Is Lord Brahma the Founder of Ayurveda !

By Pavan Kaushik

Ayurveda was conceived by Lord Brahma in his consciousness, and he diligently passed it to his disciple Daksha Prajapati, who originated from Lord Brahma’s thumb. Daksha Prajapati was among the first celestial figures assigned the task of maintaining the universe. We all know that it was Sanjeevani Booti, a medicinal herb, which saved the life of Lakshman Ji in Ramayana, when he became unconscious while fighting Meghnath, Ravana’s eldest son.

Ayurveda – it is that medical miracle science that existed in mythologies and still continues to carry many hidden secrets.

Not many would know that Ayurveda was conceived by Lord Brahma in his consciousness, and he diligently passed it to his disciple Daksha Prajapati, who originated from Lord Brahma’s thumb. Daksha Prajapati was among the first celestial figures who was assigned the task of maintaining the universe. Daksha Prajapati conveyed this treatise (thesis) to the Ashvins – the divine horse-masters who were children of Lord Surya.

The Ashvins were the Gods of health and medicine, and they passed on the hymns of Ayurveda to Lord Indra – known as the King of Heaven. The three Great Sages of Lord Indra or we can say the three physicians – Acharya Bharadwaj, Acharya Kashyapa and Acharya Divodas Dhanvantari – then brought Ayurveda to this world.

Ayurveda also has its traces in the four sacred Vedas: the Rig Veda (3000-2500 BCE), Yajur Veda, Sam Veda, and Atharva Veda (1200-1000 BCE).

These three seers – Acharya Bharadwaj, Acharya Kashyapa and Acharya Divodas Dhanvantari – felt that in Ayurveda there are five elements – Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. They recognized that these five elements constituted and represented the five possible states of matter in Ayurveda. They also recognized that key concepts or Doshas in Ayurveda are assessed through Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water) and, Kapha (water and earth), and each type of Dosha has a unique set of characteristics.

Ayurveda is a very systematic medical science and each step has its own significance and relevance.

The diagnosis and treatment of diseases are based on the information derived from two areas: – examination of the patient (Rogi Pariksha) – examination of the disease (Roga Pariksha).

Rogi Pariksha or the examination of a patient consists of three steps: – Darshana, the examination by inspection – Sparshana, the examination by touch, and Prashna, the examination by interrogation.

The process of diagnosis begins even as the patient walks into the consultation room. In addition to gathering information from specific questions about symptoms, lifestyle, diet and medical history; the physician systematically observes other features that may provide clues to the cause and duration of the illness. A sharp observation of the patient’s gait, physique and appearance conveys credible information about his general condition. This is called “Darshana Pariksha” or observation.

`Sparshana Pariksha’ is examination by touch (Sparsha). The physician can evaluate several factors through the medium of touch. He can assess the temperature of the body, feel the margins of swellings in skin, read and note the characteristics of pulse, or check for organ enlargements. The conventional clinical methods of palpation and percussion are examples of tactile examination.

For an overall picture of the illness, a detailed interrogation of the patient and his family members or even close relative is necessary. This is called `Prashna Pariksha’. The patient narrates the entire history of the ailment in his own words.

Darshana, Sparshana and Prashna together comprise `Trividha Pariksha’ – the threefold method of clinical examination. An elaborative version of the above is the Astavidha Pariksha’ or the eightfold method of patient examination that includes the eight factors – Nadi (pulse), Mala (frequency, color, consistency of bowel movements), Mutra (urine – color, frequency, burning sensations), Jihva (tongue), Sabda (voice and speech of the patient), Sparsha (touch, skin and tactile sense), Drishti (eyes and vision), and Akriti (general body build, example: lean, obese, muscular, etc.).

The primary goal of `Trividha Pariksha’ in Ayurveda is to locate the unbalanced Doshas that caused the disease. The methods employed by the physician (observation, touch and interrogation) are all aimed at identifying the Dosha disturbance.

For example, a person with hot, flushed skin and symptoms such as burning sensations, fever, digestive disorders or urinary infections has a disturbance of Pitta. Dry, cracked, rough skin that is cold indicates an imbalance of Vata. Fluid retention, swelling, moist skin, dull, watery eyes and symptoms such as chest congestion are Kapha related.

Ayurveda is most commonly practiced form of complementary and alternative medicine in India. About 80% of Indian patients use Ayurvedic therapy. Ayurveda aims to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit to help prevent diseases and promote wellness.

Since it all began in India, our country is the largest producer of medicinal plants. There are currently about 250,000 registered medical practitioners of the Ayurvedic system, as compared to about 700,000 of the modern medicine. In India, around 20,000 medicinal plants have been recorded; however, traditional practitioners use only 7,000–7,500 plants for curing different diseases.

Pavan Kaushik is an author and column writer

(Economy India)