Ayurveda Principles of Treatments and Therapies from Nagarjuna

You are here:

Pancha Mahabhuthas

Ayurveda believes that all living and non-living things are constituted by 5 elements, in different ratios. The ratio of each element contributes to the character, properties and other factors of the object.

Elements Essential Auxiliary Related to
Ether (AKASHA) Sound Non-resistance Rarefaction
Air( VAYU) Touch Vibration Propulsion
Fire (TEJAS) Appearance Heat & Color Conversion
Water (APAS ) Taste Fluidity Degree of Liquidity
Earth (PRITHIVI ) Smell Solidity Density of Particles
Ether (space) WIND (Principle of propulsion, movement)
Air (motion)
Fire (energy) SUN (Principle of conversion, transformation)
Water (cohesion) MOON (Principle of cooling, cohesion or preservation)
Earth (mass)


The three primary qualities of life is described by Three primary proprieties. These primary properties, are omnipresent at work behind all material forms in nature, i.e, Satwa (consciousness or intellect), Rajas (motion or action) and Thamas (inertia or resistance).

Satwa Rajas Thamas
Whatever is pure and illuminating. Inferred as pleasure. Whatever is active, energising & activating. Inferred as pain. Whatever is passive and offers resistance and restraints. Inferred as delusion.


Dosha’s or Biological humors are classified into three. VATHA – the energetic humor controls destruction; PITTA – the thermogenic humor organises body activities after transformation; and KAPHA – the cohesive humor is responsible for maintaining creation.

Vatha Pitta Kapha
Rooksham (dry) Snigdham (unctuous) Snigdham (unctuous)
Laghu (light) Theekshanam (sharp) Seetham (cold)
Seetham (cold) Ushnam (hot) Guru (heavy)
Kharam (rough) Laghu (light) Mandam (dull)
Sookshmam (subtle) Visram (foul smelling) Slekshnam (smooth)
Chala (mobile) Saram (flowing) Mrusthnam (soft)
Dravam (fluid) Sthira (firm)
Dosha Normal function
Vatha Energy, inspiration, expiration, actions, mechanism of impulse, proper functions of dhathus and of indriyas.
Pitta Digestion, body temperature, hunger, thirst, taste, beauty, intellect, grasping power, courage, body softness.
Kapha Stability, unctuousness, strength of joints.
Seats of Doshas
Vatha Adharangam Lower part of the body
Pitta Madhyangam Middle part of the body.
Kapha Urdhwangam Upper part of the body
Divisions of Doshas
Name Functions
Prana It is responsible for receiving substances like air, water, food and impressions through the five sense organs from the outside world.
Udana It is responsible for rendering the received food in the stomach in fluid or solid. Speech and memory are also functions of Udana.
Samana Digestion and absorption.
Apana It is for controlling movements of constituents like urine, faeces, flatus, menstrual discharge. It is responsible for delivery and ejaculation as well.
Vyana It is responsible for the propulsion from center to periphery; movements of limbs, flow of blood and sweat.


Dhathus are tissues of the body that are maintained within a particular limit and do not get eliminated (except the reproductive one – shukra).

Rasa (CHYLE) Nutrient fluid Nutrition
Rakta (BLOOD) Blood Oxygenation
Mamsa (MUSCLE) Muscular tissue Movement
Medas (FAT) Lubricating fat deposits Lubrication
Asthi (BONE) Supporting and accommodating bony structures Support
Majja(BONE MARROW) Tissues inside the bone Support
Shukra (REPRODUCTIVE) Reproductive system Reproduction
Dosha – Dhathu relationship
VATHA destructive to all dhathus
PITTA enhancing rakta dhatu and sweda mala
KAPHA enhancing all dhathus


They are waste products from the metabolic activities of the body. They are

Dosha – Dhathu relationship
Mala Function
Pureesha (faecal matter) gives strength to stand erect.
Moothra (urine) gives slimy character to the body.
Sweda (sweat) makes the skin unctuous.
Dooshikadimala (excreta from eyes, nose, ears) protects and lubricates.


AGNI is considered as a strong point and It is the digestive power of the human system. The power of AGNI appears throughout the universe in various changes of substances, such as those observed in chemical, bio-chemical and nuclear processes. However AGNI have to be distinguished from Agni Bhutha, which is a principle. Agni works at 3 different levels.

Jataragni The digestive fire or the power to digest food.
Dhatvagni Special digestive agencies for various bodily tissues dependent on Jataragni.
Bhuthagni Required for the formation of specific material in the body such as rods and cones responsible for photosensitivity in the eye, special liquids around the taste buds in the tongue and so on.

Each of these three divisions have further subdivisions not mentioned here.


This is the character of bowel movements, which are of four types.

Kruram (Constipative) Vatha predominant
Madhyam (Medium) Pitta predominant
Mridhu (Loose) Kapha predominant
Samam (Naturally formed) Vatha-Pitta-Kapha balanced

Each of these three divisions have further subdivisions not mentioned here.


Prakriti is the natural thridosha, constitution of the body.This is the result of the predominance of Dosha’s, right from the conception of a person.

Based on the permutations and combinations of the three Doshas, seven types of constitutions can be formed. These factors constitute the behavior of the person in many levels.

  • Vatha
  • Pitta
  • Kapha
  • Vatha-Pitta
  • Vatha-Kapha
  • KPitta-Kapha
  • Sannipatha or balanced constitution (Sama Prakriti).

Doshic constitution takes shape right from the moment of conception. The types are classified by their predominance. A purely single Dosha constitution is seldom found and a balanced constitution, though extremely good, is also rare.

Constitution Chart

Body frame Lean & thin. Moderate. Large & thick.
Body weight Low Moderate. Overweight.
Skin Dry, rough, cool, black, brown. Soft, oily, warm, fair, yellowish, red. Thick, oily, cool, pale, white, glistening.
Hair Dry, rough, brittle, blackish, brown. Soft, oily, early grey, baldness, yellow, red. Thick, oily, wavy, dark, glistening, white.
Teeth Irregular, protruded, crooked, thin gums, tendency towards tooth decay. Regular, moderate, soft, gums, yellowish. Regular, strong, white, healthy.
Eyes Small, dull, attractive, brown, black iris. Medium, sharp, penetrating, green, grey, yellowish iris. Big, blue iris, thick eyelashes
Joints Bony markings seen Just visible. Not seen.
Musculature Slender but hard. Loose. Firm, stout.
Appetite Variable, scanty. Good, excessive. Low, but steady.
Thirst Variable. Excessive. Less.
Sweating Variable. Excessive. Less.
Sleep Scanty, interrupted. Moderate, 4-6 hours, slightly disturbed. More than 6 hours, sound.
Taste they like Sweet, sour, salty. Sweet, bitter astringent. Pungent, bitter, astringent
Physical Activity Fast & very active. Medium. Lethargic and slow.
Sexual Vitality Less Moderate Good
Pulse Thready and weak. Jumping Broad & slow.
Emotional temperament Unpredictable, anxious, insecure. Irritable, aggressive, greedy, jealous. Calm, quiet.
Mind Restless, active. Aggressive, intelligent. Calm.
Faith Changeable. Fanatic. Steady.
Memory Recent - good;remote - poor. Sharp. Slow but prolonged.
Taste they like Sweet, sour, salty. Sweet, bitter astringent. Pungent, bitter, astringent
Interests Recreation, dance, drama, cultural activities Dress and ornaments. Philosophical topics.
Sexual Vitality Less Moderate Good
Pulse Thready and weak. Jumping Broad & slow.