Dr. Kishor Patwardhan, the author of this work is currently working as a lecturer in the department of Kriya Sharir, Faculty of Ayurveda, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
He pursued his BAMS studies at S. D. M. College of Ayurveda, Udupi, Karnataka and M.D.(Ay.) in Sharira Kriya at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. His special field of interest has been the system of Ayurvedic education in general and Kriya Sharir in particular. He is involved in innovative methods in teaching Kriya Sharir along with the interpretation of ancient Indian wisdom in terms of contemporary medical physiology.
This small work is aimed at all those who possess interest in ancient Indian wisdom related to medicine. An attempt has been made to re-arrange and critically analyze the material related to Human Physiology available in classical textbooks of Ayurveda. Original verses are given in Devanagari script along with their translation in English. The translation, notes and interpretations are based on the current knowledge in Medical Physiology. To keep the book concise and readable, a deliberate attempt has been made to include only the most rational and most relevant versions of classical verses.
It is hoped that the present work will prove beneficial for all Ayurvedic students pursuing their undergraduate or post graduate studies and also for Ayurvedic physicians and teachers.
It is often criticized that Ayurvedic science is occult and subjective. It seems so as Ayurveda has evolved on the basis of fundamentals of 'Sunkh y a' and 'Ny ay a' Darshanas. The 'Darshanas' are the attempts to see the truth. The means are derived by logical analysis and intellectual exercises.
In reality there is no difference in the ultimate goal of the modern science and the ancient quest for truth. The technology and stress on direct perception have made the current science popular. Most of the Ayurvedic students find it difficult to get adjusted to the intellectual setup required to perceive Ayurveda in the beginning of the course. A good teacher has to mend the teaching to the intellectual level of the student and build the bridge. Many a times it may be required to explain Ayurvedic principles by comparing them to the facts of the modern science so that the student can analyze and perceive better. This approach in teaching Ayurveda, though criticized: has proved beneficial.
The attempts of Dr. Kishor Patwardhan have to be appreciated in this context. The Dosha, Dhatu, Mahabhuta etc. may seem to be illusions to the under graduate student whose mindset is accustomed to the method of studying the biology in terms of independent systems like respiratory, digestive, excretory sys- tem etc. Explaining Ayurvedic views in this system may make it easier for the student to comprehend easily and even enhance his confidence. The analysis made by the author is precise and rational. The explanations are simple and accurate. I hope this will benefit the students of Ayurveda and be received well by the fraternity. I wish that the author pens more of such books for the Avurvedic community.
Theory of 'Tridosa': a physiological perspective Theory of 'Tridosa' is unique to Ayurveda. The term 'Dosa' in Sarnskrta means 'the disturbing factor'. Basically three 'Dosa 's- 'vata', 'Pitta' and 'Kapha '- are said to be responsible for maintenance of homeostasis in the body; and health is nothing but a state of equilibrium of these 'Tridosa 'so Also, the disturbance in the equilibrium among these three 'Dosa 's results in disease.
It is to be clearly understood that the concept of 'Tridosa' is basically a 'Theory' and any single substance or structure in the body cannot represent a 'Dosa '. Terms like 'Pittavarg a' and 'Kaphav arga' have been used in some ancient textbooks and such usage definitely means that these ('VElta'-'Pitta'-'Kapha') were understood to be three 'Groups' of physiologically similar substances in the body.
In the equation, for example, ax2 + bx + c = 0, at any number of given values of a, band c, 'x' also will take up infinite values so that equation remains balanced. Similarly, 'Villa', 'Pitta' and 'Kapha' can be understood to be three such variables, which can take up innumerable values, but still do not alter the state of equilibrium. They take up different identities at various levels of organization- such as cellular level, single- system level, organism level and so on as equilibrium needs to be maintained at all these levels.
'Vata' is said to be responsible for all movements and it is the initiating and controlling factor. 'Pitta' is said to be responsible for digestion, metabolism, production of heat and other forms of energy and that is why it is called'Agni', meaning fire. 'Kapha' performs the functions like protection, strength, support, growth and resistance.
As Ayurveda is a science based on functional understanding of body, by considering these functions, the entities representing 'Tridosa's at each level can be assumed. For example, Initiating and controlling part of a cell is nucleus. Different cytoplasmic, mitochondrial and other enzymes mediate all chemical reactions producing heat and some other A TP- like energy-producing substances. Protection of cell and its organelle is the function of membranes of the cell and their constituents. So, at a single-cell level, the above mentioned entities might represent 'Tridosas '. Similarly, a single system, viz. nervous system can be taken up to understand 'Tridosa's. Most of the move ments, represented by 'Vilta', in this system are due to ionic influxes and effluxes producing an action potential, which propagates throughout the neuron. Chemistry also plays important role in neurotransmi-ssion. Several enzymes and neurotransmitters required for this purpose can be considered as 'Pitta'. Protective function in this system is performed by several structural entities that make up the neurons and also by some other factors like Cerebro Spinal Fluid, Blood Brain Barrier etc. 'Tridosa's in this context are therefore, different.
At an organism level, three systems are said to be very important as far as the homeostatic functions are concerned. These three systems are called 'great co-ordinating systems'. They are none other than Nervous system, Endocrine system and Immune system, which can exactly be correlated with 'Vilta', 'Pitta' and 'Kapha' respectively. Some recent studies have shown that the interactions between these three systems are much more important than were assumed to be. The anatomical structures, in the immune system include the lymphocytes, macrophages, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow; in the nervous system, the neurons, brain, nerves, and autonomic ganglia; and in the neuroendocrine system, the endocrine cells and glands. The substances that allow these various cells and organs to communicate with each other are chemical and hormonal mediators: In the immune system, these mediators include cytokines such as the interleukins (IL-l, IL-2, IL-3, and IL-6), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-ß), tumor necrosisfactor-alpha (TNF- a), and interferon-gamma (IFN- Y); in the central nervous system and in the peripheral nervous system, the neurotransmitters and neuropeptides; and in the neuroendocrine system, the hormones and neurohormones. Recent studies have shown that many anatomic and chemical connections exist, that allow communication not only within, but also among these systems.
In Vedic literature, we find three terms representing 'Tridosa 's: 'Priina', 'Teja' and 'Oja', These are more specific terms and are of limited help in general understanding of physiology. Probably because of the same reason, the theory of 'Tridosa's was developed to give a wide perspective to Ayurveda.
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