Ayurvedha, which means, "The Science Of Life", The is the most ancient system of medicine now in existence. The foundations for this system were laid on the slopes of the Himalayas more than five thousand years ago by the vedic Aryans, who would have carried with them some notions about medicine when they entered india. On entering India of medicine is existence among the original inhabitants of India of whom siddha were a section. The Aryan sages, with the co-operation of the siddhas, desired to bring out a system of medicine and prevent that knowledge, they held several conference in several places in which the siddha representative of the tamil land seem to have taken a prominent part.

The earliest medical works, which have been preserved, are those of charaka and susruta. As contrasted with the Charaka Samhita, which is medical the susruta-samhita deals primarily with surgery. Tradition connects susruta with Benares in estern India. The text seems to be later than the text of charaka, its language Is less archaic, and its treatment is more concise, more developed, and more systematic. As in the case of charaka the text is guaranteed only be commentaries of the eleventh century, about a hundred and twenty surgical instruments are described, and a large number of surgical operation are referred to.

The satapatha-Brahamana and the atharava-veda texts which are belived to belong to the period between 1000 and 600 B.C.., contain enumeration of the bones of the human body, which although associated with a good deals of religious symbolism are very similar to those of charaka and susruta.

The third grat name of Indian medicine is that if vaghbata. His astangasamgraha is probably to be placed at the beginning of the seventh century, for the Chinese traveler I-Tising, without giving the name , refers to writer who shortly before his time had composed a compendium dealing with eight branches of medicine, It is suspected that this may be the asankar refered to in arbic work.

It has been conjectured that the famous Madhavanidana (of the 8th or 9th century) may be the Badan of Arabic writers. After this period the arts and crafts were left more and more to the lower castes, and anatomy and surgery fell into disuse. Empirical medicine decayed as diseases came to be regarded as the inevitable result of Karma.

Metallic preparations as medicines are casually referred to in the Charaka and Susrata-Samhitas and in Varahamihiras's Brahatsamhita (mercury and iron), but the wide extension of their use does not seem to have taken place before the seventh century. Alchemy and the rasayana doctrine of mercury as the elixir of life seem to have flourished especially in connection with the Tantric cults of Hinduism which are of South Indian origin.

Ayurvedha in its study of the human body as well as the universe has given special thought to the six factors. namely then five mahabhutas and the soul or Atma. Just as modern medical science is greatly influenced by Physics. Chemistry and biology so also Ayurvedha has a great share of the impact of the old Hindu philosophical thought and principles in vogue for a very long time in India. But, Ayurvedha has not taken these thoughts and principles in their entirety. It has moulded them according to its needs and then assimilated them into its own theories. It is why at places these philosophical thoughts and principles are identical with the original version while at other places there is a lot of difference.

In Ayurvedha, the theory Panchamahabhutas has been applied to the origin of the universe and more specially to the conception, development, physiological functions, and pathological disorders of the human body. May they have made use of this theory for those drugs and food articles that are widely used in the keep up of human body and eradication of diseases. DOSHA-DHATU-MALMTOLAM HI SHRIRAM (the human body comes out of the three doshas, seven dhatus and various excreta) is a well-known saying in Ayurvedha but the production and existence of dashes etc. is mainly due to the Panchmahabhutas.

There are five Mahabhutas as the word panch shows. The inherent properties of these mahabhutas are as under:-

  • Shabda (Production of sound) is the property of Akash cetherel Strata that Pervada the universe.
  • Sparsha (production of touch sensatin) is the property of Vayu (serial strata that surround the whole universe)
  • Roopa (production of form) is the property of Teja (osidlsing or igniting force of fire)
  • Rasa (production of the sensation of taste) is the property of Jala (water)
  • Gandha (production of the sensation of smell) is the property of Prithwi (earth).

Mutual Intrainclusion of Panehmahabhutas

In our body the various sensations attributed to the different mahabhuta do not have their absolute value because most of the mahabhutas are interlinked together to produce a particular sensation. Production of sound (shabda) comes from ether or Akash. But Vayu is not absolute, it also contains Akash in it. This why the mahabhuta of Vayu has got two properties of Shabda and Sparsha. Similarly Teja is a mixture of ether, air and the fire and so it has all the three properties attributed to the three mahabhutas that is sound, touch and form or roop Jala contains ether, air, teja or fire and water in it, hence its property has all the four attributes of sound, touch, form and taste. Prithwi or earth mahabhuta is a sum total of all the five mahabhutas which are iternally included in it and so all the attributes of sound, touch, form, taste and smell.

Ayurvedically characterisable Points of Mahabhutas :

  • Earth of Prithwi is characterised by hardness or karatwa.
  • Water of Jala is characterised by fluidity of drauatwa.
  • Vayu or air is characterised by mobility or chalataw.
  • Agni or fire is characterised by heat or ushanatwa.
  • Akash or ether is characterised by want of resistance called Apratighata, or loss of touch or asparshatwa.

Five sense-organs viz Panchmahabhutas :

  • Akash mahabhuta is the initiator of the sense organ of hearing
  • Vayu is the iniator of the sense organ of touch.
  • Teja is the initiator of the sense-organ of vision.
  • Jala is the initiator of the sense organ of taste.
  • Prithwi is the initiator of the sense organ of smell.

Preponderance of the three attributes in the mahabhutas :

  • Akash or ether has the preponderance of Satwa attribute.
  • Vayu or wind has the preponderance of Ra oguna.
  • Teja or fire has the preponderance of Satwa and Rajas attributes.
  • Jala or water has the preponderance of Satwa and Tamoguna.
  • Prithwi or earth has the preponderance of Tamil attribute.

Chief mahabhutas causing Pancbhutic doshas :

  • Akash and Vayu are the originators of VATA-DOSHA.
  • Teja and Jala are the originators of PITTA-DOSHA.
  • Jala and Prithwi are the originators of KAPHA-DOSHA.

In the living human body, Doshas are the all-pervading Dravyas formed of the five Mahabhutas. And these Doshas are the causative factors in the formation, existence, disorderliness and destruction of the human body.

There are three Doshas. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are their names. Vata is formed of the Sanskrit root 'va' which literally means movement; Pitta is formed of the root 'tap' which means 'heat-producing'; and Kapha adhesions and cohesion. And from these in appears that Vata is motive, Pitta is heating and Shleshma is adhesing.

Chief property or guna of Vata is chalatwa or motility movement : of Pitta it is ushanatwa or heat ; and Shleshma it is unctuousness and fat. Ayurvedic texts have quoted many more properties of the Vatadi Doshas. But the above named properties are most important.

The chief natural function of Vata in human body is chalan or various movements, similarly of Pitta it is pachan or digestion and of Shleshma it is unification of various components of the body parts.

There are many other functions of these Doshas which are elicited in various ways in different parts of our body :-

Varieties of Vata

  • Pran
  • Udan
  • Vyan
  • Saman
  • Apan

Varieties of Pitta

  • Pachak
  • Ranjak
  • Sadhak
  • Alochak
  • Bhrajak

Varieties of Shleshma

  • Avalambak
  • Kledak
  • Bodhak
  • Tarpak
  • Shleshak

Large intestines of Vatha, Nabhi of Pitta and Thorax of Kapha are the chief sites of location.

While considering the problem of longevity and of health and also while considering the treatment aspect of an individual the temperament of Doshaj prakritis of an individual are specially given a good thought.

The special tissue or Dushya or Dhatu of Vata is Asthi or bone. Special tissues of Pitta are blood (rakta) and sweda (perspiration).special dushyas of Shleshma are the rest of the dushyas i.e., Rasa, Mamsa (Muscular tissue) majja (marrow), shukra (semen) and the two excreta-shakrit (faeces) and mutra (urine).

Location in normal quantity and quality called balancing is one stage of the movements of Doshas. This stage gives good health. The second stage is deficiency of Doshas and the third is the abnormal increase of the Doshas in quantity or quality. These two stages are never found in normal conditions. They are always provocatory stages denoting pathological conditions.

At the time of diagnosis, in Ayurvedha, special attention is given to the four stages of Doshas as described by Sushruta. They are

  • Sanchaya or stages of accumulation of Doshas.
  • Prakopa or vitiation of Doshas.
  • Prasar or speading of Doshas.
  • Sthan snasraya or localisation of a Dosha.

Vagbhat says that there is no pain without Vata, there is no burning sensation without Pitta and there is no oedema or shopha without kapha or shleshma.

Ayurvedha system contains more of Siddha materials we find scattered throughout Tamil Nadu without being properly systematized according to the needs of the times. We will be able to find the truth when we go to Siddha and analyse the contents scientifically. The mankind and the medical practitioners should be thankful to the sages of the past who had made these things available to us in a language which was the lingua-franca of ancient scholars of our vast country in the easily understandable and assimilable form even three thousand years ago.

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