Showing posts with label Ayurveda and Yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ayurveda and Yoga. Show all posts

YOGA, AYURVEDA, AND SIDDHA MEDICINE




    The original Indian system of medicine is known as Ayurveda ("Science of Life"), which is typically written as a single word in English.



    Ayurveda is basically naturopathic medicine, stressing prevention while also offering a wide range of treatments. 


    It is used alongside modern treatment in India and is promoted as a way of life for people seeking excellent health and longevity. 


    • Although it cannot be considered a philosophical tradition, Ayurveda is based on Hindu metaphysics. 
    • The old Atharva-Veda is usually thought to be supplemented by the Ayurveda. 
    • The oldest documented ideas on anatomy, as well as curative and preventative medicine, may be found in this holy text. 

    Ayurveda is often considered as a fifth branch, or "collection," of the Vedic legacy, due to its cultural significance. 


    • According to legend, the Ayurvedic body of knowledge initially consisted of 100,000 stanzas collected in a book with over a thousand chapters. 
    • While medicine was certainly performed in the early Vedic period, no complete work has survived to the present day. 




    The Sushruta Samhita and the Caraka-Samhita are the oldest surviving medical texts of encyclopedic breadth. 



    The previous work dates back to pre-Buddhist periods in certain parts, but it was only finished in its current shape in the early years of the Common Era. 


    • In the Mahabharata ( l.4.55), Sushruta is described as the grandson of King Gadhi and the son of the sage Vishvamitra, which, according to the corrected chronology used in this book, places him approximately sixty-two generations before the Bharata war, or around 3000 e.C.E. 
    • Sushruta's name literally means "well heard," implying that he was especially adept at hearing and comprehending information. 

    It's impossible to say how much of the original medical information may be discovered in the surviving Sushruta Samhita. 


    • We do know, however, that there were competent doctors throughout the Vedic Era, according to hymns in the Rig-Veda and Atharva-Veda. 
    • Around 800 c.E., the later medical collection, which was also constantly updated, was most likely given its current form. 
    • However, its purported creator, Caraka, lived several centuries earlier, since he is believed to have been King Kanishka's court-physician (781 20 C.E.). 


    Caraka's name recalls us that ancient doctors used to wander (cara) from place to place providing their medical services, albeit maybe not the famous Caraka himself. 




    According to the Sushruta Samhitd ( l. l.59), the Ayur-Vedic system of medicine is divided into eight branches: 


    ( I ) surgery;

    (2) treatment of diseases of the neck and head; 

    (3) treatment of physical diseases of the torso, arms, and legs; 

    (4) treatment of childhood diseases; 

    (5) processes for counteracting baneful occult influences; 

    (6) treatment of childhood diseases ( vajikarana). 


    The formal resemblance between Ayurveda and Patanjali's eightfold Yoga, which has been noted by Hindu authorities, is entirely accidental, but certain traditional authorities have taken note of it. 




    Ayurveda and Yoga, on the other hand, share a number of significant ideas and practices. 


    Most importantly, the writers and editors of the aforementioned medical reference books embraced the Yoga Samkhya tradition's philosophy. 


    • As a result, the Sushruta-Samhita seems to have been altered at some time in the light of ishvara Krishna's dualist method of thinking, as outlined in his Samkhya Karikd. 
    • On the other hand, the Caraka-Samhita includes echoes of epic Samkhya Yoga philosophies. 
    • It's also worth noting that some ancient Sanskrit interpreters thought that the same Patanjali who authored the Yoga-Sutra also penned a renowned grammar treatise and a treatise on medicine. 




    Both Ayurveda and Yoga emphasize the interconnectedness of the body and mind. 


    Physical disorders may have a negative impact on the psyche, and mental imbalance can contribute to a variety of illnesses. 


    • A healthy existence, according to Ayurveda, must be both joyful (sukha) and morally decent (hita). 
    • A happy life, according to Ayurvedic definition, is one that is physically, intellectually, morally, and even smart. 
    • The Yoga literature also emphasizes the close connection between ethical behavior and happiness. 

    The Ayurvedic experts advise cultivating calm, self-knowledge, and caution. 


    • Self-actualization (in Abraham Maslow's meaning) was integrated into Hindu doctors' medical philosophy and practice. 
    • We can easily see how such a life would provide a solid foundation for pursuing the spiritual goal of Self-realization (atma-jnana). 
    • David Frawley goes so far as to declare in his book Ayurveda and the Mind, "Ayurveda is the healing branch of yogic science." Ayurveda's spiritual component is yoga. 




    Yoga's therapeutic component is known as Ayurveda. 


    The idea of the different life currents (vayu) in the body, which dates back to the AtharvaVeda, is a significant link between AyurVeda and Yoga. 


    • The various kinds of life energy (prana) are believed to flow via thirteen conduits (nadis) according to medical experts, while the HathaYoga texts typically cite fourteen such major channels. 
    • A difference is often drawn between these conduits and bigger ducts (known as dhamanf) that transport fluids such as blood. 
    • The Ayurvedic concept of this network of channels differs significantly from the Tantric approach, which focuses more on the subtle body. 
    • The significance of starting breath control practice in the appropriate season is acknowledged in Hatha-Yoga. 




    Ayurveda provides the medical foundation for this tradition, according to which the body humors (dosha) fluctuate with the seasons. 



    The doshas are also mentioned in a number of Yoga texts, such as the fifth-century Yoga-Bhashya (1.30), which defines disease as a "imbalance of the components (dhatu) or the activity of the secretions (rasa)." 


    Vacaspati Mishra, in his nineteenth-century interpretation on this scripture, argues that the components are air (vata), bile (pitta), and phlegm (kapha), or the doshas. 


    • This is medical terminology. 
    • The doshas are also often mentioned in Hatha-Yoga literature, which is concerned with the body's optimum functioning. 
    • The correct balance of body components is thought to be the key to good health. 
    • These may be found all throughout the body, although in varying concentrations at different locations. 


    Vata rules the neurological system, heart, large intestines, lungs, bladder, and pelvis, whereas pitta rules the liver, spleen, small intestines, endocrine glands, blood, and sweat, and kapha rules the joints, mouth, head and neck, stomach, lymph, and adipose tissue. 

    • Vata builds up below the navel, kapha builds up above the diaphragm, and pitta builds up between the diaphragm and the navel. 



    Ayurveda also identifies seven kinds of tissue (dhdtu) and three impure substances (ma/a) in addition to the three doshas. 


    • Blood plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), flesh (mamsa), fat (meda), hone (asthi), bone marrow (majjan), and sperm (semen) are the dhatus (shukra). 
    • Feces (purisha), urine (mutra), and perspiration are the ma/as, or waste products (sveda, lit. "sweat"). 
    • These physical components are also addressed in the Yoga texts on occasion. 


    This is also true of the susceptible or sensitive zones (marman), which the Rig Veda previously mentions (6.75 . 1 8). 




    There are 107 marmans, which are essential links between flesh and muscle, bones, joints, and sinews, or between veins, according to Ayurveda. 


    • As part of the Chinese and Japanese martial arts' hidden knowledge, a strong strike to certain of these marmans may result in death. 
    • Kalarippayattu, a South Indian martial art, identifies 1 60 to 220 such sensitive spots in the body. 
    • The body is divided into three levels in this system: the fluid body (which includes tissue and waste products), the solid body (which includes muscles, bones, and the marmans), and the subtle body (which includes important energy pathways and collecting places). 

    Injury to a marman disrupts the flow of the wind element, resulting in serious bodily issues that may lead to death. 


    • A quick slap to the wounded region may sometimes restore the flow of life energy and therefore avoid the worst from happening. 
    • The marmans rely on the flow of prana, and there are no marmans without priina. 
    • The moon regulates the flow of life energy via these sensitive points. 




    In ancient Hindu sexology, a similar teaching advises stimulating certain sensitive regions on the woman's body only on certain lunar days. 


    Some Yoga texts, such as the Shandilya-Upanishad ( 1. 8. 1 f. ), mention about eighteen marmans, while the Kshurikii-Upanishad ( 1 4) says the yogin should use the "mind's keen blade" to cut through these important places. 


    • In other words, the marmans seem to be seen as obstructions in the flow of the life energy that may be cleared by focus and breath control. 
    • The notion of ojas, or vital energy, which is described in the Atharva-Veda, is one that both Ayurveda and Yoga share (2. 1 7 . 1 ). 
    • Both systems use different methods to increase ojas (the "lower" kind). 
    • Sexual abstinence is the most commonly advised technique for increasing vital force in Yoga.


    Hunger, bad nutrition, overwork, anger, and worry—all the physical and emotional conditions that drain one's enthusiasm for life—decrease Ojas with age. 


    Their polar opposites produce ojas, which ensures excellent health. 


    • When ojas levels are low for a long time, it causes degenerative illnesses and premature aging. 
    • Ojas is found throughout the body, but it is particularly concentrated in the heart, which also serves as the physical anchoring for awareness. 
    • While there are half a handful of "lower ojas" in the body, there are only eight droplets of "upper ojas" in the heart, according to Cakrapani's commentary on the Caraka-Samhita. 
    • The smallest waste of this essential energy is believed to result in death, and it cannot be replaced. 



    Hatha-Yoga and Ayurveda also use purification methods, such as self-induced vomiting (vamana) and physical cleaning (dhauti). 


    These methods have a beneficial impact on the body's metabolism, among other things. 


    • Furthermore, Ayurveda recognizes thirteen types of internal heat (agni), among which the digestive heat (jathara-agni) is often addressed by Hatha-Yoga experts. 
    • Physical well-being (arogya) is unquestionably one of Hatha-precondition Yoga's and intermediate objectives. 

    Even Patanjali cites "adamantine robustness" of the body as one of the characteristics of physical perfection (kaya-sampad) in his Yoga-Sutra (3.46). 


    • Patanjali talks about the perfection of the body and senses as a consequence of the decreasing of impurities as a result of asceticism in another aphorism (2.43). 
    • Furthermore, he claims (2.38) that chastity provides vitality (vlrya). 
    • Patanjali mentions illness (vyadhi) as one of the mind's distractions (vikshepa) that impede development in Yoga in aphorism 1.30. 

    The Shiva-Svarodaya, a several hundred-year-old yogic text, emphasizes breath control as the most important method of attaining or sustaining well-being, as well as gaining esoteric knowledge and abilities, wisdom, and even liberation. 


    The method of svarodaya—derived from svara ("sound [of the breath]") and udaya ("rising")—is described as a science promoted by the siddha-yogins in one verse (3 1 4). 


    • A wide variety of purificatory acts are described in the Sat-Karma-Samgraha ("Compendium of Right Acts"), a Yoga book written by Cidghanananda, a student of Gaganananda of the Natha sect. 
    • These are designed to prevent or treat a variety of diseases caused by bad luck or a failure to follow the recommended dietary and other regulations, such as those concerning the appropriate place and timing.
    • To cure oneself, Cidghanananda instructs the yogin to first employ postures (asana) and occult medicines. 



    The connection between Yoga and Ayurveda is explicitly recognized in Yogananda Natha's AyurvedaSutra, a sixteenth-century book in which the author uses Patanjali's Yoga-Sutra and also examines food and fasting as effective methods of health. 


    The relative prevalence of the three gunas in food is investigated. 


    • The gunas—sattva, rajas, and tamas—are also a component of Ayurveda's medicinal philosophy. 
    • Asymmetry in the body's components or humors indicates asymmetry in the gunas, and vice versa. 
    • All limited life is, in some ways, the consequence of a disequilibrium of the gunas; they are only perfectly balanced at the transcendental plane of Nature (prakriti-pradhtina). 


    The three humors (dosha) are sometimes thought to be physical faults, whereas the three gunas are thought to be mental problems. 


    • Wind sattva, bile rajas, and phlegm tamas are the three elements that are connected. 
    • Ktiya-kalpa is an Ayurvedic practice that closely aligns with Hatha Yoga's goal of producing a long-lived, if not immortal, body. 
    • This is a tough rejuvenation process that requires extended seclusion in darkness, strict food restrictions, and the use of hidden potions. 
    • Tapasviji Maharaj, a modern-day saint, is said to have undergone this therapy many times, each time emerging from his solitary confinement in a dark hut looking and feeling completely revitalized. 




    The medieval Siddha tradition of northern India shows a strong link between Ayurveda, Yoga, and alchemy (rasayana, from rasa "essence" or "silver" and ayana "course"). 


    The followers of this significant school sought physical immortality via kaya-sadhana, or "body cultivation," a complex psychophysiological technique. 


    • The many schools of Hatha-Yoga sprang from this, which may be considered the preventive branch of Hindu medicine on one level. 
    • Surprisingly, one book on medicine, written by a man named Vrinda, is titled Siddha-Yoga. 
    • Yoga-Shataka is the title of another medical book attributed to Nagarjuna ("Century [of Verses] on Yoga"). 


    South India has developed a second separate medicinal system, which is similar to Ayurveda. This method is linked to the Siddha tradition, which originated in Tamil-speaking nations. 


    • It has a stronger link to alchemy than Ayurveda and uses a huge variety of medicines derived from plants and chemicals. 
    • Astrology, mantras, and medicines, which are called as mani, mantiram, and maruntu in Tamil, are its three main diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. 
    • It also incorporates asanas (postures) and breath control. 

    This alternative medical system, which has received little study, was established by the mythical Sage Akattiyar (Sanskrit: Agastya), who is credited with over two hundred publications. 


    • He is the first of eighteen siddhas, or completely accomplished adepts, who are revered in the Indian peninsula's south. 
    • Agastya was an old seer who wrote many Rig-Veda hymns, and this archaic text ( 1. 1 79) even has a dialogue between him and his wife Lohamudra. 
    • He is known as being of tiny height, and he is often portrayed as a dwarf in iconography. 
    • His name has long been linked to South India, where he is revered in the same way that Matsyendra Natha is revered in the north. 

    Teraiyar was an adept and famous healer who was historically regarded one of Agastya's pupils yet lived as late as the fifteenth century C.E. 


    • Only two of his masterpieces, the Cikamanivenpa and the Natikkottu, are still accessible (on pulse diagnosis). 
    • A portion of the Noyanukaviti (on hygiene) has also been discovered. 

    The following stanzas appear in the previously stated work: 

    We will sleep only at night, not during the day; we will have sexual intercourse once a month; we will drink water only at meals, even if we are thirsty; we will not eat any bulbous root of any plant other than karanai; we will not eat any unripe fruit other than the tender plantain; we will take a short walk after a friendly meal; what does death have to do with us? We shall take an emetic once every six months; a purgative once every four months; naciyam once every month and a half; we shall shave the head twice every fortnight; we shall anoint ourselves with oil and bathe once every fourth day; we shall apply collyrium to the eyes every third day; we shall never smell perfumes or flowers in the middle of the night; So, what role does death play in our lives? 


    The siddhas of South India, like their northern counterparts, were interested in longevity and even aspired to immortality in a transubstantiated body, as shown by the following words.



    You may also want to read more about Kundalini Yoga here.

    You may also want to read more about Yoga here.


    You may also want to read more about Yoga Asanas and Exercises here.


    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.