|Skilled, dexterous and empowered by the
Divine for healing is our left hand, for it removes
blocks in the free flow of joy. And yet more potent is
this divinely empowered right hand, for it contains all
medicinal capacities of the universe, its all auspicious
healing touch bringing peace, harmony, welfare,
opulence, joy and liberation from all toxic conditions
of matter - birth, death, old age and disease." -Atharva
Within all of us is the arch type of the divine healer.
This divine healer is the true healer in all beings, not
any particular individual or special personality. To
heal ourselves or others we must set in motion within
ourselves. Dhanvatari, an incarnation of the God Vishnu,
the eminent divine consciousness represents this truth
in the tradition of Ayurveda. The god is a reminder that
how ever much we know or skilful we become, everything
still depends on the grace of the spiritual nature.
In Western medicine the person is viewed as an
amalgamation of cells and tissues forming organs.
However according to Ayurveda all objects in the
Universe including the human body are composed of five
basic elements (Pancha Mahabhuta’s) namely, earth,
water, fire, air and ether. There is a balanced
condensation of these elements in different proportions
to suit the needs and requirements of different
structures and functions of the body matrix and its
parts. The growth and development of the body matrix
depends on its nutrition, i.e. on food. The food, in
turn, is composed of the above five elements, which
replenish or nourish the like elements of the body after
the action of bio-fire (Agni).
The tissues of the body are the structural whereas
humours (Doshas) are physiological entities, derived
from different combinations and permutations of Pancha
Life in Ayurveda is conceived as the union of body,
senses, mind and soul. The living man is a
conglomeration of three humours (Vata, Pitta &Kapha),
seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi,
Majja & Shukra) and the waste products of the body such
as faeces, urine and sweat. Thus the total body matrix
comprises of the humours, the tissues and the waste
products of the body. The growth and decay of this body
matrix and its constituents revolve around food which
gets processed into humours, tissues and wastes.
Ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and
metabolism of food have an interplay in health and
disease which are significantly affected by
psychological mechanisms as well as by bio- fire(Agni).
The life has three basic characteristics. First, it
possesses the quality of performing self-activities and
movements without any external help. In the external
environment, Vayu Mahabhuta is responsible for providing
the required force for the various movements. But for
proper movements of Vayu, the uninterrupted space (Akasha)
is an essential requirement. Therefore both Vayu and
Akasha Mahabhuta are complementary to each other for the
movements. This may be one of the reasons that by
combining the Akasha and Vayu Mahabhuta, the concept of
Vata Dosha was evolved that is responsible for all the
movements in the body.
The second most important difference between the living
and nonliving is that the living beings have the power
to generate the energy by themselves for their
activities, while nonliving depends on the external
source of energy for their movements. For the purpose,
the required fuel is obtained from the food, which in
turn requires some processes to make it fit for as
simulation in the living body as well as to get energy
from it. For this purpose digestion and metabolism
processes are necessary. As process of transformation (Paka)
comes under the preview of Agni Mahabhuta, therefore the
concept of Pitta was evolved which comprises mainly of
Agni Mahabhuta. In this way Pitta is the second basic
unit of the living beings that is responsible for all
types of digestion & metabolism in body.
The next important requirement for the living beings is
to have a compact and viable structure, for which the
involvement of Prithvi Mahabhuta is necessary. Further,
for sustaining of the life, it is very essential that
the tissues and cells must remain immersed in the liquid
environment, so both liquid and solid are the essential
requirement for sustaining the life. Hence, by taking
this point in to consideration the ancient scholars of
Ayurveda evolved the concept of Kapha, which comprises
of both Jala and Prithvi Mahabhuta. Kapha is mainly
responsible for all the living structure of the body
with fluidly environment.
In this way from Ayurvedic point of view the three
primary units of life, which are Vata. Pitta and Kapha.
As all the functions attributed to Dosha are related
with the living cell. So they are present in every cell
of the body. However, depending upon the nature of
function of a particular group of cells or tissues, the
proportion of Dosha may differ. In some cells which are
attributed general functions, they may be present in
equal proportion. On the other hand where the group of
cells or tissue attributed some specialized functions
may have dominance of that Dosha which is closely
related with those functions and other Dosha least
related may be present in lesser proportion. For
instances the nervous tissues are more related with
movements, so it has the dominance of Vata but Pitta and
Kapha are also there may be in lesser proportion.
Similarly the organs related with digestion and
metabolism has dominance of Pitta with significant
presence of Vata and little of Kapha.
It is obvious from the foregoing that Ayurveda has the
unique doctrine of Tridosha. These basic units of the
living organism are responsible for the different
physiological and psychological functions. The Dosha in
turn depends purely upon the Pancha-Mahabhuta theory of
the Indian Philosophy. For instances Vata is derived
from Akasha and Vayu Mahabhuta, Pitta from Agni and Jala
and Kapha from Jala and Prithvi Mahabhuta. The proper
functioning and equilibrium of these three Dosha are
essential for health and any abnormality in their
function or disturbance may lead to disease.
Vata Dosha is derived from Akasha and Vayu Mahabhuta.
The main properties of Vata are dry, cold, light, subtle
moving, clear and rough. Its function can be understood
in the light of these properties. Vata initiates,
controls, regulates, coordinates and performs all types
of movement in the body. Free movement requires
uninterrupted space, which is provided by its
constituent of Akasha Mahabhuta and the force required
for movement is provided by its constituent of Vayu
Pitta, which is made up mainly of Agni Mahabhuta,
performs all the functions of digestion and metabolism.
Pitta has hot, sharp, liquid, sour, pungent, flowing and
unctuous properties. It is responsible for heat, vision,
appetite, thirst, softness, intelligence, power of
understanding and complexion.
Its main seats of actions are lower part of stomach,
small intestine, liver, spleen, blood, lymph, sweat,
skin and sense organs of vision. Its specific seat of
action is the small Intestine.
Kapha is derived from Jala and Prithvi Mahabhuta and its
main function is to unite. Its properties are heavy,
slow, smooth, white, thick, soft, unctuous, stable,
viscous and sweet.
Vata is the Leader
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are very important for the
function of living cell, but Vata is leader of the
remaining two. In Ayurveda Pitta and Kapha have been
said as lame as their activities are impossible without
the help of Vata. For instances, enzymes belonging to
Pitta are present in the body mainly in inert form and
cannot produce chemical reaction unless they are
secreted, activated and brought into contact and all
these functions are of Vata. The proper shape and
presence of minute pours in the cell are essential for
its survival. Similarly Kapha, which represent the
living-cell, its shape and channels are due to Vata. It
also governs division of a cell. The living cells
require material for the repair of wear and tear caused
by day-to-day strains and stresses. Vata is essential
for bringing the required materials at site of the cell
for this purpose.
After Dosha, the next most important constituent of the
body is Dhatu (tissue). It provides a solid and living
structure to the body and has the dual function of
maintaining as well nourishing the body. Seven Dhatu
present in the body are Rasa (lymph tissue), Rakta
(blood tissue), Mamsa (muscular tissue), Medas (fat
tissue), Asthi (bone tissue), Majja (bone marrow tissue)
and Shukra (reproductive tissue).
Rasa: During digestion, the ingested food is broken down
so that it may be assimilated. This nutrient portion in
the digestive system is known as Ahara Rasa (food
nutrient) but when absorbed into the body, it is
transformed into Rasa Dhatu. Rasa is absorbed from the
intestine by the action of Samana Vayu and then it
circulates all over the body by the action of Vyana Vayu.
One meaning of Rasa is moving which indicates its
continuous movement all over the body in order to
nourish tissues and organs. Its main function is to
provide nutrition for maintenance, development and
repair of bodily tissues. All the other tissues get
nutrition from Rasa. Its seat of function is all the
Dosha, Dhatu, Mala and organs situated all over the
Rakta (Blood): The red colored Rakta (blood) is formed
from Rasa by the action of Ranjaka Pitta. Blood is the
root cause of life which provides complexion and
nourishes Mamsa (muscular tissue).
Mamsa (Muscular Tissue): Mamsa provides strength to the
body and nourishes Medas Dhatu. It envelops the body to
protect the internal organs of the body.
Medas (Lipid Tissue): Medas provides unctuousness and
firmness to the body. Sweat is considered as its waste
product, Medas nourishes bone.
Asthi (Bone tissue): Asthi Dhatu supports the body,
keeps it upright, and nourishes Majja Dhatu.
Majja Dhatu (Bone marrow): Majja fills the bones. It
provides all types of strength and immunity to the body,
unctuousness and attraction. It nourishes Shukra Dhatu.
Shukra Dhatu (Reproductive tissue): The main function of
Shukra is reproduction. It also provides strength,
patience, attraction, sexual satisfaction, nourishment
The vital essence of all the Dhatus, which is known as
Ojas, is essential for the maintenance of life. All
living creatures are nourished by it and its absence
leads to the cessation of life. It is first to enter the
heart as it begins to develop in embryonic life. Its
main seat is the heart from where it is distributed all
over the body. Its color is said to be like that of ghee
(reddish yellow), its taste like that of honey and its
smell like that of roasted paddy (Laja).
As honey is collected by bees from various fruits and
flowers, so Ojas is also the nectar or essence and is
the end product of various physiological processes.
It is also known as Bala (strength) because it provides
strength to the body in terms of physical, mental,
immunological strength and resistance to disease.
Ojas is an important factor in providing stable and
well-developed musculature, with which one is able to
easily perform all types of actions. It influences voice
and complexion and aids in the proper functioning of the
senses, motor organs and mind.
Ojas is of two type’s i.e. Para (primary) and Apara
(secondary). Para-Ojas is situated in the heart where it
sustains life. On the other hand, Apara-Oja circulates
all over the body through the circulatory system. The
measure of Para-oja has been mentioned as eight drops
while Apara-oja is half an Anjali (equal to the quantity
hold in palm).
Mala (Waste Products)
During the process of digestion and metabolism certain
waste products known as Mala are formed in the body
which has to be excreted from the body, otherwise they
may vitiate the body tissue. Their proper regulation is
important in the maintenance of health, because their
retention or excessive elimination may lead to the
Agni means fire and it is responsible for all types of
digestion and metabolism in the body. Pitta performs its
digestion and metabolism functions due to the Agni
component present within it and due to which, Pitta and
Agni are sometimes considered one and the same.
Pachakagni, Bhutagni and Dhatvagni are the main types of
Agni. These have the functions of digestion, catabolism
and anabolism respectively.