AYU (An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda)

: 2015  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 116--117

How far the philosophical aspects in Ayurvedic academia are relevant today?

Mahesh Vyas 
 Executive Editor - AYU, IPGT and RA, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Mahesh Vyas
Executive Editor - AYU, IPGT and RA, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Gujarat

How to cite this article:
Vyas M. How far the philosophical aspects in Ayurvedic academia are relevant today?.AYU 2015;36:116-117

How to cite this URL:
Vyas M. How far the philosophical aspects in Ayurvedic academia are relevant today?. AYU [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 Sep 29 ];36:116-117
Available from: https://www.ayujournal.org/text.asp?2015/36/2/116/175544

Full Text

It is obvious that anything which lost its applicability would be pushed to dark side, in a time where the things which are more vibrant are occupying the prime space in every corner.

India, the country with a very great lineage of bright minds, has fed the need of the thirsty minds of the world. Since dawn of civilization, with its lurking culture and inspiring thoughts. The wisdom of philosophy embedded in the culture, which is true in every part of world and it is not bound to change.

Though the world has changed considerably in its outward material aspect, means of communication, scientific inventions, etc., there has not been any great change in its inner spiritual side. The old forces of hunger and love, and the simple joys and fears of the heart, remain an inseparable part of the human nature. The true interests of humanity, the deep passions of religion, and the great problems of philosophy have not been superseded as material things have been. Indian thought is a chapter of the history of human mind, full of vital meaning for us. The ideas of great thinkers never become obsolete.

Ignorance of the subject of Indian thought is profound. To the modern minds, the true essence of the Indian philosophy is not clear. It is restricted to only some concepts like Karma or belief in fate, Maya, and Tyaga or the ascetic desire to be rid of flesh.

There is hardly any height of spiritual insight or rational philosophy attained in the world that is unparalleled in the vast stretch that lies between the early Vedic science and the modern Naiyayikas. Ancient India, to adapt Prof. Gilbert Murray's words in another context, “has the triumphant, if tragic, distinction of beginning at the very bottom and struggling, however precariously, to the very summits.”

The native utterances of Vedic poets, the wondrous suggestiveness of the Upanishads, the marvellous psychological analysis of the Buddhists, and the stupendous system of Samkhya are quite interesting and instructive from the cultural point of view as the systems of Plato and Aristotle or Kant and Hegel, if only we study them in a true scientific frame of mind without disrespect for the contempt for the alien. The special nomenclature of the Indian philosophy which cannot be easily rendered into English accounts for the apparent strangeness of the intellectual landscape. If the outer difficulties are overcome, we feel the kindred throb of human heart, because eventually humanity is not bound by the distinctions of Indian or European.

When we look into the chronological development of Ayurveda, it is very clear that the Indian philosophy and Ayurveda came from the same origin; they propose common aims such as Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. However, the philosophies are more inclined toward the spiritual aspect, existence of Atma, mind, and its functions, existence of life after death, etc., whereas Ayurveda too has discussed sufficiently about these aspects, but it has articulated a more rationale, scientific, and logical amalgamation of philosophy and medicine in a thumping way. Though maintenance of health and healing ailments are the prime objectives of Ayurveda, the ambit of Ayurvedic philosophy is stretched beyond this and it has tried to express the universal health approach for a better world. This is the beauty of Ayurvedic philosophy, hence even after thousands of years have been passed, the system firmly surviving in its original form. This is naturally because of the strength of Ayurvedic philosophy. The principles of Ayurveda derive their inspiration from the various Indian philosophies and hence we can not deny or ignore the impact of these philosophies throughout the length and breadth of Ayurveda.

 What is the Perception About the Philosophical Portion in Ayurvedic Education Now?

The Ayurvedic education in India is never able to reach a consensus and meet upto the standards that are essential for Ayurvedic learning! How can we make the system more effective? How can we emphasize the necessity of learning modern medical sciences? What is the duration of different academic levels? etc.

Among the above common questions, the most common dilemma among the Ayurveda education regulating authorities and students is about the need of the inclusion of the absolute philosophical subjects such as Padartha Vijnana and Indian philosophy at the entry level of Ayurvedic graduation. When a student enters into Ayurvedic stream with a complete background of fundamental science subjects such as physics, chemistry, and biology, he feels very strange to accept and understand a subject like Padartha Vijnana, which is more philosophical and imaginary nature. This may not be very true with all students, but most of them feel certain alienated feeling when they compare this subject with other subjects. And, another important aspect for this perception is, the inefficiency of the teacher who teach this subject which results in failure, to convey the essence of the subject in a convincing way to the students. And the effective communication deficit adds to the problem. An important missing factor is the lack of practical-based teaching of Padartha Vijnana subjects; of course, it may not be possible to teach everything in practical mode, but certain areas, such as the concept of Dravya, Guna, Karma, Panchamahabhutas, Pratyaksha Pramana, Anumana Pramana, Upamana Pramana can be conveyed through some practical modalities.

 Then What Could Be the More Convincing Solution for This?

It is truly not possible to conceive the essence of Ayurveda without the aid of philosophies; perhaps conceiving true Ayurvedic concepts is certainly impossible. The philosophical background is like soul to Ayurveda, and it is definitely not possible to learn Ayurveda only based on the physical approach by setting aside the philosophy.

By observing the current discussions regarding the usefulness of Ayurvedic philosophical subjects, it is clear that tide is turning more toward negotiating the portions of these philosophical subjects from the syllabus. Just minimizing or removing an important part of Ayurvedic education would not solve the problem. Perhaps, it weakens the strength of Ayurvedic education. There are definite ways to find a solution for this dilemma.

The very important aspect is making of revised syllabus of philosophical subjects distinctively separate for under graduation and post graduation level of understandingThese portions have to be selectively included in the different levels of under graduation programs based on the level of intellectual understanding of studentsThe fundamental principles of Ayurveda should be taught in all levels of under graduation, with in relation to the clinical and nonclinical subjectsThere should be a special teaching skill orientation programs to be developed and all the teaching faculties should be given trainingThe efforts have to be initiated to develop the near practical models for teaching Ayurvedic fundamentalsThe fundamentals of Ayurveda can be incorporated within the modern basic science, wherever the applicability is found suitableAnd, at the post graduate level syllabus, the focus has to be given more on the applicability of Ayurvedic fundamental principles; in the present day scenario, the research should be more focused on all the aspects of the topic including the applicability.

Any science cannot be understood by superficial and only lucrative aspects, the level of success in clinical side depends on the depth of understanding the subject properly. All Indian philosophies, including Ayurveda stresses on complete understanding of the existence of problems. We need all sorts of tools to achieve this; this may be ultra-modern technological aids or the philosophical wisdom of Ayurveda. The success of this depends upon the timing and applicability of these ancient treasures of Indian thought, in Ayurvedic education and clinical practice. Hence, it is strongly suggested that the content of philosophy in Ayurvedic academia is rather more vital and important than the idea of its insignificance/irrelevance.