Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary
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See also Ved
The ancient Hindu medical science. This is called fifth Ved also. The other four Ved are - Rig Ved, Yajur Ved, Atharv Ved and Saam Ved. Hindu were first to have developed the art of and science of surgery. The world's oldest treatise on surgery "Sushrut Sanhitaa" was written by a Hindu surgeon "Sushrut" around 100 AD. Hindu physicians Often traveled abroad to treat people. Maanikya traveled to Bagadaad to treat the Caliph. Hindu books of medicine and surgery were translated into Arabic, and from Arabic to Latin. They remained the primary sources of treatment in Europe and the Middle East until the 17th century AD.
"Aayur Ved" literally means "the science of life". It is the oldest and most holistic medical system available on the planet today. It was placed in written form over 5,000 years ago in India, it was said to be a world medicine dealing with both body and the spirit. Before the advent of writing, the ancient wisdom of this healing system was a part of the spiritual tradition of the Sanaatan Dharm (Universal Religion), or Vaidik Religion. Ved Vyaas, the famous sage, Shaktavesh Avatar of Vishnu, put into writing the complete knowledge of Aayur Ved, along with the more directly spiritual insights of self realization into a body of scriptural literature called the Ved and the Vaidik literatures.
There were originally four main books of spirituality, which included among other topics, health, astrology, spiritual business, government, army, poetry and spiritual living and behavior. These books are known as the four Ved; Rig, Saam, Yajur and Atharv. The Rig Ved, a compilation of verse on the nature of existence, is the oldest surviving book of any Indo-European language (3000 BC). The Rig Ved refers to the cosmology known as Saankhya which lies at the base of both Aayur Ved and Yog, contains verses on the nature of health and disease, pathogenesis and principles of treatment. Among the Rig Ved are found discussions of the three Dosh - Vaayu, Pitta and Kapha, and the use of herbs to heal the diseases of the mind and body and to foster longevity.
The Atharv Ved lists the eight divisions of Aayur Ved: Internal Medicine, Surgery of Head and Neck, Ophthalmology and Otorinolaryngology, Surgery, Toxicology, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Gerontology or Science of Rejuvenation, and the Science of Fertility. The Vaidik Sages took the passages from the Vaidik Scriptures relating to Aayur Ved and compiled separate books dealing only with Aayur Ved. One of these books, called the Atreya Sanhitaa is the oldest medical book in the world! The Vaidik Braahman were not only priests performing religious rites and ceremonies, they also became Vaidya (physicians of Aayur Ved). The sage physician-surgeons of the time were the same sages or seers, deeply devoted holy people, who saw health as an integral part of spiritual life.
It is said that they received their training of Aayur Ved through direct cognition during meditation. In other words, the knowledge of the use of various methods of healing, prevention, longevity and surgery came through Divine revelation; there was no guessing or testing and harming animals. These revelations were transcribed from the oral tradition into book form, interspersed with the other aspects of life and spirituality. What is fascinating is Aayur Ved's use of herbs, foods, aromas, gems, colors, Yog, Mantra, lifestyle and surgery. Consequently Aayur Ved grew into a respected and widely used system of healing in India.
Around 1500 BC, various authors took Aayuredik passages from the four scriptures and created Aayurvedik texts for at least eight specific branches of medicine, divided into two main schools: Atreya, or physicians, and Dhanvantari or surgeons. Through experimentation and research, these two schools transformed Aayur Ved from a primarily religious discipline to a scientific medical system. Scholars from China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome flocked to India's Aayurvediks chools to learn about this holistic medicine.
Over 1,200 years ago, masters of the two schools assembled their knowledge into essential texts. Charak, a doctor of the Atreya school, compiled information on diagnosis and prevention of disease, internal and external causes of illness, herbal prescriptions and anatomy. He stated that all diseases - physical, mental and spiritual - are fundamentally caused by a separation from Divine Oneness. He also gave strikingly detailed descriptions of human fetal development month-by-month. Sushrut, from the Dhanvantari school, classified functions of organs, nerves and joints, catalogued various kinds of wounds and described sophisticated surgical equipment used in technical procedures like amputation and plastic surgery. His text also includes the first mention of the science of massage using Marm (critical) points, vital nerve intersections like those used in Chinese acupuncture.
After the flowering of Aayurvedik knowledge came hard times. First, schools began splitting over technical interpretations. In the 1600s, the British East India Company took control over the subcontinent. By 1833, it had sufficient authority to ban all Aayurvedik colleges and opened the first Western-style medical university. Aayurvedik medicine survived only in rural areas where local doctors treated those who could not afford Western medicine. Only in 1920 did the discipline of Aayur Ved begin to regain its former respect. When India established independence in 1947, Aayurvedik medical schools were once more officially accepted and allowed to open. Today, well over 100 Aayurvedik colleges in India grant degrees after a five-year program. More than 300,000 Aayurvedik physicians belong to the All-India Aayur Ved Congress, making it the largest medical organization in the world.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 09/02/12