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Factors affecting life

According to Ayurveda, life is a process of being and becoming, a state of continuous transformation. All living forms are in flux, changing moment by moment, responding to changes that occur in the external environment.

Life is a most precious and amazing product of natural processes and therefore to be protected and nurtured. Indeed, Ayurveda points out that myriad mechanisms operate naturally to fulfill this purpose. But Ayurveda also recognizes that unfavorable situations and factors play an important role in providing the stimulus for evolution of life.

Protection preserves life, but often stunts growth and evolution, while over protection can even destroy life. Unfavorable factors pose threat to life, but stimulates transformation and change, though it can destroy life when it operates in excess.

Therefore, a proportionate and wholesome combination of favorable and unfavorable factors nurtures life and promotes its evolution. This is technically called 'samyak yoga' in Ayurveda.

Under protection and over protection can both be destructive. So also protection given in the wrong context. The same is true with the case of life threatening factors too. Technically, Ayurveda calls such situations as atiyoga (hyper-union), hInayoga (hypo-union) and mithyAyoga (improper union).

All living beings are placed in a spatio-temporal matrix that changes to create both favorable and unfavorable circumstances for life to blossom to fullness. The cycle of the seasons that periodically shifts between the extremes of heat and cold is a typical example.

Ayurveda declares that nothing is absolutely good or bad for life. What is good in one context becomes bad in another context and vice versa. Ayurveda, therefore, explains how various substances and situations become favorable and unfavorable to life depending on various conditions.

For convenience, Ayurveda considers that which nourishes — sustains life as food; that which regulates life as medicine and that which harms — destroys life as poison. It is important to realize, however, that what is food can become poison and what is poison can become medicine.

Given the 'know how', every substance in this world can be used to support and promote life.