Basic Principles of Ayurveda: Prakriti “Know Your Dosha”

What is Prakriti ? Ayurveda and Dosha

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The word Prakriti means “nature” or natural form of the constitution of the body consists of two syllables “pra” and “kriti”. “pra” when used as a prefix to verbs means forward, forth, onward, before, in front. With adjectives it means very excessively, with nouns it means, beginning, commencement, source of origin. The syllable “kriti” means manufacturing, creations, performing, derived from the root “kri” which means to perform, to form, to arrange, etc. Jointly, therefore, they mean “natural form”, or the status of the original source. When a man in his original state without any change in anatomical or physiological functions, is completely healthy, he may be said to be in his “prakriti” state. The word “vikriti” used as the opposite of Prakriti which means unnatural form, sickness, changed from the original state.

 

Ayurveda has highly emphasized examining the “Prakriti” that is the natural status of a person before the examination of the diseased condition. Because if we know the original way of functioning or status of a body it is very easy to guide the individual to avoid sickness and possible derangements. Ayurveda has described ten types of exminations of the patient to come to a diagnosis of his problem. The “Prakriti” examination is the first : The expert in modern medicine wants to know what type of disease the patent suffers from. On the contrary, the expert in Ayurveda science wants to know what type of person is suffering from the disease.

If we know the type of original nature or prakriti of the person, it is very easy to know about his disease and its treatment.

 

Kinds of Prakriti

Prakriti is divided into two main types :

(a) Physical Prakriti called Deha Prakriti or Shareer Prakriti and

(b) Psychic Prakriti called Manasiki Prakriti.

 

a.) Physical or Deha Prakriti : It is classified into seven types by the basic division of Doshas.

1. Vata Prakriti

2. Pitta Prakriti

3. Kapha Prakriti

4. Vata Pitta Prakriti or Pitta Vata Prakriti

5. Vata Kapha Prakriti or Kapha Vata Prakriti

6. Pitta Kapha Prakriti or Kapha Pitta Prakriti

7. Sama Vata Pitta Kapha Prakriti

 

b). Psychic or Manasiki Prakriti

Satva, Rajas and Tamas are the three psychic or mental doshas. Psychological Prakriti is classified according to these three types of mental doshas. There are seven divisions within satvika, six in rajasika and three in tamasika, outlining different degrees of each quality.

 

How Prakriti is formed ?

Prakriti is formed in the womb of the mother at the time of conception and is also affected by the dosha predominant in fetal circulation. The following are the four determining factors.

1. Shukra and shonita : Shukra means sperm and shonita means ovum. Prakriti is formed according to the dominant doshas in the sperm and ovum at the time of conception. Another way of saying this is that the type of dosha dominating is determined by hereditary factors in the sperm and the ovum.  Thses factors come from, our ancestors to create some similar properties in fsuture generations, such as similarity of complexion, eyes, voice, height, obesity or leanness, etc. and also allergies or immunity from specific types of bacteria or causative factors for disease. Ayurveda classifies these inherited factors as Shukra Shonita Prakriti.

2. Kala garbhashaya: Kala means time; Garbhashaya means uterus. The condition of the uterus at the time of conception has great influence in the formation of Prakriti. The uterus may be vitiated by Vata pitta, , Pitta, or Kapha as well as Rajas and Tamas. Prakriti may be formed according to an excess of one of the doshas in the uterus of the mother.

3. Matu Ahar vihar : The diet taken by the mother and her behaviour during pregnancy serves to increase or decrease a particular dosha. Therefore, some changes are possible after the influence of the uterine dosha at the time of conception.

4. Mahabhuta vikara: We have discussed the five basic elements (mahabhutas). Their products have an influence on Prakriti. The five basicelements combine with the mother’s influence, father’s influence, nutritional element (Rasa) and the Self .(Atman) to form the constitutional structure or Prakriti in every individual. The various combinitions of these factors determines the nature of that person.

Excerpt: Concept of Ayurveda for Perfect Health & Longevity- Vd.H.S.Kasture

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