Cause of Disease According to Ayurveda

Ayurveda teaches us that disease begins when we forget our nature or our own true Self.  Ayurveda also teaches us that most diseases don’t happen overnight. There are six stages to disease formation. But what is the cause of disease? According to Ayurveda, there are three main causes of disease:


  • First cause of disease: Failure of the Intellect/Making poor choices (prajnaparadha):

    Prajna means “wisdom” or “intelligence” and apradha means “offence.” So, the literal meaning of prajnaparadha is “an offence against wisdom.” The first cause of disease is offending yourself, trespassing against yourself, hurting yourself by not correcting behavior today based on what you know from your yesterday. Have you ever made an unhealthy choice, knowing that it wasn’t good for you? For example, ahara or diet is one of the three pillars of health in Ayurveda. So, eating ice cream while nursing a chest congestion and sore throat or drinking wine under the sun on a 98 degrees Fahrenheit day or grabbing a plate of spicy foods knowing fully well that it will make your irritable or give you diarrhea? Does that sound familiar to you? Occasionally, if we eat pizzas, burgers, French fries, and biryani … it’s okay. But of you make that a daily habit, this would not be a good recipe for health! Poor choices pile up on one another lead to unclear thinking and unintelligent cravings, which lead to even poorer choices and terrible health.

  • Second cause of disease: Misuse of the Senses: (Asatmendriyartha samyoga):

    Astmaya means inappropriate, indriya means sense organs, artha means the objects of the senses, and samyoga means to combine or to link. Our senses are the portals through which we interact with the world. What we eat, see, hear, smell and touch can either bring us health or disease. Once we have forgotten our true nature as spirit, it leads to over-indulgence. For example, excessively using the mobile phone can lead to eye strain, blurred vision, irritated eyes, excessive lacrimation, headache etc. Another example would be watching a scary movie even when it upsets you or tolerating a bad smell out of politeness. The overuse or underuse of all the five senses can cause harm and lead to disease. Disrespecting your senses can cause disease in your body, your mind, your relationships, and spiritual life.

  • Third cause of disease: Transformation and Decay Due to Time and Motion/ Seasonal variations/Living out of rhythm (parinama or kala): 

    This cause of disease basically means improper use of time. This time can be time of the year/season, time of day, or time of life. For example, if you were to get caught in the rain in December on the east coast and instead of drinking something warm, you choose to eat ice cream. This would be an example of going against season. Becoming a night own and midnight snacking and disrespecting the circadian rhythm and Ayurvedic clock is an example of going against time of day. Parinama or kala also refers more generally to the effects of time, and natural physical transformation that occur over time. For example, the disorders associated with specific phases of life and aging are all in this category. It’s pretty obvious that time causes disease, after all, as we age, our bodies become weak and start to deteriorate. With vata age, as we slow down, we need to honor this time. In other words, the body ages faster when we are moving and slower when we slow down! But – more important than physical motion is the movement of the mind. When the mind is constantly in a state of internal chatter, biological time actually speeds up and we age more quickly! When the mind is perfectly still, as occurs in deep meditation, there is no passage of biological time, and this slows the aging process.

These concepts for cause of disease according to Ayurveda are an invitation to look at your life closely and examine if you are in alignment with your true Self.

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Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and ayurvedic coach, contact me here.