Ojas – myths and facts with practical understanding about management of its disorders
Prof. Dr. S.N. Gupta
As usually happens in samskrita language, the word Ojas has several meanings which results into its interpretations in different ways in different disciplines. Often these are mixed up with Ayurvedic concepts and put it into the category of some mystic entity. In Ayurveda it is clearly a material form which may be a substance or a cellular structure. This is again not a single substance. It is a term used for several entities possessing similar properties and functions.
In Ayurvedic field ojas, rasa, kapha and balam are sometimes used as synonyms as they are similar in functions and are supportive as well as responsible to each other. (Su.Su. 15/23-26,A.Hṛ.Su.11/8,Ca.Su.17/117,Ca.Ni.4/7, Dalhaṇa on Su.Su.15/19)
Ojas is described as a substance or structure with reddish pale color and guru, snigdha, picchila, śīta, madhura, mṛdu, ślakṣṇa, sthira, sāndra and prasanna properties. (Ca. Ci.24/31) This is responsible for immunity, vitality of the dhātus, body strength, mental strength, confidence, fearlessness, potence, tolerance, pleasure and brilliance.
There are two forms of ojas- param and aparam. (Cakrapāṇī commentary on ca.su.30/6-7)
Param ojas is most precious and inherited in the child from the mother, while apram is a final product of dhātupariṇāma. The amount of former is about half an Anjali while of the later is about eigth drops. Loss of former is fatal in consequences while of latter causes proneness for serious illnesses both physical as well as mental.
If we interpret the available classical descriptions about ojas, we may find that it may be substance essential for the cell membrane, substance essential for the health of heart, immune cells and the substances, and cells or substance promoting cell-reproduction and repair. Glycerophospholipids and Coenzyme Q10 are also worth attention seeking substances in this context.
Etiology of disorders of Ojas
(Su.Su.15/23, Ca. su.17)
- excessive physical work
- severe provocation of doṣas
- mental stress
- bhūtopaghāta (can be interpreted as infections)
- excessive depletion of the doṣas and dhātus
Three types of main disturbances are described:
Literally means displacement. Can be interpreted as deviation from normal responsibilities. It is characterized with following symptoms:
- sandhi viśleṣa - loosening, separation, dissolution, disjunction
- gātra sāda- general weakness
- doṣa visraṁsa- failure in performance or altered functions of the doṣas
- śrama- fatigue
- aprācurya /sannirodha kriyāṇām-deterioration in physical and mental functions.
This disorder may be interpreted as autoimmune disorders.
Ojas is vitiated with any pathological entity and characterized by following symptoms:
- aṅga gurutva- heaviness in body
- aṅgastabdhatā - stiffness
- glāni- exhaustion
- varṇabheda- discoloration/ bad shadowing on complexion
- tandrā - drowsiness
- nidrā -somnolence
- Vātaśopha- oedema
This disorder may be interpreted as the clinical conditions in which tissues fail to reproduce or regenerate.
Ojas is diminished. This is characterized by all earlier symptoms:
- mūrcchā - syncope
- māṁsakṣaya- emaciatation
- moha- confusions
- ajñāna- unconsciousness
This condition may be interpreted as immune deficiency and vital organ failures.
Treatment of Ojas-disorders
- vardhamāna pippalī
- mild virecana- if patient is not very week.
- suitable rasāyanas according to the organs and systems involved.
- Use of milk and ghee in the food
- Sattvāvajaya and Daivavyapāśraya measures
prayers and rituals according to religious faith
(mahāmṛtyuṅjaya mantra may be recommended)
With this understanding and strategy, the diseases related to immune system, organ failure and tissue degeneration can be treated with a good success.