Mystery and Excellence on The Human Body - Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health


Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Definition of health and disease

विकारो धातुवैषम्यं साम्यं प्रकृतिरुच्यते ।
सुखसंज्ञकमारोग्यं विकारो दुःखमेव च । ।

Dhatus consist of vata, pitta and kapha; rasa, rakta, mamsa, medas,  asthi, majja and sukra; and upadhatus like rajas, etc. Any deficiency or  excess in the normal quantity of the dhatus causes vikara or disease.  Equilibrium of these dhatus, on the other hand, isprakrti, that is health.

Absolute equilibrium of the dhatus, in fact, is not possible. For  example, kapha invariably gets vitiated in the first part of the day and  night, immediately after taking food and during childhood. In the similar other circumstances, pitta and vata also invariably remain vitiated.  To this extent, an absolute equilibrium of the dhatus is never possible.  So arogya, that is health, can be defined as happiness. Happiness again  is a relative term to be construed depending upon the conditions varying from individual to individual. For, no worldly happiness can ever  be called happiness in absolute terms. All the worldly conditions are  tinged with an element of misery, a slight disturbance in the equilibrium of dhatus does not cause any distinct uneasiness in the body and as  such it can be called a state of happiness or so. In other words, equilibrium of dhatus even includes such conditions where there is only a  slight deviation from normalcy. To sum up: health is a state of happiness or pleasure; vikara or disease, on the other, hand, is the cause of  misery or pain. Misery itself is not the disease. If it were so, jvara  (fever), etc. which are only the causative factors of misery would not  be regarded as diseases.

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Definition of therapeutics

चतुर्णा भिषगादीनां शस्तानां धातुवैकृते ।
पवृत्तिर्धातुसाम्यार्था चिकित्सेत्यभिधीयते ।

The entire effort of the four, viz., physician, medicament, attendant  and patient, possessing requisite qualities, for the revival of the equilibrium of dhatus in the event of their equilibrium' being disturbed, is known as therapeutics.

Effort of a physician includes his judgement about his duties and  otherwise; that of the medicament includes therapeutic action when  administered; an attendant's action includes preparation of medicaments and nursing; the effort of the patient lies in following the instructions of the physician and in giving the correct history of his disease.

Qualities of Physician

श्रुते पर्यवदातत्वं बहुशो दृष्टकर्मता ।
दाक्ष्यं शौचमिति ज्ञेयं वैद्ये गुणचतुष्टयम् ।।

Excellence in medical knowledge, an extensive practical experience, dexterity and purity — these  are the four qualities of a physician.

Excellence in knowledge can  be had by attending on preceptors  and studying scriptures. Purity in  a physician helps the patient by  dint of its spiritual force. Reputation as infallible in prescribing  medicines is also one of the qualities of a physician which is  included in the four qualities mentioned above.

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Examination of disease

कार्ययोनिर्धातुवैषम्यं तस्य लक्षणं विकारागमः ।
परीक्षा त्वस्य विकारपकृतेश्चैवोनातिरिक्तलिङ्गविशेषावेक्षणं
विकारस्य च साध्यासाध्यमृदुदारुणलिङ्गविशेपावेक्षणमिति ।।

The disturbance of the equilibrium of dhatus is the source of action.  The disturbance of the equilibrium of dhatus is invariably indicated by  the onset of the disease. This state of health can be ascertained from the  appearance of specific symptoms in the smaller or greater degrees due  to the dosas responsible for the causation of the disease and also from  the specific characteristics of the disease e.g. curability, incurability,  mildness, seriousness etc..

Examination to ascertain if the disease is cured

कार्य धातुसाम्यं तस्य लक्षणं विकारोपशमः | परीक्षा त्वस्य रुगुपपशमनं
स्वरवर्णयोगः शरीरोपचयः वलवृद्धिः अभ्यवहार्याभिलाषः रूचिराहारकाले
अभ्यवहृतस्य चाहारस्य काले सम्यग्जरणं निद्रालाभो यथाकालं वैकारिणां च
स्वप्नानामदर्शनं सुखेन च प्रतिबोधनं वातमूत्रपुरीषरेतसां मुक्तिः
सर्वाकारैर्मनोबुद्धीन्द्रियाणां चाव्यापत्तिरिति ।।

The equilibrium of dhatus represents the "action itself." It is invariably associated with the alleviation or absence of the disease. This state  of health can be ascertained from the following:

  1. alleviation of pain;
  2. appearance of normal voice and complexion;
  3. nourishment of the body;
  4. increase in strength;
  5. desire for taking food;
  6. appetite for food during meal-time;
  7. proper digestion of the food taken during meal-time;
  8. getting sleep at the appropriate time;
  9. absence of dreams indicating morbidity;
  10. happy awakening;
  11. proper elimination of wind, urine, stool and semen; and
Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

12. unimpairement of mind, intellect and senses and association of  all healthy symptoms therewith.

Signs of normalcy

कार्यफलं सुखावाप्तिः तस्य लक्षणं मनोबुद्धीन्द्रियशरीरतुष्टिः ।।

Attainment of spiritual happiness is the result of therapeutic action.  It is characterized by the pleasure or satisfaction of the mind, intellect,  senses and the body.

Signs of ayus

अनुवन्धस्तु खल्वायुः तस्य लक्षणं प्राणैः सह संयोगः ।

Anubandha or subsequent manifestation is the maintenance of life  (longevity). It is characterized by its union with prana type of vayu.

Examination of the land to ascertain particulars about the patient

देशस्तु भूमिरातुरश्च । तत्र भूमिपरीक्षा आतुरपरिज्ञानहेतोर्वा स्यादौषधपरिज्ञानहेतोर्वा ।
तत्र तावदियमातुरपरिज्ञानहेतोः । तद्यथायं कस्मिन् भूमिदेशे जातः संवृद्धो वयाधितो
वा तस्मिंश्च भुमिदेशे मनुष्याणामिदमाहारजातम् इदं विहारजातम् इदमाचारजातम्
एतावच्च वलम् एवंविधं सत्त्वम् एवंविधं साम्यम् एवंविधो दोषः भक्तिरियम् इमे
व्याधयः हितमिदम् अहितमिदमिति प्रायोग्रहणेन । औषधपरिज्ञानहेतोस्तु कल्पेषु
भूमिपरीक्षा वक्ष्यते ।।

Both the land as well as the patient constitute desa or habitat.  Nature of the land is examined with a view to ascertaining the specific  features of individual patients as well as the medicinal plants in different localities. The following points are to be examined with reference to the patient:

1. place of birth, growth and affliction with the disease;
2. specific features concerning food, exercise, customs, strength,  mental condition, homologation by habit, dominance of one or the

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

other of the dosas, liking, manifestation of diseases and things which  are useful and harmful.

The above information is generally obtained by the examination of  the land. The term desa meaning habitat includes both the patients as  well as healthy individuals. Individuals of the latter category are included here because they are also susceptible to the attacks of diseases.  They are required to be examined with a view to administering such  regimens as would keep them healthy.

Examination of Patient

आतुरस्तु खलु कार्यदेशः । तस्य परीक्षा आयुषः प्रमाणज्ञानहेतोर्वा स्याद
वलदोषप्रमाणज्ञानहेतोर्वा । तत्र तावदियं वलदोषप्रमाणज्ञानहेतोः दोपप्रमाणानुरूपो
हि भेषजप्रमाणविकल्पो बलप्रमाणविशेषापेक्षो भवति । सहसा
ह्यतिवलमौषधमपरीक्षकप्रयुक्तमल्पवलमातुरमतिपातयेत् न
ह्यतिवलान्याग्नेयवायवीयान्यौषधान्यग्निक्षारशस्त्रकर्माणि वा शक्यन्तेऽल्पवलैः सोढुम्
असह्यातितीक्ष्णवेगत्वाद्धि तानि सद्यः प्राणहराणि स्युः । एतच्चैव
विशेषतश्च नारीः ता ह्यनवस्थितमृदुविवृतविक्लवहृदयाः प्रायः सुकुमार्योऽबलाः परसंस्तभ्याश्च |
तथा बलवति बलवदद्व्याधिपरिगते स्वल्पबलमौषधमपरीक्षकप्रयुक्तमसाधकमेव भवति ।
तस्मादातुरं परीक्षेत प्रकृतितश्च विकृतितश्च सारतश्च संहननतश्च प्रमाणतश्च साम्यतश्च
सत्त्वतश्च आहारशक्तितश्च व्यायामशक्तितश्च वयस्तश्चेति बलप्रमाणविशेषग्रहणहेतोः ।।

A patient constitutes the karyadesa or the site for the administration   


Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

of therapies with a view to bringing about equilibrium of dhatus. He  should be examined so as to obtain knowledge regarding the span of life,  strength and the intensity of morbidity. Here, the purpose of examination  is to obtain the knowledge relating to the strength of the individual and  the intensity of morbidity, because it is on the basis of the intensity of  morbidity that the dosage of the therapy is determined and the latter is  dependent upon the strength or the power of resistance of the individual.  If strong things are immediately administered without proper examination to a weak patient, this might result in his death. Weak patients are  incapable of resisting strong therapies like medicaments dominating in  agni and vayu mahabhutas, application of alkalise and heat (cauterization) and surgical operations. These therapies cause immediate death of  the patient because of their very sharp action which are too strong for the  individual. Thus a weak patient should be given such mild and tender  therapies as are not injurious to the body and the mind. Stronger therapies which are neither distressing during their digestion nor associated  with serious complications may be administered slowly and gradually.  Such therapies are specifically needed for ladies because they are by  nature unsteady, light (not deep) and of sensitive or weak temperament  and also because they are mostly tender and subordinate to others.  Similarly, if weak therapies are administered to a strong individual having a serious disease without proper examination, the disease does not  get cured. Therefore, the patient should be examined with reference to  his prakrti (physical constitution), vikrti (morbidity), sara (excellence of  dhatus, or tissue elements), samhanana (compactness of organs), pramana (measurement of the organs of the body),satmya (homologation),  sattva (psychic conditions), aharasakti (power of intake and digestion of  food), vyayamasakti (power of performing exercise) and vayas (age) in  order to ascertain his strength and the intensity of the malady.

The dosage in which a therapy is to be administered depends upon  the intensity of morbidity as well as the strength of the patient. A strong  patient with a serious disease needs the therapy in a stronger dose.  Mistakes like giving strong therapies to weak patients and vice versa  can be avoided if patients are duly examined beforehand. Even if a  weak person is suffering from a serious disease which requires a strong  therapy for cure, he should not be given a strong therapy all of a sudden. Such a patient should be given strong therapy slowly and gradually, depending upon his strength and power of resistance gained..

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health


तंत्र प्रकृयादीन् भावाननुव्यायाम्यानः । तद्यया शुक्रशोणितप्रकृतिं
गर्भजागरनदेखते । एतानि हि येन येन दोपणाधिकेनेकेनानेक्रेन वा समनुवध्यन्ते तेन
तेन दोपण गर्भोऽनुबध्यते ततः सा सा दोषप्रकृतिरुच्यते ननुष्याणां
गर्भाविश्वृतः । तस्माच्छलोजलाई प्रकृत्या केचित् पित्तलाई केचित्
वातलाः केचित् संसृष्टः केचित् समधातवः केचिद् भवन्ति । तेषां हि लक्षणानि व्याख्यास्यामः ।

Now we shall explain the characteristic features of prakrti (physical  constitution etc.,). Prakrti or physical constitution of the foetus is determined by the following factors :

1. sperms and ovum;
2. season and condition of the uterus;
3. food and regimens of the mother; and
4. nature of the mahabhutas comprising the foetus.  The foetus gets afflicted with one or more of the dosas which are  dominantly associated with the above mentioned factors. The physical  constitution of an individual is determined on the basis of these dominant dosas in the above mentioned factors when they initially unite in  the form of foetus. Therefore, the physical constitution of some is dominated bykapha (slesmala), of some others by pitta (pittala) of others  by vata (vatala) and of some others by the combination of two dosas  (samsrista). In some other cases, however, the equilibrium of dosas  (samaprakrti) is well maintained. We shall now expound their characteristic features one after the other.

Dosas dominating the sperms and the ovum during the time of conception and also those inhabiting the uterus at that time determine the  prakrti (physical constitution) of the individual. Food and regimens of  the mother which aggravate dosas at that time also determine the physical constitution. The dosa(s) which ultimately emerge as dominant  factors actually determine the prakrti or the physical constitution.  Season etc., also indirectly serve as important factors for the determination of prakrti inasmuch as they also aggravate dosas in the sperms and ovum.

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Characteristics of slesmala individual

श्लेष्मा हि स्निग्धश्लक्ष्णमृदुमधुरसारसान्द्रमन्दस्तिमितगुरुशीतविज्जलाच्छः ।
तस्य स्नेहाच्छ्लेष्मलाः स्निग्धाङ्गाः श्लक्ष्णत्वाच्छ्लक्ष्णाङ्गाः
मृदुत्वात् दृष्टिसुखसुकुमारावदातगात्राः माधुर्यात् प्रभूतशुकव्यवायापत्याः
सारत्वात् सारसंहतस्थिरशरीराः सान्द्रत्वादुपचितपरिपूर्णसर्वाङ्गाः
मन्दत्वान्मन्दचेष्टाहारव्याहाराः स्तैमित्यादशीघ्रारम्भक्षोभविकाराः
गुरुत्वात् साराधिष्ठितावस्थितगतयः शैतयादल्पक्षुत्तृष्णासंतापस्वेददोपाः
विज्जलत्वात् सुश्लिष्टसारसन्धिबन्धनाः
तथाऽच्छत्वात् प्रसन्नदर्शनाननाः प्रसन्नस्निग्धवर्णस्वराश्च भवन्ति । त
एवंगुणयोगाच्छ्लेष्मला बलवन्तो वसुमन्तो विद्यावन्त ओजस्विनः शान्ता
आयुष्मन्तश्च भवन्ति ।

Kapha is unctuous, smooth, soft, sweet, firm, dense, slow, stable, heavy, cold, viscous and clear.

The various manifestations in the human body having slesmala type constitution are given below :

Attributes of Slesma

1. unctuous;

2. smooth:

3. soft:

4. sweet:

5. firm:

6. dense:

7. slow:



10. cold:

11. viscous:

12. clear:

Specific manifestations in the body of the individual having slesmala type of constitution.

unctuousness of organs.

smoothness of organs.

pleasing appearance, tenderness, clarity of complexion.

increase in the quantity of semen, desire for sex-act and number of procreations.

firmness, compactness and stability of the body.

plumpness and roundedness of all organs.

slow in action, intake of food and movement.

slowness, in initiating actions, in getting irritated and in morbid manifestations.

non-slippery and stable gait with the entire sole of the feet pressing against the earth.

lack of intensity in hunger, thirst, heat and perspiration

firmness and compactness in joints.

happiness in the look and face; happiness and softness of complexion and voice.

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

By virtue of the above mentioned qualities, a man having slesmala  type of constitution is endowed with the excellence of strength, wealth,  knowledge, energy, peace and longevity.

Characteristics of pittala individual

पित्तमुण्णं तीक्ष्णं द्रवं विसमम्लं कटुकं च । तस्यौण्ण्यात् पित्तला भवन्त्युण्णासहा
उष्णमुखाः सुकुमारावदातगात्राः प्रभूतपिप्लुव्यङ्गतिलपिडकाः क्षुत्पिपासावन्तः
क्षिप्रवलीपलितखालित्यदोपाः प्रायो मृद्वल्पकपिलश्मश्रुलोमकेशाश्च
तैक्ष्ण्यात्तीक्ष्णपराकमाः तीक्ष्णाग्नयः प्रभूताशनपानाः क्लेशासहिष्णवो दन्दशूकाः
द्रवत्वाच्छिाथिलमृदुसन्धिमांसाः प्रभूतसृष्टस्वेदमूत्रपुरीपाश्च विसत्वात्
प्रभूतपूतिकक्षास्यशिरःशरीरगन्धाः कट्वम्लत्वादल्पशुकव्यवायापत्याः त
एवंगुणयोगात् पित्तला मध्यवला मध्यायुषो मध्यज्ञानविज्ञानविज्ञानवित्तोपकरणवन्तश्च भवन्ति ।

Pitta is hot, sharp, liquid, of fleshy smell, sour and pungent. Various  manifestations due to these attributes in the human body having pittala  type of constitution are as in the table given below :

Attributes of pitta Specific manifestations in the body of the individual having pittala type of constitution.

intolerance for hot things, having hot face, tender and clear body of port-wine mark, freckles, black mole, excessive hunger and thirst; quick advent of wrinkles, greying of hair and baldness; presence of some soft and brown hair in the face, head and other parts of the body.

2. sharp:

sharp (demonstration of) physical strength, strong digestive power, intake of food and drink in large quantity, inability to face difficult situations and glutton habits;

3. liquid:

looseness and softness of joints and muscles; voiding of sweat, urine and feces in large quantity.

4. fleshy smell: putrid smell of axilla, mouth, head and body in excess;
5. pungent tastes: insufficiency of semen, sexual desire and procreation.


Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

By virtue of the above mentioned qualities, a man having pittala  type of constitution is endowed with moderate strength, moderate span  of life, moderate spiritual and materialistic knowledge, wealth and the  accessories of life.

Characteristic of vatala individual

वातस्तु रूक्षलघुचलवहुशीघ्रशीतपरूपविशदः । तस्य रौक्ष्याद्रातला
रूक्षापचिताल्पशरीराः प्रततरूक्षक्षामसन्नसक्तजर्जरस्वरा जागरूकाश्च भवन्ति
चलत्वादनवस्थितसन्ध्यक्षिभूहन्वोप्ठजिवाशिरः स्कन्धपाणिपादाः
बहुत्वादवहुप्रलापकण्डरासिराप्रतानाः शीघ्रत्वात् शीघसमारम्भक्षोभविकाराः
शीघ्रत्रासरागविरागाः श्रुतग्राहिणोऽल्पस्मृतयश्च शैत्यात् शीतासहिष्णवः
प्रततशीतकोद्वेपकस्तम्भाः पारुप्यात् परूपकेशश्मश्ररोमनखदशनवदनपाणिपादाः
वैशद्यात् स्फुटिताङ्गावयवाः सततसन्धिशब्दगामिनश्च भवन्ति त एवं
गुणयोगाद्वातलाः प्रायेणाल्पवलाश्चाल्पायुषश्चाल्पापत्याश्चाल्पसाधनाश्चाल्पधनाश्च भवन्ति ।

Vata is ununctuous, light, mobile, abundant in quantity, swift, cold,  rough and non-slime. Various manifestations due to these attributes of  vata in a body having vatala type of constitution are given below :

Attributes of vata Specific manifestations in the body of the individual  having vatala type of constitution

1. Ununctuous:

ununctuousness, emaciation and dwarfness of the body; longdrawn, dry low, broken, obstructed and hoarse voice; always keeping awake;

2. light:

light and inconsistent gait, action, food and movement;

3. mobile: unstable joints-eyes, eye brows, jaws, lips, tongue, head,  shoulder, hands and legs;
4.abundance: talkativeness, abundance in tendons and veins;
5. swift: quick in initiating actions, getting irritated and the onset  of morbid manifestation; quick in affliction with fear,  quick in likes and dislikes; quick in understanding and  forgetting things;
Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

6. cold:

7. rough:

intolerance for cold things; often getting afflicted with  cold, shivering and stiffness;

roughness in the hair of the head, face and other parts of  the body, nails, teeth, face, hands and feet.

8. non-slime:

cracking of the limbs and organs, production of cracking  sound in joints when they move.

Because of the above mentioned qualities, individuals having vatala  type of constitution are mostly possessed of strength, span of life, pro creation, accessories of life and wealth in lesser quantity.

Individuals having constitution dominated by the combination of  two dosas are characterized by the combination of the manifestations  of respective dosas.

samadhatu type of individual who has all the dosas in the state of  equilibrium is endowed with the good qualities of all the three types of  individuals. Thus an individual should be examined for his constitution.


Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Examination of sara (Excellence)

Patients are to be examined with reference to sara or the excellence of their dhatus. With a view to determining the specific measure of  strength they are classified into eight categories, depending upon the  sara or excellence of their dhatus, viz. tvak (skin), rakta (blood),  mamsa (muscle tissue), medas (adipose tissue), asthi (bone tissue),  majja (marrow) sukra (semen) and sattva (mental faculties).

(a) Tvak-sara (Excellence of skin):

Individuals having the excellence of tvak or skin are characterized  by unctuous, smooth, soft, clear, fine, less numerous, deep rooted and  tender hair and lustrous skin. Such individuals are endowed with happiness, good fortunes, power, enjoyment, intellect, knowledge, health, excitement and longevity.

(b) Rakta-sara (Excellence of blood):

Individuals having the excellence of rakta or blood are characterized by unctuousness, red colour, beautiful dazzling appearance of the  ears, eyes, face, tongue, nose, lips, sole of the hands and feet, nails,  forehead and genital organs. Such individuals are endowed with happiness, great genius, enthusiasm, tenderness, moderate strength and  inability to face difficulties. Their body remains hot.

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

(c) Mamsa-sara (Excellence of muscle tissue):

Individuals having the excellence of the mamsa or muscle tissue are  characterized by stability, heaviness, beautiful appearance and plumpness of temples, forehead, nape, eyes, cheeks, jaws, neck, shoulder,  abdomen, axillae, chest and joints of upper and lower limbs being  covered with flesh. Such individuals are endowed with forgiveness,  patience, non-greediness, wealth, knowledge, happiness, simplicity,  health, strength and longevity.

(d) Medah sara (Excellence of adipose tissue):

Individuals having the excellence of medas or adipose tissue are  characterized by the abundance of unctuousness in complexion, voice,  eyes, hair of the head and other parts of the body, nail, teeth, lips, urine  and feces. Such individuals are endowed with wealth, power, happiness, enjoyment, clarity, simplicity and delicate habits.

(e) Asthi-sara (Excellence of bone tissue):

Individuals having the excellence of asthi or bone tissue are characterized by robust heels, ankles, knees, forearm, collarbones, chin, head,  Joints, bones, nails and teeth. Such individuals are very enthusiastic  and active, and are endowed with strong and firm bodies as well as  longevity.

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

(f) Majja-sara (Excellence of marrow):

Individuals having the excellence of majja or marrow are characterized by softness of organs, strength, unctuous complexion and voice"  and robust, long and rounded joints. Such individuals are endowed  with longevity, learning, wealth, knowledge, progeny and honour.

(g) Sukra-sara (Excellence of semen):

Individuals having the excellence of sukradhatu or semen are characterized by gentleness, gentle look, having eyes as if filled with milk,  cheerfulness, having teeth which are unctuous, round, strong, even and  beautiful, clean and unctuous complexion and voice, dazzling appearance and large buttocks. Such individuals are loved by women, they are  strong and endowed with happiness, power, health, wealth, honour and children.

(h) Sattva-sara (Excellence of mental faculties):

Individuals having the excellence of mental faculties are characterized by good memory, devotion, gracefulness, wisdom, purity, excessive  enthusiasm, skill, courage, valour in fighting, absence of sorrow, proper  gait, depth of wisdom and sincerity in actions and virtuous acts. (These  characteristic features represent the qualities of such individuals.)

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Individuals having all saras

Individuals possessed of the excellence of all the above mentioned  dhatus including mental faculties are endowed with great strength and  happiness, resistance to difficulties, self-confidence in all enterprises,  virtuous acts, firm and well built body, correct gait, resonant, melodious and high pitched voice, happiness, power, wealth, enjoyments,  honour, slowness of aging process, resistance for diseases, large number of children with similar qualities and longevity.

Need for examination of sara

It is fallacious to consider an individual to be strong or weak either  from his plumpy or emaciated body or from the large or small size of  his body. Some people having a small sized and emaciated body are  seen to be strong. They are like ants who have a small body and look  emaciated but can carry too heavy a load. Thus one should examine the  individual with reference to the excellence of his dhatus.


A patient is to be examined with reference to his samhanana or

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

compactness of the body. Samhanana, samhati and samyojana — these  three terms are synonymous. A compact body is characterized by the  symmetrical and well divided bones, well-knit joints and well bound  muscles and blood. An individual having a compact body is very strong; otherwise he is weak. When the body is moderately compact, the individual is possessed of moderate strength.


The patient is also to be examined with reference to pramana or the  measurement of his bodily organs. This is determined by measuring the  height, length and breath of the organs, taking the finger breadth of the  individual as the unit of measurement.... Thus the measurement of individual organs of the body are described. A body possessed of organs  having proper measurement is endowed with longevity, strength, ojas  (energy), happiness, power, wealth and virtues. If the measurement is  either on the high or low side, the individual possesses qualities contrary to what are mentioned above.


A patient is also to be examined with reference to his satmya or  homologation. Satmya stands for such factors as are wholesome to the  individual even when continuously used. Individuals for whom ghee,  milk, oil and meat soup as well as the drugs and diets having all the six  tastes are wholesome are endowed with strength, the power of facing difficult

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

situations and longevity. Those who are accustomed to ununctuous  things, and drugs and diets having only one particular taste, are mostly  possessed of less strength, less power (or resistance) to face difficult situations, are of smaller life-span and of meagre accessories like drugs for  the treatment of his diseases. If there is combination of both these types  of homologation, individuals are possessed of moderate strength.


The patient is again to be examined with reference to his sattva or  mental faculties. Sattva is mind and it regulates the body because of its  association with the soul. Depending upon its strength, it is of three  types, viz. superior, mediocre and inferior. Thus human beings are  classified into three categories depending upon the superiority, mediocrity or inferiority of their mental faculties. Individuals having mental  faculties of superior type are possessed of the excellence of these faculties and the characteristic features of such individuals are described  above. Even if possessed of weak physique, such individuals, because  of the specific manifestations of sattva qualities in them, tolerate serious exoganous and endogenous diseases without much difficulty.  Individuals having mediocrity of mental faculties tolerate the pain  themselves when they realize that others can also tolerate it, then they  at times gain strength from others. Those having Inferior type of menial faculties, neither by themselves nor through others can sustain  weir mental strength and even if possessed of plump or big physique,  they cannot tolerate even mild pain. They are susceptible to fear,  grief, greed, delusion and ego. When they hear even stories describing

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

wrathful, fearful, hateful, terrifying and ugly situations or come across  visions or flesh or blood of an animal or man, they fall victims to  depression, pallor, fainting, madness, giddiness or falling on the ground,  or such events that may even lead them to death.

Capacity for food

A patient is further to be examined with reference to his aharasakti  or the capacity for intake of food.

One's capacity for food can be examined from two angles, viz. the  power of ingestion as well as the power of digestion. Both the strength  and life-span are determined by the diet of the individual. Digestion of  food when taken in large quantity is indicative of one's capacity for  food. Digestion of food when taken in small quantity does not do so.

Capacity for exercise

The patient should be examined with reference to his capacity for  exercise which is determined by one's ability to perform work like lifting weight etc. Strength of individuals is classified into three categories, depending upon their ability to perform work.

Span of life

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

The patient should be examined with reference to his age which  represents the state of his body depending upon the length of the time  that has passed since birth. Age is broadly of three types, viz. young  age, middle age and old age.

Young age is again of two types, viz. (i) immature stage lasting upto  16th year of age and (ii) maturing stage lasting upto the 30th year of  age. During immature stage various organs of the body are not well  developed, there is tenderness, the individual cannot tolerate difficulties, there is incomplete strength and the dominance of kapha dosa in  the body. During the second stage i.e. the stage of maturing lasting upto  30th year of age, the mental faculties are not properly developed.

During the middle age lasting upto the 60th year of age, there is  well manifested strength, energy, manliness and valour, power of  understanding, retention, memorizing, speech and analyzing facts and  the qualities of all dhatus; there is the dominance of pittadosa.

Thereafter during old age lasting upto 100th year of age, there is  diminution of the dhatus (tissue elements), strength of sense organs,  energy, manliness, valour, power of understanding, retention, memorizing, speech and analyzing facts. There is gradual diminution in the  qualities of dhatus and dominance of vata during this age.

During this kali age, the span of life is hundred years. Of course,  there are people who live for a longer or shorter period than this. This  age should be classified by determining the life-span with the help  of factors described above, viz. prakriti (physical constitution) etc.  excluding morbidity and also with the help of characteristic features of individuals having various categories of life-span.

Extracts from Caraka Samhita, edited by R.K Sharma & V.B. Dash, 

Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi 2002

Ayurvedic Concept Of Health

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