It is well known in mechanical physics that subatomic particles, which constitute total matter in the universe, behave in orderly and predictable manner in larger masses. Newton has studied the mechanics of the larger bodies and has generalized their behavior in the form of laws of Newtonian mechanics. At the same time it is well known in quantum physics that it is impossible to predict the behavior of individual sub-atomic particles, which have constituted the larger bodies. At quantum level, we can talk only in terms of probability as postulated by Heisenberg’s principle.
Every sub-atomic particle is connected to every other sub-atomic particle in tune with Newton’s law of gravitation for larger bodies, which states ‘everybody in this universe is attracting every other body with some force’. Ayurveda believe in this fundamental connectedness and it’s synergism. Behavior of a substance is synergic effect of it’s components, which neither of its components possess when present alone. It is also true about human body, disease drug and treatment in Ayurveda.
Dr. Sudhir Kumar is presently working as Reader in the department of Human Anatomy in Shri Dhanwantry Ayruvedic College situated at Chandigarh in India. He is working in academics since 1993. He started academic career at State ayurvedic College Lucknow where he taught the Human Anatomy as a demonstrator to the students pursuing the Bachelors course in Ayurveda. He earned the reputation of hardworking scholar and a devoted Ayurved anatomist. He started regular undergraduate teaching as a lecturer in subject of Human Anatomy with the completion of post graduation in 1995. He finally settled at the present position in Shri Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College Chandigarh.
Two main features of India are her diversity and mysticism. It is often said that Indian culture is full of occult knowledge. Mysterious looking nature of the rituals and practices is standing on the deep-rooted pillars of universal knowledge; which has been compiled in the Vedas, Upanishadas, Darshans and other treatise. Ayurveda is an art of true healing and one of the subsidiary texts of Vedas. This book looks into the understanding of science and Philosophy of Ayurveda. Foremost aim of the book is to develop faith in the basic principles of Ayurveda, which are real experiences and not abstract as considered by western thinkers. Relevance of such an attempt is the need of hour when the whole world is looking towards the traditional medical sciences to find answer to the invasion of stress related disorders; when the scientific reality is standing alongside the philosophy and experiencing the change in view point (paradigm). Presented study of Ayurveda, deals, primarily, in the development of Ayurveda. It is approach of a constructionist that would have been in the mind of its creators. It is not the compilation of text available in the ancient scriptures of Ayurveda; but it is the approach that has been adopted in writing the Ayurveda. Ayurveda deals in the formulation of fundamentals of medical science with a true wholisitic approach; so fundamentals of Ayurveda have universal application. The most important aspect is consideration of space and time as part of the human body. It would be interesting to appreciate the human body in its cosmic relevance. The work is formulated into the different parts.
1. This book appreciates different methods of gaining the knowledge (epistemology). The references have been taken from the Vedas, Upanishads, Darshans and Gita. Emphasis has been given on the relevant portion of above said texts only. A synthesis of modern and ancient epistemology has been also attempted.
2. Subsequent part deals in the application of epistemology to understand the normal structure, normal function, causes of abnormality, diagnosis of abnormality, line of treatment and specific treatment in the human body. This part is published as a separate book.
Medical field is a very widely spread system. Medical system has developed along with humankind. Different cultures developed in the different parts of world; and every culture had its own philosophy and methods of the perception of surrounding. When diseases thwarted mankind then the varieties of healing therapies developed, which were based upon different methods of perception. In spite of differences in methods of perception and understanding, the purpose of all healing therapies is to provide a status of health to the mankind. Every therapy has something to contribute. The fact that people are using these therapies to their benefits is sufficient to prove their utility. There must be some deep-seated relation in all therapies since they have developed to fulfill the same purpose.
Application of the philosophy of knowledge (epistemology) in the medical science is needed to answer these questions. It is not a new field; Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, is just that. This book is an attempt to strengthen the Ayurevedic concept of medicine by studying the history and consequent evolution of the knowledge in medical field. We find that various phases in the evolution of science conform only to the various steps of gaining the knowledge.
History of science reveals the repeated changes in paradigms, which were employed to explain the reality. Modern scientific approach is often criticized for being too unstable as the scientific theories change every year; but changes in the paradigms have only further strengthened the universal viewpoint. These paradigm shifts are not the failure of scientific methods but essential of the process of gaining knowledge.
Above statement will be appreciated by look in to the history of science of context of gradual change in the perception of reality from the sheer objectivity to subjectivity. Subjectivity of reality prevails at the end but objective approach also helps in understanding the reality at the same time. This is wholistic approach in the true sense. Subjectivity of reality prevails at the end but objective approach also helps in understanding the reality at the same time. This is wholistic approach in the true sense. Subjective approach alone is as incomplete as the objectivity alone. Wholisitic approach is the proper blend of the two approaches. Dominance of any of the two approaches will cause the problem of balance. Today, we can afford to criticize the modern materialistic approach for not being perfect because the advancements made in the field of medical science have peaked and the modern medical science is still far from perceptible through the modern objective approach. World would have been devoid of all the modern scientific inventions if only the subjectivity had prevailed.
Purpose of the presented text is not criticism of any particular scientific method but appreciation of different scientific methods in universal view. Science is not different from philosophy; it only relates to the usefulness of the philosophy in context of human kind. Whereas purpose of science is to look into the usefulness of various discoveries and inventions in materialistic sense, the purpose of the philosophy is to look into university of the usefulness. When the usefulness becomes universal then there is no distinction left between the science and philosophy.
This book provides concepts of Ayurveda to the students, new entrants in the ayurvedic field, medical practitioners and general readers. It is an understanding into the classical Ayurvedic text. Readers may ignore certain detail accounts referring to the construction of Vedas and Upanishads during the first reading. Otherwise too, the details of the various Vedic texts have been omitted for the fear of undue expansion and change of context. It is not a theological treatise either, so topics like Ishwar (god) and liberation (Moksha) have been merely touched along with many other identical topics.
First part of ht book starts with the brief opening note on the wholistic nature of Ayurveda. Then it proceeds to its journey in the realm of roots of Ayurveda; the Vedas, Upanishads, Gita and Darshans. Only original texts sans commentates are discussed. Terse language of Vedas is sequentially unfolded in the ten principal Upanishads. Chapter of Vedic concepts discusses the unfolded Upansishadic principles and discusses the practical application of those principles. Darshans herald the real application of the Vedic knowledge in the practical life. Darshans reveal path to the true knowledge and paves the way for emergence of science. Vaisheshik Darshan is a real endeavour into the making of a science.
Middle part of the book discusses the basic nature and development history of the modern science. Initially, it might look as non-relevant but it is necessary part of the book to understand present approach of the modern medical science.
Last part of the book attempts at the synthesis of Ayurvedic and modern approaches. It is important to understand that the present status of modern medical science was established in late sixties of twentieth century and after that there had been no headway in to the scientific researches through the problems are mounting. Systems theories have been proposed as a alternative to remove the prevailing stagnation in modern medical field. Coherence of the systems theories with Ayurvedic principles has been established in this book. Ayurved has the potential and capacity be adopted das a role model to fid solution to the present stagnation in the modern medical science.
Book ends with the epilogue that reveals Ayurveda as a wholistic medical science. Epilogue also forms the catalogue of contents for further rading in the next volume of the book ‘Principles of Ayurveda.
This book has been designed to understand the contents ofsyllabi. It is equally useful for the students of Ayurveda studying in 1st, 2nd & 3rd professional courses. Reading and re-reading is recommended to derive the best use from this book.
I have gone through the book "Scientific Exposition of Ayurveda" written by Dr. Sudhir Kumar of Chandigarh. The book has been divided in three parts. Part 1 deals with Ayurveda, Vedas, Upanishads and Darshan. Part 2 explains mechanism of knowledge and developmental history of science and the last part deals with new synthesis of ancient principles revisited.
In the first part, the author has explained wholistic approach of Ayurveda and has pointed out the nature of wholistic approach correctly that this approach gives equal emphasis on the object individually and in relation to all objects in the surroundings. In fact the modern medicine of Hippocrates was also wholistic till Rene Descartes steeped in. He changed the modern medicine by separating body and mind and destroyed the Wholistic approach. In later chapter he has taken brief review of Vedic literature.
The literature of Upanishads was developed after Vedic literature and references of more than 108 Upanishads are found in various places. However author has chosen the most important Upanishads chosen by Shankara. Majority of these were written before the time of Lord Krishna or 1500 BC. Old Upanishads are related to Vedas while the later are not. All Upanishads deal with Vedic teachings like Self-realization, meditation, knowledge, Karma and Yoga. Knowledge and action depend on each other. Knowledge without application and action without knowledge are useless. This is very true in many Ayurvedic principles. Author has rightly pointed out that this is mantra of harmonious living. Subtle knowledge or intelligence of the body plays very important role in preventing as well as I cure of" the disease.
Ishavasya deals with the subject of knowledge and action. Kena teaches us that Brahman can be realized through karma or action. Katha describes the three aspects of harmonious living knowledge, action and body.
Many people think that food only nourishes the body; however Taittiriya Upanishad has explained that food also nourishes the mind and similarly knowledge also nourishes intelligence. The same Upanishad has explained 5 bodies - physical, mental, intellectual, vital and blissful bodies and their sheaths. Aitariya Upanishad has further explained five types of water Mara, Apa, Marichi, body and Ambha and they nourish five bodies explained above by Taittiriya Upanishad. Manduka Upanishad has given the account of different types of knowledge and preaches that practice of karma or action is mantra for salvation. Manduka Upanishad deals with transference of knowledge and extends the topic of food by giving the description of its relation to the five causal bodies. Prashna Upanishad deals with five types of activity Prana. Here author has very lucidly explained the concepts of prana and its activity in relation with Ayurveda. Chandogya discusses the activity, body and food and here readers should go through the concept of Gayatri as body and the nature of Aum. Brihadaranyaka is the largest of Upanishad and it explains various concepts like -five fold individual, seven types of foods, Vedic Yagya and human life, three Worlds, liberation through Vedas etc. In general Upanishads deal with five fold being (Universal intelligence, individual intelligence, activity, gross body and gross food) and Yagya, which have been applied in the field of Ayurveda. In this context it is worthwhile noting the concept of Avayava Purusha, Akshara Purusha and Kshara Purusha.
Bhagvad Gita is considered as the essence of all Upanishads. Hence the author has explained very nicely all the chapters of this famous scripture with brief conclusions of each one. Ayurveda has accepted the principles of triguna, renunciation and liberation and three fold actions. Achieving the path of liberation through action, which is guided by true knowledge, is the essence of Bhagvad Gita.
The aim of Darshanas is to achieve life free from misery or pain. Ayurveda has accepted part and parcel from each of Darshan. Author has rightly stated that all ancient philosophers were scientists. At one time science and philosophy were considered as one, later on they were bifurcated. It is worth while noting here, the comparison of knowledge and various philosophies made by the author of the present book. Subject of knowledge- Samkhya, Object of knowledge Vaisheshika, Effort to know and put it into practice Yoga, method of knowing Mimamsa, means to know Nyaya and knowledge itself is Vedanta Darshan. Buddha Darshan is practical treatise on the lines of Yoga without the concept of God. Author has very well explained the mechanism of knowing. In the chapter on developmental history of science, author has taken review from ancient Greek history to the modern scientists. The statement made by the author that philosophers who were engaged in pursuance of practical application of reason on material and efficient causes became the earliest scientists, is thought provoking. Author has also taken review of various developments in science starting from Newton's laws, relativity of space and time, thermodynamics, quantum physics, big bang theory etc. and has also taken note of the work done by famous philosophers like Bertrand Russell and Kant. The concept of free radical and diseases in connection with prevention of diseases is worthwhile noting.
Modem medicine has completely neglected various important concepts like environment, meditation, wholistic living, body-mind relation in health as well as diseases, the role of cosmic and individual intelligence, relation between intelligence and activity. If we study philosophy described by various Vedas, Upanishads and Darshanas, then only we can understand the relation between process of knowing and how it is related to the process of treatment. There is no doubt need to develop faith, awareness and right intention. Concept of food as explained in Ayurveda, which has been taken from various philosophies like Taittiriya Upanishads is also important for maintaining health, preventing diseases and treatment as well as for achieving longevity. Myself and my wife we are propagating Ayurveda since last 25 years throughout the world. We have found out that if all the above principles are put into practice, then we can treat various diseases effectively and the effect is long lasting.
I would like to congratulate Dr. Sudhir Kumar for writing this excellent book, which is the need of the day as more and more westerners are trying to understand why modern medicine is not working and how Ayurveda is becoming successful. Since this is highly scientific work some readers may find certain chapters of the book quite difficult to understand, for them I would suggest that they should study initial chapters very closely and then slowly go towards the last chapters.
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