Ayurveda is an ancient Indian science which deals with health at three levels: Tatva (conceptual level), Shastra (scientific level) and Vyavahar (practical level).
There is a structured cause and effect relationship in the various substances constituting Ayurveda. Thus whatever is needed for Ayurveda to be called a science is fulfilled. The word Ayurveda is derived from two terms Ayu and Veda. Ayu means life. Life in all its aspects from coming into being i.e., conception, development, state of health, state of disease etc. Ayurveda is about how to maintain positive health. How a doctor should not be needed.
For this a very elaborate code of conduct has been laid down called Swasthya Vrutta. A regimen is recommended which, if followed will ensure that your life will remain healthy. In this Swasthya Vrutta due consideration is given to the person’s age, individual constitution, the seasons. As an individual you try to maintain a positive physical health, mental health, your sensory motor health and your spiritual health. So health is a holistic concept and not thought of in compartments.
Like all other ancient Indian sciences Ayurveda has a spiritual aspect. In ayurvedic philosophy everything relates to soul. Spirit, soul or atma or consciousness is the purpose of your living. If that is not there you cease to be and if that is there, there is possibility of acquiring knowledge, enriching yourself and experiencing new senses.
The gist of Ayurveda philosophy is related to the soul or individual consciousness and the structural arrangement or the functional arrangement of the body revolves around that being inside. It’s a very harmonious relationship taking into account individual constitution, effect of time, effect of age, diet and habits you have acquired over a period of time. This is how Ayurveda looks at life.
The functions of Vata, Kapha and Pitta
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are what are known as doshas i.e. there are three basic elements of the body. They are the basic concepts of Ayurveda. Each individual has them in a certain proportion in their bodies. If these three are in a harmony, then a person is healthy. If they are disturbed the result is a disease.
The activity of Vata is that of transportation of taking one thing from one part of the body to the other. Kapha does the work of cementing, keeping the body together and Pitta is related to digestion of stimuli. A state of well being is thus an equilibrium of all these three things. Take the example of a spinning top. While it is in motion it seems to be spinning perfectly vertical, the moment it is disturbed it starts tilting over and losing balance, this is a deviation. Similarly deviation in the body is disease. If it continues spinning and stops of its own inertia, this is natural. This could be compared to a natural death. It depends on each individual’s potential. A person with predominant Vata dies an early death while a Kapha person usually has a long spell of life. After seeing the health of a person it is possible to understand the state of his life, can understand his mental state, his wealth and knowledge. As an ayurvedic physician I can tell how a certain individual will respond in a particular circumstance. We have to tackle persons that way. Any life form cannot be without consideration to that state of Vata, Kapha, Pitta at any given moment. The whole constitution of the individual is decided at the time of conception. Follow certain rules and stay within them. Know your limitations and your strong points. Exploit your strong points and protect your weak points and be healthy.