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Ayurveda itself is also based on the Hindu system of cosmology or enumeration, called Samkhya. Faiths such as Buddhism and Jainism, and systems as Yoga are also based upon Samkhya.
Samkhya forms a fundamental aspect in Ayurveda, for the treatment of diseases, and bringing us back to our original state. This works on the more spiritual methods mentioned above, and the system of Vedanta, the spiritual school of Ayurveda, that states that we are all the immortal Self (Atman), free from suffering, bondages etc. In Samkhya, this is called “Purush” meaning “Man”.
In Samkhya, Purush forms along with nature or Prakriti in her primal form, and produces what is called “Mahat” or Cosmic Intellect.
Mahat or Cosmic Intellect then gives rise to Ahankara or Ego, from which is produced the three modes of nature (called gunas) – goodness, agitation or action and darkness, called as sattvas (purity, goodness), rajas (agitation or action) and tamas (darkness or ignorance) in the ancient Sanskrit language of Ayurveda. These three modes of nature further give rise to more fundamental principles from which the Cosmos itself is born, and the senses in man.
These create as follows:
-Rajas, the guna of action, stimulation and passion is the evoluting principle that stimulates both Sattvas and Tamas into evolving their respective tattvas or principles:
- Sattvas, the guna or nature of goodness and clarity gives birth to the five organs of action (five karmendriyas) which are hands, feet, voice, urino-gential organ and the anus and the five sensory organs of wisdom (ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose). From Sattvas is also born Manas, which is the emotional mind.
- Tamas, the guna or nature of darkness and ignorance produces the five Tanmatras or suble-sensory perceptions of sound, touch, sight, taste and smell, which produces the five great elements of creation, or “Panchamahabhutas”, which are akasha (ether), produced from tanmatra of sound or sabda, which gives rise to vayu (wind), produced from the tanmatra of touch or sparsha, which gives rise to the element of agni (fire) produced from the tanmatra of rupa (sight). Agni then produced the element of jala (water), which is formed from the tanmatra of taste (rasa) and finally from water or jala, and from the tanmatra of smell (gandha) is produced the gross matter of the cosmos, called prithivi (or earth).
While this system is quite extensive in itself, it is a key principle to understanding the deeper side of healing in Ayurveda. Unless we know the origin, cause or root of anything, how can we trace it back to it’s source of origin and negate it?
For example, take the emotional mind (manas) from an Ayurvedic perspective. We see that the mind is born from the nature of purity, which comes from the cosmic ego or Ahamkara. In healing the mind then, we first need to trace it back to the state of purity and clarity (sattvas), and from there, connect it through the Cosmic Ego to Mahat (cosmic intellect). This is the state of Pure Awareness and Wisdom. From Mahat, we can trace the mind back to Purush, that is, the Self-Spirit from which all creation, including the mind originated from.
Yet, how can this be done?
This is where the spiritual aspect of Ayurveda comes in, through meditation (dhyana) and Yoga, which helps unite the emotional mind (manas) with the principles of Cosmic Wisdom (mahat) and the Self (Purush). In meditation, great yogis meditate on the great Self as the origin of the world, and their own inner-being as the same as that Cosmic Self-Awareness state. This brings the mind to a state of inner-peace, and it’s original state, beyond confusion or emotions, beyond fear and suffering. It “dissolves the mind” in it’s own original being, so to speak!
PURUSH + PRAKRITI
(SPIRIT) (PRIMAL NATURE)
| | |
SATTVAS RAJAS TAMAS
(PURITY) (PASSION) (DARKNESS)
FROM SATTVAS: FIVE SENSORY ORGANS, ACTION ORGANS AND MIND
FROM TAMAS: FIVE TANMATRAS (SOUND, TOUCH, SIGHT, TASTE, SMELL AND FIVE ELEMENTS – ETHER, WIND, FIRE, WATER, EARTH.
Likewise, in healing diseases of the body, such a disease that is affecting the sight (rupa) such as burning of the eyes or kidney and liver infections, or caused by it’s respective element. In this case, rupa or sight is connected to Fire or Agni. Agni or Fire itself relates to the Ayurvedic humor of bile, or Pitta, which is known to impair the eyes and cause problems in sight, along with burning sensations to the eyes (as also from exposure to light, sun etc.)
Thus, we can trace back all of these things to their root-cause and identify and cure them in Ayurveda, through this system, which aims at restoring one’s health.
In the cause of the eyes above, cooling herbs and cleansing herbs for Agni or Fire or Bile are indicated to help the eyes. Ayurveda has such formulas as Triphala (‘three fruits’), which have very bitter and astringent tastes, which help cleanse the bile from the body, cool the eyes (externally).
Spiritual therapies along with the Samkhya system are this an integral part of the system of Ayurveda and healing.
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