Mental Constitution (Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas) and Correlation to Four Fires

This article has been taken from main series- Science of Human Wellness, The Complete Health Series, which is a step by step illustration on Health, Yoga and Ayurveda. Like we have Physical Constitution we also have mental constitution (Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas) or Mental Humours which are correlated to Four Digestive Fires (Visham agni, Tikshna agni, Mandagni and Samagni). Unlike physical humours these are forever fluctuating and this constant struggle between the humours is the cause of varying moods and mental states in people. With mindful and righteous living, meditation, creativity and acceptance, it is possible to tame the fluctuations to a great degree, this will directly improve your physical and mental health. When Agni is balanced it bestows perfect health, immunity and luster to skin and boosts emotions which are beneficial to health, however when Agni is imbalanced it causes emotions destructive to health.

Correlation Between Mental and Physical Health

As per Charles Darwin’s ‘theory of evolution by natural selection’ an amoeba gets evolved into highest Human over successive countless generations. After Human species got manifested, does nature stops the evolution in physical dimension, or new species are created after Humans? Or does evolution migrates from physical dimension to some super-sensory dimension? Can Nature hand over the evolution responsibility to Human? As humans, we enjoy a much larger neocortex which differentiate us from other animals and according to modern neurologists size of brain cannot increase further and if it does increases then will have negative effect over overall efficiency of brain. Because if length of neurons in brain increases it would be difficult for human body to meet energy consumption as at present we are using 20% of total calories we consume and further increase will have negative impact on physical performance; on the other hand if there is increase in number of neurons then clarity we have will go away. So it is not the evolution that will make us more healthier and blissful but we have take key in our hands. This is medically and scientifically proved fact that if you remain joyful for few days then your whole health and biochemistry will be improved, including Sugar, BP, sodium, potassium, creatinine, TSH, HDL, LDL, CBC and sleep quality etc. On the contrary if you remain stressed then you will develop Headache, Muscle tension or pain, Chest pain, High Blood Pressure, Heartburn, Infertility, Stomach upset and Sleep problems etc.

Yoga & Ayurveda are very subtle Technologies

Any change in the environment that requires your body to react and adjust in response compels us to make physical, cognitive or mental, and emotional responses, however mental and emotional responses can also occur due to the movement of mental and emotional depositions in our brain, which are in the form of good and bad memories and experiences. Yoga & Ayurveda are very subtle technologies and they penetrate into a human personality in totality, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to reach the complete well being. Just like three Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) there are certain genetic mental depositions we all are born with; this means, each newborn child has a core nature—a set of automatically triggered perceptions, priorities, values, and meanings that are already programmed in him. This relates to mental or psychical humours. They are Purity (Sattva), Passion (Rajas) and Aggression (Tamas) and by staying away from anything that strengthens your genetic mental deposition can help you gaining mental balance, for example if a person is born with too much aggression and passion and remains away from non-vegetarian food (which is tamasic) will reduce his aggression. You can change your physical state by changing your mental stage and vice-versa.

Three Mental Humours or Triguna or Manas Doshas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas)

Trigunas are three mental states, Out of them Sattva is the balanced state and Rajas and tamas are the doshas. If you are in the battlefield and enemy opens fire against you then you can't remain stuck to Sattwa Guna and have to launch a massive counter assault to justify your job, indeed mental humours cannot be absolutely bad or good, hence humous of mind are known as virtues or qualities. The health of your Nervous System, Cardiovascular / Circulatory system, Endocrine system, Renal system, Respiratory system and immune system have a direct and definitive correlation with the three mental humours. Let me explain the three humours for you.

Tamas (Ignorance) or Tamo Guna

According to Ayurveda and Hatha-yoga, Tamas also means darkness, inertia or lethargy, violent, vicious and this is the quality of imbalance, disorder, chaos, anxiety, impurity, destruction, delusion, negativity, dullness or inactiveness, apathy etc. It primarily reflects the state of aggression. Indeed rising and gripping of ignorance justifies all wrong acts as right, weather it is terrorists killing innocent human beings, partners lying each other, children lying to their parents, countries assaulting on other countries and so on. Tamas is the force of destruction, everything that is born i.e. may be animate or inanimate will meet its end but meanwhile destruction in Tamas is illusory, because nothing is permanently getting destroyed but it is leading to transformation from one shape to another or from one form to another, so, in a way it is necessity as without transformation no change will take place in world as well as our own physical body. Tamas sometimes also leads to destruction when it is not under control.

Rajas (Passion) or Rajo Guna

A person having dominating Rajo Guna is Active within mind and also active outside as creativity is the function of Rajo Guna. Like the cloud of mist Rajo Guna disappears as soon as they appear. If you want to understand Rajo Guna just close your eyes and ask yourself what the passion is? All pleasures spring from the pursuit of passion, every time a passion is fulfilled, it gives glimpse of happiness may it be sexual intercourse, passing exams, winning prize etc. A neurotransmitter is fired in the brain or torrent of chemicals like Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins gets bursted. But, do we ever achieve permanent or spontaneous happiness on pursuit of passions, no and it also can never be.

There are two types of Rajo Gunas depending on the inner motivation

(a) Rajo Guna on top of Tamo: Rajas sits in the middle of the modes of ignorance and goodness, because during the arousal of passion, one may lean towards either ignorance or goodness. Like when you sensually motivated you lean towards sex or when you are utterly disagreement with someone you have the emotion of anger. The person involves in action due to selfish reason like money, car, pleasure, power, name and fame etc. (b) Rajo Guna on top of Sattva: When goodness dominates passion, one may even jump into river, risking his own life to save another person. Such person can become inventor, a preacher, great musician etc. The person involves in action due to unselfish reason like social welfare, services, teachings etc. Every person in this world carries with him some kind of innate passion like the we carry blood in our arteries and veins. Rajas represents transience, desire and action and if Rajo Guna is channelled which is possible through discrimination, detachment and witnessing, this energy bestows exceptional concentration and persistence on a person.

Sattva or Sato Guna (Purity)

Sattvic people are religious, loving, compassionate, holistic, constructive, creative, positive, peaceful and pure minded. They have humble manners, behavior and conduct. They do not get easily upset or angry and believe in quality of balance, harmony, goodness, purity and universalizing. Although they work hard mentally, they do not get mental fatigue. Besides all above meanings and attributes most importantly Sattvic Guna means your innate nature; your basic fabric and in true expression it is light and bliss. According Maharishi Charaka Tamas and Rajas sometimes may be detrimental to a person’s physical and mental health, but sattva can never be harmful as Sattva represents ultimate balance which is boosted with the awareness. Nature of mind is restlessness and this is because of constant fluctuations of Rajas, Tamas and Sattva Gunas but if we reduce Rajas and Tamas, Sattva increases, if we reduce Sattva and Tamas, Rajas is increased and if we reduce Sattva and Rajas, Tamas is increased. Tamas causes a disease, rajas treats it and sattva heals the sufferer.

Relationship Between Triguna And Tridosha

 Type Vata Pitta Kabha
Combination of Rajas and Sattva Rajas and Tamas Rajas and Sattva

Four Types of Digestive Fires and their Attributes

Digestive Fires are such a vital concept that it is stated to be the main determiner of one’s energy, dynamics and well being and by knowing its attributes one can lean towards healthy and peaceful life:

Attributes Sama Agni (Balanced Fire) Vishama Agni (Wicked Fire) Tikshna Agni (Sharp Fire) Manda Agni (Slow Fire)
Health Overall state of Svastha (perfect health) Food may be digested too quickly or too slowly, may cause diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach ulcers etc. Anomalies in urine, colic, haematoma, over-active metabolism and vertigo Breathing difficulties, Asthma, Bronchitis, Cough, Nausea and Fatigue
Linked Tridosha Vata, Pitta and Kapha are balanced Vata (Wind element) is lessened Pitta (Fire Element) is vitiated It is due to Kapha dosha and reveals a disruption of the water and earth element in the body
Symptoms Pefect digestion Gas, bloating and gurgling after food intake Burning sensations in chest and stomach and hyperacidity Unable to digest smallest quantity of food and intolerant of dairy products, this is highly unhealthy state
Mental Sign Perfect mental equilibrium Anxiety, fear, insecurity, restless mind, spacey mind, and quickly fluctuating emotions Emotional imbalance that are related will be anger, frustration, a quick temper, envy, jealousy, and judgmental tendencies Sadness, depression, dullness, foggy headed, overly emotional, greed and attachment

According to Ayurveda, Agni has the qualities of heat, light, dryness, sharpness, penetrating, pungent and transforming and is responsible for functions like absorption, metabolism, digestion, perception, taste, touch, hearing, alertness etc. According to Ayurveda we can either align our physical geometry with mental geometry and fix our physical ailments, or we can change our lifestyle and soothe our mental afflictions. Ayurveda mainly focuses on the outward influencing the inward and Yoga mainly focuses on inward influencing the outward. Neither option is mutually exclusive. The best advice is to follow the body and eat according to your physical and mental constitution. Try to eat only when hungry and prefer gently stoking the digestive fire with small meals and avoid foods that are excessively cold, heavy or wet, spicy, oily or fried. I am not asking you to become vegetarian but each food has a certain quality that affects your well being as each food has a living energy in it and may not suit same to every person. Above article has been taken from main series- Science of Human Wellness, The Complete Health Series.

|Published on February 19, 2017