Ayurveda, according to Charak Saåhitá, was
a scientific and logical interpretation, in which
tridoßha theory was enumerated along with management
of Váyu, Pitta, and Kapha. Nature was
seen as uniform, and rational knowledge was emphasized
over the supernatural. Symposia were
held for practitioners to express opinions and to
arrive at an accepted view of truth. Lord Átreya
presided over the talks.
Rather than analyze and name millions of body
parts and diseases, Charak Saåhitá holds that it is
happiness and unhappiness that result in health and
disease respectively The healthy or holistic person
is termed Purußha, or eternal Divinity. The
causes of illness are deha-manasa, or psychosomatic
reasons: mind affects body and body affects
mind. Thus, the ‘partial’ view has no place and
Sattwavajaya, or holistic psychotherapy, has its
origins in the Áyurvedic science.
Áyurveda then, is seen as a highly accurate and
personalized method of analyzing people’s constitutions
and illnesses; it recommends and provides
gentle, natural and effective therapies.
Áyurveda relies totally on nature to heal, while
Áyurvedic therapies only help in the healing process.
Swabhavoparama (recession by nature) is the
method of using herbs, diet, lifestyle, and other
therapies (discussed in the next section) to return
the mind and body back to its natural state of balance.
The nature of an illness is learned through five
1. Cause (nidána)
2. Premonitory or incubatory signs (púrvarupa)
3. Signs and symptoms (rupa)
4. Diagnostic tests (upaähaya)
5. Pathology or stages of manifestation (samprapti)
1. Nidána or etiology (cause)—All diseases are
caused by the aggravation of the doßhas.
2. Púrvarupa (hidden or incubatory signs)—Signs
and symptoms cannot be attributed to any specific
doßha due to their mild nature. Two forms exist;
a) Symptoms may occur due to one or more of
the aggravated doßhas and disappear when the
disease manifests, or
b) Symptoms that develop into the specific disease.
3. Rupa (signs and symptoms)—Manifestations of
the disease are clearly observed.
4. Upaähaya (diagnostic tests)—When practitioners
cannot determine the cause of the illness
through the other methods they test with herbs,
food, or habits. These therapies show whether they
heal or aggravate the illness.
5. Samprapti or pathogenesis (disease development)
—Not merely symptoms or signs, this is the
actual manifestation of disease. Five kinds of development
a) The varieties of a disease.
b) The different aspects of the doßhas causing the
c) Whether a disease is of primary or secondary
d) The severity of the illness, strong or weak (e.g.,
due to age, general health, etc.).
The Áyurveda Encyclopedia
e) Time of digestion, day, or season when the doßha is predominant

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