Ayurveda: Mind and Disease

Mind is trigunya, not tridosha.
In Ayurveda the body and the mind are two pathways for the manifestation of disease. The mind itself is of three constituents of sattvika (balance and purity), rajasika (arrogance and activity), and tamasika (indolence and ignorance). Rajas and tamas are only reactive tendencies that culminate and vitiate the mind and are the creation factors of psychological disturbances. The mind without these is sattvika, naturally pure and of correct functioning. Therefore the two doshas (that which is imbalanced) of the mind are rajas and tamas. There is also the three biological humors of Vata, Pitta and Kapha which are also doshas but of the body, not the mind. They are what vitiate and create metabolic imbalance within the body which intern culminates and vitiates the body with somatic disturbances. The mind and body have separate etio-pathological agents. This is why diseases in Ayurveda are classified under two categories of somatic and psychological. What is taught in the Western world for ayurveda does not teach this and instead throws everything into a vata pitta and kapha waste basket of generalities. Ayurveda exists only in details, not generalities.

The explanation:
Samprapti (pathogenesis) of manasroga Ayurvedic classics holds that the disturbance of the equilibrium of Manas Gunas leads to the origin of mental disorders along with disequilibrium of sharirika dosha. There are three qualities of mind viz. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. When these three remain in equilibrium state leads to mental wellbeing. When this state of equilibrium is disturbed i.e. when Rajas and Tamas Doshas are increased or reduction in the qualities of sattvaguna leads to development of Manas vikaras. Such disorders according to Ayurveda are minor. But when the somatic Doshas viz, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are involved in the process of pathogenesis, the disease produced as a result of such interaction is considered as major one. At this level there is usually marked alteration of Dhi, Dhriti and Smriti. Charaka has described the samprapti of manasroga in very systematic way. Accordingly the etiological factors primarily vitiate Raja and Tama (Manas Doshas), which affect Hridaya (the seat of intellect or brain) of an Alpasattva person and causes ManovahaSrotodusti (vitiates psychic centre .i. e. emotion etc) and give rise to different Manasroga. 

Ayurveda considers Manasroga (mental disease) as a consequence of doshja (of vata pitta and kapha) and gunaja (Rajas and Tamas) imbalances, which result in mistakes of the Intellect (prajnaparada) which is the true root cause of all mental disorders.

The psyche and soma are always interrelated as they influence symbiotically into psychosomatic disorders. There are so very few disorders that come from just either one singularly. This is why Ayurveda has a huge comprehensive psychosomatic approach that does contain completely management, treatment and cure as well as diagnosis to see a disorder and its ability to be managed, treated, or cured.

There are three categories of method of treatment approach. They are Daivavyapasraya (esoteric/magic/religious) practices, Sattvajaya (psychological), and Yuktivyapasraya (physio-pharmaacological).

Daivavyapasraya is from the words devah surayonayah meaning a divine or celestial personality, daivamadrushtam which is fate or destiny that is not seen or known, and daivam karma yadpourvadaihikam which is the acts of past life and based in the concept of rebirth. Daivavyapasraya is derived from the Rig Veda and Artharvaveda and other literature. This is dealing with past life actions and diseases due to them. Treatment is from mantra and divine intervention.The funny thing about this is that it has no place in modern Western world paradigm. It has its roots over 10,000 years in deep detailed understanding of the entirety and hierarchy of creation and manifestation from subtle to matter. Yet, today the Western science is searching for the “god particle” but disputes and invalidates anything from an “ancient” science.

Daiva makes reference to all that is acquired before birth in inheritance of past lives. All of what goes into this; familial, class, lineage, profession, location of descent, age of descent, and all have qualities that bestow beneficial or non-beneficial qualities on the individual of which they must live out. All of which are unseen and beyond reason of the human mind. because of this it is nowadays called spiritual. Treatments are thought of as black magic, sorcery, and witchcraft, but are actually just rituals  like benedictions and offerings but with detailed understanding of the connections to nature. Mantra itself is not as the Western spiritual world of today would like to think as you can say whatever you want and it is all good as the entire pronunciation is slaughtered by the western tongue of pop spiritual bands and rock kirtan. Rather mantra it is a science of detail with two primary aspects; dhavani and varna or sound and the form/alphabet.The actual sound or vibration and its effect are grouped under dhvani. This includes the science of pronunciation and chanting (Siksha), and the energy associated with sounds/beejas. The basic study of varna or sound-roots is the piece of the detail. The combination of varnas to form words, their sequencing and ordering in sentences is called vyakarana or grammar. The study of meanings associated to words is nirukta. It is based on the psychological effect or reaction to various natural phenomena, and the sounds corresponding to those effects. Chandas is another detail as it is the study of meter, arrangement of syllable groups, with different lengths. So, Dhvani is the acoustic aspect of Shabda. Varna, as it means color, is basically the shade of sound that is produced. Varna mala is the set of basic elements of sound, from which all kinds of sounds emanate. There are seven varnas then there are 64 sound roots or ganas under this. Suffice to say, it is a science of sound related to a unmanifest divine hierarchy that is hardly understood or believed by the western world, hence the irreverence in the slaughter of it and the invalidation by the western medical science. Today there are so many new “scientific break-thoughs”, that we are seeing with “new” discoveries such as research by Masaru Emoto showing that water molecules are subject to effect of human consciousness and other stuff based in quantum theory that is just the ancient science rewritten.

Other treatments of Daivavyapasraya come in the same detailed form as mantra but of Incantations, wearing precious stones or amulets of herbs, performing propitiatory rites, offerings and oblations, sacrifices, restraints and penitence, fasting, benedictions, prostrations, pilgrimages, prayer, pacificatory rites, and observing vows. All of these are based in individuality of the individual from place to need to disease.


Sattvavajaya or subjugation of the mind is the next treatment category. Its principles and methodology based in the detailed understanding of manas (the mind) and its functions.It ranges from conciliatory measures to psychophysical shock. Some of the concepts are; manonigraha or mind control, aswasanadayah or reconcilitory measures, pradtidwandvibhavah or replacement of emotions with opposites, manokshobanam or pyschophysical shock, sadachara or moral and behavioral code of conduct, and samadhih or mental equanimity.

The three principal causes of disease are asatmedriyarthasamyoga, prajnapardha, and parinama. Asatmedriyarthasamyoga is any unhealthy/unwholesome/incompatible contact or interaction between the mind and the environment/respective objects with or without the agency of the sensory organs. Interaction in general is a continual process. Prajnapardha is intellectual blasphemy or doing what one knows is harmful…. “one bite of this is not going to hurt” or staying up to late because one decides to watch a movie or work.  Parinama is time factors including chrono-biological errors like seasonal disturbances. In all three of these there is three types of that contact; excessive, deficient and erroneous… too much, too little, and just plain wrong. We can see in the Western modern world today that most everything pretty much falls into these categories from the media, music, movies and other sensory overload to lifestyle of over work and then party hard. Even our basis of success is based upon working extra hard or excessive to be successful like putting in all nighters and even our education system is based in the same, etc etc. Stressful socio-environmental conditions send their signals to the mind directly or through the sense organs. The stressor that causes psychosomatic and psychological disturbances is always of too high, too low, mixed, or incompatible frequencies to the human system. Error of judgement in the Western world is based in balancing what one has to gain on a material level and based in desire rather than intelligence and knowledge of beneficial or non-beneficial to the health of the being. The very lines of what is beneficial is blurred showing the depth to the adharma that exists in the culture. Errors of judgement pertains to sensory actions, mental processes and modes of speech. Each of these are then sub grouped into excessive, inadequate or improper use. All action done in these manners create an imbalance in the doshas and is the very cause of exogenous and psychological disease. Ayurveda gives extensive detail to this  and covers all diseases that are due to expression and suppression of urges, improper conduct, and unwholesome contact of cognitive sense organs with objects.

Treatment is based in psychological controls. They are: samachittatwam which is treatments and techniques focused on building of a calm mind (mental equanimity), jnanam which is proper knowledge or proper understanding (proper understanding means knowledge of self, the place, family, time, vitality, and ability), samadhih (mental tranquility), smritih (memory), dhih (intellect). dhritih (perseverance), and dhairyam (valor). You may see that these when absent are the very reasons for pragnaparadha.


Yuktivyapasraya is internal purification therapy or panchakarma. This is treatment based in management and elimination of the doshas (biological humors) and malas (wastes) or basically cleansing procedures focused in elimination, evacuation and removal of the causative agents of disease to ensure the non recurrence. It includes emesis, purgation, basti, nasal insufflation, blood letting, dietetic regimen, and can include external purification measures, surgical methods, and palliative measures.




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