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Concept of Health


Health: Of the two terms used for health in ayurveda, swasthya and arogya, the former means ‘Positive well being ’while the latter signifies ‘defenselessness’. Although the two expressions are used interchangeably in the medical manuals, swasthya (literally “abiding in oneself”) approximates more closely to the Indian conception of health. Diseaselessness is a condition that is relevant to the practicing physician: it Is the state prior to the onset of disease and it is state that is restored by the removal of the disease. In diagnoses, prognosis, medication and nursin , it is this condition that provides the practical framework.
                But health is not defined as merely an absence of disease. The expression swastya connotes a state of wellbeing of body and mind, a condition in which one is not dependent on other human beings or on any drug for his on  physical and mental welfare . It is defined as the state of body and mind which provides the foundation for vigor and strength expressed in wholesome living involving pursuit of the values of life.
                Health has been regarded right from then Vedic  times as an essential requisite not only for the accomplishment of the three common objective of  life ( viz. virtue, wealth and enjoyment)  but also for the liberation form the miseries of phenomenal existence which is the ultimate good. The religious manuals have insisted that good good health needs to be preserved in order to be  able to  perform the prescribed rituals and austerities. Health has been extolled as the most precious of gifts tat the gods can bestow on man.
                Ayurveda, as the science and the art of integrated and the meaningful life ,is as much concerned with the maintenance and promotion of heath as with curing the illness that have arisen. Health in this context is an independent and positive idea.
                Charaka lays down : One must always manage to maintain health(swathya),so that the disturbance (vikara) that have not arisen may not arise”(CS,sutra 5,13).Health here is defined by his commentator thus:: the condition in which one abides well,  .I.e,with out any disturbances whatever(CHKP).Charakas prescrition has two aspects : the cause that promote health, and the causes that interfere with heath.The former is the balance (or eqillibrium ) o fthe bodily constitutes while the later is the imbalance there of (dhathu-vaishmaya).Imbalance excites and disturbs.
                The maintenance of health is accordingly regarded as two fold (1) the body, which constantly being worn out and liable to be thrown out of balance, must be nourished and maintained by good food an d correct conduct like a flame being tended by pouring oil to  the  lamp and trimming the wick.(2) The body must also be protected from disturbances. Internal and external, by appropriate medication and curative methods, like the flame being guarded from breeze, insects etc. The latter, viz disturbances are brought about by internal factors (e.g. the doshas being exited by careless or thoughtless conduct)
Over which the individual has control or by external factors(for example seasonal variation ,occurrence in nature ,ageing) over which he has little control. 
                Health does is a dynamic concept it is constantly being subject to factors of disturbances and need to be restored as often as it is disturbed. it is continuous process of integration (yoga )of time (kala),sensory objects (artha) and actions (karma)(Ahr  1 1 19) time refers to seasonal variation cold, hot, rain. Sensory objects are physically stimulation sight, sound, touch, wishes etc..) and vocal (speech and expressive behavior ).These encompass the substance constituting reality that Charaka spoke of  (CS sutra 1,47) ( the three units of time ; the fiv primary elements ;direction (samyyag yoga)
Of the three factors (time sensory objects and actions )  is the single causative condition of health,Imperfect integration or association of the same three factors bring about disease.
Association of the three factors could be deficient ,excessive or improper ,when disease is occasioned .if the weather is proper (cold  in cold season, hot in hot season, and the raining in the rainy season),if the sensory objects are just and adequately presented for sensory experience(viz not  straining the sense organ  either by insufficient stimulation or by excessive or unpleasant stimulation ) and if the work done by  the body and mind is in keeping and the normal needs of the mind, there can be no disturbances whatsoever the disease cannot arise. This is the condition to health.
                Integration is further explained in terms of the equilibrium of the doshas, bodily constituents , the digestive fire and the elimination of waste products(BP):

                The above definition which is standard one also includes the quiet and clear functioning of the sense- organs and the mind.
Disease are twofold : bodily and mental .Body os the ground for  the latter. An absence of bodily disease is bodily health and absence of mental disease is mental health. Thus the balanced functioning of the body and the mind is the basis for health in general., Which is experienced as happiness or wellbeing .The balanced functioning involve sthe integration of the  constituents ,viz the three dohas   the seven body constituents or ingredients of the physical frame and the three gunas .it is in this context that health is describe as prakriti, borrowing  the samkhya idea of undifferentiated balance of gunas in the primal condition.
                A pragmatic definition of health is that it is the condition when the digestive fire is nourished .Good digestion is regarded as symptomatic of good health, for digestive disturbances are at root of most of the ailments. it is in order that the digestive fire may be kept in good shape that the daily  regimen of diet, exercise etc. and the conduct appropriate to seasonal variations are prescribed.
                A legend makes the God of medicine ,Dhanvanthari, assume the form of a bird and chirp thrice the question  ’Who is healthy?’ in order to test the wisdom of the physician .Vagbhata is said to have answered ,”He  is healthy ,who eats what is good, eats moderately and east only when hungry ” to the satisfaction of God.