The term Ojas (Samskrit : ओजः) in Ayurveda indicates a body fluid which is the purest form of all the dhatus (धातवः) supporting body. Ojas performs the function of health promotion, disease prevention and overall well-being of body-mind system. The term Ojas literally means luster, energy, strength, power or vitality. Thus all these bodily aspects are controlled by the body fluid known as Ojas. It is believed to be the essence of all the body tissues identified as 7 dhatus that perform various functions in a human body. Thus the visible outcomes of actions performed by Ojas like strength, luster etc are believed to be the indicators of overall strength of body tissues.
ओजः परिभाषा ॥ Definition of Ojas
Ayurveda acharyas have defined Ojas as follows,
तत्र रसादीनां शुक्रान्तानां धातूनां यत् परं तेजस्तत् खल्वोजस्तदेव बलमित्युच्यते, स्वशास्त्रसिद्धान्तात् ॥ (Sush Samh 15.19)
tatra rasādīnāṁ śukrāntānāṁ dhātūnāṁ yat paraṁ tejastat khalvojastadeva balamityucyate, svaśāstrasiddhāntāt ॥ (Sush Samh 15.19)
Sushruta has introduced this term Ojas while explaining the concept of Balam (बलम् | Strength). Thus, many a times the term ojas is used synonymous with Balam. This highlights the primary function of Ojas which is providing strength and vigor.
परिचयः ॥ Introduction
Ayurveda states that, body is originally composed of doshas (दोषाः), dhatus (धातवः) and malas (मलाः). As moola (मूलम्), i.e., root is the chief factor in stage of origin, sustenance and destruction of plants, in same way doshas, dhatus and malas for the body. Beyond this doshas, dhatus and malas, there is one separate entity which is formed as the essence of all the body-building tissues and thus represents the overall strength of the body and is responsible to maintain integrity of body-mind-energy system of body by preventing external forces in the form of diseases. It is known as Ojas (ओजः) The physical, mental and overall strength of a purusha largely depends on ojas. Ojas is the first element that gets formed in the body of living beings.
ओजस् भेदाः ॥ Types of Ojas
Two different forms of Ojas have been described and identified as 2 types of Ojas on the basis of their function in body. The 2 types of Ojas are as below
- परः ओजः॥ Para Ojas: The term 'Para' means superior or supreme. Thus the superior type of Ojas is one that is vital for life. Any damage or destruction of this leads to death. It is closely associated with the soul or life energy of Purusha and thus it is called as Para Ojas.
- अपरः ओजः॥ Apara Ojas: Apara indicates 'mediocre' in quality or function. Thus Apara ojas is that form of ojas which is inferior than the other type in terms of its role in life sustenance. This type of ojas is formed from the metabolism of all 7 body tissues. Thus the formation of this type of ojas needs contribution from all 7 dhatus on daily basis during the process of metabolism. Any damage or destruction of this component might cause energy loss
ओजोस्थानानि॥ Site of Ojas in body
Ojas is present everywhere in the human body. It is believed to be present in fluid form in the circulation along with Rasa dhatu (रस धातुः) and rakta dhatu (रक्त धातुः). However the prime site for the Para type of ojus is described as Hrudayam (हृदयम्) by Acharya Charaka. Thus affections of hrudayam cause imbalances in Ojas and vice versa.
ओजस् स्वरुपम्॥ Appearance of Ojas
Ayurveda acharyas have described the physical properties of Ojas to elaborate and substantiate its actions in the body. The properties are as follows,
ओजः सोमात्मकं स्निग्धं शुक्लं शीतं स्थिरं सरम् | विविक्तं मृदु मृत्स्नं च प्राणायतनमुत्तमम् ||
देहः सावयवस्तेन व्याप्तो भवति देहिनः | तदभावाच्च शीर्यन्ते शरीराणि शरीरिणाम् || (Sush Samh 15.21-22)
ojaḥ somātmakaṁ snigdhaṁ śuklaṁ śītaṁ sthiraṁ saram | viviktaṁ mr̥du mr̥tsnaṁ ca prāṇāyatanamuttamam ||
dehaḥ sāvayavastena vyāpto bhavati dehinaḥ | tadabhāvācca śīryante śarīrāṇi śarīriṇām || (Sush Samh 15.21-22)
Meaning: Ojas is mild in nature like moon. Ojas is unctous, white in colour, cold in potency, stable but fluid in nature. It is clear or distinctly formed, soft and slimy. It is the seat for life energy. It occupies all parts of the body and its absence causes degeneration or destruction of body of Human beings.
ओजस कर्माणि॥ Functions of Ojas
Ojas is closely associated with life energy. Its presence is integral for the sustaining the integrity of life. Also being the component formed by contribution of all the 7 dhatus of body it represents strength of body. The immunity of body is equivalent to its strength. Thus, Ojas also performs the key role in development of immunity. Any deviation or depreciation in the normal quantity and quality of Ojas leads to serious health complications and death.
ओजोदुष्टिहेतवः॥ Causes of imbalances of Ojas
Ayurveda identifies few causes that have potential to cause imbalances in Ojas. These causes are,
- Abhighata (अभिघातः | Any injury or trauma)
- Kshaya (क्षय | Malnourishment or impaired metabolism)
- Kopa (कोपः | Anger)
- Dhyanam (ध्यानम् | Excessive thinking)
- Shoka (शोकम् | Grief)
- Shrama (श्रमः | Vigorous physical work or exertion)
- Kshudha vega avarodha (क्षुधा वेगावरोधः | Suppressing Hunger)
ओजोदुष्टिलक्षणानि॥ Signs and symptoms of Ojas imbalance in body
Ojas can get depleted due to various above mentioned reasons. The qualitative or quantitative depletion of ojas leads to development of various symptoms which in general indicate towards loss of strength of body as well as mind. Few of them are mentioned below,
- Fearfulness or phobia
- Fatigue and inability to gain knowledge or perform actions efficiently
- Altered skin complexion, dullness of skin and overall appearance
- Lack of self-confidence
- Dry and rough skin
- Remarkable emaciation of body.
Along with this, Ayurveda also discusses about 3 specific abnormalities of ojas imbalance known as Displacement of Oja from its own site (ओजोविस्रंसः | Oja vistramsa), Qualitative deterioration (ओजोव्यापत् | Oja vyapat), Depletion of quality and quantity (ओजक्षयम् | Oja kshaya). The three stages are increasingly severe and harmful leading to death. These three states are considered as three categories of immune disorders viz. Oja-vyapat as immune-aberrations and allergies; Oja-visramsa as a state of dislodged immunity and autoimmune disorders; and Oja-kshaya as a state of immunodeficiency. Some scholars opine that these states show features of immunity compromised state, immunity suppressed and immunity deficiency syndromes respectively.
- Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutram 19)
- Gupta GK, Devi G. A conceptual study of function of Ojas w.s.r. to Vyadhikshamatva and its clinical significance. Research and Reviews: A Journal of Ayurvedic Science, Yoga and Naturopathy. 2018; 5(3): 24–29p
- Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyayam 30 Sutram 7)
- Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 21-22)
- Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyayam 15 Sutram 22-23)
- Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyayam 17 Sutram 73)
- Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyayam 15 Sutram 24)
- Obtained from carakasamhitaonline.com