How to explain Vata Pitta Kapha in modern scientific language

Ayurveda, one of the disciplines of Vedic sciences has been stamped as a pseudoscience just because today’s science doesn’t understand the logic behind it. But with this blog, the dynamics will change for ever. This blog will explain about the most important fundamental of Ayurveda by using simple principles of electricity. Ayurveda postulated that there are three forces called as Dosh in Sanskrit or hindi language, on which the living body operates. These are vat pitt and kaph and together they define the metabolism of all the living beings.


Pl understand that this kaph is not to be confused with the English word cough. Now, on an elementary level, ayurvedic texts have explained pitta as a force which is a combination of fire and water element representing hot liquids as all the chemicals flowing in the body. Vata is considered to be a combo of wind and space element representing force that facilitates movement in the body just the way wind moves wherever it gets space and kapha is considered as a combo of earth and water element which gives us bulk and shape because whatever shape our body has is due to earth and water only. The how part of all this, we shall understand as we proceed further. But, to begin with, we need to understand the basic principles of electricity first. This is because our body is also full of cables that conduct electricity to help us perform each and every task of our daily lives. The network of these cables inside our body is called as the nervous system which is made up of nerves. The current flows through our nervous system in the form of chemicals called as neurotransmitters and as discussed earlier all chemicals in the body are different types of pitta only. However, the chemical that excites the entire body to perform its activities is present in our brain and because of the important role it is playing; it is called as the master pitta. Just to share that one of the most important excitory neurotransmitter’s name is glutamate, which is produced by our body and is present in small or large quantities in most of the foods. On the other hand our body also produces those chemicals which reduce master pitta or excitement and these are called as calming neurotransmitters, most important of which is called as Gaba. Now if pitta is current and is determined by the amount of the glutamate in the body then what determines vata in the body? To understand that, Visualize a pipe or a channel connected with another channel which is further connected to two channels on left side but six channels on the right. Now when the water will be pushed through the main channel, more of it will gush towards the area with higher number of channels as compared to those with lesser channels. Thus the force of water at any point of space in the channel is going to depend upon two factors. One… the amount of water being fed into the main channel and another the number of channels present at the point in discussion for allowing the water to gush towards a particular point. Exactly the same phenomenon takes place in case of electricity. To understand that replace water with electricity or current and the pipe with the electrical cable. So, here, the force of electricity passing through the cable at any point of space in the cable would depend upon the amount of electricity being supplied to the cable and the number of channels present at that point of space in the cable to further move the current. This force in electrical terms is called as wattage and is a product of amount of current and gush of current i.e. voltage.

Now, since our body too has current running in its nervous system, this too has a similar phenomenon where at certain points, nerves which are channels only to pass electricity are lesser as compared to other points where they are higher. More the channels, more and faster shall be the current passing through them with a higher force. It is the presence of these channels that represents vata. So, Higher the channels, higher the vata, more the current or pitta moving towards that point and vice versa. And the product of the amount of pitta and the number of channels or say vata is called Agni or fire which is the force of pitta reaching at a particular point and which is equivalent to wattage of electricity. Thus agni will be high if vata or channels are high and so is the supply of pitta. It will be medium if vata is high but pitta is low or pitta is high and vata is low. And it will be low if vata nd pitta both are low. It is this agni which decides the speed of burning of food in a living body to generate energy for all the works that we do. So agni is nothing but metabolism and is the most important aspect of Ayurveda. If agni is high then the person will burn the stored food of the body quicker. This is the explanation of people who are thin despite having lots of food because their agni is very high. These are called as vata people Conversely, we also see people eating less but still putting on weight which is because of low agni. These are called kapha people. Those falling in the middle are called as pitta people. It has to be realized that both very low and very high agni may also generate toxins in the body because of improperly or excessively burned food. Also, remember that every part and every cell of our body has agni which differs from one part or cell to another. And it’s the suboptimal combination of vata and pitta that creates high or low agni creating diseases in different parts of the body. But hold on. It is not that Vata or existence of these channels remains unchanged throughout ones life. It does change with every passing moment. Every act of our body whether it is eating, exercising, sleeping, thinking or talking etc. keeps changing it. To understand how, we need to know that these electrical cables in the body are running very close and parallel to each other as bundles of nerves. Also, the way electric cables are covered by plastic insulation to ensure that current doesn’t cross from one wire to another which would lead to short circuit, these nerves are also covered by insulation called as myelin sheath which is made up of fats and proteins received by the nerve through the blood.

Now visualize that pitta is passing through a nerve but this pitta is so high or the insulation is so weak that pitta burns the insulation and moves into other nerves travelling in parallel. Thus this will create more pathways for pitta to move into other channels thereby increasing  the vata because more channels means more vata.  So it is not only the amount of pitta but also the thickness of insulation of the nerve that decides the formation of new channels or say vata through which pitta moves. But what determines the thickness or strength of insulation of the nerve? It is the amount of blood reaching there and quality of food being eaten. Because it is blood only that carries all nutrients including fats and proteins that make up the insulation of the nerve. Thus, less blood would mean poorly made or thin insulation and therefore chances of making new channels will be higher leading to higher vata and vice versa. So, we can also conclude that vata goes where blood doesn’t go and also that vata people have thinner blood vessels leading to higher vata and therefore high agni and kapha people have wider blood vessels leading to lower vata and thus low agni.

In the next blog, we shall discuss that how vata, pitta and kapha manifest themselves in different morphologies and why different people behave differently and are prone to different diseases.

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