Epidemics and Pandemics According to Ayurveda

A world map showing infection hotspots
Thousands of years ago Ayurveda shared detailed information regarding epidemics thus, applicable to pandemics.
Epidemics were documented in the great Ayurvedic text Caraka-Saṃhitā, likely complicated between 4th century BCE and 2nd-century CE.(1)

The Nomenclature

Epidemics in Ayurveda are known as Janapadod Dhvaṃsanīya जनपदोद्ध्वंसनीय.
  • Janapad जनपद = “nation”, “country” or a “mass population of people.”
  • Dhvaṃsa ध्वंस = “destruction.”
  • The preverb “ud” in between the above two words, means “highly”.

Janapadod Dhvaṃsanīya translates to “highly effective means of destruction to mass populations of humans.”

So what wisdom and advice can we obtain from the “Mother of Medicine” and its millennia of experience?
Plenty…
Ayurveda is celebrated for understanding the root cause disease, and treating it at the root level.
Caraka, a great Ayurvedic Sage
Ayurvedic Sage Caraka
While the wording I am quoting may sound abstract, it is actually extremely relevant for the current pandemic we are in.
Take your time to read these causes and recommendations and ponder how this is demonstrating today and relevant for you…

Factors Responsible for Epidemics (Causes)

  1. “Sins of the present life or the misdeeds of the past life are at the root.”
  2. “Intellectual blasphemy” - not recognising that a Greater Intelligence underpins all life.
  3. “When the rulers of states, towns, cities and countries transgress the righteous path and rule by sinful means.” (Government corruption).
  4. Accordingly, the “subordinates”, the general population, and merchants that are under the jurisdiction of that government add to this sinful situation.
  5. “The collective prevalence of “adharma” (sins/unrighteousness/injustice) makes dharma (righteous acts) disappear.”
  6. “Because of the disappearance of dharma, even the gods [celestial upholders of life] desert the people living in these places. Such are the places where epidemics and pandemics effect.”

Line of Treatment of Epidemic Diseases

  1. Pañcakarma (premier Ayurvedic detoxification program) is the best.
  2. Proper administering of rejuvenation therapy after Panchakarma.
  3. Behaviors that enhance longevity and spread essential biological fluids in the body (“Arcaryā Rasayanas”). Specific behaviors mentioned are: truth-fullness, compassion, charity, surrendering preferences and invoking Greater Intelligences (praying/intentions/ various practices etc.).
  4. Adoption of preventive measures.
  5. Enhancing a state of calm and tranquility.
  6. Protection of the self by mantra (primordial sounds) and other measures.
  7. Implementing things that are good for the self (quality of life).
  8. Taking residence in auspicious localities.
  9. Mastery over sexual energy (brahmacharya).
  10. Studying and discussing scriptures that study the laws of nature.
  11. Serving and associating with “learned persons”, pure (sattvic) people, and those who have mastered their own energy (brahmachārins).
“These can easily save the lives of individuals, provided the death of a particular individual during the period of epidemics is not predestined.”

How does this ancient wisdom on epidemics and pandemics correlate with today's pandemic? Comment 👇


Resources

  1. Meulenbeld, Gerrit Jan (1999-01-01). "Caraka, his identity and date". A History of Indian Medical Literature. Groningen: E. Forsten. IA, part 1, chapter 10.
  2. Caraka Samhita, Vimana Sthana, Ch 2, (19-20)
  3. Caraka Samhita, Vimana Sthana, Ch 2, (12-18)