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Three Types Of Pain As Per Ayurveda

Human beings get inflicted with three types of pain. Of the three types, the pain inflicted on the individual being (atma) is referred to as adhyatmika in Ayurveda. The medical treatises such as Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita often take the term as referring to the spiritual field and accordingly treat the subject matter in that light.

Samkhya Tattva Kaumudi postulates that there are three kinds of pain, namely, the intrinsic (adhyatmika), the extrinsic (adhibhautika) and the divine or supernal (adhidaivika). The prefix ‘adhi’ added to those terms denotes a serious malady giving rise to pain (disease or vyadhi = vi + adhi).

Adhyatmika pain is of two kinds bodily pain and mental affliction. Bodily pain is caused by the disorder of three humors/elements – vata, pitta and kapha. Mental affliction arises out of sada-ripus or six internal enemies – desire, anger, avarice, infatuation, arrogance and envy, and added to these is the grief arising out of the non-perception of particular objects correctly.

Sushruta Samhita recognizes three varieties of diseases under the adhyatmika type – that which is caused by preconception or hereditary factors; which is caused by deranged humors and that which is caused by post-conception factors.

Diseases such as leprosy, hemorrhoids, puthises could be traced either to the defective spermatozoa of the father or the defective ovum of the mother. Preconception factors covers congenital blindness, deafness, dumbness, nasal voice, huge body and such other malformations that are caused, either by damaged metabolism or by psychological disturbances arising out of unsatisfied hankerings, gratification of unjust cravings or wrong conduct.

An infinite variety of diseases are caused by improper conduct and improper food habits. Consequently, disturbances in the metabolic processes arise in the stomach or intestines which result in deranged humors. Sometimes, it is said that deranged humors may result in mental or psychic disorders provoked by the imbalanced interaction of three fundamental propensities or gunas of the self – pertaining to one’s mental abilities (sattva); pertaining to material accretion (rajas) and pertaining to physical dalliance (tamas). These disorders may be medically treated through proper diagnosis. Ayurveda recommends, besides actual medication, many other auxiliary aids such as spiritual guidance, proper selection of beverages, first aid measures, social medicine, segregation from contaminating influences, and sexual hygiene. Hundreds of remedies for bodily and mental pain have been prescribed by eminent doctors and surgeons within the system.