Talk:Philosophical concepts in Caraka
- 1 Chapter I
- 2 Chapter II
- 3 Chapter III
- 4 Chapter IV
- 5 References
The Beginning of Metaphysics and Medicine
Pain in every form generally and in the form of disease and death particularly, has awakened the latent potencies in man for sur�vival and growth and for conquest of evil. In that effort for survival he has had to dive deep into the depths of his physical and spiritual being in order to discover the laws that brought into being and that continued to govern his total make-up. He could not rest content until he knew the way into, the way through and the way out of life. It became a vital necessity to understand life and human life in particular.
In the pursuit of pure science and in astronomy the impulse may be one of heightened curiosity or wonder, but the sense of pain presented to man in the forms of diseases and death, brings him face to face with reality in a tremendously vital manner. Faced with such an imperative call, the alternative to answering which was his annihila�tion, he gathered up all his strength, sincerity and determination and worked out a realistic, practical and effective solution of the problem.
In a way, religion and philosophy are primarily therapeutic in their nature and origin. The first dose of medicine ever administ�ered or taken by man must have been an incantation, divine invoca�tion or the sacred remnant of food offered to superhuman powers. It is no wonder, therefore, if a highly evolved race like the Aryans of ancient India started solving the problems of human existence under the threat of disease and premature death. Suffering wrings out an appeal for help from the human heart to the all-powerful gods, and the answering hand, be it from a heaven above, or the heaven within the soul of man, unfolds the elaborate vision of thought before the earnest and hungering gaze. This is exactly how the visitation of disease upon people devoted to virtue and meditation set the ancient sages thinking about the way out of it until they saw with the eye of understanding their refuge in Indra, the king of the immortals. (Sutra I, 17)
The Sources of Knowledge in Caraka - Aptopadesa
In the Caraka Samhita in common with the sciences and arts of ancient India revelation is given a great place among the sources of knowledge. They believed that when men with pure hearts and chaste minds engaged themselves in sincere and deep meditation, with a view to human welfare and without the slightest trace of self�ish interest, truth reveals itself to them. That is to say that they be�lieved in the ultimate revelatory nature of knowledge, of the super- sensual knowledge in particular. In the Caraka Samhita, the sage Atreya, propounds four sources of knowledge viz.
(1) Direct perce�ption (2) Inference (3) Revelation or testimony of good men� (4) Com�mon sense.
This last is peculiar to this treatise and is illustrated by examples which do not make it any different from inference. Revelation or reliable declaration called also authoritative teaching is given the first place in the order of stating the means of knowledge. Describing the nature of the persons whose declarations are above suspicion the sage Atreya says: Men who have freed themselves from passion and ignorance by means of spiritual endeavour and knowledge, whose understanding embracing the past present and future is pure and at all times unclouded it is these that are the authoritative, the learned and the enlightened. Their word is unimpeachable and true. Why will such men, devoid as they are of passion and ignorance, give utterance to untruth.
Such are the seers of the Vedic utterances which are above question, the sure guide to knowledge of the highest kind.
According to some schools of Hindu philosophy, the Veda is authority because it is eternal and does not owe its being to human authorship. But in Caraka, its validity rests on the trustworthy nature of the sages of whom it is the testimony. Sage Atreya goes even further and says, "Trustworthy tradition of knowledge is Veda. But even other statements made by people who have conducted investigation in any field of knowledge which are not conflicting with the Veda and which are approved by good men and are conducive to human welfare should be considered authoritative. This is a healthy extension which bespeaks the catholicity and sweet reasonableness of the propounders of the science.
Pratyaksa i.e direct perception, is the next source of knowledge. The actual contact of the external senses of the man with the objects of the world is essential to it. But that is not enough, for, in the absence of the mind, simple contact of the sense-organ with an object has been found to produce no knowledge. This Pratyaksa brings inevitably in its wake the question of the subtler mechanism of the mind without whose contact no perception is possible. The recording agent of perception is the mind known as �sattva� in Caraka. Atreya declares: �the mind is higher than the senses and is known as "sattva�. Some call it "the conscious agent�. Its perceptions which are joy, grief etc., are the incentives to the functioning of the senses.� ( Satra VIII 4) "�The senses are able to perceive their objects only when they are led by the mind.�� ( Sutra VIII 7).
The way that the sense-organs come into contact, each with its particular proto-elemental sense-object such as the eye with visual object, the ear with sound etc, is explained on physiological basis. Though the five sense-organs, physiologically, are each of them the products of all the five natural proto-elements, ether, light etc, yet each sense organ has in its construction one proto-element in prepond�erance and it perceives that proto-elemental sense-object in the external world. Thus the eye which has a preponderance of light perceives the light outside in the form of color, shape etc. The ear which has the preponderance of the ether in its construction perceives sound in the outside world and so forth. The contact of the same proto-element in the sense organ with that in the world is a physical commingling. (Sutra VIII 14). The mind acknowledges and receives the impression and passes it on to the intellect or the discriminatory faculty called the �Buddhi". Then begins the interaction between the tetrad of the subtle group of inner mechanism of knowledge resulting in action. The tetrad consists of the mind, the mind-objects, the understanding and the spirit (Atma ). This aggregate is the source of good or bad activity or for cessation of activity ( Sutra VIII 13 ). �Perception, is defined as the cognition, definite and immediate, arising from the conjunction of the soul, the senses, the mind and the sense objects." (Sutra, XI-20)
The sense organs are also liable to perceive, under abnormal conditions, wholly non-existent things which is called hallucination i.e. perceiving things not real, �atattvabhinivesa�.
Anumana or Inference
Having thus declared that the knowledge that results from the chain of contact of the self, mind, senses and the sense-objects, is known as direct perception, Atreya goes on to define the next source inference or Anumana.
Medicine is a science which propounds the laws that govern life and physical and chemical properties of drugs. Though its observa�tions are basically direct, yet conclusions and generalisations regarding invisible and abstract data have to be made with the help of inferen�tial methods. Thus the need to supplement sense observations by inference was inevitable. The limited scope of knowledge drawn purely from observation is expressed by Atreya thus, ��On this question the wise man should give up the negative attitude and even scepticism. Why? Because the visible is limited, while there exists a vast unlimited world which is invisible and of which we know by the evidence of scripture inference and reason. As a matter at fact even the very senses by whose agency direct observations are obtained are themselves outside the range of observation.
Further even a perceivable object escapes observation under the following conditions viz, when it is either too close or too remote from the observer, when it is obstructed by other objects, when there is some defect in the percieving sense-organ, when the observer�s attention is elsewhere, when the object is merged in the mass when it is overshadowed by something else, or lastly when it is microscopic. Hence it is an unfounded statement to make that only the visible exists and nothing else�. (Sutra XI, 7-8)
The knowledge pertaining to the three parts of time i. e. the past, the present and the 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 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 And thirdly, there is the inference of the prospect of a good crop in the future judging by 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 learned disputation between physicians as well as in clinical investigations where inference is said to be reasoning based on correlation of cause and effect. One should infer the condition of the gastric fire by the power of digestion, the conditions of the patient's vitality or strength by his capacity for exercise and the condition of his sense-organs by his perceptions of sound etc.�
Lastly �Yukti" i.e. correlation of a set of causes or circumstances with an effect based on common-sense, is held to be another source of knowledge. This may also be called the law of probability for, as the example given 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 labour, 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 will take its rise. The combination of the lower and upper churning sticks and 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 knowledge is by the same law of association that governs �inference�. One may call it a 'compound inference� as against the simple inference of a cause from an effect or vice versa. From many and varied factors one 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 following verse �that is known as yukti which is a means of knowing the past, present and future, by which the mind perceives results brought about by many and various factors and by means of which all three objectives of life can be achieved. The four objectives are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa. The last objective is evidently not achieved by yukti" (Sutra XI 25).
The Inner Instruments of Knowledge And The Nature Of The Mind
Both for knowledge and action, the self requires the associa�tion of the instruments, viz., the mind, the intellect and the organs of perception and conation (SarTra 1-56 ). The organs of perception and those of action are the external instruments in knowledge as well as in action. And the triad of internal organs of the Buddhi, Ahankara and the mind, both cognitive and conative, are the internal or inner instruments. All the thirteen necessarily function in knowledge as well as in action. There are some who hold that the inner organs are only two, i. e. the Buddhi and mind, and that the ego or Ahankara has been not included. But it is not right to hold so for, while descri�bing the successive evolution of Buddhi etc , Atreya says, �The Buddhi is born of the Avyakta, the unmanifest, from Buddhi, the sense of ego is born� (Sarira I. 66) This is in accordance with the Nyaya school of philosophy which holds that the self is not the factor of knowledge but the mind. Nyaya Sutra 1-16
But then it may be said that there need be no self beyond this combination of mind, intellect and senses 'It is not so,� says Vatsyayana; �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 recognises all these experiences with the mind and enables the knower to know these experiences. Hence is the mind called the factor of knowledge'. Thus the mind is regarded as the inner organ of knowledge even as it is said in Brahma Sutra 2-3-40
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. One-ness or singleness and atomicity are the two qualities of the mind�� (Sarira 1-18-19). The Vaisesika sutra speaks to the same effect. (V. Sutra 3-2-9) and so too the Nyaya (Nyaya Sutra 1.1 16 ).
The experiences of happiness, grief like and dislike etc, are directly perceived by the mind. If these are not perceived by the senses and only by the mind it should not be regarded as conflicting with the Vaisesika sutra which says that happiness and grief are preceived by the contact of self, senses, mind and the sense-objects. For, the mind preceives them through the senses. The functions of the mind are thought, inquiry and determination. These functions of the mind are descibed by Caraka thus:
The functions of the mind are - direction of the senses, control of itself, reasoning and deliberation. Beyond this is the field of the intellect" Sarira, 1-21 )
The Mind is regarded to be of three varieties Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic (Sarira IV-36). Atreya described mind as being of three kinds Suddha or Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. The Suddha type is known as faultless, being of the nature of goodness, the Rajasic type is beset with fault being of the nature of passion, and similarly the Tamasic type is faulty too, being of the nature of delusion, and there are innumerable degrees of each type. But it usually happens that a man�s nature is so diverse that at one moment his inclinations are good, at another passionate and at yet another ignorant and deluded. Can it therefore be concluded that there are many minds functioning in a man? Atreya answers in the negative and says, �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 unitary, cannot work in various ways and through various senses at one and the same moment. Hence one does not find the functioning of all the senses at one and the same moment� (Sutra VII1-5) But, generally speaking, the mind is classed as of one type or the other by the sages according to the preponderant quality of its tende�ncies. It is thus known by its predominant quality�.(Sutra VIII-6) It is interesting to note in this connection the various references to the existence and the nature of the mind in the complex apparatus of the inner mechanism of the individual. The Kathopanisad says, �The sense perceptions are higher than the sense organa, the mind is higher than the perceptions, the intellect higher even than the mind and the self is even higher than the intellect. �
The categories of the Sankhya school are built up on the same line with Mahat or Buddhi derived from original nature; the ego comes out of it and the mind from the ego. The yoga system takes it wholesale from the Sankhya. Thus there is no point of difference with regard to the subtle mechanism of knowledge in man and the various factors in their order or succession. It is only the Vedantins that are inclined to regard the subtle organs (antahkarana catustaya) consist of the mind, intellect, ego and the Citta. But what is Citta but the mind itself? Hence the 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 Aptopadesa, Pratyaksa, Anumana and Yukti. These sense organs should be kept in their proper health and tone; to be able to yield valid knowledge and lead man to a good life. The way of maintaining them in proper condition is described in the chapter dealing with the discipline of the senses as declared by the great teacher Atreya in the Caraka Samhita.
Reality - the Soul and the World of Things
It is difficult to say that an unequivocal definition of reality or an exposition of the nature of the things of the world has been consistently held throughout the Caraka Samhita which is the main work on Indian medicine. One finds in it snatches of definitions and views expounded in extenso by the Vaisesika, Nyaya, Sankhya and Vedanta systems of philosophy. The reason for this is not far to seek; for medicine, being a practical science, concerned itself with what�ever was found applicable to suit its theory and practical concepts. The practical beginning of the Samhita is made with the mention of the Vaisesika categories of Samanya and Visesa the general and the particular interpreted in the therapeutic light. This is prefaced by the mention of synonyms for life which include the phrase �the union of the body, the senses, the mind and the spirit" (Sutra I 42). The explanation of the nature of Samanya and Visesa as being causative of synthesis and analysis respectively, is followed up immediately by a restatement of the synthesis that Man is the aggregate of mind, spirit and body, and is like a tripod. He is the conscious agent and forms the subject matter of this science. For this benefit has this science been promulgated". (Sutra I, 46-47)
The totality of things existent has been described when Atreya declared that ether etc. (the five proto-elements) self, mind, time and space are the sum total of things. Things possessed of the senses are sentient or animate and things not possessed of the senses are insentient or innanimate.��
It is evident from the manner fn which the subject of the Vaisesika categories of reality is dealt with that the theory was already a popular one. A knowledge of the six categories is tacitly taken for granted and statement of the six categories of substance, quality, action, generality, particularity and inherence or coexistence, as
 Vaisesika and Nyaya Sutras�� Substances are nine only earth, water, light, air, ether, time, directions, self and mind.
preliminary to their further exposition is omitted. On the other hand, Atreya straightway expounds the nature of these categories in cryptic phrases referring to the lists of qualities etc., described in the much later parts of the treatise Referring to qualities, it is said, � Heaviness etc., ending with the perceptions", �knowledge etc., ending with effort", superior and other things are regarded as qualities� ( Sutra 1-49 ). � Similarly effort etc., are regarded as action". ( ibid ). The nature of action or effort is explained in a later section (Vimana VIII) as the therapeutic endeavour and the therapeutic action of drugs. The qualities of sense-perceptions such as sound, smell etc., are the qualities which are the objects of sense-perception ( Sarira I ) According to the Vaisesika 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 may also be found combined in things as there is an intermixture of the elements in all things (Nyaya 3-1 ).
The qualities in substances such as heaviness, lightness, cold, heat, unctuousness, dryness, denseness, fixity, fluidity, softness, hardness, clearness, viscousness, smoothness, roughness, grossness, subtleness, thickness and thinness are the twenty common ones and these are explained in their medical context fully. The psychic qualities of intelligence or Buddhi consists of memory, feeling, concentration and ego-hood. The qualities ending with effect are like, dislike, happiness, grief, effort, feeling and concentration. (Sarira I). The priority etc, are the following namely, priority, non-priority, application regarding number, synthesis, analysis particularity, measure, preparation and practice (Sutra XXVI, 29-30).
Action is described in an entirely therapeutic sense. In the Vaisesika view, action is movement of five kinds, upward and down�ward, expansive and contractive and other indeterminate types of movement. Therapeutically construed a drugs action in any of the five-fold manner described above may be used for purposes of emesis, purgation and such other therapeutic procedures � Action � therefore is the therapeutic action of a drug or of the physician. In the chapter defining the therapeutic action, action is defined as the endeavour tor achieving a definite result, it is also called action, effort and the initia�tion of work or treatment. (Vimana VIII-77)
It is evident that in Caraka, the Vaisesika terms are all applied in therapeutic connotation, the terms of physics 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 thought and applied in a medical and practical situation. This is an attempt at not explaining or elaborating any current system of thought, but culling such facts and definitions as 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 harmonised. In so far as it is necessary to define and understand the terms and the factors that enable such a framework, the corresponding terms of various sciences of logic, physics and metaphysics are culled and utilised.
The definition of Samavaya, coexistence, provides a striking illustration in this respect In four masterly verses (Sutra 1,49-52) the nature of coexistence as well as substance and quality and action is described,�
Coexistence is the inseparableness of earth etc, from their qualities. That coexistence is eternal. Wherever the substance exists the coexistent quality is never absent. That which is the substratum of action and qualities, and the coexistent cause is substance.
Quality is the coexistent and inactive cause
Action which is the cause of conjunction and disjunction resides in the substance. Action is the performance of what is to be done. It depends on nothing else.
Thus the six categories of substance etc, are explained and this hexad is known as the �cause" of all things or effects in the world. This theory of the nine substances comprising the things of the world is common to Vaisesika and has been appropriated by the medical teachers thus far. The world is full of effects, in the forms of drugs, persons and things of these eternal original substances. The five proto-elements are atomic in structure and the atoms are possessed of the quality and action in the relation of generality, particularity and coexistence. Thus far it is a plurality of ultimate things. The world stands by combination. The products of such combination are more than the mere aggregate of parts of which they are produced.
The Sankhya which includes these among its categories, refers them to an original cause of which they are evolutes. The categories that are twenty-five are thus ultimately reduced to two - the self and original nature or Prakrti known variously as Avyakta and Pradhana. In Caraka there is a sudden transition from the pluralism of the Nyaya-Vaisesika to the Sankhya categories, again making a fundamental deviation from it betraying Vedantic inclination towards one common origin of all things. We shall note this tendency and transition presently.
WHAT IS MAN?
We come to the problem of man, the most significant among these 'effects� known as the world We must understand what man is for he is the subject matter of the science of medicine for whose sake it is promulgated (Sutra 1-47). To understand him is to understand the world, for he is similar to the world in his construction. He is the microcosm, the macrocosm in miniature.
In Caraka, one and the same thing, or a set of things, it defined and enumerated in various ways and from different standpoints. Similarly this world of six categories can also he defined as a world of six elements - the five proto-elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether and the sixth one the conscious element. Man being a conscious individual is identical with the conscious element itself. Man, again, being an effect of these six is also the aggregate of these six elements (Sarlra I. 16) Looked at once again from the stand-point of a further elaboration of these principles, man is the aggregate of twenty-four elements (Sarlra 1-17) consisting of the mind, the ten organs of sense and action, the sense objects (five elements)
The Ethical Note in Ayurveda
It is remarkable that despite the wide divergencies in their conclusions regarding the nature of reality, the religions of the world are unanimous in their sense of the ethical values of life. Elimination of envy, hatred, covetousness and wickedness and the practice of goodness, love and self-sacrifice are universally acclaimed as the right way of life. These lead to the control of the senses and mind and imply the necessary discipline and inner purity. The various and principally the six systems of Indian philosophy as also the Buddhistic and Jain systems of thought are united in their upholding of righteous conduct and mental and emotional parity as the means to liberation whatever be the nature of that liberation. A theistic belief is not essential to the upholding of such a high ethical ideal of life. Buddhism, as well as Sankhyaism and the Mimansa doctrines are avowedly ethical in their ideal and uphold rigorous discipline of the mind and the heart in the interests of the supreme fulfilment 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 a creator God, he accepts the mystical efficiency and fruit-bearing power of the good and evil ways of life. The faith in the invisible power of action, known as 'Karma', is the product of the same instinct and here in Caraka, we find ample witness to that early faith of man in the efficiency of good and evil actions.
The Vaisesika doctrine with the expounding of which the Caraka Samhita virtually begins, is concerned primarily with teaching righteous living The Sutras of Kanada begin with the aphorism "we shall now expound the nature of virtue. The origin of Ayurveda curiously is also for the preservation of human lives that they may be dedicated without hindrance to austerity, meditation and discip�line of mind It is the feeling of love and compassion for suffering humanity that first gave rise to the sages� efforts to discover the science of medicine.( Caraka Sutra VI, 7 ).
Notwithstanding 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 the hope of happiness resulting from vice and virtue respectively. This is the hypothesis or the concept of Karma, the inquiry of whose teleology is futile. It must therefore be regarded as beginningless though it is given to man to put an end to it. The diversity of the initial circumstances and equipment with which men are brought into this life is accountable only in terms of the diversity of the causal actions and tendencies of their previous lives. This total causal force by whose residual energy a person is catapulted into this life is known as destiny (Vidhi or Daiva). In Caraka it is called Daiva and the fresh initiation of action in the present life �Purusakara'. This doctrine of previous incarnations implied by Karma is made out effectively according to Caraka by all the four methods of ascertain�ment viz., scriptural testimony, direct perception, inference and common sense. The great sages possessed of infallible vision, by virtue of their meritorious life, have declared the existence of rebirth unequivocally. (Sutra XI 28-29 ) From direct perception we find the following: �the children are unlike their parents. Those born of the same condi�tions are possessed of different traits of color, voice, shape, mind and intellect. People are born of higher and lower castes. Some are born slaves and some overlords, they are endowed with varying degrees of happiness, grief and life-span. New born babies without any acquaintance before, seek for the mother�s breast, weep and cry and show fear. This would not �be possible in the absence of memory coming from previous births. The children are born with various marks on their bodies. They show a variety in their skill and tendencies, and sometimes possess a memory of previous birth. Cakrapani, the com�mentator on Caraka, in his note on the phrase, suggests that it may also mean that some men return to their bodies after death being sent back by the messengers of Yama who had taken them as a result of mistaken identity�. (Sutra XI, 30) The above are agreed facts of direct evidence in life and justify the faith in a previous incarnation which explains these varied phenomena.
Taking now to the method of inference, it must be known that the actions of a previous birth muse be fully experienced to put an end to them. And in every life fresh action is also undertaken. Hence there is a continual residue of 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 the fruit is always true to the nature of the seed. Common sense speaks to the same effect. It is only the action that has already been accomplished that bears fruit. Fruit cannot come out of nothing. The fruit of action is similar in nature to the causal action, for we see that a particular fruit and not a different fruit comes out of a particular seed. (Sotra XI, 31-32)
This leads us on to the further problems of the predestination 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 he 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 predestination. He describes three kinds of action - the powerful, the moderate and the weak actions. (Vimana III 31)
This life is not wholly in the grip of the past for there is scope for fresh initiation of new action which is known as Purusakara. This latter too is of three kinds - powerful, moderate and weak. If past action be moderate or weak. It can be overcome by powerful fresh action in this life. If the present action be moderate or weak, only the powerful action of the past will assert itself and have its full effect. It is therefore possible by powerful action m the present to neutralise and overcome the result of moderate or mild past action. Hence man must pursue the righteous life intensely. He can be his own architect by action in the present life. This is a great and hope in spiring positive provision that Atreya holds up for mankind without which there would be no justification for any good and refor�mist effort in life and particularly for a reformative and curative science like medicine. This 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 action. He says that �Daiva' gets nullified by stronger �Purusakara� and similarly the stronger �Daiva� overpowers the �Purusakara. (Vimana III, 33-34) This mutual counteracting is inevitable but sometimes does not occur according to the relative strength of the two kinds of action and also due to the time factor. But it is wrong to take either of them to hold the field exclusively. (Vimana III, 34-35).
With this background in view we shall find the necessity for an intense, almost frantic pursuit of the good life. The Smrtis say that man must pursue righteousness as if death had caught him already by his forelock.
In Caraka, all mental and spiritual evils like the bodily ailments are regarded as diseased conditions due to volitional trans�gression. That is as it should be. Modern philosophers regard crime and wickedness as pathological conditions and that punishment is to be accorded from a reformative and therapeutic point of view. Atreya�s view has all the freshness, humanity and scientific nature of the modern outlook on moral evil.
Rajas and Tamas are the ill-humors of the mind even as Vata, Pitta and Kapha are of the body. Self-restraint, moderation, dedication to the study of scriptures and meditation are described as constituting the psychic or divine therapy. This divine therapy is described in great elaboration and is called �Sadvrtta'. (Sutra 1-58)
Atreya declares that all action results from the operation of speech, mind and body. That is of three kinds: excessive operation, non-operation and wrong operation. This is based on the threefold divisions 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 suspense 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. Misuse with reference to speech is indulgence in language that is insinuating, untrue, untimely, quarrelsome, unpleasant, incoherent, unhealthful, harsh etc. The misuse with reference to the mind consists of giving way to fear grief, anger, greed, infatuation, self-conceit, envy deluded thinking etc.
These should be corrected and the way of correcting the defects of the body and mind constitute medicine in general. But those of the mind require the practice of a regimen of conduct, made up of mental and emotional discipline. This is otherwise known as the good life (Sadvrtta) or �Dharma�, or righteous behavior. The inclination for righteousness must be continually kept up by effort for there is a natural decline of that tendency in men from age to age. Atreya says elsewhere, "In every succeeding age there is a fourth part of righteousness dwindling down, and similarly the qualities of things. In the world, the lifespan of people too go down at the rate of one year for every hundredth part of the age". (Vimana III, 24-25) Man must therefore be ever vigilant in countering this tendency and pursue the good life with all his strength, with his mind and with all his soul. Atreya described the good life as constituting the factors for happiness and long-life in this world and also for liberation of the spirit (Sutra VIII 18).
Thus the good life is not only that which gives spiritual fulfilment and final liberation but also one which is fraught with good in this life avoiding the ill-tempers of the mind which may even culminate in psychic diseases such as insanity, epilepsy and other diseases and make the body subsceptible to somatic disease also. The good 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, for Ayurveda is the science in which the well being in both the worlds is established, as well as the means of final liberation of man, the aggregate being.
That is named the Science of Life wherein are laid down the good and the bad life, the happy and the unhappy life, and what is wholesome and what unwholesome in relation to life, as also the measure of life.
- The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India