Food, clothing and shelter are no more the ONLY basic necessities of human life. We have reached a stage where if somehow we are compelled to skip a day’s meal, we can still adapt, but if our mobile goes out of range even for a minute it makes us go weak in our knees. We are overly dependent on a lot of modern age attributes today ranging from high end gadgets to preservative-stuffed junk food. And if any of these is not available for a relative amount of time, we are restless and our life stops. Over dependency or over indulgence of anything proves that we no more can stay away from something, so we are addicted to it. Alcohol, smoking, drugs, tobacco, specific foods, TV, mobile, internet, porn are just the prominent ones because their effects are larger and sometimes fatal. We have seen umpteen stories of ‘from riches to rags to death bed even’, thanks to those addictions these individuals had.
When an individual is caught in the complexity of any kind of addiction it ends up touching every sphere of their life, be it individual, family, social or work. Alcoholism or Drug abuse is grievous than chocolate or TV addiction but one thing is common in all types of addictions and that is the sheer vulnerability of an individual and the hopelessness which sprouts through, followed by a never ending rigmarole of de-addiction camps, rehabs and a life-long scar on the mind.
Ayurved has explained in some context, that there are grossly 3 causes of bodily imbalance or disorder, namely, AsatmyaIndriyarthSanyog, Pradnyaaparaadh and Parinaam/Kala.
Parinamor Kalaare the seasonal and climatic influences on the body which lead to diseases eg.asthmatic episodes in rains.
Asatmyaindriyarthsanyog is an injudicious contact of the sensory object with the sensory organ i.e. over-use, under-use or abuse of the sensory organ. For eg. Reading in extremely bright light or dim light or reading in the moving bus are some examples of AsatmyaIndriya-arthaSanyog related to the sense of vision. Let us move on to understand what Pradnyaparadh is.
Pradnya is our intellect or wisdom and aparadh is an offence against it. It happens when your intellect knows that something is not good for your body-mind-soul but you obstinately go ahead and do it ignoring the inner warnings, hence committing a pradnyaparadh.Asatmya-indriyarthSanyog and pradnyaparadh thus are major causes of lifestyle disorders affecting us today. While we are discussing about addictions the above factors play a vital role in understanding why one falls prey to them. For eg. While watching violent videos or pornographic images, a part of our us knows we are doing something wrong and hence should stop, but we do ignore that and continue with the fake gratification of our senses ignoring our wisdom’s warnings. Over a period of time we are habituated to it and then there is no looking back. This is how any addiction happens.
Vulnerability of the mind plays a major role again. Satva, raja and tama are the three types of mano-dosha. When satvaguna dominates the mind has the capability of thinking clearly, takes appropriate decisions and is rational. When raja guna dominates the mind becomes restless and seeks for inappropriate excitement in the form of anger, jealousy, lust etc. when there is dominance of tama guna, the mind then becomes sluggish, loses its ability to function and think clearly. If you feels addicted to something there is definite decrease in the satvaguna and increase in raja and tamoguna.
What causes the mind to be so vulnerable! Ayurved has clearly given guidelines to live ideal and healthy life in the form of DINACHARYA(diurnal regimen), RATRICHARYA(night regimen), RUTUCHARYA(seasonal regimen) in terms appropriate diet and lifestyle guidelines. But this is for physical health. What about mental harmony? SWASTHAVRITTA or guidelines for positive health mention about ACHAR RASAYAN which give us guidelines to be followed for mental and emotional health and bliss. Ideals like never to lie, steal, hurt, abuse others or avoid over-indulgence in worldly pleasures have been told to follow. Follow the principles of DHARM(duty), ARTHA(money), KAAM(pleasures) to achieve MOKSHA(salvation). How many of us know about this path, lest forget about following it! In the undying pursuit of virtual happiness which lies in the gratification of the unquenchable desire of our senses, we have long ago forgotten and conveniently buried the essence of life. This is the reason for the sorry state we are going through and there is an epidemic of addictions today.
Ayurved considers alcohol (or any other addiction for that matter) to degrade the OJAS. OJAS or OJA is the essence of our body. It determines our immunity, strength, vigour and vitality. When an individual thus is addicted to something they lose their strength and vigour. There is lack of appetite, disturbed sleep, memory issues, and weakened immune systems. The bodily functions don’t occur normally and over a period of time every organ or system is affected, eventually culminating into death.
Each case of addiction needs to be considered as special case considering the physical and emotional constitution of that person. VATA- PITTA PRAKRITI individuals are most likely to fall prey to any temptation easily and most difficult to cure than the KAPHA types as they are physically and mentally vulnerable to any kind of temptation. What is achieved through addictions is a temporary sense of satisfaction of the concerned sense organ and hence in the process of de-addiction, strong mental resolve is the first step followed by the process of DETOXIFICATION and REJUVINATION of the body as well as the mind. Detox of the body is done through diet and internal medications or through purificatory procedures like panchakarma.But detox of the mind is done through various therapies like Shirodhara, Nasyam, shirobasti, dhumapan, which work on the neurological system and bring in positivity in the functions of the mind.Many herbs like brahmi, jatamansi, shatavari, bhringaraj, mandukaparni, sarapgandha, shankhapushpi have a positive effect on the mind and help averse the withdrawal symptoms. Yoga is also highly beneficial in this process. Yam, niyam help us in imbibing good qualities in life so that we aren’t distracted with the worldly pleasures. Asana along with Pranayam improves our breathing, tones our body and helps in thinking clearly, thus imparting qualitative years to our life. Pratyahar, dhyan,dharana and Samadhi are the later stages of yoga which work more on the minute and subtle being, thus making us immune to any kind of addiction ever.
After attending the conventionally tedious de-addiction camps one is left with a lot of rawness and loneliness. There is scaring of the body as well as mind which needs attention, otherwise there is a chance of further relapse of addiction which happens most often. This is where natural ways of de-addiction score over conventional ways where working on the mind is as important as working on the body. Ayurved advocates ASHWASAN Chikitsa in this case which is assuring the patient of his wellbeing. This is to be done by the physician and the kin of the patient. Psychological healing is of utmost importance than physical.
Today’s era is of limitless possibilities and opportunities. Sky is the limit for the high dreamer but with caution as there are many of us who have lost their paths in the quest of success and many who are vulnerable, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Let us resolve to lead a healthy and fulfilling life and say NO TO ADDICTIONS.
TRAYA Natural Health Centre