Ayurved is the science of life and the living body. As per Ayurved, the human body is composed of the Sapt Dhatu. These are the seven primary ingredients, roots, subtle essences, causes, constituents etc which create the human body, ie. the visible Anna-mai-kosh or the sthool sharir, the visible material physical body and its functions.
These seven constituents, Sapt Dhatu are created from the energy of the food you eat. You take in the food with the energies of Praan Vayu. Then the ‘fires’ of digestion/Jathar-agni in your body convert the food into the following three parts first,
- The solid /Sthool part – the dull, material part with very dim energy, this will be converted to feces and urine and removed from the body. The Apaan vayu will be responsible for this elimination.
- The liquid part which will be converted to ‘Rasa’ – This is the essence of nutrition, the actual liquid absorbed by the intestines and also its vital energies. This is that part of your food which will be actually converted to the Sapt Dhatu which make up your body.
- And finally the ‘airy’ and ‘fiery’ part of the food you eat will be converted into the mind. These include the sub-conscious impressions that the food has absorbed. Now these impressions will create your mind.
For creating the physical body, the energies of Rasa will be used to create the seven primary ingredients in sequence as follows,
- Rasa –
- There is ‘Rasa-agni’, the intelligent ‘fire’ which converts the nutrition supplied by it to the various parts of the body. Rasa-agni is also responsible for the transformation of the ‘essence of food’ to Rasa. Food takes 6 hours to be converted to Rasa in the stomach/ intestine.
- This is all the liquids in your body, intracellular fluids, the fluid the intestines absorb, the plasma in your blood, the mother’s milk, lymph, tears, saliva etc.
- Rasa is responsible for providing nutrition and taking away the wastes produced in every cell of your body. It is the major primary component of the body, i.e. a significant percentage of your body is water! It is connected with immunity. It also your capacity for affection.
- It is connected to the Kapha dosh of the tri-dosh of Ayurved.
- Some foods which help Rasa formation are Tulsi, Ginger, Milk (from a Indian desi cow which has a prominent hump).
- Rakta –
- This is all the solid components of blood (except the liquid plasma which is Rasa). Rakta is the blood components, red blood cells, white blood cells, the platelets, and the molecules and enymes which are carried in the blood and circulated in the body.
- This is the function of life! Oxygenation to enthusiasm in living.
- It takes Rasa, 15 days to be converted to Rakta. That means that the food you eat should have enough ‘essential energy’ first create and work as Rasa for 15 days and if there is any left over, then it gets transformed into Rakta.
- Transformations related to Rakta dhatu are mediated by the Rakta-agni.
- Rakta is connected to the Pitta dosh.
- Some foods which help Rakta formation are Pomegranates, Ghee.
- Mansa –
- This is all the muscle, the flesh and skin. This includes the organs and the tubes that are the soft tissues of the body. The plastering and the gap-filling stuff! It grants form, strength, movement and protection.
- Converting the essences of Rasa and Rakta into Mansa/flesh takes a further 27 days. So you need to eat nutritious food for at least 2 months to see a visible difference in the ‘fleshy’ components of your body.
- This is the structure of the body thus linked to the kapha dosh. The intelligent energy of conversion associated with it is called Mansa-agni.
- Ghee and Honey help in formation of Mansa.
- Medha –
- This is the fatty tissues of the body, the ligaments, tendons and includes the lubricants in the joints.
- It has an important role in brain function and normal intelligence and is used to build the brain, spinal cord and the insulating fats on the nerves.
- It is responsible for lubrication, bulk, personal love and beauty
- As per modern dietary standards, body fat is viewed as dangerous. In my opinion, one should be at the higher side of the recommended weight range. Medha is also the stored nutrients which are utilised in cases of emergencies e.g. falling ill.
- Converting the essences of Rasa, Rakta, Mansa to Medha will take a further 41days. And the ‘fire’ of conversion here is called ‘Medha-agni’.
- Medha is linked to the Kapha dosh.
- Honey and drinking warm water helps in formation of Medha.
- Asti – .
- Asti is the skeletal frame of the body – the bones, the cartilages and includes the teeth, nails and hair.
- This supports and protects the vital organs.
- Converting the essences of Rasa, Rakta, Mansa and Medha to Asti takes 52 days. The intelligent energy related to conversions of Asti is called Asti-agni
- Asti is linked to the Vaat dosh of Ayurved.
- Milk (desi cow) helps in Asti formation.
- Majja –
- Majja is the marrow inside the bones and the innermost red/yellow cells of the nervous tissues, brain and spinal cord in the body. It ‘fills the spaces, and is responsible for sensations, memory and communication.
- The processes linked to these are mediated by the “Majja-agni’.
- 64 days required to convert the other essences to Majja. If you look at the time-frame, the cumulative days required to convert the energy of food into bone marrow is over 200 days!
- Majja is linked to Kapha dosh
- Ghee and honey are easily available foods which help Majja formation.
- Shukra –
- And then finally, an additional 96 days are required to convert the essences of these six Dhatu into your reproductive cells, the seventh Shukra dhatu.
- So this means that, first you have to eat food with sufficient ‘essential nutrition’.
Then Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Medha Asti and Majja are created in sequence, used in life, plus the daily wear, tear and repair. Then the remaining if sufficient in quantity will be used to create Shukra dhatu. No wonder problems related to reproduction are on the rise these days!
- The bulk of this energy is used in creating the reproductive cells, the sperm/Shukra and ovum/Shonita. And a very minor portion used in creating the stem cells in small children. After adolescence, stem cells production drastically reduces as the sperm/ova/reproductive cell production starts in real ernest.
- Shukra is linked to Kapha dosh and is responsible for reproduction, production of Ojas and emotional contentment.
- Shukra-agni mediates the conversion processes associated with the Shukra-dhatu.
- Milk (desi cow) and almonds help in formation of Shukra dhatu.
Now for the spiritually inclined, Ojas. Ojas is created when Shukra is converted further. Shukra is the subtlest and most ‘refined’ dhatu of the body. If it is not utilized by the person it converts to Ojas, this takes 108 days. Nutrition and the ‘fires/Agni’ both need to be perfect to form Ojas. Ojas is the divine vitality, the ‘shine’ that you see on the faces of persons who follow a highly spiritual life-style. This process is faster when you exercise control over your senses and eat nutritious, vegetarian, simple food which you have cooked with your own hands. This is the real reason why over-indulgence in sexual activity ‘drains’ the body. Such intimate interaction with others plus the waste of the reproductive cells. You are using up the Shukra dhatu and very little remains for conversion into Ojas.
- In men, if sufficient Shukra is created in the first place and reasonably limited sexual activity occurs, then significant amount of Shukra converts into Ojas.
- In women, while she is in the reproductive age-group, a significant proportion of Shukra dhatu is lost every month with the monthly cycle. (After menopause however, the essences of Shukra dhatu are not lost like this, so significant spiritual progress is possible.) Added to this, if she engages in high levels of sexual activity then even more of it will be lost during the intimate interactions. But if she limits her sexual activity to reasonable limits, she will be able to maintain a reserve of Shukra to be converted Ojas.
- For the spiritually inclined woman, the challenge is to navigate the menopause phase, while maintaining the emotional, mental and physical fitness. If she fails to keep herself fit, then she will be required to use the energy of her food etc to maintain herself first and enough may not be available for the creation of Shukra dhatu. And if no Shukra, then no Ojas. If you observe women who engage in rigorous levels of spiritual activity, their menopause occurs earlier, in the 30s itself.
- This does not mean that one should remain celibate. It just means over-indulgence will drain. This is also a basic common-sense!
Ayurved is not just ‘Indian medical science’. It is a science of consciousness first taught by Bhagwan Dhanvantri. It discusses not only the physical body, but also the conscious layers of the body, the mind, the vital energy/pran flowing through the energy channels of the body and the soul. The body and its structure is linked to Astrology and also to Ayurved. Medical conditions can be diagnosed using the chart. And if you have ever seen a Nadi Vaidya (a doctor of Ayurved is called a Vaidya, ‘the one who knows’) in action, he can tell you the precise haemoglobin levels in your blood by reading your nadi/vital energy channel at your wrist. Saptdhatu, Panchkosh and Panchpran are how your body and mind works with your consciousness at the deepest levels. And so Ayurvedic treatments though slower than allopathic ones cure on the very deepest levels.