Like we all know that everything is made up of atoms, similarly, Ayurveda believes that everything in this universe is made up of five great elements or building blocks. These are earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Here I have tried my best to co-rrelate among them.
- Earth represents the solid state of matter. It manifests stability, permanence, and rigidity. In our body, the parts such as bones, teeth, cells, and tissues are manifestations of the earth. Earth is considered a stable substance.
- Water characterizes change and represents the liquid state. Water is necessary for the survival of all living things. A large part of the human body is made up of water. Our blood, lymph, and other fluids move between our cells and through our vessels, bringing energy, carrying away wastes, regulating temperature, bringing disease fighters, and carrying hormonal information from one area to another. Water is a substance without stability.
- Fire is the power to transform solids into liquids, to gas, and back again. In other words, it possess power to transform the state of any substance. Within our bodies, the fire or energy binds the atoms together. It also converts food to fat (stored energy) and muscle. Fire transforms food into energy. It creates the impulses of nervous reactions, our feelings, and even our thought processes. Fire is considered a form without substance.
- Air is the gaseous form of matter which is mobile and dynamic. Within the body, air (oxygen) is the basis for all energy transfer reactions. It is a key element required for fire to burn. Air is existence without form.
- Ether is the space in which everything happens. It is the field that is simultaneously the source of all matter and the space in which it exists. Ether is only the distances which separate matter. The chief characteristic of ether is sound. Here sound represents the entire spectrum of vibration.
Three great triads of Ayurveda are:
The Charaka Samhita is the oldest of the three and was probably first compiled around 1500 BC. It is considered the prime work on the basic concepts of Ayurveda. Charaka represents the Atreya School of physicians. It is a systematic work divided into eight Sthanas or sections, which are further divided into 120 chapters.
Sushruta represents the Dhanwantri School of surgeons, and is considered in Ayurveda to be the father of surgery. Even a great American society of surgeons is named after Sushruta. In the Sushruta Samhita there are sophisticated descriptions of diseases and surgical instruments.
The next important authority in Ayurveda after Charaka and Sushruta is Vagbhatta of Sindh, who flourished about the seventh century AD. His treatise called Ashtanga Hridya.
Body fluid and lymph in Ayurveda.
In human beings, body is formed by solids and fluids. The fluid part is more than 2/3rd of the whole body. Water forms most of the fluid part of the body. The total water in the body is about 40 lit. It is distributed into two major fluid compartments, one is intracellular fluid (50%) and other is extra cellular fluid (45%).
In Ayurveda, body fluid is rasa dhaatu, rakta dhaatu, lasikaa, and so on. Rakta dhaatu is compared with blood, lasikaa is compared with lymph. According to Ayurveda Rasa dhatu is the 1st dhatu which is made of aahara rasa. Rakta dhaatu is the 2nd dhatu which is develops from Rasa dhatu by the action of respective dhaatwaagni. This process is explained by Ksheerdadhi nyaaya, Kedaarekulya nyaaya and Khalekapot nyaaya.
Also it is doubtful if lasikaa can be interpreted as lymph. This is because wide range of functions of lymph is not hidden. Ayurveda in those days was quite advanced medical science. It seems impossible that compendia would not mention a word directly or indirectly about functions of lasikaa. Somehow references mentioned above do not include clues regarding such wide range of functions. Hence, it will not be wise to interpret lasikaa as lymph.
According to Ayurveda, Panchamahabhoot are the five great elements, viz. Akash (space), Vayu (air), Agni (fire), Jala (water), and Prithvi (Earth). The word “chemistry” used here is not the same elements like hydrogen… as used in chemistry. In fact they can be co-related with the atoms.
Atoms as considered as the smallest particle of the matter in modern science. Likewise Ayurveda believes that everything is made up of Panchamahabhoota. Let’s co-relate all five mahabhoota with atom.
- Akash (space) – Akash gives the sense of space, emptiness or vacuum. This can be co-related with the space in the atom in between nucleus and electron or between electronic orbital.
- Vayu (air) – Vayu gives the sense of movement. Modern science says that the electron in the atom is always in motion. So the vayu is co-related with the motion of electron.
- Agni (fire) – Agni (the fire) itself represent a heat energy but this mahabhoota Agni acknowledge about the energy. This energy is in the relation with the energy of atom. Atom bomb is an example that atom has energy. And this energy somehow express in form of heat energy as modern science says that the ultimate form of energy is the heat energy.
- Jala (water) – Jala word used here is in the sense of that thing which binds together. For example, in the flour (which is not combined) when added water forms dough (all flour is combined). This can be co-related with the binding force that binds neutron and proton in the nucleus of atom. Jala in the language of Physics can be said as force. In atom also the force due to which the electrons never escape from nucleus and rotate in its stationary orbital.
- Prithivi (Earth) – Prithivi is the word used to describe that all the other four mahabhoot are combined here. Atom contains its different constituent like proton, neutron, electron…; likewise Prithivi is made up of all these four components.
Ayurveda although such an ancient philosophy, has included all the things that the people in this recent time discover. Every philosophy used in Ayurveda has some relation to nature or the modern science. It’s only that we must be able to co-relate it with modern discovery. We must finally be able to co-relate Ayurveda and find new discoveries to this modern society.