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History of Ayurveda

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.

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