The theory of Ayurveda is that the root of disease is not in the body, but in the mind, and this disease which is the cause for the outward physical disease they named by a very significant term. The disease of the body they called “Vyadhi” and the mental cause, the root of these physical diseases, they called “Adhi‘. At first disease comes, and from that springs a second disease and then the actual effect is abuse of one’s own vital energy, the vital life-force. Abuse of the vital life-force brings about certain conditions in the body which cause disease.
The ancient seers of India interpreted in a very unique way, and not in the Western way, these body-conditions. They had the theory of “Tridoshas” (ailment caused by disbalance of forces) in the Ayurvedic science of diagnosis of the diseased conditions which manifest as a result of Mala (dirt) which is in your mind. Your vitality is based upon the three ‘humors’ of the body.
They said that such upsetting of the purity of the mind and the fineness of the vital energy brought about a state of disbalance of the three humors which constitute the normal condition of each human being.
The three humors are the “phlegmatic humor”, the “bilious humor” and the “windy humor”. These humors are found in a certain proportion in a normal healthy body and when there is an upset in the vital force due to abuse and misuse, due to overindulgence, and there is an upset in the mind due to wrong thoughts and emotions, there comes about a disbalance in the three humors (the Doshas—wind, bile and phlegm) and then disease conditions begin to manifest themselves.
If due to this imbalance there is a predominance of the phlegm condition, for instance, then all sorts of phlegmatic diseases,—bronchitis, lung trouble, coughs, colds, toxins, etc.— come about. If this disbalance brings about an excess of wind, then rheumatic diseases such as aches, joint-pains, rheumatism, lumbago, flatulence, etc. manifest themselves in the body.
It is the imbalance of these three humors which is sought to be set right by the actual medicine which the Ayurvedic physician gives; but he says, “I can, with this medicine, but try to bring about once again a rebalancing of your three humors; but you have to work from the inside”. So, the first necessity is, of course, complete self-restraint, and secondly come the emotions. Get rid of all bad emotions. How? Here the Ayurvedic seers were of real help. They did not know
‘psychology’ as the modern psychologists know it, yet they knew what ought to be known.
They said, “If you want to calm your mind and free it of all emotions, arouse in it a spiritual wave”. And, to this end, a physician always prescribed the uttering of such-and such a Mantra, or a particular mode of worship to some particular aspect of the Deity, to be offered in a certain way, in a certain shrine. Worship, you know, is such a powerful instrument in your life, and when you once lift up your mind to God, when once you attune your spirit to the higher being, that source from which you have cut yourself off—which is the root-cause of this great disease called worldly existence, this human birth,—the mind is completely overhauled. When once again, in worshipfulness, you attune yourself to the Divine and start repeating the Mantras, chanting the Divine Name, then the whole of the mental stuff is put into a state of purity and fineness and that gross condition which had given rise to these disease symptoms in the physical body is corrected. So the physician on the outside, from out to within, and the patient from within, co-operate, and once again the body is restored to its healthy condition.
This, in short, is the theory and system of health according to the Ayurveda, the fifth Veda, the science of life. Based upon the first premises that man is Divine, that health is his natural condition, and that purity and fineness are the prerequisites of health, Ayurveda has a very interesting declaration.
In the Hindu view of life the individual is supposed to live and work for the four great attainments,— Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Dharma is fulfilment of the ethical norm. Artha is the earning of wealth in an
honest way in order to live decently. Kama is the fulfilment of all legitimate desires that are necessary for a dignified and honest living, one’s well-being, and also for the well-being of all others with whom one lives; the fulfilment of all legitimate desires that are not opposed to the welfare of others. Moksha is, ultimately, liberation in the Divine, Eternal Freedom in God.
Ayurveda says that for these four aims of life, health is the supreme and excellent root or basis. Without health, none of these four can be achieved and, therefore, a proper care of the body is one of the most important duties to be attended to, and this can be done only by conservation of the vital energy through moderation, restraint and the proper refined modification of mind through right thinking, right feeling and worshipfulness; the proper care of the physical condition through pure food taken moderately at the proper time and in the proper way,—thoroughly chewed, taken when you are calm, and with a little rest taken after it.
Try to be moderate, and always take food in a spirit of worshipfulness, for food is the giver of life as well as the taker of life. It is all-important. Thus, through the proper care of your health, the proper conservation of vital energy, and the right attitude of mind, you are in a state of good health and You shall attain a better condition of living.
Compiled from the teachings of Gurudev Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj