yurveda, Indian Medicine System, emerged from folk practices;

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in The Philosophy of Ayurveda

Monica  Kuwar Rathore

text   and  philosophy   of          Actually,  the 
basic  philosophical concepts
of Indian  Medicine, remains the                                                    anatomical, physiological and medicinal importance,

ancient yet living tradition. The Vedic available in Rgveda in the
forms of seeds,
are found in word Ayurveda
has been coined
by the conjunction of
developed and applied
form as fruit
in Cnrnkd Samhit0,
two Sanskrit words, tyus meaning
life and ceda Susruta 8ainhit0, K0s”yapa
Samhit0 and other Ayurvedic meaning knowledge. According to this
translation, texts of later period. Thus, Ayurveda adopts Ayurveda means ‘the
science of life.’ But the Vedic  philosophical  and 
metaphysical  orientations  of texts expand on
these definitions to offer a more dnrs’duns
according to suitability of its subject
matter, complete understanding. Caraka
Samhit0 describes it  
principally   Nyaya,   Vais”esika,  
Samkhya   and as:                     considerablyYoga.

sukham duhkhnmayustasja hitahitam i manam ca
Inccn yatroktamayurvedah sa ucysle 1 1 ‘

“Thus Ayurveda is that which
deals with good,
bad, happy and unhappy life, its promoters and non promoters, measurements and nature.” Ayurveda is eternal
which means that its principles were operational right from the beginning of
creation whether we have realized them or not. Ayurveda mentors or sages just dealt with Ayurvedic principles like Newton did with gravitational force. Three major Ayurvedic texts are known as Brhad Trayi-: Caraka Samhité, 5usruta Samhit0, andfs0hga Hrdayam.

As its name
shows, there are
two main objectives of Ayurveda, i.e. to protect
health of the healthy and to
alleviate disorders in the diseased.’

Ayurveda, the Indian
Medicine System, emerged from folk practices; it developed within
a well-defined philosophical framework. Further, it did not develop
a philosophy in the course of time as drugs came into
use and cures were effected, but, on the
contrary, drugs were administered with a
resulting cure on the basis
of a philosophy that was crystallized at its earliest stage of development. It was theory that determined the practice in Ayurveda.

Ayurveda did not
however adopt any particular philosophical system as a mere intellectual exercise.
Its alignment with the stylized
system of thought
such as Nyaya, Vais’esika, Sfiiiikhya and Yoga was motivated by the practical considerations involved in man’s happiness and health
here and now.

The basic
assumptions of Ayurveda
are the theory of the physical constitution of human body
(theory of five elements or pdncu-mnhfihhufd) and the narration about the human nature
while all body
elements are balanced and when
disturbed according to three humors (tridosa
) doctrine, i.e. vata, pitta and kapha. After a deep consideration of Ayurveda’s philosophy, it is evident that the Nyaya-Vais”esika systems may be said to have contributed the
basic physics and chemistry of drugs while Samkhya-Yoga system provided biology and
physiology. Ayurveda achieved an effective integration
of these contributions. Ayurveda represents a level of systematization that was higher and more meaningful than
these philosophical systems. The conceptual
coordinates of this systematization are similar to these philosophical systems, but they
are free from narrow constraints within which the systems
worked as mere intellectual
discipline. It also applied these coordinates in practice.

Whatever philosophical terms or orientations were used
by Ayurveda systems, were basically general
terms. Moreover, the Ayurveda system
has applied these terms or concepts in solving
the riddles of biology and medicine. Ayurveda
has adopted the principles of philosophical schools
according to the suitability of subject matter and
utility in medical science. The philosophical principles have become more
applied and massive in Ayurveda, although their metaphysical essence has been
cautiously preserved in it.

Light on Ayurveda Journal, 
Vol.  VIII,
Issue 2, Winter 2009       7

Therefore, Ayurveda has its
own philosophy as an
independent philosophical system. Sdrrudurs’nnu 8aUgraha mentions sixteen
philosophical systems, viz. Carvaka, Bauddha, Arhat, Ramanuja,
Piirnaprajna, Nakulis”a—Pas”upata, Daiva,
Pratyayabhijna, Rases’vara, Auliikya, Aksapada, Jaimini, Pfinini, Samkhya,
Pfitanjala and San’kara. Rasesvara
Dnrs”ana is one of them which is a developed branch of Ayurveda. P.V.

(manifested),  on  the 
other  hand,  refer 
to pdncn—

/0fiueudriyd (five sense
organs), pahca—karmendriya (five motor organs), pahca—mah0bhu ta (five gross elements) and mnuus.’




 Mahat (Intellect)

Sharma  also  used 
the  word  dnrs’uun 
in  his own                                                                                 

composition Ayurveda Dnrs’nudm in wider connotation
comprising metaphysical aspects, basic concepts and philosophy of
approach to health and medicine. The important metaphysical concepts of
Ayurveda philosophy are as follows:—

> Evolution of Universe
and Body

> Five Element Theory (Paiica Mah0bhiita Theory)

–      Three Humors Theory (Tridosa Theory)

> Description of
Categories (Pad0rthas)

Enumeration  of Categories (Pad0rthao )

Concomitance (Sfimfinyn) and Variant Factor (Vis”esa)

Enumeration and Concept of Attributes (Gunns) Substance  (Drnryd) and its Classification

CausalSubstance (K0rana  Drnryn)

Substance as Effect
(K0rya Drama)

Sentient   or   Organic  
Substance  (Ceiuuu


s     Aufus’cefuun or Sth0vara (without external consciousness)

Bahirantas”cetnna or Jnngnmn (with explicit


Non—sentient   or   Inorganic  


(Enrmnu) Concept Inherence (Scmdrfiyn) Theory

Evolution Theory of Universe and Body

The origin and development of this universe
has been the central
point of the discussion of philosophy. 8us”ruta and other Ayurveda
texts like Bh0vaprak0s”a
and Sariigadhara Sainhit0 accept that this universe is made up of
25 elements.’ But Caraka adopts 24 elements and includes eight prdkrfis and
sixteen rikfirns.’ The
eight prdkrfis are: avyakta (unmanifest), mahat (buddhi or intellect), ahamk0ra (ego) and pahcatanm0tr0  (five
subtle elements).  Sixteen cikfirds


8       Light  on
Ayurveda Journal,  Vol. VIII, Issue 2, Winter

Ahamkara (Ego)




Panca— Mahabhuta (Gross Elements)


$Manas (Mind)


Fig 2. Evolution  Process
according  to

Sus”ruta accepts these 24 elements
and purusa as the twenty—fifth
element.’ According to Caraka, avyakta is
both for prnkrfi as well as piirtisn.
So unmanifest self or purusa is also
present there as consciousness
but Caraka does not enumerate it as a separate element or as a twenty—fifthelement.

Moreover, Saiiikhya admits that from s0ttvika ahaink0rn the
eleven organs, viz. muds (mind), puncn— Jhfinendriya (sense—organs) and pdhca—karmendriya
(motor organs) proceed
but according to Caraka these organs proceed from five physical subtle elements. From prdkrfi issues mahat, thence ahaiilk0ra and
from ahaink0ra, five subtle elements (tanm0tr0)’ and
from these elements, the eleven organs and five
gross elements proceed. Therefore, according to Caraka, these organs are physical and the physical
body is the subject matter of medicine.’ The five sense—organs are composed of these physical elements with the predominance of one in each. Thus, Samkhya’s organs are egotist and formless. Therefore, they cannot be
given treatment.’ Sus”ruta also mentions that the
organs are physical as they have predominance of pahca—mah0bhuta (five gross elements —prthivi-, Jala, frJns, rfiyu, 0k0sn )” and only a physical
entity can be the

Categories: Physiology


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