A long healthy & peaceful life has been the cherished desire of human being since antiquity. A number of contexts exhibit this instinct of good health in Ayurveda. Ayurveda is not only curative system of medicine rather it aims to get relief from all types of miseries i.e. physical, mental, intellectual, spiritual. Two main streams of chikitsa in Ayurveda is “Naishthiki Chikitsa” & “Laukiki Chikitsa” to attain Moksha & Swasthya respectively. An elaborate description of methods needed for procurement of both are described here. Life is considered as a four dimensional entity in Ayurveda. Ayu or life is considered as sum total of Sharir ( physical body ), Indriya ( sense organs ), Satva ( Psyche ), & Aatma ( Soul ). In accordance with this 4-D concept of Ayu, Swasthya or Health has also been recognised with four dimensional concept as Swasthya is described as a state of physical, sensorial, mental & spiritual wellness. Or we can say that health is a state of individual being seated in himself, which means that the person is in his most natural or original state being nearer to the soul.
Sushruta has given a well superior definition of health few thousand years ago as compared to latest proposed by WHO i.e.
“Samadoshah samaagni samadhatumalakriyah,
Prasannaatmanendriyamanah swastha ityabhidiyate”.
( Sushruta Sutra-15 )
Meaning- Such Person is considered as healthy whose doshas ( humours ), agni ( digestion ), dhatu, mala (excretory matter), are in Samya ( balanced ) state & who is mentally, sensorially & spiritually in a state of calmness i.e. happiness. This definition touches the state of health in terms of all four dimensional concept of Ayu or life.
Health is basically a product of interaction between an individual & his environment. This interaction is based on Karma & genetic makeup of a person. A significant proportion of prakriti & health is dependent on genetic factors as well as early brought up of an individual. The subsequent health is then the outcome of an individual life style & his environment.
Acharya Charaka has described clearly this interaction of man with environment by citation of four dimensions of Ayu as:-
“Hitaahitam sukham dukham ayuh tasya hitaahitam”……… ( Ch Sa Su 1/41 )
i.e. Ayu is of four kinds-
- Hitayu- life with social well being
- Ahitayu-life without social well being
- Sukhayu-life with personal well being
- Dukhayu-life without personal well being
This interaction further revolves around factors of Kala, Buddhi & Indriyarth. Kala is considered as a one of the Gods that is why so much consideration has been given to kala in Ayurveda as it describes in detail the appropriate lifestyle & dietics for each season called as Ritucharya. When an individual adapts his life accordingly so as to maintain tuning in above three factors, he continues to be in state of health & reverse leads to ill health & disease.
Prevention & maintenance of health is the first & foremost objective of Ayurveda as evident by this quote of Acharya Charaka
“Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam aaturasya vicar prashmanam ch”….. ( Ch Sa Su-30 ).
Thus Ayurveda maintains the avenues for further improvement of health open to infinite possibilities as one can visualise a continuum between swasthya (Health) & moksha (Extreme improved quality of swasthya).
Hope you liked the post. Stay tuned for more. Thank You