Did you know that Ayurvedic medicine is the oldest medical institution in the world? In this blog post, we explore the history and principles of Ayurveda. Let's dive right in!
It is believed that the ancient rishis or seers of India received the gift of Ayurveda from their Hindu gods about 5,000 years ago. Essential information for how to achieve a balanced and healthy life was recorded in their sacred texts, the Vedas, specifically the Atharva Veda.
It is said that the Hindu god Brahma, one of the chief triumvirate gods of Hinduism, created Ayurveda. He then transmitted this knowledge to his son, Daksha Prajapati. Daksha passed it down to the twin Vedic gods Ashwini Kumaras. The twin gods became the physicians of the gods, and the Devas of Ayurveda. The twin gods presented Ayurveda to Indra, the king of gods. Indra had three physicians as his disciples, namely Acharya Bharadwaj, Acharya Kashyapa and Aacharya Divodas Dhanvantari. From Bharadwaj’s teaching, his student Agnivesha developed the fundamental Ayurvedic text of internal medicine. Agnivesha’s disciple, Acharya Charak then revised this body of work. This started the tradition of passing down the knowledge of Ayurveda from gods to sages.
The Mahabharata, India’s epic narrative, also tells of the incarnation of Vishnu in the being of Dhanvantari. During the great cosmic churning of the ocean for the celestial nectar of immortality, Dhanvantari emerged, and Vishnu commissioned him to help humanity cure diseases.
The rishis and munis of Indian society dedicated their entire lives to understanding the truth about the universe. They passed down their knowledge and practices to their students, with which the oral tradition continued on for thousands of years. They recorded their discoveries in the holy book of Vedas. One of the most prominent rishis was Bharadwaja who lived around the time of 700 BCE.