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Ayurvedic Psychology

Modern era is a remarkable era in the field of innovation, research and entire development of mankind. World is going through a phase of enormous change in the developmental process. If we compare other centuries and history of evolution, the change in last centuries was gradual but continuous one. This century denotes radical and fast change (like mutation) which, to some extent is difficult for a mankind to cope up with speed of its transformation. This has resulted in lot more psychological than physical suffering. Developed and developing countries as well today are facing these problems.

Mental-psychological conditions are almost epidemic today. Even children are commonly suffering from these conditions. The current drug-based medicine is developing special designer medications to treat these conditions, which try to follow the rule of radical change, which again becomes difficult for the body to cope up with and results in reactive phase, named as 'side effects'.

Ayurveda provides the best choice for mind and psychological disorders through various formulations and allied therapies. This cultural disturbed psychology requires that Ayurvedic practitioners have the psychological tools to deal with it. Many of the patients who come to Ayurvedic practitioners today do so seeking some spiritual or psychological relief. They will expect that the Ayurvedic practitioner can handle emotional and spiritual issues and not just treat them on a physical level. So the role of Ayurveda in psychology is quite important and Psychology is an integral part of practice of an Ayurvedic practitioner.

The branch which we describe today as “Psychiatry' was termed as “Bhoot Vidya” during Veda period. Atharvaveda (of which ayurveda is upaveda /sub branch) describes this branch in details, of which some part is mentioned in ayurvedic scripts. “Graha chikitsa” is one of the eight branches of Ayurveda, which describes psychological and spiritual aspect.

All four Vedas- viz. Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda and Atharva-Veda describes mantras, music, art, rituals for the betterment of mankind. The intension of all these acts is not merely for physical goodness but is for mental and spiritual betterment of mankind.

From health point of view, Atharva-Veda describes most of this psychological aspect and Ayurveda explains all these practices in the form of daily regimen, seasonal regimen, do's and don'ts, behavioral rasayana etc.


One of the basic concepts of Ayurveda is constitution / Prakruti. Ayurveda describes both physical and mental constitution. Mental constitution is vital in diagnosing and treating the disease and many a times ignored by Ayurvedic physicians and merely physical constitution is analyzed. We should know that, mental constitutional evaluation is as important as physical constitutional analysis.

While examining and treating a patient “Sattva Parikshan” or mental examination of a patient is one of the important factors and should be thoroughly examined by Ayurvedic physician as it is very helpful in understanding the response of medications prescribed to him.

In case of line of treatment of psychological disorders, threefold treatment is described. Viz –
1) Yuktiva-vyapashraya / Rational therapy:
2) Sattvavajaya / Psychotherapies:
3) Daiva-vyaapashraya / Divine or Spiritual therapies

In case of medications and various formulations described for psychological disorders it is easy to describe relationship of the medication with the dosha vitiation and the action of medication.

In psychological disorders Counseling is an integral part of the treatment. Ayurveda, particularly in the West today, is largely a counseling based system of medicine. It consists of educating the patient how to change their life-style to prevent disease from arising and to optimize their health, as well as to treat specific diseases. While this may center outwardly on dietary, herbal and exercise recommendations, it requires an understanding of the psychology of people. Otherwise we will not have the proper rapport with the patient to ensure right communication and compliance with treatment recommendations.

It is not enough in that we as practitioners can arrive at a correct diagnosis and treatment plan, we must have the counseling skills to enable patients to effectively implement these.

In case of divine or psychotherapies, many a times it is difficult to understand the relationship between described procedure and pathogenesis of disease. In evidence based practices, it is difficult to show mathematical calculation for the explanation of physiological and pharmacological actions.

In such situation, we should know basic principles and metaphysics of Ayurveda. If we look at “Pramana”, “Aptopadesha / Teachings of Guru's” is one of the important pramana's on which Ayurvedic concepts are based on. Entire Ayurvedic science is based on “Aptopadesha” pramana, along with other pramana's.

So as an Ayurvedic practitioner, it is important for all of us to follow the science with full faith in it and unless and until we do so, it is difficult to convince and counsel the patient to follow the regimen and take Ayurvedic formulations and perform the prescribed rituals etc.

Now a days, we are just proving the said effects of particular herb and formulations and name it as “Research”. That means we are re - searching, already existed/proven things. So instead of wasting time in re searching it, concentrate on the available proven Ayurvedic formulations and follow it with full faith and confidence. Positive results are bound to happen.

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