On the auspicious occasion of Republic day, the Ministry of Ayush presented their tableau, that was based on “ओजो भारत, तेजो भारत.”
What is “Ojo Bharat Tejo Bharat”?
Ojo Bharat translates to Immune India and Tejo Bharat translates to Active India.
It emphasises on the necessity of the countrymen to cherish and look after their immunity.
In light of the current times, where a virus like COVID 19 has taken the entire country by a blow, we have realised that despite the fact that our medical science has achieved new heights, there will always be a new challenge, a new threat to the health of the nation. In the journey of striving together to find a solution to it, we all need the strength to keep our bodies and resistant.
Without immunity, fighting any battle would be an impossible dream.
The strength of the body, by which it protects itself against any attack by foreign factors such as an organism or object, is known as it’s immunity.
Immunity can be categorised into two types.
Innate: It forms the first line of defence for the body’s defence mechanism. Innate immunity involves cellular, physical and chemical barriers present in a body that fight against any kind of foreign antigen that tries to invade it. It is present from birth.
Acquired: The immunity that we acquire from our lifestyle (the food and supplements we consume) is known as Acquired immunity.
An infant is fed with breast milk to provide him the antibodies present in the colostrum (the initial milk produced by mother). It contributes primarily to the acquired immunity.
Immunity is the biggest and the most protective shield that we’ve been blessed with. Maintaining it should be our foremost concern.
It forms the basis of the concept of health.
Ayurveda on Immunity
Talking of Ayurveda, a medical science that ages back to 3300 BCE, it describes it’s objective to be :
“स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्य रक्षणम, अतुरस्य विकार प्रशमनम च।”
Which loosely translates to, maintaining the health of the healthy and curing the diseases of the ill.
When we talk about maintaining health, we are also talking about preventing the disease, which clearly is the prime concept of immunity.
What is Health?
According to it, a balance of the mind, body and soul causes a state, what we know as ‘health’.
“समदोष: समग्निष्च, समधातु मल क्रिया
प्रसन्न आत्मेंद्रिय मन: स्वास्थ्य इति भिदियते।”
A balance between the doshas or the three prime humours of the body ( the Vata, Pitta and Kapha), the agni or the energy responsible for metabolism, the dhatu or the tissues present in the body and the “Mala” or the waste products of the body.
The above constituents constitute the body. The body also has to maintain a balance with the mind and the soul.
A balance between the above factors is what causes health.
What is disease?
Anything that causes the body to deter from this state of health, is known as Vyadhi or disease.
And the resistance of a body against the vyadhi is known as ‘vyadhikshamatva’ or immunity.
Acharya Chakrapani describes Vyadhikshamatva as :
व्याधि क्षमत्वम, व्याधिबलविरोधितम
व्याधि उत्पाद प्रतिबंधकत्वम इति यवत।
The vyadhikshamatva of our body has two major functions, to check the progress of a disease and to prevent its recurrence.
The Vyadhikshamatva has also been compared to factors such as Ojas and Bala.
Ojas is believed to be the essence of all the dhatus (tissues). It is something that resides in the heart and is the basis of survival. When Ojas is lost, the person dies.
Bala on the other hand is the parameter by which we measure strength in one’s body. Bala is the strength of the body that fights against diseases and keeps all the humours of the body in equilibrium.
Ojas is what causes Bala.
How is a disease caused?
Before we conclude that a person is diseased, via looking at his symptoms, there are several sequential changes or events that occur in his / her body that finally conclude into a disease.
Even before the symptoms are seen, the disease is present in the body in its most initial stage.
1.Accumulation: Consuming unhealthy food or getting involved in an unhealthy lifestyle causes an imbalance in the doshas. As a result, they start to accumulate on their original positions.
- Aggravation: If the cause of accumulation isn’t taken care of, the Doshas start spreading and crossing the boundaries at their own position. This stage is known as aggravation.
- Dissemination: The aggravated Doshas now leave their places and start to move across the body. At this stage, the patient usually feels tired and depressed.
- Localization: The Dosha now looks for places in the body that are weak and prone to disease. It then localizes to that organ or tissue.
- Manifestation: At this stage, the imbalanced dosha starts interfering with the functions of the organ. The disease can be identified at this stage.
- Chronicity: The disease progresses to level where it cannot be cured and therefore becomes a permanent disorder.
From the series of events that have been listed above, that successfully cause a disease, we can easily conclude that a disease is caused when we make our body prone to it. It manifests in the part that already has a or tends to have a dysfunctionality.
If we analyse the body’s function keenly and follow the “Pathya Ahar and Vihara“, we may succeed in preventing the disease at its most early stage.