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Ayurvedic Concept of Rasayana
by Dr. Vikas Lad Bookmark and Share
 

“Jeeveta sharada shatam .” (Rigveda 10/39/8)

This quotation from veda is having a unique importance . Live longer has been a goal of mankind since antiquity. Ayurveda is science which guides a person to live longer. According to Hindu philosophy the objectives of life i.e.prusharthas (Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha) can be achieved by physical and mental health .To achieve health Ayurveda has given Ashtang ayurveda.

“ Kayabalgrahourdhavaangshalayadanshtarajaravrushan |”
Ashtaavaangani……..|| (Ashtang sangraha 1/5)

Rasayana is way to get prusharthas .Various acharayas has explained various types, methods and dravayas for rasayana consumption. Rasayanchikitsaya is preventive treatment against ageing disorders. It is famous and excepted all over the world. Rasayana therapy is as old as the Vedas because many references on Rasayana therapy are available in the Atharva Veda. Rasayana agents like Soma are available in classics. Achar Rasayana and Sadvrita are also available in the vedic texts (Rig-Veda 5/1/7 and Atharvaveda 16/2/2).

Samadosha samaaganishacha samadhatumalakriya |
Prasanaatamayaindriayamana swasthayaittabhidiyate ||
(Su.Su.15/15)
Sushruta has defined swastha as one who has:-

  • Equilibrium of the Doshas- Samadosha.
  • Normal functioning of Agni -Samaagni
  • Normal condition of 7 Dhatus- Samadhatu
  • Normal Excretion of waste products -Samamalkriya
  • Feeling of wellness of mind soul & senses-

Prasana-atam-indriaya-mana.

Jara (Ageing):

Charaka says domination of vata is responsible for declination of function of dhatus and sense organs. Reduction in strength, energy, manliness, velour, power of understanding, retention , memorizing, analyzing etc.

Sushruta mentions SvabhavBalaPravrita vyadhi in Adhidaivika diseases which includes JARA (ageing) ,kshudha, pipasa, nidra, mrityu.

Vagbhata mentions Agnisada is an important observation which means diminish Jatharagni and dhatwagni, cause of ageing as per ayurvedic perspective.

Factors causing early ageing

  • All morbidities arise due to domestic food in those eating sour, saline, pungent alkaline,
  • Dried vegetables, meat, sesamum paste and preparations of rice flour; germinated, leguminous cereals,
  • Antagonistic, unsuitable, rough, alkaline and channel-blocking substances;
  • Heavy, putrefied and stale food items,
  • indulging in irregular diet or eating while the previous food is undigested;
  • Daysleep, women and wine;
  • Performing irregular and excessive physical exercise;
  • Affected with fear, anger, grief, greed, confusion and exhaustion.

Signs and symptoms of ageing:

Because of this muscles get relaxed, joints get loosened, blood gets burnt, fat becomes abundant and liquefied, marrow does not mature in bones, semen does not manifest and ojas deteriorates.

Thus the person subdued with malaise, depression, sleep, drowsiness, lassitude, lack of enthusiasm, incapability in physical and mental activities, loss of memory, intellect and lusture, becomes resort of illness and thus does not enjoy the normal life-span.
Hence, one should abstain from all unwholesome diet and activities so that he becomes fit for using the rasayana.

Praneshana (desire for good and long life) is one of the basic instincts of every individual which has given rise to need of rasayana.

Rasayanaarha (who can receive rasayana):

The person who is truthful, free from anger, abstaining from wine and women, nonviolent, non-exerting, calm, sweet-spoken, and cleanliness, perseverant, observing charity, penance; worshipping gods, cow, brahmanas, teacher and elders, devoted to love and compassion, observing vigil and sleep in balance, well-behaved, simple, having senses concentrated to spiritualism, self-controlled and devoted to holy scriptures should use rasayana, that who had these qualities, attains all the aforesaid fruits of Achar Rasayana.
One can never attain the fruits of rasayana if he is not undergone grossly the process of elimination of his physical as well as mental impurities.

Rasayana concept

Swasthasyaurjaskaram yattu tadVrusham tadrasayanam ||
Prayaaha praayena roganam dwitiyam prashamea matam |
(cha.chi 1/1/5)

Many times medicines impart a comman effect of vrushya and rasayana.

  • Rasayana medicines : are generally used to pacify the disease or for boosting the excellence of health. They are used to treat the disease as well as enhance the energy levels.
  • Vrushya medicines: are also used for both the purpose but Vrushya medicines are more frequently and commonly used for the betterment of health which ultimately impacts the sexual capacity of the person. They are mainly meant to increase the vigour and strength of a person to produce good and healthy progeny.

Rasayana

  • Rasa- The term Rasa has different connotation

- synonym of mercury
- juice of fruit or herb
- first dhatu formed from ahhar rasa

Tejobhuta saaraha paramsukshma rasa.| (su.su 14/3)

In the present context, it means the body fluid which is responsible for nourishment of entire physique.

  • Ayan- marga (path)

Strotas is the path for every bhavpadhartha in body. Their number is equivalent to the bhav vishesha which are infinite.

Yavantaha purushe murtimanto bhavavisheshastavanta evaasmin

Strotasam prakarvisheshaa| (cha .vi.5/3)

The bhavpadharthas could not be produced nor destroyed without strotas. So strotas plays an important role in rasayana chikitsaya as rasa uttapti and vahana is carried out by them.

Dosha Dhatu Strotas Agni in relation with Rasa

As dosha dhatu mal are responsible for body constitution, they are maintained by proper agni. Agni acts as bridge between external environment and internal environment of body. Agni is responsible for production of Tejobhuta saaraha paramsukshma rasa which can freely flow through the all strotas.

A. Jatharagni

Jatharagni (Pachakagni) means the agni which is located in the jathara (abdomen). Jatharagni is the agni which carry out (digestion) pachana of chaturvidha annapaana, saara kittavibhajana and leading to the production of rasa, dosha, mal.

The location of jatharagni is Pittadhrakala is located in Grahani antarbhaga, and grahani is located in "amapakwashayamadhyagam". Grahani is described in relation to pachakagni.

The digestion is under the influence of Jatharagni. Unless saarabhaga is qualitative, it will not be suitable for further process of Bhootagni and Dhatwagni paaka. Hence jatharagni is the moola sthana for better functions of other agnis in the body.

Susruta attributed all important functions of Jatharagni to pachakapitta and pittadharakal.

Chaturvidham annapanamaamaasayat prachytaam pakwaasayo sthitham darayati”

Dosha are produced during various stages of digestion (awasthapaka)

  1. Madhur awasthapaka-kapha dosha
  2. Amala awasthapaka-pitta dosha
  3. Katu awasthapaka-vata dosha


B. Bhootagni:

Five bhootagnis are :- Prithwi, App, Tejo, Vayu, Akash.

Ahaaro deha sambhavah

The elemental factors required for maintenance and growth are received from food, air etc. In a nutshell this panchabautika sareera is to be maintain and nourished with the bahya panchaboutika amshas. To convert such alienate amshas as part of the body there exists a process of paaka, which attributs to bhootagni. So all the exogenous substances must be subjected to bhootagnipaaka to become endogenous .

C. Dhatwagni:

Dhatwagnis are seven:-Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Medo, Asthi, Majja, Sukra.

Each one is located in it’s specific dhatu to permit its moieties from the circulating substances derived after Bhootagnipaka to form it’s own tissue. After digestion, absorption, and on completion of bhootagnipaka, aadya ahararasa circulates in the body to reach all tissues by channel i.e. by strotas.

Strotansi khalu parinammapadhayamananam
dhatunambhivahini bhavantayayanarthena|| (cha .vi.5/3)


This circulating constituents of ahara rasa were selected by dhatu (tissue) through kalekapota nyaya and subjected to it’s own dhatwagni to form tulya dhatu vridhi. In the process of dhatwagni, asthayu dhatu before dhatwagni paaka and sthayee dhatu(Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Medo, Asthi, Majja, Sukra)are formed after dhatwagni paaka. Firstly, unless dhatwagni acts upon it new tissue will not result. Secondly, unless dhatwagni is samyak, samyak dhatu nirmana and samyak dhatu karyas or functions of dhatu will not be delivered.

Rassadraktam tato mansam mansanmedstatoasthi cha|
Asthano majja tataha shukaram shukarad garbha prasadaja||
(cha.chi.15/16)

This above physiological classification of jathara, bhoota, dhatwagni are according to its nature of activity and swaroopa only.
states of agnis and persons prakriti.

1. Samagni- in sama dosha prakriti
2. Vishamagni- in vata, prakriti
3. Teekshnagni- in pitta, prakriti
4. Mandagni- in kapha prakriti

Though they are under influences of vatadidoshas.

Agni in samasthiti maintains the health and improves ojas.

When agni get visham, mand it causes production of ama which is responsible for strotoroadh causing various diseases, early aging and various disorders.

Benefit of Rasayana

A persons undergoing rejuvenation therapy attains longevity, memory, intellect, freedom from disease, youth, excellence of lusture, complexion, voice, excellent potentialities of the body and sense organs i.e. what he says comes true, respect and brilliance, he is enriched with vrushya guna and kanti. The means by which one gets the excellence of Rasa is known as Rasayanachikitsa. A part from excellence of Rasa, the individual is endowed with psychic excellence like sharp memory etc. by virtue of rasayana therapy.

Mode of Action of Rasayana:

Rasayana is a specialized type of treatment influencing the fundamental aspect of body i.e. Dhatu, Agni and Srotasa. Rasayana effect is a complex phenomenon involving the fundamental factors like Rasa-Samvahan, Dhatus, Agni and Srotsa. Rasayana effects mentioned in term of Vayasthapana and Ayushkara, Medhakara, Urjaskara so that Rasayana drugs acting at level of Rasa by improving Specific nutritional values of Poshak Rasa as Madhura, Guru, Snigdha, and Sheeta guna act as Rasayana at level of Rasa which in term helps in obtaining the best qualities of Dhatus. Ex. Shatawari, Madhuyashti, Bala, Dugdha, Ghrita etc.

Rasayana drugs possessing the Ushana, Laghu, Ruksha and Katu, Tikta, Kashaya Rasa acting at level of Agni, leading to form saarvandhatus and Production of the Rasayana effects. Drugs such as Pippali, Guggulu, Rasona, Bhallataka, Rudanti mainly acts on Agni to create excellence of Saptdhatu. The Rasayana Drugs like Vidang, Chitraka, and Haritaki enhance Agni at level of Jaathragni. Similarly Amalaki, Amrita, Pippali, Kumari act on Dhatwaagni producing excellent Dhatus.

Rasayana with Katu, Tikta, Kashaya Rasa, Vishada, Ruksha, Laghu Guna, Ushana Veerya and Katu Vipaka cause Srotoshodhana leading to proper dhatu poshan and uttpati. Rasayana induces Bala and Vyadhiksamatava (Immunity) by ojaverdhan, drugs used are Jivaniya Gana drugs, Swarna and Pippali. Medhya effect is a benefit of Rasayana.

It may ultimately be leading to the achievement of the comprehensive effect as stated by Charaka

“labhopayo Hi Shastanam Rasadinam Rasayanum” (Ch. Chi. 1/1/7-8)

Achara Rasayana

Charakachrya in his 8th adhaya of sutrasthana explains code of conduct called sadvritta its two categories are

1)Right conduct towards self :

Physical conduct :- cleanliness and maintenance of body, bathing cleaning of eyes, ears, nose, teeth, oral cavity, nails, etc, wearing clean and washed clothes, made of natural fibers which are comfortable.

Mental conduct :-keeping once mind free from anxiety, sadness, depression, low self esteem, doubt, worry, fear, negative states such as hatred, jealousy, greed and pride .it also implies eliminating these negative qualities and re-establishing positive ones by happiness, purity, self discipline, scriptural study and devotion to god.

2) Right conduct towards others :

Respect must be given to elders, forefathers, teachers, scholars etc. Person must have respectable, courteous and protective attitude towards elderly people, women, children those ailing, weak, physically challenged, etc. Control over Panchadhyanindriyas Panchakarmaindriyas and mana should be there. Over use, under use and altered use can cause physical and mental imbalance. Mansik bhavas like shoka, lobha, dwesha it imparts a stress over the mind leading to disorder.

In ayurveda health is equilibrium of physical and biochemical factors namely dosha, dhatu, mala, agni and state of well being of mental and spiritual forces ( Atma, Indriya and Mana ).Rajas and Tamas are factors affecting vata, pitta, kapha and mind which affects the body .when they are in equipoise state the body and mental health is good ,when get disturbed disease may occure. Rasayana is solution for all physical as well as mental problems.

Thus rasayana means the way for attaining excellent dhatus. Medicines and management which is supportive to develop good quality dhatus, which helps to correct the decline in quality of dhatus due to some disorder and which keeps the path to develop further dhatus undamaged and keeps human healthy by virtue of Vaya Sthapana, Ayushkara, Medhakara, Balakara and Jara Vyadhi Nashana and attain life of more than 100 years making them centenarian.

“Jeeveta sharada shatam .”

Bibliography

  1. Charak samhita shri chakrapanidatta virachit Ayurved dipika vyakhya & Yashwant tike sahit, by Vd.Y.G.Joshi, 1st edition 2003, vaidya mitra prakashan, pune.
  2. Charak Samhita, Edited by Vaidya Yadavji Trikamji Acharya 4th Edition 1994, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthana, Varanasi.
  3. Sushrut Samhita, with English translation of text and Dalhanas commentary along with critical notes, By P. V. Sharma, 1st edition 2000, Chaukhamba Visva s
  4. Ashtanga sangraha, Indu tika sahit, by Anant Damodar Athavale, 1980, Ayurvidya Mudranaalay, Pune.
  5. Asthanga hrdayam of srimadvagbhata,by Dr.Brahamanand Tripathi reprint 2007, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan,delhi
  6. A Sanskrit English Dictionary, Williams Monier (1899), Reprint 1993. Motilal Banarasidas Publications Pvt. Ltd., Varanasi.
7-Sep-2014
More by :  Dr. Vikas Lad
 
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