Late Prof. Dr. Jyotirmitra, former H.O.D. Dept. of Basic Principles, Faculty of Ayurveda, I.M.S., B.H.U. the torch bearer, has guided me at every step. He always inspired me to work for presenting the Ayurvedic knowledge hidden in Sanskrta literature in such a easy manner, which may prove useful to all, in this era of globalization. I have got no words to express grattitude to him. I feel sarrow that today he is not bodily present to bless me. My mute reverence in offered in his feets.
Dr. S.P. Gupta former director of Ayurveda and Unani services UP has been my honourable Guru, in the subject of Ayurvedic philosophy. His continuous inspirations have guided me to collect and explain the various references from Ayurvedic Samhitas and other ancient literature and the book ‘Ayurvediya kriya sarira’ took shape.
I am heartily indebted to my father late Vaidya Pt. Shrikrishan Kumar Mishra, who took the expansion of Sankskrta and Ayurveda as the mission of his life. The heartily blessings of my mother late Smt. Lavangashri Devi an embodiment of religion and culture have enabled me to serve Ayurveda and Sanskrta.
The time for social as well as for writting work is accumulated from the curtailment of the family duties and responsibilities only and any such work creates huge discomfort and difficulty to all the family members. I have been lucky enough in this field and can not dare to lessen the gratefulness of contributions and gratefulness and silent sacrifices of my life partner by expressing it in words, as her hidden support has been the greatest power of my successful life and especially in fulfilment of the present and so many other such works.
I pay my heartily blessings to my son Dr. Vivek, daughter-in-law Deepika, lovely grand sons Shaswata and Avyaya, and all others, who inspired me to work on this and various other social activities, even having so many discomforts by curtailment of time and so many other facilities, which were their right, but was stolen by me for my personal satisfaction.
I will not be performing my duties well if I would fail to remember my students and colleagues, as many topics and themes was discussed in class room discussions and departmental seminars.
Chaukhambha Sanskrta Samsthan family in the leadership of Shri Rajendra Gupta and Mr. Jeetesh Gupta deserve special thanks for encourging axe for writting work and for the proper arrangement for timely publication.
I am thankful to all the other persons from where I have received any type of help in this work.
Humble homage and prayers are offered to all those ancient and modern sages and scholars, whose works are the basis of the present work.
Prayers are offered in the feet of Almighty, for providing courage, wisdom and patience to complete this work.
The complete knowledge of normal attributes as well as activities of all the factors concerned to human body is essential for a person, who has selected the medical field as the mission of his life. Normalcy is health and its diversion is disease, generally known and described as dis = apart from the ease = easiness of the life. To abolish the ‘dis’ from disease and to establish the normalcy is the aim of medical science. Physiology describes the normal functions of the internal and external organs (cell-tissues-organs, system etc.) and warns us to maintain these factors in their natural and normal condition.
It was felt that the works available in the field of Ayurvediya kriya sarira does not quench the thirst of the learner of ayurveda, specially for those who are not well versed with Sanskrta and Hindi languages. As, the curiosity about Indian medical system (Ayurveda) is increasing day by day, in various developed as well as developing countries, the presentation of the well established facts regarding Ayuvedic physiology, which are indantly scattered in Ayurvedic texts like Caraka, Susruta, Kasyapa etc. Samhitas, should be collected and presented before the scholars of present and future, was felt and thus the work came into existence. One important question in this reference arises that whether the Bhartiya knowledge is in the position to add anything and to share the world wide modern knowledge explosion specially in the field of medicine and health.
In the end of last century our nation awoke from a long slumber. Some of the great sons of Bharata, like Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ramtirtha etc. gave a violent jerk to the nation and asked to give up the political, economical and mental slavery. Swami Vivekananda was too much confident, when he called out insultingly to the world that realization of the heritage of Bharata in various fields like art, literature, philosophy etc. would definitely provide a huge amount of true knowledge of the world. It is also sure that if the health sector is taken in the consideration. Ayurvedic approach may serve the world and humanity, definitely in a better and easier way.
The present era is thought and known to be scientific age and no doubt there may be a few persons, who may think that the science and the philosophy are two different shores of a river, which never come together and Ayurveda being based on spiritual as well as philosophical back ground, is not capable to solve the problems of modern physical and mental ailments. Let us think for a moment that what were the sources of strength and power which sustained the Indian civilization and made it living over 5000 years (and more) through the endless historical obstacles of the past. Greece, as geographical land is present but the ancient Greek culture has gone. The same fate have been with the Roman, Egyptians etc. cultures. On the other hand, in Bharata Varsa (generally presented as India), even today the same millennia-old Vedic hymns are chanted with same enthusiasm and tune, in which they were chanted more than at least four thousand years ago. Normally the same story is with Ayurveda. Actually the civilizations, societies, sciences and philosophies survive on the foundation of universal truths only and the Indian system of science of the life i.e. Ayurveda is based on such basic universal factors. Caraka defines Ayurveda as saswata or eternal (C.su, 30/32.) According to Ayurveda, an individual is an epitome of the universe, as all the material and spiritual phenomena of the universe are present in the individual and all those present in an individual are also contained in the universe (Purusoayam loka sammitah C.sa. 5/3).
Swami Vivekananda, the modern interpreter of Vedanta philosophy repeats the same truth in 1895 when he says “Though an atom is invisible, unthinkable, yet in it are the whole power and potency of universe. That is what exactly vedanta says of “Atman’ (Complete works of Swami Vivekananda vol 7 PP 50). The world is homogenous and modern science shows beyond doubt that each atom is composed of the same material as whole universe. Man is the most representative being in the universe, the microcosm, a small universe in himself, (Vivekananda c.w. 4/PP49).
This holistic vision was expressed through the great Indian utterances like ‘yatha pinde tatha bramhande’ and
the Ayurvedic texts describe the same theme as ‘purusoayam lokasammitah’, ‘yavanto puruse bhavah tavanto loke’
(C.sa 5/3), Is knowledge of this phenomena, any how relevant with the context of medicine? Yes, answering to Agnivesa, Lord Atreya clears, one who sees equally the en tire universe in his own self, and his own self in the entire
universe is in possession of true knowledge (satya buddhi). Such a person experiencing the entire universe in his own
self believes that none but his own self is responsible for happiness and miseries. As soon as he realizes his identity
with the entire universe, he is in possession of true knowledge which stands him in good stead in getting salvation
(C. Sa. 5/7) ‘He further describes detachment as salvation’ (nivrttirapvargah C. Sa. 5/11).
Acceptance of soul as separate entity
Ayurveda accepts happiness of the soul as an essentiality of ‘Swasthya’. The body associated with soul is the
working area of a physician and as soon as the soul departs from the body, the task of the physician ends. While considering about health and illness of any individual, the soul must be given, equal importance with physical body. Generally the western philosophers and medicates think only about the physical body and the mind, but the consciousness is not taken in the consideration. About the consciousness, so many theories have been discussed. For
example Karl Marx, the German philosopher advocates that various atoms and molecules are the primary factors of the
universe and by the combination of these atoms, an attribute namely consciousness is developed. This consciousness
reamins for some time and then disappears. This event is called death and after death nothing exists. A few Indian
philosophers like ‘Carvak’ etc. for example also represent this theory. But the theist Indian philosophers and Ayurveda
have accepted the soul as a separate entity. Bhagwadgita narrates ‘The senses are said to be greater than the body,
but greater than the senses is the mind (maims). Greater than the mind is the intellect, and what is greater than the intellect is He, the soul or self.
(Indriyani paranyahurindriye-bhyah parani manah.
Manasastu para buddhiryo budhih pararastu sah)
Sarira shanas of various Ayurvedic samhitas are the places, where physiology of human body has been discussed and described in detail. Caraka Samhita describes ‘Purusa’ (consciousness) as causative factor and if the ‘purusa’ were not there, knowledge, ignorance, truth or false-hood, the Vedas, good and bad actions, the agent of action and knowledge could not stand. The happiness, misery, movement, immobility, speech, knowledge, scriptures, birth, death, bondage or salvation etc. depends on the existence of purusa or consciousness.
Modern scientists and the holistic ideas
Modern science has established this vision of a holistic universe which emerged out of the latest experiments of particle physics and quantum physics. California physicist Dr. Fritzof concludes his world best seller Tao of physics written on the convergence and synthesis of physics and the wisdom of the eastern sages:
“The physicist begins his inquiry into the essential nature of things by studying the material world. Penetrating into even deeper realms of matter he has become aware of the essential unity of all things and events. More than that he has also learnt that he himself and his consciousness are an integral part of this unity. Thus the mystic and the physicist arrive at the same conclusion. The harmony between their view confirms the ancient Indian wisdom that Brahman, that ultimate reality without, is identical to Atman, the reality within,” (p. 323 Tao of physics: Fontana 1977)
Again, in his Schumacher lectures, Dr. Capra says:-
“Scientists will not need to be reluctant to adopt a holistic framework, as they are often today, for fear of being
unscientific. Modern physics will have shown them that such a framework would be not only scientific, it would be consistent reality.” (Schumacher lectures: Abacas: p. 135)
Henry stapp of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission wrote:
“An elementary particle is not an independently existing analyzable entity, it is in essence, a set of relationship that reach outward to other things.”
David Bohm, the celebrated London Physicist wrote after his successful experiment of Bells Theorem, that the
universe is interconnected at a deeper unifying level. He says.
“Parts are seen to be in immediate connections in which their dynamic relationships depend in an irreducible
way on the whole system, and indeed on that of a broader system in which they are contained, extended ultimately
into the entire universe. Thus, one is led to a new notion of unbroken wholeness which denies the classical idea of
analyzability of the world into separately and independently existing parts.’’
In another paper published in Foundations of Physics- 5 (1975. p. 94). Bohm writes with another physicist Basil Hiley that the experimental verification of non-local causality in physics. “leads to a radically new notion of unbroken wholeness of the entire universe” (Taking the Quantum Leap. Fred Allan Wolf. Harper & Row 1989. p. 177)
Austrian Noble physicist Dr. Erwin Schordinger writes in his book What is life (Cambridge University, 1948)
Consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown.”
“What seems to be a plurality is... produced by a deception (Indian Maya).”
In his two essays on ‘My View of the World’ Schrodinger writes: “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence but is in a certain sense the “Whole”; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in once single glance. This as we know is what the Brahmins express in that sacred mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear: Tat twamasi, this is you, or again in such words as “1 am in the east and in the west, I am below and above. I am this whole world” (Taking the Quantum Leap : Wolf, p. 189).
In his other book “Mind and Matter” (Cambridge university 1967 p. 92) he finally concludes:
“From the early great Upanisads the recognition of Atman = Brahman (the personal self) was in Indian thought considered far from being blasphemous to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world.”
In the ultimate analysis, modern physics has discovered a holistic universe behind the so called fragmented physical reality. In the holistic universe, all minds and matters are interconnected at a deeper level. The basic unity of life cannot be broken. Love and self-sacrifice, therefore, emerge as the only way for a meaningful living.
Holistic approach of Ayurveda
All the sciences and philosophies, in one way or the other, are engaged in searching the ultimate truth of the life. Health is essential to keep a person fit for working. Describing health (swastha) Susruta narrates that happiness of soul, sense organs, and mind is the pre-condition to remain healthy. It must be associated with the balance between various physical entities like dosas (vital entities or humours) agnis (digestive and metabolic process) dhatus (tissues) malas (excreta) and various mental, physical and vocal activities. Even being other factors normal, if the happiness of soul is not has been established, the goal of the positive health is yet far away.
Towards Quantum Biology
I enjoyed reading the prepress script of the book “Kriya Sharira” authored by the well known scholar and teacher of the subject Professor Yogesh Chadra Mishra. The book gives a vivid account of Ayurvediya kriya Sharira in a lucid language throwing enough new light on the current scientific validity of the unique holistic and pro nature approaches of Ayurveda to the understanding of the Ayurvedic physiology. Ayurvedic biology at large is based on its own three dimensional consideration integrating body, mind and the spirit in one sweep- ‘Sattwamatma shariram cha trayam etat tridandawat”. Such a consideration makes this science very unique and puts it on a distinct pedestal which is very different than the conventional modern biology. Because of this fact often one finds it difficult to undertake a comparative study between the two sciences attempting to give any counterpart interpretation which if attempted without due care leads to erroneous conclusions and bilateral conceptual distortions.
Hence it is largely felt that there is a need to develop new approach and new methodolgy to study Ayurveda “as it is” of course using scientific tools developed specially for this purpose.
Conventional western biology and biomedical sciences still follow the principles of classical Newtonean physics which has become obsolete in some of its major aspects after the advent of new modern physics after the work of Albert Eintine and his Quantum theories. Quantum physics, Nano science and United field theories display a new canvas of scienific thinking warranting quick akoption of real modern physics by the biosciences and medicine which has not yet been done.
I have a feeling as also pointed out by the author of the book under review closer comparisons would reveal that Ayurvedic biology matches more logically with quantum physics theory than with classical physics approaches. Conventional biology works largely in a structure dominated approach with emphasis on narrow structure-function relationship and cause-effect duality. In contrast Ayurvedic biology prefers to adopt a broad holistic approach irrespective of narrow cause effect relationship. Similarly subjective observation is an important dimension of knowledge in oriental sciences in contrast to western science where the very basic premise is adopted to reduce the “Reality” into a tentative formula which may be measured objectively. However it cannot be over emphasized that the “Reality” is so complex that it cannot be reduced in such a manner.
Thus the reductionist approach is not a realistic approach to know the whole truth. Unfortunately because of the lack of appropriate methodology most investigators in biosciences adopt the reductionist approach and claim that this is the only approach which is scientific and rest of everything is unscientific. This crisis of confidence in scientific investigation is a great hurdle in the real growth of countemporary biosciences. This issue is found more glaring in case of modern researches in oriental sciences such as Ayurveda which are more akin to quantum science warranting newer innovative methods of study.
The basic tenets of Ayurvedic physiology comprise of the theories of Triguna, Tanmatra. Panchmahabhuta, Tridosha, Saptadhatu, Ojas, Agni, Ama and Srotas which constitute an unique holistic model of biology very different from the conventional biology based on its organ-system structure-function relationship. It is imperative to examine the laws of the genesis of these two fundamentally different approaches to the understanding of the same body-mind system. To my mind this diversity is fundamental and is related to the very nature the “Reality”.
Often a question is raised as why the classical Ayurvedic schools projected the new theory of Tridosha-Vata-Pitta Kapha in spite of the possibility that structure-function of the physical body was not difficult to be explained through the already existing panchamahabhuta theory which existed since Vedic period. Many scholars believe that Tridosha doctrine is the biological dervation of the Panchamahabhuta theory for easier understanding of the Prakriti-Vikriti patterns of the living body-mind system. Many wonder what actually is the entity of the three Doshas. Are they structural entities or are merely a set of basic functions, are they materials or are energies or they are nothing (neither structure nor function) rather they just dictate a theoretic formula to explain the physiology of an individual in life time in a holistic way. Some critical observers ask a question how the three Doshas are physically and physiologically separate from the seven Dhatus, thirteen Agnis and innumerable Sroranisi. One of my own very brilliant students insisted to ask me, if we dissect-out all the seven Dhatus (Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Meda, Asthi, Majja, Shukra) what remains behind which one may like to identify as Tridosha. I was inclined to suggest that if each one of the seven Dhatus are separated what remains behind is the energetic life process in the Prana which is the coordinating force for all structural and functional attributes. However, this is a crude reductionist question. In living body nothing is separate from anything. Everything is the integral part of the organism. This is the quantum basis of the understanding of Ayurvediya kriya Sharira.
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