The spiritual authority for the Ayurvedic Health Center is rooted in Vedic Scripture.
The Vedic scriptures are the oldest and most complete scriptures known to man. They are the earliest literary record of a human civilization and are the most sacred books of what is today known as India. The Vedas form an unbroken tradition that date roughly to 1700–500 BCE.
The Vedas are the original scriptures of Hindu teachings (aka Sanatana Dharma), containing spiritual knowledge that encompasses all aspects of life. The philosophical teachings of the Vedas have stood the test of time, and the Vedas form the highest religious and spiritual authority for all aspects of Hinduism. They are a respected source of wisdom and knowledge for all of mankind.
The word “veda” means wisdom, knowledge, vision, or science — science as a system of ever-evolving inquiry. The Vedic scriptures bring the language of the gods into the human realm of speech.
The laws and rituals outlined in the Vedas have guided the social, legal, domestic, and spiritual customs of the Hindus up to current times. Vedic wisdom and guidance is relevant today and is used at times of life transition (ie: birth, death, marriage), at seasonal transitions (ie: the solstices and equinoxes), and in matters such as education and health care.
The Vedas are credited to Brahman:
“Verily, in the beginning this universe was Brahman.” (BU 1:4:10-11; Maitri 6:17)
“Brahman” is derived from the Sanskrit root word brh which means to grow big or to expand, so it means the Great Expanse or the Immensity. “Brahma” means creation and nature, or the creator who represents all of creation. In the Taittirya Upanishad (one of the Vedic scriptures), Brahman is defined as:
yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante |
yena jātāni jīvanti |
yat prayanty-abhisamviśanti |
tad vijijñāsasva | tad brahmeti |
“That from whence all these beings, arise,
That by which, being born, they exist, and
That into which they merge upon departing,
seek to know That, that is Brahman.”
Thus, Brahman is the creator, the progenitor, the divine, the unified field from which everything arises, in which everything exists, and unto which everything returns when it disintegrates.
“Ayurveda” is a Sanskrit word that means “the science of life” — ie: Ayurveda is the systemitized body of knowledge that delineates how to live a long and healthy life, how to overcome disease and imbalance, and how to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of the world that we live in and are a part of.
In line with its roots in the Vedic scriptures, Ayurveda encompasses a complete and holistic approach to the well-being of body, mind, and spirit.
Roots of Ayurveda in the Vedic Scriptures
The Upanishads are a subset of the Vedas. They are concerned with the knowledge of god, the highest aspect of spiritual truth. The Upanishads are an expression of divine truth. This truth is understood to be verifiable, immediately, at any moment, in (one’s) own personal experience; it is absolute truth.
The Taittirya Upanishad, in particular, details the existence of Brahman (ie: god) and illustrates Brahman as the creator of everything that exists in nature.
part II, 1.1
“They have attained the goal who realize
Brahman as the supreme reality,
The source of truth, wisdom, and boundless joy.
The see the Lord in the cave of the heart
And are granted all the blessings of life.”
“From Brahman came space; from space, air;
From air, fire; from fire, water; from water,
Earth; from earth, plants; from plants, food
And from food,
The human body, head, arms, legs, and heart.”
“From food are made all bodies, which become
Food again for others after their death.
Food is the most important of all things
For the body; therefore it is the best
Medicine for all the body’s ailments.
They who look up on food as the Lord’s gift
Shall never lack life’s physical comforts.
From food are made all bodies. All bodies
Feed on food, and it feeds on all bodies.”
part II, 6.1
“Those who deny the Lord deny themselves;
Those who affirm the Lord affirm themselves.
The wise, not he unwise, realize the Lord.
The Lord of love willed: “Let me be many!”
And in the depths of his meditation
He created everything that exists.
Meditating, he entered into everything.”
part II, 7.1
“Before the universe was created,
Brahman existed as unmanifest.
Brahman brought the Lord our of himself;
Therefore he is called the Self-existent.”
The Taittirya Upanishad also contains the roots of what has become contemporary Ayurveda. The writings of these scriptures are strikingly similar to what is found in the classical Ayurvedic texts such as the Charaka Samhita and the later Ashtanga Hridayam. For instance, Laghunyāsa from Taittiriya Brahmana 3.10.8, which is a mantra/prayer for healing and wellness:
“When there is the realization that we are a microcosm
of the macrocosm
that the sun is our eye,
the earth is our body,
water our creative fluid,
the physical form is part of the universal
there is the possibility of wellness.
And all of it, everything is held in that space inside the heart.
When this is the experience there is health.
Which is establishment in your true Self.”
The Taittirya Upanishad goes into deep detail about many of the basic concepts of Ayurveda, such as the five elements, the seven dhatus (bodily tissues), the koshas (protective sheaths of the physical and mental-emotional bodies), the five Vatas, the rhythms of nature, the cycles of the annual seasons, the importance of self-care practices, the importance of quality food and water, and the importance of living in integrity within a community.
Easwaran, Eknath, The Upanishads, 2007, the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, Tomales, CA.
Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester, The Upanishads, pg. xii