Human Biology from the paradigm of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is much more than a fad diet. Although it has become popular as a diet plan and many of its products, techniques, and treatments are being superficially dismantled from the knowledge and sold in the Western way, it is actually over 5000 years old and finds its roots in 10,000 yrs old wisdom of how to live a beneficial life in tune with nature and the cosmos. A life of health and longevity in every possibly comprehendible way. It is not out dated and of no use today. It is needed more today than ever before.
Human Biology from Ayurvedic view point
Health is a dynamic phenomenon in view of Ayurveda , and defined as a equilibrium state (qualitatively / quantitatively) of doshas, proper functioning of Agni, proper formation and compactness of seven basic dhatus, excretion of malas, soundness of senses, mind and soul.
The body, senses, mind, soul are the four components of Integral health.
Combination of Dosha – Dhatu – Mala.
DOSHAS [are the physiological / functional units of body – Vata, Pitta – Kapha]
Vata (Vayu + Akasha) – force behind every movements and their control. It is mainly dry, cold and light active force.
Vata is located in colon, thighs, hips, ears, bones, brain and organ of touch; mainly in colon.
Vata governs all higher sensory functions, speech, sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste etc. and activities of heart, mind and consciousness. It also control the functions of lungs i.e. inhalation, belching, sneezing etc.
Pitta (Agni) – The force behind every activity related to digestion and metabolism at body and mental level.
It is mainly hot, moist, light and sharp in nature.
Pitta is located in small intestine, stomach, sweat & sebaceous glands, blood, lymph and sense organ of vision. Prime site is small intestine, it governs- digestion, body temperature, visual perception, hungers, thirst, complexion, understanding, intelligence, courage and softness of body.
Kapha (prithvi + jala) – It is a cohesive force and reflects the power of body, mind and resistance power.
It is mainly cold, moist, heavy and firm.
It is located in stomach, lymph, fat, nose and tongue; primary site is stomach.
Kapha provides stability, lubrication, compactness and patience, good retention power.
These three categories of doshas are basically the three active elements among the five basic elements Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. In specific permutations and combinations they form various types of particles, elements, molecules, cells, tissues and finally more stable different organisms human is just among them is one the most developed organism, in view of Ayurveda.
structural units of all the bodily elements that provide support / nourishment to cell- tissue- organs – organ systems. These are of 7 categories:
1. Rasa [Body fluid] – nourished from food chyle. It provides nutrients to all other dhatus. It provides calmness, quietness, softness and happiness
2. Rakta [Blood cells] – nourished from rasa and Pitta, mainly located in liver and spleen & remains in circulation throughout body. It provides freshness warm feelings, ambition, brightness, courage and delicacy.
3. Mamsa [Muscular tissue] – nourished from rasa and rakta. It provides shape and strength to bodily organs, body, offer protection and ability to work, forgiveness, bravery and straight forwardness.
4. Meda [Adipose tissue] – nourished from rasa& mamsa. Lubricate all tissues. It is responsible for feeling like love, compassion, delicacy and abundance.
5. Asthi [Bone tissues]- nourished from meda and rasa. It gives the body a functional shape, hair, nails, teeth, joints are nourished by it; it is responsible for supportive nature, hard working and leadership quality.
6. Majja [Bone marrow] – nourished from asthi& rasa. It maintains softness, oiliness, liquidity and smoothness. It provides happiness, strength, compassion and caring attitude.
7. Sukra [Generative tissues including semen]- nourished from majja& rasa. It remains distributed in all tissues to facilitate cell division in healthy state & to repair & regenerate the damaged cells. Most obvious form of it is produced in males. It provides happiness, joy, inner- beauty, vitality, physical strength, intelligence and differentiation power to tissues and reproductive power.
The most active part of seven Dhatu. It initiates, strengthen & integrate the activities of doshas and Dhatu as well. Mainly located in heart & in general it pervades the entire body. It provide stability, support, regeneration& rejuvenation to damaged tissues, control ageing mechanism, calmness, helps in meditation, concentration power, intellect, memory, resistance power to fight various diseases.
MALAS (WASTE MATERIALS)
During the process of digestion and metabolism the essence formed from food taken, nourish the basic elements of body and waste materials formed are excreted through different orifices from the body from time to time in the form of sweat, urine, faces, dirt of ears, eyes, nose, mouth, genitals, nails etc. Their proper excretion is health but accumulation or/ and disturbance in the process of digestion and metabolism creates a lot of health problems.
The organs through which we perceive the knowledge & communicate & act accordingly.10 Sensory organs [5 Sense organs+5 motor organs]
Sense organs are Eyes [To see], Ears [To hear], Nose [To smell], Tongue [To taste], and Skin [To feel touch, temperature, and pressure]
Motor organs are Hands [To work], Feet [To walk], Tongue [To speak], Anus [To defecate] & Genitals [To urinate and sexual activities].
is said to be one, subtle, substantial basis & abode of egoism, perception, intellect& memory. Mainly 4 levels are described to explain the functions of mind-
a) It is the storage house of the deeds done in previous & present life depending on that birth & quality of present life is decoded
b) An independent faculty which generates willingness, thought processing and developing concepts, research and discovery, anger, manipulations, ego, reality
c) It acts as a messenger also to communicate in between various organs & brain working under autonomic nerves system.
d) The faculty to process the knowledge generated by external stimuli, received through sense organs.
Satva, the quality of goodness, light & calm.
Rajas, the quality of activity, passion & unrest
Tamas, the quality of darkness, inertia & delusion
Satva, Rajas & Tamas are the gunas of mind.
Life principle. Soul is the principle of life/ consciousness; the Devine principle along with the subtle body that descends into the process of evolution at the time of fertilization and architect its instruments – body, mind& senses depending on the stored deeds & experiences of previous life .
The soul that is immortal while rest disintegrates; it passes & grow from life to life by using its instruments. The life sustain till this life principle integrate the body and all senses, mind, body and its metabolic powers get lost when this life principle detached along with the subtle body from the gross body in view of Ayurveda.
The soul is the micro part of cosmic consciousness. Higher than this atman state in the process of evolution is jeevatman which is not born nor evolve but presides over the individual birth & evolution& put forward a representative of Him on each plane of consciousness. It remains pure, stainless & unaffected by the stains of life, by desire, ego& ignorance& hence described as omnipotent, pure consciousness, unborn, omniscience, Illuminator, omnipresent, undifferentiated.
It is realized by Indian Yogis from time to time as the true being, life principle in all existable entities ; not only this but when the ego-ignorance dissolves that it can be realized that everything; the whole play of nature takes place in it.
AGNI (DIGESTIVE FIRE)
Agni (fire) ,being one of the panchamahabhoota, has the characteristic that it cannot exist without a base. In the body it exists in pitta dosha.
Agni is responsible for the following functions:
Digestion – indigestion (Pakti- Apakti)
Vision- absence of vision (Darshanam- Adarshanam)
Degree of heat (Matra- Amatratvamushmanala)
Normal -abnormal complexion (Prakrit – Vikarit varnam)
Prowess- fear (Shaurya- Bhaya)
Anger – exholoration (krodham- Harsham)
Confusion- clarity of mind (Moha- Prasadan)
For the metabolic processes in the body, there are three main groups of biological factors, probably exhibiting enzymatic functions (agnis).
Jatharagni or Koshthagni:
Present in the pachak pitta. It is responsible for the digestion and the absorption of nutritious substances during this process.
The process of digestion (ahar pachan) is divided in three stages, which collectively is called awastha paka and can be divided in the following.
Amavstha (Madhuravastha) Paka – in stomach
Pachymanavastha (Amlavstha) Paka – in ‘grahani’ (Duodenum)
Pakavstha (Katuavstha) Paka – in small and large intestine
As the rasa changes in different phase of digestion these phase of digestion are called avsthapaka. At the end of the digestion the digested food have their original rasa which is in accordance with the rasa of the ingested food. This is called as Nistha paka .It is also called popularly as Vipaka.
Madhur rasa & Lavan rasa have Madhura Vipaka, Amla rasa have amla vipaka and Katu, Tikta & Kashaya rasa have Katu vipaka.
In ayurveda it is believed that everything is made up of five elements and so is the body. These five elements are the panchmahabhoota and are responsible for constituting every living being in the world. Agni transforms the Asharir Mahabhoota (external mahabhoot) to Sharir Mahabhoota. Example – When we drink water Jala Mahabhoota (water) dominates and later the water is transformed by Jala Mahabhoota agni to the Sharir Jala Containing five types of biological factors, it is responsible for the processing of the five basic elements into a composition useful to the body.
The third group contains seven types, each for the assimilation of the seven tissues This assimilation takes place successively. From the absorbed nutritious substance, plasma (rasa) is produced first; from plasma, blood (rakta) is formed, then muscular tissue (mamsa), adipose tissue (meda), bony tissue (asthi), bone marrow (majjan) and the reproductive cells (shukra).
Besides performing all the metabolic functions agni takes care of digestion (ahar pachan) and in the absence of ahar it acts on the ama pachan i.e. properly metabolize the improper metabolites. When ahar and ama are absence Agni does the function of dhatu i.e. rasa, rakta etc. Digestion of dhatu is a fatal condition in which dhatus are broken down to get energy. The reduction or deficiency of the quantum of dhatu in the human body leads to the disease called ‘Kshaya roga’.
In ayurveda it is believed that all the pathology occurs due to the impairment in Agni (Kaya). Hence the correction of Kaya i.e. Agni is called the treatment or ‘Kaya Chikitsa’ in ayurveda
Agnis are also classified into four categories according to how they manifest in the human being:
Mandagni – mild,
Vishamagni – irregular, and
Samagni – regular or Balanced.