AyurVeda or Yoga Spiritual?
Ayurveda is the oldest documented and complete medical system on the planet. And Charaka Saṃhitā is the foundation text of Ayurveda, written in 300BCE (oral version is much older). It consists of eight sections and one hundred twenty chapters. The three main Ayurvedic texts of Charak, Sushrut, and Vagbhata describe theories on human constitution, physiology, etiology, symptomology and therapeutics
(herbalism, manual therapies, counseling, bone setting, surgery, and diet & lifestyle modifications) for a wide range of physical, psychosomatic and mental disorders, including prevention of illness, and longevity support (kayakalpa – an unique feature of Ayurveda. Here is my podcast on Ayurveda kayakalpa: http://tiny.cc/kayakalpa)
Classical Ayurveda does not provide any prescription of spiritual practice or kiryas or processes to attain nirvana or moksha or spiritual enlightenment of any kind. Yes, it does imply presence of spirit or neuminal essence in all beings (not just humans) however it does not provide any remedy or prescription to enhance it or change its state. And to be fair, Chinese Medicine and Osteopathy also imply presence of such spirit, however we don’t consider acupuncture or osteopathic or chiropractic (derivative of Osteopathy) manipulation as spiritual prescription or path to enlightenment or samadhi.
It does not provide any prescription of spiritual practice or kiryas or processes to attain nirvana or moksha or spiritual enlightenment of any kind. Yes, it does imply presence of spirit or neuminal aspect in all beings (not just humans) however it does not provide any remedy or prescription to enhance it or change its state. And to be fair, Chinese Medicine and Osteopathy also imply presence of such spirit, however we don’t consider acupuncture or osteopathic or chiropractic (derivative of Osteopathy) manipulation as spiritual prescription or path to enlightenment or samadhi.
In fact, the great teachers of Ayurveda, i.e., Charaka, Sushruta, Bhella, Jivaka, Vagbhata, Bhavamishra, were not considered spiritual teachers and they all followed different spiritual paths. If Ayurveda was a spiritual path or practice then they would all be following one tradition or path.
Classical yoga of any kind (i.e., Hatha, Kriya, Raja, Bhakti, Shabad, Ati.Yoga, Anuttarayoga, …) is about spirituality and enlightenment. And when I say yoga, I don’t mean just the asana or posture practice which may or may not be consided spiritual depending on how you do and who you ask. Classical yoga as a complete path described in classical text such as Patanjali’s yoga-sutra, Svātmārāma’s HathaYoga Pradipika, or Adigranth of Sikh Mystics, Atiyoga of Vimalamitra, or Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda or Kriya Yoga texts by Yogananda, etc. And the great spiritual teachers i.e. Patanjali, Gorkshnatha, Vivekananda, Yogananda, Vimlamitra, Guru Nanak, were not considered medical or Ayurvedic doctors.
All of classical yoga texts and paths are filled with prescriptions of processes to enhance or change one’s spiritual aspect and attain samadhi, nirvana or enlightenment. And in general they don’t provide any significant medical theories or prescription for somatic or psychosomatic health and wellness. They expect you to be in best of your physical and mental health to pursue the inner journey.
Ayurveda acknowledge our need to explore spirituality but in our own way, and that the exploration of spirituality is outside the scope of classical medicine. Unless one think that being healthy and living fully is same as being spiritually enlightened.
I worry about people who venture into Ayurveda for some kind of spiritual enlightenment or uplifting or who invite others for doing the same. Because when they don’t find the spiritual uplifting then they try to change medicine into some sort of dogmatic religion or worse make it appear like one or completely deny the medicine altogether.
It is like people who run away from home thinking that their own internal issues will be left behind at the home and new life somewhere else will be more fulfilling, only to find the same internal issues haunting them elsewhere but now they don’t have home to blame for or get support from.
If you want to explore Indian spirituality then explore the paths laid down in classics text of Yoga, Buddhism, Upanishads, Trika, Shakti, etc.