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Kerala's Ayurveda Tradition

This segment of indiavideo's conversation series features Indudharan Menon, a scholar-in-residence at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore. For over three decades, Indudharan has been researching Ayurveda and folk healing traditions of Kerala. He has had the rare privilege of studying Ayurveda, Mantra Sastra and Jyothisha in the company of some of its last great practitioners.

Indudharan has a Masters in Philosophy from St. Stephen's College, Delhi. In 1976 he began studying Ayurveda and Mantra Sastra with Vaidyan Narayanan Nambi and Jyostisha with T.V.Shulapani Varier. He also studied the Darshanas and Yoga with the legendary polymath Poomully Neelakandan Namboodiri. Indudharan has done a detailed studied of Ashtanga Hrudayam under the guidance of Vaidyamadham Cheriya Narayanan Namboodiri and has also assisted him in editing and publishing a commentary on the Ashtanga Hrudayam. Indudharan has also spent a few years living in Varanasi, studying Ayurveda with Vaidya Harnarayan Chaturvedi and Kashmiri Shaiva Darshana with Mahamahopadhyaya Rameshvar Jha.

In this first segment, Indudharan talks about the astavaidyas, a tradition unique to Kerala Ayurveda. The Astavaidyas or Astanga Vaidyas were physicians who were proficient in all the eight branches of Ayurveda, namely kaya (general medicine), bala (paediatrics), graha (psychiatry), urdhvanga (head and neck), salya (general surgery), damstra (toxicology), jara (geriatrics), and vrsa (reproductive medicine).