What is Ayurveda to health is like what religion is to God. Ayurveda is not only related to disease and its remedies but emphasizes the right and healthy way of living. Since the origin of Ayurveda is said to be from Atharva veda, the philosophy of this health system is based on self discipline and balanced outlook. To understand that Ayurveda is an integral part of India and its culture is to further compare the ethos of Hinduism being –not a religion but a way of life and that of Ayurveda being –not a remedial system but a way of healthy living.
The principles of Ayurveda can be understood by drawing a parallel to a better understood system of present day…Allopathy. The definition of health by WHO is ‘A state of not merely the absence of disease but a sense of well being at a physical, mental, psychological and spiritual level’. The definition of health in Ayurveda is a balance and harmony of all forces acting on the body at the physical, mental, psychological and soul level. While western medicine is of disease and treatment, Ayurveda also includes rules of healthy living and ways of maintaining health. Thus the scope of Ayurveda is wide and encompasses diet, behavior, principles of right living and also of disease and treatment of disease.
The system of Ayurveda looks at a man as a part of nature and the entire cosmos, in contrast to allopathy which looks at a man as an individual. Prevention is preferred to cure in Ayurveda and like in allopathy, prevention is not restricted to immunization to certain diseases but to an entire methodology of right living. The system goes beyond objectivity and merges objectivity with subjectivity. The role of allopathy is indispensable today with superb technological advancement of the understanding of disease and medicine but Ayurveda has an equally indispensable role in maintaining that the roots of health are in the mind and the soul.