Indian religion and the Ayurvedic tradition

Prakash N. Desai

in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571390
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665037 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbook in Public Health

Indian religion and the Ayurvedic tradition

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Palliative Medicine


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The Hindu tradition is a constantly changing, adapting and, innovative tradition. In India itself with geographic dispersal and the passage of time, interpenetration of the great Sanskritic tradition, and the little local indigenous traditions, as well as new influences from the outside of the tradition has made a variety of local adaptations, variations, and amalgamations. However there are enduring principles and threads that give continuity and cohesion to the Hindu tradition. Some of the principles are the primacy of order and hierarchy, of connectivity and relationships, inputs and outputs for example of diet, thought, and action, and fluidity and boundaries in interpersonal relationships. With its own distinct medical tradition, India had an evolved system of diagnoses and therapeutics but has conveniently added and combined with both Unani as well as the modern Western (allopathic tradition). However medical ethics has largely remained intact from the original as well as the tradition informed help seeking behaviours, practices, and doctor-patient relationships. Indian immigrants to the West and elsewhere have been able, on the strength of the tradition to preserve and adapt, and successfully meet new challenges.

Chapter.  6375 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Palliative Medicine

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