Friday, February 26, 2021

Ayurveda “Matter”, “Quality & “Action” Explained


Definition Of Matter, Quality And Action In Ayurvedic Medicine

Matter character along with the definition of quality and activity is given in Ayurveda textbook, Charaka Samhita. Charaka describes this trio among the six substances in the light of Vedic Science, Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine.

“Matter is one that is integrated with or is the abode of qualities and action; And matter is also the Inseparably Inherent cause of qualities and action.”

(Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, Ch. 1/52, Longevity)

Over Matter Character Explained:

The definition of matter is given from Ayurveda point of view. The abode of qualities and activities is material. Both of these substances – quality and action can’t remain independently.

Wherever we see some quality and/or action, there would be some substance. That is why material is the inseparably inherent cause of quality and action.

Terminalia arjuna is an ayurvedic herb with astringent quality and cardiac protective action. Both of these – astringent quality and cardiac protective action are dependent on terminalia arjuna.

The ripe fruit and unripe fruit of terminalia chebula has different properties and action. Those differing qualities and action are integrated in such a sense that they can be taken granted as inseparably inherent qualities and action of ripe and unripe chebulic myrobalan fruit.

“Quality is one that is Inseparably inherent (in matter), without action and is the causative factor in itself.”

(Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, Ch. 1/53, Longevity)

Matter Character And Quality Explained:

Three basic characteristics are given in the definition of quality. Quality resides inseparably with the matter. Quality is not able to act itself. Quality is one of the causative factor in ‘Cause And Effect’ principle.

The first characteristic is perfectly OK as quality can’t remain independent of matter.

Quality is without activity in itself. Quality is associated with activity in matter. The five kinds of action that we have dealt earlier are not present in Quality. There is no effort or exertion or activity on the part of quality.

Heat or hot items burn or scald. The activity of burning or scalding is associated with hot quality. The quality of hotness doesn’t exert or have any intention to burn. This is simply an activity that is associated with hotness.

Next, quality is one of the causative factors of ‘Cause and Effect’ principle. Everything in this universe is under the realm of this principle. Whatever happens in this world, should have a cause for that. Scientists can naturally be overjoyed with this proclamation of Ayurveda! It is natural as these guys spend their lives researching the ‘Cause’ in every ‘Effect’.

The Three Causative Factor And Matter Character:

Ayurveda describes three types of causative factors.

  1. ‘Samavayi’ or Inseparably-Inherent Cause
  2. Non-Inherent cause or External factors
  3. ‘Nimitta’ or an instrumental or efficient cause or Associated cause.

We will understand these three types of Cause with example. Suppose, Stephen takes four herbs and boils then with water, adds a little sugar and filter the liquid to get a herbal syrup.

Herbs, water, sugar and source of heat are inseparably-inherent cause for the syrup. These are the factors without which there is no possibility for the herbal syrup.

The utensil, the filter or sieve and other necessary items are the External factors or non-inherent cause for the herbal syrup.

The person under whose supervision herbal syrup is being made is the efficient cause or associated cause for the herbal syrup. Everything that is made to happen or that simply happens, has these three types of cause.

This is a great truth that is still undermined and underutilized in psychiatry and management field that human being is the responsible cause or efficient cause of all things that happen in human or organizational life. This concept sets the priorities and motivation in the right direction and makes our efforts an act out of pleasure. More elucidation of this point might be out of context here.

“Action is the causative factor for combination and separation; Action resides in matter; Action is the responsive activity that obliges in the moment; And Action doesn’t need or depend on anything else for causing the combination and separation etc. activity.”

(Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, Ch. 1/54, Longevity)

Matter Character And Action Explained

Four characteristics of action are described here.

  1. Action resides in matter.
  2. Action is the causative factor behind combination and separation.
  3. Action is the responsive activity that obliges in the moment.
  4. Action doesn’t need or depend on anything else for its intended activity.

Action resides in matter along with quality is already mentioned.

All forms of action needs some new combination and separation of old relations. Action is the causative factor behind these new associations and leftover relations.

Suppose, you move a stone from one corner of table to another. The stone leaves the previous space and moves or combines with new relationship.

You take a purgative, it helps to evacuate the bowel. The stool leaves the intestine and rectum and is excreted out.

You take anti-diabetic drug or herbs. Insulin moves from blood to cells and more insulin is released from pancreas. So with every action, there is new combination and old combinations are released.

The potential of action is like an obligation of activity. It simply exerts its effect or demonstrates its activity. Action is a responsive activity that generates new combinations and produces new consequences. Action is the spontaneous exertion or activity that is already integrated or is inherent in matter.

The last characteristic of Action in Ayurvedic medicine is a great truth that has been put in use by Stephen R. Covey in his famous book, “Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People”.

The action doesn’t need or is dependent on anything in future for its consequence. Every action or activity has its consequence or inherent result. We are free to choose a particular activity but not its consequence.

The action is like a vector in Physics. It has some magnitude and some direction. The resultant consequence depends on both of these factors – the magnitude of activity and its direction.

Stephen R. Covey extolled this basic principle of human effectiveness as two ends of a stick. When we pick one end of stick and do something with it, we had already chosen the another end of stick. Likewise, action in various circumstances can be chosen but not their consequences. Consequence becomes operational when we choose some course of action.

So the freedom of choice lies in choosing proper action and not their consequences. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and indulging in high fatty foods will lead definitely to a multitude to diseases like hypertension, stroke, high cholesterol level and diabetes. Moderation in eating and doing aerobic exercise reduces the possibility of these disorders to a great extent.

As a native Indian and an Ayurvedic holistic healer, Arjun writes in the lane of herbal healing and home remedies. Certification: BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).

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