The Winter Season has started at Jiva Institute of Vedic Studies in Vrindavan. From November 19th through November 26th, Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa is offering a seminar on Ayurveda & Spirituality. Further information on seminars at Jiva Institute can be found here.
Ayurveda & Spirituality: How to lead a healthy life of purpose
Ayurveda is the traditional Indian science of integrated health. Ayurveda understands health through the functioning of the body, mind, and soul; it examines the complete person. Diagnosis is, therefore, designed to identify the cause of a problem and treat it accordingly as opposed to merely treating its symptoms. In this course, students will learn the definition of health, the three doshas (physical constitutions), how the doshas are related to various diseases, daily routines to maintain health, the three types of treatment, the three pillars of health, the three types of diseases, and the five types of karmas.
Dhanvantari, the presiding deity of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a part of the Vedas which are the oldest scriptures of the world. It is the practical application of philosophy and spirituality. Ayurveda (from “ayus” meaning life, and “veda” meaning knowledge) is the science or knowledge of life. According to Ayurveda, a human being is defined as not only the physical body, but also the mind, and the soul. Our existence is at the physical, psychological and spiritual level. Out of these, the soul is conscious, while the mind and physical body are unconscious. Only by the presence of the soul, the mind and body acquire consciousness. Since Ayurveda sees a human being as a holistic unity with God as the basic source of everything, it ultimately relates everything to consciousness.
Ayurveda describes how consciousness become manifest in our physical body, and how balance is important to maintain health. Ayurveda helps us to understand ourselves, how we function and what our requirements are. It basically serves three purposes: to help us maintain health, cure disease, and realize ourselves.
Ayurveda follows some basic and logical principles:
1. We are part of the universe. The same elements which constitute the universe constitute our body and mind.
2. The physical body of a human being is a micro-universe and functions in a similar manner as the universe. We are created from the same raw material. Whatever is outside us is also inside.
The universe is running on certain rhythms. Health means to keep these rhythms in order. Disease indicates that the body is not able to self-adjust to these rhythms anymore. It gets out of balance (“dis-ease”).
Ayurveda explains that originally there are only two principles – purusha and prakriti – which can be compared to Yin and Yang, or Male and Female. Prakriti, the female element, is like the seed from which come intelligence, ego, mind, the senses and the five material elements (pancha-mahabhutas: earth, water, fire, air and either). These five elements constitute the make-up of our universe and our physical body. An individual’s nature or prakriti is a specific combination of these elements. This nature is determined by the vital balance of the three physical energies – vata, pitta and kapha – and the three mental energies – sattva, rajas and tamas.
According to Ayurveda, living in harmony with nature and according to natural principles ensures complete physical health and peace of mind. If one knows and applies the basic principles of Ayurveda one can attain moksa (liberation) or be united with God.