Difference between revisions of "Ayu (आयुः)"

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Ayu is the Samskrit term which means 'Life' of an individual. The term 'Ayurveda' is made of 2 parts, the first part is 'Ayu' and thus the entire knowledge of Ayurveda is dedicated for describing this 'Ayu' and the measures to achieve it.

Ayurveda has given attention towards the psychosomatic approach of Ayu by descrbing Sukhayu, Dukhayu, Hitayu and Ahitayu.

The word Ayu is derived from “Ayussu”. meaning life span, and Veda means knowledge. According to Ayurveda, “Dhirghayu” or longevity means a complete balance between body, mind and soul associated with longevity, Without this balance a person cannot enjoy the real benefit of longevity i.e., a state of permanent happiness and peace. According to Ayurveda, there are four basic goals of human life namely, Dharma (religion), Artha (economy), Kama (sense pleasure) and Moksha (liberation). To practice and fulfill these basic goals of life one needs good health [1]. The body is the vehicle on which one rides to their destination. If the body is weak or sick, one cannot function properly and is unable to achieve the goals of life. Therefore, for longevity, good health is important and for maintaining health, physician needs to examine Ayu from birth till death. Ayurvedic text describes how to attain longevity and also mentioned verities of longevity through Ayu Pareeksha. Ayurveda explains certain signs and symptoms to decide the life span (Manam of Ayu) of a patient. Ayu Pariksha has been broadly classified into three broad headings, namely, Dhirghayu, Madhyamayu and Alpayu and these are described by Sushruta [2]. He says that before prescribing any therapeutic procedure, physician should examine life span of the patients and if they have residual life span then his Vyadhi (disease), Ritu (season), Agni (digestive power), Vaya (age), Deha (body build), Bala (strength), Sattva (mind), Satmya (conducive factors), Prakriti (constitution), Bhesaja (drug) and Desa (habitat) should be examined [3]. Tenfold examination are the tools described in Charaka to obtain knowledge regarding the span of life, strength and intensity of morbidity and these are Prakriti (constitution), Vikriti (morbidity), Sara (excellence of Dhatus), Samhanana (compactness of organs), Pramana (measurements of the organs of the body), Satmya (suitability), Sattva (psychic conditions), Aahara Sakti (power of intake and digestion of food), Vyayama Sakti (power of performing exercise) and Vayas (ageing) [4]. The basic purpose of these examinations is to understand the overall condition of the person in order to prescribe meticulous and systematically planned therapeutic treatment to get desirable and satisfying successful results.

The Difference Between Ayu and Vaya


Vaya is defined as the state of body corresponding to the length of time that has passed since birth. Vaya (Age) is one of the medium to achieve the knowledge regarding Ayu (span of life) besides other tools [5]. Both Charaka and Sushruta say that before prescribing any therapeutic procedures, physician should examine to obtain knowledge regarding the span of life, strength and intensity of morbidity.

Ayu Pareeksha (Examination of Life Span)

There are three varieties of Ayu Pareeksha namely Dhirghayu, Madhyamayu and Alpayu along with their characteristics are mentioned [6].

Dhirghayu (Long life span)

The following criteria are useful to assess the long life span of the individual and these patients should be treated with all efforts. One who possesses big hands, feet, flanks, back, tip of the breasts, teeth, face, shoulders, forehead, long finger joints, expirations, eyes, arms, broad brows, space in between the breasts and broad chest; short calves, penis and neck; whose mind, voice and umbilicus are deep and breasts are not greatly elevated but are firm; whose ears and back of the head are well grown, big, hairy and body drying first from the head after bath and anointing and the region of the heart later on [6].

Madhyamayu (Moderate life span)

One who possesses mixed features of Dhirghayu (having long span of life) is considered as Madhyamayu along with well manifest, broad, two, three or more lines below the Aksa (clavicles) and whose feet and ears are more muscular, tip of the nose is elevated and appearance of vertical lines on the back. These persons will survive for 70 years [6].

Alpayu (Short life span)

One who possesses opposite of the Dhirghayu (having long span of life) qualities should be understood as Alpayu (short span of life) along with short joints, big penis, chest

having hair appearing in circles (whirls), back is not broad, ears and nose located slightly up than their normal position, gums are visible during laughing or talking and whose sight is unsteady will survive only for 25 years [6].