GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
Life has four characteristics — it exists, evolves,
expresses and extinguishes. For this, it
depends on five elements, namely earth, water,
air, ether and fire. To make it easier to understand we
can bring in the five senses and its objects, namely
sight, smell, taste, sound and touch.
Ayurveda is the study of life. Ayur is life and
Vedmeans to know. According to Ayurveda, life or
existence is not a rigid compartment, but a harmonious
flow. Even the five elements of which the
whole universe is made of are not tight compartments
of defined objects. They flow into one another.
Each one of the elements contains the other four.
The subtlest element in us is space, which the
mind is made up of, and the grossest is the earth element,
which our bones, marrow, the skin and the
structure are made of. This is further divided into
three Doshas — Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This is a way
to understand our physiology, its characteristics and
its reflection on the mind.
When an illness arises, it comes first in the
thought form, the subtlest aspect, then the sound
form, and then the light form, which is in the aura. It
is only then that the illness manifests in the body.
Simple symptoms arise in the fluid form, which can
be eradicated, and then it manifests in the grossest
form, where it needs medication. But with the practice
of Ayurveda, the illness can be nipped in the
The holistic approach of Ayurveda includes exercise,
breathing and meditation. Breath is synonymous
to life. Our life is our breath. Our breath is our
life. It is very interesting to observe the relationship
between breath and the different Doshas in the body,
namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three Doshas
affect certain parts of the body more than the other
For example, Vata Dosha is predominant in the
lower part of the body — stomach, intestine, etc.
Diseases like gastric problems and joint aches can
be due to the Vata imbalance. Kapha dosha is predominant
in the middle part of the body. Cough is
mainly a result of Kapha imbalance. And Pitta affects
the upper part of the body — the head. Short temper
is a sign of Pitta.
Yoga and breathing techniques such as
Sudarshan Kriya and the pranayama (channelizing
prana or life force to different parts of the body) have
an effect on these three Doshas, bringing balance to
Among different pranayama and other breathing
techniques, there are specific breathing exercises
for the lower, middle and the upper parts of the body,
which help bring balance to the respective areas.
How do we bring good health to our system? The
first remedy is calming the mind, coming from the
subtlest aspect of creation, the ether. If your mind is
bottled with too many impressions and thoughts, and
it is draining you of your resistance power, that is
where it is preparing your body for some illness. If
the mind is clear, calm, meditative, and pleasant, the
resistance in the body will increase and it will not
allow an illness to come into it. The skillful use of
breath and meditation can calm the mind.
Then comes the air element. Breathing, aromatherapy,
etc., come in this category. Next is the
light element, wherein color therapy is used to heal.
Before an illness manifests in the body, you can see
it in the aura of a person. And by energizing our system
with the prana or life energy one can clear the
aura and prevent the illness.
Next is the water element. Fasting or purifying the
system with water can bring a lot of balance in the
The final recourse would be medicines, medicinal
herbs and surgery. All these come in when other
things fail and the illness becomes inevitable.
The practice of Ayurveda can truly enhance the
quality of your life.
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GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR