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What is the validity of Ayurveda in the face of modern medicine?

The issue is that the Ayurveda texts were orally passed down for millions-billions of years from Vishnu (who orally passed it to Brahma, and so forth):

Charaka Samhita - At first, Prajapati received the Ayurveda in its entirety as recited by Brahma, from whom the Ashwins received it, and from the Ashwins, lord Indra received it fully.

So this means the knowledge of Ayurveda hasn't been "verified" or "updated" in billions of years:

This tri-aphorismic, continuing from time immemorial and virtuous knowledge which was known to Brahma first.

Humans evolve and can change biologically, diseases come and go, microbes mutate and acquire new resistances, materials and new technology offer alternative treatments that get improved over time. But since Ayurveda doesn't get updated (since it's an oral tradition), contemporary scientific inquiry into medicine is superior to Ayurveda since it's based on present-time, direct perception of facts, and it's a living tradition that gets improved over time as opposed to a static (oral) tradition.

Ayurveda was the only option in ancient times when they didn't have the concept of modern science. But now, anyone would choose direct perception of facts over an oral tradition of recollection of facts.

My question is, does Ayurveda truly contain eternally valid knowledge regarding human health and medicine? What indicators does it give to show this?

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    This question is really nice! Although a verse confirming its eternity would not change the accepted status. Ayurveda if eternal would not need experiment or any updates. It can however be extended. "The status called pesudo which drives people away from taking its benifit must be removed, not for scientific reasons but at least for its effect as a placebo".
    – Second
    Feb 24, 2021 at 15:59
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    (not the downvoter) but according to your logic are Vedic mantras or other other Hindu mantras ineffective due to the fact that they aren't evolving with time?
    – Rickross
    Feb 25, 2021 at 7:32
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    Knowledge doesn't have the need to evolve with time. Science evolves with time because science doesn't have the full knowledge yet.
    – Rickross
    Feb 25, 2021 at 9:10
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    I didn't mean specifically a "vaccine", but any specific treatment for Covid. Ayurvedic approach would have been to observe the symptoms of the patient. So the symptoms would show up just like for a common cold or flu - coughing, runny nose, breathing issues, etc. So how does Ayurveda distinguish Covid from common cold, without the knowledge of viruses and targeted chemical treatments to kill the virus? How would the knowledge of dosha imbalance help distinguish the same symptoms caused by a flu virus vs Covid virus? So far I haven't seen any Ayurvedic doctors come forward.
    – RamAbloh
    Feb 28, 2021 at 18:23
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    And, to your comment that God has to reveal these facts, if God indeed actually revealed them he would do so in even more detail and accuracy, being all-knowing. Ayurveda is treating the body (strictly physical), it prescribes gross physical substances based on gross physical observations. So nothing in Ayurveda is extra-sensory. It is just matches the sensory technology and knowledge of its time. Doshas are physical. Kapha is phlegm, Vata is gas and Pitta is bile. So basically these are gross compounds made from the simpler biochemicals later discovered by modern medicine.
    – RamAbloh
    Mar 3, 2021 at 1:42

1 Answer 1

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New Words, Old Concepts.

Example :
New word - hygiene/social distancing. Old concept - achara/madi
New word - plastic surgery. Old concept - Sushruta Samhita
New word - intermittent fasting. Old concept - upavaas
New word - avoid salt/spices for BP. Old concept - "ati tiksha/ushnva/lavana.." (Bhagavad Gita)
New word - meditation. Old concept - yoga/pranayama

This trend exists not only in Ayurveda, but in any field of Vedas.

New word - Atomic theory. Old concept - Parmanu (Vaisheshika)
New word - Materialism. Old concept - Lokayata/Charvaka
New word - Logic. Old concept - Tarka

Humans evolve and can change biologically, diseases come and go, microbes mutate.. Ayurveda doesn't get updated

There are infinite numbers. These numbers are all different from each other. Yet we know one simple to get to each one (just add 1 to previous number).
There are 4 yugas. Each has different situations, rules, rewards and punishments. Yet we know which Smriti to use for which Yuga.

All these so-called 'changes' are cyclic. So while it makes sense to say 'Laws change or Medicines change or People change', they only change on a relative scale, not an absolute scale.

For example, these were some of the taxonomies in Ayurveda:
bala (pediatrics), shalya, damstra (toxicology), shalakya (ENT), and kayachikitsa.

Ayurveda deals with treating Vata, Pitta, Kapha doshas which are eternal classifications of the body, in various proportions (just like Sattva, Rajas, Tamas gunas). More importantly, they deal with mental health, and the regulation of Prana to overcome physical diseases or pain (Raja Yoga). You can see youtube for videos of babas in Himalayas bare-bodied, shoe-less, rolling around snow at -10 degrees. Scriptures mention Sanjivani & Podhigai hill etc. which have herbs that can mend broken bones and possibly revive the dead.

I have personally directly seen Ayurvedic/Homeopathic medicines treat minor hormonal imbalances with perceptive, physiological (not just placebo) results within 1 month.

I have personally seen Jyotisha scholar predict a person's congenital diseases armed with nothing but their Janma Patrika. Yes, I applied the standard control trial with other Patrikas to rule out coincidences.

The only problem with Ayurveda, or any field of knowledge is it gets forgotten over time due to lack of experts who can speak/read that language - Sanskrit.

In a few hundred years, all our accumulated modern knowledge becomes out of date because none can speak/read "English". New 'scientists/inventors/discoverers' pop up who repeat the old concept in new words and win Nobel prizes. And that's OK.

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  • Thanks. Do you know if Ayurveda mentions the seven chakras and kundalini?
    – Ikshvaku
    Feb 26, 2021 at 13:05
  • @Ikshvaku - kundalini, and how to physically raise through the chakras falls under Raja Yoga (or Ashtanga Yoga which has 8 steps), a separate treatise like HaTa yoga. You can read how Swami Vivekananda achieved siddhi (he could read minds) in his Complete Works.
    – ram
    Feb 26, 2021 at 17:46
  • You really believe in Vivekananda?
    – Ikshvaku
    Mar 2, 2021 at 14:18
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    @Ikshvaku - when a pendulum swings too far left, it can only be brought to center by swinging it too far right. In his time, people were stressing a lot on karma bhaga instead of jnana bhaga. This is not that different from your viewpoint that Mimsakas deny that Vedas talk about ephemeral deities to establish apaurusheyatvam i.e. Arthavada. He was not anti-brahmin. His guru Ramakrishna was brahmin. He was anti brahmin-monopoly. He doesn't reject smriti/dharma-shastras. He only rejects them if they're in conflict with Vedas (his definition of conflict notwithstanding).
    – ram
    Mar 7, 2021 at 0:37
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    @Ikshvaku - and i still do not agree with many of his views. But his audience is different, hence his message is different.
    – ram
    Mar 7, 2021 at 0:38

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