Module on “Concept of Health Wellness and Disease in Ayurveda” by Dr. Mangalagowri V Rao




Ayurveda gives a holistic definition of health, including, physical, mental and spiritual domains. The components mentioned in WHO definition of health were already described in Sushruta Samhita in the definition of Swastha. Further, there is striking similarities mentioned in dimensions of health elaborated in modern texts and features of health described by Acharya Kashyapa.

Definition of Health as per classics

  • सम दोषः समाग्निश्च समधातु मलक्रियाःI

प्रसन्नात्मेद्रिय मनाः स्वस्थ इत्यभिधीयते II Susruta Samhita, Sutra Sthana, 15/41

            Physical Domain

  • Equilibrium state of body humors (Doshas)
  • Factor responsible for digestion Assimilation and metabolism (Agni), tissues (Dhatus)
  • Proper expulsion of excreta (Malas) i. e. morbid matter accumulated in the body during digestion or metabolism in the form of excretory product.

            Mental and Spiritual Domain

  • Blissful state of soul, senses and mind

Features of Positive health

  • अन्नाभिलाषो भुक्तस्य परिपाकः सुखेन I सृष्टविण्मूत्र वातत्वं शरीरस्य लाघवम् II

             सुप्रसन्नेन्द्रियत्वं सुखस्वप्न प्रबोधनम् I बलवर्णायुषो लाभः सौमनस्यं समाग्निता II

             विद्यादारोग्य लिंगानि II Kashyapa Samhita, Khila sthana, 5/6

  • Desire for food and Easy digestion of ingested food
  • Proper formation and expulsion of excreta
  • Lightness in body and normal sensory and motor functions
  • Comfortable onset of sleep and waking up easily with feeling of wellness
  • Strength, complexion and longevity
  • Pleasant state of mind and proper Agni

Features of strong body

  • सम मांस प्रमाणस्तु समसंहननो नरः दृढेन्द्रिय विकाराणां बलेनाभिभुयते I

             क्षुत्पिपासातपसहः शीतव्यायामसंसहः समपक्ता समजरः सममांस चयो मतःII Charaka Samhita, Sutra sthana, 21/18-19

  • Proportionate Body and Strong Sensory and motor organs
  • Immunity against diseases or occurrence of diseases in mild form
  • Nourishment Proper through proper digestion, Assimilation and metabolism
  • With stand impacts of natural urges and environmental adversities

Relation between Skin and Health

  • Strong perceptive power
  • Healthy skin
  • State of excellence of body tissues (Dhatus)
  • Good Complexion



The body is supported by three vital sub-pillars namely Ahara (diet), Nidra (Sleep) and Brahmacharya (celibacy). They support the body by promoting following actions.

  • Body strength
  • Complexion
  • Nourishment

Diet (Ahara)

  • Most important secondary vital support essential for supporting the body tissues through providing proper nourishment.
  • Bring about vitality hence prevent diseases
  • Nourishes, provides strength instantaneously, and makes body sturdy
  • Enhances longevity, lusture, complexion, clarity in skin enthusiasm, memory and Agni
  • Maintains digestive fire (Agni) resulting inproper digestion, assimilation and formation of body tissues and brings about longevity

Sleep (Nidra)

  • Brings about strength and nourishment by bringing about relaxation, providing rest to the tired body and mind due to the activities of entire day.
  • Provides rest to the heart and brings about calmness and peace of mind
  • Nourishment, strength, viriliy, longevity are produced by proper sleep
  • Improper sleep result in variety of disorders Headache, heaviness of body, dizziness, itching, urticaria, pimples etc.

Celibacy (Brahmacharya)

  • Absolute refrainment from sexual activity is Celibacy (Brahmacharya), but is not suited for present world.
  • Ojas the factor responsible for prevention of diseases is preserved as it is produced from semen (Shukra)

Sexual act in moderation (Abrahmacharya) as per Acharya Vagbhata

  • The sexual act in moderation is more practicable (Abrahmacharya)
  • Sexual act in moderation helps to conserve energy
  • Longevity, Lusture, strength, energy, knowledge, success, attractiveness
  • During the sexual act the semen (Shukra) is lost, which gives rise to loss of strength to some extent. This needs to be replenished by means of nourishing diet like milk, ghee, meet soup, black gram etc. and aphrodisiacs

Keys for good health

  • नित्यं हिताहार विहार सेवी समीक्ष्यकारी विषयेष्वसक्तः I

दातासमः सत्यपरः क्षमावान् आप्तोपसेवी भवत्यरोगः II IIअष्टांगहृदय सूत्र स्थान 4/36 II

  • One who consumes wholesome diet daily, regularly indulgence in wholesome lifestyle, analyses situations properly, is disinterest towards the worldly pleasure, who is generous, balanced mentally, always truthful, and follows the rules as advocated by Apta (Acharya) always stays healthy.
  • These can be broadly classified into Ahara (diet), Vihara (lifestyle) and Vichara (mental makeup)
  • Ahara (diet): An individual should take proper food giving due importance to body constitution, condition of digestive fire, body condition, strength, mode of work, seasons, age, conduciveness to the body (Satmya), food combinations etc.

Method of food intake for disease prevention as per Charaka Samhita Nidana Sthana 6/11

  • हिताशी स्यान्मिताशी स्यात् कालभोजी जितेन्द्रियः I

       पश्यन् रोगान् बहून् कष्टान् बुद्धिमान् विषमाशनात् II

Intake of wholesome food, in moderate quantity, at proper time, with control over the mind  ideal, as Vishamashana (intake of food in varied amounts at irregular time intervals) is root cause for many difficult diseases


Ayurvedic lifestyle for health promotion

  • दिनचर्यां निशाचर्यां ऋतुचर्यां यथोदिता I

आचरन् पुरुषः स्वस्थः सदा तिष्ठति नान्यथा II Bhavaprakasha Purvakhanda 5/13

Daily Regimen (Dinacharya), night Regimen (Nisha charya), seasonal Regimen (Ritucharya) as mentioned in scriptures keep an individual healthy, not otherwise.

  • रोगाः सर्वेपि जायन्ते वेगोदीरण धारणैःII Ashtanga Hridara, Sutra Sthana 4/23 II

Suppression and forceful creation of natural urges leads to diseases.


Mental makeup (Vichara)

  • Ethical conduct (Sadvritta)
  • Control over extreme emotions like anger, sorrow, attachment, desire etc. (Dharaniya Vegadharana)
  • Rejuvenation through physical, mental and spiritual disciplined lifestyle (Achara Rasayana)
  • Regular Practice of Pranayama and Meditation


Concept of disease in Ayurveda

Derangement of Digestion, assimilation and metabolism (Agni), vitiation of body humours (Doshas) and tissues (Dhatus)



Erroneous food and lifestyle habits (Mithyahara Vihara)

Intellectual errors (Prajnaparadha)

Effect of time (Parinama)

Obstruction /constriction in the channels produces diseases








  • Health is defined as Equilibrium state of body humours, Agni, tissues, proper expulsion of excretory products and blissful state of soul, senses, and mind as per Ayurveda
  • Diet (Ahara), sleep (Nidra) and Sexual act in moderation (Abrahmacharya) are three secondary vital supports for health suitable for present scenario
  • Diet (Ahara), Lifestyle (Vihara) and Mental makeup (Vichara) are keys for Health


  1. As per Acharya Sushruta in definition of Swastha (healthy) following parameters are included.
  • Samadosha, Samagni, Samadhatu
  • Samashana, Samagni, Samamala
  • Samadosha, Vishamagni, Samadhatu
  • Samadosha, Samagani, Vishamadhatu
  1. Following parameters given in Arogya Linga (Features of health) can be used to know the state of Agni
  • Anannabhilasha, Sukhena bhuktasya paripaka, Samagni
  • Annabhilasha, Sukhena bhuktasya aparipaka, Samagni
  • Annabhilasha, Sukhena bhuktasya paripaka, Samagni
  • Annabhilasha, Sukhena bhuktasaya paripaka, Vishamagni
  1. Following parameters given in the context of Anindita purusha can be taken for assessment of strength (Bala)
  • Dhridendriya, Vyayamasaha, Asamamamsa
  • Kshut saha, Pipasa saha, Vishamagni
  • Shita asaha, Atapasaha, samapakta, Samajara
  • Samamamsa, Samasamhanana, Samajara
  1. Following are considered as Trayopastambha (three secondary vital supports) in Ayurveda
  • Ahara, Nidra, Brahmacharya
  • Ahara, Nidra, Vihara
  • Ahara, Vihara, Vichara
  • Ahara, Brahmacharya, Abrahmacharya
  1. The following principles mentioned by Ayurveda are key for health
  • Hitahara, Mithya vihara, Dana, Satya, Kshama
  • Ahitahara, Hita vihara, Dana, Satya, Kshama
  • Hitahara, Hita vihara, Dana, Asatya, Kshama
  • Hitahara, Hita vihara, Dana, Satya, Kshama
  1. Bhavaprakasha advocates following regimen for maintenance of health
  • Dinacharya, Nishacharya, Ritucharya
  • Vegadharana, Vega udirana, Prajnaparadha
  • Samashana, Vishamashana, Adhyashana
  • Samashana, Kalabhojana, Dinacharya
  1. Following principles are advocated for mental health promotion in Ayurveda
  • Sadvritta, Adharaniya vegadharana, Achara Rasayana
  • In take of Medhyarasayana, Achara Rasayana, Vega Udirana
  • Sadvritta, Dharaniya Vegadharana, Achara Rasayana
  • Ahimasa, Satya, Steya, Aparigraha, Brahmacharya
  1. Important etiological factors for disease as per Ayurveda are
  • Hitahara vihara, Prajnaparadha, Parinama
  • Mithyahara vihara, Prajnaparadha, Parinama
  • Sattva, Balavriddhi, Prajnaparadha
  • Sthaulya, Karshya, Samagni, Hita ahara
  1. Following factor causes general pathogenesis as per Ayurveda
  • Obstruction in the channels
  • Pathya sevana
  • Dinacharya palana
  • Hitahara
  1. The meaning of Swastha is
  • Health
  • Healthy
  • Health promotion
  • Food

Answer key

  1. (a)
  2. (c)
  3. (d)
  4. (a)
  5. (d)
  6. (a)
  7. (c)
  8. (b)
  9. (a)
  10. (b)



For further reading



  1. Komatineni Surendra S. R. A. Prasad
  2. of Sanskrit Studies, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad,
  3. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India


  1. Komatineni Surendra S. R. A. Prasad
  2. of Sanskrit Studies, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad,
  3. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
  6. )



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