Ayurveda & Maharishi Ayurveda

By Dr. Robert Keith Wallace

The term Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words, ayus, meaning “life” or “lifespan,” and Veda, meaning “knowledge” or “science.” Ayurveda may be translated as “the science of life” or, more specifically, “the science of lifespan.” Ayurveda includes knowledge about every aspect of life and health. However, particularly due to India’s history of political turbulence, over hundreds of years, this knowledge became fragmented; much of it was forgotten, and the rest was known to just a few experts.


In the 1980s, the complete and holistic value of Ayurveda was brought to light by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from the Vedic literature as part of his revitalization of the ancient Vedic wisdom. One of his first contributions to Ayurveda was the restoration of mental techniques, such as the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program, to unfold the full potential of the physiology of consciousness. Originally these were an integral part of Ayurveda, but they had become de-emphasized or abandoned. Maharishi’s next step was to work with the leading remaining experts of traditional Ayurveda to restore the completeness of this knowledge.


Once this complete and authentic system, known as Maharishi Ayurveda, had been formulated, lectures and symposia were held at leading research institutes and universities around the world to encourage scientific research on all the various therapeutic strategies of Maharishi Ayurveda. In the United States, experts in Maharishi Ayurveda spoke to such prominent forums as the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Yale Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Everywhere, they were received with great interest, and many studies have since been undertaken to investigate the programs of Maharishi Ayurveda.


Today, few people think of India as a source for new knowledge about health. There is no question that India has severe health problems. More than any other country, it needs a prevention-oriented approach, starting with the teaching of basic personal hygiene in the villages and extending to introduction of the complete approaches of Maharishi Ayurveda to help prevent the alarming rate of new incidence of disease, especially in urban areas.


To overcome our prejudices, we must understand that just because Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi’s Vedic Science come from India, that doesn’t make their application specific to that culture. The fact that Einstein, a German Jew, arrived at his famous theory of relativity while working at a patent office in Switzerland doesn’t make his theory Swiss, German, or Jewish. In our age of science we are able to perceive principles of nature that transcend cultural boundaries and traditions. The Vedic paradigm is derived from universal principles of nature governing the dynamics of consciousness. The technologies of the Vedic paradigm, including the TM technique, reveal to us the inherent ability of our nervous system to experience those dynamics of consciousness and unfold our full mental and physical potential.


The entire world is in great need of a new medicine, one which encompasses both the modem technology of our age and the ancient understanding and technologies of the Vedic paradigm. Only by shifting our attention away from a totally disease-oriented approach and by recognizing the need for a preventive approach with a profound basis in knowledge and effective practices, will we be able to curb increasing health care costs. Only by better understanding the fundamental principles that govern our physiology of consciousness, as well as our physiology of matter, will we be able to eliminate today’s major killer-diseases and promote an ideal state of health for every person in the world.


Excerpts from Physiology of Consciousness by Robert Keith Wallace, MUM Press, 1993 recently updated