There is lot of conversation that takes place regarding the evolution of Ayurveda or the history of the ancient healing science of Ayurveda.The entire philosophy of Ayurveda is based on Sankhya, which means to know the truth. Ayurveda is believed to have originated from the Upnishada portion of the fourth Veda i.e. Atharvaveda.
Ayurveda is an Upveda or subsection of the fourth Veda, the Atharva Veda. The 3 vedas – Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samveda represent the psychological process of the human mind. These three vedas represent the three mental powers of Knowledge, Action and Will. Whereas Atharvaveda, of which Ayurveda is believed to have been originated, is the veda of rectification. This lays down specifications about how to bring back the balance and the harmony between these mental states of knowledge, action and will.
Prakriti and Purusha are the two basic energy principles that are the essential components that are believed to lay down the foundation of the entire existence within and of the universe.
– Prakriti is the female energy which is the Creative Energy which is to create.
– Purusha is the male energy which is the Dormant Consciousness is witness to this creation.
– In transcendental stage, both the female and male energies viz. Prakriti and Purusha are in harmony with each other.
Where did Ayurveda come from?
The ancient Indian mythology narrates legends about the evolution of Ayurveda. The ancient healing science of Ayurveda is regarded as the knowledge that has descended on the Earth straight from the Gods in Heaven. Lord Brahma who is the God of creation is believed to have evolved the science of Ayurveda through meditation. HE then passed on the divine knowledge to Daksha Prajapati who was the King of Himalayas. From him, the knowledge of Ayurveda healing was passed on to the twin brothers named Ashwini Kumars who were physicians in the court of Lord Indra, the King of Devtas or the Gods.
When Lord Indra saw Ashwini Kumars performing miracles using the knowledge of Ayurveda, Indra also learnt the science from the twin brother physicians. It was at this time that human beings living on Earth had started to be affected with disease due to losing harmony and discrepancies in diet and lifestyle. The Sages and learned Rishis at that time prayed for relief to humanity and then was the period when Ayurveda descended from heaven to earth. Lord Indra passed on the knowledge of healing mankind to Punarvasu Atray. Rishi Atray further gave the knowledge of Ayurveda to his 6 disciples.. Agnivesh, Bhel, Jatukaran, Prashar, Harit and Sharpani. Of these sages, Agnivesha was most intelligent and wrote the Agnivesha Trantra and from this emerged the well known text of Ayurveda, the Charaka Samhita.
There is another story about the evolution of Ayurveda in Indian Mythology. According to this, during the ancient times, The Gods and the Demons were constantly in long war. Whereas the Gods or the Devtas were struggling to save the ailing humanity, the Devils were adamant to prove their power. The war lasted for a very long time till the Gods decided to get Amrita or nectar of immortality extracted from below the ocean. They knew that the only way the nectar which lied hidden deep down below the ocean was to churn the huge ocean. Churning of the ocean at that time has become a legend happening in Indian mythology named as ‘Samudra Manthana’ where Samudra means the ocean and Manthana is the process of churning. Many divine objects emerged by the process of churning of the ocean and at last emerged Lord Dhanvantari who is worshipped as the God of Ayurveda appeared from the ocean carrying the Nectar in one hand and Ayurveda in another.
Reference in Ayurveda Text
When the Sages or learned Rishis approached Lord Indra (for the sole purpose of saving the humanity which was now frequented with diseases), at that time Indra immediately passed on to them the Upveda of Atharva Veda, Ayurveda which can save from untimely death and misery; which had been further divided into 8 treaties or sub-divisions viz. Medicine, Surgery, Paediatrics, Psychology, Toxicology, Rejuvenation, ENT and Aphrodisiacs.
Also, the Ayurveda Shastra or the textual knowledge that was initially known to Lord Brahma, the father of the Gods, the wisdom healing science of Ayurveda which is pure, pious and fault free, was then introduced to and passed on to the Sages to save the mankind from suffering. Later on when the Maharishis or the learned Sages descended onto the Earth with the precious wisdom of Ayurveda, wrote, practiced and promoted Ayurveda by making different Tantras or the knowledge treaties and spread the virtues of the healing wisdom far and wide through the Gurus or the intelligent teachers and preachers of Ayurveda. This is how the bliss of Ayurveda was gained and praised on the Earth while saving and rescuing Humanity from the clutches of disease.
In Ayurveda text it has been mentioned that Ayurveda had to brought to the rescue of humanity when the purpose of human birth of ascending in the virtues of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha was being interfered by the fatal diseases that mankind had started experiencing and there was lot of suffering on Earth for this reason.
Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita:
These are considered the two Famous Schools of Ayurveda. Rishi Agnivesha wrote the Ayurveda text as Agnivesha Samhita somewhere before 6th Century AD. The text was revised later by Charaka in the 1st Century AD. His book of Ayurveda text focused on Kaya Chikitsa or the Branch of Medicine. This was named as ‘Chikitsa Sthana’ and is now popularly known as Charaka Samhita.
Similarly, like the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita was also written in the same period. Yet, whereas Charaka Samhita details about general medicine, Sushruta Samhita deals with Surgical matters and proclaims Sage Sushruta as the ‘Father of Surgery’.