Who can practice Ayurveda?

By Durgadas, Veda Kovid, AYT
Ayu. Clin, Ayu. Pharm, AMPKT, AMBT, ALC

(c) Durgadas (Rodney) Lingham / Arogya Ayurvedic Health Ltd.

All Rights reserved.

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any manner, except by direct permission from the author.

Historically ancient sciences have been shared around the globe and as the modernisation of socialistic movements took place such as Jainism and Buddhism, there have been an abundant number of people wishing to franchise and open up the ancient teachings to the world, claiming such as “traditional” on one hand, but ignoring the actual classics’ word on such and personal qualities on the other.

These sciences when applied in a generic model can be useful. But as for the greater scope of claiming traditional lineages and applied teachings with respect to such, these fall into another matter. Here the spiritual Ayurvedic aspects and the rational aspects must be understood in their entirety, not simply pertaining to the physical applications; the methodical karmic methods that require skill in training of the Brahmana and others in the fields of astrology and ritualism here play an important part classically as well, which also connected with the sciences (i.e. knowledge of all shad darshanas in their integral aspects).

While the science of Ayurveda was taught to many in the ancient world such as the Persians, Chinese and notably the Arabs who translated the ancient texts where they reached the Latin world, such occurred in later times under Buddhistic influences in India, the ancient form of liberal socialism, which caused much distress to traditional Brahmanical teachings due to their [incorrect] dissemination.

The question here arises, should non-Hindus, as in those not born Hindus, really be practising Ayurveda as per tradition? Here, they would fall into the traditional category of chandalas or out-castes, existing outside the varna of caste-system of Hindus – possessing not even basic qualities that are even required for initiation into Ayurvedic study of the shudras (lowest labouring class) as per tradition (Sushruta Samhita, Sutrasthana, II.5); such should also be of proper qualities, mentally and physically (ibid, II.3), not simply as per the open-ended non-Hindu aspects of later Buddhistic interpretations.

Related sciences (inferring jyotisha, yoga etc.) are also stated to be learnt by the physician or practitioner traditionally from reputed and qualified people in these respective fields; here also those proficient in only one field of expertise alone or Vedic science is said to be unable to be qualified to deduce anything correctly, as one muts be proficient in many sciences, not simply one (as Ayurveda) alone – Sushruta, Sutrasthana, IV.6-9.

This brings into question those who qualify from [generic regime] Indian systems and others, and rigidly apply these systems or the New-Age style in the west to the pseudo-systems that fall in between these as a culmination of B.A.M.S graduates posing as “traditionalists”, wishing to superimpose their own systems, but ignoring these ancient injunctions where it suits in a Buddhist-style.

Historically this has caused problems in the traditional system of teaching – especially outside of Hinduism. The misinterpretation of the texts as warned by Sushruta and others outside Hindu lineages lead to the systems such as marmapuncture and marmapressure in southern India as a result of Buddhism and Jainism – notably seen today as practised by the thiyya caste of southern India that became kalari physicians of other castes and over time influenced them – themselves originating from Sinhalese Buddhists who due to the orthodoxy of southern India (hence the preservation of Sanskrit learning, older Vedic systems, Dhanurveda and Ayurveda etc. there) as far back as with Shankaracharya who sought to reform these practices) were not allowed into the Hindu fold due to their impure (ashuddhi) characteristics and being seen as chandalas or anarya (not-noble), i.e. outside the Hindu caste system. While they were still South Asians and connected to Hindu systems via derivations such as Buddhism and Jainism, it still didn’t allow them to be included into the traditional Ayurvedic systems or Hindu fold (to keep it pure and untainted) – which raises the question today of those practicing Ayurveda and (ironically) taking up these non-original tainted systems of marma manipulation and such, arising from people outside tradition as them [Europeans and non-Hindus].

On this note, Charaka (Sutrasthana, XI.9-10) lays stress on avoiding the divergent teachings and texts due to their contradictions [relative to tradition] .While some here may interpolate their non-Vedic stance, Charaka follows up (ibid, 28), stating that the Vedas are the accepted or authorised texts and any others that are not contradictory to the Vedas are hence accepted alone.

Here the characteristics of the Vaidya (physician or practitioner) should be likened to shaucha (purity) in Yoga, which means of the mind, body and also genetic heritage (jati or varna) for retaining the knowledge.

While historically there have been [exceptionally rare] examples of chandalas or those outside the mainstream systems that have been accepted, these are exceptions beyond the normal case – just as Yogis and Rishis such as Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Ramana Maharishi and their unique realisations were themselves rare examples, even of Brahmana castes that attained lofty states.

The modern liberal age however seeks to over-simplify and seek justification for deviations of the ancient traditions, in which here the shastras or classical texts appear to both warn against and also note of proper qualities for practitioners which where, as rare notable cases existed – these cannot be applied to nor correlated with the modern-day acceptance of the masses to justify the existence of their practice of sacred doctrines such as Ayurveda.

If we apply such logic, then anyone can do a course, pass a test and change their DNA to become a Brahmana or even a Deva or celestial. The truth however, is otherwise!


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