Ayurveda

«Ayurveda is eternal, without beginning and without end,
because the laws of life are of universal nature
and their characteristics are timeless.»

Caraka Saṃhita, Sutrasthana 30.27

 

The term «Ayurveda» is composed of two Sanskrit words: āyus and veda. Āyus means «life» and veda means «knowledge», so we can define āyurveda as the knowledge of life. Life in Ayurveda means the interplay of body, mind and soul. Ayurveda deals with the nature, scope and purpose of life and includes both the physical and metaphysical aspects – health and illness, happiness and suffering, pain and pleasure.

Although Ayurveda has its roots in India, its teachings are based on the natural laws that apply throughout the universe. It is therefore not an Indian art of healing; rather, Ayurveda can be applied anywhere in the world.

The knowledge of Ayurveda derives from the Vedic high culture and has been practiced continuously in India for more than 5000 years. For several millennia, the knowledge was passed on exclusively orally in long family traditions. The knowledge was formulated in short sentences, so-called sūtras or ślokas, which Ayurveda doctors to this day learn by heart. It was not until around 400 BC that the Caraka Saṃhita, the oldest still preserved Sanskrit text about Ayurveda, was created.