Digestion and the formation of the dhatus (tissues) and byproducts

Digestion

Rasa – essense, Rakta – blood, Mamsa – muscle, Meda – fat, Asthi – bone, Majja – nervous, Shukra – reproductive, these are all the seven tissues. 

Kitta – waste products

Saar – Aahara Rasa – from here the “sukshma pachana”, subtle digestion begins.

Main purpose of saara is to give nutrients to all the dhatus. If aahara rasa decided it wanted to skip one dhatu (for whatever reason), would start to cause illness. Fasting for long periods of time can cause underformation of aahara rasa or the quality is to little to nourish dhatus. Just to maintain overall health and strength is the nourishment of all the dhatus.

Fermented things have effect on aahara rasa, spicy food in aahara rasa – every dhatu will then get that effect on it – so they will increase in heat. That’s why to develop shukra dhatu, you should have unctuous things not because it immediately increases the shukra dhatu, but because in general the aahara rasa will be more unctuous and will get to the shukra dhatu.

Then nutrition is given to every dhatu in a very specific manner.

The process of dhatu nourishment is solely dependent on the agni of each dhatu. If agni is good, the dhatu will be able to accept the aahara rasa. That is called dhatu agni. This agni is so important to take nutrients from aahara rasa to replenish rasa dhatu. If this agni is weak, the aahara rasa either won’t reach it or will come in a disturbed form. If the agni is the door, if the door is not open, the nutrients won’t reach the dhatu. Like a mailman trying to deliver mail to a closed door. Acts as a filter so that only the best quality of aahara rasa will enter into the channel. Quality of aahara rasa is very important too. Agni of rasa dhatu is important to convert aahara rasa into rasa dhatu. At level of dhatus it’s the dhatu agni.

Aahara Rasa -> Rasa agni -> rasa dhatu + kapha as mala + upadhatu/byproduct of stanya and raja – this dhatu is responsible for the production of the kapha dosha for the whole body. Even though we call kapha a mala, this is not a mala that is going to be excreted – it is the main source of healthy kapha in the body. Kapha mala in this case could be called another byproduct in this case. It is called a mala because it is not relevant to the formation of the rasa dhatu. This particular mala is used everywhere else in the body though.

Part of aahara rasa is getting converted into 3 products – Rasa dhatu, kapha, stanya (breastmilk) & raja (menstrual fluid). But we still have more aahara rasa that is getting converted to other dhatus. Kapha stays in rasavaha srotas but slowly moves to other parts of the body. Because of the presence of kapha in the srotas we can say that rasa and kapha are closely identified.

Aahara Rasa then moves onto Raktavaha Srotas and acts on Rakta agni -> Raktadhatu + upadhatu of Sira & Kandara (vessels and tendons) + Pitta as the mala. Generating three things as always – dhatu + 2 byproducts. This pitta that gets generated is the main pitta of the body, and forms the main pitta required for basic physiology, including alochaka pitta, sadhaka pitta etc. Is the main reservoir of pitta, but doesn’t form them all here in this srotas. Instead goes all over the body.

Aahara rasa then goes to mansavaha srotas and acts on the mansa agni which then forms mansadhatu + kha-mala (akasha) mala (earwax and nose boogers) + upadhatu of Tvak (skin). Getting formed means replenishing present amount of dhatu, because you use it all the time. The replenishing action of the body.

Aahara rasa then goes to medavaha srotas and agni of meda dhatu acts on it and forms medadhatu + Snayu (muscle) upadhatu + sweda (sweat) mala. What we call muscles though are formed of 3 dhatus: the bulk of muscle is meda dhatu, mansa dhatu forms muscle sheath and rakta dhatu forms tendons. Sweat gets excreted, but must be excreted properly when it is needed. Ex. Don’t profusely sweat when its 30 degrees outside – if they do, then something is wrong with body. The sweda has a specific course to follow. When temperature is hot, function of sweda in body is to cool the body. Not just the waste to be thrown out of the body. In the same way, stool and urine also are specific to body and reason for proper elimination is important. Even though its mala, there are certain functions. In case of TB rajakshma, all the nutrients are stuck in kitta, and not forming saara. That is why it is recommended in TB to not follow normal urge to defecate. Should hold stool for some time as long as possible to uptake more nutrients. In this case stools are having an important function in the body. Even though we call it a mala, it has some functions in the body.

Blood is flowing everywhere, but within its limits – those limits are defined by the srotas. Muscles are everywhere in body, but aren’t in bones for example. The muscles are defined by the srotas. Blood is flowing everywhere but stays within its blood vessels, therefore still within its srotas. Looking at the cardiovascular system, the blood is everywhere but within its own system. Same thing is true with bones – there aren’t bones in eyes, or muscles because stays within its srotas. Srotas is the completeness of the system rather than a specific anatomical portion.

Aahara rasa then goes to Asthivaha srotas, acting on the asthi agni and forming Asthi Dhatu, the Upadhatu is teeth, the mala is Kesha, Nakha and Loma – hair, nails, and bodyhair. Could be in minute form but is still always there. Ridges in nails could be associated with issue of asthi dhatu. In old age, loss of teeth, asthi dhatu depleted and vata increasing.

Aahara rasa then goes to majjavaha srotas, acts on the majja agni and forms Majja Dhatu and the mala of Akshivit sneha – which means sneha of akshi/eyes and sneha of vit/feces (unctuousness which facilitates the flow of fecal matter – translates to the unctuousness in the lining of the colon). 

Shatkriyakala – 6 stages of disease formation

Shatkriyakala – 6 stages through which doshas travel and create a disease – the changes that occur in doshas that create disease. To create disease, change in doshas + kha vaygunya (weakness in body) must both be present for disease to take place. Ex. Some joint impact, say a fall or injury, then later in winter maybe knee starts to ache. Because the patient hasn’t healed area fully, so as doshas increase, then the vitiated doshas attack that particular point later. Western medicine calls it arthritis. Even knee replacement or surgery touches the organ and therefore will later have problems with the knees. In some cases, orthopedic surgery can be very helpful – breaking off the head of the femur for example. But of course then you have to do things to reinforce. In case of old people, without the surgery they may not be able to walk and therefore couldn’t do those ayurvedic things to improve bone density. So better to do the surgery than not in this case. Looking at the patient, we can understand bones need strength – is it something we can give through nutrition or lifestyle, is it due to aama or an obstruction?, these are issues to understand for treatment. Some mechanical exercises can help to train the bones in a specific manner to help.

 

So when a particular impact or disease has happened to a specific organ, either internal or external, congenital, etc. if remains untreated, that particular organ remains weak. Then next time anything happens, vitiation occurs, that is the organ that becomes affected. The treatment isn’t finished just because the symptoms are gone. We need to help the organ to regain its strength – that is rasayana treatment. Treatment should always be in such a manner that there shouldn’t be any weakness in body – even srotas should be in order. Srotovaygunya/Kha-vaygunya – weak srotas.

Being weak doesn’t mean disease – only weakness doesn’t create disease, but if doshas are aggravated – say eating a lot of vata aahara and doing a lot of vata vihara activities, will aggravate the weak spot. If doshas are increasing, will show some signs of vata prakop, but that won’t be considered a disease. Some kind of stiffness in body due to vata prakopa, but if agni is strong enough and we’re back on regimen, will come back into balance. Only doshas or only weak spot are not sufficient to generate disease, only the both together are sufficient to create disease.

 

There are ways that we weaken our srotas – taking naps every day can weaken medavaha srotas. If you eat heavy meals and stay away from exercise and drink alcohol, all that excess kapha will get stuck in the medavaha srotas. So classic siesta lifestyle is guaranteed to weaken the medavaha srotas. The aahara rasa will always be heavy and bulky beginning at gross digestion, and then kapha will be qualitatively and quantitatively increased/vruddhi.

 

If you have injury or weakness it is possible to heal so that will not cause weakness in future. So with knee injury, oleation with medicated oils, then specific herbs – bala, mahanarayan externally, then eat internally bala, mahanarayana. Ex. Amashaya if sthanavaygunya – must replenish with lots of aap mahabhuta. Remove weakness as a prevention for disease. Weakness can occur when vruddhi is present as well as with a kshaya/depletion. Ex. Rasa dhatu increased- why? Is it because rasa agni is low, work on increasing that agni so that it can maintain proper balance. Sometimes herbs will help to heal individual dhatu agni. (shunthi for overall agni)

 

If both weakness and vitiation are present, then chance of disease formation is higher.

 

  • Sanchaya (Natural accumulation of Doshas) - Ex. Seasonal: In Northern Solstice – spring and summer solstice. When sun rays increase, increases tej and vayu guna. In Southern Solstice – fall and winter – pruthvi and aap increasing – cooling properties of kapha coming to the surface – accumulation of kapha due to seasonal. Whatever kapha is accumulated in body, when sun comes out in spring will travel from sanchaya to prakopa. Spring is the season kapha increases from sanchaya to prakopa, summer is the season kapha decreases from prakopa to sanchaya through prashama.
  • Prakopa (More accumulation) – and comes back to Sanchaya and Prasara levels. This process of natural reduction is called Prashama. At the level of Prakopa, it returns to natural levels if we follow certain rules. Specifically in winter, eat good amounts of good food to increase strength. It’s the time of year to replenish dhatus and gain overall strength – agni is good and whatever we eat gets more easily digested, but also requires proper amount of exercise so that excess kapha isn’t created. Exercise helps to limit the kapha in the body and then when the next season comes, kapha liquefies and tries to get out of body. People blame on allergies, but really its excess accumulation of kapha without exercise. So follow seasonal regimen and come back to Prasara naturally. Eating fermented yeasty things helps increase kapha. Not always related to the season – even in summer if you eat heavy things, sleep in the daytime etc, kapha can over accumulate and overflow and reach the weak spots in the body which can form disease.
  • Prasara (Overflow level) – Prasara (Leave and spread phase):- It is the third stage of Shat kriya kal in Ayurveda. This third phase of disease formation literaly means to leave and spread. At this phase aama accumulates to such a degree that it finally starts to overflow in the gastrointestinal tract. The doshas transport along with the important nutrients to the dhatus. Its stickiness stops it from being transported back to the gastrointestinal tract. It is the stage of migration.
  • Sthana Samshraya (Stage of disease augmentation) – It is the fourth phase of Shat kriya kala. In Ayurveda it is also known as the Dosha-Dushaya samurchana stage or Samprapti stage or stage of disease augmentation. Sthana samshraya literaly means taking shelter in a place. The aama that has migrated from the gastrointestinal tract enters and lodges in a defective and weak dhatu. Once the aama accumulates in an area of low immunity, its basic qualities overwhelm the Dhatu and it causes dysfunction and structural damage of the body. It is the stage in which specific susceptibility to serious infections or degenerative diseases start. Several factors determine which specific Dhatus are predisposed to accept and be damaged by aama. A combination of the common factors like effects from previous illnesses, seasonal changes, stress, effects from past diet and behavioral choices, radiation and chemical pollutants, etc. produces weakness which opens certain tissues to diseases.
  • Vyakta (Stage of symptom
    manifestation) - It is the fifth stage of Shat kriya kal in Ayurveda and it literally means something which can be seen. This stage is the one in which clearly differentiated symptoms first appear. It is the stage of symptom manifestation. The disease process overwhelms the ability of the body to maintain immunity and healthy functioning. At this stage, structural dysfunctions or damages have progressed to the point where the illness actually activates. The disease proces manifests the symptoms that are used by the Western system for classification and diagnosis.
  • Bheda (Stage of complications)- It is the sixth and final stage of Shat kriya kala in Ayurveda. This final phase is also known as the stage of complications. Bheda literally means differentiation. Stage five that is Vyakta confirms general diagnosis and the sixth stage confirms differential diagnosis. This phase offers a detailed understanding of the group of symptoms that have surfaced the fact that all the doubts regarding the nature of the disease are eliminated. This sixth stage is characterized by severe impairment of dhatu function, serious damage to the Srotas (the vessels within each dhatu) and the complications that involves related dhatus. The entire disease process can be aggravated by the toxic side effects of the drugs that are used to cure it. At this final stage, many of the diseases become a bit difficult to treat completely. Degenerative conditions and susceptibility to several infectious diseases do not develop overnight, it takes many years and the seeds of dysfunction occur as a result of inappropriate lifestyle and diet. Shat kriya kal or the six significant stages of disease formation in Ayurveda provides the knowledge of how illness originates and manifests step by step. Ayurveda uses these six stages to remove both the signs as well.

Even more on Subtle Digestion and now Ojas

Continued from several past articles, yes, i am doing it again. The more you read these posts from different facets and having different details incorporated into them, a greater view of what digestion is as well as what Ayurveda is will grow within you. If you don’t understand some of the sanskrit terminology read the several recent past posts.

 

The Subtle Digestion:

Aahara Rasa transfers to Shukravaha Srotas and then from there to the Shukra Dhatu Agni -> acts on Aahara Rasa, forms Shukra Dhatu + NO MALA + NO UPADHATU. Some texts consider Ojas a mala of Shukra Dhatu, but it not widely accepted. Considered the essence of the Aahara Rasa. When of good quality, the essence of this is considered Ojas. Not an upadhatu or mala, but the very essence of aahara rasa is Ojas. The energy lying within the body.

Two kinds of Oja – Apara oja – stays all over the body, gives luster and good qualities of the person. Para oja is the 8 drops that live within the heart. Physical anatomy wise will not be able to find. More a metaphysical (only due to the angle that modern science can’t understand it). But from vedic science it is always seen in the monks and is the very essence of good quality dhatu. Prevents all kinds of diseases. Good amount of oja prevents many illnesses. When ojas gets depleted or vitiated. Ojakshaya is a pathological condition that we can’t easily find but is a grave condition. Ojas vruddhi is always good for the body. There’s no real concept for ojas vruddhi because its always good for the body. But ojas kshaya is a condition that leads to overall depletion of dhatus and strength overall. Autoimmune deficiencies are due to specific dhatu depletion, but full blown AIDS could be an example of ojas kshaya. The symptoms are that ojas is very depleted and leading to depletion of dhatus. This is why can lead to TB – so any microorganism can become strong enough to deplete the dhatus. Even though someone gets HIV, doesn’t mean that we can’t see how the dhatus are being specifically affected. If you don’t have ojas, especially aparaojas you will die.

Para – close, of best quality

Apara – farther away, not of best quality comparatively

You will come across Para/Apara throughout the scriptures in relationship to other things than Ojas.

Agni converts outside and inside the dhatus. Acts first to break down food into Saara/Aahara Rasa and Kitta. Aahara Rasa role is to nourish body. It goes to every dhatu and nourishes and creates different upadhatus and malas. Just because an upadhatu is created at the level of a dhatu, doesn’t mean it is like the dhatu – ex. Menstrual fluid and breast milk are very different – have been transformed. Meda dhatu confused with muscle, but not muscle – that is an upadhatu. Instead, tendons made from rakta dhatu – usually flowing, but has pruthvi mahabhuta. Changed into tendon as an upadhatu in the Rakta dhatu agni. Upadhatu of meda dhatu is snayu – muscle body, Mamsa dhatu forms the sheath over the muscle – including ligaments, fascial tissue etc. So muscle tissue is made of all of those dhatus –when we eat meat all 3 dhatus get nourished. Upadhatu can get formed from the dhatu, but not the same as the dhatu. Understand that Dhatu and Upadhatu are different. Filtration system – whatever comes into the dhatu gets transferred to mala and upadhatu as well. If something is wrong with the upadhatu or the mala, something is wrong with the dhatu (and vice versa).

 

Ayurveda is not a mechanical science – it’s a bio-medical science, so a specific food that will nourish shukra dhatu will increase likelihood of increased ojas, but patient must also have a certain mindset along with. If patient is obsessed with sex, it will go to production of shukra vruddhi, not oja. If a person is following Sadvritta/good behavior: good peaceful lifestyle – don’t lie, steal, etc. (in post on dinacharya), will be able to increase ojas. In case of ojakshaya, must try very hard to increase ojas, but also must work very closely with patient to bring them to a clear spiritual path so that they can heal the condition. Sometimes have to treat the patient like a child. Ex. Aciditis – water intake is prevented to treat. In the granthas (texts), it talks about changing out toilet water to milk because urge to drink is so high. Milk acts as a laxative and therefore flush out the water. In modern medicine they try to give diuretics to release water, but that makes worse as well. Becomes more air filled and then water moves in. So a laxative approach is better because it naturally purges the water in right manner.

If giving herbs to increase ojas, the vaidya will ensure there is not aama present. But if person is not following right action, won’t matter what herbs are given, that won’t be enough.  Patient must control urge of sexual activity so loss of shukra dhatu is minimal. Must control thoughts so that not thinking about sex all the time. The thoughts impact the shukra by affecting the conversion of shukra to ojas. That conversion from Shukra dhatu to Ojas in anyone is always related to thoughts, mind and food (including herbs etc – all physical intake).  Brahmacharya is one thing, abstinence is another. Brahmacharya in Ayurveda is not seen as complete celibacy or abstinence. It means abstinence of Brahma – being the best person you can be. Including staying away from sex. See the posts on celibacy and brahmacharya to understand better. Nashtika Brahmacharya is limiting sexual activities according to seasons. This improves not just conversion of shukra dhatu to ojas, but rather ALL dhatu conversions. This is why it’s important to not sit and watch tv while you eat – our thoughts affect our ability to digest properly. Handling our food with our hands is an actual mudra – this helps us to increase our agni and improve our appetite. (actual mudra = 4 fingers and thumb together in position you hold food with.) There has been Ayurvedic research that has shown the connection between eating with your fingers and the stimulation of digestion. Sitting on floor with plate in front of you ensures you won’t fill to the brim. Energetically, the food moves down through the digestive system whereas if the food is up at the chest or even at the throat, it stops the food from moving downward. You can try this experiment for yourself. Hold a plate of food at your throat and then move it down to your pelvis. Can you feel the difference? The food should also be sitting on the floor with you sitting on the floor as well. Yes, this sounds strange from the Western culture but sitting up in a chair and eating from a table creates ego. Try eating while sitting on the floor as well and see if you have the discernment to sense a difference.

Sadvritta isn’t all or nothing. Start slowly with one thing, and grow over months and even years. Slowly incorporate changes. We tend to read books and take courses in the West and try to digest everything at once. We need to avoid tendency to give all information at once because it overwhelms a person. Start with one or two things and slowly convert.

This is a HUGE transition away from American healing modality, even a Western lifestyle and way of thinking/paradigm. It is truly as deeply back to nature that one can go. The way one lives, their lifestyle and their action, is what is their mind and body.

 

Srotas and digestion

Srotas – channels – all the passages in the body that combine together to form a system. All the systems of the body – digestive, circulatory etc. are srotas. Not necessarily an internal passage, can be external passage too like the nose. Some of these do not exist in Western concepts of the body but other stuff like prana does not either. It is a very different system.

Stravanata strotavansi – anything that oozes/flows through the srotas. The srotas exist because something can flow through it.

Two types of srotas

  1. Bhaya – open to the outside the body – 9 + 3 male/female 2 nostrils, 2 eyes, 2 ears, mouth, anus + nipples and vagina. Used to administer medicines and to excrete.
  2. Abhyantara – all internal open and close.
    1. Charaka and Vagbhata say 13 abhyantara srotas – pranavaha (respiratory), udaka (water/ambu) vaha, annavaha (digestive system) + 7 dhatus + 3 malas – no reference to arthava srotas
    2. Sushruta says there are 11 abhyantara srotas – pranavaha, annavaha, udakavaha, rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, shukra, purisha, mutra, arthava

 

  • Srotas are made out of any combination of dhatu but don’t necessarily flow the same material out of it. The composition may be different
    • Annavaha srotas carries food, but not made out of food. Composed of mamsa, meda – the tube is lined formed of mamsa, but not formed of
  • The lining of the srotas takes the color of the material flowing through it. Whatever flows through it determines the color.
  • They come in all sizes and shapes – large small flat round square etc.
  • Without a srotas being involved, a disease can’t be formed. Most important part of disease formation.
  • Translation does not compare directly – ex. Annavaha does NOT compare directly to the digestive system.
  • Every srotas has a certain number of parts to it. Pranavaha srotas has nostrils etc. similarly to respiratory system but not exactly correlary to it.
  • Every srotas has two mulasthana – main organ of it. Main organ of the srotas. Each srotas has two main organs that are important to the srotas. Mulasthana is very important because if it has a defect in it, the srotas will be defective. The function of the mulasthana is to produce the element that flows through the srotas, carry it and excrete it. If the srotas is dushta does not mean the mulasthana will be effected, but if mulasthana is defective, it will definitely mess up the srotas, which can then cause disease. The srotas can be fixed and with more effort, the organ may be able to be helped, but definitely will cause disease if not functioning mulasthana.

Functions of the Srotas

  1. Bhavapadarta Abhivahana – Charaka vimansthan 5th chapter – Srotamsi kalu, purinam apadhyanamanam

The element which flows through the srotas, abhivahanam = to carry. Primary function then is to carry the srotas

  1. Parinamana – change of state of dhatus happens in the srotas – so from one dhatu to the next. Dhatu agni lives with ashray of the srotas. Ashray means the shelter for the agni. Housed by the srotas. Because the dhatu agni is housed by the srotas, the change of state of that dhatu is located in the srotas. Annavaha srotas holds the change of state of food into saara and kitta and then into ahara and then into the rasa.

Everything that makes up the srotas and ALL that flows THROUGH the srotas IS the srotas. Tridosha and Mana – the whole body is their srotas. The whole body is a srotas for the three doshas and the mind. This is Sarvavyapi.

Why Srotas Vyagunya and Dushti happen – causative factors

Srotas Vyagunya – Deformity of Srotas – (opposite of guna is vyagunya – opposing to the gunyas)

Hetu – causative factors –

  1. Agantuka – external factors – anything from poison, to accident, too much cold, anything external
  2. Kulaja Hetu – Heredity – ex. diabetes/prameha causes mutravaha srotas to be defective
  3. Sahaja – Congenital – ex. When wall of heart doesn’t close in children. Unless that is fixed it will cause srotas to be defective due to congenital cause. The mulasthan of the pranavaha srotas is the heart.
  4. Mithya Aahar vihara – wrong food and lifestyle – a causative factor for most of the things which go wrong in the body. Ex. Constipation or you eat too much dry food that causes constipation and don’t treat will eventually cause piles/hemorrhoids which is a disease of the purisha srotas
  5. Previous Disease – say you have a cough, cold fever and you don’t treat properly, it further deteriorates and causes harm to the body which can affect the srotas. Ignoring cough for a long time can cause TB. Previous disease can be a causative factor for a new disease that is formed. So can be a causation

Every disease has multiple srotas involved in its expression, but there is a main srotas which is considered the cause of the disease formation.

 

Khavaygunya – space where problems are caused – where doshas accumulate and disease forms. Space is always present in srotas, that’s why disease is always present. For disease to form, there must be khavaygunya. Because srotas inherently has space, it is naturally a location of khavaygunya

 

Dhatu is produced in the srotas. Formed in the mulasthana and then carried into the srotas. The change of state happens in the srotas, that is when the mala is also formed. The dhatus need a space to form and that space is the srotas. Srotas can consist of 7 or 8 organs and khavaygunya can be in any of those spaces. When dhatu flows through it, there may be a weak spot due to various causative factors as above, and then doshas accumulate there, and then spread in disease. If mulasthana is defective the whole srotas will be affected.

 

When these factors combine with dushta dosha dhatus this will form srotas dushti – vitiation of srotas.

Srotavyagunya + dushta doshas = srotas dushti

Defective srotas + vitiated doshas = vitiated srotas

 

Symptoms of Srotas Dushti – NOT CAUSES

  1. Atipravruti – overformation/overflowing – formation is defective forms too much, forms in such a way that the element that flows through the srotas it is too liquid so it flows too fast and body can’t take its nutrition – either too much or too fast. High blood pressure too fast, not necessarily too much. Undigested food – too much, too fast.
  2. Sanga – dhatu which forms the srotas lining is defective which causes lining to increase which narrows the passage so the element has a harder time flowing through it. Arteriosclerosis. Or kapha, aam, any of those factors blocking the srotas. Sanga = obstruction. Can be caused either by blockage or too much lining. Must remove blockage or reduce lining.
  3. Siragranthi – all the other factors around the srotas cause the obstruction – from other srotas or organ cause tumor or something else to cause obstruction, so again the passage is blocked, but not internal to the srotas. External causative factor. Herniation comes out and blocks something else.
  4. Vimargagamana – because of sanga and siragranthi, element is blocked. Has to go somewhere, either accumulates or finds new passage. Vimargagamana is when it goes to another passage to eliminate. Losing the normal passage. Very rare that a srotas breaks inside the body, so not a common symptom. Ex. Blood in the urine – vague but an example.

Why srotas are important part of disease formation

All dosha dhatu mala are formed in srotas. Prakruti srotas will have the prakruti, and will form healthy materials. If dosha, dhatu or malas are vikruti will form vikruti srotas, and that will lead to vikruti material being formed. If prakruti is formed will have normal function and balance.

  • Pitta formed in srotas because formed in rakta dhatu
  • Kapha formed in rasa dhatu in srotas
  • Vata formed throughout all generative processes.

SO THEREFORE, since all are formed in srotas, its VERY IMPORTANT for bodily health and disease formation alike. Basically, without a srotas being involved, there is no disease formation.

 

What is experience, what is knowledge, what is the difference, what is real? Is your experience real? Really?

This post is due to the experience I have when being in America. There is great value placed on what seems like everything from a subjective experience that is then called knowledge. This is false when there is understanding of what knowledge is as well as what knowing of something is and how it happens.

Knowledge is of five kinds – sensory knowledge, scriptural knowledge, clairvoyance, telepathy, and omniscience.

That which knows its objects through the senses and the mind, or that through which the objects are known, or knowing alone is sensory knowledge. Owing to the destruction of karmas which cover it, that which hears, or that through which the ascertained objects are heard, or hearing alone is scriptural knowledge. These two are mentioned side by side, as these are governed by the relation of cause and effect. This is mentioned later, ‘Scriptural knowledge is preceded by sensory. The next kind is called avadhi (clairvoyance) as it ascertains matter in downward range or knows objects within limits. The object located in the thought of another is called mana (mind) due to association with the mind. Ascertaining it is telepathy. Now is it not sensory knowledge? No. Mana (mind) is merely relative. That which is displayed by destruction alone is merely spoken of with reference to one’s own and another’s mind. For instance we say, ‘Look at the moon in the sky’. Here the sky is intended merely as the background. That for the sake of which the seekers pursue the path by external and internal austerities is pure knowledge. Or it means without the help of anything else. This is mentioned last as it is attained at the end. Telepathy is mentioned close to it because of its proximity to it. How is there proximity? Self-restraint is the cause of both. Clairvoyance is removed. How? It is far removed from knowing.

Indirect knowledge is mentioned before direct knowledge, as it is easily intelligible. These are heard by, familiar to and experienced by all beings, for these are mostly attained by them. Thus these are the five kinds of knowledge.

Sensory knowledge, scriptural knowledge and clairvoyance may also be erroneous knowledge.

Viparyaya means false. How is it? It is because this is the section of right knowledge. Ca means also, that is wrong as well as right. Why are these wrong? These are wrong because these coexist in the soul with wrong belief. It is similar to the milk kept in a bitter gourd. Now the taste of the milk becomes different on account of the defect of the receptacle in which it is kept. But there is no error in the ascertainment of objects by wrong sensory knowledge etc.

For instance, just as the person of right faith perceives form, colour and so on, so also does the person of wrong faith. Just as the person of right faith ascertains form, colour etc. through scriptural knowledge and represents these accordingly, so also does the person of wrong attitude through wrong scriptural knowledge. And just as the man of right attitude ascertains matter through clairvoyance, so also does the man of wrong attitude through erroneous clairvoyance.

The first two (kinds of knowledge) are indirect (knowledge). Sensory knowledge is the first from the real point of view. Being next to it, scriptural knowledge is also considered the first figuratively. By the use of the dual number, the secondary one is also taken. The first and the first are the first two, namely sensory knowledge and scriptural knowledge. These two are indirect pramanas or knowledge. How are these indirect? These are dependent on others.

“Sensory knowledge is acquired through the senses and the mind, scriptural knowledge through the mind.”

Explaining the destruction of the karmas; sensory knowledge and scriptural knowledge arise in the soul through the senses and the mind in the presence of light, teaching, etc. Hence these are called indirect. And comparison, verbal testimony, etc. are included under these alone. The remaining three constitute direct knowledge. Now it is contended that knowledge resulting from the operations of the senses is direct and that arising without the functioning of the senses is indirect. These definitions which are not open to disagreement must be accepted. But it is improper to say so. For, if such a view is accepted, the authentic person would cease to be omniscient. If knowledge arising through the senses be considered direct, then there can be no direct knowledge in the case of the authentic person. For he does not attain knowledge through the senses. If he also is considered to derive knowledge only through the senses, he would not be omniscient. If it is contended that he derives direct knowledge through the mind, that knowledge is certainly not omniscience, as it is derived through the application of the mind. And it cannot be said that omniscience is established by scripture, for scripture presupposes the omniscient

The basic principle of knowing process of the Jîva or the Atma, and the variations in the knowing process of a particular Jîva are due to associated conditions. An ordinary living being has access to the environmental objects through sense-perception. Sense perception is through the medium of sense-organs of the body. Since they are parts of the body, physical and physiological, the sensory-organs are distinctly material in nature and thus distinct from the nature of Jîva or the Atma. Sense perception therefore is the knowledge which the Atman acquires of the environment through the intermediary of material sense organs. Since it is through the intermediary of physiological organs of sense, perceptual knowledge cannot be considered to be immediate access of the soul to the environment-objects. Hence sense perception becomes mediate and not immediate. Direct contact of Jîva with the object is what is called pratyaksha. Since the sense-perception is conditioned by physical sense-organs, it is not immediate. Sense-perception becomes paroksha, mediate knowledge. In this respect the terms pratyaksha and parokÈa are completely reversed. What is directly in contact with the soul is pratyaksha and what the soul acquires through the intermediary agent is paroksha. Hence the sense perception is a paroksha knowledge and not pratyaksha as described by the other Indian systems. But Jaina epistemology recognizes two kinds of supersensory knowledge, (1) awareness of objects in distant places and times, and (2) contact with thought present in other individual beings. The former is called Avadhij›âna which may be translated as clairvoyant knowledge, and the latter is called Manasparyayajnana which means telepathy in the language of modern psychology. These two features of supersensory knowledge, Avadhi and Manasparyayajnana, clairvoyance and telepathy, are recognized to be knowledge of immediate type or pratyaksha, since they do not depend upon any intermediary of sensory-organs. Of course, the real pratyaksha knowledge is the supreme knowledge of Paramatma when he gets rid of karmic bondage and when he attains Kevalajnana – the knowledge par excellence. This knowledge is infinite and unlimited by spatial and temporal conditions.

From the empirical point of view (vyavahara nyaya), eight kinds of knowledge and four kinds of perception are generally said to be the possessions of the soul. And from the pure transcendental point of view (uddha niucaya nyaya), soul’s distinctive characteristic is pure knowledge and perception.

 

 

 

Review of digestion…. again.

How does digestion take place?

First you observe what you eat. Prana vayu takes the food in, chew it up and bodhaka kapha (in saliva, important for understanding tastes that in turn stimulate the process of digestion) mixes with food, then we swallow using prana vayu, food goes down to stomach, mixes with kleda kapha – creating separation of food particles away from each other so that pachaka pitta can break it down, it moves from amashaya onwards to the grahani, which further breaks apart and then separates it into the saara and kitta. (gross level/sthula digestion ends with this creation of saara and kitta.) Samana Vayu is the flow of the digestion, not air. Samana Vayu fans the agni before any of its other functions. Samana Vayu controls how much time the food takes to mix with the kledaka kapha. How much food should go on as well. Holds food in particular place in particular amount of time. If not held correct time, it is not broken down enough, and therefore can’t continue onwards in small enough particles to be up-taken by body. Present all over the koshta but specifically in the ileocecal valve. Samana Vayu will hold in the pachaka pitta for right amount of time (if you can see identifiable matter in fecal matter, then samana vayu is not functioning appropriately – malabsorbsion in western lingo but it can be many things and this is why the western labels are so vague). Then samana vayu takes saara to heart. From heart, then vyana vayu carries onwards to dhatus. Kitta is also important and must follow its proper course for elimination. If elimination is not happening properly with apana vayu, vata will move upward instead of downward and disturb digestion. 

Whatever mahabhutas have entered the body form saara and kitta. Saara is not the same as dhatus – it goes to nourish those dhatus. The easiest way to understand saara is that it will replenish every dhatu in turn. Kitta will be excreted in form of urine and fecal matter. Saara replenishing all the dhatus is called subtle digestion. This saara is then called Aahara Rasa. Food + Nourishing components = aahara rasa. Dhatus have its own house called the srotas. The rasavaha srotas are the channels that aahara rasa gets moved throughout the body to the dhatus. Rasa + flowing + channels = rasa vaha srotas. If a person has consumed a lot of say pork or meat and the body does manage to digest it, the aahara rasa would be so heavy that it would cause dysfunction. Therefore, it goes to the rasa vaha srotas, actually to the agni of the rasa dhatu and that further breaks down the aahara rasa.

So here it goes…..

Aaahara rasa -> rasa vaha srotas : is it digestible? -> rasa dhatu. If not digestible -> rasagni -> Rasa -> then goes to the Rasa Upadhatus of breastmilk and menstrual fluid -> leftovers are kapha. So if rasagni is not healthy, the aahara rasa wouldn’t be able to create in good manner. Either not enough, or in excessive and bad quality. It takes one day to complete rasa.

It is very important to keep the top of the stomach empty so that there is room for the mix and breakdown of the food to happen. ¼ liquid, ¼ empty, ½ solid – but factor in the water content of all the food you are taking in. According to various conditions of the individual, the rules change – if there is a lot of kledaka kapha in the body, one doesn’t drink water, cause it will lead to nausea because of too much water. By water, we mean liquid. In the Western world, blanket statements are made about water intake around food. Most say that one should not drink with food. by seeing that it is determined by the individuals situation you see that this is very wrong. This as an example is exactly why there are so many theories out there in the Western world of health and they all end up wrong due to generalized blanket statements and a lack of being able to see the individual. What happens if one takes water in before the meal? During the meal? After the meal? Warm water or cold? it all makes a huge difference to what will happen. See the idea?

In the grahani, pachaka pitta is present (has Tejas + Aap Mahabhuta) when levels of aap drop down, this stage is clearly pronounced. You then feel hungry at certain times. That is only when Aap mahabhuta is reduced, Tejas shows its presence and we call that hunger. This is true in every case, every time. no hunger, no digestive capability.

Manda agni – when kapha is more present than others, and qualities of kapha will be more present in the way that it slows down the digestion slightly. This is more than general physiology/prakruti. This is why it is said that when you exercise you increase your agni – raises the fire. Not associated with digestion process.

Tikshna agni – qualities of pitta are more present than others and that is all over. It is more prevalent in digestion but true everywhere in pitta person. The digestion is not connected to the constitution like it is said to be in Western Ayurveda. A kapha person can have tikshna agni. A pitta person can have manda agni. 

If we like the food we eat, the mind wants more, increases hunger. If we have properly digested the meal, we will be hungry again.

Dudhi, opo squash: A summer staple

Dudhi

calabash

Dudhi is most patyahara – best food. Add it to green mung beans for recovery from fevers and illness. Dudhi has Sattva Guna in Abundance. Dudhi is also known as Calabash, Lagenaria siceraria, long melon, Opo squash, and Bottle gourd. To find a ripe one, you should be able to pierce the skin with a fingernail. You can usually find them in chinese grocers or Indian stores.

Qualities of Dudhi: Madhur Rasa, Laghu Guna, Virya: Shita, Vipaka: Madhur. Because of its Laghu quality, it is more easily digested.

Dudhi is sometimes prepared with tomato, but this will increase Rajas Guna and the desire to eat more and faster without experiencing satiation. However, if you did want to add tomatoes, you would do so after sautéing onions and before adding dudhi – cook until the break down a bit and get mushy. Will also aggravate Pitta, so be forewarned.

To prepare:

Peel green outer layer. Scoop out the inner seeds and discard. The remaining part is the part we eat.

We prepare differently according to dosha vikruti.

 

It can be made to pacify each dosha. Like most cooking that is done in Ayurveda, this is one aspect. Ayurvedic cooking is not eating foods for a dosha specific diet found from a checklist and then followed all year around.

 

Vata Shamana Dudhi/Vata Pacifying Dudhi

To pacify Vata, add sweetness, unctuousness, and warmth.

Ingredients:

  • Ghee
  • Dhanyaka/coriander
  • Hing
  • Cumin
  • black pepper (lots)
  • Could also add ajwain which is good for Vata/Kapha but tastes bad, so not useful.

Heat ghee, cumin and hingu, then sauté onions, add turmeric, then when onions soft, add dudhiand salt, cook till dudhi is soft but not mushy.

Saute in pressure cooker with NO water. Let steam for 4-5 long whistles.

 

Kapha Shamana Dudhi/Kapha Pacifying Dudhi

To pacify Kapha, add pungency and very little ghee or salt (aap increasing), and no onions (kapha increasing).

Ingredients:

  • Grated Ginger
  • black pepper
  • mustard seeds
  • turmeric
  • Ghee – very little, only 1 tsp. – just enough to pop seeds

Heat ghee, add mustard seeds, wait for seeds to pop. Then add turmeric, dudhi and grated ginger, then a little salt.

Saute in pressure cooker with NO water. Let steam for 4-5 long whistles.

 

Pitta Shamana Dudhi/Pitta Pacifying Dudhi

To pacify Pitta, add sweetness and bitters, and no pungents. Possible inclusions could be ghee, onions, cumin, fennel seeds, methi/fenugreek, dhanyaka/coriander

Ingredients:

  • Ghee
  • Cumin
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Onions
  • Coriander powder
  • Salt

Heat ghee, add cumin and fennel seeds, turmeric and onions. Saute till soft, then add dudhi, coriander powder and salt.

Saute in pressure cooker with NO water. Let steam for 4-5 long whistles.

 

 

 

Dudhi – anyone can have it, if not in vruddhi- it is easily digested and a good food for rasa dhatu. If in kapha vruddhi, already laghu so would it would add laghu. In vayu vruddhi, add more ghee and onions and garlic. In pitta, can add coriander leaves, fennel, cumin. The idea with ayurvedic cooking is more medicated cooking, not following a list of foods for a dosha, that is incorrect. Opo is homologous to all. Eggplant is hot and dry – so we aggravate vata and pitta. It is only good then for pure kapha. If someone is vata kapha may benefit from eggplant with a little oil.

Opo is nourishing, yet light good for rasa dhatu. Good post-fever, with aama, while convalescing, improves milk production. Famous for helping everyone get better – even eat it in the morning. Not only good in spring cause of its light and madhura quality, but also good for Pitta in the summer – balances pitta without aggravating vayu. Dudhi across the line is good for healthy and sick alike. If body weight loss is a concern, add less ghee.

 

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