AYURVEDA – INTRODUCTION –

.AYURVEDA is the compilation of “the practices of science of life”, as mentioned in the various texts like CHARAKA SAMHITAA, SUSHRUTA SAMHITAA and others.

Definition of AYURVEDA and Health –

Maharishi CHARAKA says,
हिताहितम सुखम दुखम आयु तस्य हिताहितम
मानम च तत च यत्रोक्तम आयुर्वेदः स उच्यते – चरक सूत्र स्थान १/४१
“Ayurveda” is the science of life which distinctly explains the merits and demerits, state of happiness or otherwise good or bad for life and the life itself within their parameters.
शरीइन्द्रिय सत्वात्म सन्योगो धारि जीवितम
नित्यग्श्च अनुबन्धश्च पर्यायैः आयु उच्यते – चरक सूत्र १/४२
The complete integrated relation of body, sense organs, mind and the soul is referred to as ‘Ayu’.
“DHAARI” is that which prevents the body from decay.
‘JEEVITA’ is that which keeps one alive.
‘NITYAGA’ is that which serves as a substratum (base) for the body
‘ANUBANDHA’ is that which keeps intact or that which transmigrates from one body to another.

“That science is designated as AYURVEDA where advantageous and disadvantageous, as well as happy and unhappy states of life along with what is good and what is bad for life, is measured and life itself are described.”
As translated by Dr.Bhagwan Dash from the above description, it is concluded that the Ayurveda is the science of life, about the ways to live a better and healthy life.
So, THE AYURVEDA SAYS about
– Your natural body constitution.
– Your state of the mind.
– The food habits for your particular type.
– The bad food habits, which you must avoid to have a healthy long life.
– The disorders and diseases you may acquire during day-to-day life.
– The methods to prevent and treat the disease, you get by your wrong life style.
– The daily and seasonal practices in your routine life to be always in a healthy state.
– Behavioural and mental do’s and do not’ s which definitely have their influence on the body.

OBJECTIVE OF AYURVEDIC SCIENCE –

धर्मार्थ काममोक्षाणाम, आरोग्यम मूलम उत्तमम – चरक सन्हिता सूत्र स्थान १/१५
The purpose of AYURVEDA is to procure a good health to accomplish (purposeful) constituted duty (various deeds which we get in the life), acquisition of wealth, contentment of desires, and salvation.
So, these four factors constitute the objective of the ‘Purusha’
The first aim of this science is the preservation of the health of a healthy person, as well as, the second aim is the pacification of the disease of the ailing person.

WHO IS A HEALTHY PERSON?

Earlier it was considered that a person who does not have any disease is a healthy person. So what may happen, if a person is full of anger & jealousy but is having no physical ailment was considered healthy but AYURVEDA says it is entirely wrong.
A person to be in a healthy state must be physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. As stated in SUSHRUTA SAMHITAA, SUTRASTHAANA.

समदोषः समग्निश्च सम धातु मल क्रिया
प्रसन्न आत्म इन्द्रियम मनाः स्वस्थ इति अभि धीयते – सुश्रुत सम्हिता १५/४८
Ayurveda had revealed the definition of health, SWAASTHYA, a long back.
“Health is the state of equilibrium’ of ‘DOSHAS’, normal functioning of ‘DHATUS’ and ‘MALAS’ along with the well-being of mind and unimpaired (tranquil) senses and cheerful soul.

On the contrary ‘ROGA’ or disease is the state of destroyed health and the destroyer of life.
There are two types of substances – animate (living) and non-animate (nonliving). The matter (substance) with sense organs is CHETAN OR ‘sentient’ and that devoid of senses is ACHETANA OR ‘insentient’. The matter is constituted by five basic elements – PRITHVI-APA-TEJAS-VAAYU-AAKAASHA, and mind, time and the direction in space along with soul.
The whole world is sustained by the co-ordination of mind, soul and body constituting a substratum for everything.

AYURVEDIC CONCEPTS (WORKING PRINCIPALS OF AYURVEDA) –

1. DOSHAS—
All functions of the body at the physical level are done by three mass-energy variables called DOSHAS. There are VAATA, PITTA & KAPHA. These DOSHAS are defined as mass-energy variables because there are different groups of substance and energies, which may or may not be inter-convertibles at various times and these perform various bodily functions of similar nature. These entities called DOSHAS when function in the body in normal physiological limits they help in the DHAARANA or sustenance of the life and perform physiological functions but when they are disturbed or out of proportion than normal they may develop the capacity to generate the disorder or disease i.e. then they become pathological.
There is one more type of DOSHAS called RAJA & TAMA called MAANSIKA DOSHA which work in association with the first three DOSHAS.

विकृताविकृता देहम घनन्ति ते वर्तयन्ति च – अष्टान्गहृद्य सूत्रस्थान 1/7
VIKRITAAVIKRITAA DEHAM GHANANTITEVARTAYANTICHA—-ASHTAANGA HRIDYA SUTRA STHAANA 1#7
VIKRITA – deviated from the natural position, in place or amount
AVIKRITAA – in normal physiological conditions
GHANANTI – destroys, vanishes or destruction of the body (life)
VARTYANTI – supports and maintains the body (life)

2. DHATUS—
It is said in the AYURVEDIC texts, “DEH DHAARANAATA DHAATAVAH | “DHAATU” is that which composes the body and supports.
The human body is made up of DOSHAS, DHATUS AND MALAS. ‘DHATUS’ constitute major physical component of the body. E.g. Cells, tissues organs, sheaths, bones, membranes, fats, skin and so on. It gives a definite shape to the body. The characteristic feature that DHAATUS exhibit are –
1) SANSTHAANA KRITVAMA
2) SATATA PARINAAMA SHEELATWAMA
3) SWASROTONO CHRATWAMA REF; CHARAK SAMHITAA VIMAAN STHAANA 5/3
-The first feature, determines the shape of the body.
-The second – DHAATUS undergo continuous transformation (wear and tear) during their functions.
-The third refers to the specific behavior of DHAATU PARMAANU to enter or exit only through their channels. This signifies the selective permeability, which tends to synthesize or analyze that particular DHAATU-system.
DHAATUS may be in normal form or impure form. The normal form of DHAATUS affords to growth, but on the contrary, if impure forms are retained it behaves like toxins that irritate and damage the system.
There are seven DHAATUS, enumerated as follows –
1. RASA – Plasma and lymph and intra and extra cellular fluids (mainly)
2. RAKTA – various types of Blood cells
3. MAANSA – Muscular tissue
4. MEDA – Adipose tissue (fat)
5. ASTHI– Osseous tissue
6. MAJJAA – Bone marrow and nervous tissue
7. SHUKRA – reproductive tissues

3. MALA —

The major excreta of the body are stools (feces), urine and sweat. All the materials or products in the body which need to be evacuated from the body come in the category of MALA. That which contaminates the body with its presence is called “MALA” (excreta, waste) and hence has to, be eliminated. If it is retained, it causes irritation, contamination and vitiation of DOSHAS AND DHAATUS. The body naturally excretes these MALAS to maintain the balance.
The body is formed by DOSHA, DHAATU AND MALA simultaneously. The major are stools, urine and sweat. The minor excreta are metabolic by-products which are outcome of DHAATWAGNI VYAPAARA (metabolic reactions at various levels) in their channels and are noted to be mucous (mucus), bile (which contain bilirubin and biliverdin secretions, nails skin, hairs (body hairs), the secretions that moist and unct the eyes, the unctuousness which keep the skin and stools moist.

4. AGNI—
Agni is the digestive capacity. It is one of the PANCHAMAHAABHOOTA (ONE OF THE BASIC ELEMENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FORMATION OF BODY TISSUES)), whose functions are similar to the AGNI MAHAABHOOTA (RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FORMATION OF MATTER) in the Universe. It is the factor responsible for any change in PADAARTHA (matter).

PAACHANA (digestion) is the most important activity carried out by the AGNI.
It is AGNI (INCLUDES PROCESSES OF DIGESTION IN GIT, LIVER AND PROCESSES OF METABOLISM IN CELLS), which turns the qualities of food into the qualities of DHAATU (TISSUES OF THE BODY) in the human body. Therefore to maintain balance of DHAATU functioning of AGNI should be proper.
If this transformation of food attributes into the bodily attributes hampers or loses its balance, then it causes imbalance in the formation of DHAATU. This is an unwanted effect. This is called a case of hampered or vitiation of AGNI (digestion capacity).
AGNI, which is responsible for transformation of food, is called JAATHARAGNI. So whenever the term AGNI is used it indicates JAATHARAAGNI and not DHAATVAGNI (AGNI at the level of DHAATU).