The term Prakruti is a Sanskrit word that literally means, ‘nature,’ or ‘basic trait’. The combination of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha which is present in the individual at the time of conception is maintained throughout his lifetime. Different persons can have different combinations of Vata, Pitta and Kapha as their basic constitution or Prakruti. That is why two people react differently when exposed to a similar situation. Thus, according to Ayurveda everyone is unique and each one of them has a distinct body constitution, which is totally different from each other.
Vikruti comes from Vikr meaning to make different, to change shape. So vikruti is the altered, confused state of the doshas – the changed condition of body, mind and consciousness. Vikruti is the present doshic status, it is an altered state of prakruti – a deviation from our true nature, it is not necessarily disease but may lead to disease or it could be the initial stage of the disease process
Vikruti is the discrepancy that makes our body different from a normal or healthy constitution. In simple terms, it is the abnormal or the diseased state. When the doshas of the body are not in perfect equilibrium, it can be termed as the stage of Vikruti. Any kind of abnormality or Vikruti in the body can lead to complications in the normal regulation of body functions and thus lead to any serious complication or disease. The three doshas are disturbed by inappropriate diet, behavior, and lifestyle. Their imbalance initiates pathological changes such as build up of toxins. There are two broad categories of etiology of diseases described in Ayurveda. Those are general factors common to all diseases and specific factors behind particular diseases. Third factors behind disease occur from the natural effect of time and aging process. Let’s take a look of those factors which help to build the disease process in our body-
Role of senses –
One of the most important factors in the diseases process is wrong use of senses. Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste & Smell are the five sense qualities through which environmental factors enter the body and mind. The use of our senses is determined by how and what we eat and what type of lifestyle we are in.
These sensory contacts are of four types – Excess, Deficient, inappropriate, and optimal. For example – too much of bright light is the excess to our eye sense, too little / dim light is deficient and wrong type of light (Laser beams, ultra violet rays) causes vision problems. This is termed as “Asatmendriyarth sanyoga”. Optimal light is good for eyes and promotes health.
Misuse of the Body-
Maintaining the proper and timely discharge of our natural functions ensures health, while misuse causes diseases. This is either through suppression or through forced excitation of our natural urges. We should not unduly suppress our natural urges (Flatulence, Burp, feces, urine, sneeze, thirst, hunger, cough, yawn, vomiting, tears, semen, sleep, and breathlessness due to tiredness) but should attend to them attentively as they naturally arise. If we suppress them we weaken the life force (prana) and cause imbalance in our body.
Misuse of Mind-
Like the body, the mind has its proper and timely functions that must be maintained for health and well being. We should train and exercise our mind through regular concentration, contemplation and meditation, Wrong actions of the mind bring about wrong actions in the body and eventually results in diseases. Fear, grief, anger greed infatuation, envy, and negative emotions which imbalance both body and mind are due to increase in agitated (Rajasic) and dull (Tamasic) qualities in the mind. We should develop clarity, contentment and peace and avoid distraction and laziness.
Misuse of speech –
Speech is our main organ of action that determines how we function and relate in the world. It has a great power to either help or harm others. There is perhaps nothing as destructive as harsh words and nothing as helpful as kind and considerate statements. Speech therefore has a key place in health and disease. Misuse of speech refers to using language that is untrue, untimely, quarrelsome, unpleasant, harsh, or abrasive. This not only harms others but also sets up negative energy patterns that harm us as well.
Wrong use of will-
The second main factor in disease process is wrong use of will called as “pradnyaparadha” in Sanskrit, which literally means “failure of intelligence” in reference of human weakness by which we continue to perform wrong actions even after we know that those are harmful for us. For example Alcohol addiction / Smoking. Even after having experienced hangover and the side effects of drinking, an alcoholic ignores the message and starts drinking again. In this case, many people find it helpful to go to rehab centers in order to face their addiction and get help along the way. It can also benefit some people to leave the environment they are in and try something like an Alcohol Rehab in Thailand so that they are focusing purely on facing their addiction.
Ayurveda states that unless we strengthen our will and reduce our desire, we can never have health and happiness in our life. We need to cultivate a strong will and learn to achieve the lasting goals of life- contentment, creativity and greater awareness.
Wrong use of senses and wrong use of will usually go together because, without proper will power, our senses control us rather than us controlling our senses. Two important principles help in keeping the will and senses directed and productive rather than becoming destructive are:
1. To hold to non-violence and never wish harm to another living creature in thought, word, and deed.
2. Detachment, to remain above all desires, fears, enticement, and allurements, accepting what life brings us.
Then, both body and mind will remain calm, centered and relaxed.
Effect of Time-(Kaal)
What has a beginning must have an end. The effect of time or the natural movement of change and transformation is another cause of disease that one cannot change. No one can escape the effects of normal and abnormal seasonal changes and variation governed by the time factor which affect the doshas, the mind, and the strength of the body.
Diseases naturally occur through the process of growing old, particularly diseases like arthritis. Although to minimize this, certain methods like seasonal regimens and rejuvenation therapies are advised, but one cannot avoid this altogether, nor should one try.
Ayurveda says that we should live a happy life accepting old age when it comes which has its beauty and wisdom, not trying to be forever young, which is not possible.
Thus to maintain our natural constitution and reduce the effect of Vikruti, Ayurveda suggests the daily and seasonal regimen, detoxification therapies, diet, exercise, and herbs.
Dr Beena Vesika M.D.
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