A person is said to be healthy when he/she is physically, mentally and emotionally stable and fit. We have ample treatments for physical fitness, but what about mental and emotional balance? What if we are mentally unstable, will we be able to perform any task? Will we be able to control our physical actions?

Answer might probably be “No”. It’s just because our body is not only governed physically, but also mentally.

In Ayurveda, health is preserved and promoted by positive physical and mental health. An individual’s Manas (psyche) and Sharira (body) are inseparable and interdependent on each other. Vayu (a type of Tridosha) is known as the controller and promoter of Manas. When vayu is excited it depresses the mind and leads to the feelings of fear, grief, infatuation, helplessness, delirium, etc.

According to Charaka acharya, “the entity which is responsible for thinking is known as – Manas”. Manas evolved from the combination of Vaikarika, Tejas, Aahankara. It remains inactive as its own but it is activated from the soul (atma). The Manas is connected to both
Jnanendriya and Karmendriya viz. sensory and motor sensors respectively. Thus it is known as a combined psychomotor entity or Ubhayatmaka. It is understood by speculation, self control, control over sensory and motor perceptions and thinking.

Manas is built of two basic qualities:


As these qualities are complex to understand, it is further divided into three more operational

1.Satwa – understood by self control, knowledge, discriminative sense, etc.

2.Rajas – understood by violence, desperation, self asssertery, authoritativeness, etc.

3.Tamas – understood by non action, dullness, sleep, etc.

Manas has its influence in the entire body and is situated in the head (Siras). As it is located in the head, it looks over the function of senses and controls them. Manas is also associated with emotions and thus with the atma (soul) that is situated in the heart. Thus, Manas is present in the entire body.

Manas is stable when sensory organs, senses and soul are in sync with each other. If it is not so, it leads to mental disorders or Manasaroga. For all types of mental disorders, Manovahasrota, Rajas, Tamas and Tridoshas are responsible. Moreover, emotional disturbances, volitional transgression, and food can also be causative factors for mental disorders. In most of the cases, body disorders occur in the first place, and then mental disorders. But in the case of udvega (anxiety), kama, shoka, etc, mental disorders occur at first
place and then body disorders. Certain disorders like visada, tama, asabda sravana, etc are caused due to Tridoshas. These are compared to neurotic conditions and many affective disorders. These mental disorders caused due to Tridoshas are termed as Nanatmaja manasa vikara. Other diseases like Sokaja Atisara (diarrhea caused by grief), Bhayaja atisara (diarrhea caused by fear), Kamaja jwara (fear caused by lust), Krodhaja jwara (fever caused by lust), etc are caused due to malfunction of Rajas and Tamas. These diseases are cured only when Manadosha are treated. Thus, the diseases which refer from mental to physical disbalances are
known as Manovikara.

Now, if we opt to understand Manas, it becomes difficult as it is a subtle entity beyond sensory perception. The only way to understand manas is through our reflections in the form of habits, temperament, sensory transactions, etc. Charaka has explained these in terms of
Unmada. It is defined as “It is the unsettled condition of Mana (mind), Buddhi (decision), Smriti (memory), Sanjnana (orientation), Bhakti (desire), Sheela (habit), Chesta (psychomotor activity) and Achara (conduct)”.

Ayurveda has laid down three ways of treatment of Manavikara:

1.Daivavyapasraya Chikitsa – A spiritual therapy:

It refers to spiritual doings like mantra chanting, wearing of sacred herbs, wearing of gems, propitiatory rites, offerings, vows, pilgrimage, etc. This therapy is preferred when the causative factors of mental disorders are external.

2.Yuktivyapasraya Chikitsa – A logical therapy:

It refers to usage of drugs and a proper diet. The diet includes milk, ghee, grapes, meat, wood apple, etc. which are useful in mental disorders. Rest, drugs are given in order to stabilize the Tridosha (if not in balanced condition), and to cure mental disorders. Some of the drugs can be mentioned as – Satavari leha, Brahmi Rasayana, Ashwagandha, Smritisagara Rasa, etc.

3.Satwavajaya Chikitsa – A Psycho therapy:

In this therapy, the mind is restrained from the desire of unwholesomeness. In this the physician, being compassionate, tries to solve the problems of the patient. This is achieved by proper knowledge of problems, critical analysis, courage, memory and concentration, according to Charaka. This therapy is preferred in the case of Shoka, Bhaya, Krodha, Harsha, Irsya, etc.

Thus, Ayurveda holds a good socio – moral value system which is adopted to cure mental illness. It penetrates into the root cause of the problem, tries to heal it with patience and in some cases natural drugs. It promotes mankind by supporting the patient’s losses and slowing bringing out of some difficult situations. It also promotes the prevention of Psychosomatic conditions like peptic ulcers, blood pressure, eczema, etc. The entire process aims to relax and mental equipoise which is essentially for a healthy mind.