I am happy that this workshop is in continuation with the initial one, which was meant for undergraduate students. Both these are unique pilot workshops by Rashtriya Ayurved Vidyapeeth sponsored by WHO and Deptt. of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and F.W., Govt. of India.
The knowledge and science of Ayurveda in the initial phase of evolution transmitted orally from professionals from generation to generation. The transit of the knowledge through all these generations solely depended on the collective memories of the experts and the disciples involved. This practice gradually transformed and the information on Ayurveda started getting recorded in compilations and compositions simultaneously. The texts of Ayurveda indicate that periodical seminars/workshops were regularly held in various branches of Ayurveda to revise and update the knowledge. Several sages, scientists and teachers, who were proficient in different fields, participated in these scientific congregations and expressed their views on the basis of their observations and experiences and discussions were held.
The famous texts of Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita are in the form of dialogue among experts, and between them and disciples, showing the documentation of proceedings.
Ayurveda observed its golden era during the time of Charaka and Sushruta. The basic principles of genetics, postulated by these sages still hold true today. True example of paradox is that the plastic surgery was evolved despite social taboo associated with the handling of dead bodies. Followed by this there was very wide spread expansion of this science involving many more fields of Ayurveda including Dravyaguna and Rasashastra. Many ups and downs were also witnessed.
Thorough understanding of all these texts make one wonder how with the very primitive means they developed very good knowledge about genetics, plastic surgery, panchkarma, metallurgy, toxicity of some metallic substances and methods to convert them compatible to the body. It is really astonishing to note that with the help of herbs they were able to chelate highly toxic metals like mercury and process further to make them suitable for pharmaceutical purposes. It is not a small task and involved 'collective efforts of experts for thousands of years to come to this level.
However, several unfavorable factors like time, certain religious and cultural habits, number of attacks by foreigners and imposition of their own rule and culture etc led to some complete and some partial loss of the texts. Then there were unknowing and/or deliberate attempts to create controversy to avoid misuse of knowledge, particularly in the field of Rasashastra. These all make the things difficult for the students to understand mar y of the points, which fail to appreciate different modern sciences. Present generation of the students believe in perceiving the knowledge by five senses and anything beyond this appear to them as humbug. But the results are there to be watched; explanation is difficult. Here I would like to quote saying of a neuroscientist Ron Magnum: "When you are talking about something like the human cognition, if you don't use introspection to guide you, it is a bit difficult to go anywhere."
It is true that we had a very great past. Now it is our duty that with the help of such tremendous modern technologies and information at the click of the mouse, we can contribute something to expand our glorious heritage of scientific knowledge. This workshop is a step towards realizing this goal.
I understand that last workshop was a great success as the entire period was successfully utilized by the students. Experts also made efforst to satisfy the young and upcoming Ayurvedic doctors. The proof is that this time we received an overwhelming response to our call and a large number of students have sent their queries. Restriction of time and fund did not permit us to invite all of them to participate in the workshop. However, we have tried to accommodate representatives from all colleges, who responded to our letter, and answer the queries.
This workshop alone may not solve all the doubts but it is possible with series of such interactions experts in each subject can solve the day to day problems in teaching and practice of Ayurveda and it would also be interesting to faculty members to understand the possible queries in the subject and prepare themselves for the need.
This pilot workshop will be a trendsetter for a series of such workshops.
The Vidyapeeth is once again grateful to WHO and Deptt, of AYUSH, Ministry of Health &FW for having sponsored this workshop. We are thankful to the principals, teachers and students, who responded to our letter and the experts of Ayurveda for participating in the workshop.
I would like to place on record the help rendered by Ms.Deepa Sood and Mr. Rakesh Sharma of Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth for all secretarial assistance in the preparation of this booklet and Dr. Sandhya Patel for help in proof reading.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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