[Advaita-l] guNa - doSa

Shrinivas Gadkari sgadkari2001 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 9 20:29:17 CST 2008

Shri Vidyasankar,

Thanks for your response. You are right, many 
Ayurvedic texts that I have seen talk about 
combinations of elements, gunas etc. For example 
vAta = space + air, pitta = fire, kapha = water + 
earth etc. 

>From what I have read, the working model for internal 
medicine in Ayurveda considers 5 sub-types of each 
dosha, creating 15 sub-dosha-s. Also they have their 
own list of 20 gunas (guru, laghu etc). Then we have 
organic/ inorganic substances to tune each of these 
20 gunas. Gunas in turn tune the sub-dosha and when 
imbalance in sub-doshas is eliminated so is the

However, if we can workout this theory starting from 
basic Sankhya, may be we can see further than what 
current understanding of Ayurveda allows us to see. 
After all the original exponents of Ayurveda: Lord 
Brahma, Lord Indra, etc were masters of Sankhya and 
Yoga to start with. In many accounts Charaka (author 
of Charaka samhita) is supposed to be a penname of 


I don't think there is any text that does this sort of
pairing. Although the words guNa and dosha are usually
antonyms, they are not meant as such in this context.
After all, guNa can be either su-guNa or dur-guNa,
although normally people take guNa to mean su-guNa. 

The description of the three dosha-s comes from
Ayurvedic texts, while the three guNa-s are described
in the sAMkhya texts. If anything, my guess would be
that each of kapha, pitta and vAta would be described
in the Ayurvedic texts as different combinations of
sattva, rajas and tamas. Also, in Ayurveda, these
three are not intrinsically dosha-s. The deviation
from equilibrium of these three physical constituents
leads to a dominance of one or two and that is what is
called a dosha.


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