[Advaita-l] guNa - doSa

Shrinivas Gadkari sgadkari2001 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 9 20:52:21 CST 2008

Reposting as part of the post was lost.

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

>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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