Ayurveda is an ancient branch of knowledge. In ancient scriptures it is said to be eternal because it has no origin, it is proved by nature, and because of ever pervading nature. This world, from the very beginning is made of two types of things- living and non-living. Both of these are related to time. Time span, in which living thing is attached with consciousness, is called age or life span. Knowledge about this life span is called Ayurveda. Ayurveda consists of- 1. Healthy life span, 2. Unhealthy life span, 3. Happy life span, 4.Ailing life span, 5.proper intake for healthy life, 6.measuring and standardizing healthy life.
Every living being and particularly human being is always conscious of its interests. They are also conscious of the things that are advantageous or hazardous for their life and health. For this, humans are ever searching and researching for new techniques and methods. Thus life (ayu) and knowledge (ved) are ever prevailing. All the elements that have any positive or negative effect upon life; have the same nature and the same characteristics as they had in the past and as they will have in the future. For example, fire always burns. Humankind is always conscious about the positive and negative effect of fire and will always be so.
The combination of body, receptors, mind and soul is called life. There are four characteristics of life: 1. it depends on body 2. It depends on vital energy (pran) 3. It is always decaying 4. It is always related with vital energy or pran.
According to archeologists the oldest book of the world is Rig-Veda. It consists of various important theories of Ayurveda. There are many medical techniques given in this book, not known to the modern medical scientists, such as example fixing the chopped head, transplanting the artificial legs etc. Similarly, various rules of medical science are described in the rest of three Vedas. Anatomy, pharmacology and medicine are well explained in these Vedas. According to Bhagwan Dhanvantari, Ayurveda is the branch of knowledge that helps in attaining longevity and knowledge about longevity. Ayurveda is eternal, ever prevailing, and provides happiness, it increases life span and fame and it is also a means of livelihood. There are three basic aspects of Ayurveda-- it shows the proper remedy to people suffering from illnesses; it provides knowledge of diagnosis, symptoms and medicines. There are two fundamental objects of the knowledge of Ayurveda- to protect the health of healthy persons and to make ill persons free from ailment.
Knowledge of Ayurveda descended originally from the god of creation Brahma. He gave this knowledge to Daksha Prajapati and then it was passed to the Ashwani kumars, Indra, Bharadwaj, Dhanwantari and Nimi. Bharadwaj gained a healthy, long and happy life and made Ayurveda popular. His pupil Punarvasu transferred this knowledge to his six disciples called Agnivesh, Jatukarn, Bhel, Parashar, Harit and Charpani. Among those, Agnivesh was the most versatile and he wrote the first book about Ayurveda. After that, the other five wrote there respective treatise. Writings of Agnivesh were modified by Charak and are known as Charak Sanhita. Kankayan also received this knowledge from Bhardwaj. He was resident of middle Asia. He was the originator of Yunani medicines. In southern India, Ayurvedic school of Agastya is very popular. Pulatsya was also a great man of medicines but none of his writings are available now. However writings of his grandson Ravan are available. These are about Nadivigyan.
Ayurveda is a subsidiary of Atharva ved and it has eight branches-1.body related general ailments, 2. Ailments related to children, 3. Mental ailments, 4. Ailments related to ear, nose, throat and eyes, 5. Surgery, 6. Treatment of poison, 7. Effect of different chemicals on human body, 8. Sex related diseases.
Coinciding with trigunsutra (sat, raj, tam) of Indian philosophy, Ayurveda takes kaph (phlegm), vat (air) and Pitt (bile) as the keys of health. These are called ‘tridosh’. When these three are at equilibrium, person is at good health and there disequilibrium causes illness. Apart from these three other seven elements (blood, bones, bone marrow, seamen etc.) are also important. These are called saptdhatu or seven bodily tissues. When all these elements and digestive power function at equilibrium, health is maintained.