“Ayurveda is considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science. Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healing.” It stems from the ancient Vedic culture: The Atharva Veda and was taught for many thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples. Some of this knowledge was set to print a few thousand years ago, but much of it is inaccessible. The principles of many of the natural healing systems now familiar in the West have their roots in Ayurveda, including Homeopathy and Polarity Therapy.”(1)
Actually, Ayurveda means “The science of life “Ayus in Sanskrit means Life (Ayush means long life) and VEDA like the Latin etymology means: see, knowledge, science.
Millions of years ago, our ancestor did not have: internet, television, newspapers, magazines, books, Wikipedia nor any way of learning to live, survive and thrive. They had to learn from the animals and plants that surrounded them and from the stars, skies, air, oceans, rivers, and lakes…nature. Nature was our teacher and observation and practice was the methods.
If we had a retrograde time machine, we would go back in time and there would be no more sitting around…living in the environment would be the extreme life experience.
Ancient humans started observing Nature and coming to the conclusion that there were 5 states of matter (elements): Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. How did they come to Ether? Well, the ancient humans were very deep spiritual beings; some individuals like them are still alive today. Anna Breytenbach, in her documentary: “The animal communicator” explains that tracking was the origin of the ability to be able to communicate with the animal, while hunting.
And Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy, states that: “The Greeks did not think thoughts in the same degree; they saw the thoughts which came to them out of the world they perceived around them. Instead of merely being blue or red, the blue and the red in the world around them told them the thoughts which they would then think. This created an intimate relationship to the world. It also created an intense feeling of being connected with an environment which had spiritual qualities. The nature of the human constitution was totally different in the fourth post Atlantean period, and perceptions were therefore different.” Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, 1917
Those 5 elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) are present within every being, according to one of the main Hermetic laws: “As above, so below”; Earth (or “hard matter”) gives us form, it is present in our particles (protons and electrons), they are our bones, keeping us strong and steady. Water is the liquid that keeps all our particles together, like the Cytoplasm of our cells. Fire is the energy that transforms us, like our energy produced when the food is metabolized. Air is the movement that the wind makes around the land, the movement that the electrons do, the movement of our blood from and to the heart and Ether is the “empty space” which is not really empty.
Those 5 elements could be grouped in three main energies or characteristics of a being: Vata, Pita and Kapha.
Kapha is Earth and water
Pita is fire
Vata is air and Ether.
How did all start?
Our ancestors had observed different characteristics in: Animals, plants and humans. The animals could be divided in sub categories; animals could be aggressive, like lions hunting their prey, peaceful and calm, full of wisdom, like elephants bathing in the sun, or just movable and wild, like birds that will not let anyone approach without taking flight. Humans also observed that the weather had the same characteristics: It could be peaceful humid heavy or windy cold and dry, or hot and stormy. Very soon, they started finding words for those characteristics and to observe that they had a connection to how they felt. They would be afraid of the lion, respectful of the elephant and knew how hard would be to catch a bird. Same thing with the weather: a cold, humid weather would make their bones ache, a dry weather would make them thirsty and could cause dehydration and a stormy weather could kill with the dangerous lightning. Then, they were amused (I am sure) to observe that the humans had the same categories- some natives were good in hunting, others were good shamans and healers and others could run very fast and catch the prey. Some humans would eat a lot, others no, some would prefer meat, others fruit…..Not many things have changed, nowadays, is just our acceptance of the others that changed.
They noticed that the elephant had elements of earth and water (Kapha), the lion had the element of fire in him (Pita) and the wild bird, difficult to catch, like the wind, would be then Vata. They probably found much easier to live and survive, categorizing: animals, plants, weather, nature and humans according to these elements. If you know fire can burn you, you will be careful around it, if you know the lion can be aggressive, you will not approach it and if you know a bird will fly…you will not chase him, by foot.
They started categorizing also: food, tastes, sounds, weather, surfaces, temperatures, and people. They realized that a Kapha plant would be useful in cicatrization, like myrrh was used in balms for the soldiers of ancient Greece and Rome. While a bitter plant would be used to treat an ailment of the liver, like indigestion.
VATA is: rugged, dry, cold light and moving
PITA is: fluid, oily, hot, light and acid
KAPHA is: stable, oily, cold, heavy and sweet.
What do I do with this?
Well, first of all, Ayurveda is not that simple. It took me two years of study with my lovely teacher: Andreas Tsouroutsoglou to start understanding it for myself and my animals. But it did help me understand my personality (remember the Sutras? “Know thyself”) and my cats personalities.
Of course my baby Kostakis would be Vata like me…moving incessantly from right to left and, in his last years, suffering from kidney disease or a drying up of his whole system. Our elements can be good for us, but when in exceeding quantity…it can be lethal. Too much earth or matter cause obesity and heart disease, too much water can drown and too much air can dry you up. My teacher says that, when we grow old, we tend to go to Vata, air…we become thinner and drier. Our collagen dry up, our muscles dry and become hard, until we become Ether, spirit.
The objective of my article is not to guide you; Ayurveda is far too complex to learn it in one article, but I hope it will encourage you to start reading about it and researching. David Frawley is an excellent author to start with. “David Frawley is an American Hindu teacher and a Hindutva author. He has written numerous books on topics spanning the Vedas, Hinduism, Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology.” Vasant Lad is also another excellent author: “Vasant Lad brings a wealth of classroom and practical experience to the United States. A native of India, he served for three years as Medical Director of the Ayurveda Hospital in Pune, India. He was Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Pune University College of Ayurvedic Medicine for 15 years. He holds a Bachelor’s of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAM&S) degree from the University of Pune and a Master’s of Ayurvedic Science (MASc) degree from Tilak Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya. Vasant Lad’s academic and practical training include the study of Allopathy (Western medicine) and surgery as well as traditional Ayurveda.”
Where are we, now?
Right now, we are the farthest from our natural habitat as we could be, and we are about to be connected to a master computer (see: Elon Musk wants to connect your brain to computer (2)) Do we really have the right to dispose of the body we were given? Do we have the right to change our DNA? Are you happy where you are going?
These are questions that each one of us needs to make to our self. We are in a crossroad and now is the time to chose where we want to go.
Thank you Nikos Aivatzidis, for the pictures and the opportunity you gave us, taking us back to nature.