Ayurveda dates back more
than 5,000 years. The first
written records of Ayurveda are found in the Vedas, the oldest and largest body
of knowledge in history. But Ayurveda
is even older than this, because it started as an oral tradition, with the
knowledge being passed down by the rishis, who studied nature and its laws and
how these laws relate to human beings.
Another text came out called the “Charaka-Samhita.” Samhita means “compendium” and Charaka
refers to the author’s name. This
book explained everything about Ayurveda, from the theory and philosophy to the
cellular structure of the body and more.
Other books came out later, including one on Ayurvedic surgery. Ayurvedic knowledge spread into other
parts of the world as time went on.
Eventually, it made its way to Greece, where it had a profound influence
on the development of medicine there.
During the 15th century, when India was under the influence
of European colonization and eventually British rule, Ayurveda all but
disappeared. In 1835 the British
banned Ayurveda in favor of European medicine. But at the beginning of the 20th century, the
Indian independence began, and India fought for the renewed recognition of
Ayurveda. Now Ayurveda is once
again prominent in India, and its coursework is found at major schools and
universities. Here in the west, we
have started to learn about Ayurveda from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Deepak
Chopra and other scholars. We are
lucky to have many fine schools of Ayurveda in the U.S., including the
California College of Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic Institute. Since yoga and meditation have become
so popular, Ayurveda is growing trend.