|SNIPPETS OF INFORMATION |
HEALTH / MEDICINE
* Jul 2021
Panini, the grammarian, explains the meaning of yoga as union with the Supreme, of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul.
Yoga, derived from the root yuj (to yoke, to unite). A man who seeks after this union is called a yogin or yogi.
There are four main divisions of yoga: Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga.
Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutra, defines yoga as 'cessation of all changes
in consciousness.' Yoga is the science and praxis of obtaining
liberation (moksha) from the material world. It not only points the way
to release, but offers a practical means of arriving there. Yoga is a
practical path to self-realization, a means of attaining enlightenment
by purifying the entire being, so that the mind-body can experience the
absolute reality underlying the illusions of everyday life.
Hatha Yoga, consists of bodily exercises. The Philosophy of Yoga is
called Raja Yoga, (the royal path), or Patanjala Yoga, referring to
Patanjali, the reputed author of the Yogasutras, the basic Yoga manual.
Because of its close connection with the philosophical system of
Sankhya, it is also known as Sankhya-Yoga.
The average man may find it difficult to grasp the intricacies of
stilling the mind and merging the individual soul (jeevatma) with the
universal soul (paramatma). He can understand what yoga is by exploring
the body. Communion and a proper understanding exist between body and
nerves, nerves and mind, mind and intellect, will and consciousness.
When these vehicles of the jeevatma operate at the highest level, only
pure awareness remains.
Yoga is knowledge of the self. It encompasses knowledge relating to the
gross and subtle sheaths of the self that have to be purified and
perfected by uninterrupted practice and devotion. Man is a product of
intellect, emotions, action and determined will. While the seat of
intellect is the head, the seat of emotions is the mind. The hand and
feet are limbs for action. Yoga lays the foundation for purity in
actions, emotions or intellect.
* Jul 2021
Maharishi Patanjali is believed to have compiled his Yoga Sutra around
the 3rd or 4th century BC but archeological evidences and the study of
ancient scriptures suggest that yoga was practiced in ancient India as
early as 3000 BC.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, which outlines the sovereign path of Raja Yoga,
is composed of a total of 195 sutras or aphorisms. These sutras are
structured around four padas or chapters: Samadhi Pada, Sadhana Pada,
Vibhuti Pada and Kaivalya Pada.
Patanjali has enumerated eight steps of yoga. The first of these is yama
(social discipline) - commandments transcending creed, country, time,
that include ahimsa (nonviolence), satya (truth), brahmacharya
(continence), asteya (non-stealing) and aparigraha (non-coveting).
The second step is niyama (individual discipline) encompassing saucha
(purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (ardor or austerity), swadhyaya
(study of the self) and ishwara pranidhana (dedication to the Lord).
The third step is asana (posture), which brings physical as well as mental health.
The fourth step is pranayama (the control of breathing), which makes the body, and the mind fit instruments for concentration.
The fifth step is pratyahara where the senses are brought under control.
The sixth step is dharana - complete absorption of the mind on a single point or task.
When the objective flow of uninterrupted concentration reaches the
subjective state, the union of object and subject takes place to
transcend to the seventh step, dhyana (meditation), at the peak of which
To reach samadhi, peace in body and poise in the mind are absolute
prerequisites. Peace in body is acquired by practicing asana and
When yoga is practiced with intelligence, penetrating each and every
corner of this empire (the body), the emperor, the soul, is discovered.
Yoga is based on principles of morality (yama and niyama), physical
discipline (asana and pranayama), mental alertness (pratyahara and
dharana) and spiritual awakening (dhyana and samadhi). We have been
endowed with a body through which the soul can express itself and it is
our duty to treat the body with respect.
* Jul 2021
June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the
United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014. Yoga is a
physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline that originated in
India. In suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the
International Day of Yoga, Narendra Modi had said that the date is the
longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special
significance in many parts of the world.
From the perspective of yoga, the Summer Solstice marks the transition
to Dakshinayana. The first full moon after Summer Solstice is known as
Guru Poornima. According to Sadhguru, Lord Shiva, the first yoga
practitioner(Adi Yogi) is said to have begun imparting the knowledge of
yoga to the rest of mankind on this day and became the first guru (Adi
Guru). Dakshinayana is also considered a time when there is natural
support for those pursuing spiritual practices.
The declaration of this day came after the call for the adoption of 21
June as International Day of Yoga by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014.
* Jul 2021
Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine of India is a Sanskrit term,
made up of the words "ayus" and "veda." "Ayus" means life and "Veda"
means knowledge or science. The term "ayurveda" thus means 'the
knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. It is a qualitative,
holistic science - a system of healing the whole person, body and mind.
The fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in Hindu scriptures called the
Vedas - the ancient Indian books of wisdom. The Rig Veda, which was
written over 6,000 years ago, contains a series of prescriptions that
can help humans overcome various ailments. Adharva Veda, the fourth book
of ancient knowledge is known to have the largest number of references
to Ayurveda. In fact, Ayurveda is considered to be the sub-branch or
Upaveda of Adharva Veda. Ranging from medicinal values of herbs to
treatment of diseases, Adharva Veda covers the essential and practical
aspects of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda soon emerged into two- the school of medicine and the school of
surgery. The school of medicine was propounded by the physician Charaka
and of surgery by Susrutha. Susrutha who lived in the 6th century BC is
considered to be the father of modern surgery.
The aim of this system is to prevent illness, heal the sick and preserve life.
Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five
elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are
represented in humans by three "doshas", or energies: Vata, Pitta and
Kapha. When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the
desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a
distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a
right balance of the three doshas ("tridoshas"). Ayurveda suggests
specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce
the excess dosha.
Samhithas or compilations: Three main Samhithas are known to have survived:
Charaka Samhitha (Treatise on Medicine),
Susrutha Samhitha (Treatise on Surgery) and
Ashtanga Samgraha (Treatise on the basic principles) by Vaghbata, who is supposed to have lived in the 7th century AD.
Called collectively as ‘Brihattrayi’, they are also considered to be the oldest surviving documents on Ayurveda.
Some of the famous texts written between 9th and 16th century AD include
Bhavaprakasha (History and classifications) by Bhavamishra,
Madhava Nidana (Treatise on Diagnosis) by Madhavacharya in the 12th century,
Sharangadhara Samhita (Treatise on Ayurvedic Recipes) by Sharangadhara in the 14th century,
These three books are regarded as the Laghu Traya or Junior Triad of Ayurveda classics.
Sources: ayurveda-foryou.com ; hinduism.about.com ; ayurvedaa2z.com
* Jul 2021
Siddha system of medicine
A close relationship is found to exist between the external world and
the internal system of man. Siddhars (practitioners of Siddha) maintain
that the structure of the human body is a miniature world in itself. Man
consumes water and food, breathes the air and thus maintains the heat
in the body. He is alive on account of the life force given by ether.
The earth is the first element which gives fine shape to the body
including bones, tissues, muscles, skin, hair etc. Water is the second
element representing blood, secretions of the glands, vital fluid etc.
Fire is the third element that gives motion, vigor and vitality to the
body. It also helps digestion, circulation and simulation besides
respiration and the nervous system. Above all, ether is the
characteristic of man's mental and spiritual faculties.
Siddha system of medicine is based on Saiva Siddhantha. Siddha is a
Tamil word that is derived from its root 'chit' which means perfection
in life or "heavenly bliss".
1. VADHAM (ALCHEMY)
2. AITHIYAM (MEDICINE)
3. YOGAM (YOGA)
4. GNANAM or THATHUVAM (PHILOSOPHY)
Siddhars, spiritual scientists of Tamil Nadu explored and explained the
reality of Nature and its relationship to man by their yogic awareness
and experimental findings. They postulated the concept of spiritualism
for self improvement and the practices propounded by them came to be
known as the "SIDDHA SYSTEM".
The eight mighty SIDDHIC PROCESS or OCTOMIRACLE ("ATTA-MA-SIDDHI") which
could keep the body strong and perfect for EXTERNAL LIFE, where THERE
IS NO DEATH OR REBIRTH.