The Indian temperament allows all religions to express themselves freely in India. Buddhism, Jainism, and other religions grew in India and influenced the thinking of many people. Eventually, a time came when all religions lost some degree of their spiritual link, and egos vied for first place. Gentle spiritual medicine lost ground. Divisiveness was followed by foreign conquest. Ayurvedic colleges were closed and books destroyed. One nation forced Ayurvedic doctors to add information on meat to the translations of the Ayurvedic texts. Another religion did not believe in harming the body in any manner and destroyed the books on Ayurvedic surgery.
The alert person may now ask why, if Ayurveda is so exceptional, is it not widely practiced in India today. This is a valid question, which has an equally valid answer. Ayurveda, like all of Vedic philosophy, adheres to the belief in Sanatana dharma, or accepting everything in its appropriate time and place, and rejecting nothing. All aspects of medicine may be useful, but the appropriate treatment must be used when required. This is why Ayurveda does not reject modern medicine.
Nalanda, at Patna, India, a famous Ayurvedic university, was the main university at the center of the Silk Road, where students from China, Tibet, the Middle East, and Europe came to study. This institution was among those destroyed by various conquerors. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the British ruled India and closed the remaining Ayurvedic universities (although Ayurveda continued to be practiced in secret).
The knowledge was preserved by the guru-shishya relationship (teacher-student) and passed from one generation to the next by word of mouth as it had centuries before. Finally, in 1920 Ayurveda reemerged and, with the help of the Indian government’s assistance, universities were rebuilt. Now more than 150 Ayurvedic universities and 100 Ayurvedic colleges are flourishing in India, with plans for more educational facilities in development. Thus, Ayurveda, without resisting or rejecting other systems, is slowly returning to recognition and reestablishing its true value.
The oldest medicine, Ayurveda, is now the last to be rediscovered. This world medicine may not only unite healing practices, but also peoples, cultures, and religions. The impact of its reawakening is astounding, as we see its effectiveness and demand in the United States growing in leaps and bounds. Among the respected teachers of Ayurveda, many include the original spiritual integration, reestablishing ancient Ayurveda, intact in modern society. Spiritual Ayurveda, the original world medicine, will soon find validation and universal acceptance in all areas of society and the world.
What may surprise some people is the degree of insight these ancient, mystical doctors, or rishis (seers) had. Without the aid of modern technological x-ray machines or CT-scans, they knew of the inner workings of the human body. One can read in the ancient Ayurvedic texts of the development of the fetus, month by month. It is astonishing how these ancient descriptions are validated by today’s technologies. Even the distance from the planets and the duration of their orbits were nearly identical to today’s technological measurements.
It is enough to make even the most skeptical of us sit up and consider Ayurvedic insights.If this isn’t enough, Ayurveda offers methods of finding out early stages of diseases that are still undetectable by modern medical investigation. Today, when a doctor cannot find any sign of an illness, patients are told that the illness is imagined. Years later, a machine is invented that detects the illness, albeit too late for those who suffered with the illness.
So we see the foundation for the integration of Ayurveda and modern medicine. Too many people on both sides of the holistic-vs-allopathic (modern) medicine debate want to deny the need for the other science. Because of Ayurveda’s all-embracing philosophy, we see how all types of healing are compatible. No one will be put out of a job.
Resource: Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha, D.Sc.