To most people who are overweight, this would be a dream come true. However, for underweight people who have trouble gaining weight, it can be a real problem.
Children who can control their bladders during the day, but who have never been dry at night for at least a six-month period, have what is known medically as primary nocturnal enuresis, the most common form of bed-wetting. In Ayurveda, this condition is termed as Shayyaa mootra.
Excessive thirst or trishna, as it is called in Ayurveda, is quite different from normal thirst. Thirst is a desire for drink or indicative of dryness of throat and a demand for water into the system. When this desire or demand for water is abnormal, i.e., more than usual, it is a diseased condition.
Though metals, minerals, gems and jewels are used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine since the Vedic times, it is only in the post-Buddhist period that these have been extensively used in treating various health problems. Several Buddhist saints, like Siddha Nagarjuna have carried out research on metallic medicine.
Ayurveda is a science that is widely acknowledged to be the world’s oldest system of health. It is an oral tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. Only in the last 5000 years was it actually written down. The word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit roots ayu and Veda, or, “life” and “knowledge.” Thus in the name “Ayurveda,” we find its essential meaning and purpose – the complete knowledge of how to live daily life in harmony with cosmic life.
When discussing the issue of health, it is common for people in all cultures to talk just about their body, its ailments and the medicines they might take to treat these ailments. However, health is not merely a matter of the state of the body, since it is obvious we are much more than just this material form. A system of health that only takes into account the structure and functioning of the physical body cannot effectively address human health in its totality.
If the preferences of the soul are always guiding us on the path to perfect health and wholeness, why do we often make choices which are not conducive to our physical health or our mental and emotional well-being? Why, for example, are we sometimes able to easily control our intake of sugar while at other times we are not, even though we know that too many sweets are not good for us and can cause health problems like obesity; allergies or diabetes? And why, at still other times, do we become completely oblivious to the ramifications of eating sweets and consume them wildly and unconsciously?
The indriyas, or senses, are the third major component of life described by Ayurveda. They arise out of the fundamental properties inherent in the five elements, a process which will be explained in detail in the next chapter. The indriyas act as a bridge between the non-physical parts of life: atma or soul and the mind on one side, and the physical body and environment on the other. Without the senses, our internal reality would be completely disconnected from our external reality.
Sharira, the body, is the fourth fundamental part of life. Ayurveda does not consider sharira to be any more important than the subtler parts of human life just described. It does, however, understand the body to be the vehicle through which we can influence these aspects and their connections with each other and the whole. The next several chapters are devoted to the Ayurvedic conception of the human body and the principles which govern its functioning.
The last aspect of human life to be elaborated is sharira, the physical body. When viewed in its proper perspective, the body is nothing less than an evolutionary wonder, an unbelievably complex instrument capable of supporting limitless possibilities for human life. This marvel of nature can be studied from many points of view. Our Western model has taught us to see the body as a thing or object composed of successively smaller objects: organs, cells, organelles, molecules, atoms and sub-atomic particles.