Prajnaparadha (Samskrit : प्रज्ञापराधः) is a term used in Ayurveda to describe one of the three main causes of diseases. It refers to the actions performed by an individual, out of inappropriate decisions taken without considering the possible adverse effects.
परिचयः ॥ Introduction
प्रज्ञापराधः। Prajnaparadha is considered to be the root cause of misconduct or unrighteous actions of an individual. Primarily classified as intellectual errors, the following are considered as Prajnaparadhas
- Improper understanding of the object
- Lack of control over ego and mind in spite of proper understanding of the object
- Inability to recollect and comprehend the potential dangers of planned actions
These intellectual errors lead to improper actions that result in imbalances of bodily constituents. Hence treatment modalities in Ayurveda, unlike the modern allopathic treatments, consider the mental and intellectual status of an individual as an important factor.
रोगहेतवः॥ Cause of Diseases
Ayurveda considers 3 main causes of any disease.
असात्म्येन्द्रियार्थसंयोगः, प्रज्ञापराधः, परिणामश्चेति त्रयस्त्रिविधविकल्पा हेतवो विकाराणां, समयोगयुक्तास्तु प्रक्रुतिहेतवो भवन्ति । (char. Samh. Soo. 11/ 44)
asātmyendriyārthasaṁyogaḥ, prajñāparādhaḥ, pariṇāmaśceti trayastrividhavikalpā hetavo vikārāṇāṁ, samayogayuktāstu prakrutihetavo bhavanti ।
According to Acharya Charaka the causes are as follows, (Ref: Cha soo 11/ 43 ) (Cha. Vi 7/6)
- असात्म्येन्द्रियार्थसंयोगः । Asatmendriyartha Samyoga (Inappropriate contact of objects with sense organs)
- प्रज्ञापराधः। Pradjnaparadha (Intellectual error) and
- परिणामः। Parinama (Consequences)
हीन। Heena (Under/ deficient), मिथ्या । Mithya (Inappropriate/perverted) or अति । Ati (Excessive) yoga (union, exposure or contact) with any 3 of the above is said to result in development of diseases.
Acharya Vagbhata in Sootrasthana and Acharya Charaka in his treatise have stated the 3 cases of disease as Heena (Under/ deficient), Mithya (Inappropriate/perverted) or Ati (Excessive) exposure or contact with काल ।Kala, अर्थ । Artha and कर्म । Karma.
कालार्थकर्मणां योगो हीनमिथ्यातिमात्रकः। सम्यग्योगोश्च विज्ञेयो रोगारोग्यैककारणम्॥ (Ash. Hrud. Soot. 1/19)
kālārthakarmaṇāṁ yogo hīnamithyātimātrakaḥ। samyagyogośca vijñeyo rogārogyaikakāraṇam॥ (Ash. Hrud. Soot. 1/19)
Here the synonymous terms are Kala and Parinama, Artha and Asatmendriyartha and Karma and Prajnaparadha. Charaka has clarified that Kala is also known as Parinama (Cha.Soo. 11/ 42). Charaka defines Prajnaparadha as threefold action (of body, mind and speech) having 3 subdivisions (Heena/mithya/atiyoga) is called as Prajnaparadha.
असात्म्येन्द्रियार्थसंयोगः ॥ Asatmendriyartha Samyoga (Artha)
संयोग । Samyoga means union. Here the union is of the इन्द्रिय । Indriya (sense organ or motor organ) and इन्द्रियार्थ । Indriyartha (the subject of the knowledge or an object). When there is excessive exposure to a subject, disuse or perverted use of any sense organ it is called as Asatmendriyartha Samyoga. Excessive or atiyoga forms of this factor comprises excessive reading, thinking, mental work or physical activity, listening to loud sound for prolonged period etc.
Inappropriate unification of any Indriya (Sense and motor organs) & Indriyartha (Subject of knowledge or object), leads to diseases related to that respective Indriya such as Atiyoga of Rasanendriya includes overeating the food only to pacify the taste buds leads to Rogas (Diseases) such as Ajeerna (Indigestion), Atisara (Loose motions) etc.
परिणामः॥ Parinama (Kala)
Kala is the term referred to the various times of the year divided into 6 Rutu (seasons) like Hemant, Greeshma and Varsha characterised by Cold, Heat and Rains respectively. These external factors like cold, heat and rains affect the bodily constituents. Their excess, deficient or abnormal occurrences lead to imbalance in Doshas resulting in disease development. For example excessive rains, deficient rains or rains in the season of cold represent abnormal seasonal variations and considered as the cause for development of diseases. In Sootrasthana,
प्रज्ञापराधः ॥ Prajnaparadha (Karma)
Incorrect understanding or lack of understanding by the intellect and inappropriate actions performed out of it are called as intellectual errors or Prajnaparadha. It includes वेगवरोधः । Vegavarodha (Suppression of bodily urges involving actions like sneezing, coughing, urinating etc), अतिसाहससेवनम् । Ati-sahasa sevana (over exertion or performing activities demanding energy out of the capacity of one’s body and mind etc. This leads to imbalances in दोषाः । Doshas and disease development. (Agnivesha . Charaka, Dridhabala, Charaka Samhita, Sharira Sthana, Katidhapurushiya Shariradhyaya, 1/102-109. 7th ed. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office; 2002. Text with English Translation and Critical Exposition Based on Chakrapanidatta's ‘Ayurveda Dipika’, by Dr. Ram Karan Sharma and Vaidya Bhagvan Dash.)
व्युत्पत्तिः ॥ Etymology
Literally, the word प्रज्ञा । Pradnya means wisdom or intelligence and अपराधः। Apradha means offence.
Thus, the meaning of term ‘Pradnyaparadha’ becomes "an offence against wisdom".
It is called as an offense because such actions adversely affect the individual who is performing those actions and in spite of knowing this, one takes a step towards it. Therefore these actions are considered thoughtless actions that are undertaken without apprehending their detrimental effects ignoring one’s wisdom or inner voice.
परिभाषा ॥ Definition:
Acharya Charka has defined the term Prajnaparadha in details as follows,
धीधृतिस्मृतिविभ्रष्टः कर्म यत्कुरुते अशुभम्। प्रज्ञापराधं तं विद्यात् सर्वदोषप्रकोपणम्॥ (Char. Samh. Shar. 1/102)
dhīdhr̥tismr̥tivibhraṣṭaḥ karma yatkurute aśubham। prajñāparādhaṁ taṁ vidyāt sarvadoṣaprakopaṇam॥ (Char. Samh. Shar. 1/102)
Meaning: The unwholesome actions performed due to derranged intellect, Restraint (Control) and Memory are known as Prajnaparadha. It vitiates all doshas.
धीविभ्रंशः॥ Dhee vibhransha:
धीः । Dhee is the term used to indicate Buddhi. By default, Buddhi works rightly and can discriminate between what is eternal and non-eternal, what is right and wrong, what is favourable and unfavourable, what is wholesome and unwholesome. Therefore, derangement of Dhee is when adherence to wrong discrimination between these things is observed and intellect fails to perform its role in selecting the right choice. (cha. Sha 1/ 99)
धृतिविभ्रंशः ॥ Dhruti Vibhransha:
The function of धृतिः । Dhruti is to impart control over organs. Dhruti Bhransha is derangement in this function leading to inability to control the mind indulged in sensual pleasures. (cha. Sha 1/ 100)
स्मृतिविभ्रंशः ॥ Smrti Vibhransha:
स्मृतिः । Smrti perform the action of recollection for maintain the bodily balances. In Smruti vibhransha recollection of knowledge of reality is impaired due to covering of self by मानस दोषाः । manasa dosha like रजः । Rajas and तमः । Tamas. This incapacitates individual to recollect the right approach and leads to improper choices. (cha. Sha 1/ 101)
प्रज्ञापराधस्य उदाहरणानि॥ Examples of Prajnaparadha : (Cha. Sha 1/103-108)
The unwholesome actions performed due to intellectual error includes following
- वेगोदीरण । Vegodeeran Forcible propulsion of natural urges
- वेगवरोधः । Vegavarodha Suppression of strong, forceful natural urges
- साहस सेवन । Sahasa Sevana Over indulgence in exertion
- नारीणाम् अतिसेवनम् । Nareenam Atisevanam Over indulgence in carnal pleasures
- कर्मकालातिपातश्च। KArmakalatipaatascha – Excessive or delayed actions
- मिथ्यारंभश्च कर्मणाम् । Mithyarambhascha KArmanam – Procrastination or wrong initiation of a task
- विनयलोपः । Vinaya lopa – Disappearance of Modesty
- आचारलोपः । Achaara lopa- Bad conduct or misbehaviour
- पूज्याणाम् अभिधर्षणम् । Poojyanam Abhidharshana- Rebuking the respected and venerable men
- Wilfully doing unrighteous actions and involving in activities that are known to affect body and mind adversely
- अकालदेशसंचारः । Akaladesha sanchara- Roaming about to an inappropriate place at a wrong time
- Friendship with wicked persons
- Violating the rules of noble conduct mentioned in Sadvrutta
- Generating the emotions of envy, conceit, anger, greed, ignorance, narcosis and delusions.
All actions performed out of above said intellectual errors and other similar actions due to intellectual errors stemming from रजः । Raja (Manas dosha) and मोहः। Moha (Greed and infatuation) are included in Prajnaparadha.
प्रज्ञापराध विभागाः॥ Types of Prajnaparadha:
In another discourse Acharya Charaka has defined Prajnaparadha as threefold action (verbal, Physical and mental) having 3 subdivisions (Heena/mithya/atiyoga). These are also called as कायिक । Kayik, वाचिक । Vachik and मानसिक । Manasika Karmas commonly referred as कर्म । ‘Karma’. (Ashang hruday sootra 1/ 19) (Cha. Soo 11/ 37) Hence Prajnaparadha could be comprises of 3 types of karmas viz.
- कायिक । Kayika (Physical)
- वाचिक । Vachika (Verbal) and
- मानसिक । Manasika (Mental)
प्रज्ञापराधस्य परिणामः॥ Effect of Prajnaparadha
The actions stimulated by pradnyaparadha disturb the balance if tridosa system in the body and vitiate manasa doshas namely Rajas and Tamas creating a background and favorable conditions for development of disease.
There are ample improper actions stimulated by Prajnaparadha which are root causes of various diseases, e.g., habit of suppression of any natural urge is a result of Prajnaparadha and enlisted as a cause of nearly all the diseases by Acharya Vagbhata. (Ashtang Hruday sootra 4/ )
प्रज्ञापराधः अधर्मः च॥ Prajnaparadha and Adharma
According to Acharya Charaka, all illnesses can be attributed either to निज हेतवः। Nija Hetus (endogenous factors) like an imbalance of the three dosha or आगन्तु हेतवः । Aagantu hetu (exogenous factors). On the basis of this criteria Acharya Charaka has classified diseases in 2 categories viz. Nija and Agantu. The later group includes epidemics and catastrophes known as जनपदोध्वंसः । ‘Janapadodhvansa’.
Acharya Charaka has attributed epidemics and catastrophe to the immorality and अधर्मः । unrighteous acts (adharma) of corrupt leaders (Kings in ancient time), the effects of which spiral down the social order and spread to every level of society. He also refers to असत्कर्मः । bad karma (asat-karman) of past life as another cause of Janapadodhvansa. (Cha. Viman 4/20)
The root cause of both, Adharama and Asat-karma, lies in prajnaparadha (Car 3.3.19).
Both Adharma (Unrighteous acts) and Asat Karma (Evil or wicked actions) involve various activities of an individual or a group of individuals that are annoying and hurting to others. As this chain of Adharma and Asat karma continues unrighteousness takes hand over the righteousness. Nature and environment get affected and this results in derangement of natural elements, occurrence of calamities and catastrophes, Wars etc which takes a toll on lives of many at a time. Ayurveda infers that the life span of individuals depends on दैवः । Daiva as well as पुरुषकारः । Purushakara. Here Daiva is the term used to denote the effects of deeds of past life and Puruushakara indicates the effects of Karmas of present life. (Cha. Viman 4/ 30). Therefore, the death of innocent people in involved in pious righteous acts in present life prematurely in such catastrophes or calamities is attributed to their strong Daiva (Effect of karma of past life).
स्वस्थवृत्ते प्रज्ञापराधः॥ Prajnaparadha in Preventive medicine
परिणामः । Parinama (Kaala) is a निष्प्रत्यनीक हेतुः । Nishpratikriya Hetu (Beyond the capability of our control) i.e it is not in our hands but remaining 2 Hetu (Asatmendriyartha Samyoga & Pradnyaparadha), can be avoided by सद्वृत्ताचरणम्। Sadvrittacharana (Following the code of good conduct expounded by Ayurveda), so diseases could be avoided.
Thus, it can be inferred that Prajnaparadha refers to those actions, which are undertaken in spite of being aware of the potential dangers. This, causes imbalance and vitiation of all doshas of Sharira and manasa that hampers the body's normal functions, making the body home to various ailments.
Prajnaparadha holds greater relevance in contemporary times. Committing errors wilfully, neglecting the potential dangers and indulging in sensual pleasures excessively is nothing but an intellectual blasphemy. Various addictions like smoking, alcoholism, misconducts like abusing elders and noble people and physical inactivity with faulty food habits are rooted in Prajnaparadha. Thus, considering this factor as a cause of lifestyle diseases holds tremendous significance as a basis for preventive medicine and signifies the importance of mindful approach while making the choices that not only affect an individual but also those around the individual.