Ayurveda is one of the oldest traditional systems of medicine (TSMs) still in use today. Ayurveda has a history that goes back to the second century BC. Ayurveda's foundations were laid by the Vaisheshika and Nyaya schools of ancient Hindu philosophy and logic, respectively. It is related to the Samkhya manifestation framework and was established at the same time as the Nyaya and Vaisheshika schools of thought.
The Yajur Veda, Rig Veda, Sam Veda, and Atharva Veda are four renowned knowledge collections (Vedas) that are thought to constitute the foundation of the Ayurveda system. The Rig Veda, the most well-known of the four Vedas, contains 1028 Shlokas and names 67 different plants. 293 and 81 medicinally beneficial plants are described in the Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda, respectively. The basis for the practice of Ayurveda is the knowledge gained from these Vedas. The author of the writings found in the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda is known as "Atreya," who is said to have gained this knowledge from Lord Indra, who first acquired it from Lord Brahma.
According to Ayurveda, the universe is made up of the elements Vayu (air), Jala (water), Aakash (space or ether), Prithvi (earth), and Teja (fire). These five components—referred to in Ayurveda as Pancha Mahabhoota—are thought to combine to form the three main humors of the human body.
The Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas—collectively known as the "Tridoshas"—are the three humors that govern the body's fundamental physiological processes. Each of the three doshas also has five subdoshas. According to Ayurveda, the body is made up of the Saptadhatus (seven tissues), Rasa (tissue fluids), Meda (fat and connective tissue), Rakta (blood), Asthi (bones), Majja (marrow), Mamsa (muscle), and Shukra (semen), as well as three Malas (body waste products).
Mahim Tiwari, a Ph.D. scholar at BHU, states, "Even though we recognize that these concepts were mentioned thousands of years ago, many still demand proof. For instance, Dr. Benjamin Rush is hailed as the father of mental health, yet references to mental health existed long before him. Can't we view what Krishna advised Arjuna during the battle of Kurukshetra as a form of counseling? The Bhagavad Gita explicitly discusses the causes of mental illness, stating that overthinking can lead to illness and, ultimately, to one's demise. It also outlines that a well-balanced intellect is a sign of a healthy mind.
He also mentions that in another Samihta, Yoga Vasishta, written by Maharshi Vasishta during the 6th–7th centuries, mentioned “Aadhi” and “Vyadhi” where Aadhi refers to Manasika roga (Mental illness) and Vyadhi refers to Sharirika roga (Physical illness).
In Yoga Darshana, Maharshi Patanjali has mentioned “Chitta” (mind) and 5 things that fluctuate the mind and memory; they are proper perception, delusion, imagination, deep sleep, and memory. Winning over these things itself is realization and getting mental health on track. In the same text, Maharshi Ptanjali mentioned “Chitta prasadana” which implies the ways to make the mind pure and blissful. Further, he says Maitri (friendliness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (joyfulness), and Upeksha (indifference) are four factors that act as measures to attain Chitta prasadana. While explaining the definition of Yoga, Maharshi Patanjali says “Yoga is a skillful method to calm the mind”.
As Ayurveda says, the normalcy of Dosha, Dhatu, Mala, and Agni in our body is termed Swasthya, and it pertains not only to physical wellness but also to mental wellness.
He concludes by saying that this is not only related to health; the more we read and respect our science, the more we discover the truth. Hence, it is not simply accepting the facts; it is always good to explore our science and learn new things.
(Author/Dr. Nithin GN)