Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.

Talk:Philosophical concepts in Caraka

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Beginning of metaphysics and medicine[edit]

Physical pain, in general form like disease and particularly death, has awakened the latent potencies in man for survival, growth and conquest. Study of the depths of the physical and spiritual being is required to discover the laws of inner evolution of mankind and it's progress thereafter. Understanding the progress of the civilization is necessary in order to understand life in general and human life in particular.

Curiosity is emphasized in the pursuit of science and astronomy while pain (in the forms of diseases and death) brings out reality in a tremendously vital manner. The only effective solution to the problem of pain, disease and death is to focus on unfolding this predicament with utmost strength, sincerity and determination.

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

The ancient Hindus are considered to be a highly evolved people. They tried to find solutions to the physical problems of human existence. Like modern humans, they too were constantly under the threat of the disease and premature death. The ancient sages would initiate their research with an appeal for help to Deities and their support in finding solutions to physical suffering. This led them to take a refuge into Indra, the King of the Deities. [2]

Sources of Knowledge in Caraka - Aptopadeṣa[edit]

Sources of knowledge is given a significant importance in Caraka Samhitā as was common in other sources of knowledge prevalent during the time of its authorship. The highest form of knowledge was considered to be the knowledge that arose through from men with the pure heart and chaste mind that had engaged themselves in sincere and deep meditation while focused on human welfare.

Types of Sources of Knowledge[edit]

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

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

Other Resources[edit]

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

Qualities of a Reliable Men[edit]

Revelation or reliable declaration is considered as authoritative and is given the utmost importance when trying to understand the means of gaining knowledge. While describing the nature of the persons whose declarations are entrusted, sage Atreya comments:

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The inferring of the existence of fire in a place by the perception of smoke is an inferential knowledge of an unobserved thing of the present time. Similarly there is the inference of the sexual act of a woman in the past by observing her present state of pregnancy. Thirdly, there is the inference of the prospect of a good crop in the future by judging the nature of the seed sown, based on past experience of their relationship. Inference here is seen understood and defined in its most rudimentary form based on the law of association.

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


Yukti means the correlation of a set of causes or circumstances with an effect based on the common-sense. It is also accounted to be the another source of knowledge. This may be called as the law of probability. It implies that one can foresee an effect under the given set of circumstances with a great degree of probability. When etiological factors like water, agricultural labor, seeds and the effects of season occur, a good crop results. Here there is a combination of the six elements constituting the living body where the embryo can develop.

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

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

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

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

The Inner Sources of Knowledge[edit]

For knowledge and action both, the inner-self requires the co-ordination of mind, intellect and the organs of perception and conation.[11] The organs of perception and action are the external parameters of knowledge. The cognitive triad of internal organs of Buddhi, Ahaṅkāra and mind are the internal participants. All the thirteen organs necessarily function mutually with knowledge as well as action. There is a concept in which the inner organs are proclaimed to be two only i. e. the Buddhi[12] and the ego[13].

Atreya proclaims that the Buddhi is born of the Avyakta, the non-manifest. From Buddhi, the sense of ego is born.[14] This is in accordance with the Nyāya school of philosophy which holds that mind is the root cause of knowledge and not the self.[15] This deduces that there is no self beyond the combination of mind, intellect and senses. But Vatsyāyana denies this presumption asserting that the knower possesses the instruments of knowledge, sees with the eye, smells with nose, touches with organ of touch and recognizes all these experiences with the mind. It also enables the observer to know about these experiences. Hence the mind is called the foundation of knowledge. Thence it is regarded as the inner organ of knowledge as denoted in Brahmasutra.[16]

Nature of Mind[edit]

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, senses and sense-objects, there is no knowledge. Isolation and consistency are the two qualities of the mind.[17] The Vaiśeśika sutra and Nyāya Sutra emphasizes on the same phenomena.[18][19]

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

Types of Mind[edit]

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

  1. Śuddha or Sattvic - This type of mind is accounted to be faultless and of good nature.
  2. Rajasic - This type of mind is beset with moderate faults like the nature of passion, but overall it is also considered to be good.
  3. Tamasic - This type of mind is considered to be the most faulty of rest of the types. It is denoted to be nature of delusion.

But the human nature is so diverse that it can be good at one time, passionate at other time and ignorant and deluded also at some time. This arises an inquiry if there are different minds in a single person or not. Atreya answers contradicting this belief stating that,

"Owing to the admixture of all three qualities in each mind of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, the same mind behaves as if it were many, but it is only one."

Mind, being a single identity, cannot work in various ways and through various senses at one and the same moment. Hence one cannot perform various sensory functions at the same time.[22] But on a general note, the mind is classed to be of single type by the sages according to the preponderant quality of its tendencies. It is known by its predominant quality.[23]

References of This Theory[edit]

There are various references supporting the above said theory of the complexities of mind in an individual. The Kathopaniṣad says,

"The sense perceptions are higher than the sense organs, mind is higher than the perceptions, intellect is higher than the mind and the self is higher than the intellect."

Various Sānkhya schools were built up categorically on the perception of mind, it's original nature, ego and it's correlation. The yoga system borrows and supports this theory to quite an extent. Hence there is no difference due to the subtle mechanism of knowledge in man and various factors in their order or succession. Only the Vedantins regard mind, intellect, ego and Chitta as different subtle organs.[24] Then there occurs a question that what is Chitta and what is its relevance with the mind. It is a query that whether it is the mind in itself or not. Hence it can be deduced that they remain the inner organs of knowledge. These together with the sense-organs form the entire mechanism of knowledge by all four means namely:

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

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

Reality - The soul and the world of things[edit]

Reality of Soul and World[edit]

It is difficult to say whether an unequivocal definition of the reality or exposition of the nature of the things of the world, which one has been consistently held throughout the Caraka Samhitā. Glimpses of definitions and views expounded in extension by the Vaiṣeśikā, Nyāya, Sankhya and Vedānta systems of philosophy are also found here. It gave an insight for pursuing the practical science for medicine which is concerned with whatever was found applicable to suit its theory and practical concepts.

Prologue of Samhitā mentions the Vaiśeśikā categories of Sāmānya and Viśeśa. These theories are general and particularly deduced as per the therapeutic highlights. This is prefaced by the topics like synonyms for life, union of the body, senses, mind and spirit.[25] The explanation of the nature of Sāmānya and Viśeśa served to be the foundation for synthesis and analysis respectively. It is followed up by a restatement of the synthesis that 'Man is like a tripod who is the aggregate of mind, spirit and body'. Man is considered to be the conscious agent and forms the main subject of this science. It has been promulgated for the betterment of the living race.[26]

Base Essentials of Life[edit]

The totality of the existent things has been described by Atreya. They are based on the five proto-elements like ether, self, mind, time and space. It is the sum total of these things. It is possessed of the senses which are sentient or animate. Things not possessed of the senses are insentient or inanimate. The subject of the Vaiśeśika categories of reality implies that the theory was a very popular concept followed during that period. The knowledge of the six categories is tacitly taken for granted in present day teachings. These six categories comprise of the following factors:

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

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

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

Essentials as per Other Resources[edit]

Atreya expounds the nature of these categories in cryptic phrases. He also refers to the lists of the qualities in the later parts of the treatise. It denotes that one can pursue actual knowledge with the endless efforts of the perceptions for the subject.[27] These efforts are accounted as actions.[28] The nature of the action is explained in later section as the therapeutic endeavor of the drugs.[29] The qualities of sense-perceptions such as sound, smell etc. are the qualities which are the objects of sense-perception.[30] According to the Vaiśeśika physics each quality is special to proto-element such as smell to earth, taste to water, form to fire, touch to air and sound to ether. These qualities are combined in things like there is a mixture of the elements in each thing.[31]

Qualities of Base Essentials[edit]

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

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

Significance of Action[edit]

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

  1. Upward
  2. Downward
  3. Expansion
  4. Contraction
  5. Indeterminate

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

It is evident that in Caraka, all the Vaiśeśika terms are applied in the therapeutic connotation while the terms of physics are applied to the pharmacological and physiological consequences. This serves as a clue to our general understanding of the scope and purpose of the treatise in its use of logical and metaphysical terms. They are taken from a context of pure thoughts and applied to the medical and practical situation.

This is an attempt for culling the facts and definitions which are already current in a manner suited to the purpose of building a framework of a positive science wherein drugs, man, disease and its cure could be harmonized. Hence, it is necessary to define and understand the terms and the factors that enables such framework. It is also significant to understand the corresponding terms of other scientific branches including the science of logic, physics and metaphysics which are culled and utilized.


Samavaya is called as co-existence. The definition of Samavaya provides a striking illustration in this respect in four verses of Sutrasthāna.[35] The nature of coexistence as well as substance and quality and action is described in details in these verses. Coexistence is the quality which cannot be differentiated from the Earth. It also implies that it is eternal.

There are places where the substance exhibits the coexistent quality. Foundation of the base essentials is the the substratum of action, qualities and the coexistent. Quality is the coexistent and inactive cause for the same. Action which is the cause of conjunction and incoherence resides in the substance. It also depends on the performance of what is to be done which depends on nothing else.

Cause and Effect[edit]

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

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

Definition of Man[edit]

Constitution of Man[edit]

Body constitution of man and problems related to it are the core subjects of study for the science of medicine. The science of medicine was promulgated for the better lifestyle for mankind.[36] If one wants to understand the human biology, one must perceive the world because human constitution is very similar to the world in it's construction. Human structure is the microcosm as well as the macrocosm in miniature. This point has been comprehensively discussed in various ways from different standpoints in Caraka Samhitā. Similarly the world of six categories can also be defined as the world of six elements. Out of them the foundational five proto-elements are:

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

Along with the above mentioned five, the sixth element which acts for sustenance of life is the conscious element. Man is identical with the conscious element also. Śarirasthāna denotes man to be an aggregate of these six elements.[37] But on advanced research, it is evident that there is a further elaboration of these principles into an aggregate of twenty-four elements which consists of mind, ten sense and action organs and five elements of the sense objects.[38]


Unity in Diversity[edit]

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

Ethical Progress[edit]

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

Despite man's inability to believe in the creator, he accepts the mystical efficiency and fruit-bearing power of good and evil ways of life. Faith in the invisible power of action is known as 'Karma'. It is produced by the same instinct. In Caraka Samhitā, we find many references to faith of man in earlier times along with the efficiency of demarcating in good and evil actions.

Additional Doctrines[edit]

The Vaiśeśika believed in the expounding of Caraka Samhitā. It begins virtually and is concerned primarily with the teachings righteous living. The Sutras of Kanada begin with the aphorisms which expounds the nature of virtue. The origin of Ayurveda is for the preservation of human lives so the man can lead a life without hindering austerity, meditation and discipline of mind. Ayurveda evolved with an intention of the sages to cure the sufferings of humanity and all the other living organisms.[39]

Concept of Karma[edit]

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

According to Caraka, the destiny is called as 'Daiva'. Performing actions in the present life is called 'Puruṣakara'. This doctrine of previous incarnations implied by karma is advocated affirmatively by Caraka. It has been affirmed by all the four methods of ascertainment viz:

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

Theory of Direct Perception[edit]

From direct perception we can deduce the following:

  • The children are not completely like their parents.
  • Those born on the exact same time have different traits of color, voice, shape, mind and intellect.
  • People are born of higher and lower castes. Some are born slaves and some are lords with varying degrees of happiness, grief and life-span.

Concept of Rebirth[edit]

The great sages on the basis of their meritorious life and infallible vision have declared the existence of rebirth unequivocally.[41] New born babies without any acquaintance before, seek for the mother's breast, weep and cry. They also exhibit their fear. This is not possible in there is no memory of their past lives. The children are born with various marks on their bodies. These marks denotes a variety in their skills and tendencies. Sometimes these marks forms the emblems of specific memory from their past birth.

Theory of Inference[edit]

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

The acts or the behavior which has been conducted by a person whether good or bad is responsible for the results a person may reap. Fruit always comes out of a seed. Similarly consequences of any action is similar in nature to the causal actions. If one has performed good deeds in the past life then it will result in good consequences in this life and vice-versa. [42]

This leads us to the further problems of the pre-destination of the nature of this life. As the best example of this, Atreya discusses the problem of the span of life of a man. If the present life and all the happiness in it is totally due to the result of actions of the previous birth, his life span must be already determined and neither spiritual nor any kind of physical healing will avail anything. In such cases, the science of being becomes of no use. It has no place in the world where a life can neither be prolonged by medicine nor shortened by any disease. Then there remains no purpose for either saving or killing a life. But Atreya has a way out of this morass of pre-destiny. He describes three kinds of actions called as Puruṣakara.[43]


Life is not just a reflection of the actions done in past life. There is a scope for fresh start of new actions which is termed as Puruṣakara. The types of Puruṣakara can be classified into three categories:

  1. Powerful
  2. Moderate
  3. Weak

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

Puruṣakara as per Atreya[edit]

This is a hope inspiring positive provision that Atreya holds for mankind without which there would be no motivation for any good or reformist effort in life. It is a very significant contribution to meta-physical thought that Atreya has made while discussing the ways and possibilities of averting the results of past actions. According to him 'Daiva' gets nullified by the stronger Puruṣakara. The stronger the Daiva overpowers; the weaker actions of present life of a person would be more better.[44] This mutual counteracting is inevitable but sometimes it does not even occur according to the relative strength of the two kinds of action influenced by the time factor. But these both factors are accounted to have a strong hold over this field exclusively.[45]

Pursuit of Life[edit]

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

Sadvṛtta as per Caraka[edit]

Rajas and Tamas are the bad humors of the mind just as vāta, pitta and kapha are for the body. Self-restraint, moderation, dedication to the study of scriptures and meditation are described to have the psychic or divine therapy. This divine therapy is described in great elaboration in the scriptures known as Sadvṛtta.[46]

Sadvṛtta as per Atreya[edit]

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

  1. Usage of Speech - Misuse with the reference to speech is through the indulgence in language that is insinuating, untrue, untimely, quarrelsome, unpleasant, incoherent, unhealthful, harsh etc.
  2. Usage of Mind - The bad usage with reference to the mind consists of giving way to fear grief, anger, greed, infatuation, self-conceit, envy, deluded thinking etc.
  3. Usage of Senses or body - This classification is based on the three-fold division of sense-contact with the external objects which are excessive contact, non-contact and wrong contact. All of this constitutes the factor of disease. Complete absence of action of speech, mind and body is non-operational. 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 considered under the misuse of a body.

Remediation Measures[edit]

The defects of senses can be corrected just as any defect in body can be corrected with treatment of medicines. But the defects created out of mind requires the practice of a regimen of conduct determined by mental as well as emotional discipline. This is otherwise known as the righteous life[47] or Dharma. The inclination for righteousness must be continuously kept up by the efforts because there is a natural decline of that tendency in men from various ages. Atreya says that in every succeeding age, there is a fourth part of righteousness dwindling down and similarly the qualities of things.

Views of Cakrapāṇi[edit]

Cakrapāṇi, the commentator on Caraka, in his note on one phrase suggests that sometimes it also happens that some men return to their bodies after death if the messengers of Yama had taken them due to mistaken identity.[48] These are the agreed facts of the direct evidence of life and justify the faith in incarnations. This modus operandi advocates this phenomena completely.


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

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


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