Daily regime – Dinacharya

This is an important component of the health care measures. In modern time man has utilized his whole intellectual capacity to find out every possible measure for his comfort. He found out the means to save the time that he is able to complete a year’s work in hours or even minutes. But unfortunately with all these time saver means he is not able to spare some time for his health care. Principles of Ayurvedic Dinacharya are based on certain comprehensible logics. Like other living beings man is also part of this cosmos. All the activities of the universe run according to certain preset programs. We hardly can find a lapse in these programs and the coordinated activities .Every being has to act as a part of this whole machinery. Usually all the living beings follow the natural laws. Only man does not obey them. If some part of a machine fails in working in coordination with other parts, it causes severe damage to the machine together with that part. Ayurvedic Dinacharya is meant to act according to cosmic rhythm and in coordination with other beings. Sometimes there are some arguments against Dinacharya that this is difficult to adopt routines of some very different culture. Here we have to realize facts about concept of culture. Culture is result of collective behavior of certain society and is never fixed for all the time. This is always in the process of reforming. Man continuously makes changes in any cultural setup according to his interests, needs, beliefs and circumstances. Therefore we can see fast integration of different cultures throughout the world. Unfortunately concept of holistic health has very least place in these cultural integrations. If one is determined to adopt healthy daily routines, there cannot be any hurdle in that. Dinacharya means to live in a regular and natural rhythm of life and includes timely rest, timely and within the capacity work, timely sleep, timely waking, timely and right food, non-suppression of natural urges and well balanced emotional behavior. To act against these rules is cause of diseases. Diet is very important aspect of Dinacharya and is a special concept of Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, wholesome or a good food is only factor to cause normal development in body. Human body is produced of food and also gets its growth and maintenance through food. Wholesome food is cause of an excellence in health. Contrary to this unwholesome is responsible for origin of disease. When Ayurveda talks about wholesome, its criteria for wholesome are not based on the principles of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Ayurvedic criteria are based on our own natural perceptions. How do animals decide their food? They do not have any laboratory to test chemical composition and toxicity of grass, leaves, fruits, or the different fleshes. They judge the food with the help of their own perceptions. They still possess this strong perceptive faculty in themselves while we are gradually losing it because of our growing dependence on laboratories. Ayurveda has developed the wisdom of dietetics on the basis of these natural perceptions at different levels of our sensorium. When we put a piece of some food article it gives some feelings in the mouth, on the tongue together with some feeling at mental levels. This is the first perceptive level giving us several information about food and is very important level. This perception is known as ‘Rasa’ or the taste. As far food is concerned Ayurveda has emphasized much on Rasa (the taste), being very simple perception but able to provide very important clues about contents and quality of food. Not only this is important that what do we eat but this is similarly important that when and how we eat. Body has its biological clock. Body is not ready to perform any activity at any time. Ayurveda has categorized the function and classified them according to biological clock. For example morning time is period of Kapha, if we eat heavy food in breakfast, our stomach is not prepared to digest it properly and there are possibilities of production of some harmful products. Midday is period of Pitta, and body is prepared to digest any kind of food properly. In the evening again there is period of Kapha and Srotas act sluggishly in the night, our supper should be light. There is a popular saying in Europe that “Eat like a king in a breakfast, like a farmer in the lunch and like a beggar in the supper.” Unfortunately this saying is highly misinterpreted. I interpret that kings do not eat much, so we have to consider the amount of food in the breakfast with that. Farmers are hard workers, they need a good amount of food and that kind of amount is good for lunch. This is not possible to explain all the rules pertaining to dietetics; few most essential useful aspects are highlighted here. Ayurveda emphasizes on selection of food according to Prakriti (innate predominance of Doshas in individual’s constitution). Usually people ignore this knowingly and unknowingly. If a person with Vata- Kapha dominance consumes food with Vata – Kapha properties, he will be prone to have diseases of Vata Kapha origin, for example, Asthma. If he avoids this type of food, he may protect himself from Asthma. A person with Kapha dominance, if consumes Kapha food, he may suffer with Kapha type diseases as Diabetes mellitus or Atherosclerosis. Ayurveda recommends avoiding certain unwholesome combinations of food articles. Combining milk with sour and salty thing; with onion, garlic, fish, radish and bananas are few examples. These cause vitiation in Rakta Dhatu and may produce skin diseases. In modern time when lots of discussions are there about skin allergies, one shall try to avoid this type of combinations in food. Together with activities and food, Achara (moral codes of conduct) are also important part of Dinacharya. These are based on principles of equality of all creatures and include restraining ourselves from the actions which we do not like for ourselves from others.

For more on Dinacharya see other posts, search to the right at the top…. Dinacharya

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8 thoughts on “Daily regime – Dinacharya

  1. What time, in relation to sunset, should a person go to sleep? I find waking up during sunrise much easier to do when I have gone to bed as the sun is setting, what explanation is there for this?

    You mentioned in another post that the further away from the equator an individual is, the more he will have to adjust his lifestyle (different climates, etc.) Could you make a post about this at some point? Could you also comment on waking & bed times during winter months, particularly in places that are very cold, snowy, and have late sunrises & sunsets? The sun will not be out until around 8am and will be down completely by 6pm at certain points during winter, how should I adjust eating/sleeping to this?

    • Hi.
      Going to bed before the elements change is what is really what is being understood to answer your question. be in bed asleep by 10 is the real answer here but understand that the time is just a number and depending upon where someone is on this planet and what time of year it is, this all will change.

      There is no explanation for what you are experiencing. Sandya is when the change of the elements happens when sun rises or sets. it is a time that nothing is to be done because of that conflict of elements and it is said in texts that nothing should be started at those times as it is a defect in time.

      I will try to write something someday on a deeper understanding of the seasons and times and doshas and lifestyle and stuff. My experience is that not many people actually get the very basics so there is nothing that can be understood by going further.

      Agni rules your digestion. Sun is connected to agni. Sun blocked agni low. Wet outside agni low. Hot outside agni wet and body weak. Cold outside agni strong. Morning wet, afternoon dry and hot, evening dry and cold. Simple. Put it all together as to how you should be eating based in the seasons. Forget completely about the dosha based diet stuff and follow this. You’ll learn your prakriti thru this and how it works while following a list of things to eat or not based on a test will not teach you much at all. Experience the world and nature and how it is everything going on within you as well, nothing different. This will bring the mind into balance as much as the body.
      I have told some people that you can put me in a dark room with no access to light or the outside and I can tell you when the sun rises and sets as well as generally what time it is. It is not magic. No super normal extraordinary power that i have gained by doing unknown secret yogic sadhanas but i market it that way to sell courses and workshops (kidding). It is only simple applied knowledge. Not following a chore list and blind belief.
      Hope that gives a much greater sense of what is available and what real ayurveda is. 😉

  2. Forgive my ignorance but through following the seasons, what takes precedence? If a person has a kapha imbalance (obesity for example) and it’s it’s mid June, will the season nullify the effects of taking kapha provoking foods and not worsen the problem? Same for vata disorder in spring and pitta disorders in winter?

    And I think there was a misunderstanding. When I said proper mode of living it was referring to leading a moral life. As in could one who simply abstains from killing, stealing, lying etc cure there disease via the path of morality since their mind is becoming pure? If I understand the workings of karma/kamma to even a small degree then a diseased mind will eventually lead to a diseased body and vice versa.

    • Great questions.
      Not that simplified though.
      Depending on other factors as well. Desha kala patra.
      So what is the balance of the individual, since there are not really single dishes states. The imbalance of course will be lessened in that appropriate season. But it does not completely nullify it. It is all individual circumstance dependent as well as the environment will also have its effect. There is also more to it as well. But generally, simplified, you are on the right track. A person with a kapha imbalance will have less of the symptoms in summertime. Eating kapha provoking foods will still have the kapha provoking effects and possibly even worse since the digestion is at it weakest and if your talking ice cream at that time for that person, yeah, it’s gonna hurt. Agni comes first. Pitta disorder in winter I am not understanding though.
      Yes, the season bring what is the imbalance of the season back down to baseline but I do not think you fully understand all the parts that are part of this. Read the 6 stages of disease. See if that brings light to this.

      So i ask you to look more into karma and understand it for your second part there. Also understand that everyone has afflictions. In certain ways that are particular to them. It is actually very complex question you have asked and to complex to answer easily. There are lots of moving parts…. watch your fingers.😝
      If someone has the karma and affliction to their mind that brings about a lack of discernment, then what is the long term outcome for them?
      This is why in general it is always easier to keep everything simple and just say yes, it is all just about living a moral life and the person will maintain health. But it is not true in the detail.

      • Right. I know that karma is much more complex than “do this and that happens” and my statement didn’t do it justice. In the pali canon, the workings of karma is listed as one out of 4 “imponderables” that if one were to speculate they could drive themselves crazy looking for a straightforward answer.

        Indeed, a moral person may suffer from a terrible disease or other from past transgressions but I don’t see any reason to believe that it’s random or that they are sick BECAUSE of moral behavior.

        As you seem to imply above; ignorance as to what is wholesome and unwholesome is one of if not the most crippling diseases; as long term ignorance breeds long term unwholesomeness. It seems that our expectations as humans as to what constitutes justice and fairness may not always be met.

        But on a more straightforward note; I remember reading on your site that we should avoid eating sweet foods in the first week of summer. Now do you mean to say that we shouldn’t eat sweets during the transitional period between spring and summer?(may 15-21) or that we should avoid sweets between may 22-28?

        From my limited experience it seems that the season usually goes into full effect on the 22nd of its respective month. Perhaps spring to summer is different?

      • https://trueayurveda.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/what-is-yoga-as-per-the-main-text-of-ayurvedic-charaka-samhita/

        Read this and see if it makes more sense to you.

        Another little curve ball to all of this….. if you study jyotish, you will understand the variables that go into someones intellect, where it is focused which is different from everyone else. How their mind is, how it works, etc etc their judgement, if it is good or not, why and what, their ethics and morality, their purity, what truth is to them…… i can go on.
        in this, we understand that everyone is different and at different levels. Everyone. An easy western way of understanding this is just the IQ test. Everyone is different. Now think of 1000 different variables like the IQ test and your starting to get a better and realistic picture. So what is moral? is it then what an individual thinks is moral? Really? Or maybe that question itself guides one to realize it is of a higher order, regardless of what a person thinks of god, religion, and all their other ideas and opinions.
        And I am going to add one more piece to this….. just because someone does not experience something does not make it real or not based upon what they think. As an example, if someone has never experienced snow, it does not mean snow does not exist but their belief may be that snow does not exist because that is their experience. On a different level just because someone has no experience of god and thinks everything is a belief as our modern world tends to be, it does not mean god does not exist.
        I think we can morally say that it is wrong to take others life. But then others will then bend that to their own beliefs and like Hitler, he actually believed that he was doing the righteous thing and helping humanity. Who is to say he was wrong? It comes down to morality. Is it such a bendable thing? Or is that just peoples ego. Isn’t that then put subjectivity into the correct category of just being ego as well?
        Now when someone does something that is immoral, does it bring on suffering and disease, yes. Just because you don’t see it and understand how, does not mean it does not exist. I can easily explain it with understanding jyotish and seeing past lives and karma that was the creation of this life. So everything comes down to knowledge.

        On the question of the period between spring and summer, i think that your question is really pointing out the way your trying to comprehend this knowledge and that is part of your misunderstanding. Time between spring and summer is not a date on a calendar. It is viewed and experienced in the what is as it is happening from having this knowledge. Easiest way i could put this into view is to say, the grass dies and nature dries out when spring ends and when summer begins. So understand from this that the dates is used to guide someone to understand the information and that experience of the applied information is what builds the knowledge that is then used to be able to see the dynamics of it all rather than trying to make a very very western paradigm list of how things should be black and white by a date or something. For instance if your going by a date then how do you understand when a season is imbalanced? Understanding that the dates are also by what is going on astrologically creating each month, vedic masa not western month. The use of the Western calendar really doesn’t work with all of this stuff as it does not come from the same context. Blending it is for use of teaching a totally different audience that does not understand.

  3. “These are based on principles of equality of all creatures and include restraining ourselves from the actions which we do not like for ourselves from others.”

    Well this is really the key isn’t it? Would traditional ayurveda agree with the notion that “one who is moral, will be free from disease”? Of course, some diseases will be due to karma from past misdeeds but would there be any need for a codified set of rules to stay healthy if everyone just “treated others as they would want to be treated”?

    And as a coralory, how important are herbal medications in the process of curing disease? Couldnt one hypothetically overcome illness by maintaining a proper mode of living?

    • Hi.
      One who is moral will be free’er of disease, yes. This is very obvious when you look at how discrimination has to do with the health of the individual and proper functioning of the system and balance.
      And yes, exactly, something can come along due to past karma and be activated by… say the transit of a certain planet (time) and all of the sudden the person has a disease.

      The only problem with the treat others how one would want to be treated is that there are afflicted people out there. Sick people. Mentally.
      The reason for the codification is that it gives the general rules as well as then there is the knowledge and understanding of everything and how it functions within it.
      I could say…. christianity….. do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But….. how to eat and take care of the vessel you are given is lost. No understanding of it at all in Christianity. Hmmmm
      Not slamming it. Just saying.

      Couldnt one hypothetically overcome illness by maintaining a proper mode of living?
      and this is exact why it is in Ayurveda that understanding of the seasons and what to do. Won’t really find it anywhere else except Chinese Medicine.
      Yes, in general, follow this and you will maintain a healthy life. There are other things to know though. Living, lifestyle. Stay up late at night for example… and sleep in every day…. and you will bring on disease no matter if your following the seasonal regime.

      No short cuts.

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