Sri Lanka has its own Ayurvedic system based on a series of prescriptions handed down from generation to generation over a period of 3000 years. The kings, who were also prominent physicians as recorded by historical texts, sustained its survival and longevity. King Buddhadasa (398 AD) was the most prominent physician, who wrote Sarartha Sangrahaya, which is being viewed by physicians to date.
Ancient inscriptions on rock surfaces reveal the full establishment of the medical services, which existed within the country. These ancient hospital sites which were active centuries ago now attract the tourists, who view and marvel at these beautiful ruins, which have come to symbolize a sense of healing and care which was so prevalent at that time. The Ayurvedic physicians enjoyed a noble position in the social hierarchy in the country due to its Royal patronage and from this stem a famous Sri Lankan saying;
‘IF YOU CANNOT BE A KING, BECOME A HEALER’.
This inter-relationship between Ayurveda and royalty has brought Buddhism and Ayurveda into a top position in Sri Lankan politics.
The classical texts of Ayurveda in their written form are almost 3,000 years old. However, like all of the 40 areas of Veda and Vedic Literature, the knowledge of Ayurveda has been passed down orally for thousands of years. This makes Ayurveda older than any other science of health.
The classical Ayurvedic texts describe an ancient civilization where the presence of illness was unknown.
Even today, Ayurveda serves to maintain, promote and restore good health as well as preventing illness.
The original purpose of Ayurveda was not just to improve the health of the individual, but also to create a positive influence on the health of society as a whole. According to the Vedic rishis (seers), as expressed in the ancient text, the positive healthy behavior of each individual combines to produce a disease-free society.
In centuries past, during periods of foreign rule in India , the traditional knowledge of Ayurveda was increasingly pushed into the background. As a result, many important aspects of this holistic approach to health care became lost. Fortunately, however, other parts of this knowledge, including areas that were previously unknown, have been preserved faithfully by traditional families of India and passed on to succeeding generations.
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