Basic Course in Ayurveda
A Certificate course by - International Academy of Ayurveda
Ayurveda For You
BASIC COURSE IN AYURVEDA ............................................................................................................. 1
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................ 3
NEED FOR ONLINE EDUCATION PROGRAM IN AYURVEDA....................................................... 4
FIRST MODULE.......................................................................................................................................... 6
HISTORY OF AYURVEDA........................................................................................................................ 6
OUR EBOOK PUBLICATIONS............................................................................................................... 13
AYURVEDA means "The Science of Life" and is the oldest and most
comprehensive system of medicine invented for mankind. It is believed to have
originated in 2500 B.C. Actually Ayurveda is rather a way of living to keep one in
harmony with nature. It contains profound knowledge of maintaining good health,
curing of disease and achieving a harmonious balance of body, mind and spirit.
Central to this healing science is the doctrine of Tri- dosha (the vital energies of
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and the connection with the Pancha Maha Bhootha (the
five elements - ether, air, and fire water and earth.) Ayurveda teaches a way of
life that enables us to be centred and focus on the healing that comes from within
Introduction to the course
The course contents following modules:
• 1. History of Ayurveda
• 2. Ashtang Ayurveda
• 3. Indian Philosophy
• 4. Anatomy in Ayurveda (Sharir Rachana)
• 5. Basic Principles of Ayurveda
• 6. Concept of Tridosha
• 7. Prakruti / Constitution
• 8. Tissues
• 9. Mala or Waste products
• 10. Ojas
• 11.Digestion and Metabolism
• 12. Srotas
• 13. Ayurvedic Herbology- Dravya Guna Shastra
• 14. Ayurvedic Pharmacy [Pancha Kashya ]
• 15. Nidan -Diagnosis of disease
At the end of each module a questionnaire is given on that particular topic.
You are supposed to write down the answers to these questions and
send them to the Faculties for evaluation.
Need for online education program in Ayurveda
By- Prof. Dr. Subhash Ranade,
Chairman, International Academy of Ayurveda, Pune, India
The popularity of Ayurveda is growing all over the world. International Academy
of Ayurveda which was established hardly decade ago has now affiliated
centres all over the world. In USA alone now there are more than 20
Institutions which are imparting Ayurvedic education in various states.
Same is the case with other European Countries. IAA is conducting
various courses like basic, advanced practical training etc. since last few
years and the demand is ever increasing even from far away countries like
Brazil, Chile, Argentina etc. also
However not all the interested persons can join these Institutions physically due to
lack of time the distance they have to travel and the money they have to
spend for learning Ayurveda. Many physicians, scientists, and even house wives
have expressed their view that they would like to study Ayurveda from their
home and want to increase their knowledge of this great healing system to
help themselves as well as others. By learning Ayurvedic principles one can
remain healthy, can increase his or her longevity and can even get rid of minor
ailments without the help of physicians.
IAA is receiving many inquiries regarding the availability of online Ayurvedic
education program for the Basic principles. Myself and my wife we travel more
than 100,000 miles every year for the propagation of Ayurveda in several
countries and we are doing this job since last 25 years. Many students
and enthusiastic persons have repeatedly requested to us that we
should start the online education program for Ayurveda. Few years back
we had one Pilot from British Airways who came to study Ayurveda with IAA.
He also said that there is big demand for online education course in Ayurveda.
Since Ayurveda is professional science ultimately all the students must learn
this healing science by examining patients, by observing various practical
things. But the basic course in Ayurveda can be taught by the online
education method, since it only involves with basic principles of
Ayurveda. Hence we are introducing this course through both the
websites. (www.ayurveda-int.com and www.ayurveda-foryou.com).
There is difference between reading online e books and taking online course.
After reading the book there is no body to answer your queries. In online
Ayurveda course after going through the material of the course, the student has
to learn the subject matter properly so that he can answer all the questions given
at the end of each chapter. These answers will be evaluated by the
knowledgeable person from the faculty of International Academy of Ayurveda. If
he has any queries these will be answered by the faculty members. Thus we will
make it sure that the student undergoing the online basic course of Ayurveda has
understood the subject matter properly. The student will find this course very
easy. After completion, IAA will issue certificate, which is pre-requisite for
attending all the advance Ayurveda courses like Advanced clinical training in
Ayurveda, Herbology, Panchakarma, Massage, Marma Massage etc.
History of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is not only a medical science but it is a science of life. It is also called a
holistic science as it takes into consideration all the aspects of life – body, mind,
sense organs and soul. It is not only a healing art or medical system, it also
teaches about the beneficial and harmful effects of food, exercises and yoga.
Ayurveda has been in existence since time immemorial.
Evolution of Ayurveda-
It is very difficult to establish the exact period of Ayurveda. However, the origin of
Ayurveda as an oral tradition is taken to be circa 6000 BC. The original
compendia (Samhita) of Ayurveda exhibit usage of non-Paninian forms of
Sanskrit (i.e. not conforming to the grammatical rules laid down by Panini).
Historical scholars like Gold and Stuber have placed the date of Panini at the 7th
century BC. So the authors of the first available text and their contemporaries
should be considered before these dates.
Vedic Aryan Culture-
The literal meaning of the word 'Arya' is pure or noble. This ancient culture was
the original culture that was in India since ancient time. As stated by various
scholars, Aryans never invaded India, neither their origin is outside India. They
have shown that Aryans very much belonged to this Great country and were
residing in the foothills of the Himalayas.
The major part of this culture was however on the banks of river Saraswati.
Government of India with the help of Central Arid Zone Research Institute
(CAZRI) in Jodhpur, Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) and Space Application
Center, have now started a project “The Reconstruction of Paleo Drainage
Network in Western Rajasthan; to find out the entire route of River Saraswati.
Many hydro geologist and historians will help this project and The Central
Ground Water Board will coordinate this research. They have started digging at
Ghantiyal Ji near Longewal, Rajasthan. The water that was found at the site,
when it was carbon dated at Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in
Trombay has been estimated 3,000 to 4,000 years old, which is the era of Rig-
Veda. This research shows that river Saraswati is not a myth but it was flowing at
the time of Vedas and the Aryan civilization was on the banks of this great river.
Many historians called Vedic Aryan culture in the name of Indus valley civilization
because river Saraswati is not found today anywhere. Hence they thought that
river Saraswati has only mythological presence.
This culture was very simple but spiritual, as their emphasis was on the inner life.
For them outer life was not important, and the people were following the rules of
nature. They did not give much importance to pleasure, wealth and power.
Although there were different groups, they were not based on race, cast or creed.
Since religion was an important part of the daily life of these people they
developed those sciences, which helped them in their worship; e.g. the science
of astronomy, music etc. The people were worshipers of supernatural
phenomena and supernatural beings and followers of a cult of mother-Goddess
and various deities. The purpose of these devotions was largely known to be for
relief from ailments. Other subjects cultivated include Mathematics, Geometry,
Anatomy and Medicine. During this period the world's oldest and greatest
classical language, Sanskrit, evolved and flourished.
It is not only in Harappa and Mohenjodaro alone that this civilization was
discovered, the same type of cities have been unearthed in many areas to the
east of the Indo-Pakistan border, thus proving that the same Aryan culture had
spread southwards and eastwards. .
The term Vedic period, applies to that period of Aryan civilization during which
the four Vedas were composed. They are -1) Rig Veda, 2) Sama Veda, 3) Yajur
Veda, 4) Atharva Veda
The Vedas are holy writings consisting of religious hymns and were sourcebooks
of later philosophical principles. The earliest medical references are Vedic
hymns. Our knowledge of Vedic medicine is mainly derived from two Vedas the
Rig-Veda and the Atharva- Veda. In the Rig-Veda there are a few hymns devoted
to deities of healing, many herbs with curative value and some diseases like
fever, jaundice etc.
One of the most intriguing references in the Rig-Veda is that of Ashvins, the twin
physicians of the Gods, who performed many miracles.
Out of four Vedas, the fourth Veda i.e. the Atharva -Veda is the earliest record of
medical knowledge during the Vedic period. Therefore Ayurveda is called as sub-
branch of Atharva -Veda. It contains many hymns, prayers, and charms for the
treatment of diseases to be used with herbal medicines. Most of the Vedic
healing verses occur in the Atharva -Veda. Over 100 of its hymns are devoted to
conditions like fever, leprosy, heart disease, headache, rheumatism, epilepsy etc.
Natural forces like the sun and water and human contrivances were all used
therapeutically in the Vedic era. Basic eight branches of Ayurveda have been
documented in Atharva –Veda.
The Vedas are regarded as the oldest and most sacred written record of
knowledge. The Vedas state that the 'Supreme Being' who created the universe,
out of love and concern for humanity, gave the Divine Vedas to all mankind,
through the rishis or seers of wisdom. The words of the Vedas were carefully
memorized according to metrical chants and transmitted from generation to
generation. Thus the four Vedas - Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva have come
down to us through several thousands years of oral transmission before being
recorded in writing.
The Rig-Veda, the oldest of the four, contains many concepts of Ayurveda. Its
three great Gods- Indra, Agni and Soma – are related to the three biological
humors of Ayurveda - Vata - Pitta and Kapha. References are found in it to organ
transplants, in the case of an artificial limb that was made for Queen Vishpala,
wife of King Khela. The Rig-Veda also contains many hymns to soma, as a great
curative herbal preparation used to treat many diseases of body and mind and to
It is important to note that knowledge about the fundamental principles of
Ayurveda was not documented during the Vedic period. The growth and
development of Ayurveda occurred mainly during the Arsha period.
This period extends over several centuries and is characterized by the
appearance of many systematized treatises on the subject of Ayurveda by
different sages. Ayurveda, the science of life is traced from a mythical, through a
semi-mythical to a historical beginning.
According to the tradition of 'Sanatana dharma', the creation and evolution of the
universe began due to the will power of Brahma. Hence the Purusha, cosmic
consciousness, and Prakruti, material energy, came together. Brahma created
Ayurveda, the science of life, for the benefit of all human beings. Later on he
passed his knowledge first to Daksha Prajapati and then to Ashvins, the twin
physicians of God and then to Indra, the king of Gods.
Lord Dhanvantari is considered as God of Ayurveda who is incarnation of Lord
Vishnu. Kashiraj Divodas – King of Varanasi, who devoted his entire life for the
development of surgical branch of Ayurveda is also considered as Dhanvantari.
All Ayurvedic physicians pray to God Dhanvantari on the auspicious day of
'Dhanatrayodashi' the second day of Diwali – Lamp Festival in India. It is
believed that Dhanvantari gives them the power to heal others.
People living at the foot of the Himalayas started suffering from various diseases
due to improper food, and air and water pollution. Out of these conditions, the
first international conference of scientists/rishis from adjoining countries was
organized. Three scientists were chosen from the conference to interview the
Himalayan Gods to learn the knowledge of Ayurveda. These three scientists
were Atreya, Kashyapa and Dhanvantari.
Atreya mainly studied the science of medicine,
Kashyapa learned gynecology and pediatrics, and
Dhanvantari mastered the science of surgery.
Atreya had six main disciples Agnivesha, Bhela, Jatukarna, Parashara, Harita
and Ksharapani, while Dhanvantari had eight disciples -Sushruta, Aupadhaneva,
Vaitarana, Aurabhra, Paushkalavata, Karavirya, Gopurarakshita and Bhoja.
Kashyapa had also many disciples.
Most of these disciples wrote different texts on their own branch of Ayurvedic
medicine. However, Charaka, Sushruta and Kashyapa's texts are considered the
most useful compendiums. These are known as Samhita or compilations.
The Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Vagbhata or Ashtanga Sangraha,
are known as 'Brihat Trayi' or three important texts.
The magical and religious aspect of medicine in the Vedas was gradually
replaced by observations based on scientific thinking. Ayurvedic scholars from
subsequent generations gave a sound and logical groundings in philosophy to
Ayurveda. The materials scattered in the Vedas were collected, subjected to rigid
tests of efficacy, and systematically arranged. Charaka Samhita, Sushruta
Samhita, and Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita, The great trio -the Brihatrayi as they
are called - has enjoyed much popularity and respect for the last two thousand
years. Although these texts have undergone some modification by various
authors in subsequent periods, their present form is at least 1200 years old. They
are all in the Sanskrit language. Students who then transmitted this information
orally to other disciples recorded instructions. The six disciples of Atreya, who
developed the school of medicine (Atreya Sampradaya), namely Agnivesha,
Bhela, Jatukarna, Parashara, Harita and Ksharapani wrote their own separate
texts. Of these the Agnivesha Samhita was well accepted. This was revised,
edited and supplemented, about 800 years later by Charaka.
The school of surgeons (Dhanvantari Sampradaya) had its disciples -
Aupadhenava, Vaitarana, Aurabhra, Paushkalavata, Gopurarakshita, and
Sushruta. The Sushruta Samhita written by Sushruta is based on knowledge
transmitted to him by Divodas Dhanvantari. It is said that Indra taught this
knowledge to Divodas Dhanvantari, at the beginning of the arsha period. In the
next era, 1000-700 BC. Ayurveda developed 8 recognized branches or
specialties (Ashtanga Ayurveda).
The epic period is best known for the classical Sanskrit epics the Ramayana and
the Mahabharata. At this period there were military surgeons and physicians
attached to every king to look after his health. Army surgeons, fully equipped with
medicine and surgical appliances accompanied the armies and undertook both
major and minor operations.
Ayurveda and Buddhism
The arrival of Buddhism in Indian history affected all walks of life. During the
period 323 B.C.-642 A. D. in which Buddhism was popular in India, the academic
progress of Ayurveda was well maintained by both Hindus and Buddhists.
Valuable additions were made to its literature. Most notable was a commentary
on Sushruta Samhita by Nagarjuna, by one of the most famous sages in the
Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Yet the most remarkable thing about this period
was that organized efforts were made to make the science as publicly available
as possible. Medicinal herbs were planted along the sides of streets to be used
freely by all. Many hospitals were formed. The art of nursing, which was
described by Charaka, was widely practiced and systematized.
Along with Buddhist missionaries, the knowledge of Ayurveda and of Indian
culture spread beyond the bounds of India. The nations of the civilized world
including Rome, Greece and China - were attracted to India and students came
from these countries came to learn the science and arts of the subcontinent. The
medical systems of the Greece and Rome bear unmistakable signs of the
influence of Ayurveda upon them. India was considered the seat of learning for
the world and many philosophers and scholars visited India for study, just as
many go to Europe or America today. Veterinary science was widespread in this
period. Nagarjuna laid the foundation of Rasa Shastra, the use of alchemical
preparations. A number of pharmaceutical preparations of Rasa medicines,
special preparation of mercury, sulfur and other minerals and certain poisonous
substances (in purified forms) were introduced in the treatment of debilitating
The medical glory of India was at its zenith during this era. In the eighth century
AD, Ayurvedic physicians of India were invited to Baghdad in the Middle East for
consultation and were put in charge of hospitals there. During this period, the
culture of India spread across the oceans to the south and across the mountains
and plateaus to the north. India during this period was an extensive country that
included Tibet, much of Indo-China and Indonesia to the east and extended to
the west through Afghanistan and into Persia. This greater India was not built by
military conquest or by invasions or commercial exploitation, but by devoted and
humanitarian monks and yogis who carried the scared knowledge and means of
healing, both spiritual and physical.
In the Buddhist period, medical relief and nursing was encouraged but the use of
knife was discouraged, therefore surgery was neglected. The Buddha stopped
animal sacrifice for ethical reasons and did not permit animal dissection. He gave
support and encouragement to medical research and for the establishment of
health centers for animals as well as humans. Emperor Ashoka, who was a
follower of Buddhism, established general hospitals as well as veterinary
hospitals. His inscriptions were spread throughout India.
The Buddhists, who supported all forms of learning, set up true universities to
teach Buddhism, Vedic lore and subjects like history, geography, Sanskrit
literature, poetry, drama, grammar, law, philosophy, astrology, astronomy,
mathematics, commerce and the art of war as well as medicine. The most
famous of these universities was that of Nalanda, in Bihar, which was established
during the fourth century AD and flourished until about the twelfth century. Other
great universities were at Taxila or Takshashila and Kashi or Varanasi.
Spread of Ayurveda in neighboring countries
In the 3rd century BC, Ashoka, the emperor of most of northern India, became a
convert to Buddhism. Ashoka built charitable hospitals, including specialized
surgical, obstetric and mental facilities, for both humans and animals. Numerous
rock-cut edicts around India attest to his act and tell of the Buddhist missionaries,
which were sent too many neighboring countries, like Shri Lanka, Burma,
Thailand, and Indonesia etc. These emissaries carried Indian culture, religion
and Ayurveda with them.
Literature related to Ayurveda-
During this period, various documents and texts were written and preserved in
neighboring countries. Col. H. Bower found one such manuscript, which is
named after him at Kashgar on the road to china from Afghanistan. A.F. Rudolf
Harnale studied the original text and published it. The original manuscript has
been preserved in Oxford Library. Similarly texts like Navanitaka, Tripitaka,
Jeevaka charita, Kulalavadana, Divyavadana shataka, Lalita vistar and the
famous text of Kautiliya arthashatra which were written during this period gives
us valuable information of various herbs and treatment procedures.
In 326 BC, Alexander the Great invaded northern India. Alexander was
sufficiently impressed by Ayurvedic practitioners. He ordered all cases of
poisoning to be treated by them. He carried some of these doctors away during
his departure. This was the first documented exposure of the cultures of India
and Greece to each other.
Decline of Ayurveda
The golden age ended when waves of Muslim invaders inundated northern India
between the 10th and 12th centuries. The Muslims slaughtered sages and
monks as infidels, destroyed the universities and burned the libraries. Those who
could escape fled to Nepal and to Tibet, where Ayurveda had first penetrated in
the 8th century AD. Some Indian Ayurvedic texts are thus preserved today only
in Tibetan translation The Muslim invaders from the northwest brought with them
hakims and Arabian system of medicine, which spread slowly throughout India
during Mohammedan rule. Arabic physicians created Unani medicine by
combining Greek medicine with Ayurveda. Unani Medicine is thus closely related
to Ayurveda and while India's Muslims rulers tended to support Unani, Ayurveda
prospered. During the sixteenth century Akbar, the Mogul emperor, personally
ordered the compilation of all Indian medical texts. His finance minister, Raja
Todarmal, directed this project.
British Influence on Ayurveda
The arrival of the British was another landmark in the decline of Ayurveda. The
British not only denied state patronage to Ayurveda; they also took a negative
attitude towards the system. The East India Company closed down existing
schools at Calcutta in 1833. In 1835, the British stopped paying Ayurveda to be
taught at Government medical colleges. Thus in the beginning of the century,
there were no Ayurvedic teaching institutions, and all teaching of Ayurveda was
at the level of guru-kula type. By the middle of the 19th century, Western
medicine had become the sole recipient of the state patronage. In spite of
suppression and the lack of patronage, Ayurveda continued to serve about 80%
of the country.
During the pre-Independence phase, which was marked by the political
compulsions of establishing, a national identity to replace foreign domination,
large number of initiatives was taken up to promote ISMs – (Indian Systems of
Medicine).. The tremendous national awakening around this time, with the
establishment of national school and universities, encouraged the revival of
Ayurveda. Formal colleges of Indian medicine were gradually established on the
lines of colleges of allopathic medicine. The classroom teaching and examination
system replaced the old guru-kula system.
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