(Last Updated on : 28-11-2009)
It is true that some people inherently know what is good and what is bad for them and they tend to act accordingly all the time. And there are others who give in to their likings, cravings and addictions in spite of having full knowledge. And there is the third category of people who do not seem to have any clue what is actually best for them. Ayurveda gives answers to all these questions by stating that all health, ill-health, happiness, unhappiness and all the feelings and emotions arise in the human mind first. It states that though soul is the director of life, which quietly guiding it towards its ultimate destiny but it is the mind that is the controller of the senses and the body. The mind or the manas determines whether they are used for life's upliftment or life's degradation. It is the mind that is ultimately responsible for the maintaining a harmony between the universal intelligence that coordinate of life and the parts of the human life. Because of all these reasons, in Ayurveda, manas or the mind is given the central importance as compared to all the other principles.
According to Ayurveda
, it is the birthright of any individual to experience the full potential of life that comes from living in complete conscious state with the universal nature. It is said that when an individual loses consciousness and all the connections with the atma or the soul, his survival becomes dependent on others. It is the mind that is capable of either strengthening or weakening the functional connection of the body with the nature. There are basically three qualities called the 'gunas' that govern the physical existence. All the phenomena in this universe come under the influence of these primary three phases of activity. These three modes of nature are known as the 'creative mode' that is referred as 'sattva', activating or organizing phases is known as the 'rajas' and the last stage or phase is the destructive mode known as the 'tamas'. The impact of these three phases is all pervasive and universal.
Influence of Gunas on the Mind
These phases of creation directly impact the mind or the manas as they regulate the minds thus governing the existence. The stage of 'sattva' gives the desire and capacity to know, to create, to imagine and to think. It gets expressed as inspiration, fascination and curiosity. The second phase that is the 'rajas' generates action, motivation and initiation. It expresses itself as the ability to organize and implement. The third and the final stage known as the 'tamas' supplies the capability to bring to completion whatever was created through the two initial stages that are sattva and rajas. Each of the gunas plays a beneficial role that coordinates the functioning of the mind. The reactions to any event will differ from one individual to another. It is because of the fact that the reactions originate in the mind. The responding of any individual depends entirely on the specific balance of the sattva, rajas and the tamas. Ayurveda defines that a proper balance of these three gunas is really important as they are vital for health and happiness, which the mind maintains in order to keep life moving always towards a progressive direction.
If the influence of the last two stages that are the rajas and tamas on the mind is too excessive then it will actually cause the natural balance of the gunas to become distorted. A predominant influence of the rajas and the tamas will prevent the mind from settling down and at that particular time, the mind becomes unable to maintain its quiet and subtle connection with the nature. One such instance where this over stimulated stage of the manas or the mind can be produced is by eating hot food items or by eating too much of sweets or caffeine or exercising too hard or eating very hurriedly. Watching TV with a loud volume can also create an over stimulated state of the mind. This stage can cause heaviness and dullness in the mind. So, Ayurveda states that when the sattvic mind dominates, it always chooses such things that promote fulfilment and growth because in this case, the connection with the pure and creative source is always maintained. If the stage of rajas dominates, the mind becomes unsteady and in the last case, when the tamas dominates, the mind tends to forget what is good and gets lost in those thoughts and actions that have negative or destructive effects. In Ayurveda, it is in the improper functioning of the mind the seeds of all the diseases are sown. At this diseased stage, individuals become frustrated and they become less efficient and inspiration and motivation decreases. Ayurveda's gift is the removal of ignorance or tamas that clouds the mind. It can be removed by eliminating the toxic impurities from the body and by not allowing these imbalances to occur again.
Impacts of Lifestyle and Diet on the Mind
Ayurveda demonstrates clearly the concept that healthy lifestyle and proper eating habits have a great effect on the mind of human body. Eating sattvic diet and meditating are some of the activities that are beneficial to joy and positivity. The Ayurvedic understanding of diet and lifestyle explains clearly that it helps in re-establishing and maintaining an eternal connection of the mind with the soul and body. Ayurvedic physicians begin their examination with an assessment of the patient's state of mind.
Ayurveda defines that a patient's attitude towards healing process entirely depends on his state of mind. A person with a sattvic nature will be of cooperative and relaxed attitude. On the other hand, person with a rajas mind will be slightly impatient and desperate and lastly, individuals with tamasic minds will show symptoms of confusion and will be less cooperative.