Ayurveda is first and foremost a science of self-healing. It explains the nature of life in all its totality, and teaches you how to live in a way that supports your constitution and temperament in order to unfold your potential to experience life more fully.

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The Science of Ayurveda

One of the key differences between ayurveda and western forms of medicine concerns its scientific methodology - the way in which ayurvedic scientists derive knowledge. Unlike its western counterpart, ayurveda recognizes that because much of life is non-physical, it cannot be completely understood through objective means alone. Therefore, it incorporates a wide array of analytical tools, including subjective and intuitive methods of scientific inquiry as well as objective ones. Likewise, treatment options are more vast, including therapies that evoke healing on subtle levels (mind and consciousness) as well as on more superficial ones (physiology and anatomy).

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Ayurveda is grounded in samkya, a philosophy of the cosmos, that recognizes that the universe is intelligent. Purusha is the term that samkya uses to refer to this universal intelligence. It is described as "pure undifferentiated consciousness". Modern physics calls purusha the "unified field". Samkya considers purusha to be the first organizing principle of the universe. The second principle is prakriti -- the potential to manifest in physical form. It is the union of purusha and prakriti which makes it possible for the world as we know it to exist.

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Prakriti and Guna

Prakriti is comprised of three universal attributes or constituents called guna. These three aspects combine in various proportions to give rise to all phenomena found in nature. They are present everywhere; if something is observable, then it contains the guna.

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Your journey (of incarnation) from purusha and prakriti to your individual expression of humanity passes through several layers of existence before reaching the point where you experience yourself in physical body in a concrete world. First, prakriti receives light from purusha to manifest mahat, the all-knowing intelligence of the cosmos.Your personal embodiment of cosmic wisdom is buddhi, your intellect. Buddhi is capable of discriminating and understanding what it is experiencing.

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At the level of the physical manifestation of ahankara, matter comes from the five elements of earth, water, fire, ether and air. They combine in various ways to form three different types of energy that animate all life forms in different proportions at different times, depending upon that being's life circumstances and state of health. They are called vata, formed from air and ether, pita, formed from fire and water, and kapha, formed from earth and water. These three energies are called dosha in Sanskrit,which literally means "fault" in Sanskrit, and relates to the prefix "dys" from Greek (both considered to have evolved from a single language that predates them), that we see in words like "dysfunction" and "dysregulation". Although it might seem odd to call the three energies that animate us all "faults", they are so named because they have the capacity to corrupt, i.e. cause disease, in the body and mind.

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Mahat - Cosmic intelligence

Look deliberately at a tree or a flower. Look completely, with total attention. Thoughts will rush to judge that flower. Take a long breath. Return again to the looking. See the color, the beauty, the total existence of the flower.

The past memory will rush toward you. But remain in the art of looking. When there is pure observation without thought, your mind will be like a blank screen, clear to reflect the intelligence of the cosmos itself. This profound intelligence is called Mahat.

Vasant Lad Strands of Eternity 2004