(By: Dr.Mary Jo Cravatta)
In recent years, we have begun hearing more about the ancient healing art of Ayurveda. What has brought on this current interest?
With our ever rising growth in consciousness, we are recognizing our oneness with the world around us. Sensing that we are an integral part of nature–not separate from nature–it’s becoming increasingly more obvious that we must learn to live in accordance with these laws of nature.
Modern society has brought many wonderful advancements. Yet at the same time, as we slip further, and further from our connectedness with nature, we are seeing an increase in dis-ease and dis-harmony.
Out of this lack of perfect balance comes the desire to improve the overall quality of our lives. It is this knowing that there is more to our lives that brings the quest for a greater sense of well-being.
Ayurveda, which literally means “the science of life”, is the natural healing system used throughout India. Ayurveda was originally known to have been first developed, and established by the great sages who developed India’s original systems of meditation, and Yoga over 5,000 years ago.
The study of Ayurveda includes such aspects as herbal medicine, dietetics, body work, surgery, psychology, andspirituality. Ayurveda deals not merely with medical science, but also with the social, ethical, intellectual, and spiritual life of a man.
Ayurveda represents a beautiful blending of the accuracy of science, and the sublimity of philosophy, poetry, and art. According to Ayurveda, a living creature is composed of soul, mind, and body. It is the compound of these three elements that is the subject matter of the science of life.
The human body according to Ayurveda, is composed of the three fundamental elements called doshas, dhatus, and malas. The doshas govern the physio-chemical, and physiological activities of the body, while the dhatus enter into the formation of a basic structure of a body cell, thereby performing some specific actions.
The malas are substances which are partly excreted in a modified form after serving their physiological functions. These three elements are said to be in a dynamic equilibrium with each other for the maintenance of health. Any imbalance of their relative preponderance in the body result in disease and illness.
PANCHA MAHABHUTAS THEORY: A person has five senses. And through these senses he or she perceives the external world in five different ways. The sense organs are the ears, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose. Through these sense organs, the external object is not only perceived, but also absorbed into the human body in the form of energy.
These five types of senses known as the five mahabhutas, are the basis on which the entire universe is divided, grouped, or classified. They are named as akasha (sky), vayu (air), agni (fire), jala (water), and prithvi (earth).
As discussed, the body of an individual is composed of five mahabhutas. Similarly, in other extraneous matters there are also five mahabhutas. In the human body, these five mahabhutas are represented in the form of doshas, dhatus, and malas. Outside the body, they form the basic ingredients of the drugs, and food ingredients .
In a normal body of a living being, these substances remain in a particular proportion. However, because of enzymatic action inside the human body, this ratio of five mahabhutas, or their equilibrium inside the body gets disturbed, The body has however, a natural tendency to maintain equilibrium. It eliminates some of the mahabhutas which are in excess, and takes some of the mahabhutas which are in shortage.
This shortage of mahabhutas is replenished through the ingredients of herbs, food, drinks, etc.