Prakriti and Disease Process In Ayurveda

Dr. Shashi Sudan Sharma,
Dr. Twinkle Gupta

Ayurveda is an eternal science with absolute principles, and prakriti is one of these. It plays an important role in the selection and establishment of every factor for which a person is going to interact from conception till death, e.g. lifestyle, diet planning, etc. Prakriti stands for nature of the body in terms of dosha and is decided at the time of conception according to the predominance of dosha. It does not change during the whole life and is responsible for the physical and mental characteristics of an individual. This prakriti is of seven types according to tridosha. The individuals of specific prakriti exhibit biological variations in terms of structure, function, behavior, individual response to internal and external environmental stimuli, susceptibility to different diseases, etc. Aging is a process of decaying and included in natural diseases. In our body, Pitta or Agni is responsible for the various types of pathological conditions. Although aging is a natural pathological condition, Pitta plays an important role in its causation like other pathological conditions. It is clearly indicated in Charak samhita that persons having Pitta predominance personality tend to suffer early with decaying process and other changes of aging.
The word prakriti has been derived from “Prakarshen karoti iti Prakriti” which means manifestation of special characteristics due to predominance. In Ayurveda, the word prakriti has been used in the sense of deha prakriti or doshaja prakriti. According to Rasa-vaisheshik, prakriti is a state which is formed at the time of fertilization due to eminence of dosha. It remains unchanged from fertilization till death.
Ayurveda has a holistic approach and includes all the factors which are absolute or accessory in the determination of health. Prakriti is one of the most important concepts and it is decided at the time of conception. Prakriti indicates towards physical or dosha constitution. Involvement of dosha in prakriti formation may be individual or intermingled. So, prakriti is of seven types, i.e. Vataj, Pittaj, Kaphaj, three dwandaj and one samadoshaj. Among these, samadoshaj is an excellent and homeostatic state, while others are considered as defective constitutions and susceptible for various diseases. Each prakriti has specific physical and mental characteristics which totally depend on the involvement of dosha. For instance, individuals with Kaphaj constitution have smoothness of organs and joints, clarity of complexion, firmness, compactness and stability of the body, are slow in action and movement, have a stable gait, excellent strength, patience, peacefulness, longevity, etc. These characteristics are manifested due to particular properties of the dosha which is involved predominantly in the formation of prakriti. Prakriti affects each factor by which a person is going to interact and decides the status of health. It is clearly indicated in texts that lifestyle and various activities should be planned opposite to prakriti for the maintenance of health. In this way, prakriti also affects and decides the quality and rate of aging. All the constitutions having Pitta predominance have a tendency to suffer untimely with aging because Pitta has a synergistic effect on the process of aging due to its ushna, tikshna, amla, sara, katu gunas. It is clearly indicated in classical texts. We can utilize this concept in the prevention and management of aging, especially in the case of Pittaj predominant persons, and make vriddhavastha pleasant and disease free.
The concepts of Ayurveda are not India specific and can apply to all of human population in the world. We are also well aware that a person’s prakriti is considered to be normal for that person and any derangement of the doshas of the person’s constitution leads to diseases. As such, the job of an Ayurvedic physician is to detect the extent of derangement and bring back the doshas to the normal state which can be done using drugs, diet, lifestyle changes, or environmental changes. Well-established knowledge regarding the effects that various diet, lifestyle, environment, and treatment will have on different prakritis is very important. .
Knowledge of one’s own prakriti (constitution) can be helpful in maintenance of one’s health by following appropriate life style, diet and regime suitable in the particular environment.
(The authors are Principal GMC Jammu and
Associate Professor, GAMC – Akhnoor, Jammu)