Ayurveda is the time-tested, natural, prevention-oriented and holistic health care system of ancient India. This over 5000 year-old science, considered the mother of healing, defines health as the balance of Body, happiness of Mind, clarity of Intellect, feverishness free Senses and a pleasant Soul. Ayurveda advocates that living in harmony with nature and maintaining harmony between body, mind and spirit contribute to a long and healthy life. Any imbalance in this harmony results in disease. The focus of Ayurveda is on preventive and curative aspects as well a wholistic approach to treatment. In the past 20 years, Ayurveda has undergone a resurgence. It is now practiced all over the world and often works in harmony with a more modern approach, having been recognized by the WHO.
THE MAHA GUNAS, FIVE ELEMENTS
Maha Gunas are mental/spiritual energies, the primary qualities or attributes of nature, or that which the manifest universe is composed of – intrinsic qualities which are inherent in everything. These energies are called Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
Sattva is a state of equilibrium and balance. It imparts love, compassion, peace and positivity, freshness, alertness, awareness, lustre, wisdom, happiness and joy. Predominantly sattvic people are calm, spiritually-minded, quiet, intelligent and health-conscious.
Rajas is best described as kinetic energy that results in activity. It imparts ego, aggression, over-ambitiousness, pride, competitiveness, tendency to control others, over-attachment to power, prestige, awareness of position, fear of failure, tendency to be angry and jealous. A predominantly rajasic person is ambitious, driven, egotistical and perfectionist.
Tamas is darkness, inertia, heaviness, and the tendency towards materialism. Excess tamas results in depression, laziness, over-indulgence in sleep, addictions and sex as well as in greed, attachment and lack of care towards others. When all three psychic energies are in balance, the Sattvic mind lends itself toward calm, clear, creative thinking that allows one to easily find effective solutions to life’s problems. Then, we need the lesser qualities of Rajas to implement these solutions and Tamas to help bring these activities to completion.
Together, the maha gunas form the five elements.
Everything in the universe is created from a certain ratio of these elements – Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth – and they condense to form three bio-energies (doshas) in the body. Tridosha defines the three fundamental energies or principles which govern the function of our bodies on the physical and emotional level. These three energies are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each individual has a unique balance of all these energies. Some people are predominantly one, while others are a mixture of two or more.