Basic Principles of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a part of the Vedas which are the oldest scriptures of the word. There are four Vedas: Rig, Yajur,  Sama, and Atharva. Each Veda has a supplementary or secondary part. Ayurveda is the secondary part of Atharveda. Ayus means life, and veda means knowledge.

Dhanvantari, the presiding deity of Ayurveda
Dhanvantari, the presiding deity of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the science or knowledge about life. First we have to understand how we function and what our requirements are. So Ayurveda teaches about ourselves. According to Ayurveda, a human being is a combination of three things: physical body, mind and soul.

Our existence is at the physical, psychological and spiritual level. Out of these three, the soul is the conscious being, while the mind and physical body are unconscious by nature. Only by the presence of the soul the mind and body acquire consciousness.

Ayurveda has three purposes:

1.      To maintain health

2.      To cure disease

3.      To realize oneself

Ayurveda follows some basic and logical principles:

1.      We are part of the universe. The same elements which constitute the universe constitute our body and mind.

2.      The physical body of a human being is a micro-universe and functions in a similar manner as the universe. We are created from the same raw material.  Whatever is outside us is also inside.

The universe is running on certain rhythms. Health means to keep these rhythms in order.  Disease indicates that the body is not able to self-adjust to these rhythms anymore. It gets out of balance (“dis-ease”).

Ayurveda explains that originally there are only two principles – purusha and prakriti – which can be compared to Yin and Yang or Male and Female. Prakriti, the female element, is like the seed from which come intelligence, ego, mind, the senses and the material elements. This constitutes the make-up of our universe and our physical body. So everything is pervaded by knowledge and intelligence. We have five senses by which we experience the physical world. Whatever we know is coming from these five senses.

(from a lecture of Satyanarayana Dasa)


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