THE CONCEPT OF VAATA - वातः, PITTA - पित्तम् & KAPHA – कफः.
The concepts of Vaata - वातः, Pitta - पित्तम् and Kapha – कफः, called Dhatu (धातुः), are central to Ayurveda – the ancient Indian system of long and healthy life. For understanding these concepts, one has to look at the physics of everything, because the body represents the universe (यत्पिण्डे तद्ब्रह्माण्डे). What we know as matter (द्रव्यम् or वस्तु), has five physical manifestations:
1) Compact objects called solids (निविडावयवः) – they have fixed volumes (परिमाणम्) and fixed dimensions (आयतनम् - that which limits spread of objects to retains its separate identity - विस्तारः - from its environment / base – आधार-आधेय सम्बन्धः), which remains invariant under mutual translation – if length is changed to breadth or height etc., (विस्तारस्य यथैवार्थ आयामेन प्रकाशितः। तथारोहसमुच्छ्रायौ पर्यायवाचिनौ मतौ). In atomic scales, it is dominated by the strong nuclear interaction (अन्तर्यामसम्बन्धः) and in the macro world, its effect is seen as contraction (आकुञ्चनम्).
2) Loosely held objects called fluids (तरलावयवः) – they do not have fixed dimensions, but have fixed volumes. In atomic scales, it is dominated by part of the weak nuclear interaction (वहिर्यामसम्बन्धः) leading to conversion of proton to neutron and vice versa. In the macro world, its effect is seen as limited expansion from low concentration to contraction towards high concentration - fall (अवक्षेपणम्).
3) Remotely held objects called heat or radiation (विरलावयवः) – they have neither fixed dimensions nor fixed volume. In atomic scales, it is dominated by the electromagnetic interaction (उपयामसम्बन्धः) and in the macro world, its effect is seen as moving from high concentration to low concentration (प्रसारणम्).
4) Energy that flows (वाति) and provides motion to everything (वायु). In atomic scales, it is dominated by the radioactive decay (यातयामसम्बन्धः) and in the macro world, its effect is seen as explosions (उत्क्षेपणम्).
The above four are intra-body or confined interactions (याम सम्बन्ध - या॒ प्राप॑णे), which must be contained (विधृतिः) in a container or a field like energy and the field, and where both interact separately based on their own nature (charge – स्वरूपसम्बन्धः). For example, the strong interaction exhibits proximity-proximity (संस्त्यान-संस्त्यान) tendencies of both components, whereas the weak interaction shows proximity-distance (संस्त्यान-प्रसवः) tendencies of both components.
5) The fifth is an interbody interaction (वृतित्वसम्बन्धः), where both attract each other (आकर्षणम्), which requires not only more than one bodies having similar properties (like mass) in a field and treats the bodies as point particles (कूटस्थः), but also a constant factor representing the ratio between them, which keeps the bodies from each other from a common barycenter (नाभिः) at the maximum possible distance (स्तोममहत् उरुगायप्रतिष्ठा). This appears as gravitational interaction (उद्यामसम्बन्धः). The space (आकाशम्, ख, शून्यम्) acts as the universal background (प्रतिष्ठा) where everything exists (आधारशक्तिः प्रथमा) and which connects the intervals between every object (सर्वसंयोगिनां मता), though not getting involved with anything (अन्तरिक्षमम् – अन्तरा क्षान्तं भवति). In both atomic scales and in the macro world, it provides motion (गमन) that keeps the two bodies equidistance from a common barycenter (उरुगायप्रतिष्ठा).
These five are called Bhoota - भूतम् (from root भू सत्ता॑याम् + अधिकरणाद्यर्थेषु क्तः) meaning whatever has existence, or whatever exists together with others (अथवा भु॒वोऽव॒कल्क॑ने मिश्री॒कर॑ण॒ इत्येके॑). Also because they are Bhooma – (भूमा) all pervasive – found everywhere or these provide us everything we want (भू प्राप्तौ). These five are called Prithwee, Jal, Teja, Vaayu and Aakaasha (पृथ्वी, जल, तेजः, वायुः आकाशम्) respectively. They are not Earth, water, fire, air and space, though these are covered in those descriptions. For example, Earth is Prithwee, which is solid (चरणसञ्चारयोग्य), but Prithwee is not limited to Earth only. Everything including our bodies are constituted of these five elements. Whatever solid in our body, is Prithwee. All fluid are Jal, all heat is Teja. All motion is Vaayu. All intervals are Aakaash. Kashyapa describes which component of the body is derived from which elements. That is not being discussed now.
Human body contains some deformations of Jal - Kapha – कफः, heat - Pitta - पित्तम्, and Vaayu - Vaata - वातः called Tri-Dhatu (त्रिधातुः). Each person does not have the same balance, which is determined at conception and birth. This makes seven body types – three for the three Dhatus dominating, three for two of the three dominating and one where all three dominate. If their proportion is balanced, the person is healthy. If the proportion is disturbed due to inheritance, life style, seasonal effects, food intake, etc, we feel uncomfortable. That is disease.
Disease has three causes. The first is crossing the tolerance range. Our bodies are programmed to tolerate all sensations within a specific range. If we cross that range either way, it is called असात्म्य इन्द्रियार्थसन्निकर्षः. Prolonged exposure to this imbalance creates problems in specific areas, which makes us uncomfortable. That is disease.
Time evolution – परिणामः, It is common to all. What is good in summer is not good in winter or rainy season. What is good in childhood is not good in youth or old age. Life style based on intake of inappropriate elements, causes disease.
Sometimes we lose control over our emotions. Food is tasty. We lose control and overeat. We are angry. We do undesirable things. Sometimes we may know about it and know that we are doing something wrong. This is called guilty-consciousness - प्रज्ञापराधः. This also causes disease. How to treat it?
Water is caused by a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. But water is not a combination of these two. They must combine under strictly regulated conditions that creates a new product with totally different properties. The same is true for all other chemical compositions. Such reactions are called deformations (विकारः). When two Bhoota combine, it is called Rasa (रस from रसँ आस्वादनस्नेह॒नयोः॑).
Deformation (विकारः) is different from evolution (विवर्तः). When a body changes into something else while retaining its original characteristics, it is called evolution (विवर्तः). When a body changes into something with totally different characteristics, it is called deformation (विकारः). Aakaasha (space) being inert, does not take part in any chemical reaction. The Prithwee component of the body can be deformed by Jala, Teja and Vaayu. The Jala component of the body can be deformed by Teja and Vaayu. The Teja component of the body can be deformed by Vaayu. This makes for a total of six types of fundamental Rasa. These are called Madhura (मधुरम् - sweet), Amla (अम्ल - sour, acidic), Lavana (लवणम् - salty), Teekshna (तीक्ष्णम् - bitter), Kashaaya (कषायम् - astringent), Tikta (तिक्तम् - pungent).
If one looks at the chemical composition of sugars, one will find a commonality. The number of carbon atoms is same as that of oxygen atoms and number of hydrogen atoms is double that of oxygen like C6H12O6 or C11H22O11 or C12H24O12 etc. In other words, the number of carbon atoms is equal to those of water molecules. Since organic compounds are carbon based, our ancient science says Prithwee - पृथ्वी तत्त्व & Jal - जल तत्त्व combined becomes sweet - मधुररसः. A similar combination makes way for the other Rasas.
Thousands of years before the Primitive Recursive Arithmetic (PRA) came up in Europe, Pingala and others in ancient India used combinatorics to formulate various recursive algorithms in various texts. It is now ascribed to Europeans. One famous example used by Halayudha about a thousand years ago in his commentary on Pingala’s work (Meru Prastaara - मेरुप्रस्तार) is now known as Pascal’s triangles. Halayudha clearly mentions:
अतोऽनेकद्वित्रिलघुक्रियासिद्यर्थ यावदभिमतं प्रथमप्रस्तारवन्मेरुप्रस्तारं दर्शयति - परे पूर्णमिति ॥ ८। ३५ ॥
उपरिष्टादेकं चतुरस्रकोष्ठं लिखित्वा तस्याधस्तादुभयतोऽर्धनिष्क्रान्तं कोष्ठकद्वयं लिखेत्। तस्याप्यधस्तात्रयं तस्याप्यधस्ताच्चतुष्टयं यावदभिमतं स्थानमिति मेरुप्रस्तारः॥ तस्य प्रथमे कोष्ठे एकसंख्यां व्यवस्थाप्य लक्षणमिदं प्रवर्तयेत्। तत्र परे कोष्ठे यद्वृत्तसंख्याजातं तत् पूर्वकोष्टयोः पूर्णं निवेशयेत्। तत्रोभयोः कोष्ठकयोरेकैकमंगं दद्यात्, मध्ये कोष्ठे तु परकोष्टद्वयांकमेकीकृत्य पूर्ण निवेशयेदिति पूर्णशब्दार्थः। चतुर्थ्यां पंक्तावपि पर्यन्तकोष्ठयोरेकैकमेव स्थापयेत्। मध्यमकोष्ठयोस्तु परकोष्ठद्वयांकमेकीकृत्य पूर्णं त्रिसंख्यारूपं स्थापयेत्। उत्तरत्राप्ययमेव न्यासः। तत्र द्विकोष्ठायां पंक्तौ एकाक्षरस्य विन्यासः। तत्रैकगुर्वेकलघुवृत्तं भवति। तृतीयायां पंक्तौ द्वयक्षरस्य प्रस्तारः।
This continued till Patiganita says:
कटुतिक्तकषायाम्ललवणमधुरैः सखै रसैः षड्भिः।
विदधाति सूपकारो व्यञ्जनमाचक्ष्व कति भेदम्॥ (पाटी गणित, उदाहरण, श्लोक - 95)
अर्थात - हे मित्र, कटु, तिक्त, कषाय, अम्ल, लवण, तथा मधुर इन छः रसों को 1, 2, 3 आदि के मेल से रसोइया क्रमशः कितने प्रकार का व्यंजन बना सकता है, बताओ? Answer 64.
The ancient sage Kashyapa used this to classify all possible Rasas into 64. He divided the diseases into sixty-four categories and prescribed a method for treating them with a combination of an appropriate Rasa. That is for another day.