Ayurveda, the science that deals with plant life, its growth and diseases. It is very clear that Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine but also a way of life to achieve complete health and spiritual achievements.
Ayurveda believes that positive health is the basis for achieving four precious goals of life (chaturvidh purushartha), namely Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha. All of these four goals cannot be accomplished without good positive health.

Positive health is defined as

a.  Dosha Dhatu samya (well balanced metabolism)

b. Prasanna Atma, Indriya, Manah (happy state of the soul, the senses and the mind). The senses here mean the five organs of Gyanendriya perception namely, smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing, along with the organs of action: Karmendriya namely, mouth, hands, feet and organs of excretion and reproduction.