Difference between revisions of "Balam (बलम्)"

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== Definition ==
 
== Definition ==
The word Bala has been used invariably for strength of mind body and its components. the word Bala is synonymously used for normal Kapha dosha (~the factor primarily responsible for strengthening and lubricating the body) and Ojus (~bioenergy or body component that helps in sustaining of life). It also stands for immunity and immune system in normal state.(Mahesh TS, Shreevidya M. A review on balya action mentioned in Ayurveda. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(2):80–84. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.133796)
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The word Balam has been used invariably for strength of mind, body and its components. It also stands for immunity and immune system in normal state.<ref name=":0">Mahesh TS, Shreevidya M. A review on balya action mentioned in Ayurveda. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(2):80–84. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.133796</ref> From the clinical perspective, Balam has been correlated with 2 entities viz. normal Kapha dosha and Ojus present in the body.   
  
 
=== Ojus as Balam ===
 
=== Ojus as Balam ===
According to Sushruta, “Bala” is defined as “the factor due to which one obtains the nourishment and stability of Mamsa dhatu (~the muscular tissues of the body), ability to perform various tasks efficiently, good complexion, clearness and pleasantness of voice along with clear and efficient working of all the organs either external like Jnyaanendriya (sense organs) or Karmendriya (organs with motor functions) and internal like Manas (mind), Aatma (spirit), etc” (Mahesh TS, Shreevidya M. A review on balya action mentioned in Ayurveda. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(2):80–84. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.133796)<blockquote>तत्र रसादीनां शुक्रान्तानां धातूनां यत् परं तेजस्तत् खल्वोजस्तदेव बलमित्युच्यते, स्वशास्त्रसिद्धान्तात् ||१९|| (Such. Samh. Sutrastanam 15.19)</blockquote>
+
According to Acharya Sushruta, 'Balam' is the synonym of 'Ojus'. Ojus is the quintessence of all 7 dhatus. It is also known as bioenergy or body component that helps in sustaining life. It is formed at the end of dhatu level pachana (metabolism) and it is believed to be teja (quintessence or cream) of all these dhatus.<blockquote>तत्र रसादीनां शुक्रान्तानां धातूनां यत् परं तेजस्तत् खल्वोजस्तदेव बलमित्युच्यते, स्वशास्त्रसिद्धान्तात् || (Sush. Samh. 15.19)<ref>Sushrut Samhita (Sutrastanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 19)</ref></blockquote>
  
 
=== Kapha as Balam ===
 
=== Kapha as Balam ===
The word “Bala” also denotes the normal “Kapha dosha” as it has the function of providing Bala for the body normally. It is also considered as “Oja” by Charaka. (Mahesh TS, Shreevidya M. A review on balya action mentioned in Ayurveda. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(2):80–84. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.133796)<blockquote>प्राकृतस्तु बलं श्लेष्मा विकृतो मल उच्यते|स चैवौजः स्मृतः काये स च पाप्मोपदिश्यते||११७|| (Char. Samh. Sutra. Adhyaya 17 Sutra 117)</blockquote>
+
Among 3 doshas controlling bodily functions, Kapha is the one that performs the function of strengthening and lubricating the body. Thus, 'Balam' also denotes the Kapha dosha in Prakrt awastha (normal state). Acharya Charaka has stated that role of Kapha dosha in balanced state or role of Ojus is same as Balam. Thus, Balam has also been defined as the kapha dosha which is in unaltered, non-vitiated or natural state.<ref name=":0" /> <blockquote>प्राकृतस्तु बलं श्लेष्मा विकृतो मल उच्यते| स चैवौजः स्मृतः काये स च पाप्मोपदिश्यते||- (Char. Samh. 17.117)<ref>Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 17 Sutra 117)</ref></blockquote>
 +
 
 +
== Role of Balam ==
 +
Acharya Sushruta has clearly described various functions or advantages of having balam. <blockquote>तत्र बलेन स्थिरोपचितमांसता सर्वचेष्टास्वप्रतिघातः स्वरवर्णप्रसादो बाह्यानामाभ्यन्तराणां च करणानामात्मकार्यप्रतिपत्तिर्भवति ||२०|| (Sush. Samh. 15.20)<ref>Sushrut Samhita (Sutrastanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 20)</ref></blockquote>He states that, if an individual has enough strength then he can benefit in various ways<ref name=":0" /> as below,
 +
* Nourishment and stability of Mamsa [[Dhatus (धातवः)|dhatu]] ( the muscular tissues of the body) can be obtained.
 +
* An individual becomes capable of performing various tasks efficiently and uninhibitedly
 +
* One achieves good complexion as well as clearness and pleasantness of voice 
 +
* Excellent balam also facilitates clear, efficient working of all the organs either external like [[Indriyas (इन्द्रियाणि)|Indriyas]] [Jnyaanendriya (sense organs) or Karmendriya (organs with motor functions)] and internal like [[Manas (मनः)|Manas]] (mind), Buddhi (Intellect) etc
  
 
== Classification of Balam ==
 
== Classification of Balam ==
Further Charaka also classifies Bala as three types namely  
+
The balam of the individual could have various aspects. Some individuals possess strength naturally while some may lack this strength even after following rigorous diet, exercise and use of medicines. Similarly role of Kala is also considered significant by Ayurveda in maintaining this strength of the individuals. Considering all these factors, Ayurveda acharyas have classified the Balam of an individual in 3 components. Acharya Charaka has mentioned 3 types of Balam <ref>Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 11 Sutram 36)</ref>  as below,  
# Sahaja (natural)
+
# Sahaja (Natural, Present right from the birth)  
# Kalaja (seasonal and age) and   
+
# Kalaja ( Present due to particular season and age) and   
# Yuktikrita (act of intelligence). (Char. Samh. Sutra. 11.36)
+
# Yuktikrita (Obtained by deliberate efforts to acquire strength like use of diet, exercise, medicines).  
Among the three, the Yuktikrita type is explained as the Bala that is developed by activities specially performed for increasing the same. These interventions include various exercises, Yoga, food articles and drugs having Rasayana (~a general tonic that nourishes all the tissues of the body) and Vajikarana (~an action that involves nourishment to the Shukra primarily) properties. According to Chakrapani, the food includes the articles like meat, ghee, etc. and activities includes rational practice of rest and exercise while Yoga refers to various medicinal preparations that are used in the treatment as Rasayana and Vajikarana. The concept is more towards the explanation of acquired immunity. This also tends towards the explanation of concept regarding bioenergy. In this context, Bala is considered as effect of the food, medicine or activities which are having the action of Balya.  
+
Ayurveda offers ways to improve Yuktikruta balam of an individuals. Also, under topics like [[Rutucharya (ऋतुचर्या)|Rtucharya]] and Swasthavrtta, level of Kalaja balam has been explained. The methods to preserve balam which is lowered due to seasonal variations, have been mentioned. Multiple herbs, dietary components, activities and medicines that can enhance Balam of [[Purusha (पुरुषः)|purusha]] have been described at places in classical Ayurveda treatises. At each and every point of describing any medical intervention, Ayurveda acharyas have given undisputed attention to balam of the patient and further management has been recommended on that basis. Such an approach in planning medicinal treatment while keeping an eye on strength of individual ensures safe and holistic healing with Ayurveda treatments. Various branches of Ayurveda like [[Rasayana (रसायनम्)|Rasayana]] (Tonic that nourishes all the tissues of the body) and Vajikarana (Invigorating and aphrodisiac medicine) primarily focus on enhancing this Yuktikrita balam. In this context, Balam is considered as effect of the food, medicine or activities which are having the action of nourishment.
  
 
== Balya as karmas in Ayurveda ==
 
== Balya as karmas in Ayurveda ==
The action Balya is defined as “Balaaya hitam balyam” which refers to substances those are beneficial and tend to increase Bala of an individual.[7]
+
The pharmacodynamic activities of herbs have been described under Dravya karmas (actions of medicinal substances) in Ayurveda. One of these actions is named as  Balya. Balya is defined as 'that which is beneficial and tend to increase Balam of an individual'.<ref name=":0" /> Balya herbs, medicinal substances, foods and activities improve the strength by nourishing all dhatus which form all organs and systems of the body.  
  
Balya action possesses different dimensions which are to be assessed to ascertain complete action with respect to a given drug.  
+
[[Vaidya (वैद्यः)|Vaidyas]] make use of Balya medicines and advice Balya activities and diet during and after the treatment in order to regain the lost strength of shariram (body) after combating an illness. This helps to keep individual healthy, fit, devoid of harmful side effects caused by strong medicines and also helps to make one immune in order to prevent recurrence of similar diseases. Emergence of concepts of nutritional supplements in the contemporary science share similar ground however the approach of Ayurveda is more holistic and tailored to the needs of an individual.  
 
 
Emergence of concepts of immunity, bioenergy and nutritional supplements in the contemporary science have given an opportunity for scientific validation of concept of Bala and related Balya action.
 
  
 
=== Strength promoting drugs (Balya dravya) ===
 
=== Strength promoting drugs (Balya dravya) ===
Bala (Sida cordifolia), Atibala (Abutilon indicum), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Guduchi, Endri (Bacopa monnieri), Rushabhi (Mucuna prurita), Nikochaka Payasya, Katuki, Ripened fruit of mango, Rushyaprokta, Vidarikanda (Pueraria tuberose), Vatam (almond) Akshotaka, nikochaka (pista), Bhallataka (Semicarpus anacardium), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Amalaki (Emblica ofcinalis), Bibhitaki
+
Herbs like Bala (Sida cordifolia), Atibala (Abutilon indicum), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Payasya, Katuki, Ripened fruit of mango, Vidarikanda (Pueraria tuberose), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Amalaki (Emblica ofcinalis), Bibhitaki <ref name=":0" /> are known to display Balya action when consumed in authentic way under the supervision of a learned Vaidya. Many of these herbs are well-known rejuvenator herbs and thus provide strength by nourishing all dhatus. However, these miraculous herbs may not show desired effects when used in an irrational way. One should take these at appropriate time, stage, in proper dosage followed by specific Anupana (Adjuvant) which are decided after thorough assessment of an individual by Vaidya.
  
 
== Assessment of Balam ==
 
== Assessment of Balam ==
Balam Vyayamshaktya
+
Since balam of the individual should be assessed before planning any Ayurveda treatment, one needs to know the method to assess this balam. Methods of examination of bala is mentioned in classical Ayurvedic texts and it is mostly based on anumana pramana ( inference). Vyayamashakti (The capacity of exercising) is considered to be the parameter for assessment of balam. Details on Vyayama, its benefits, the symptoms observed after completing exercise equivalent with level of balam have been described in classical treatises. Similarly a guideline to asses Manasika balam (strength of mind) can also be found in Ayurveda literature. It is said that Manasika bala is can be understood by knowing the level of Utsaha (Enthusiasm) in individual.<ref>Nath et al. CLINICAL EXAMINATION OF BALA (STRENGTH). UJAHM 2015, 03 (04): Page 103-108</ref>
 
 
Methods of examination of bala is mentioned in classical Ayurvedic texts, is mostly based on anumana pramana(inference).  
 
 
 
1. Deha bala : Deha bala is examined by i. Vyāyāma śakti19: It is also explained through the samyak lakshana of vyāyāma (sign of appropriate exercise)20 . a. Sweda gamana: Perspiration. b. Swas vriddhi: Enhanced respiration. c. Gatra laghava: Lightness of the body. d. Hridaya uparodha: Inhibition of the heart and such other organs of the body.  
 
 
 
2. Mānasika bala is examined by - Utsāha (Enthusiasm)21:
 
 
 
3. Deha and manashik bala: Prakrita doshas (normal humor) are the bala, so prākrita doshas can be explained only through their karma (action) and Rakta is also responsible for the formation of bala. Hence Viśuddha rakta can be explained through its karma (action). Some karma(action) responsiblefor deha bala (physical strength) and some are for manashik bala (mental strength). i. Karma (action) of vata dosha22: a. Utsāha: Enthusiasm; b.Ucchvāsa: Inspiration; c. Niśwāsa: Expiration; d. Cheṣṭa: Movements; e. Sama dhātu gati: Normal metabolic transformation of dhātus; f. Mala mutrādi gati : Proper elimination of excreta ii. Karma(action) of pitta dosha23: a. Darśana: Good vision; b. Pachana: proper digestion; c. Ushna: normal temperature; d. Kshudha: Hunger; e. Trishṇa: Thirst; g. Śarīra mriduta: Softness of the body; h. Prabha: Lusture; i. Prasāda: Happiness; j. Medha: Intelligence iii. Karma (action) of sleshma dosha24: a. Sneha: Unctuousness; b. Sandhi bandha: Cohesion; c. Sthirata: Steadiness; d. Guruta: Heaviness; e. Vrishata: Virility; f. Śāririk bala: Strength; g. Kshama: Forbearance; h.Dhriti: Patience; i.Alobha: Altruism. iv. Karma (action) of Rakta dhatu25: a. Varna Prasāda: proper complexion; b. Māmsa puṣṭi: Nourishment of māmsa dhātu; c. Jīvan dān (sustain life).
 
  
 
=== The normal state of bala constitutes the following sign in an individual ===
 
=== The normal state of bala constitutes the following sign in an individual ===

Latest revision as of 18:01, 14 June 2019

The word 'Bala' refers to the strength of the body. It also indicates ability of the body or part of the body to protect oneself against various harmful factors. In Ayurveda, some of the body components have also been called as Balam owing to their desirable attributes and function of protecting body against multiple stressors. It is considered as the key factor in making body susceptible to diseases causing agents and allowing diseases to develop in the body or mind. Thus, one can find that term 'Bala' is frequently used to indicate Vyadhikshamatwa (immunity) of the individual in addition to the strength.

Introduction

Ayurveda describes describes process of disease development in unique way. Weakness of the body building tissues i.e. dhatus along-with vitiation of doshas is considered to be the primary step in development any disease. Thus, Ayurveda lays great emphasis on maintaining high strength of all the Dhatus. Balam is the entity which represents this strength constituted by all 7 dhatus. This strength physical as well as mental. Naturally, when this strength is present in body, it can fight against various diseases by its own. Appraising this role of Balam in protecting body from harmful factors, it is also correlated with immunity and immune system of the body. Ayurveda acharyas have advised to assess this Balam of the individual before planning treatment for anyone. While offering knowledge about measures to prevent and treat multiple diseases, Ayurveda acharyas have given great importance to maintenance of this Balam at each and every stage of clinical management as well as conducting surgical procedures.

Definition

The word Balam has been used invariably for strength of mind, body and its components. It also stands for immunity and immune system in normal state.[1] From the clinical perspective, Balam has been correlated with 2 entities viz. normal Kapha dosha and Ojus present in the body.

Ojus as Balam

According to Acharya Sushruta, 'Balam' is the synonym of 'Ojus'. Ojus is the quintessence of all 7 dhatus. It is also known as bioenergy or body component that helps in sustaining life. It is formed at the end of dhatu level pachana (metabolism) and it is believed to be teja (quintessence or cream) of all these dhatus.

तत्र रसादीनां शुक्रान्तानां धातूनां यत् परं तेजस्तत् खल्वोजस्तदेव बलमित्युच्यते, स्वशास्त्रसिद्धान्तात् || (Sush. Samh. 15.19)[2]

Kapha as Balam

Among 3 doshas controlling bodily functions, Kapha is the one that performs the function of strengthening and lubricating the body. Thus, 'Balam' also denotes the Kapha dosha in Prakrt awastha (normal state). Acharya Charaka has stated that role of Kapha dosha in balanced state or role of Ojus is same as Balam. Thus, Balam has also been defined as the kapha dosha which is in unaltered, non-vitiated or natural state.[1]

प्राकृतस्तु बलं श्लेष्मा विकृतो मल उच्यते| स चैवौजः स्मृतः काये स च पाप्मोपदिश्यते||- (Char. Samh. 17.117)[3]

Role of Balam

Acharya Sushruta has clearly described various functions or advantages of having balam.

तत्र बलेन स्थिरोपचितमांसता सर्वचेष्टास्वप्रतिघातः स्वरवर्णप्रसादो बाह्यानामाभ्यन्तराणां च करणानामात्मकार्यप्रतिपत्तिर्भवति ||२०|| (Sush. Samh. 15.20)[4]

He states that, if an individual has enough strength then he can benefit in various ways[1] as below,

  • Nourishment and stability of Mamsa dhatu ( the muscular tissues of the body) can be obtained.
  • An individual becomes capable of performing various tasks efficiently and uninhibitedly
  • One achieves good complexion as well as clearness and pleasantness of voice
  • Excellent balam also facilitates clear, efficient working of all the organs either external like Indriyas [Jnyaanendriya (sense organs) or Karmendriya (organs with motor functions)] and internal like Manas (mind), Buddhi (Intellect) etc

Classification of Balam

The balam of the individual could have various aspects. Some individuals possess strength naturally while some may lack this strength even after following rigorous diet, exercise and use of medicines. Similarly role of Kala is also considered significant by Ayurveda in maintaining this strength of the individuals. Considering all these factors, Ayurveda acharyas have classified the Balam of an individual in 3 components. Acharya Charaka has mentioned 3 types of Balam [5] as below,

  1. Sahaja (Natural, Present right from the birth)
  2. Kalaja ( Present due to particular season and age) and
  3. Yuktikrita (Obtained by deliberate efforts to acquire strength like use of diet, exercise, medicines).

Ayurveda offers ways to improve Yuktikruta balam of an individuals. Also, under topics like Rtucharya and Swasthavrtta, level of Kalaja balam has been explained. The methods to preserve balam which is lowered due to seasonal variations, have been mentioned. Multiple herbs, dietary components, activities and medicines that can enhance Balam of purusha have been described at places in classical Ayurveda treatises. At each and every point of describing any medical intervention, Ayurveda acharyas have given undisputed attention to balam of the patient and further management has been recommended on that basis. Such an approach in planning medicinal treatment while keeping an eye on strength of individual ensures safe and holistic healing with Ayurveda treatments. Various branches of Ayurveda like Rasayana (Tonic that nourishes all the tissues of the body) and Vajikarana (Invigorating and aphrodisiac medicine) primarily focus on enhancing this Yuktikrita balam. In this context, Balam is considered as effect of the food, medicine or activities which are having the action of nourishment.

Balya as karmas in Ayurveda

The pharmacodynamic activities of herbs have been described under Dravya karmas (actions of medicinal substances) in Ayurveda. One of these actions is named as Balya. Balya is defined as 'that which is beneficial and tend to increase Balam of an individual'.[1] Balya herbs, medicinal substances, foods and activities improve the strength by nourishing all dhatus which form all organs and systems of the body.

Vaidyas make use of Balya medicines and advice Balya activities and diet during and after the treatment in order to regain the lost strength of shariram (body) after combating an illness. This helps to keep individual healthy, fit, devoid of harmful side effects caused by strong medicines and also helps to make one immune in order to prevent recurrence of similar diseases. Emergence of concepts of nutritional supplements in the contemporary science share similar ground however the approach of Ayurveda is more holistic and tailored to the needs of an individual.

Strength promoting drugs (Balya dravya)

Herbs like Bala (Sida cordifolia), Atibala (Abutilon indicum), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Payasya, Katuki, Ripened fruit of mango, Vidarikanda (Pueraria tuberose), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Amalaki (Emblica ofcinalis), Bibhitaki [1] are known to display Balya action when consumed in authentic way under the supervision of a learned Vaidya. Many of these herbs are well-known rejuvenator herbs and thus provide strength by nourishing all dhatus. However, these miraculous herbs may not show desired effects when used in an irrational way. One should take these at appropriate time, stage, in proper dosage followed by specific Anupana (Adjuvant) which are decided after thorough assessment of an individual by Vaidya.

Assessment of Balam

Since balam of the individual should be assessed before planning any Ayurveda treatment, one needs to know the method to assess this balam. Methods of examination of bala is mentioned in classical Ayurvedic texts and it is mostly based on anumana pramana ( inference). Vyayamashakti (The capacity of exercising) is considered to be the parameter for assessment of balam. Details on Vyayama, its benefits, the symptoms observed after completing exercise equivalent with level of balam have been described in classical treatises. Similarly a guideline to asses Manasika balam (strength of mind) can also be found in Ayurveda literature. It is said that Manasika bala is can be understood by knowing the level of Utsaha (Enthusiasm) in individual.[6]

The normal state of bala constitutes the following sign in an individual

a. Sthira upachita māmsa : All the dhātus are equally produced and the resultant effect is growth of the body.

b. Sarvacheṣṭa: (Kāyika and mānasika cheṣṭa): Endeavor in physically and mentally.

c. Aprtighāta: Strong working capability with bhārvahanādi

d. Swara varṇa Prasāda: Clear vocal tone and normal complexion

e. bāhya karaṇa: That is specific function of Vak: vachan (speech); Pani: Adana (swap over); Pada: Gaman (movement); Payu: Visarga (excretion); Upastha: Nandana (pleasure). f. Abhyantar karan: Srotra: Sabda(sound); Twaka: Sparsha(touch); Cakshu: Rupa(vision); Jibha: Rasa(taste); Nashika: Gandha(smell) etc. If all the above functions are normal, then we can say bala is in normal state. (Nath et al. CLINICAL EXAMINATION OF BALA (STRENGTH). UJAHM 2015, 03 (04): Page 103-108)

Bala and immunity

Internally bala is expressed through vyadhi kshamatwa. Vyadhi kshamatwa indicates the strength by which a person fights against the disease. Inside that is the process by which vyadhi prativandhyakatwa is provided33. In modern science has also mentioned about immunity. Immunity can be defined as the self preparedness against invasion by microbes which also includes defense against non microbial antigens and malignancy. Classically it is divided into two categories. a. The non- specific immunity or the innate immunity is not affected by prior contact with the invader and it is effective against all without recognizing the specific identities of the enemies i.e Vyadhibala virudhitwa. It is composed of many factors. Firstly the constitutional factor due to which some individuals are more prone to some specific infections but others are not. b. The specific immunity: There is separate mechanism for each and every enemy (antigens).The weapon for one invader will not act against the other hence called specific. This immunity develops properly only when the body is exposed to the specific antigen. i. e. prior contact is essential, but theprovision is inborn, means sahaja. The specific immunity may be active or passive. Active immunity is developed within the body by the lymphocytes against antigens introduced in to the body i. e. vyadhi utpada prativandhakatwa. The passive immunity occurs due to transfer or introduction of antibodies from outside. It is a readymade immunity and can act immediately but it is short lasting. (Nath et al. CLINICAL EXAMINATION OF BALA (STRENGTH). UJAHM 2015, 03 (04): Page 103-108)

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Mahesh TS, Shreevidya M. A review on balya action mentioned in Ayurveda. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(2):80–84. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.133796
  2. Sushrut Samhita (Sutrastanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 19)
  3. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 17 Sutra 117)
  4. Sushrut Samhita (Sutrastanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 20)
  5. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 11 Sutram 36)
  6. Nath et al. CLINICAL EXAMINATION OF BALA (STRENGTH). UJAHM 2015, 03 (04): Page 103-108