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१. सूत्रस्थानम् 1.sūtrasthānam,-Ayushkameeya Adhyaya, आयु कामीयं, (S.-1, Ch.-1, V.-2)

आयुः-कामयमानेन धर्मार्थ-सुख-साधनम् । आयुर्-वेदोपदेशेषु विधेयः परम् आदरः ॥ २ ॥

āyuḥ-kāmayamānena dharmārtha-sukha-sādhanam । āyur-vedopadeśeṣu vidheyaḥ param ādaraḥ ॥ 2 ॥

Life and Ayurveda

Life is a place for dharma, artha and karma. Therefore one interested in the life should be attentive to Ayurveda with humility.


The word Aju (life) is described in the verse. Aju means a period in which a number of visible and invisible elements exist. Visible elements are obvious, i.e. a biological body. Invisible elements are unclear, mysterious. It is like the universe is visible, but energies that lead to its existence and movement are invisible, mysterious, hidden. Similar to that are actions whose result is the life. Ayurveda gives names to these essential mysterious actions. They are the dharma, artha and karma.

The word dharma is a demand of time and space. When a woman is with her children then she is a mother. When the same woman is driving a car she is a driver. When she is in her office she is a clerk and so on. Time and space create her dharma. Therefore the dharma is a demand, principle, liability, quality and nature in the certain time and space.

Actions are therefore connected with space and time. For illustration: there is a man called Novak and he works as a director. After work he goes to a shop to buy shoes. At this moment he becomes a purchaser. The time is the doing shopping and the space is the shop with a shop assistant. We call this action the dharma which is fulfilled. If Mr. Novak behaves in the shop as a director in his office, he goes against principles of nature and does not meet the dharma then. At these days many writers and translators translate the word dharma as a religion or to donate, to make somebody happy, to do a good deed atc. That is not a right understanding. Ayurvedic philosophy describes dharma as a natural demand of time and space. Thus, it is controlled by the entire universe.

Every natural action is within the dharma. Such as rotation of an electron around a nucleus, orbiting the Moon around the Earth, Earth's rotation on its axis and orbiting the Earth around the Sun. The sun shines, air moves, mountains rise, rivers flow and the gravity acts. As well as kalijuga (The Machines Age) is held within dharma. It means no dharma nothing happens. Dharma is something like genetic codes, laws of nature.

Surely from that perspective dharma does not include human moods and emotions.

The word artha means all means/instruments/resources present within the space. For example, if Mr.Novak is a director then a chair in his office, a secretary, a suit, a table, a computer etc. are part of the space, in other words, they are part of the property belonging to the place in which Mr. Novak is a director. These things belong to a director, not to Mr. Novak. As soon as Mr. Novak is a purchaser in a store, he has a basket, which is part of the shop. It means there are all means/instruments/resources in that certain time and space available to act within dharma. As well as a live person has a body, which is an instrument for life in a certain space and time. So the body is the artha for life.

Many authors incorrectly describe the artha as money and property for the benefit. Artha does not mean a wealth or personal property which we can be proud of. In Ayurvedic philosophy, artha is a substantial element belonging to a space. Artha should not be regarded as personal property, because a person does not own even his body. This understanding is leading to liberation. A misunderstanding of Artha causes greed, lust and desire, means rága, which leads to róga (illness). Heart attacks, arrhythmias and death are consequence of that.

The word karma means action on a timeline with artha in accordance with dharma. Again, karma has nothing to do with a personal desire and greed.

Life is a certain principle of dharma, where many factors, such as cell, tissue, body elements, mental states, emotions, climate, weather, habits, daily routine, eating, fulfillments etc.are part of. Dharma is a genetic code for human life. The understanding of entire functionality is a science of life. And it is ayurveda. Those who seek understanding of the mystery of life, those find Ayurveda unique.

Long life depends on dharma, artha and karma of the life. the life, where these factors are followed is a natural. When the dharma, artha and karma are not maintained naturally, then that life is full of suffering and illness that shorten the life.

One who is interested in life should follow Ayurveda with humility. In verse the words "learning with humility" is emphasized. Wisdom is given only there where there is humility. One who is humble, does not create an environment for wisdom to reveal. Neither within himself nor within a teacher. And that's why this verse is saying: to receive the wisdom the humility is essential.

University of Ayurveda Prague, Czech Republic

Interpretation and Commentary by Ayurvedacharya Govinda Ji.
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