Decline of Authentic Ayurveda
Ayurveda the Veda (Wisdom) of Ayus (life). Like Yoga, it is rooted in Samkhya Darsana, the philosophy of devolution wherein diversity evolutes from unity. Ayurveda is a divine science to help the whole universe attain Purusharthas, the four purposes of human life
- Dharma-ethical living
- Artha-accumulation of wealth
- Kama-fulfillment of desire
- Moksha-freedom from suffering
There was a time where physicians where saints, who knew the essence of life and death. They experienced the wisdom of life in their being and not just as knowledge in the brain. Being a physician was a supra mental manifested state. Physicians were living examples of perfection who were on the path to moksha.
As memory started degenerating, the way and aim of Ayurveda studies changed which in turn resulted in the change of Ayurveda wisdom. The traditional way of teaching Ayurveda was through chanting and systematic memorizing of the Sanskrit verses in the ancient texts of Ayurveda. Through this process not only was the knowledge at the student’s fingertips but the very essence of the sound from the verses changed the cellular structure in the brain facilitating the transformation of the knowledge into wisdom. Memorizing the ancient texts systematically barely exists now and for this reason the integrity of Ayurvdeda is deteriorating.
There are various reasons that have led to the decline of authentic Ayurved;
- The Modern Outlook: Modernisation of ancient wisdom to correlate and integrate it with modern science Ayurveda is a stand alone complete system based on an entirely different model to modern science and once we start correlating it with any other healing system it losses its essence–it is like putting a square peg into circle.
- Lack of pure Herbs: In the name of Ayurveda, mass destruction of plants and trees are happening. The Ancient wisdom never destroyed nature. The mass cultivation of herbs by using unhealthy pesticides are used to manufacture medicines. There is no control over chemical agriculture which in fact should be organic for the efficacy of the herbs and protection of the environment.
- The Modern Vaidya (Ayurveda Doctors): Modern vaidaya are no more examples of good health. They may talk about the ayurveda way of life by uttering the verses of the ancient texts but rarely walk their talk. These days most Vaidyas are like modern allopathic doctors, prescribing medicines for the symptoms whereas Ayurveda has its own profound system of samprapti (pathogenesis) which needs to be understood to make a correct diagnosis.
- Lack of interest in Ayurveda by the students: Very few students want to be Ayurvedic doctors in India. Students study to get admission into Allopathic medical Colleges. When they fail and the allopathic avenue is closed, they can attain the prestige of the title of ‘Dr” by studying Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Siddha or Naturopathy. It is not as if they want to study these subjects but for the sake of becoming a ‘Dr’ they do.
- The decline of the Sanskrit Language: Now the majority of the Ayurvedic physicians don’t have a good command of the Sanskrit language which is the language of the ancient Ayurveda Texts. Knowing Sanskrit is important as there are unique words in Sanskrit which have no exact translations and moreover knowledge of Sanskrit enable the development of a holistic way of thinking as opposed to a reductionistic one.
- The increase in Female Doctors to improve marriage prospects: More than 90% of Ayurveda doctors are females and this makes them more valuable in the ‘marriage market’.
- Poor remuneration and lack of respect: For young men becoming an Ayurveda Job is not ideal as it is in general, (apart from government jobs), poorly paid as opposed to allopathic doctor jobs. There are beginner doctors working for 5000 rupees a month as salary which is less than that of a basic store assistant or admin worker. Ayurveda doctors are looked down upon by allopathic doctors and by society in general. They are not well respected in the world of doctors where the allopathic medical system is ruling the material world.
- Inappropriate Marketing: The beginning of ayurveda marketing started with ayurveda massage in touristic centers all over the world. Eg, Abhyanga became known as Ayurveda massage whereas it is in fact Oil application. It has now become remodelled for marketing by mixing various massage techniques. Ayurveda, like Yoga has became a buzz word which is being used for marketing when in fact everything can be Ayurvedic and nothing is Ayurvedic; it depends on how the treatment or medicine is used. We all know that one man’s food can be another man’s poison.
- Human Greed: The greed for money and power among the majority of ayurvedic physicians, medicine manufacturers and treatment centers has played a big role in the decline of the authenticity of Ayurveda,
We may appear to have adopted a negative approach to modern day Ayurveda but the facts are in front of us. These facts can be undone with a concerted effort from all of us; it is not too late.