Ask the Vaidya: The Vedic View of Vitality
Maharishi Ayurveda includes a very advanced understanding of energy and vitality, which in ayurveda is also intimately connected to immunity. Ayurveda's conceptual model of immunity surpasses the modern model of immunity because it includes consciousness as a key tool for supporting health. This one-to-one relationship has been established in research on Transcendental Meditation® and health.
The following quotes, in bold text, are definitions of bala, or vitality, taken verbatim from the ancient texts of ayurveda. Vaidya Manohar, our Maharishi Ayurveda expert, comments on these ancient definitions and paradigms described in the texts, elaborates on a few other key ayurvedic principles related to vitality and immunity, and explains the three major classifications of immunity in ayurveda.
This commentary on the texts of ayurveda is not intended to replace the advice of a physician, offer medical diagnosis or treat any disease or replace medical care, but to offer insights and clarification on timeless principles that support health — essential natural laws first recognized and codified 5,000 years ago by the original seers of ayurveda.
Vitality Described 5,000 years Ago
Sushrut Sutras XV.19
The bala or ojas is the ultimate product of all the dhatus (tissues). This ojas or bala exists in each and every cell of the body, and this ojas or bala provides stamina and immunity against illness and malaise. Apart from it, the physiological condition of Kapha or Shleshma also contributes to this resistance.
PRAKRITASTU-BALAM-SHLESHMA — Charak Samhita
The natural state of Kapha is bala, or natural immunity or vitality.
The Three Kinds of Immunity
Maharishi Ayurveda distinguishes three kinds of immunity:
Sahaj or Prakrit Bal — The immunity you are born with
Sahaj or Prakrit immunity is congenital, meaning that it is the immunity we are born with. According to the original texts of ayurveda, four factors decide the nature of the individual and his strength at birth.
- The health of his mother and father
- Time of conception
- The state of the mother's womb at the time of conception
- Mother's nourishment (physical and mental) during pregnancy
Kalaj Bal — The immunity related to a particular time
Kalaj means "born with the time." This is vitality based on the particular time. The strength of the physiology in this consideration is based upon the time of the day, the seasons, and the person's age. Age can affect the vitality differently. In general, childhood is a period of good vitality, while middle age is good-to-moderate, and old age is moderate-to-weaker vitality. Many factors can influence this.
Additionally, the seasons have different effects on individual vitality, as does the day, afternoon, and night. Each period affects the strength of one's vitality.
Kalaj Bal is the immunity acquired by us during different periods of weather or periods of life. For example, in cold we stay healthy and in rainy weather we suffer with many problems related to digestion and metabolism. For example, some diseases always attack in childhood, but they never appear in old age, such as poliomyelitis. Some diseases occur only once in a whole lifetime, like measles or chicken pox. So Kalaj immunity is that immunity acquired by us with time.
Yukti-Krit Bal — The immunity which is self-made through your own effort
This is self-made "artificial" bala. In this sense, artificial does not mean insubstantial, but "through one's own effort and pursuit." This is vitality generated through proper behavior and taking rasayanas (rejuvenating herbs). It can also be created through the use of in-residence programs for purification like panchakarma which purifies the body, strengthens digestion, and nourishes the dhatus (bodily tissues). This includes meditation practices, such as the Transcendental Meditation® program, and other choices made that deliver strength and balance to the body and mind. Translated, Yukti means wisdom, or rational thought, and Krit means "made by" or "to give certain properties to something." Therefore, the Yukti-Krit immunity is that immunity acquired with your wisdom, self-initiative or rational thought for your own benefit.
Water the Root
One of the most beautiful aspects of Maharishi Ayurveda is that because this health support system nourishes the core of life, it supports all areas of life. Because Maharishi Ayurveda addresses root imbalances at the deepest level, attending to one area attends to them all. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who revived and restored this system of health care to its full value, re-incorporating the consciousness value back into ayurveda, said it best: "Water the root to enjoy the fruit."
Vaidya Manohar recommends the following Maharishi Ayurveda lifestyle recommendations and herbal formulations to support vitality and energy:
- Balance Vata and Pitta — use MAPI Massage Oils and Aroma Therapeutic Blends and Churnas or spice mixes (Vata, Pitta and Kapha).
- Balance your digestive fire, or "agni" — use Herbal Di-Gest, Aller-GI and Organic Digest Tone.
- Balance the tissues, or dhatus — Men should use Rejuvenation for Men and Vital Man and women should use Rejuvenation for Ladies and Vital Lady.
- Detoxify (reduce ama) and support the body's natural tendency to eliminate impurities — use Elim-Tox or Elim-Tox-O, Organic Digest Tone and Organic Genitrac.
The Maharishi Ayurveda approach to vitality also includes delivering bliss to the senses. Maharishi Ayurveda offers a number of products that deliver bliss to the senses:
- Ears — Gandharva Veda melodies, Sama Veda, Vedic recitations.
- Skin — a whole line of Massage Oils.
- Eyes — Organic Rose Petal Spread, Premium Amla Berry.
- Taste — the rasayana (specialized formulation) Maharishi Amrit Kalash.
- Smell — Aroma Therapeutic Blends.
- Mind — Herbs for nourishing mind include Stress Free Mind, Stress Free Emotions, or any of the Mind and Memory formulas that support emotions, and enhance the power of intellect, retention, and memory. The regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation® Program and the advanced programs of consciousness, the Transcendental Meditation Sidhis® program, is also a primary support of mental balance.
- Supporting balanced emotions — Blissful Joy.
- Supporting sound sleep — Deep Rest, Blissful Joy.
Please note: This ayurvedic information is education. It does not replace medical advice or treatments.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.