The rishis and siddhars (spiritually evolved people) of the past discovered the secrets of longevity and have passed it on to the successive generations. These saints saw the harmony that exists in the universe, the day and night, the seasons, the perfect motion of the planets, the yin and yang. They intuitively deduced that human beings are the microcosm of Nature and the vast expansive Universe is the macrocosm. They saw the human microcosm as part of the larger universal macrocosm. Hence they stated that the secret of healthy life lies in establishing harmony within the microcosm based on the harmony that pervades the universe throughout. Their efforts were then directed towards finding ways and means of establishing this universal macrocosmic harmony in the human existence. This search resulted to yoga, meditation, etc.
The Vedas state that the universe is made of five elements namely, earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Human body is also made of the same five elements. So for a healthy living, there should be a healthy balance of all the five elements. The human body’s actions relate to the universe through these elements.
Humans drink water, eat food, inhale air and thus regulate the temperature of their body. They get ‘prana’ from ether. It is the earth that gives them the external form. Bones, tissues, muscles, skin, hair etc relate to earth. Blood, glandular secretions, and all the other fluids in the body relate to water. The third element fire is behind emotions, energy, and vitality. Digestion, blood circulation, nervous system, etc are the spheres of action for fire. Air relates to breathing. Ether is the source of mental prowess and spiritual development. When all of these five elements are in balance and harmony, there is health and joy.
One cannot isolate the elements from one another. All elements act in unison. The physical activity is a result of the combined action of the elements. Any imbalance in one element affects the harmony of the whole.
Doshas are a combination of the five elements. Vata, pittha and kapha are the three doshas that Ayurveda speaks of. Vata is a combination of ether and air, pitha fire and water, kapha water and earth. Though there is no exact English equivalent for the Sanskrit word dosha, it roughly means force, or one that could easily lose its equilibrium. Human beings are a combination of two or all three doshas with one being predominant. To know your dosha click here.
When the doshas get vitiated, (and they tend to get vitiated easily), it results in diseases. Disease comes from outside and is not the nature of the body.
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