Health in Ayurveda
Of the two terms used for health in Ayurveda, swasthya and arogya, the former positive well – being’, while the latter signifies’ diseaselessness’. Although the two expressions are used interchageably in the medical manuals, swasthya (literally” abiding in oneself) approximates more closely to the Indian conception of health. ‘ Diseaselessness’ is a condition that is relevant to the practising physician: it is the state prior to the onset of disease and it is state that is restored by the removal of disease. In diagnosis, prognosis, medication and nursing, it is this condition that provides the practical framework.
But health is not defined as merely an absense of disease. The expression swasthya notes a state of well being of body and mind, a condition in which one is not dependent on other human beings or on any drug for his own physical and mental welfare. It is defined as the state of body and mind which provides the foundation for vigour and strength (expressed in wholesome living involving pursuit of the values of life.
Health has been regarded right from the vedic times as an essential requisite not only for the accomplishment of the three common objectives of life (viz. virtue, wealth and enjoyment) but also for the liberation from the miseries of phenomenal existence which is the ultimate good. The religious manuals have insisted that good health needs to be preserved in order to be to perform the prescribed rituals and austerities. Health has been extolled as the most precious of gifts that the gods can bestow on man.
Ayurveda, as the science and art of integrated and meaningful life, is as much concerned wish the maintenance and promotion of health as with curing the illness that have arisen. Health is this context is an independent and positive idea.