Ayurveda, aka: Āyurveda; 7 Definition(s)


Ayurveda means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Āyurveda (science of life)

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद) or the Veda of āyus (science of life) is the medicine of India coming down traditionally from the earliest times. Caraka says that it was revealed by Brahmā, the Creator, Himself while Suśruta goes one step further by stating that it was delivered even before creation. Generally Āyurveda is recognised as an upaveda related to either Ṛgveda or Atharvaveda. Kaśyapa takes it as the fifth veda and gives it the topmost position among them. All this proves its existence since antiquity as Caraka explicitly says it śāśvata (eternal) with untracable beginning. There are two objects of Āyurveda—one preservation of health in the healthy and the other, cure of illness in the diseased.

The Science which imparts knowledge of Āyus (life), provides longevity, contains relevant informations and discusses all allied topics is known as ‘Āyurveda’. Initially Brahmā delivered eight parts of Āyurveda as

  1. Kāyacikitsā (medicine),
  2. Kaumārabhṛtya (pediatrics inlcuding obstetrics and gynaecology),
  3. Agadatantra (toxicology),
  4. Śalyatantra (surgery),
  5. Śālākyatantra (medicine and surgery pertaining to supraclavicular diseases),
  6. Bhūtavidyā (dealing with bhūtas—invisible agents),
  7. Vājīkaraṇa (dealing with aphrodisiacs),
  8. Rasāyana (dealing with promotion of health and life).
(Source): Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
Āyurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

Yoga (school of philosophy)

Āyurveda or the science of life, is a holistic system of medicine that is indigenous to and widely practised in India. Its purpose is to maintain the health of the individual and alleviate disease in both is symptomatic and causative state. The duration of life (āyus) of a human being according to the Caraka Saṃhitā is 100 years.

(Source): Centre for Yoga Studies: Āyurveda & Yoga – The Pañca Bhūta
Yoga book cover
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Originally, Yoga is considered a branch of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).


Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद).—Originated from Dhanvantari;1 from the east face of Brahmā;2 one of the eighteen vidyas;3 begins in dvāpara;4 Bharadvāja was the compiler of the āyurveda and other sciences connected with medicine; it was divided into eight parts each of which was given to one of his disciples.5

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 7. 21; VIII. 8. 35; IX. 17. 4; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 67. 18; Vāyu-purāṇa 92. 16; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 8. 10.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 12. 38.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 35. 88; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 6. 28; Vāyu-purāṇa 61. 79.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 144. 22; Vāyu-purāṇa 58. 23; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 31. 23.
  • 5) Vāyu-purāṇa 92. 22; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 67. 24.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेढ) is a Sanskrit (संस्कृतं, Saṃskṛtaṃ) word composed of 2 root words: Āyur (आयुर्) meaning "Life" and Veda (वेढ) meaning "Knowledge". Translated to English, Āyurveda (आयुर्वेढ) means "The Knowledge of Life".

The main guidelines of आयुर्वेढ (Āyurveda) stem from 2 principles of existence:

  1. Prakṛti (प्रकृति ) "Nature/Matter/Body"
  2. Puruṣa (पुरुष) "Spirit/Anti-Matter/Soul"

Prakṛti (प्रकृति) "Nature/Matter/Body" is composed of 3 Guna (गुण, "Qualities"):

  1. Sattva (सत्त्व),
  2. Rajas (रजस्),
  3. Tamas (तमस्).
(Source): Aryacharya: Hinduism

India history and geogprahy

Ayurveda.—From the earliest times the system of medicine practised in the country (India) was the Ayurvedic. The system influenced the practitioners of the Unani system in Iran, Arabia and Greece. This system had its roots in the cultures the climate and atmosphere of the country. It also became a part of Sanskrit learning and was taught wherever there were Sanskrit schools.

Ayurveda was capable of effecting relief to his patients with the assistance of ordinary herbs and plants commonly available in the villages, without having to depend on costly chemists and druggists. Ayurveda developed the use of minerals which it used as rasa or bhasma (calcined) prepared according to their own methods which could not but be based on a thorough knowledge of chemistry. Knowledge of Ayurvedic medicines was common and many household remedies were fairly efficacious for common ailments.

(Source): Uttar Pradesh District Gazetteers: Medical and public health services
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

āyurvēda (आयुर्वेद).—m S The name of a treatise on medicine and on the probabilities of life. See upavēda.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

āyurvēda (आयुर्वेद).—m The name of a treatise on medicine.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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