The oldest known science
Ayurveda is the oldest known science (veda) that deals with life (ayur) and that contains systematic and holistic knowledge for a healthy and happy life. Nobody knows exactly how old Ayurveda is; according to some scholars, it originated around 3000 BC, others date its origins back to 5000 BC. In the beginning, the knowledge that the great Rishis or ‘seers’ conceived through deep meditation and spiritual practice, was transferred orally from teacher to student. Later, the knowledge was written down as well. For the first time, this happened in the Vedas, the oldest known scriptures in the world. It is certain that Ayurveda had a major influence on healthcare systems elsewhere in the world: by 400 AD, translations were available in Chinese and by 700 AD, Chinese students were studying Ayurveda in India.
One of the oldest scriptures on Ayurvedic healing known to us is the 2000 year old Rig Veda, in which surgeries, prosthesis and more than 50 medical herbs are mentioned. More extended knowledge we find in the Atharva Veda, which describes 300 medical plants, along with a large number of treatments for various complaints. The glory days of Ayurveda lasted approximately from 200 BC till 500 AD.
Defeat and victory
Throughout history, Ayurveda also encountered adversity, such as oppression by foreign invaders since the 16th century. Also, during the rule of Britain (from 1839 till 1947), Ayurveda sank into oblivion – traditional lifestyles had to make way to western value systems. It was only with the Indian independence movement that a new awareness arose, along with a revaluation of the old wisdom and traditions. Since then, numerous scientific studies have shown that the Ayurvedic treatments, therapies and medicines indeed have the promised healing effects. The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged Ayurveda as a health science and in 2014 Prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, founded a ministry for the promotion of yoga and Ayurveda.
Sri Sri Ayurveda
Sri Sri Ayurveda is an initiative of H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation.