Fundamentals Of Ayurveda

Three Primal Qualities

1. Tamas:

It signifies inertia, lack of momentum. It is comparable to brownian motion where partcles in solution move without direction hither and tither and gain no momentum. It is through this property, some of the matter exists in solid form. It also means darkness or delusion when used in context of mental function.

2. Rajas:

It is just opposite to Tamas. It is vigorous force with resultant momentum.

3. Sattva:

It is balancing quality of above two opposing forces.

It is characterized by subtlety and luminosity. It is cause of liquid state of cell membrane.

The Tanmatras

From various combinations of these three primal qualities comes Five Tanmatras. They represent subtle molecular mechanisms in the body. This Tanmatras form five Proto-Elements known as Panch Mahabhutas, Mind, and Five Organ Of Conation.

  • Shabda : Sound or Auditory sensation.
  • Sparsh : Tactile or Touch sensations.
  • Rupa : Visual sensation
  • Rasa : Taste sensation
  • Gandha : Olfactory function (Smell sensation) / Aroma

The Panch Mahabhutas (Five Proto-Elements)

  • Prithvi >> The earth. Its characteristic is Gandha (aroma)
  • Aap >> The water. Its characteristic is Taste or Rasa.
  • Tejas >> The solar power. Its characteristic is Vision.
  • Vayu >> The wind .Its characteristic is the Tactile sensation.
  • Akash >> The Shabda Tanmatras ( Sound Energy). It should not be compared to space as it is designated as dik. Neither should be considered as void as void can not create any sound.

Sattva predominates in formation of Akash. Sattva and Tamas forms water while Sattva and Rajas forms Tejas. Purely Rajas forms Vayu and Tamas as Prithvi.

  • Sattva >> Akash (Sound)
  • Sattva + Aap >> Aap (Water)
  • Sattva +Rajas >> Tej (Solar radiation)
  • Rajas >> Vayu (Air)
  • Tamas >> Prithvi (Earth)

Manas (Mind)

It is cause of cognition of objects through five Gyanendriya (organs of cognition). It is very subtle. Its objects are dhee (reception), dhriti (retention), smrithi (memory), chintan (thinking), buddhi ( judgment).

Tridoshas (Biochemistry Of Life)

Tridoshas are Vatta, Pitta, Kapha.

Panch Mahabhutas form chemistry of man as well as universe. Vayu and Akash combine to form Vata dosha. Tej and Aap combine to form Pitta dosha. Prithvi and Aap combine to form Kapha dosha.

  • Vayu + Akash >> Vata
  • Tej + Aap >> Pitta
  • Prithvi + Aap >> Kapha

Doshas are three pillars on which whole body relies.
They form basic bio-chemistry of our lives. Kapha represents the structural mechanisms and Pitta represents the functional and bio-conversional mechanisms. Vata represents the regulatory mechanisms that makes both Pitta and kapha work.

Normality of doshas balances physiology of body.
Doshas are affected by environment, work, stress, thoughts, age, lifestyle, food, etc. Once this doshas are vitiated they in turn vitiate dhatus and malas resulting in diseases. Every individual is born with particular type of dosha predominance which remains throughout his life. It forms his Prakriti. Prakriti is individuals natural constitution. i.e., genetic constitution.

Vata

It is principle and dynamic force. The word Vata is derived from the Sanskrit root va gati-gandhanayoh, meaning as controlling the motion and senses like aroma etc. Life without motion is death.

Vata is Rajasic, signifying a force with qualities of dynamism and propulsion. It is formed by combination of Akash (resonance factor) and Vayu (nitrogen + oxygen + other gases). It is responsible for conduction, regulation and propagation of energy. It integrates all vital structures and functions of body by its regulatory action of controlling kapha and Pitta.

Location of Vayu is Pakwashaya (large bowel) and Asthi dhatu (bone tissue). Kashyap Samhita additionally quotes the Majja (neural tissue and bone marrow).

During the process of digestion in Gastro-intestinal tract various gases are generated in large bowel. Pakwashay (large bowel) constitutes the main site of its genesis. In bone there are large numbers of spaces which are empty and are filled with air. Increase in Vayu is creditated with causation of osteoporosis. Pain at any site in body is because of vitiated Vayu. All bodily actions require neuronal activation. All body actions are credited to be the functions of Vayu. It is now proved that neuronal transmission requires the generation of NO (nitric oxide).

  • Prana vayu : Responsible for respiration
  • Udana vayu : Responsible for respiration, speech and control of all organs of sense. It maintains cohesive unity of whole body says Rishi Charak.
  • Samana vayu : Aids Pachak Pitta for all digestive process and causes absorption of digested food.
  • Vyana vayu : Causes circulation of all body fluids.
  • Apana vayu : It is responsible for excretion of wastes (malas), delivery of foetus.

Pitta

It is second main constituent of body, formed by combination of Tej and Aap Mahabhuta. The word Pitta is derived from verb root tapa-santape meaning the fire. Its main function is paka i.e, cooking or combustion, which is responsible for various bio-transformations in the body as described by Rishi Kanad in vaisheshika philosophy. Pitta is chiefly composed of Tej having quality of Sattva i.e., luminosity and subtlety and is derived from solar radiations.

It is great force of organization. The liquid crystal form of cell protoplasm is due to liquid property of Aap (water) and crystal like clarity of Tej Mahabhut which are constituents of Pitta.

Types of pita :

1) Pachak Pitta>>Causes cooking/combustion/digestion and assimilation of food. It divides digested food into sara (essence) and kitta (waste matter) with the help of Samana Vayu. The sara is absorbed as Anna rasa (chyle) which is further transformed into Rasa dhatu. Hydrochloric acid in Gastric juice and various hormones and enzymes in all the digestive juices secreted in different parts of Gastrointestinal tract comprise the actions of Pachak Pitta.
2) Ranjak Pitta>>It gives red colour to rakta. in other words; it means that Ranjak Pitta causes haemoglobinisation of erythrocytes.
3) Sadhak Pitta>>It is located in Hridaya (heart and brain).Its function are shourya (valour), bhaya (fear), krodha (anger), harsh (joy), moha (delusion).This are basic behavioural instincts of a man controlled by hippocampus and amygdalar region in brain. It is also responsible for medha (memory), buddhi (intelligence), abhiman (self esteem).They all are functions of higher brain.
4) Alochak Pitta>>It is buddhi visheshak (a requisite quality for intelligence).Its function is vision.
5) Brajak Pitta>>It is characteristic of colour, complexion, radiance and luster of skin.

Kapha

It is third primal constituent of body comprising of Aap and Prithvi (water and carbon in excited state).It is also known as Sleshma. Sleshma is derived from the sanskrit root slisha alingane which means cohesion or joining. Its qulality is Tamas, which means inertia or brownian motion wherein particals can not move far.Hence Prithvi and Aap cause the solid and liquid forms.

It represents cyto-skeleton of the cell, lipoid and protein organization of the cell wall and protoplasm, ground substance and connective tissue etc. Cell wall is made of lipoproteins. The tissue proteins are made of structural proteins.

Types of Kapha:

1) Kledak Kapha>>Produced during the process of digestion of food.
2) Avalambak Kapha>>It supports trika sandhis (joints) at neck, shoulder, sacro-iliac and hip joints. It is responsible for nourishing heart with rasa dhatu.
3) Bodhak Kapha>>It is responsible for salivary secretions and appreciation of various types of tastes.
4) Sleshak Kapha>>It lubricates and nourishes all the joints.
5) Tarpak Kapha>>It nourishes brain and all the organs of cognition.

Saptadhatus (Seven Prime Tissue Of Body)

Charak has described, that the Human body is made-up of infinite numbers of microscopic and sub-atomic sized (Paramanu) units. These units (cells) form seven important tissue elements that make the whole structure of living body. The function of the dhatu is to support (deha-dharanat) and nourish (poshanat) the body. Thus dhatus not only form the structure of the body, but also supports all the functions in body. They are seven in number. Each dhatu has its own Agni known as Dhatwagnis.

The food ingested is digested by the Jatharagni (fire in stomach). Jatharagni is the chief metabolic fire of the body, which is reffered to in Upnishadas as garhyapatya vahni which keeps constantly burning. All the other types of Agnis (thirteen ) depend upon it. Jatharagni is located in Gastrointestinal tract.

Dhatuagnis help in converting the atoms in to molecules to form the tissues or dhatus, thus form the basic molecular biochemistry of body. In other words this metabolic fire through the process of combustion break the atomic bonds in food and release the energy necessary for forming the substrate for development of different tissues. These tissues are constantly formed in order to replace the dead and degenerating ones. Therefore dhatus are found in two states. First variety is known as Poshak that which nourishes the dhatu to help its formation and second is Poshya which maintains and sustains the body after being formed. Dhatwagnis causes conversion of dhatus from one another. Thus all the dhatus are maintained in the state of dynamic equilibrium in health.

Formation of Seven dhatus

Ojas

Ojas is not described as dhatu because it does not nourish or support any tissue of the body. At the same time, it permeates all over the body and helps in preserving the vitality of whole body system. Hence it is classified as Updhatu of shukra. It is described as uttama (the best), and the very seat of life (Pranayatan). Loss of it can cause death. Its deficiency leads to wasting and ageing of the body. Ojas is described to be specially deficient in patients suffering from Madhumeha (Diabetes Mellitus)

Characteristics of ojas

  • Somatmak (watery)
  • Snigdha (viscous)
  • Shukla (white)
  • Sheet (cold)
  • Sthira (stable)
  • Sara (flowing)
  • Vivikta (well selected)
  • Mridu (soft)
  • Mritsna (slimy)
  • Bala (strength)

Types of ojas

  • Para Ojas
  • Apara Ojas
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