The ancient sage of Ayurveda Acharya Susruta has described the features of a healthy person. It follows that the doshas must be in equilibrium, the digestive fire must be in a balanced state and the dhatus (tissues) and malas (wastes) must work in a normal way. The sensory and motor organs and mind, atma must be also in a pleasant state. Such a person is called a healthy person or Swastha.
The following Sanskrit verse from the ancient sage Susruta gives the Ayurvedic definition of health.
Samadosha, samagnischa samadhatumala kriyaha prasanna atmenindriya manaha swasthya ityabhidheeyate. – Acharya Susruta
Let’s have a closer look.
The doshas that are present in the body and mind, namely vata, pitta and kapha, must be in a balanced state in order to keep a person healthy. When the balance of the doshas is disturbed, either aggravated or decreased (vitiated) it produces a state of Dosha Vaishamya, which is called disease.
In order to keep an individual healthy and digestive fire (koshtagni) and dhatuagni (tissue enzymes) must be in a proper state. When agni is less in quality (Mandagni) it will cause many diseases (“Rogaha Sarvepi Mande Agnou”). It is a well known that the health of an individual depends on the proper strength of his digestive power.
sama dhatu mala kriya (balanced state of dhatus and malas)
According to Ayurveda there are seven Dhatus namely Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Medas, Asthi, Majja and Shukra. And the excreta or Malas – purisa (faeces), Mutra (urine), Sweda (sweat). The dhatus of the body must function properly and so also the malas of the body.
prasanna atmendriya manaha
In Ayurveda the functions of the sensory and motor organs and mind have been given special importance. When these are not in equilibrium and not discharging there functions properly, it will lead to a state called disease. Even when all is functioning properly the bodily activities must not vitiate (decrease) the sensory and motor organs and mind. The state of mental health is more important than that of the physical health of a person.
Swastha or the healthy state is maintained from birth and the three doshas remain in a balanced state, then the person achieves a well balanced constitution, attractive appearance, good muscular strength and complete peace of mind.
Achieving Your Life Goals
Good health can be maintained until death. For this one should intelligently follow all the rules laid down according to the Ayurvedic science. Only then will a person enjoy an optimum life span of a hundred years without contracting disease. He will also gain recognition in society, friendship with people and honour and wealth as he has the energy and ability to achieve all the goals in life.
The aim of this system is to prevent illness, heal the sick and preserve life. This can be summed up as follows:
•Swasthyas swasthya rakshanam – to protect health and prolong life
•Aturasya vikar prashamanamcha – to eliminate diseases and dysfunctions of the body
Both of these are aimed towards the promotion of health on three levels:
How can Ayurveda help you remain healthy?
Specialized Ayurvedic remedies such as panchakarma chikitsa, shirodhara or following an Ayurvedic diet, basically endeavor to restore the harmony of the tridoshas. The purpose of all Ayurvedic remedies and herbal medicines is to keep the doshas or the humors in equilibrium, since an imbalance indicates a disease condition. Samsodhana (cleansing process), samsamana (palliative measures) and nidanaparivarjana (treating the causes) are the three main stages through which Ayurvedic remedies usually progress.
Of these three remedial phases, samsodhana is considered a prominent process and according to Ayurveda, should be administered with full care. Panchakarma is synonymous with this process. In fact, panchakarma is a group of five Ayurvedic remedies, all of which are not practiced in all diseases.
So a healthy person, as defined in Shusrut Samhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, is ‘he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful’.