Viniyoga in Italia: In this context what about Āyurveda?
TKV Desikachar: Āyurveda, is, in my opinion, the most complete system of life God ever created, because it encompasses everything in nature. And it is a positive system of health. It is called Āyurveda, or knowledge of life. I have no hesitation to say that this system takes into account every aspect, it is not only medicine, not only food, not only life-style, but it is also the philosophy, the religion and the mantra-recitation. I have never come across a system that is so complete for the health of the body as Āyurveda. Unfortunately, it is nearly dead. We don’t have many people. Because Āyurveda is so complete and vast that a doctor would need an enormous experience.
Supposing you study physics, you know only physics, but in Āyurveda you should know, physics, mathematics, chemistry, relationship, mantra, ritual, food and dietary-laws, how to touch a person and the whole complex and vast human system. For this reason there are few people who are qualified. But those who are so qualified are the best medical people. As far as illnesses of long duration are concerned, like stomach problems, diabetes, skin-problems, joint-pains etc., there is nothing like Āyurveda. I am not talking of surgery, because today for all practical purposes, Āyurveda surgery is dead.
In Āyurveda nothing is excluded. When an Āyurveda physician sees you, he sees you in every way and they respect every individual. There are no standard answers. Even for the same person, the answer of two days hence will be different from what it is today. It is a very refined science, they believe in change and adapt to the actual situation.
Unfortunately, here in India we didn’t have the type of encouragement this science deserves. Because of the quick results that Western medicine gives, the people entrusted their health to the modern Western medicine. For these reasons only the least qualified students study Āyurveda, so we are not finding the best people nowadays. The people who are very good, go in for science, mostly engineering and medicine, then those who are a bit less qualified go in for business, those who are still less qualified go to the banking field, those who are still less qualified go in for philosophy, finally, only if they don’t get any admission elsewhere, they go in for Āyurveda. The image of Āyurveda is very bad. My friend, an Āyurveda physician, in spite of being very experienced, doesn’t own a house. Another person, a student of mine who became an allopathic doctor just five years back has a big house and a car as well.
However, in some parts like Sri Lanka and Kerala, Āyurveda is still popular and I am sure there are still some good people. Generally I am very much impressed by Āyurveda. If I have one more birth, I will also study Āyurveda, in a more serious way.
– TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.