Ayurvedic concept of disease differes from modern medicine concepts. Despite the fact that Ayurveda recognizes the pathogenic effects of viruses and bacteria, it denies the ability of the latter to cause disease. A myriad of microorganisms inhabit in the body and in the environment which medicine considers to be the source of the diseases. Why does one person is subjected to the influence of pathogenic factors, while the other remains healthy in the meantime? What are the non-obvious factors involved in the development of disease?

There is a range of methods able to destroy pathogenic effects of viruses and bacteria. However, in most cases disease can appear again after eg, urogenital infections and TB.  Antibacterial and antiviral therapy is effective for a short period of time. However, they can not cure weakness and increase resistence to some diseases. That’s why it’s not enough to cure only physical body, but also we should cure spirit of a man. 

We are not just bodies. We are more than that. And the reason for disease is not only physical problems. As was mentioned above, a man consists of four elemenets, such as soul, mind, feelings and body (atma, manas, indrii and sharir).  All four aspects take part in man’s health. If there is disbalance among them, then you have a disease. Mind is one of the most powerful mechanisms influencing our health system. Only mind can give us power and strength to fight with illnesses. 

Three causes of disease

  • Prajna aparadha – errors of intelligence
  • Asatmya indriyadha samog – improper use of the senses
  • Parin – the impact of climate change

Prajna aparadha – errors of intellect

Recognizing all these problems, Ayurveda considers mistakes of intellect to be the most important reason for disease. This state is called tama-hunna or mind disease. The most serious mistake of the mind is self-identification with parts of knowledge, individual objects, but not with the Universe and nature on the whole. We are used to identify ourselves with limited things not with the one which have no limits. It’s stress factor which influence our life and means non-appropriate attitude to one’s life. Most people are unconscious in their choice. Patterns of behavior and belief system of our culture made us lose natural connection between the intellect and the power of pure knowledge. Prajna aparadha is formed at early age and makes sattva weaker, decreasing state of clarity, innocence and joy. With the weakened sattva we lose the ability to discern what’s happening. Our intellect starts to make a variety of mistakes, among which is the choice of food and a line of conduct contrary to the natural balance of the doshas in the body and the principles of the elements that control our environment. Mistakable decisions will inevitably make conflict with the laws of nature and, in fact, are crimes against our well-being. Creating disharmony in our relationship with nature, we thereby create an internal disharmony, which is a natural consequence of the disease.

When intelligence is not more the one with the whole mind, the false choices start to lead to disease. Let's think about drinking and smoking. You can read on every pack of cigarettes a clear warning about the dangers they can bring to health. Everyone knows that alcohol and tobacco weaken the immune system and cause a number of serious diseases. Despite this, many people continue to drink and smoke, doing harm to themselves.

Asatmya indriyadha samog - Improper use of the senses

 Losing sattwic component, the mind loses its ability to make decisions that determine the right direction of life, and we are starting to use the feelings themselves as a harm. According to Ayurveda, improper use of the senses is the second cause of disease. In the first chapter, we have discussed three options for potential abuse: you can overload subject feelings to starvation or poison them with emotional toxins. Improper use of the senses weaken their protective functions, resulting in detrimental effects which can affect the mind and body. Because of this influence, sattva is weakened even more. There is an imbalance of doshas and ama starts to form.


 Ama violate the ability of doshas to function properly and collaborate effectively. Doshas lose their natural flexibility and can no longer adapt to changes in the climate or season and properly respond to the needs of the body arising from a change in ratio bhutas environment. As a result, there is even more ama, so there are new seeds for disease. In Ayurveda, the body's inability to adapt to new conditions is called parinam, meaning "influence of the elements on the body." Parinam is the third leading cause of disease. Despite the fact that the main cause of disease is the Prajna aparadha, all three of these factors disturb the harmony between Bhutia, control nature, and doshas that govern physiological processes. When the rhythms of our lives do not correspond to the rhythms of nature, stress, poor digestion and imbalance of doshas appear.

Once doshas are out of balance, burden on yathar Agni and Agni dhatu increases. Weakened yathar Agni possesses reduced ability to convert food into nutrients. As a result, the ama is formed, and dhatu does not get enough prana. When toxins accumulate in the dhatu and it doesn’t get enough prana, immune system is subjected to distruction. The body begins to produce pathogenic microorganisms, multiplication of viruses and bacteria, preparing stage for variety of infections and degenerative diseases. From an Ayurvedic point of view, pathogens are the second leading cause of disease. In almost all cases, the disease is on the physical level and is a result of disfunction and subsequent development of the structural consequences.

 Six stages of disease - SAT KRIYA KALA

 Modern medicine recognizes only two stages of disease. The first of them is the one in which the disease is to be detected. The second stage includes complications, which causes the movement of disease to the adjacent areas of body. Ayurveda identifies six stages of disease (sat kriya kala), where the visible stage of disease and the stage of complications occupy the last two places. Before the time external symptoms appear, Ayurvedic doctor can detect and remove the causes of disease. The main active factors in the development of the disease are ama toxicity and mobility of the doshas (Dosha Gati). Let's analyze all the stages of disease from the point of view of these two factors.

 Accumulation (sanchayya)

 The first stage is called the stage of accumulation or sanchayya. At this stage, the ama goes into the gastro-intestinal tract. This condition is associated with a weak yathar agni. Ama due to the imbalance of Kapha accumulates in the stomach. Ama due to an imbalance of Pitta is accumulated in the small intestine. Ama caused by disfunction of Vatta accumulates in the large intestine. The presence of ama disrupts the activity of the doshas. However, people almost never respond to these symptoms as they pass after few hours. All symptoms indicate a physiological imbalance. When we suppress or ignore them, the disease starts to settle in our body. For example, imagine that you were dining with friends and eating something indigestible. Maybe just because it was too late in the evening and yathar Agni already "doze off", indigestion happened to you that night and prevented you from sleep.
In the morning you felt heaviness, drowsiness, possibly nausea. Incompletely digested food remains in the stomach and nausea was a signal for the body to get rid of this food. It would be better for you to eat lenten food in this period of time, giving the digestive fire flare up again in full force and complete digestion. And what are we doing? We drink coffee, take an antacid medication to cover up the symptoms and improve well-being. Without proper behavior and relevant measures, undigested food will remain in body and pass into intestine. By noon the nausea will pass, but the increased acidity will remain, causing flatulence and bad taste in the mouth. This occurs when the undigested food moves into the zone of pitta. If we swallow another pill of antacid, it will even more load yathar agni. All day energy level is low, but in the evening or morning, we will feel better about ourselves.

Prakopa (phase of excitation)

 The second stage of the disease is called Prakopa, which means "excitement provocation" As soon as we become feeling better, thoughts about changing diet and lifestyle usually leave us. We continue to ignore the warning signs of our body and continue to accumulate ama. In the end, quantity turns into quality, Ama is "excited" and becomes active in places of accumulation (digestive tract), and that’s when the third stage of the disease begins. The second stage marks clinical symptoms, but the experienced Ayurvedic doctor can detect the presence of ama by checking pulse and making recommendations that will stop the disease at this stage.

Prasar (phase of spreading)

 The third stage of the disease is called Prasar. The word originates from the verb "to leave" and "spread". Having filled gastro-intestinal tract, ama starts to move into Dhatu. The question arises: why Dosha Gati does not transfer ama into the opposite direction - from dhatu to voids? The key to this answer is the stickiness of ama. Once secured in Dhata, ama cannot be moved away. 

Sthana samshrayya (stage of scurf)

 The forth stage of disease. First of all ama locates in the weak and sick dhatu, in places with weak immune system. It causes functional and structural damage there. At this stage degenerative diseases appear and start to cause severe infections. Dhatu is targeted by ama, due to several factors. Among them we can name heredity, influence of the past lifestyle and diet, stress, chemical pollution and radiation injuries. The combination of these factors is a gateway for attack of specific tissues.

Vyakta (clinical stage or stage of symptoms)

 The fifth stage of the disease - Vyakta means "what you can see." At this stage, the first visible symptoms appear. The disease inhibits the body's ability to maintain its protective and other functions. The accumulated dysfunction and structural changes allow the disease to "progress". It is a painful process with sharp symptoms. But as modern medicine is not accurate in causes of disease, treatment is often aimed at getting rid of the symptoms, not the causes. Even if it is possible to ease symptoms, the root of disease won’t be destoyed and it will come back anyway.

Bheda (stage of complications)

 The sixth and final stage is called bheda - "differentiation." General diagnosis is put on the sixth stage and the differential diagnosis is put on the final stage.  All the symptoms of disease have been already detected. This stage is characterized by a serious disruption of dhatu and severe damage to meal channels. The painful effects may increase as a result of collateral effects of medicine. Many diseases can not be completely cured on the stage bheda

One possible example of display of this stage of disease could be the consequences of typical dietary habits of the western teenager. Attention of many young people is focused on cars, television, sports and communication with the opposite sex. Few people think of nutrition, especially as a form of healthy diet. Lunch may consist of pizza and soda water and end with chocolate and ice cream. This heavy food weakens yathar agni and inhibits the action of Doshas.

After such dinner adolescent may experience some discomfort, which, however, quickly disappears. This situation repeats one or two times a week, and a young healthy person is not worried about it. Many teens feel a sense of invulnerability, they say, "no matter what I uploaded to my body, I will stay healthy and full of energy." To a certain extent this is true. Pitta is responsible for strength and resilience. Meanwhile, ama is poisoning the tissues of this young organism. The man experiences a loss of vitality, energy and flexibility for the first time.
Degenerative changes and infections do not develop overnight. They are developing over the years. If a person knows which diet and lifestyle fits him then he knows how to avoid sickness. That’s why it is important to teach children at school what they should do to stay healthy. And Ayurveda is one of the best ways to stay alive.

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