World health organization (WHO) defines health as “ a state of physical mental and social well being, not merely an absence of disease and affirmity”. Further this organization in its derive for “Health for All” proposes to spread health services that are “relevant, effective, acceptable and affordable in terms of needs culture resources of each community of the world.
Ayurveda the science of life India's native wisdom in health and medicine since its inception thousands years ago gave mind and soul concept of health. And Ayurveda scholar 'Charak' defined health as an equiposed state of body, mind sense organs and soul.
In classical text book of Ayurveda “Charak Samhita” before describing treatment of various diseases, detailed description of body, what is state of health, what is illness, why body becomes diseased? How to prevent diseases and cure them has been made.
Anatomy or structure of the body has been described as consisting of three planes vis Physical plane, Mental level and Spiritual level. Each of these levels have its own importance and role for providing total or holistic health.
Ayurvedic classical texts not only describe how to have disease free life, but surprisingly also give detailed description of purpose of life.
And salvation has been very frankly explained as purpose of life. If we trace history of Ayurveda to know why Ayurveda was invented we notice an interested reference in a classical Ayurvedic text "Charak Samhita" that on this earth planet in the ancient days because of people deviating from natural way life style diseases erupted, and hurdled man's achievement of ultimate goal of life that is salvation.
To find a solution for this problem few scholars assembled somewhere in the Himalaya's and conducted a workshop to find out remedies to cure diseases which were hurdling achievement of salvation. As s solution to this problem “Ayurveda” the life science in very compact form termed as TRI-SUTRA was invented. Where TRI stands for Three and Sutra literally means thread ultimately means basic or fundamental. Another meaning of sutra is formula. These three basics(TRI-SUTRA) of Ayurveda were (i) HETU (2) LING (3) AUSHADH where Hetu means causes, Ling means sign and symptoms of disease and Aushadh means medicine for the disease.
Three planes Body, Mind and Soul are well knit with each other and it is the soul which provides life to physical body and mind, the seat of cosmic intelligence.
It needs to be well understood that cosmic intelligence is present in every non living substance also. It is because of non living intelligence that millions and billions of planetary bodies are moving in space in a rhythm and harmony, not colliding with each other and as per noble laureate Sir Isac Newton they are attracting each other with a force which is directly proportional to the product of mass of them and inversely proportional to the distance between them and this force is responsible for any movement in universe. In physics this non living intelligence has been said to be responsible for chemical reaction and presence of specific number of electrons or protons in an atom of every element of the universe. In Ayurvedic text Charak Samhita this force is termed as BAHIRVATA.
Among three planes Physical plane in Ayurveda is considered as made up of five basic elements namely Aakash (space element) Vayu (Air element) Agni (fire element) Jal (water element) Prithavi (earth element).
These five basic elements MUST NOT BE CONFUSED with blue Sky, wind which flows, fire which burns, water which we drink and earth on which we live. These are truly different from what we presume or think in simplest way.
AAKASH(space)- It has no physical existence, it is space and as a distance it separates matter, everything manifests itself in it. It is a field, also termed as ether.
VAYU(air)- It is existence without form, its attribute is mobility. It provides kinetic energy it may be considered as gaseous state of matter.
AGNI (fire)- it is form without substance. Its basic attribute is conversion from one form to the other like conversion of solid to liquid and liquid state of matter to gaseous state. With in the living body (digestive fire) it converts food (non living) into body tissues (living). And is responsible for changing chemical reaction into biochemical reaction.
WATER(Jal) - It is a substance without stability (flux). It helps binding one substance with other upto liquid state of matter.
PRITHVI (earth)- It is solid or stable state of substance which provides rigidity fixibility and stability.
Further physical body is considered as healthy if its constituents “DOSHA, DHATU, AGNI AND MALA are in a state of order or equilibrium. Each of these are briefly explained as follows:
DOSHA'S - Are three in number vis (i) VATA (ii) PITA (iii) KAPHA and further structure of each of them is tabled below:
Balance state of these three doshas provide health and increased or decreased state or imbalance state causes illness in individuals. Cause of their imbalance is mostly unnatural food habits and life style. This imbalance or a state of illness is best treated through correcting food habits, life style and administration of Ayurvedic medicines.
DHATU The structure or components of which body anatomy is made up of are called Dhatus. For a healthy body they also needs to be in a state of order or if they go out of order body becomes diseased.
AGANI Like Dosha and Dhatu Agni is a very important constituent of body which has a vital role to play. It is comparable to metabolic functions in the body and Ayurvedic texts describe them of many forms, one of the important of them is called JATHARAGNI means Digestive Fire. Its function is to convert food which is non living when we consume it into ultimately living form with the help of other types of Agni's, for its easy assimilation with each and every cell of the body. This food after assimilation as a part of heart muscle pumps, as a part of eye cells it looks, as a lungs tissue it respirates, as a part of kidney it filters, as a part of liver it detoxes, as a part of brain it thinks etc. Agni needs to be kept in order through natural life style and food. And unnatural life style and foods adversely effect this body's vital fore of conversion (Agni) and produces diseased heart, lungs, liver, kidney etc.
MAL are the wasteful bioproducts in the body after converting food into assimilable form. Their excretion from the body through excretory system is very important for keeping our body healthy.
Within the physical body is a seat of perception of all the objects called 'Mana' or mind. When a person is born mind has genetically by default some of the basic instincts (love, hatred, anger, peace etc.) Mind comes in contact with physical objects through five senses or organs vis. eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin, these have different functions to perform. Eyes see, ears listen, nose smells, tongue tastes and skin feel touch. When sense organs come in contact with their objects they transmit their contact to mind stuff. Feelings or experiences of those contacts are stored in the mind in the form of memories, happiness, sorrows, love, hatered, fear, fearlessness, jealousy, greed, confusion, clarity, aggressiveness, tolerance, kindness, unkindness, possessiveness, contentment, forgiveness, enmity etc. as basic instincts of mind. Countless number of nerves take messages from body sense organs, tissues, other organs and from environment to the mind (brain). Impulses from the brain are also transmitted to different body parts and environment also through thousands of nerves. All this create a communication system. Sense organs are different from Prana or life force, later is active even when one is in a state of sleep but sense organs and their center of perception in brain is not functioning during sleep.
Ayurveda the vedic life science attaches great importance to brain for physical body getting diseased or remaining healthy i.e. free from diseases. For a body to fall ill unnatural or imbalanced contact of sense organs with their objects is considered as one of the main cause of illness. This unnatural, imbalanced contact create an adverse impact on center of intellect which in turn gets dysfunctional or malfunctional which further effects each and every cell, tissue, organ and system causing their dysfunction. This dysfuntional or abnormal functioning of any part of the system is in fact a disease of any organ (heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, thyroid, kidneys, intestine, joints etc. In Sanskrit language all explained above is called Asatm (unnatural) Indriya (sense organs) Aarth (objects) Sanyog (contact). For almost every disease of the body it is considered as major cause.
For a person to have a disease free healthy body, minds healthy functioning is an essential factor. These days even modern medical science also considers almost every disease related to mental stress.
Another Sanskrit term considered responsible for causation of most of the disease is PRAGYA APRADH where PRAGYA means Intellect and APRADH means Crime or wrong doing. Hence misuse of our cognitive and conative faculties in Ayurveda is considered as the root cause of all illnesses. Therefore Ayurvedic mantra for disease free body is to have serenity, tranquility and stress free state of mind which needs to be achieved through intellectual wisdom.
Ayurveda text books before describing diseases and their treatments put emphasis on moral conduct and natural life style for healthy body.
Interestingly nowhere in Ayurvedic texts very strict or fanatic level of control of mind is described, but a BALANCED state of mind is aimed to be achieved for a perfect health.
Ayurveda while describing holistic state of health of an individual states that not only the physical body and mind needs to be in a state of equilibrium, ease or happiness but spiritual happiness is also most important factor for perfect health. To understand it we need to understand Atma (Soul). In human beings it exists as Jivatma or human soul. This individual soul is attached to mundane body and is victim of sorrows, happiness, pain & pleasure, hunger, thirst, attachments etc.
Because of cosmic illusion or Maya this individual soul in bondage with mind (Man) does good or bad activities (karma's) and then to settle down karma's account gets entangled into cycle of birth and death of illusionary or sensual world. It is because of this soul that during sleep when one dreams one tastes food, smells flowers feel touch etc. This individual soul is a part of supreme soul or 'Paramatman' and is comparable to reflection of sun or moon in hundreds of mirrors on earth.
Ayurveda considers good health as a tool towards ultimate achievement of purpose of life i.e. salvation (Moksh), or yoking oneself with supreme self through YOGA which is defined as “Yoga chit vriti nirodha”, means Yoga is taming (nirodha) of instincts (vritis) of mind (chit). The same has been explained in Ayurveda while holding Mind and sensual unbalanced state as root cause of diseased state of body.
After balancing mind one can start further steps towards achieving salvation through Samadhi, remaining in that state and experiencing bliss or Ananda.
This holistic Ayurvedic approach is a unique and different than western of analytical and mechanical approach for a good health. Plato the great philosopher has also said “No attempt should be made to cure the body without treating the soul”.
So following this Ayurvedic approach of holistic health patients should also adopt a good moral conduct in order to have a Satvic (pure) mind and should persue for ultimate goal of life i.e. Salvation always considering that Parmatma (God) existing in Macrocosm (universe) is present as (Jivatma) in him (microcosm).
Dr. Raj Kumar Sharma
Principal, Dayanand Ayurvedic College,
Mahatma Hans Raj Marg, Jalandhar-8 (Pb.)
+91 9814204443, firstname.lastname@example.org