In this section some fundamental principles of the ancient Indian medicine Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is the composition of two sanscrit words Ayur life and Veda knowledge, its meaning is therefore science of life. The tradition wants the teachings of this ancient medicine to be reached by the Avatar (divine incarnation) Dhanvantari.
It is an ancient system which was improved during the course of time that drew its principles from the Vedic knowledge. It has been widely used in India over the millennia and is still one of the medicines most commonly used in the Indian subcontinent.
Ayurveda is a medicine which deals man in his physical, mental and spiritual aspects, trying to heal the sick, prevent disease and maintain our own equilibrium state.
According to Ayurveda the universe is governed by 5 elements: EARTH – WATER – FIRE – AIR – ETHER. In our body these elements govern the 3 Dosha, the physical structure and the 3 Guna the mental structure.
The balance of all these elements determines the state of health.
In Ayurveda are described seven types of tissues of the body, known as saptadhatu. It is plasma (rasa dhatu), blood (Rakta dhatu), meat (mamsa dhatu), adipose tissue (medha dhatu), bone (asthi dhatu), the marrow and the nervous system (majja dhatu), and reproductive tissue (semen or female reproductive tissue) (sukra dhatu).
The eight branches of Ayurveda are:
- Internal medicine (Kaya-cikitsa)
- Paediatrics (Kaumrabhṛtyam)
- Surgery (Shalya-cikitsa)
- Opthalmology and Otolaryngology (Shalakya tantra)
- Psychiatry (Bhuta vidya)
- Toxicology (Agadatantram)
- Prevention of diseases, improving immunity and rejuvenation (Rasayana)
- Aphrodisiacs and improving health of progeny (Vajikaranam)
Ancient Ayurvedic books:
The 96 aspects of life
According to the Siddha tradition there are 96 aspects of life supported by the individual soul, the Purusha.
Life is lived through the 5 motor organs, Pancha Karmendriya, which correspond to the 5 senses and the 5 elements.
- Mouth (expression) – hearing – ether
- Hands (grab) – touch – air
- Foot (move) – sight – fire
- Urino-genital organs (emission) – taste – water
- Anus (elimination) – smell – earth
The organs of action allow acting in the physical world and then allowing the mind to make new experiences. They are expressive and their receptive capacity is given by the sense organs. The organs of action are more related to the five gross elements while the sense organs correspond more to Tanmatras or thin elements.
Given that requires movement, the body has five hollow organs, 5 Asayas.
- Ovary / Prostate
The Asayas are important because the body needs energy that is forfeited through food to generate movement.
All of us live by 5 types of actions:
- With the mouth we talk and eat
- With arms we take and give
- With legs we go
- With the genitals we reproduce
- With the excretory organs we eliminate
The 5 actions of the body, walking, working, talking, release and procreating, are governed by Tridoshas derived by Pancha Mahabhutas.
- Vata – movement
- Pitta – nourishment
- Kapha – rest
All matter consists of the five elements, Pancha Mahabhutas, which are understood as levels of density of matter itself.
- Ether – Akasha
- Air – Vayu
- Fire – Teja / Agni
- Water – Jala
- Earth – Pritvi
The elements are the means which are necessary for the expression of Cosmic Intelligence.
- Ether: manifests the idea of space, communication and expression
- Air: manifests the idea of time, of the change and provides the basis for thought
- Fire: manifests the idea of light, perception and movement
- Water: manifests the idea of life, liquidity and flowing movement
- Earth manifests the idea of form, solidity and stability
To have the experience of the outside world need the 5 sensory organs, Pancha Jñanendriyas; each of them corresponds to a quality of sense (Tanmatra) and an element
Ear – hearing organ – ether
Skin – organ of touch – air
Eye – organ of sight – fire
Tongue – organ of taste – water
Nose – organ of smell – earth
The sense organs, also called organs of knowledge, allow the experience of the outside world. It is noteworthy that through the sense organs we can assimilate the Pancha Tanmatras as subtle elements then they feed on a subtle level; that’s why there is the Vedic dictum “what you see, you become.”
The sensory organs are generated by the 5 senses, Pancha Tanmatra, derived from the interaction of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
Shabda – hearing – ether
Sparsha – touch – air
Rupa – sight – fire
Rasa – taste – water
Gandha – smell – earth
The Pancha Tanmatras create the manifested worlds in the form of a seed; they create the causal or ideal world, the world of ideas that precedes any form of material expression.
Senses work through the 10 Vayus. (5 Major – 5 Minor)
- Prana Vayu – moves inward and governs the taking of substances and receiving of all kinds, has a propulsive nature and generates movement. Prana Vayu gives positive energy to all other prana.
- Apana Vayu – goes down and ejects, goes out and governs the elimination at all levels. Apana, which is the basis of immune function, is the vital energy of the lower part of the abdomen.
- Samana Vayu – moves from the periphery toward the center with an action of shuffling and discernment, in charge of processing and digestion at all levels.
- Udana Vayu – is the energy of the throat that governs Word, self-expression, body growth, the ability to stand and make efforts, enthusiasm and willingness.
- Vyana Vayu – moves from the center to the periphery and is the energy that is in the heart and lungs, governs the transport and movement at all levels.
- Naga Vayu – responsible for the expulsion from the mouth and nose. Nagan is instinctive; it is the movement responsible for protecting the body’s defense. For example, in case of wind eyes are closed instinctively.
- Kurma Vayu – responsible for the hiccups and swallow reported not only to food but also to situations, feelings, duties that don’t like, etc.
- Krikara Vayu – responsible for the contrary movement of food and any movement outside the normal. For example, vomiting.
- Devadatta Vayu – responsible for the opening and closing movement of eye lashes and the sneeze; It helps in protecting the body control systems.
- Dhananjaya Vayu – responsible for joints creaking and contractures, the yawning and burping, helps rid the body of harmful gas residue. For example, when the prana becomes of poor quality, we yawn.
The Vayus flow through 12 main Nadis.
Brahma Nadi which are related chakras along the spine and brain.
Citra and Vajra Nadis creating Viyana Vayu and are linked to the cerebellum, spine and peripheral nerves.
Ida, Pingala and Jiva Nadis that result in Udana and Prana Vayus and are related to the lungs, heart and thyroid.
Pusha and Gandhari Nadis creating Samana Vayu and are linked to the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen and liver.
Hasti and Alambusha Nadis that, along with Shankini and Kuhu Nadis, originate Apana Vayu and are related to the reproductive organs.
Shankini and Kuhu Nadis related to the colon, kidneys and bladder.
The 12 Nadis branch out from 3 Mandalas (centers).
- Agni Mandala – governs digestive system and is located in the abdomen
Chakras: Manipura, Swadhisthana and Muladhara
- Surya Mandala – governs the heart and circulation and is located in the solar plexus
Chakras: Vishuddi and Anahata
- Chandra Mandala – governs the nervous system and is located in the brain and in the head
Chakras: Sahasrara and Ajña
Vayus, Nadis and Mandalas are ruled by the 7 Chakras.
The chakras are located along the spine and are the seven major energy centers in the human body; each of them corresponds to specific features in both physical and spiritual.
- Muladhara Chakra – Basilar origin. It is located at the base of the spine, in the pelvic region; represents the Earth element. The practice on this chakra helps to maintain stability.
- Swadhisthana Chakra – Headquarters of health. It is located in the pelvic region and is considered the origin of the self; represents the Water element. The practice on Swadhisthana free from emotional blocks.
- Manipura Chakra – Light of the jewels. It is located at the navel in the cavity of the abdomen; represents Karma, fate, and its element is Fire. The practice on Manipura facilitates metabolism, digestion, assimilation and elimination.
- Anahata Chakra – Not known Sound. It is located in the chest cavity near the heart and represents the Air element. The practice on this chakra is blossoming love, tenderness and compassion.
- Vishuddha Chakra – Great purification. It is located in the hollow of the throat and represents the element Ether. The practice on it purifies and revitalizes the organism due to transformation from negative energy into positive. It increases energy and creativity.
- Ajña Chakra – Dominance. Its name means knowing, sensing and control. It is located in the cranial cavity, in the middle of the forehead, and represents the mind. The practice on this chakra helps to think and analyze giving clarity.
- Sahasrara Chakra – Eternal circle. It is located on the top of the head and represents Samadhi. Sahasrara means circle of Ecstasy and can define the interface between individual and universal consciousness. Represents the Purusha. The practice on this chakra brings peace and contentment.
The 7 Chakras derive from 5 types of bodies, Pancha Kosham.
- Anna Maya Kosham – It is the physical body nourished by the food, it contains everything from soul to mind, etc.
- Prana Maya Kosham – It is the energetic functional body that is nourished through the breath; without prana there is no life.
- Mano Maya Kosham – It is the mental body that is nourished with thoughts.
- Vijñana Maya Kosham – It is the intellectual body which is fed by knowledge and wisdom.
- Ananda Maya Kosham – It is the blessed body that is nourished by pure consciousness, by the soul.
The soul sustains all bodies through the consciousness of intellect, thoughts, energy and structure.
The 5 Koshams have 2 types of action, 2 Karmas.
- Nal Vinai – good destiny
- Thi Vinai – bad destiny
The 2 Karma produce 3 types of slag, 3 Mala.
Anavam – main ego (wanting to sleep, wake up, hating, loving, enter in meditation)
Maya – illusion, ignorance
Kama – greed, too much desire.
We all live subjected to ego, illusions and desires. Although we have no longer desires, we continue to live because we are subjected to Maya, and also eliminating Maya, the ego continues to persist; to go beyond we should tend towards the Purusha burning the ego. The process of the manifestation takes place through a series of successive divisions with which various creatures and different objects come into existence. Ahamkara more than a reality in itself is a process, a series of thoughts that divide, not a real entity. This is a division power that is essential to the manifestation of multiplicity; it is a stage of evolution, but is not the fundamental truth or true nature of creatures that is represented by the Pure Consciousness beyond personification. Through ego the basic potentialities of the matter (Prakriti) and the fundamental laws contained in the Cosmic Intelligence (Mahat) take a specific form. The basic qualities of nature differ in three groups of five: five senses, five organs of action and five elements. These arise from Ahamkara through Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, the Triguna.
If Buddhi is intelligence that allows to turn the gaze to deep and inner nature of things, the ego, which by its nature is outwards, creates the mind and the senses, tools that allow the individual to operate. Ayurveda places great emphasis on understanding of the ego and the inevitable distortions created by its influence; a proper understanding of the ego causes our judgment remains balanced and our actions are aimed at the universal good. Break free from the ego’s domain causes the dissolution of all psychological disorders and physical diseases.
The 3 Malas are controlled by 3 Gunas.
Sattva – pure-light, soul, white, purity, serenity
Rajas – dynamic-heat, ego, red, dynamism, activity
Tamas – inert-structure, body, black, quiet, inertia
If we want to sleep, Nidra, serves Tamas; If we are to be alert, Jakrata, serves Rajas; If we want to be in Ecstasy, Turyam, serves Sattva.
The 3 Gunas have 9 types of tastes, sensations, Nava Rasa.
Srangram / Viruppu – love, joy, let in, acceptance, East
Bhibastam / Veruppu – hatred, dismiss, let out, rejection, West
Karunayam/Santosham, Sukam – happiness, joy, comfort
Dukham – sadness, suffering
Raudram / Krodham – resentment, anger
Shantham – serenity, tranquility
Viram – dignity, strength, courage
Bhayam – fear
Hasyam – humor, irony in a positive, fun, laughs, taking life lightly
Shantham: this tranquility can take over in a state of silence. This state happens naturally for a very short time, so that we are not able to recognize it; in meditation practice we try to bring this state to longer times and to recognize it.
We find the 9 Rasas in 5 types of status, conditions, Pancha Avastha.
Jakrat – waking state; be ready, alert. Consciousness is associated with the mental and to the senses.
Svapna – dream state; with eyes open or closed. Consciousness is in the subtle body, associated with the mental.
Sushupti – state of dreamless sleep; be asleep, peaceful, calm. Consciousness is in the causal body.
Turiya – state of meditation; deep consciousness, ecstasy, how to enjoy life outside or on inside, blissful. Consciousness is in the great
causal body – Mahakarana.
Turiyatita – state of pure consciousness – Unmesha; silence, total annulment which can be all the other consciousnesses.
Avastha is the state of the soul. In all the states is used the consciousness but the kind of state depends on the environment. The first three states are associated with Avidya (ignorance); Vikriti with the first two and the third with Prakriti. Pure consciousness is not taking part of normal life, goes beyond; even if one lives the life, he lives differently. Turiya is the state of deep meditation, Samadhi; Turiyatita is the state of meditation in life.
The 5 Avasthas live in 4 aspects, subtle causes, the 4 Andakarnis.
Manas – superficial mind, virtual mind, psyche, emotions
Siddam – subconscious, deep mind; memorizes
Buddhi – individual intelligence
Ahamkar – ego
A sattvic ego empties siddam while a tamasic ego fills. Siddam andakarna is always present because there is always the karma or destiny of the soul.
These 96 aspects are supported by the soul, Atma, Purusha.