The word “ayurveda” is formed by the combination of two words — ayur meaning life span, and veda meaning the scripture about how to keep your full stretch of life span. Ayurveda comes from a completely different dimension of life and a completely different understanding of what life is.
In the ayurvedic system, the fundamental understanding is that this body, the way it is today, is an accumulation that we gathered from the planet. Whatever the nature of the planet, whatever the nature of the five elements which make the planet, all are very much manifest in this physical body. Fundamentally, this whole body is just a play of five elements. Whether it is the individual human body or the larger cosmic body, essentially they are made up of the pancha bhutas or the five elements — earth, water, fire, air and space. What you call as “myself” is just a mischief of these five elements.
If you want to handle this physical body in such a way that the most productive result has to be produced by your life — which is a combination of time and energy — it is very important that everything that you do about this body has a relationship with the planet on which you are walking.
Ayurveda says that every root, every leaf, every tree bark found on this planet has medicinal value. We have learnt how to use only a few. The rest of them, we are yet to learn how to use. What I am trying to say is, health is not something that falls upon you from the sky.
Health is something that has to grow from within you, because the body is something that grows from within. The input comes from the earth but it grows from within you.
The essence of ayurveda is that we need to go deep enough into this body which is not an integrated thing, but a continuous process which involves the earth upon which you walk. If this relationship does not come through, then these subtle systems of medicine which work from within will fail to work. Without taking care of the whole system, and by just trying to focus on and fix one aspect will not be very fruitful.
A holistic system does not mean just treating the body as a whole. A holistic system means treating life as a whole, which includes the planet, what we eat, what we breathe, what we drink — all of that.
Without attending to all those things, the true benefit of ayurveda will not be seen.
If ayurveda becomes a living reality in our lives and our societies, people can live like gods.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, an internationally renowned spiritual leader, is a visionary, humanitarian, author, poet and speaker.
He can be contacted at www.ishafoundation.org