Talk:Philosophical concepts in Caraka

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Chapter I

Initiation of Metaphysics and Medicine

Physical pain, in general form like disease and particularly death, has awakened the latent potencies in man for survival, growth and conquest over it. In the efforts for survival, one must study the depths of the physical and spiritual being in order to discover the laws of evolution of mankind and it's progress thereafter. The progress of the civilization becomes a vital necessary aspect to understand life in general form and human life in particular.

In the pursuit of science and astronomy, the impulse is emphasized on the curiosity, but the sense of pain in the forms of diseases and death brings out the reality in a tremendously vital manner. Confronting this imperative call, the only effective solution to the problem was to focus on unfolding this predicament with the utmost strength, sincerity and determination.

Religion and philosophy, both are primarily therapeutic in their nature and origin. The first dose of medicine administered or taken by man must have been a divine incantation, invocation or the sacred remnant of food offered to the superhuman powers.[1]

Aryans are considered to be highly evolved race of the ancient origin of the country. They tried to find the solutions to the physical problems of human existence. Not only in today's era but also in ancient times human populous was under the threat of disease and premature death. An appeal for help from the superhuman powers also initiated from the physical sufferings. This unfolds the elaborate vision of thought for the earnest and determined persons. This was the point of initiation of the thought processes by the ancient sages to overcome these diseases, which led them to take a refuge into Indra, the king of the immortals.[2]

The Sources of Knowledge in Caraka - Aptopadesa

In Caraka Samhita, a common revelation regarding the sources of science and arts in the country is given a significant importance. This weightage is also common in other sources of knowledge prevalent during that time. It was a general belief that when men with the pure heart and chaste mind engaged themselves in sincere and deep meditation for human welfare, truth about the origin is revealed to them. This was the ultimate knowledge which was revealed to such beings.

Types of Sources of Knowledge

In the Caraka Samhitā, the sage Atreya, propounds four sources of knowledge:

  1. Direct perception
  2. Inference
  3. Revelation or testimony of good men
  4. Common sense

The common sense is a peculiarity of this treatise which is illustrated by the examples that are not different from the inference. Revelation or reliable declaration called as authoritative teaching is given the utmost importance to understand the means of knowledge. While describing the nature of the persons whose declarations are entrusted, sage Atreya comments:

Men who have freed themselves from passion and ignorance by the means of spiritual endeavor and knowledge, whose understanding embraces the past, present and future and it is pure at all times and which are authoritative, learned and enlightened. Their word is unimpeachable and true. Why will such men, devoid of passion and ignorance, will utter untruth.

Other Resources

According to some schools of philosophy, the 'Veda' is an authority because it is eternal and does not owe its versification to human authorship. But as per Caraka philosophy, its validity is based on the trustworthy nature of the renowned sages. Sage Atreya expounds further saying, "Trustworthy tradition of knowledge is Veda". But even other statements made by the people who have conducted investigation in any field of knowledge consistent with the Veda and approved by men are also conducive to the human welfare. They should also be accounted to be authoritative. This is a healthy extension which predicts the catholicity and reasonableness of the propounders of the science.


Pratyaksa means direct perception. It is the next source of knowledge. For understanding this phenomena, the actual contact of the external senses of the man with the objects of the world is essential. But that is not enough, because in the absence of the mind, simple contact of the sense-organ with an object produces no knowledge. This Pratyaksa rises an inevitable question of the subtler mechanism of the mind without the contact of which no perception is possible. The recording agent of the perception is the mind known as sattva in Caraka. Atreya declares that the mind is sattva because it is higher than the senses. Some call it as the conscious agent. Its perceptions which are joy, grief etc., are the incentives to the functioning of the senses.[3] The senses can perceive their objects only when they are led by the mind.[4]

The way that each sense-organs come in contact with its particular proto-elemental sense-object such as the eye with visual object, the ear with sound etc, is explained physiologically. Though physiologically there are five sense-organs, each the products of five natural proto-elements, yet each sense organ has in its construction one proto-element in preponderance. It perceives that proto-elemental sense-object in the external world. Thus the eye which has a preponderance of light perceives light outside in the form of color and shape. The ear which has the preponderance of the ether in its construction perceives sound in the outside world. Rest of the sensory organs also work in the same accordance.

The contact of the proto-element in the sense organ with the world is a physical commingling.[5] The mind acknowledges and receives the impression and passes it to the intellect called as 'Buddhi'. Then begins the interaction between the tetrad of the subtle group of inner mechanism of knowledge resulting into action. The tetrad consists of the mind along with it's objects, understanding and spirit.[6]

This aggregate is the source of good or bad activity.[7] Perception is defined as the cognition, definite and immediate, arising from the conjunction of the soul, senses, mind and sense objects.[8] Under the abnormal conditions, the sense organs are also liable to perceive non-existent things. This is called as hallucination i.e. perceiving things not real. It is termed as atattvābhiniveṣa.


It was incurred that the knowledge that results from the chain of contact of the self, mind, senses and the sense-objects is known as direct perception. Sage Atreya then defines the next source Anumāna. It can be termed as Inference. Medicine is a science which propounds the laws that govern life and physical and chemical properties of the drugs. Though its observations are basically direct, yet conclusions and generalizations regarding the invisible and abstract data has to be made with the help of inferential methods. Thus the need to supplement sense observations by inference was inevitable.

Atreya asserts that there is a limited scope of knowledge which is drawn purely from the observation. He positively opines that one should comprehend that visible is limited. There exists a vast unlimited world which is invisible and we know that world only through the evidence of scriptural inferences and reasoning. As a matter of fact even the senses by whose direct observations are obtained are outside the range of observation. Further even a perceivable object escapes observation under the following conditions:

  • Either too close or too remote from the observer
  • Obstructed by other objects
  • Defect in the perceiving sense-organ
  • When the observers attention is elsewhere
  • Object is immersed in the mass
  • Overshadowed by something else
  • Microscopic

Hence it is an unwarranted statement to make that only the visible things exists and nothing else otherwise.[9] The knowledge pertaining to the three parts of time i. e. the past, present and future can be inferred from the basis of a person's direct knowledge of things. Inference therefore is firstly based on direct perception. The inferring of the unobserved from the observed is based on antecedent knowledge of their concomitance.

The inferring of the existence of fire in a place by the perception of smoke is an inferential knowledge of an unobserved thing in the present time. Similarly there is the inference of the sexual act of a woman in the past by observing her present state of pregnancy. Thirdly, there is the inference of the prospect of a good crop in the future by judging the nature of the seed sown, based on past experience of their relationship.

Inference here is seen understood and defined in its most rudimentary form based on the law of association. The same inference is illustrated again while elaborating the technical terms used in conversation among the physicians. In clinical investigations inference is said to be the reasoning based on correlation of cause and effect. One should infer the condition of the gastric fire by the power of digestion, conditions of the patient's vitality by his capacity for exercise and condition of his sense-organs by his perceptions.


Yukti means the correlation of a set of causes or circumstances with an effect based on common-sense. It is also accounted as an another source of knowledge. This may be called as the law of probability. Because as per the example given, it shows one can foresee an effect under a given set of circumstances, with a great degree of probability. By a combination of the factors of water, agricultural labor, seeds and the effects of season, there results the crop or where there is a combination of the six elements constituting the living body, the embryo develops.

The combination of the lower and upper churning sticks along with the act of churning brings out fire. Yukti means a combination. So a combination or a set of circumstances or things being responsible for an effect is by itself a factor of knowledge, though the actual procedure of arriving at the point of knowledge is by the same law of association that governs the inference. One may call it a compound inference against the simple inference of a cause from an effect or vice versa. From variety of factors this result is inferred.

Perhaps the application of this method was found particularly useful in therapeutic and pharmacological realms. The master sums up the merit of yukti in the verses denoting that yukti is a means of knowing the past, present and future. By the aid of yukti, the mind perceives results brought about by various factors. Through these factors, all the three objectives of life can be pursued. These four objectives are:

  1. Dharma
  2. Artha
  3. Kāma
  4. Mokṣa

The last objective is evidently not achieved by yukti.[10]

The Inner Sources of Knowledge

For knowledge and action both, the inner-self requires the co-ordination of mind, intellect and the organs of perception and conation.[11] The organs of perception and action are the external parameters in knowledge. The triad of internal organs of the Buddhi, Ahaṅkāra and mind, both cognitive, are the internal participants. All the thirteen necessarily function mutually in the knowledge as well as in action. There are some who constrain the inner organs to be two only i. e. the Buddhi[12] and the ego[13]. Atreya says, "The Buddhi is born of the Avyakta, the non-manifest, and from Buddhi, the sense of ego is born."[14] This is in accordance with the Nyāya school of philosophy which holds that the self is not the factor of knowledge but the mind.[15]

But then it may be deduced that there is no self beyond this combination of the mind, intellect and the senses. 'It is not so" says Vatsyāyana; "it is indeed the knower that possesses the instruments of knowledge and sees with the eye, smells with the nose, touches with the organ of touch and recognizes all these experiences with the mind and enables the observer to know these experiences. Hence the mind is called the factor of knowledge'. Thence the mind is regarded as the inner organ of the knowledge as denoted in Brahma Sutra.[16]

Nature of Mind

The mind is indicated by both the existence and the non-existence of the condition of knowledge. When it is not in contact with the self, the senses and the sense-objects, there is no knowledge and when it is in contact there is knowledge. Isolation and consistency are the two qualities of the mind.[17] The Vaisesika sutra and Nyāya Sutra highlights the same effect.[18][19]

The experiences of happiness, grief, like and dislike etc. are directly perceived by the mind. Vaiśeśika Sutra signifies that these experiences are harmoniously perceived by the senses and mind. It is so implied because happiness and grief are perceived through the contact with self, senses and other sense-objects. The mind receives them through the senses. The functions of the mind are thinking, inquiring and determining. These functions of the mind, as described by the Caraka, is the direction of senses, control of itself, reasoning and deliberation. Beyond this point, intellect envisions.[20]

Types of Mind

Atreya regards the mind to be of three varieties. They are[21]:

  1. Suddha or Sattvic - This type of mind is accounted to be faultless and of good nature.
  2. Rajasic - This type of mind is beset with moderate faults like the nature of passion, but overall it is also considered to be good.
  3. Tamasic - This type of mind is considered to be the most faulty of rest of the types. It is denoted to be nature of delusion.
But the human nature is so diverse that it can be good at one time, passionate at other time and ignorant and deluded also at some times. There arises an inquiry if there are different minds in a single person or not to which Atreya contradicts stating that,
"Owing to the admixture of all three qualities in each mind of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, the same mind behaves as if it were many, but it is only one."
Mind, thus being a single identity cannot work in various ways and through various senses at one and the same moment. Hence one cannot perform various sensory functions at the same time.[22] But on a general note, the mind is classed to be of single type by the sages according to the preponderant quality of its tendencies. It is thus known by its predominant quality.[23]

References of This Theory

There are various references supporting the above said theory of the complexities of mind in an individual. The Kathopaniṣad says,
"The sense perceptions are higher than the sense organs, the mind is higher than the perceptions, the intellect is even higher than the mind and the self is even higher than the intellect."

Various Sankhya schools were built up categorically on the same thought of Buddhi or mind, it's original nature, origin of ego in mind and it's correlation. The yoga system borrows and supports a lot of this theory. Hence there is no difference with regards to the subtle mechanism of knowledge in man and the various factors in their order or succession. Only the Vedantins regard mind, intellect, ego and Chitta as different subtle organs.[24] But then there occurs a question that what is Chitta and what is it's relevance with the mind or is it the mind itself. Hence these three only remain as the inner organs of knowledge.

These together with the sense-organs form the entire mechanism of knowledge in all four means namely:

  1. Aptopadeṣa
  2. Pratyakṣa
  3. Anumāna
  4. Yukti

These sense organs should be healthy and toned to be able to yield valid knowledge and lead a human being to a good life. The way of maintaining them in a proper condition is described in the chapter dealing with the discipline of the senses as declared by the sage Atreya in the Caraka Samhita.

Chapter II

Reality - the Soul and the World of Things

It is difficult to say whether an unequivocal definition of the reality or exposition of the nature of the things of the world, which one has been consistently held throughout the Caraka Samhitā. One can find the glimpse of definitions and views expounded in extension by the Vaiṣeśikā, Nyāya, Sankhya and Vedānta systems of philosophy. The reason for this is to seek practical science for the medicine which is concerned with itself with whatever was found applicable to suit its theory and practical concepts.

Prologue of the Samhitā is made with the mention of the Vaiśeśikā categories of Sāmānya and Viśeśa. These are the theories which are general and particular. It is even interpreted in the therapeutic light. This is prefaced by the mention of synonyms for life which includes the phrase the union of the body, the senses, the mind and the spirit.[25] The explanation of the nature of Sāmānya and Viśeśa, as being causative of synthesis and analysis respectively, is followed up immediately by a restatement of the synthesis that 'Man is like a tripod who is the aggregate of mind, spirit and body'. He is the conscious agent and forms the subject matter of this science. This science has been promulgated for the betterment of the living race.[26]

Base of Essentials of Life

The totality of the things existent has been described when Atreya declared that the five proto-elements like ether, self, mind, time and space are the sum total of these things. Things possessed of the senses are sentient or animate and things not possessed of the senses are insentient or inanimate. The subject of the Vaiśeśika categories of reality implies that the theory was a very popular concept followed during that period.

The knowledge of the six categories is tacitly taken for granted in present day teachings. These six categories comprise of the following factors:

  1. Substance
  2. Quality
  3. Action
  4. Generality
  5. Particularity
  6. Inherence or co-existence

Vaiśeśikā and Nyāya Sutra substances are the nine preliminary components to which their further exposition is omitted. It comprises of the following:

  1. Earth
  2. Water
  3. Light
  4. Air
  5. Ether
  6. Time
  7. Directions
  8. Self
  9. Mind

Essentials as per Other Resources

On the other hand, Atreya expounds the nature of these categories in cryptic phrases referring to the lists of qualities described in the much later parts of the treatise. It is denotes ending with the perceptions. It implies 'Knowledge' ending with effort.[27] Similarly these efforts are regarded as action.[28] The nature of the action or effort is explained in later section as the therapeutic endeavor and the therapeutic action of drugs.[29] The qualities of sense-perceptions such as sound, smell etc. are the qualities which are the objects of sense-perception.[30] According to the Vaiśeśika physics each quality is special to proto-element such as smell to earth, taste to water, form to fire, touch to air and sound to ether. These qualities are also found combined in things as there is an inter-mixture of the elements in all the things.[31]

Qualities of Base Essentials

The qualities of the substances such as heaviness, lightness, cold, heat, unctuousness, dryness, denseness, fixity, fluidity, softness, hardness, clearness, viscosity, smoothness, roughness, grossness, subtleness, thickness and thinness are the common peculiarities. These are explained in their medical context fully.

The psychic qualities of intelligence or Buddhi consists of memory, feelings, concentration and ego. The qualities displaying emotions are like, dislike, happiness, grief, effort, feeling and concentration.[32] The priority among these are as per the preference, importance, application regarding number, synthesis, analysis, particularity, measure, preparation and practice.[33]

Significance of Action

Action is described in an entirely therapeutic sense. As per the Vaisesikā view, action is the movement of five kinds namely:

  1. Upward
  2. Downward
  3. Expansive
  4. Contractive
  5. Indeterminate

Therapeutically construed, a drugs action can be analyzed in any of the five-fold manner described above. It even may be used for purposes of nemesis, purgation and such other therapeutic procedures. Therefore analysis of the therapeutic drug behavior is the duty of the physician. The chapter defining the therapeutic action exhibits it to be the endeavor for achieving a definite result. It is also called as action, effort and the initiation of work or treatment.[34]

It is evident that in Caraka, the Vaiśeśika terms are all applied in the therapeutic connotation while the terms of physics are applied to pharmacological and physiological consequence. This should serve as a clue to our general understanding of the scope and the purpose of the treatise in its use of logical and metaphysical terms. They are taken from a context of pure thoughts and applied to medical and practical situation. This is an attempt of not explaining or elaborating any current system of the thought, but culling such facts and definitions which are already current in a manner suited to the purpose of building a framework of a positive science wherein drugs, man, disease and its cure could be harmonized. Hence, it is necessary to define and understand the terms and the factors that enable such framework and the corresponding terms of other scientific branches including the science of logic, physics and metaphysics which are culled and utilized.


Samavaya is also called as co-existence. The definition of Samavaya provides a striking illustration in this respect in four verses in Sutrasthāna.[35] The nature of coexistence as well as substance and quality and action is described in details. Coexistence is the quality which cannot be separated from earth. It also implies that it is eternal. The places where the substance exhibits the coexistent quality is also present. Foundation of the base essentials is the the substratum of action, qualities and the coexistent.

Quality is the coexistent and inactive cause for the same. Action which is the cause of conjunction and incoherence resides in the substance. Action is the performance of what is to be done. It depends on nothing else.

Cause and Effect

The six categories of the substances are denoted to be hexad. They are known as 'cause' of all the things or effects in the world. The theory of the nine substances comprising of the things of the world is common to Vaisesikā and has been endorsed by the medical teachers so far. The world is full of effects in the forms of drugs, persons and things of eternal original substances. The five proto-elements are atomic in the structure and the atoms are possessed of the quality and action in the relation of generality, particularity and coexistence. Hence it can be conduced as the plurality of the ultimate things. The world is a mixture of different combinations. The products of such combination are more than mere aggregate of the parts of which they are produced.

The Sankhya which includes these causes among its categories, refers them to be the original cause due to which evolution took place. There are twenty-five categories in this which are thus ultimately reduced to two namely the self and original nature or prakṛti. The nature of prakṛti is known variously as Avyakta and Pradhāna. In Caraka Samhitā, there is a sudden transition from the pluralism of the Nyāya-Vaiśeśika to the Sankhya categories, again making a fundamental deviation from it betraying Vedantic inclinations towards one common origin of all the things.

Chapter III

Constitution of Man

We must understand that man is the subject matter of the science of medicine for whose sake it is promulgated.[36] If one wants to understand the human biology, one must perceive the world because human constitution is similar to the world in it's construction. Human structure is the microcosm and macrocosm in miniature. In Caraka, this point has been comprehensively taken in various ways from different standpoints. Similarly the world of six categories can also be defined as a world of six elements. Out of them the foundational five proto-elements are:

  1. Earth
  2. Water
  3. Fire
  4. Air
  5. Ether

Along with these five, there is a sixth one namely the conscious element. Man, being a conscious individual, is identical with the conscious element also. Śarirasthāna denotes man to be an aggregate of these six elements.[37] But if further researched, there is a further elaboration of these principles into an aggregate of twenty-four elements consisting of mind, ten organs of sense and action and five elements of the sense objects.[38]

Chapter IV

Unity in Diversity

It is remarkable that despite of the various diversities regarding the nature of reality, the religions of the world are unanimous in their sense of the ethical values towards life. Elimination of envy, hatred, covetousness, wickedness and the practice of good behavior, love and self-sacrifice are universally acclaimed as the right way of life. These actions can only be controlled if one can control the senses and mind. One should also imply the necessary discipline and the inner purity. Various religions and six systems of philosophy of thoughts have a common upholding of righteous conduct and mental and emotional parity. This type of conduct is the foundation for liberation as per all the religions of the world.

Ethical Progress

A theistic belief is unessential in upholding such high ethical ideals of life. Buddhism, as well as Sankhyaism and Mimaṅsā doctrines are avowedly ethical in their ideals and uphold rigorous discipline of the mind and heart in the interests of the supreme fulfillment of life. It is quite evident from the ethical history of man that there is an inner compulsion that extorts his instinctive allegiance to what is right, good and virtuous.

Despite man's inability to believe in the creator, he accepts the mystical efficiency and fruit-bearing power of the good and evil ways of life. Faith in the invisible power of action is known as 'Karma'. It is the product of the same instinct. In Caraka Samhitā, we find ample witnesses to the early faith of man in the efficiency of good and evil actions.

Other Doctrines

The Vaiśeśika belief with the expounding of Caraka Samhita which begins virtually, is concerned primarily with teaching righteous living. The Sutras of Kanada begin with the aphorism which expounds the nature of virtue. The origin of Ayurveda is for the preservation of human lives that without hindrance to austerity, meditation and discipline of mind. Ayurveda came into existence with an intention of the sages to cure the sufferings of humanity and all other living organisms.[39]

Concept of Karma

Not withstanding the absolute nature of the inner compulsion for goodness and duty, the generality of mankind is impelled only by the fear of evil effects and hope of happiness resulting from vice and virtue respectively. This is the hypothesis of the concept of Karma. It must therefore be regarded as beginning though it is ascribed to man to put an end to it. The diversity of the initial circumstances which give birth to a being is directly related to the actions and conduct of life throughout the previous lives. This total causal force by whose residual energy a person is catapulted into the life is known as destiny.[40]

In Caraka, it is called 'Daiva'. The beginning of action in the present life is called 'Puruṣakara'. This doctrine of previous incarnations implied by Karma is made out effectively according to Caraka by all the four methods of ascertainment viz:

  1. Scriptural testimony
  2. Direct perception
  3. Inference
  4. Common sense

From direct perception we find the following:

  • The children are unlike their parents.
  • Those born on the exact same time have different traits of color, voice, shape, mind and intellect.
  • People are born of higher and lower castes. Some are born slaves and some overlords with varying degrees of happiness, grief and life-span.

Concept of Rebirth

The great sages on the basis of their meritorious life and infallible vision have declared the existence of rebirth unequivocally.[41] New born babies without any acquaintance before, seek for the mother's breast, weep and cry and show fear. This is not possible in the absence of memory from previous births. The children are born with various marks on their bodies. It denotes a variety in their skill and tendencies and sometimes possess a memory of their previous birth.

Cakrapani, the commentator on Caraka, in his note on the phrase, suggests that sometimes it also happens that some men return to their bodies after death if the messengers of Yama had taken them due to mistaken identity.[42] The above said are the agreed facts of direct evidence of life and justify the faith in previous incarnation which explains this phenomena.

Theory of Inference

The actions of previous birth should be fully experienced to put an end to them. In every life a person also performs new actions. Hence there is a continual residue of the action whose fruits are yet to be reaped. This is known as 'Daiva', the unseen factor that ushers in life in the present birth. One has to infer the nature of the seed from the fruit as it reflects the same qualities which are present in seed.

The acts or the behavior which has been conducted by a person whether good or bad is responsible for the results it may reap. Fruit cannot come out of nothing. Similarly consequence of any action is similar in nature to the causal action. If one has performed good deeds in the past life then it will result in good consequences in this life and vice-versa. [43]

This leads us on to the further problems of the pre-destination of the nature of this life. As a supreme example of this, Atreya discusses the problem of the span of life of a man. If this life and all its happiness totally the result of action in the previous birth his life span must be already determined and neither spiritual or physical healing will avail anything. In such a case the science of being is utterly useless and has no place in a world where a life can be neither prolonged by medicine nor shortened by disease. It is useless to talk of either saving or killing a man but Atreya has a way out of this morass of pre-destination. He describes three kinds of action - the powerful, the moderate and the weak actions.[44]


This life is not just the reflection of actions done in past life. There is a scope for fresh initiation of new action which is known as Puruṣakara. This Puruṣakara is of three types:

  1. Powerful
  2. Moderate
  3. Weak

If the past actions are moderate or weak it can be surpassed by powerful actions of the current life. If the present action are moderate or weak then the powerful action of past will assert itself and have its full effect. Only the present powerful actions can void off the ill results of past moderate or mild actions. Hence man must pursue the righteous life intensely. One can be the own architect of life by the actions in the present life.

Puruṣakara as per Atreya

This is a hope inspiring positive provision that Atreya holds for mankind without which there would be no motivation for any good and reformist effort in life. It is a very significant contribution to meta-physical thought that Atreya has made while discussing the ways and possibility of averting the results of past actions. According to him 'Daiva' gets nullified by the stronger Puruṣakara. The stronger Daiva overpowers the weaker Puruṣakara the life of a person would be more better.[45] This mutual counteracting is inevitable but sometimes it does not occur according to the relative strength of the two kinds of action due to the time factor. But these both factors are accounted to have a strong hold over this field exclusively.[46]

Pursuit of Life

With this background, let us find the necessity for an intense wish for the pursuit of good life. The Smṛtis say that man must pursue righteousness throughout one's life as death of a person is destined and no one knows when one is going to die. In Caraka Samhitā, all the mental and spiritual evils like the bodily ailments are regarded as the diseased conditions due to volitional transgression. Present day philosophers regard crime and wickedness also as the pathological conditions. The punishments for the same is to be accorded from a reformative as well as therapeutic point of view. Atreya's point of view over this point considers humanity and scientific nature of the modern outlook on moral evils.

Sadvṛtta as per Caraka

Rajas and Tamas are the bad humors of the mind just as vāta, pitta and kapha are for the body. Self-restraint, moderation, dedication to the study of scriptures and meditation are described to be constituting the psychic or divine therapy. This divine therapy is described in great elaboration in the scripture known as Sadvṛtta.[47]

Sadvṛtta as per Atreya

Atreya declares that all the actions result from the good or bad usage of speech, mind and body. That is of three kinds:

  1. Usage of Speech - Misuse with reference to speech is indulgence in language that is insinuating, untrue, untimely, quarrelsome, unpleasant, incoherent, unhealthful, harsh etc.
  2. Usage of Mind - The misuse with reference to the mind consists of giving way to fear grief, anger, greed, infatuation, self-conceit, envy deluded thinking etc.
  3. Usage of Senses or body - This classification is based on the three-fold division of sense-contact with the external objects which are excessive contact, non-contact and wrong contact, all of which constitute the factors of disease. Complete absence of action of speech, mind and body is non-operation. Excessive exercise of them is over-action. Forced suppression or forced excitation of the natural urges, awkward stumbling, falling and posturing of limbs, abusing the body, injuring the body, violent kneading of the limbs and forced holding of the breath and other kinds of self-mortification are misuse of the body.

Remediation Measures

The defects of senses can be corrected along with the ways of correcting the defects of the body constitute by the involvement of medicine in general. But those of the mind require the practice of a regimen of conduct determined by mental and emotional discipline. This is otherwise known as the righteous life[48] or Dharma. The inclination for righteousness must be continuously kept up by effort because there is a natural decline of that tendency in men from age to age. Atreya says that in every succeeding age, there is a fourth part of righteousness dwindling down and similarly the qualities of things.


The lifespan of people also go down at the rate of one year for every hundredth part of the age.[49] Man must therefore be ever vigilant in countering this tendency and pursue a good life with determination and dedication of mind and soul respectively. Atreya prescribed to lead a righteous life which is the constituting factor for happiness and longevity. The life lead thus becomes the root cause for the liberation of the spirit.[50]

The good life is not only that which gives spiritual fulfillment and final liberation but also the one avoiding the bad tempers of the mind which even culminates in psychic diseases such as insanity, epilepsy and other diseases. It also makes the body sub-skeptical to somatic diseases. The life therefore from the points of view of happiness in this life as well as in the next and final liberation, must be assiduously practiced. This establishes well-being in both the worlds as per Ayurveda. It further asserts that it accelerates the means of final liberation of man. This is the Science of Life wherein are laid down the good and the bad life, the happy and the unhappy life. This is related to what is wholesome and what is unwholesome in life. It also acts as a regulatory measure to lead a good life.


  1. The sacred remnant of food offered to superhuman powers is called as prasād.
  2. Caraka Sutra I, 17
  3. Caraka Sutra VIII 4
  4. Caraka Sutra VIII 7
  5. Caraka Sutra VIII 14
  6. It means Ātmā.
  7. Sutra VIII 13
  8. Sutra, XI-20
  9. Sutra XI, 7-8
  10. Sutra XI 25
  11. SarTra 1-56
  12. Here it refers to the mind.
  13. Here it means Ahaṅkāra.
  14. Śarīra I 66
  15. Nyāya Sutra 1-16
  16. Brahma Sutra 2-3-40
  17. Sarira 1-18-19
  18. Vaisesika Sutra 3-2-9
  19. Nyaya Sutra 1.1 16
  20. Sarira, 1-21
  21. Sarira IV-36
  22. Sutra VII1-5
  23. Sutra VIII-6
  24. It is called 'antahkarana catustaya'.
  25. Sutra I 42
  26. Sutra I, 46-47
  27. Sutra 1-49
  28. Sutra 1-49
  29. Vimāna VIII
  30. Sarirasthāna I
  31. Nyāyasutra 3-1
  32. Śarirasthāna I
  33. Sutra XXVI, 29-30
  34. Vimāna VIII-77
  35. Sutrasthāna 1,49-52
  36. Sutrasthāna 1-47
  37. Śarirasthāna I. 16
  38. Śarirasthāna 1-17
  39. Caraka Sutra VI, 7
  40. Destiny is also called as Vidhi or Daiva.
  41. Sutra XI 28-29
  42. Sutra XI, 30
  43. Sutra XI, 31-32
  44. Vimāna III 31
  45. Vimāna III, 33-34
  46. Vimāna III, 34-35
  47. Caraka Sutra 1-58
  48. It is called as Sadavṛtta.
  49. Caraka Vimāna III, 24-25
  50. Caraka Sutra VIII 18
  • The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India