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The Ayurvedic Mind

                                      

On the mental and astral planes, three attributes (Satva, Rajas and Tamas) correspond to the three humours (Vata,Pitta and Kapha) that make up the physical constitution.

 
In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, these three attributes provide the basis for distinctions in human temperament and individual differences in psychological and moral dispositions.
 
The three basic attributes are satva, rajas and tamas.

Satva expresses essence, understanding, purity, clarity, compassion and love.

Rajas imply movement, aggressiveness and extroversion. The rajas mind operates on a sensual level.

Tamas manifests in ignorance, inertia, heaviness and dullness.
 
 
People of Satvic temperament have healthy bodies and their behaviour and consciousness are very pure. They believe in the existence of God and are religious and often very holy people.
 
Individuals of Rajas temperament are interested in business, prosperity, power, prestige and position. They enjoy wealth and are generally extroverted. They may believe in God but they also may have sudden changes of belief. They are very political.
 
Tamasic people are lazy, selfish and capable of destroying others. They generally have little respect for others and are not religious. All their activities are egotistical.
 
The person of Satvic temperament attains self-realization without much effort while rajas and tamasic types must make more effort to attain this state.
 
These three subtle mental energies are responsible for behavioural patterns, which may be altered and improved through the practice of spiritual disciplines such as yoga.

 
Moreover the physical humours (Vata,Pitta and Kapha) are also responsible for specific mental characteristics.
 

Vata People are of full of creative ideas, good at linking concepts and communicating inspiration. They are easily anxious, scatty; the classic ‘space cadet’ is a vata. They are quick to learn and easily forget. Vata cannot hold onto anything. They are predisposed towards fear and often expect the worst.
 
The pessimist tends to be vata. Their irregular nature means that they often start new projects but become easily distracted. They oscillate between expending enormous amounts of energy into their social life and craving total solitude in order to recharge. They are sound- and word-orientated. Their emotional background is one of fear and vata people often have to face issues regarding security.
 
 
Pitta people are very intelligent and quick thinking, the pitta mind is the collator of information. They are excellent at organising and bringing information together. They will be judgemental and critical in their outlook.
 
They are driven by ambition and determined to succeed. They are effective managers of anything; people, time, money, information. Their inherent heat can over bubble into irritability and anger that will be soon forgotten (but not by the vata or kapha!).
 
They are focused on their own development, which can make them intolerant of change and impatient with others. They are primarily visual in their thought processes. When imbalanced pitta can manifest as anger and they are often confronted with the challenge of patience.
 
 
Kapha people have steady minds that can concentrate on a wide number of issues at a time. The kapha has an excellent memory once the facts have been assimilated. They remember feelings, smells and tastes. Their love of stability makes them ignore signals for change. They are loyal and affectionate friends.
 
They tend to avoid challenging situations in order to maintain status quo and protect their conservative nature. They like a stable and regular environment. Their thought process is emotive and related to feeling. Kapha types have a tendency to greed and are often coping with issues of attachment. The mind is integrally connected with the cause of disease as psychological experiences are somatised
 
 
The Ayurvedic physician can assist in this behaviours modification. He is familiar with the functioning of these attributes (Satva, Rajas and Tamas) and he can determine which predominate in the individual by observing behaviour and diet. Using these practical clues, he can assist and guide the patient toward a more balanced mental and physical way of living.