Article contributed By Dr. Sneha Dinesh Patel B.A.M.S., M.D.(Ayu)
The study of the mind has been a topic of great interest for everyone. Charaka Samhita (one of the oldest books on Ayurveda) expresses that the mind, soul and body are the three tripods of human existence “satwatma hareeram cha trayamettridandvat”.
Charaka Samhita states that the body and mind are abodes of disease. Proper body-mind interaction is the basis of all happiness.“Shariram satwa sadnyam cha vyadhinam ashrayo matah. Tatha sukhanam yogastu sukhanam karnam samah”.
According to Ayurveda, the mind possesses three gunas which are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas (invisible qualities or energies). These three gunas are responsible for the mind’s activity on the body. Activities or qualities of the mind are of three kinds – Sattvika, Rajsika, Tamsika.
It is a fact that all diseases are psychosomatic. No disease can affect only the mind or only the physical body. Any illness manifested in the body has its effect on the mind and vice versa. A significant observation of the pioneer of Ayurveda, Acharya Caraka, and also that of other Ayurveda acharyas is that the mind is material in nature and is made up of primordial Panchabutas and its birth is in the food that one ingests.
How does the mind affect the body?
The mind influences the physiology and pathology of the physical body. This fact was realised by the founding father of Ayurveda. The mind acts on the body through the three gunas. Their material states are panchamahabhutas which is constituted by bio-chemicals in the physical body. The mind acts on the body through Trigunas and panchamabhutas (the panchamahabhutas form the physical basis for the three gunas). Tridoshas trigger the endocrine and exocrine glands and specific nerves to release appropriate biochemicals at the appropriate time, which in turn stimulates the relevant organs to act accordingly.
Thus the involvement of the mind has an impact on the hormonal balance of the body and its activities. The three gunas which are the qualities of the mind are responsible for differences in our moods. As per Ayurveda, the mind influences the physiology and pathology of the body.
Besides the basic seven types of Prakriti (Vata, Pitta, Kapha and their blends), Ayurveda recognises 16 types of personalities based on the classical Guna theory. Both Charaka and Sushruta Samhitas have described these types. According to them, there are 7 types of Sattva, 6 of Rajas and 3 of Tamas – adding up to a total of16 types of personalities under which everyone can be grouped.
The seven types of Sattva are: Brahma Sattva, Mahendra Sattva, Varuna Sattva, Kubera Sattva, Gandharva Sattva, Yama Sattva and Rishi Sattva.
The six types of Rajas Sattva are: Asura Sattva, Rakshasa Sattva, Paisaca Sattva, Sarpa Sattva, Praita Sattva and Sakuna Sattva.
The three types of Tamas Sattva are Pasava Sattva, Matsya Sattva and Vanaspatya Sattva.