Definition of Health
AYURVEDA’S DEFINITION OF HEALTH“sama dosha sama agnischa sama dhatu mala kriyaaha| Prasanna atma indriya manaha swastha iti abhidheeyate” – Sushruta SamhitaMeaning: One is in perfect health when the Three doshas ( vata, pitta and Kapha) Digestive fire ( digestion, assimilation and metabolism) all the body tissues & components (Dhatus) (the entire physical body) all the excretory functions (the physiological functions of urination and defecation) are in perfect order with a pleasantly disposed and contented mind, senses and spirit. Explanation: Three Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three functionalities, which govern all the physiological, psychological and spiritual aspects of one’s life. They each have five subdivisions, delicately intertwined. Ayurveda describes in great detail as to how they function and how to keep them in balance and also how to bring them into balance when they are out of balance.Digestive fire: This is called Agni. Agni can be equated to the word metabolism. This includes the digestion, absorption, assimilation. Conversion of the assimilated food into various Dhatus, such as Plasma, blood, muscle, bone, fat, seminal fluid in men and Artava in women (There is no equivalent term in English for Artava) and finally Ojas or the vital force of the body. In medical term this could be the final responsible tissue for the secretion of Serotonin and Dopamine. Excretory functions: Ayurveda puts great emphasis for the excretory functions to be in perfect order to be in perfect health. This would prevent diseases. Keeps one in good health, spirit and gives long life. Ayurveda elaborately describes how one should maintain one’s lifestyle.Pleasantly disposed contented spirit, senses and mind: Ayurveda’s definition of health is all encompassing. Social well being can only be possible when all these criteria are met.Concept of Disease according to AyurvedaAyurveda has a very profound insight in understanding the disease and its time of manifestation and the various approaches to treat the diseases.This particular verse from the classical Ayurveda text beautifully describes it.“Janmaantara kritam paapam vyaadhi roopena bhaadate. Tat shantihi aushadhaihi, daanaihi, japa homa suaarchanaihi.” All diseases are rooted in the mind before manifesting. (mind has a longer shelf life than the physical body. The imprints of the mind gets carried forward to the next body. This is known as repeated births. According to Ayurveda the seeds of diseases are carried in the mind and they manifest at appropriate times during one’s life. According to Vedic astrology, which is also in line with Ayurvedic principles, Planetary forces govern the expressions of these imprints (KARMA) in the mind. This is where Ayurveda and Vedic astrology come together as interconnected Vedic sciences. A Vaidya in real sense must have the knowledge of both Ayurveda and AstrologyWhen such a disease is manifested, it should be treated with:
- Aushada – Medicine.
- Daana – Giving donations and doing charitable acts.
- Japa – repeating a particular mantra in a prescribed manner.
- Homa – offering of various herbs and dishes to the fire, chanting mantras with a particular intent, either to a deity or a planet.
- Suraarchana – Special prayers to specific deity.