LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2021 | Volume
: 9 | Issue : 2 | Page : 82--83
Satvavajaya chikitsa: An ayurvedic approach of psychotherapy
Research Officer (Ayurveda), Ministry of AYUSH, New Delhi, India
Dr. Hetalben Amin
Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, New Delhi
|How to cite this article:|
Amin H. Satvavajaya chikitsa: An ayurvedic approach of psychotherapy.Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2021;9:82-83
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Amin H. Satvavajaya chikitsa: An ayurvedic approach of psychotherapy. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jul 4 ];9:82-83
Available from: https://www.ijoyppp.org/text.asp?2021/9/2/82/329691
We have discussed earlier about the physiopsychopathology in Ayurveda as Manas has its own importance and applied utility for physicians to treat patients by adopting various practices described in Ayurveda to control Manas for healthy life.
Rajas and Tamas are the pathogenic factor of Manas which influence normal and abnormal states. Thus, in spite of being opposite to each other three Guna, i.e., Satva, Rajas, and Tamas are generally complimentary for each other for well-being of mental states. Hence, vitiation of Rajas and Tamas is reason for disease manifestation. Out of three Guna, Sattva is pure and creator of knowledge, hence not disease causing, but remaining two, if imbalanced may cause mental disorders. Rajas and Tamas may get dominant either by emotional intellectual or by some physical causes too. Imbalance of these are the principal aspect of psychopathology which may affect the physical factor which reflected on Manas and vise-versa.
The basic causes of diseases, narrated in Ayurvedic classics can be conveniently categorized and represented as under; Ahita Indriyartha (sensory stressors), Ahita Manoartha (psychological stressors), Prajyaparadha (volitional stressors), and kaal (seasonal stressors). Acharya Charaka stated that pathogenic factors, namely Rajas and Tamas can be reconciled by taking recourse to Jnana (spiritual knowledge), Vijnana (scriptural knowledge), Dhairya (patience), Smriti (memory), and Samadhi (meditation).
Chintya (things requiring thought), Vicharya (consideration), Uhya (hypothesis), Dhyeya (attention), and Samkalpya (determination) or whatever can be known by means of the Manas are regarded as its objects. The right use of it results in the normalcy of mind but the excessive, deficient, and erroneous Chintya (thinking) will cause the disorders of mind. Another important basic pustule has been laid down regarding the cause of mental diseases that the psychic disorders arise from the gain of undesired as well as nonattainment of the desired things. Volitional stressors are also regarded as the cause of mental disease, which is the outcome of impairment of mental faculties, i.e., Dhi (understanding), Dhriti (control over mind), and Smriti (memory). Hence, by which methods or ways, this impairment gets corrected will fall under the category of Satvavajaya Chikitsa.
Ayurveda has advocated three categories of approaches to treatment; Daivavyapashraya (Magicoreligious practice), Yuktivyapashraya (Physicopharmacological), and Satvavajaya (Psychological methods). Satvavajaya is one of the three principal treatment modalities specially designed for psychological disorders. He has defined “Satvavajaya” as withdrawal of mind from unwholesome objects. It is defined as the reduction of mind to restrain itself from unwholesome preoccupations or stressors. It is a mind controlling therapy in which a stress has been laid on restraining of mind from unwholesome objects. Thus, it includes all the methods of Manonigraha and Ashtanga Yoga (yogic techniques) too.
Ayurvedic approach to psychic healing can be termed positive in as much as it does not only try to negate a negative emotion like hatred, but endeavors to replace it with a positive emotion like adore. This is what makes Satvavajaya unique in its own right. Behavioral and moral codes under the head Sadvritta have great value in the prevention as well as cure in psychological management. Many other psychotherapeutic procedures are mentioned in entire Ayurvedic literature. They can be discussed summarily under these heads such as Manonigraha (mind controlling methods), Aswasanadaya (reconciliatory measures), Pratidwandabhava (Replacement of emotions), Manokshobhanam (psychophysical shocks), Sadachara (Moral-behavioral codes), and Samadhi (Mental equanimity).
Chakrapani in Vimanasthana commented that Satvavajaya Chikitsa can be included in both Yukti Vyapashraya and Daivavyapashraya Chikitsa depending on its Dravya Bhutatva or Adravya Bhutatva. If Satvavajaya is done by using Dravya (material), then it is Yuktivyapashraya and if it is done by Adravya (nonmaterial) means then it is Daiva Vyapashraya. The methods of Adravyabhuta Chikitsa like Bhaya Darshana (terrorising), Vismaya (surprising), Vismarana (dememorising), Kshobhana (shocking), Harshana (exciting), Bhartsana (chideing), Vadha (threatening), Bandhana (binding), Svapna (inducing sleep), Samvaahana (massage), etc., be useful in mental disorders.
Charaka has suggested some methods of Satvavajaya (psychotherapy) for treating the patients suffering with psychotic disorders. He says that when a person has been stressed by the loss of some favorite subject, he should be treated by providing the desired articles and consolation. He has also advised that if the patient has developed psychosis due to emotional disorders such as “Kama (affection), Bhaya (terrifying), Krodha (anger), Harsha (excitement), Irshya (jealousy) and Lobha (desire),” it should be treated by producing the opposite nature of emotions. For example “Kama may be alleviated by producing “Krodha” and vice versa.
In another reference, Acharya Charaka prescribes the following treatment for the mental diseases which resemble the above lines of treatment. Trivarga Anvekshana, i.e., contemplation of the three objectives of life namely Dharma, Artha and Kama, Tadvidyaseva, i.e., service of those who are well versed in the treatment of Psychological disorders, Atmajnana, i.e., self-realization and Kula-Kala-bala-Jnana, i.e., the knowledge about one's own self, country, family, age, vitality, and ability. In the above context, Chakrapani stated that knowledge of “Self” implies the knowledge as to “who I am” and “what is conductive to my health.” Similarly, the knowledge about the place implies knowledge of locality and property of regimen prescribed in the local conditions. Similarly, the knowledge with regard to the family strength and capacity will also have to be explained.
Thus, Satvavajaya encompasses whole sweep of sciences that deal with mind – its physiology, morphology, morbidity, and also the management of psychological as well as psychosomatic diseases. Ayurvedic psychotherapy has right combination of nonpharmacological methods like Dhyana (concentration), Yoga and Pharmacological components, which render it more balanced. However, one factor which bestows it a special status is the incorporation of Sadvritta (moral code). There are many techniques prevailing in medical science for control over mind.
The above description shows that although diet and drug therapy is the important method for treating the mental ailments, Satvavajaya Chikitsa (Ayurvedic psychotherapy) is a nonpharmacological approach to control the mind and restraining from unwholesome objects/stressors.
Financial support and sponsorship
This study was financially supported by Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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