This monograph discusses in detail the classical concepts of the science of Yoga, its ideology and practical aspects. It brings out specifically the health and therapeutic potential of yoga and deliberates on future scope of yoga as a health science and therapy. It puts powerful arguments to suggest yoga as a branch of Ayurveda, the ancient science of life. For the purpose of comparison the monograph adds few chapters on the fundamental principles of Ayurveda highlighting the basic and applied similarities and alliedness of the two great oriental sciences, Yoga and Ayurveda.
Yoga and Ayurveda, both deal with the Sada Dhatvatmaka Purusa as described by Caraka in relation to the Brahma; the individual vs the universe or the self vs non-self. It is in this context that Ayurveda propounds two broad streams of Cikitsa viz.-l) Naisthiki Cikitsa', 2) Laukiki Cikitsa. The Naisthiki Cikitsa is the branch of Ayurveda which deals with spiritual aspects of life and helps man in getting absolute freedom from pain and suffering of the world through absolute reality. The Laukiki Cikitsa deals with the gross ill health and its care through drugs, diet, exercise etc. The present day science of yoga essentially falls into the realm of Naisthiki Cikitsa although Yoga also contributes a lot in Laukiki Cikitsa.
Although, in practice Yoga and Ayurveda are very much separated, conceptually they are very much allied. One finds elaborate description of the concept of Yoga and yogic state in Ayurvedic texts like Caraka Samhita; though technical details are not seen. It is interesting see the concept of Satya Buddhi in Caraka Samhita which strikingly simulates the concept of Rtambhara Prajna of Patanjali or Sthitprjna of Bhagvadgita. Caraka also describes in certain details the Astaisvaryas or special attainments, a Yogi may afford to get. Interestingly Susruta Samhita proclaims that such a state adorned by Astaisvarya can also be achieved by using the devine drugs ‘Soma’. Besides, there are elaborate descriptions of the ethical practices of Yoga like Tama, Miyama in the context of Sadvrtta and Acara Rasayana in Ayurveda.
On the other hand several Yogic texts including the classic of Patanjali and later writings on Hathayoga describe the problems of health and disease as also their care and cure by use of Asanas, Pranayama, Kriya, Mudra, Bandha etc. They also refer to the Ayurvedic doctrine of Paneamahabhuta and Tridosa or more elaborately the concept of Prana and Nadis. As a matter of fact the basic approach and the fundamentals of both the sciences, Yoga and Ayurveda, are the same, with variance of emphasis on certain aspects.
Both these sciences are equally ancient and are Indian in origin. Certain scholars believe that both these sciences and a third one Vyakarana Mahabhasya were developed by the same seer Patanjali-Yoga Sastra for purification of Manas or mind; Vyakarana Sastra for correction Vani or speech and Ayurveda for preservation of Kaya or body. Thus these three sister sciences were developed simultaneously for the care of mind, body and speech and hence they are allied to each other and they derive extensively from each other. Cakrapani, the principal commentator on Caraka Samhita, quotes this possibility in the very first chapter of his commentary.
Besides the above cited ancient and conceptual linkage, Ayurveda and Yoga are proceeding towards more purposeful union in present times. The contemporary Ayurveda is reorganising as a holistic system of medicine and is reviving as a full health science to meet the newer challenges of medicine today. In this endeavour a joint front of Yoga anal Ayurveda will be a great welcome. The contemporary Yoga which has rapidly emerged out of traditional spiritualism, mysticism and cobwebs of` mystery is now standing as a SCICHIIHC discipline, its main stream of prospective development being in the direction of health science and therapy. Thus Yoga and Ayurveda need to collaborate to compensate each other to form a full science of health from the orient. Modern scientific methods may be applied to study and evaluate these ancient sciences to bring them in the main stream of health care system.
Yoga should be taught as a major subject in the curriculum of Ayurvedic studies both at Post graduate and undergraduate level. Yoga may contribute substantially (1) at the level of teaching of fundamentals principles, (2) at the level of Swasthavrtta and preventive-promotive medicine and (3) at the level of therapy as treatment of a variety of diseases. It is high time that teaching and practice of Yoga is incorporated in the curriculum at all the above levels. Similarly there is a need to expose all Yoga practitioners and teachers to Ayurveda. Yoga has a sound philosophy and elaborate practical technology but it has little pathology and diagnostics, while Ayurveda is a full medical science with its own fundamental principles, life and health concepts, pathology, diagnostics and therapy. Thus putting both together, a complete system of medicine emerges.