Talk:Vitiation process

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Contents

Preface

The whole vitiation process is divided into various stages of its happening. They can be demarcated by the action or course going on at each stage of the whole process. It is apportioned into six phases of its operation as follows:

  1. Accumulation
  2. Provocation
  3. Diffusion
  4. Location
  5. Manifestation
  6. Termination

I Stage of Accumulation

Stage of decrease will manifest the signs and symptoms of deficiency either at the local space or localized action while the stage of increase has many far-reaching effects. Increased quantity needs to be accommodated somewhere and the body being a defined space if there is any more pressure at a particular space it does not bear it. Some kind of irregularity or disorder definitely occurs in the body.

Cause

If any material increases in a particular local part of the body, there may be an increase or growth of that particular tissue. This activity may disturb the neighboring tissues and cause inconvenience by the mechanical pressure. But the increase and continued accumulation of the dynamic force of the triumvirate, which are all-pervasive and whose equilibrium is maintained on a very subtle fulcrum, can be tolerated only to a limited extent. It cannot be transgressed beyond it's capacity.

This stage may or may not produce actual disease condition but definitely serve as a catalyst in predisposing traumatic condition or other etiological factors which act as an immediate excitant to the triumvirate, herald the vitiation process and usher in the incursion of the diseased condition. The general postulate of the diagnosis of the stages of increase and decrease of the function of triumvirate is described in the passages below.

Symptoms

The signs of decrease of vāta, pitta and kapha are described to denote the decrease of their respective actions. There may be either the loss of their normal functions or increase on the contrary ones. Increase of natural actions denotes the increase of humors. The decrease and increase of humors are diagnosed in this manner.[1]

Śuśruta describes some more definite premonitory symptoms when triumvirate imbalance is just on the threshold of vitiation. Recognition of these pre-dominant symptoms is given a lot of importance because he considers this stage as the first or the earliest stage for the scope of therapeutic process. In this, the vitia gets accumulated. The symptoms of accumulated vitia are:

  • Stiffness and fullness of abdomen due to vāta
  • Yellow tinge of the skin due to pitta
  • Low temperature
  • Heaviness of limbs
  • Lethargy due to kapha
  • Instinct of repugnance

Cure

The above mentioned indications are the causative factors of accumulation of these respective vitia. This is the first stage for the treatment.[2] Careful personal regimen and simple prophylactic measures will completely ward of the primary symptoms and the incidence of the diseased condition to some extent, if the condition is recognized at a very preliminary stage and the treatment is started immediately.

II The Stage of Provocation

Cause

This is the stage of the provocation of the triumvirate members. It is generally subsequent to the triumvirate having increased to the maximum point or decrease due to the irritated or provoked condition by an extraneous excitant endogenous or exogenous etiological factor. This provocative reaction also may occur without previous imbalance condition, if the immediate excitant factor is too strong for the triumvirate for the adaptive reaction.

Incidence of the additional pathogenetic factor to be over-stressed and the imbalanced triumvirate, produces baneful poisonous or toxic effect on that body. Triumvirate is easily influenced by these newly produced toxic effects and thence become vitiated. Once vitiated, it loses self-control and forgets it's normal behavior and functions. It becomes erratic, irregular, disorganized, abnormal and morbific in function.

Manifestation

The triumvirate members who works as the savior of the body reacts to its damage. It generally has positive effects on the physiology but starts hindering pathologically. It being itself in vitiated state, spreads the maleficent effects all over the body and causes vitiation of the body-elements or body-channels wherever possible. When it is fully intoxicated or vitiated, it behaves like a hostile existent and starts harming the body. This tragic conversion of the benevolent triumvirate into malevolent is the beginning of the real vitiation pathogenesis. This provoked condition is indeed the initiation of the diseased stage and the culmination of diffusion, location, manifestation and termination are the further development of the provoked vitium.

Cure

If during the progress of this pathological process, vitiating condition is encountered successfully and nullified by the body vitality, the triumvirate is extricated from the pathological stage. Triumvirate then returns to its primary stage of duties and starts acting as a support system to the body rather than damaging it.

Axioms

  • Śuśruta ascribes definite syndromes to the provocation stage of each triumvirate and considers this stage to be second in importance for the practical therapeutics.[3]
  • Vāgbhata's definition of provocation is still more elucidating. He states that the provocation is the stage when a vitium moves in the wrong direction and manifests symptoms of its morbid condition. This leads to illness denoting the occurrence of the disease.[4]

III Stage of Diffusion

This is the state of spreading of the disease. In this stage if the vitiating effects are too strong, the whole body may be overpowered. This will result into the constitutional diseased condition. If the vitiating effects are not very strong to disable the whole body, it may continue to move in the body till they find an appropriate place for settling. This is a definite obstruction which produces diseased condition at that particular site in the body.

Louis Paster, the discoverer of the bacterial science, proved the truth of this concept to the world by the physical methods. The biological postulates of growth and reproduction in the aspect of Caraka is equally astonishing. He believed in the concept that 'There is no seedling in the absence of seed'.

As per Śuśruta

Śuśruta strikes an exceedingly astonishing concept when he tries to explain the process of diffusion. Triumvirate provoked by the excitant etiological factors begin to increase just like the process of fermentation. This growth is lead by spreading all over the body.[5] He even compares this continuous process of increase to the phenomena of the growth in yeast fermentation which was anticipated for two thousand years. He describes these definite syndromes to be indicative of diffusive stage of each of the triumvirate and considers this stage to be third in importance from the therapeutic point of view.[6]

As per Virchow and Flemming

Virchow[7] and Flemming[8] expounded this theory again in the 19th century. It was propounded as the important biological law like "Omnis cellula e cellula and omnis nucleus e nucleo" respectively by both. It was later proved by the modern scientific means.

IV. The Stage of Location

Location of the disease can occur at each and every organ as per Śuśruta. This condition is compared to the rainy clouds in the sky which may rain in the whole region or at specific place. The effect of vitiated triumvirate may be exhibited in the entire body or half of the body or a particular part or organ of it.[9] Even Caraka advocates this theory.[10]

Location At A Particular Place

Locus minoris resistance of the particular system-organ or tissue or obstruction in the body channels determine the location of the vitiating elements. This locus minoris resistance may be due to a particular constitution of that system, organ, part or cell. This can happen even due to any biological inferiority in the growth or through damage caused to them by the previous trauma, stress, disease or otherwise.

Śuśruta explains the theory of location stating that wherever the all-pervading vitia in the provoked state comes in contact with any organ or tissue or part that is already impaired and hence susceptible, there occurs disease-phenomenon.[11] In the same way, Caraka also states the reason of location in one place by asserting that the vitium locates its vitiating element whenever it comes in contact with a susceptible spot and causes diseased condition there. This is the mode of local provocation of vitia.[12] This stage of location is of a great clinical importance for the early diagnosis of diseased condition.

Premonitory Symptoms

Vitiation elements having attained foot-hold somewhere get gradually established therein and produce symptoms which will be indicative not only of the vitiation of the particular vitium or vitia, but also of the location or site where this vitiation process has begun to spread. These combined symptoms help to localize the site of the diseased-condition. Śuśruta differentiates these symptoms produced during this stage of location of vitiation process as the definite premonitory symptom.

These premonitory symptoms manifest when the vitiation process is located. From then onwards the disease is recognized. This is the fourth stage of therapeusis.[13] This stage of location manifested clinically by the definite premonitory symptoms is the fourth stage of importance for the therapeutic purpose.

V. The Stage of Manifestation

The stage of manifestation of the diseased condition is termed as 'Vyakti'. Śuśruta correlates this pathological stage with the actual appearance of the clinical phenomena of any disease. This diseased condition may be a general or a systematic disease. It can be even the disease of one part or limb according to the location of settling and establishing of the vitiation elements. This is the beginning of the organic or structural deformities in body.

Classification of Disease

The diseased condition may be classified in two groups:

  1. General
  2. Local

Both these groups can again be further subdivided into two further types.

Categories of General Disease

For general condition it is:

  1. Acute diseased condition
  2. Chronic diseased condition

Categories of Local Diseases

For Local Condition it is:

  1. Acute diseased condition
  2. Chronic diseased condition

Acute General

The vitiation process spreads across the entire body only if the vitiation elements are very strong; time and place favorable to them and the body constitution being very weak or susceptible to the diseased condition. It then spreads over the entire body very abruptly and overpowers it immediately.The body then succumbs completely and transfers in full vitiation stage followed by dissolution. Caraka describe this condition through the example of spread of snake venom in the human body. Men who are attacked by it succumb to the spread of poison in the entire body very speedily, unless treated promptly. Hence enlightenment regarding the knowledge of the disease is very essential.[14]

If after the immediate stunning, stupefaction and vitiation, the vital power of the body creates antibodies to save from the diseased situation then the extraneous factors of time and environment becomes helpful to the body. Due to this the whole process of vitiation reverses and the process is slowed down. If the counter-action continues successfully, the body with its triumvirate organization becomes free from vitiation altogether resulting into the survival of man.[15]

Chronic General

The general diseased condition may have periodical clinical course if the fighting forces on the either side are almost of the equal strength. Fighting forces are the vitiation elements versus body-constitution and body-elements. Season, time and other environmental factors may be helpful to any side. Fluctuation in the strength of either side of the fighting forces or supporting help from the extraneous sources may cause abatement or aggravation of the diseased condition. Such condition continues for a long time till one aspect gets sufficiently powerful to subdue the other. Caraka describes such oscillations in disease condition as the morbid toxic factors opposite to the anti-bodies. This situation causes remittent fever which periodically rises and remits.[16]

Local Diseased Condition

If the vitiation process locates and gets established in the localized area, organ or tissue, same phenomenon of encounter occurs but on a smaller scale and in limited space. Such localized reaction may also occur in the body without the previous internal vitiation process if that particular local part receives a powerful physical, chemical or biological trauma from the external source. These exogenous etiological factors are given different names and descriptions depending on the place of their occurrence. They are differentiated from the endogenous ones which are termed as 'Nīja'. A detailed list of such exogenous and endogenous etiological factors is given in Caraka Samhitā.[17]

The differential diagnosis between the diseased conditions produced by endogenous and exogenous causes is described by Caraka. The exogenous disease is initiated with pain and later on leads to the discordance of vāta, pitta and kapha. But in the endogenous ones, the discordance of vāta, pitta and kapha occurs first and later on it gives rise to pain.[18]

Fight in the local area of body has an advantage of receiving aid from the rest of the body. The entire body concentrates all it's resistance power towards the affected area to resist it. The local concentration of the struggling phenomena cures the localized disease area which becomes an easy task for the clinicians.

Our body reacts with all its strength to the internal as well as the external disease factors. Hence that particular part becomes enlarged and appears swollen. All these signs are easily observed by the clinician. It is a happy coincidence to find that the ancient clinicians both of the east and west have grouped these clinical appearances in four groups and described them as the classical signs of the localized diseased condition.

Caraka describes that the swelling characterized by pricking pain, burning and redness should be diagnosed to be a suppurated swelling.[19] According the his ideology, he also considers swelling[20] as the pathognomonic of such conditions. It causes edema with its pathognomonic symptoms of swelling.[21] Similarly Celsus, in A. D. 50, described calor, rubor, tumor and dolor as the four cardinal signs manifesting the local phenomena of inflammatory reaction. Cakrapāṇi denotes that it is marked by steady swelling, so it is edema with swelling.[22]

Clinicians in Greece gave importance to the other physical symptoms like redness and heat. This local phenomenon is termed as an inflammatory reaction. They regarded redness and heat being the qualities of the flame. This difference in significance of particular symptoms in two countries may be an interesting subject to the student of ethnology. Symptoms with kapha constitution will react with swelling as more prominent while signs of pitta will have heat and redness to be more dominant signs.

Local Acute Inflammatory Condition

The same process as it occurs in the general diseased condition also takes place in localized disease condition but on a smaller scale. It has an advantage of getting help from the body but it may put the whole body to jeopardy, if vitiation or morbific elements get an upper hand and it crosses over and spreads to the neighboring parts or organs of the body. It can even metastasize into the whole body.

Below mentioned symptoms are described as the complications of local inflammatory reactions. Caraka mentions the sixteen complications of wounds, described by the specialists in that subject[23]:

  • Acute spreading affection
  • Hemiplegia
  • Vascular thrombosis
  • Convulsions
  • Stupefaction
  • Insanity
  • Acute pain in the wound
  • Fever
  • Thirst
  • Lock-jaw
  • Cough
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hiccup
  • Dyspepsia
  • Tremors

The local diseased conditions terminate in the same way as the general diseased condition. The results of the success or failure of the body resistance power encounter is indicated by the intensity of the resolution and dissolution of local parts.

Local Chronic Inflammatory Condition

When the fighting forces are nearly equi-balanced, prolonged war with fluctuation on either side continues till some decisive factor comes in aid of any one side and concludes the warfare. This is considered to be the fifth best of the therapeutic period. This stage is accounted to be better than the last phase of treatment which is the termination stage of the disease.

Here is some of the comparative data of description of such local inflammatory processes which are found in Ayurveda and modern medical treatise. Inflammation or variation in the intensity of the classical signs is due to the domineering actions of particular vitium. In A. D. 50, Celsus describes the four cardinal signs manifesting the local phenomena of inflammatory reaction. They are color, rubor, tumor and dolor which are further co-related with the four humors of the microcosm. These refers to the body-constitution and four corner stones in the humoral pathology of Hippocrates which were again correlated to the four proto-elements of the macrocosm. It is the world of organic existence as described by the philosopher-physician Empedocles who regarded these four proto-elements to be the roots of all the things.

Macrocosmic and microcosmic concepts were based on the triad of vāta, pitta and kapha; but the surgeons suggests blood which is rather a structural system to be more convenient and useful in the diagnosis and treatment, especially of local diseased conditions. Śuśruta thus tried to give nearly the same status to the blood just as to triumvirate and then described four categories. The diseases pertaining to the body have their origin in blood and drink ingested. Hence it happens due to the vitiation and discordance of vāta, pitta, kapha and blood.[24]

Controversy on Blood

It is an age old conflict whether to consider blood as a part of the base constituent or not. While commencing on one of his verse, Dālhana gives an explanation that why one should include blood in the categories of the constitutional classification. In a wound there is the dominance of blood among the vitia.[25] Śuśruta clarified this point by stating that blood is secondary and dependent upon the primary triumvirate of vitial categories because the blood is never provoked without the vitia.[26] Blood is included under the pitta category when the three vitial categories are taken into consideration. A person having pitta tendency also has the same abnormality in the blood.

Equal importance is given to the description of inflammation in Śuśruta Samhitā.[27] It is given the same cadre even in the modern surgical text books. In both the reference books, the description of diseases is initiated with this subject and many chapters are dedicated to each topic to give a detailed description of this inflammatory phenomenon in general. Nearly 1/15 of the text in each book deal with this pathological process. Śuśruta concludes this subject by generalization of the local pathological process.

Classification of Inflammation

The list of the types of pain and color is not limited to wounds but is applicable to all the types of inflammation. Hence the physician should regard each type of inflammation like a wound.[28] Classification of a subject may be made from various points of view to help in understanding it. Modern surgical text books classify inflammation generally as the below mentioned types:

  1. Acute or sub-acute
  2. Acute or Chronic
  3. Parenchymatous or Interstitial
  4. Serous-Catarrhal-Fibrinosis-Hemorrhagic or Suppurative

This classification is based either on the intensity of the process or the development of the tissues which it attacks. It is even based on the exudation which further gives rise to Ayurveda classification of the inflammation. Ayurveda classifies it into three groups of constitutional triumvirate. This triumvirate classification has great significance not only in clinical diagnosis but also in the practical therapeutics. It is done from clinical pathological-cum-physiological point of view.

Pathogenic Symptoms of the Triumvirate

If the etiological factor is excitant of a particular vitium or any particular vitium of the constitution is predisposed to the diseased condition, then the signs, symptoms, characteristic and pathognomonic of that particular vitium will be more dominant than the signs of other two vitia. If two vitia are dominant and acts in the combination then the signs of both the vitia will be displayed dominantly. If all the three are aggravated the symptoms of all the three will be manifested. The pathognomonic signs of each vitia of triumvirate and blood as per Astānga Hṛdaya Sutra is described as follows[29]:

  • Vāta is the present if there are symptoms of pain.
  • If there are burning symptoms then pitta is in the root cause of the disease.
  • If there is swelling then it is due to kapha.
  • The symptoms of redness and suppuration denote abnormalities in the blood.

The below mentioned four signs correspond very close to the triple response theory of Thomas Lewis:

  • Vāta - It exhibits pain.[30]
  • Pitta - It denotes heat.[31]
  • Blood - It implies redness.[32]
  • Kapha - It shows swelling.[33]

Significance of Vaso-Neuropathy

Due to the clinical experience of each ancient physician and surgeon, there is a comprehensive and detailed knowledge about the variation in the intensity as well as the development rate of these classical signs. This can be very well explained if the full concept of vaso-neurotic constitution is studied. The inflammatory reaction is the resultant action of etiological excitant and reaction of vaso-neurotic constitution. Threshold of contraction and dilatation of the arterioles and capillaries vary in each individual along with the capillary permeability. This is due to the difference in vaso-neurotic constitution in each individual.

Thus vaso-neurotic constitution of an individual plays a very important role in the inflammation phenomena. Writer Krogh while describing the vaso-neurotic constitution declares:

I shall say a few words about the condition of the vaso-neurotic constitution. It is characterized by the great liability or downright instability of the innervation of the vascular system. It manifests itself in the capillaries and arteries. Frequent changes in this cycle either occur spontaneously or from a relatively trivial cause. The redness happens due to the opening and dilatation of the capillaries and venules. Heat is the result of the increased flow of blood due to dilatation of the arterioles. The sweeping happens by exudation of fluid from vessels due to their increased permeability. Pain is caused due the stimulated nerves.

Though these reactions occur for the betterment of the body, it is possible that some of the reactions, if occurring in excess, may be harmful. Similarly poor or inadequate reactions may not be very effective. The knowledge of the constitutional tendency of the comprehensive botany of man as a whole and of the vaso-neurotic constitution of the local organ or part affected along with the particular provoked actions of the etiological factors may aid in controlling or rectifying this protective and restorative reaction for the advantage of the body. Hence the study of the constitutional triumvirate is of great significance to understand the physiology of a man. Triumvirate concept opens up a subtler field of research in the functions of etiological factors as well as the behavior of body tissues.

VI The Stage of Termination

Prologue

This is the last stage which is referred as termination of the vitiation process. In general, for the diseased-condition, the person may completely recover if his body vitality can counteract the incursion successfully or succumb if the invading forces are too powerful for his body's vitality. If any one factor is not enough to subdue the other totally, then the diseased condition may persist for a prolonged period.

Process of Suppuration

Just like the local diseased condition, there may occur complete resolution or dissolution or death of the local part or organ. It is defined as Necrosis, gangrene or ulcer. Local diseased condition has one special method of termination and disposal of the waste or mortified matter which is called as suppuration. This process It tends to suppurate if it is not possible to sedate it by special external or internal treatment. This process initiates even if the wrong treatment is given or morbidity is in excess.[34] This will end in producing the condition of wound.

Determination of Purification process

The principles of treatment during the vitiation process were formulated primarily with a view to eliminate the vitiated morbid matter resulting from the pathological processes which are accumulated in the body. For this type of elimination, the neatest and the simplest outlet or body channel was chosen. This gave rise to the need of creating the treatment for eliminating this morbid matter and thereby purifying the whole body.

This purification therapy is executed intensely to accomplish the complete elimination of the morbid matter from the body. This procedure requires the body to be previously prepared before undergoing a strong mode of treatment. The body is prepared by oleation and sudation procedures. These procedures facilitated the easy elimination of any kind of morbid matter.

Significance of Purification as per Caraka

Caraka declares that these drugs should be used as emetics by the physician in a way conducive to body in gastro-related disorders. These disorders are characterized by morbid accumulation of kapha and pitta.[35] Patient was prescribed the purgation process when the morbid humors are accumulated in the colon.[36] Oleation process cures the morbidity of vāta and makes the body light. It even disintegrates the accumulation of the morbid matter. Sudation process liquefies the morbid matter stuck up in the minute channels of the body of a person who has undergone oleation therapy.[37] Hence one should undergo oleation process and then sudation process for the complete purification of body.

Process of Detoxification

When the body is found not fit and intolerant of the radical treatment, the line of treatment chosen was to initiate the gradual digestion of the morbid matter. This concept is very similar to the detoxication conjugation concept of modern physiology. Liver plays an important part in protecting the organism from various toxic substances. This detoxifying function involves the process of oxidation and conjugation into relatively non-toxic substances. These are subsequently eliminated in the bile and urine. In the early stage of fever, starvation and sudation; gruel diet and the food items having bitter taste digest the imperfectly digested morbid matter in the body.[38]

Process of Rehabilitation

After the complete elimination of the morbid matter, treatment consists of supplying the deficit nutrients and strengthening the body vitality by drugs as well as dietetic regimen. This process is called as rehabilitation process.[39]

Other Pathological Processes

Ancients held some more concepts of pathological conditions or processes in Ayurveda as under:

  1.  The concept of epidemic and pandemic diseases
  2. The concept of sources and spread of infection or contagion.
  3. The concept of growth and multiplication of morbific elements in the body and their mode of spread and action.
  4. Certain abnormal conditions of the body-appearance

Termination as per Śuśruta

If the conclusive termination is not brought about by any party being sub-active and is not able to subdue totally the other part, the chronic inflammatory condition or chronic wound condition such as fistula or sinus may continue for a prolonged period. This is the last or the sixth stage of therapeutic period advised by Śuśruta. The description of the various stages of vitiation pathology explains the reasons of thorough study and diagnosis of each stage from the practical therapeutic point of view.

Treatment if started in the earlier stages will be easier and simpler compared to the treatment after the vitiation process intensifies. Vitiation process which are checked or subdued in the accumulation process fails to produce any further development. If it is allowed to progress, it gains strength and intensity in the course of it's further development.[40]

The Concept of Epidemic and Pandemic Diseases

In epidemic diseases the constitution of the body is not able to play any part in counter-acting the incursion of the infesting elements. The etiological factors have a complete hold over the disease-phenomena. Hence the symptoms and clinical courses are observed as the etiological factors which are uniform. Constitution which is an individual concern is not of prime importance then. Hence minute individual variation can occur on the clinical grounds during the course of disease.

In chrome diseases, individual constitution is able to create resistance and in such condition pronounced individual differences in the clinical course can occur. Caraka Samhitā devotes one chapter to explain the concept of Epidemiology.[41] It is a thought provoking concept and probably a new insight into radiation physics. Radiation physics may find the equivalence in value between the physical and spiritual universe and rediscover the truth laid down by Atreya.

Causes of Epidemic Diseases

It is important to understand the cause of many people being affected by a common ailment at one and the same time. The reasons behind the uniformity of clinical course of disease, in spite of the individual variations of constitution, have to be investigated. It is evident to know the main source of such kind of ailments. Caraka in Vimāna three treats the subject comprehensively.

Sage Agniveṣa asks the reason behind the destruction of communities by epidemic consisting of individuals who differ from each other in constitution, diet, physique, vitality, habits, psychic make-up and age. This query was answered by Atreya saying,
"O, Agniveṣa! though a community may be heterogeneous in respect of the constitution of its individual members, there are other common factors that are being adversely affected which will cause simultaneous outbreak of diseases having similar symptoms. Due to this reason the whole population gets devastated. The factors that affect the people in common are wind, water, country and seasons.

Epidemic due to Wind

The diseases which can be caused through wind have a specific peculiarity. The peculiar characteristics of this type of wind and it's movement is as follows:

  • Non-seasonal
  • Totally becalmed
  • Violently blowing
  • Exceedingly rough
  • Intensely cold
  • Intensely hot
  • Excessively dry
  • Excessively humid
  • Fearfully clamorous
  • Blowing from contrary directions
  • Clashing with itself
  • Extremely rotatory[42]
  • Having unwholesome odors, moisture, sand, dust and smoke

Epidemic due to Water

Water with the below mentioned qualities is believed to be the root cause of epidemic diseases. They are:

  • No qualities of normal water
  • Having an extremely aberrant smell, color, taste and touch
  • Abounding with putrescent matter
  • Deserted by aquatic birds and aquatic creatures
  • Unpleasant

Epidemic due to Country

The country having the following description is to be known as unwholesome to reside. Living in such kind of place can lead a person succumb to the epidemic diseases:

  • Having color, taste and touch that are unnatural
  • Excessively damp
  • Abounding in serpents beasts of prey, mosquitoes, locusts, flies mice, owls, birds and animals such as the jackal
  • Abounding in woods of weeds and Ulupa grass
  • Abounding in creepers
  • Crops have either fallen, withered or been destroyed in an unprecedented manner
  • Winds are smoky
  • Sound of birds is unceasing
  • Baying of dogs always assails the ears
  • Herds of animals and flocks of birds of various kinds are always in a state of alarm and pain
  • People does not display positive traits like morality, truth, modesty, custom, character and virtue
  • Waters are always agitated and up-heaving
  • Frequently subjected to the incidence of meteorites thunderbolts and earthquakes
  • Nature is full of menacing sounds and sights
  • Sun, moon and stars are frequently covered by dry, coppery, ruddy and grey clouds
  • Full of constant alarm and lamentation, crying, fright and darkness as if visited by gnomes
  • Abounding in sounds of lamentation

Epidemic due to Season

A season which has exhibits evincing characteristics that are opposite to it's typical seasonal peculiarities leads to the epidemic diseases.

Conclusion

The learned declare these four factors to be destructive of population. But even when these factors are in full swing person who have their medical treatment beforehand does not succumb to the disease condition. Even if all the four factors including time become vitiated, as long as men are sustained by medicines, they will remain free of diseases. For them moreover, the rightful use of vitalizing medications is recommended and the maintenance of the body by the means of medicinal herbs culled beforehand is also commended.[43]

Concept of Sources and Spread of infection or Contagion

Regarding the sources of infection in epidemic diseases, Caraka lays down that a combined vitiation of the air, water, country and season are the sources of vitiation. The factors that affect a people in common are the wind, water, country and season.[44] The learned declare these very four factors when possessed of the morbidity described above become the cause of destruction of the whole population through the epidemics.[45]

As per Śuśruta

Śuśruta states that epidemic diseases spread from man to man. Dermatosis, fever and eye-sore are the infectious symptoms that spread very rapidly as they are the most contagious among all of them in the outbreak of epidemics.[46]

Concept of Growth and Action of Morbific elements in the Body

Just as the seed lies dormant in the soil and germinates in season, in the same manner the toxic matter lies quiescent in the body-element and flares up when the time is catalytic for it's growth. Thus the morbific factor gathers strength and bid in the propitious time. Then it manifests itself by the outcome of fever as soon as the disease-resistance power in the body is lessened. In this manner, the disease-generating factors, having worked themselves out, lapse into quiescence and retire to their respective stations in the body. Then it musters up complete strength once again. These toxic elements afflict the patient with fever when they are at the utmost level.[47]

As per Caraka

Caraka had a clearer awareness of the biological factors involved in the vitiating elements. He refers to the phenomenon of the periodicity of fever to the recurring cycles of growth, spread, and withdrawal of the vitiating element. This description concedes with the cycle of evolution of malarial parasite in the human body. Caraka illustrates this by using the simile of the seed and the soil.

As per Śuśruta

Śuśruta compares the growth of vitiating elements to the yeast fermentation which has already been explained in the chapter on vitiating pathogenesis.[48] Here the simile of yeast fermentation for the explanation of the increase of growth of morbific elements is quite suggestive.

Abnormal Body Appearances

It has been observed that there occur certain abnormalities in appearance of the persons who otherwise are healthy. Thence these conditions are not grouped under the disease list but described in a separate chapter just after the enumeration of all the diseased conditions. These conditions are probably connected with some abnormality of the function of glandular system of the body. The eight censurable body conditions described therein are as follows.[49]:

  1. Obesity
  2. Tenuity
  3. Dwarfism
  4. Gigantism
  5. Albinism
  6. Pigmentation
  7. Hirsute
  8. Baldness

Significance of Knowledge of Disease Constitution for the Practical Therapeutics

To diagnose a diseased condition and treat it to achieve complete health back, it is very significant to acquire the knowledge of the whole body constitution as well as the constitutional factors of the disease. These constitutional factors can be divided into four parts as follows:

  1. Significance of Constitutional Factors in the Etiology of disease
  2. Significance of Constitutional factors in the Clinical course of disease
  3. Significance of Constitutional factors in prognostics
  4. Significance of Constitutional factors in practical Therapeutics

Significance of Constitutional Factors in the Etiology of Disease

If the balance-constant of the vitium which is dominant in the body of an individual is placed on a higher threshold, the person is more sensitive towards the etiological factors which are the excitants of that particular vitium. The threshold of tolerance is transgressed even with a small degree of exciting factors. This is the relative condition of the predisposition or susceptibility.

The constituent vitium whose threshold of the sensitivity is low, will require a larger degree of probing factors to manifest the diseased condition. This is the relative condition of immunity. Caraka states that:

In a person of the vāta habitus, indulged in vāta-provoking things, the vāta is readily aggravated and not the other two humors. Similarly in the pitta patient, indulged in pitta-provoking things, the pitta is readily aggravated and not the other two humors. Similarly in the person of kapha habitus given to indulgence in kapha-provoking things, kapha is readily aggravated and not the other two humors.[50]

Significance of Constitutional Factors in Clinical Course of Disease

Caraka Samhitā gives a succinct but a clear account on the role that body constitution plays in enhancing the clinical picture of the disease. It also lays down a general clinical law that manifestation of actual disease condition is the result of varying interactions in the etiological factors, the triumvirate constitution and the body-tissues.

There are three factors which affects the occurrence of the disease which happens as a result of the variations in the etiological factors, intensity of morbid humors and susceptibility of the body elements. If these three causes, which are mainly the etiological factors, do not mutually support each other or if they do so after a prolonged period or in a very mild form, either there occurs no manifestation of the disease at all or the disease takes a long period to evolve. In this case disease might appear in an ambulatory or abortive form also. Under the contrary conditions, there occur contrary results. This way the the different causes of the modes of all the diseases are displayed.[51]

Concerning the result of the encounter of the etiological factors with the vitia and susceptible body tissues, the author describes the following possibilities:

  1. If the etiological excitant and constitutional vitia and body tissues are not mutually agreeable at all, it means that the provoking factors and vitia are of the opposite types and the body tissues are resistant or more or less immune to them, then there does not occur any manifestation of the disease-condition.
  2. If the excitant and vitia and body tissues are mutually agreeable but all of them are so mild or weak that all combined together do not suffice to produce a full diseased condition, there will be manifestation of a mild abortive or ambulatory type of disease condition.
  3. If the mutual agreement and combination of all these three factors are engulfed by a long interval, there will be a delayed development of the disease. This condition has a prolonged clinical course. Incubation period is long and clinical course is chronically prolonged.
  4. If the etiological exciting factors, constitutional vitia and the body tissue are mutually agreeable, there will be full development of the disease condition manifesting all the classical symptoms in due order of time and in degree of intensity giving a theoretical picture of the disease-condition.[52]
  5. If the etiological excitant is more severe and acute, the vitia just on the threshold of provocation and body tissues quite predisposed, the result is the manifestation of very acute or even fulminant type of disease condition which runs a very acute course and there is a huge exaggeration of the general or local symptoms.[53]

In the above mentioned first two conditions the disease does not run a fixed, regular or constant clinical course. It rather manifests a diversified clinical picture. It may not manifest all the classical symptoms of the disease condition at one time. It may exhibit them in an irregular way. There may not be orderly sequence maintained in the development of the symptoms because they may be highly intense in one part of the body, tissue or system while not even existent on other parts at one and the same time.[54]

These are the general postulates of manifestation of clinical course in any disease condition. Constitutional factor is an individual factor, which always results in the individual differences in the clinical picture course and termination of the disease. Hence we can conclude that any type of disease, other than epidemic or pandemic diseases, happens due to the imbalance in the etiological factors, vitia and body tissues.

During the outbreak of epidemic and pandemic diseases, constitutional factors do not play any part or counteract the incursion of the etiological factors. In this situation, the incursion is very strong, powerful and sudden. Hence, the constitutional factors cannot counteract at all. Hence even if the people has different body constitution they suffer simultaneously from a severe symptoms of epidemic diseased condition. Even the clinical course of treatment administered to all the patients having different body constitution is same. These type of epidemic and pandemic diseases are responsible for the devastation of whole population in the geographical area affected.[55]

Significance of Constitutional Factors in Prognostics

Caraka gives a comprehensive consideration of the constitutional factors in foretelling the prognosis. Constitution is also given equal important place in the branch of prognostics by Hippocrates. Caraka emphasizes on the value of the knowledge of prognostics for the physician for the full success in his practice. The physician who knows the differential diagnosis between the curable and the incurable diseases and begins the treatment with full knowledge in time, obtains success for his effort without fail.[56]

Caraka divides the disease condition into four categories from prognostic point of view. The curable diseases are of two kinds one which can be easily cured and other which are cured with difficulty. The incurable diseases also fall into two categories those that can be cured after extensive treatment and the ones which can never be cured.[57] Constitutional factors play an important role in determining these four prognostic categories. Moreover the knowledge of constitutional factors helps the physician to some extent to know the prognosis and thus enables one to prepare for present and future line of treatment of the specific disease condition.

Significance of the Constitutional Factors in Practical Therapeutics

The diligence of the skillful clinicians which determined the exact role placed by each viz. etiological excitant, constitutional triumvirate and the nature of body-tissue, became extremely rewarding when practical therapeutics are prescribed. The text books of modern medicine prescribe the treatment for Homo-sapiens in general determining the limit of minimum and maximum dose which can be safely administered to humans without harm.

This is the scientific formula worked out comprehensively by experimental and observational methods. These methods are properly standardized. Hence all the essentials for the correct guidance are legitimate for the average. But practical application and use of this scientific knowledge in the best interest of each individual is the real art of medicine. All the achievements of the practical knowledge of the disease or drugs or even diagnostic skills, will be of no use if it is not combined with the practical knowledge of the scientific application of therapeutic measures which can bring the full success in treatment.

Caraka asserts very dominantly that the art of prescription depends on the knowledge of dosage and time. This art is dependent on the success. Hence the skillful physician stands ever superior to those possessing merely a theoretical knowledge of drugs.[58] It is essential to understand and study the environmental etiological excitant but the knowledge of the individual constitution of the patient also plays an important role in the phenomena of disease.

This process is not only necessary but also an indispensable pre-requisite to the exact determination of the dose for that particular stage of disease in that particular constitution of man. It is hardly necessary to emphasize the need for meticulous accuracy in the dosage as deviation on either side fails to produce the desired results. A small dose is not sufficient to counteract the disease condition while larger dose may produce excessive effects on the body. It may also be very much harmful to the body at times. Rash administration of a very strong medication without examination on a weak patient will upset his body constitution. But in strong persons affected with a strong disease, weaker medicinal dose administered without examination also becomes useless.[59]

The keenness in Ayurveda regarding the accuracy in dosage becomes too evident. The administration of drugs is denoted by using the term 'Mātrā' meaning measure. The word is derived from the root 'Mā' which means to measure. Thus significant importance is laid on the accurate dosage of drugs. The word 'Dose' is derived from the Greek word 'Didomi' which means to give. It is also cognizant to the Sanskrit root which means to give. To have accuracy in dosage is the main purpose of the detailed study of the constitution of triumvirate. Treatment depends on the accurate recognition of the measure of humors and other factors.[60]

Administration of Drug in Ancient Times

The significance of knowledge of constitution in determining the personal regimen of the individual has already been described.[61] To attain the ideal of easy comprehension combined with exactitude, the ancients reduced the therapeutic science to mathematics. A formula ingestion of food and drug was the sole method of administration during that time. Hence the taste which was the main index, was grouped into six categories, so that it can fit easily with all the three triumvirates. They further evolve the general formula co-ordinating each triumvirate with a group of three taste categories. One group of three increases and the rest other group decreases the force of each vitia.[62]

Doṣa and Rasa Phenomena

The mathematical formula concerning doṣa and rasa has an elaborate work functioning. Doṣa and rasa both are worked out by the permutation and combination method to 63 forms.[63] They were also considered in its comparative[64] and superlative[65] state.[66] Thus specific determination of rasa and doṣa and reducing them to the mathematical formula of the inter-relation is very significant to attain the exactness in the conceived practical therapeutics achieved by the ancients.

Caraka devotes one full section named 'Vimāna' having 8 chapters which discloses the details of various factors concerned with the production of the disease as well as the factors important in diagnosis and treatment. It discusses this inter-relation of rasa and doṣa in comprehensive details in the first chapter. Hence it emphasizes on the importance of accurate knowledge of constitutional factors for the practical therapeutics.

The Etiological Factors of the Disease

Classification by Caraka

Caraka classifies all the etiological factors of diseases in two parts on general basis..[67]

  1. Endogenous
  2. Exogenous

Endogenous Factors as per Caraka

Endogenous etiological factors which causes the diseases can be further sub divided into three conditions:

  1. Hereditary diseases - These type of diseases are inherited due to defect in genesis of one's parents. These are genetic etiological factors.
  2. Congenital disease - The disease conditions which occurs during the fetal period of life in the mother's womb is termed as the congenital disease. The factors aggravating this disease are congenital etiological factors.
  3. Nutritional or metabolic disorders - It includes psychic and somatic conditions due to the internal derangement of the function or structures. These are the nutritional or metabolic etiological factors.

Exogenous Factors as per Caraka

This category is based on the different types of external conditions affected. It can be classified into two ways.

  1. Aadhimautika: The group of diseases that arise due to all the kinds of trauma or injury from physical, chemical and biological sources.[68]
  2. Aadhidaivika: These are the diseases resulting from abnormality of the climate and season.

Classification by Śuśruta

Śuśruta pursues the subject further into its metaphysical origins and declares in his treatise, while keeping with the general concepts of all the branches of science, that disease is the occurrence of sufferings.[69] which is of three kinds. The first kind has a source in itself. The second kind has it's source in physical elements and creatures of the world. The third one has it's source in natural and supernatural agencies. This triad of the etiological categories is in the accordance with the Sānkhya concept. Śuśruta makes further subdivision of this triad and forms a practical point of view to make seven further categories in etiological factors of a disease.

Other Parameters

Those of the super natural origin or nature such as pandemics, epidemics, emergent conditions due to atmospheric upheaval and such other dreadful disease-conditions is difficult to explain ordinarily. Natural conditions or disabilities characterizing human life are hunger, thirst, sleep, fatigue, decay, senescence and death. These types of conditions may act either as exciting factors or as predisposing factors.[70] and they may act either as immediate or as remote causes. Those above-mentioned classifications are exhaustive and the etiological factors, both biological and material, are comprehended by them.

Nosology and the Triumvirate

In the vitiation theory, though many factors take part, the main reason of the different display of these causes is based only on the behavior of the triumvirate. Once the constituents of the triumvirate are provoked by the endogenous or exogenous vitiating or toxic factors, the whole body or that particular part of the body where the triumvirate is aggravated, becomes the site where the triumvirate decant the vitiating elements. The part of the body or the whole body, depending on its location, develops the general or special or local symptoms. The degree of development of the diseased symptoms depends on the ratio of body strength versus the intensity of invading vitiating factors. This is also influenced by the effects of environmental factors. All the pathological processes and consequent disease-conditions are represented by the signs and symptoms associated primarily with the triad of vitia. Thus in the broadest outline all the diseased conditions are comprehended by this triad.

As per Śuśruta

Śuśruta says vāta, pitta and kapha are the root causes of all the diseases. Symptoms exhibited by the diseases are caused by the direct observation. Just as the entire universe cannot transcend the triad of natural forces of sattva, rajas and tamas, similarly all the diseases classify within the triad of vāta, pitta and kapha.[71]

As per Caraka

Caraka modifies this statement slightly differentiating endogenous diseases which are primarily due to the triumvirate discordance from exogenous diseases where external trauma is primary and triumvirate discordance develops later on. All the endogenous diseases never occur without the discordance of vāta, pitta and kapha. Only the disorders produced by the exogenous causes are different. Yet the special sites of localisation, affection, consequent variation in manifestations of the forms and various etiological factors give rise to diseases. Physician give different names to specify each condition.

Cellular Biology in the Classification of Disease

The body is made of the varieties of tissues, organs, structural and functional systems and millions of cells in each and every part. These cells are believed to have its own separate life. The pathological conditions affecting them in their individual or combined forms are innumerable. Hence there are various manifestations of each of these vitia and their combined conditions. Every degree of variation or proportion in their combination requires a special name giving rise to the endless number of names.

Expressing the impracticability of this, Caraka denotes that when classified according to cause, pain, color, site, form, nomenclature, the number of these diseases becomes countless. Thus a simpler and detailed classification is necessary for the purpose of practical therapeutics. This classification should be all-comprehensive yet allowing the recognition of any peculiar deviations from their folds.

Foundation for Demarcating the Type of Disease

There are some systems which should be adapted for general classification. These systems should be comprehensive of all the diseased conditions and at the same time simple but significant guide in the selection of curative measures for the same. This is the ultimate aim of the science of medicine. Caraka and Śuśruta suggests various methods of classification of the diseases for the purpose of nomenclature. Caraka, after enumerating various ways of grouping the disease conditions[72] declares at the end of the discourse that the triumvirate-wise classification is the only possible practical method which is all-comprehensive and significant in the diagnosis as well as practical therapeutics.

There are innumerable diseases. On the contrary, the morbific humors are strictly limited.[73] Hence to classify any disease on the basis of it's vitial aspect is more convenient. This arises the pathological plank on which this science is based. After the basic system of classification on the pathological grounds is formulated, it is easier to specify and diagnose a particular disease. On that basis, we can enhance the detailed knowledge of the diseases and facilitate a specific line of treatment. Without this process, it is difficult to come to a specific conclusion for any kind of disease.

Deputation by Śuśruta

After having a comprehensive framework of the general diseased classification, names of particular disease condition may be added as the knowledge of that condition is completely understood. There was a progression in this science which becomes evident when one finds that there are 1120 total number of disease conditions which have been given definite names. Śuśruta denotes the number of disease conditions to be 1120. This whole list has been enumerated by the commentator Dālhana in 40 verses.

Categorization of Disease

The basic classification was according to the triumvirate organization. Hence any disease condition was first grouped under that organisation which was predominantly disorganized. With the advancement of knowledge, the sub-grouping was made as per following:

  1. Triumvirate Nomenclature
  2. Vitium-wise nomenclature
  3. Tissue-wise nomenclature
  4. Organ-wise nomenclature
  5. Symptom-wise nomenclature
  6. Cause-wise nomenclature

Whatever progress was made in the detailed knowledge of the disease, it does not lessen the significance of triumvirate-wise classification which has fundamental importance in diagnosis, prognosis and complete success of the treatment.

Triumvirate Nomenclature

Each and every disease condition falls under this category. It may be the discordance of one or two or all the three vitia. The disease condition occurring due to discordance in two vitia is termed as 'Saṅsarga'. The condition which arise due to the discordance between all the three vitias are termed as 'Sannipata'.

Vitium Nomenclature

There are certain disease conditions which are created when only one vitia is affected. They are termed specifically to differentiate it from general. This is also called as system-wise classification. There are 80 disease conditions due to vāta, 40 disease conditions due to pitta and 20 disease conditions due to kapha. This is the organization-wise or vitium-wise classification.

Tissue Nomenclature

When body-tissues where vitiation process is located play a more significant role than that of triumvirate, the disease is named after that particular body-tissue. This is called as tissue-wise classification. Śuśruta states that where the body elements or tissues get vitiated and play a major part in the cause of the disease, the conditions are referred to the particular tissue concerned. These diseases can be of the nutrient fluid, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow or semen.[74] Dalhana while commenting on this, clarifies saying that though the disease conditions are classified and named according to the body - tissues v/s location of vitiation process, it is only a secondary denomination of the primary vitial classification. To explain this phenomena an interesting simile was cited by him. When a person is said to be burnt by heated ghee, heated oil, heated copper or iron, he is actually scalded by the heat through these various media, similarly when the disease is said to be due to body-tissues like blood, nutrient fluid etc., it is actually prevalent due to the vitia of vāta, pitta or kapha working abnormally into these body tissues.

Organ Nomenclature

Organ-wise classification is done whenever the structure and functions of that particular organ play an important part in producing the signs and symptoms of the disease. 94 diseases of the eye, 18 diseases of the ear, 18 diseases of the nose, 74 diseases of the mouth etc. were determined in the past.

Symptom Nomenclature

When one particular symptom or sign was too dominant to denote the clinical diagnostic condition of the disease, it was named after that symptom. viz., fever, diarrhea, wound, swelling and fracture. This disease condition was termed as the symptom-wise or sign-wise nomenclature.

Cause Nomenclature

When the etiological factors play a vital role in producing the disease, it was named after that particular etiological factor viz. Helminthiasis, Toxicosis, alcoholism, Liathiasis etc. The local part or condition or any special factor playing a major dominant part than the triumvirate was allowed to have its own special name applicable to the disease condition to facilitate the understanding of the disease and immediate practical line of treatment was to be adopted.

Significance of Triumvirate Classification

Any disease cannot be determined without the consideration of triumvirate. Triumvirate classification of the disease is the foundation of all the sub-classifications. Triumvirate pervades every cell and inter-cellular space of the body. It controls every function. There is no other disease which does not come under the above mentioned classification gateway. The above mentioned conditions may be dominant for the time being, but the clinical course of the disease condition has many factors to be accounted and adapted. The main cause of regenerative or resistant power as well as the digestive power of the body are the essentials of vitial phenomena. This helps in understanding the primary triumvirate classification with a better perspective. Thus triumvirate becomes the foundation in the studies of Nosology.

Therapeutic Usage of the Triumvirate Classification

There is an immense basic information regarding the triumvirate-wise classification of the disease-condition. It is natural that the intensive study for the details of this triumvirate is carried out. The specific conditions of the diseases not withstanding it is helpful to arrive to the least common measures of all the diseases. It is only thus that the practical therapeusis can be scientific and intelligible to the expert and the average healer alike. The triumvirate of vitia offers a basic scope for the reduction of diseases to their simplest classification. The concept of nosology in its most comprehensive import has been laid down significantly by Caraka.

When classified according to cause, pain, color, site, form and nomenclature, the number of these diseases becomes countless. It is fine for a physician if he is not able to name a disease as there can be no definite standardization of nomenclature of all the diseases. The physician, who after ascertaining all these three things, begins the treatment systematically will not err in his therapeutic procedures.[75]

Importance of the Ayurvedic Treatment

Medically intellectual thought of the diseases and it's classification from the Ayurvedic view point, is common for both, biological scientist as well as practical clinicians. It has been approved by the scientists and medical practitioners all over the world. A very deep knowledge of Ayurveda enables the practical clinician to understand its immense value in the early diagnosis. This diagnosis is done before any actual structural and deep-seated functional disorders have crept into the organism as well as in the procedures of active immunization and prophylaxis. The daily diet and behavior of the individual along with his continuous adaptation towards the demands of the changing environment are built upon the facts of constitutional peculiarity. The details of the normal living of exigencies of the therapeusis are to be patterned in a view of the fundamental diathesis of the man.

The medical aspect of Ayurveda in particular, which in its entirety is the biological grasp of the secret workings of the life mechanism, is actually based on the practical utility. Its understanding and approach towards the diseased condition along with its treatment is very practical. It is calculated to avoid wastage of time and vacillation. It helps the physician with the most elementary enlightenment of medicine and note the basic nature of the disorder by the symptoms. This highlights the three basic genera of vāta, pitta and kapha. This leads to initiating the suitable medication with the least delay.

A further investigation of its general and local aspects can wait without further aggravating the diseased condition, if the general therapeutic treatment is already administered. In seventy out of a hundred cases, this elementary method of tackling the patient is bound to produce restorative health effects. This gives the physician time to evaluate and scrutinize the disease symptoms in the further stage. After the initiation of the primary treatment, physician investigates the overlapping of the vitia, causative factors, site of affection, degree of the morbid condition and indications and contra-indications in the measures of therapeusis and likely complications.

Correct Inference of Ayurveda Ideology

Caraka describes the actual nature of the cryptic method of this exposition and the suggestive nature of the system propounded. Ayurveda ideology thus serves as a guide to the intelligent physicians who use their imaginative and logical skills. But for the average physician, it is advisable to follow the method laid down. Following the treatment in the prescribed way, a physician accomplishes his task successfully owing to the succinct nature of the exposition.[76]

Such a system though simple and non-intricate in its broadest outline, is eminently fruitful in the application and eliminates the grave risks of incompetence and pretentious ignorance. It is an attempt to simplify the medicine from a practical chart to guide the learned and unlearned alike. But it is comprehensive enough to allow the most intricate and exhaustive details of the various branches of the science. Comprehensive knowledge attained by performing different experiments and microscopic observations can be utilized in making a detailed comprehensive picture bound by these outlines. It can contribute to the further achievement of the objectives of medicine.

The attempt of completing the concept of Ayurveda, filling it with intricate details of modern medicine has been culled from the depths of life. This also denotes that the thinking of the ancient physicians and modern clinicians are alike. Thence, it becomes the prime responsibility of the future medical students and scholars who assert this inheritance to the wisdom of the east and west.

Physio-Pathological Outlook

This objective can be attained even if only the basic direction of the perspective and foreground is offered by the physiology and pathology of the triumvirate. They can be illustrated as the stars that guide the helmsman at the head of the ship of life. Ignorance of their existence is like turning the ship of life drift and wreck against the hidden rocks of disease and death. A brief and general outline of the physio-pathological nature and significance of the triumvirate forms the fulcrum of all the life-processes. It is intended mainly for the general reader who needs to be introduced to the Caraka Samhitā. The triumvirate of the biological organizations determine the constitution of each individual. Caraka has dwelt elaborately on the attributes of the various types of human constitution both from the purely psychic point of view[77] as well as from the somatic point of view.[78] in the terms of habitus or the preponderant constituent vitium.

The understanding of any constitution in its detail provide the key to allergic reactions along with the psychic and somatic idiosyncrasies. This aspect of medicine is thus very important to clinicians and Ayurveda with its various branches is the a wheel whose spokes are fixed firmly and converge to the navel of the concept of all the three vitia. Thus physio- pathological perspective is ever embracing in its scope and deserves the most intense scrutiny by the modern medical scholars. Hence its authenticity as a faithful representation of the body organization and mechanism of the functioning can be appreciated just by this. Even the practical applicability and utility can be treasured by its recognizance. It is a subject for profound study and judgement for the sincere students of medicine.

The Ideal of Health in Ayurveda

The ideal of health as per the Ayurveda varies from a mere disease-free condition to that of positive and perfect health. Ayurveda has set up a very lofty ideal of positive health which includes all the minutest details. The criteria for the ideal health in Ayurveda is the best method for the synchronized working of spirit, mind and senses. Perfect health is dependent on the undivided and integrated form of body and mind.

Man is the aggregate of the body, mind and spirit as per Ayurveda. The concept of health includes not only the physical but also the mental and spiritual health of an individual. Man's personal hygiene is accounted in Swāstha-Vṛtta. It is supplemented by the right life which inculcates the discipline of the senses, mind and the regulation of the moral life. This results into the happiness and benefits not only for the individuals particularly but for the whole humanity as well. It is therefore social and universal in its conception and application. It comprehends a physical, mental and ethical framework of life. This is the entire concept of life that Ayurveda expounded embodying philosophy, eugenics and ethics.

The concept of health is individualized because each individual is different in appearance and behavior. The word Swāstha which means healthy is signified by one's own individual constitution. Hence the concept of individual constitution is also very significant. Ancient Greek masters and the sages of India like Caraka and Śuśruta have built up their systems of health and disease on the foundation of this constitution.

Constitutional Phenomena

This concept of constitution remains very logical with practical efficacy. Its objective aims to the fullest survival. It also helps in overcoming the shortenings of nature and age. This concept gave rise to vitality and virility systems of therapy. Such lofty standard of health had to be implemented by an equally high standard of diagnostic methods. Hence a detailed and perfect deviation from the specific norm of the individual is demarcated in all the aspects. It is easy to set up norms for organizations which are simple and even of lower type on the ladder of the biological evolution. But the higher and subtler the organization are, the greater will be the liability to get disorganized. In such cases the diagnostic methods necessitate the highest sensitivity in detecting deviations.

The edge of this sensitivity is blunted when the concept is not that of ideal health. The trivial deviations go unnoticed and are left unattended. But when the ideal is that of the perfect psycho-somatic health, deviation, however small and insignificant , is noted and taken care of. Anything which is not to the mark is considered to be the positive source of trouble. Even the slightest deviation is enough to initiate the signals of impending alarm.

The three main organizations are of vāta, pitta and kapha. These three co-exist in a single constitution. They are so diverse in nature and function that their equilibrium can be maintained only on a highly sensitive and delicate fulcrum. But this is not enough. All these three factors are not continuously static. They have to constantly adapt themselves to ever changing environmental factors. It is likely to cause the disturbance of the subtle equilibrium of the triumvirate.

Role of the Psyche in Perfect Health

The psyche is the most sensitive galvanometer in the body. The psychic changes are more or less subjective symptoms but fortunately they are indicated reflexively on these external features of the body. Due to inherent and prevailing spirit of life, it reacts effectively corresponding to one's personality. The manifestations are perhaps too clear to go unnoticed by the attending physician, but it requires a keen clinical sense to transcribe this script of reflex indication into a comprehensible form by observation, interpretation and correlation. Lord Chesterfield has rightly remarked that if we wish to know the real sentiments of the person we are conversing with, we should look directly into his face because he can more easily command his words and not his expressions.

Even transient disturbances are noticed by Ayurveda. These minute disturbances helps to restore the lost equilibrium in details. It also advises the prophylactic measures to counter adverse environmental factors. This is the most glorious part for the maintenance of the concept of perfect health. Hence the precautionary and preventive measures are practiced for the sustenance of perfect health physically as well as mentally in the field of Ayurveda.

This arises the question as to what is the norm according to Ayurveda. Definitions are always difficult to formulate because it is a common experience that no two individuals are completely alike physically, physiologically, psychologically or in vital reactions. Hence the art of medicine necessitates the study of every man as an individual. Thus any definition of the norm in Ayurveda will have to be defined from the individual point of view which asserts that the norm of one person will be different from another.

For the theoretical purposes, the norm of man in general can be described as a range of values to be accepted as a standard found to be the average in persons who appear healthy and free from any kind of disability or disease.

Norms as per Śuśruta

For the practical application of the study of an individual it is necessary to achieve accuracy in diagnosis and therapeutics. Śuśruta, while describing the norm of the healthy individual, states as under:

  • It is not possible to lay down or standardize the exact measure of the triumvirate, body-elements or the excretory matter owing to their varying nature in the process of adaptation to the continually changing environmental factors as well as the individual variations of the body constitution.[79]
  • If a physician wants to know the state of equilibrium of all these he can do it only by finding the signs of the perfect health in that individual. The expert physician diagnoses indirectly their imbalance condition of these body-elements by finding whether the person is in perfect mood or not.[80]
  • A person who is possessing the equilibrium of the triumvirate, balance condition of the gastric fire and harmonious working of digestion, assimilation and elimination processes and also has the best mood of spirit, senses and mind, is said to be in perfect health.[81]

Conclusion

Thus Ayurveda has a dynamic and creative view of health, because it can never be a mere static condition. Hence the need for constant vigilance in its promotion and for revitalizing it essential for better life. Life must be lived as a delight or else it will succumb to disease and death. There is no place in the world where health condition does not change throughout one's life. In dealing with this aspect of health, Ayurveda holds the supremacy over all the other known systems of medical thought. The healthy man should be ever vigilant and diligent in the maintenance and enhancement of his health as the sick one is to get rid of the disease. Such an invincible and essential aspect had been ascribed to medicament right from the ancient times.

Types of Medicines

Medicines are of two kinds as follows[82]:

  1. Medicines which promotes the vigor in the healthy person
  2. Medicines which cures the diseased condition

The regimen for hygienic conduct for the society and individual for better lifestyle includes the control of the senses and mind. This moulds a man into a noble citizen of the world. It also lead him a step higher in the ladder of evolution. This is medically very efficacious in uplifting the dangers of psychic and nervous disorders due to the heavy strain on the nervous energies of man due to the distractions, cants and wrong beliefs, enormous and injurious ambitions and frustration that modern civilized life involves. The psychic regimen is very essential in the life nowadays because it provides wholesome nutrition for the mind while the physical regimen heals the physical body.

Conduct of Leading Life

Caraka draws a beautiful picture of the life of a man who is possessed of ideal physical and psychic health. A person who is healthy, both physically and psychologically, enjoys the life fully but at the same time adds to the happiness and comfort of the whole world. The life of such a person is called happy because it is not afflicted with either bodily or mental ailments. It is endowed with youth, strength, virility, reputation, enterprise and boldness befitting his abilities in particular. It is reflected in his actions and deeds which are the result of his combined urge of knowledge, science, senses and sense-objects. That kind of person is possessed of multifarious and delightful amenities accruing from great wealth.

Life of a person is accounted to be good who has the below mentioned virtues:[83]

  • Well-wisher of all the creatures
  • Non covetous towards other people's good
  • Truth speaker
  • Peace loving
  • One with deliberated acts
  • Non negligent
  • Devoted to the three ends[84]
  • Reverential
  • Scholar
  • Scientific disposition
  • Companion to elders
  • Balanced passions of desire, anger, envy, pride and conceit
  • Charity loving
  • Austere
  • Knowledgeable
  • Quiet
  • Endowed with spiritual insight
  • Single-minded
  • Contemplative
  • Endowed with memory
  • Understanding

References

  1. Caraka Sutra 18, 52-53
  2. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 18
  3. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 27
  4. Astānga Hṛdaya 12,23
  5. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 28
  6. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 32
  7. He lived in 1855 A. D.
  8. He lived in 1882 A. D
  9. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 29
  10. Caraka Cikitsā 21, 7
  11. Śuśruta Sutra 24, 10
  12. Caraka Cikitsā 15, 37
  13. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 33
  14. Caraka Cikitsā 21, 6-7
  15. Caraka Cikitsā 6, 54-56
  16. Caraka Cikitsā 3, 62
  17. Caraka Sutra 18, 4 and 6
  18. Caraka Sutra 20, 7
  19. Caraka Cikitsā 25, 52
  20. It can also be accounted as tumor.
  21. Caraka Cikitsā 12, 8
  22. Commentary by Cakrapāṇi
  23. Caraka Cikitsā 25, 29-30
  24. Śuśruta Sutra 1, 25
  25. Commentary by Dalhana
  26. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 25
  27. It is a treatise on Surgery.
  28. Śuśruta Sutra 22, 13
  29. Astānga Hṛdaya Sutra 29, 6
  30. It refers to dolor.
  31. It refers to sudor.
  32. It refers to color.
  33. It means tumor.
  34. Śuśruta Sutra 17, 5
  35. Caraka Sutra 2, 8
  36. Caraka Sutra 2, 10
  37. Caraka Siddhi 1, 7
  38. Caraka Cikitsā 3, 142
  39. Caraka Sutra 15, 16
  40. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 37
  41. Caraka Vimāna 3
  42. It refers to the motion of whirlwind.
  43. Caraka Vimāna 3, 5- 14
  44. Caraka Vimāna 3, 6
  45. Caraka Vimāna 3, 7
  46. Śuśruta Sutra 5, 34
  47. Caraka Cikitsā 3, 68-70
  48. Śuśruta Sutra 21, 28
  49. Caraka Sutra 21-3
  50. Caraka Vimāna 6, 16-18
  51. Caraka Nidāna 4, 4
  52. Disease condition with typical manifestation of symptoms.
  53. Disease conditions with acute or grave clinical course manifesting all symptoms.
  54. Manifestation of the symptoms in an irregular way.
  55. Caraka Vimāna 3,6
  56. Caraka Sutra 10, 7
  57. Caraka Sutra 10, 9
  58. Caraka Sutra 2, 16
  59. Caraka Vimāna 8, 94
  60. Caraka Vimāna 1, 3
  61. Caraka Sutra 1-6 2
  62. Caraka Vimāna 1, 6
  63. Caraka Sutra 26, 22
  64. This is called as Tara state.
  65. This is called as Tama state.
  66. Caraka Sutra 26, 23
  67. Caraka Sutra 18, 4, 6
  68. Caraka Sutra 18, 4
  69. Śuśruta Sutra 24, 4
  70. Caraka Sutra 20, 4-5
  71. Śuśruta Sutra 24, 8
  72. Caraka Vimāna 6, 3
  73. Caraka Vimāna 6, 5
  74. Śuśruta Sutra 24, 8
  75. Caraka Sutra 18, 42-44-47
  76. Caraka Vimāna 8, 149
  77. Caraka Sutra 4, 37-40
  78. Caraka Vimāna 8, 95-100
  79. Śuśruta Sutra 15,37
  80. Śuśruta Sutra 15, 38-39
  81. Śuśruta Sutra 15,41
  82. Caraka Cikitsā 1,4
  83. Caraka Sutra 30, 24
  84. These three are virtue, wealth and enjoyment.
  • The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India