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Upgrading the Body Mind

Death cannot be prevented, but can be prolonged by taking proper care of the body. One of the ways to achieve this end is to upgrade it so that it functions at a higher level of efficiency. Ayurveda emphasizes that upgrading the body to achieve higher levels of health is as important as maintenance of health and cure of disease.

Ayurveda has a threefold program to upgrade the body-mind complex — a) Cultivating a lifestyle b) Rejuvenation program c) Virilification program.

Cultivating a lifestyle

Life forms exhibit both voluntary and involuntary actions. The vital processes of life are involuntary in nature and set the stage for performance of voluntary actions. Ayurveda calls acts of volition as karma. All acts of volition have a bearing on the involuntary actions that support life.

Certain acts of volition disturb the involuntary functions of the body. Eventually, acts of volition get disturbed and the individual sinks to a level of inefficiency.

Cultivating a lifestyle means to gain control over and regulate acts of volition so that they not only do not interfere with the involuntary functions of the body, but also will stabilize and strengthen them. Cultivating a lifestyle is a dynamic process — a process of growth and evolution through which one ascends to higher levels of efficiency.

Rejuvenation

Ayurveda has designed a very elaborate program for rejuvenation. Ayurveda declares that the basic support of the body is the essence of the food called rasa. Energy is released from the refined essence of food to engage in various activities of life and complex processes of construction and destruction operate threatening the integrity of the body. The formation of rasa through the process of digestion and its subsequent transformation into the body substance through the process of metabolism is crucial to maintaining the stability of the body. The word rasAyana, for rejuvenation, in Ayurveda means the pathway of rasa, the essence of digested food. The ideal rejuvenation program ensures that food is properly digested to form rasa first and then that it is completely metabolized to sustain the various activities of the body.

Ayurveda points out that it is not enough that we eat nutritious food. It is equally important that the food that we eat is properly transformed. The actions of the body and mind play a very important role in this regard and so Ayurveda says that all rejuvenation programs should be accompanied with strict behavioral regimens.

The concept of rasAyana can be easily understood through imagery. The body works out its own economics under the heads of capital, income and expense. Upgrading the body through the technique of rasAyana adjusts the income-expense ratio so that the capital does not deplete, but builds up and stabilizes.

rasAyana is implemented through a) diet b) medicine and c) behavior.

Virilification

Rejuvenation is to be implemented after cultivating a healthy lifestyle. Rejuvenation programs recommended by Ayurveda work only with the support of a healthy lifestyle. A rejuvenated body can be prepared for procreation. In this way, the most desired traits can be transmitted to the offspring.

Virilification has another purpose. According to Ayurveda, excessive indulgence in sex can have a telling effect on the health of the body and the mind. Various dietary regimens and medicines have been formulated in the Ayurvedic texts to recover the vitality lost by excessive indulgence in sex and also to reverse its unwanted effects on the body and mind.

There are two aspects to the virilification program in Ayurveda indicated by the terms vAjIkaraNa andvRSya. vAjIkaraNa means 'to convert into a horse' and indicates increase in sexual appetite and performance. vRSya means to irrigate and indicates improvement in quality of semen. For upgradation of the body, the vRSya aspect is to be emphasized. vAjIkaraNa will lead to loss of energy and degradation of the mind and body.

Ayurveda believes that the ultimate upgradation of the human body is to be achieved by improving the quality of the reproductive tissue and ensuring good progeny. vRSya is therefore, implemented after rasAyana.