What is Prakriti and What is Vikriti in Ayurveda?

To my understanding so far, Prakriti vs Vikriti, represents of what "who I am" to "who I have become". Prakriti as the name suggests, is what naturally an individual is conceived as a person and to be as an individual. This represents certain attributes and qualities this person possesses to be who he is meant to be. When the balance of one's Prakriti is maintained, each individual is healthy and happy within one's own constitution.

Prakriti of an individual depends upon on one's parent's prakritis as well or the doshas they have had at the time of sacred union. This is also impacted by the emotional, spiritual and physical well-being and state of health of the mother during pregnancy. Hence, in most cultures, the pregnant woman is given all the support, diet and right conditions for a healthy baby.

As I understand, a baby is born in the Sattvic state and his/her overall health will also depend upon the right food, mental inputs and physical environment. These could either support the balance of doshas in the growing baby and in alignment to his/her constitution or else start bringing the imbalance slowly.

The body is made of "panch bhuta" or 5 elements of prithvi (earth), jal (water), agni (fire), vayu (air) and akasha (ether). As Gita suggests the Cosmos has 24 cosmic elements including these 5 (Pancha maha bhuta), the mahabhutas in the human body form are considered the temporary material energy elements of this material world. These elements birth a baby in this material world and these elements merge back with cosmos after death. However, in the physical body form in this world, during the life span of the human body, as Ayurveda aims, to possibly give every human a 100 years of good self-sustainable life by managing the 5 elements within the body that makes the three doshas, working through 20 gunas.

As a sound healer (my profession), as it is written in the vedas, that before a man (human) tunes with the others, he must tune with his own tuning. It is a work with tuning each cell in the body, tuning to its optimum to his own frequency. This means, like most musical instruments, if they are tuned to their natural frequency, it would provide clear, harmonic sounds and would also produce harmonic music in an orchestra. In similar way, in Ayurveda, working with 20 gunas and three doshas, we need to continue to be in balance to our own constitution and Prakriti and tuning to our own natural being.

Darwin also proposed the theory of genetics and how genetics of parents and ancestral lineage would affect the generations (or Prakriti of an individual). As suggested the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions of parents and their respective doshas, at the time of sacred union, will affect the prakriti of the new born. However, as a critique by other scientist and psychologist, such as, Bruce Lipton and others in their articles in Epigenetics, it is also found that the way the person grows in his environment will also make him or her of who he becomes. Bruce Litpon, in his book, "Biology of Belief" highlights of how our environment could affect our core and not only genetics. I think, this is perhaps has similar reference in Ayurveda as Vikriti of how the external environment, upbringing, "sanskars" and love and care (or lack of it), food and other habits could bring this vikriti in an individual over time. Hence, whether its Carl Jung or Sigmund Fraud or Dr Eric Berne, mentioned about how the personalities (including the physical and mental health) is formed by the age between 0 and 7. The life scripts are already written by the individual and programmed. Later in life, people often have to Re-program back to who they are, as referred by subjects like NLP as developed by Dr Richard Bandler.

Similarly, the life style choices, food and daily habits, kind of foods, the way its cooked could affect the well-being of the individual and either supporting his Prakriti or otherwise creating imbalance. So if our food, health and life style programs are not aligned to our Prakriti, creating imbalances, later we have to re-program ourselves, working bringing back to our constitutional balances.

As we understand, Ayurveda is not only about healthy food, it's a full functional system through network of systems and inter relations to everything an individual does, his environment, life style, food habits, mental conditions (Sattvic, Rajsic or Tomasic pravarti) and outlook. As both modern medication talks about psycho-somatic diseases, Ayurveda surely puts a key focus on mental, emotional and spiritual outlook of the individual, including the food he eats, air he breathes (pollution), emotional inputs or aggression he receives/demonstrates and so on so forth. Ayurveda hence, works not only to understand the total environment and inputs but managing the 3 doshas, 20 gunas, sub doshas (upadhatus), 7 dhatus, 14 srotamsi (or 17 for woman), 3 malas and 3 kalas.

For me at this stage of our Fundamentals and Anatomy of Ayurveda course, this understanding has greatly helped not only in understanding my own constitution, and understanding my own Prakriti and how the Vikritis (as grown over time and not treated) has affected my health, but how certain food, meal size, meal timings and certain food has played its role. Though, as we say the body has its own intelligence, and over years of observation and reflection, I automatically and naturally avoid certain foods that do not go well with my doshas, however, my lifestyle has somewhat brought my constitution out of balance. Additionally, excess overseas travel, consumption of non- seasonal food, non-regional food (due to globalization and ease of transport) has played its role.

For example, recent studies found out that an Asian brought up in Asia, upon his transfer to West is more prone to a higher level of Vitamin D deficiency vs. his native western counterpart. There are many such studies, where the Vikiriti has a correlations by change of location, weather, air quality etc. As we also understood, the Nature's own elements (weather, sunlight, cold or hot air, damp or moist or dry weather) obviously affect the individual and could either soothe or aggravate one's doshas and further add to vikriti. For example, a cold and damp weather (kapha in nature) could further aggravate a Kapha or Kapha dominating person (like Kapha Pitta or Kapha Vatta). Similarly, each food has its own element and prakriti and matching right food to right doshas is hence extremely important. Similarly, matching and combining right foods in right weather aligned to one's constitution could either bring Prakriti in balance or else could further aggravate vikriti.

This course has immensely helped in looking at my own lifestyle and food habits and now is a key first step towards Perfect Health as Dr Deepak Chopra so says in his book or as Vaidya Khabir continues to make that point hit home. The course focused on fundamentals and the building blocks of diagnosis and treatment. But I feel, these fundamentals should be taught in schools and at an early stage to understand that "one size fits all" is not what Ayurveda looks at. Ayurveda looks at each individual as "Perfect being of cosmos, a perfect balance of panch bhutas" and support that balance in each individual and his constitution within his environment. I feel each person, each would be parent, should be taught these concepts so that they can nourish future generations, so each child gets food, nourishment and treatment to their own respective Prakriti for being perfect beings making this world a happy, holy and healthy place. We must align to the UNIVERSAL PRAKRITI with our own Prakriti as we are the manifestation of these panch bhutas in this material world, yet we belong to the cosmos and in its overall vastness of its PRAKRITI.

Hence, positive feelings, positive attitude, saucha (clean body and mind), happy thoughts, gratitude, gratefulness and sattvic thoughts could greatly change not only our own vibrations and Prakriti but collective conscious and the bigger Cosmic Prakriti.

Sanj Hall - Dubai, UAE

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Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan (MD-Alt. Medicine)

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan (BAMS-Gold Medalist and MD-Alternative Medicine) is an expert Ayurveda consultant in Planet Ayurveda. She is the daughter of Dr. Madan Gulati and Wife of Dr. Vikram Chauhan. She is also one of the best ayurvedic doctors from Chandigarh and practising in Mohali, Punjab, India. Read More...

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