In the current covid times, where we all have been living in a fear with so much of uncertainty this topic of understanding the science of wellbeing at holistic level was hovering over my mind since quite a few times. And here, I am presenting it in the simpler form so that person who doesn’t know much of the nitty-gritties of holistic wellbeing system can adopt this approach which is actually being followed by sages, monks and holistic practitioners since ages.
Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda” for short) is one of the world's oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. It was developed more than 5,000 years ago in India. The objective of Ayurveda is to accomplish the physical, mental, social, spiritual wellbeing by adopting the preventive and promotive approach as well as treating the diseases with various remissive approaches.
In current times, with too much involvement of technology and where everything is so fast paced, human suffer from ignorance of progress is happiness and unclouded knowledge. In ancient times, the learned masters in the field have searched various ways to overcome these miseries and pain. For the permanent and sure relief from these miseries both It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
Ayurveda is much systematic science of wellbeing based on sound foundation of basic principles which are equally logical, rational, practical and thoughtful. Saying Ayurveda as alternate medicine in my point of view is incorrect because it was the first & foremost science of wellbeing that defines health and factors responsible for its maintenance and promotion. Health is essential for enjoyment of all the worldly pleasures in righteous matter and in attainment of salvation.
Ayurveda suggests that every being is made of five basic elements (panch mahabhootas) found in the universe: space, air, fire, water, and earth. These combine in the human body to form three life forces or energies, called doshas. They control how your body works. They are Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth). As with the doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha, the gunas Rajas, Tamas and Sattva are all present, just in different quantities.
In Samkhya philosophy, the material universe is referred to as prakriti. Every aspect of prakriti is shaped by the dance of the three gunas sattva, rajas and tamas (we will discuss about these in coming sections) — from the level of atoms to living beings and stars, planets, and galaxies
As the Universe consistently brings contrasting experience to us, the rhythms of moving away from and back to our centre (prakriti) expand our consciousness into higher states of wellness. Disease occurs when we do not return back to our centre, but instead identify with our new point of perspective
What is Wellness?
• When we feel great from mind, body and soul
• Freedom from dis-ease for all these three aspects of life.
What is the Mind?
As per western philosophy or Western Medical Science doctors know only a fragment of mind. The afferent nerves bring the sensations from the periphery or extremities of the spinal cord. The sensations then pass to the medulla oblongata at the back of the head, where the fibres decussate. From there, they pass on to the superior frontal gyrus or superior frontal convolution of the brain in the forehead, the supposed seat of the intellect or mind. The mind feels the sensations and sends motor impulses through the afferent nerves to the extremities-hands, legs, etc. It is a brain-function only for them. Mind, according to them, is only an emission from the brain, like bile from liver. The doctors are still groping in utter darkness still exploring the mystery of human mind.
According to Vedic Wisdom, Mind is the channel of Consciousness that precedes everything here on the physical plane. Consciousness is present everywhere; from between the tiniest subatomic particle to the whole of the Universe. The centre of the mind is seated in the Heart of the individual.
Mind is said to have two orders/directions:
Vibhu – The Universal Mind (tied to the evolution of the soul) is the ground mind.
Anu – The Individual Mind (tied to the current incarnation of body and mind) is particular mind.
VIBHU: Vibhu is universal mind that directs to the physical world. Often also understood as prabhu or purusha. Universal mind is vast, unbounded, infinitely creative and eternally pure, unclouded consciousness.
From your immediate surroundings, Vibhu expands out into the literal space around you. It reaches over the earth, then the sky, then the atmosphere, then the solar system, galaxy, universe, and beyond. It moves towards the physical and the massive. Our senses move in the direction of Vibhu to connect us to the material world. Most of the time we are externally oriented. Our brains are constantly processing where we are, who's around us, what we're doing, and where we're going. Consider how much time you spend interacting with the physical environment around you. Is there an alternative? Most would never think there is. The discovery, exploration, and documentation of this alternative direction of life is the value of yoga to humanity.
ANU: Anu means atomic. Anu moves in the opposite direction of Vibhu, internally. Anu extends towards the internal and leads ultimately into the purely immaterial or spirit. Anu is conditioned mind, based upon its stockpile of thoughts, feelings, and emotions stored in memory. Memory is the background to all we think, feel and perceive, and imposes itself upon the foreground of pure, direct experience. Anu is characterised into following dimensions- Manas, Buddhi & Ahankara
Buddhi (intellect) – cognition, retention, memory: Buddhi or the intellect cannot function without a certain bank of memory or data. Depending on the data you have, the intellect plays around.
Manas (sensory mind) – perception. The next dimension is called manas. Manas has many layers to it. But manas is not just the brain – it is right across the body. Every cell in the body has a phenomenal memory – not just of this life but of millions of years. Your body clearly remembers how your forefathers were a million years ago. Top to bottom, there is manas – this is called manomaya kosha. In every cell in the body, there is memory and intelligence, but no intellect. Intellect is only in the brain.
Ahankara (ego) – individuality: includes preferences, and habit patterns. The intellect directly connects with the third dimension of your mind, called ahankara. Ahankara is sometimes translated as ego, but it is much more than that. Ahankara gives you a sense of identity. Once your ahankara takes on an identity, your intellect functions only in that context. It is important to function beyond the intellect, because the intellect is seriously enslaved to your identity.
The root cause of suffering is this division between the ground mind and the particular mind. The more Anu (particular mind) fails to apprehend Vibhu (the ground mind), the more life becomes suffering. The root cause of suffering is this division between the ground mind and the particular mind. This unity of individual mind and universal mind brings radical transformation and total healing in the life of the individual.
The Science of Living Consciousness:
Chitta is the representative of the casual body of the individual. This is a creative part of the mind which orchestrates the Universe to bring us into alignment with our souls’ intention for being here. Chitta is mind without memory – pure intelligence. This intelligence is like the cosmic intelligence – simply there. Everything happens because of that. It does not function out of memory – it simply functions. In a way, what you call cosmos is a living mind, not in the sense of intellect but in the sense of Chitta. Chitta is the last point of the mind. It connects to the basis of creation within you. It connects you with your consciousness.
Consciousness is transported within human form and all organisms by way of the movement of prana. Breath plus consciousness equals prana. Breath is related to air and wind, and these carries what is in their vicinity.
This is the path by which consciousness pervades the body and the mind. It is carried to every corner and space from large to small, including minute tissues and unseen nerve endings where synapse occurs.
The relationship between consciousness and matter is the same as the relationship between a living and dead body. At the time of death, the breath and consciousness leave the body.
The characteristic of consciousness is to pervade, and it is the principle of illumination, unseen. Perhaps it is like the unseen principle of electricity that is behind light. Consciousness remains an undivided principle of oneness, no matter how many forms it enters. Consciousness within is no different than the consciousness of the macrocosm. Consciousness within is like a magnet around which matter accumulates.
Internally, consciousness brings awareness to the mind, to the intellect, thought, feeling, and sense of self. It acts like a mirror, reflecting what is presented to it. The mirror never changes, though one might experience a change as a result of observing one’s reflection. Reflections bring an increase in awareness.
Materiality, tangible and subtle
The principle of matter prakriti is the opposite of consciousness. It is composed of innumerable configurations of three energies gunas: light sattwa, motion rajas, and dullness tamas. In Samkhya, these three energies perform the activity in everything, even in the unseen such as thought.
Working consciously with these energies, a person can bring about change and free will. Breath belongs to the domain of matter. In pranayam, consciousness and breath are attached. Breath carries consciousness throughout the body and mind. Every tissue, space and subtle nerve ending is enlivened.
Light and knowledge in combination contain the largest amount of consciousness. It is the energy of light combined with intelligence that inspires the will to desire change. The thoughts of having more choices and freedom from mental pain become the desire for free will. The question then becomes how to develop free will.
Two Eternal Principles and Three Mutable Energies:
The following outline summarizes the characteristics of the co-existent, separate, eternal principles: consciousness purush and matter prakriti.
Immutable and Formless. Known by inferring that something exists beyond the physical and mental.
Pervading Illumination that Enlivens Matter
Instrumental to Creation, But Not a Cause.
Eternal, Supreme Spirit
Materiality / nature
Mutable Cause of All Manifested Phenomena
Eternal, Supreme Matter-When the Energies are in Equilibrium
Consists of 3 Energies:
Sentience, Light, Purity Sattva:
Characteristics: Clarity, alertness, love, compassion, co-operation, attentiveness being in alignment with universal mind
Action and Activity, Intelligence Rajas
Characteristics: Self-centeredness, selfishness, restless, agitation of mind
Inertia and Dullness Tamas
Characteristics: dullness, darkness, depression, laziness, sub(un)consciousness of mind
When creation begins, the three mutable energies of matter begin to operate. It is the action energetic that falls first out of equilibrium. It is the only energy that has motion, and it initiates all change. The three energies continually work together, and their combinations are innumerable. One of the energies predominates in every configuration, except in equilibrium.
According to Buddha, the entire field of mind and matter-the six senses and their respective objects-have the basic characteristics of anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering) and anatta (egolessness). To explore the truth within the framework of the body, he designated two fields:
One is the material structure: the corporeal structure, the physical structure.
The other is the mental structure with four factors: consciousness; perception; the part of the mind that feels sensation; and the part of the mind that reacts.
So to explore both fields we need to observe of the body and the mind. How can you observe the body with direct experience unless you can feel it? There must be something happening in the body which you feel, which you realize. One must feel the sensations on the body: Similarly, unless something arises in the mind, you cannot directly experience it. Whatever arises in the mind, is the mental content.
We need to see and understand from your personal experience how this mind and matter are related to each other. To believe that one understands mind and matter, without having directly experienced it, is delusion. It is only direct experience that will make us understand the reality about mind and matter. Understand that this process is going on constantly at one sense door or another. Every moment something or the other is happening at one of the sense doors. Every moment the respective consciousness cognizes; the perception recognizes; the feeling part of the mind feels; and the reacting part of the mind reacts, with either craving or aversion. This happens continuously in one's life.
At the apparent, surface level, it seems that I am reacting with either craving or aversion to the external stimulus. Actually, this is not so, we are reacting to our sensations. The six sense organs come in contact with objects outside. Because of the contact, a sensation starts in the body that, most of the time, is either pleasant or unpleasant. Then after a pleasant or unpleasant sensation arises, craving or aversion start-not before that. And once, we understand the root of the problem and we may also discover how to eradicate the cause of suffering at the root level. Working at the intellectual level of the mind, we try to suppress craving and aversion, but deep inside, craving and aversion continue. We are constantly rolling in craving or aversion. We are not coming out of misery through suppression.
Why do we suffer from disease?
Healthy mind leads to healthy body. We need to understand life is a natural process of consciousness expanding and that well being is at its roots and is one with the universal mind (Vibhu/Prabhu/ Purusha) while expanding itself as an individual.
Signs of healthy mind- Contentment, acceptance, clear thinking, creative, overall joyful inner experience, a growing radiance can be seen around the person.
Disease (Dis- ease) occurs when there is accumulation of ama in the body. So, this undigested portion of reaction(sankars) becomes mental ama (the toxic substance). We may also say when Rajas and Tamas Guna aggravates, this causes diseased mind.
The Progression of Dis-ease of Mind
Reactions accumulates and turn into attachment to one’s individual consciousness. This consciousness becomes Rajasic or Tamsik. Doshik imbalances begin to appear within individuals’ mind. Subtle negative emotional imbalance occurs.
The accumulation continues to become state of aggravation, and strong negative emotions arise.
Doshik imbalances (Vata, Kapha, Pitta) become more and more noticeable(conscious) within the individuals mind, and digestive tract.
The overflow moves the doshas from digestive tract or the system to superficial dhatus (blood and lymph). Relocation of ama occurs as imbalance moves from superficial dhatus going into deeper tissues. (muscle, fat, bone, nerve, reproductive tissues)
Manifestation may occur as it becomes a full-blown disease within the deeper tissue.
Diversification may occur as it spreads from the affected tissues to the other tissues of the body.
All diseases begin and accumulate in mind. Disease first shows up in body within the digestive tract, accumulate there and if continues to accumulate, moves into deeper tissues
Returning to your centre (prakruti): addressing the root cause
Pacifying the imbalance of the body
Addressing the root cause of disease:
Issues related to Tamas is addressed by elevating Rajas (Agitating the unconscious darkness so it may be illuminated with consciousness
Issues related to Rajas is addressed by Sattava (moving from the individual mind to universal mind)
Perfecting the Sattva- Seeking wellness behind the suffering, gaining new perspective, detaching from the idea of working towards satvik state of mind)
Specific meditation techniques
Practising whole sytem of yoga and panchkarma
Manipulation of balance of prana to re-introduce intelligence to mind & body
Learning the art of bringing the universal mind (Vibhu) and individual mind (Anu) into one mind(sattva)
Pacifying the Imbalance:
Reciting mantras balances the ether element/akaash tatva by vibrations generated by sound.
Massages help in balancing the air element/ vayu tatva.
Good water intake stabilizes water element/ jal tatva.
Color therapies helps a lot in balancing the fire tatva/agni tatva.
Aromatherapy balance the earth element/ prithvi tatva
Balanced diet/ herbs/ medication helps in eradicating the disease generated.
Gems helps in building up positive energy in the system
Pancharkarma/ Yoga/ Pranayama helps in removing ama from body.