Difference Between VataVyadhi And Other Pathological Vata Manifestations

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Vata Vyadhi is a special pathological entity which is explained with high accords in all the treatises of Ayurveda. It covers a wide array of disorders including degenerative disorders, neurological diseases, neuro-muscular diseases and musculo-skeletal disorders. 

Definition of Vata Vyadhi

विकृत वात जनितो असाधारणो व्याधिः वातव्याधिः।(मा.नि.२२)
A special type (uncommon) of group of disorders which are caused by vitiated Vata are called Vata Vyadhi

There are many pathological manifestations of Vata which resemble Vata Vyadhi. It is very difficult to distinguish the term ‘Vata Vyadhi’ from the other conditions of Vata pathology. To do this first of all we need to understand the thin line of difference (gross difference in some cases) between Vata Vyadhi and the other pathological conditions of Vata.
Read related: Vata Disorders (Vatavyadhi): Definition, Causes, Symptoms

Difference between Vata Vyadhi and different pathological manifestations of Vata
Diseases are said to be of 2 types (broadly). They are –

Samanya Vyadhis common or general diseases caused by vitiation of Vata, Pitta and Kapha either individually or in combinations of two or three, Example – Jwara (fever), Atisara (diarrhea), Arshas (piles, haemorrhoids) etc

Naanaatmaja Vyadhis specific diseases caused by individual vitiated doshas

Related reading – Classification of Vyadhi (diseases) according to Ayurveda

Vataja and Vataja Samanya Vyadhi

Difference between Vata Vyadhi and Vataja Saamanya Vyaadhis
Vataja Jwara, Vataja Atisara and Vataja Arshas are all caused by predominant vitiation of Vata. Therefore they are Saamanya Vyaadhis caused by vitiated Vata. But these conditions cannot be considered as Vata Vyadhis because they are caused by predominant vitiation of Vata in the samprapti (pathogenesis) of Jwara, Atisara and Arshas respectively.

The mentioned diseases are also caused by vitiation of other doshas (pitta and kapha) and are not specific to Vata. Example, if pitta is predominantly vitiated in Jwara, it will be called Pittaja Jwara. Similarly if kapha is predominantly vitiated in Arshas, it will be called Kaphaja Arsha.

This makes it clear that Saamanya Roagas (vyadhis) are not limited and related to only vitiated Vaata. Thus Vata Vyaadhis are different from Vataja Saamanya Vyaadhis.

Vataja and Vataja Nanatmaja Vyadhi

Differences and similarities between Vata Vyaadhi and Vaataja Naanatmaja Vyaadhis
Naanatmaja Vyadhis are caused by vitiation of individual doshas and these diseases are specific of these doshas. Example, Vataja Naanatmaja Vyaadhis are essentially caused by morbid Vata and cannot be caused by Pitta or Kapha i.e. Vaataja Naanatmaja Vyaadhis are specific to Vata. Similarly Pittaja Naanaatmaja Vyaadhis and Kaphaja Naanaatmaja Vyaadhis are specific to Pitta and Kapha respectively.

Following the discussion in Saamanya Vyadhis, even in this case Vataja Naanaatmaja Vyaadhis should not be called as Vaata Vyaadhis because pitta and kapha also have their Nanatmaja Vyaadhis and Naanatmaja Vyaadhis are not specific to Vata.

But taking Vataja Naanaatmaja Vyadhis as individual components (keeping away the pittaja and kaphaja naanatmaja vyaadhis) and seeing that they are caused by only Vata, specific to only Vata and not manifested by vitiated pitta or kapha and also satisfy the definition of Vata Vyaadhi (given ahead in this article) they could be considered as Vata Vyadhis.

But on seeing the list of Naanatmaja Vyaadhis of Vata given in the treatises (Vata has 80 Naanatmaja Vyaadhis) it will be clear that all diseases enlisted in Vata Vyadhi are not mentioned in the list of Vata Naanaatmaja Vyadhis and all diseases mentioned in Vata Naanaatmaja Vyaadhis are not mentioned in the list of diseases covered under the topic Vata Vyadhi.

This gives us a doubt if the terms ‘Vata Naanatmaja Vyaadhis’ and ‘Vata Vyadhi’ are used interchangeably?

Since separate terms have been used we can keep them separately and not try to use them interchangeably. But by classical explanation, some Vata Vyaadhis are Naanatmaja Vyaadhis of Vata as they carry the same names. Example – Gridhrasi, Ekanga Vata, Pakshavadha, Akshepaka etc Vata Vyaadhis are also mentioned in Naanatmaja Vyaadhis. At the same time conditions like Aavarana, Gata Vata avastas etc which have been enumerated in Vata Vyaadhi have not been included in the list of Naanatmaja Vyaadhis.

We get an idea that –

  • The diseases which were missed out being mentioned in the list of Vata Naanatmaja Vyaadhis have been included in Vata Vyaadhi.
  • Many diseases mentioned in Vataja Naanatmaja Vyaadhis have not been mentioned or explained in the Vata Vyaadhi chapter (or anywhere else). This could be due to the reason that such diseases are of feeble nature and not worth discussing in detail in terms of a disease.
  • Such Naanatmaja Vyaadhis which are of grave and serious nature have been explained in detail in the context of Vata Vyaadhis.
  • The Nanatmaja Vyaadhis of Vata which have been enlisted in the context of Vata Vyaadhi would get the status of Vata Vyaadhi, others would just be called as Vataja Naanatmaja Vyaadhis.
  • Vata Vyaadhis are the Naanatmaja Vyadhis of Vata which needs to be addressed with comprehensive treatment and medicinal strategies. The other Naantamaja Vyaadhis which have not been mentioned in the context of Vata Vyaadhi might not need a big treatment plan-up or might be addressed with simple measures and thus not included under Vata Vyaadhi.

Thus we can conclude that Vaata Vyaadhis are special type of ‘Vataja Naanatmaja Vyadhis’ which are of serious nature and need to be explained in detail. Thus they have been given the status of special (asaadhaarana vyadhis) diseases in the context of Vata Vyaadhi. The Vataja Naanatmaja Vyaadhis which have not been explained in detail in the context of Vaata Vyaadhis are of negligible nature.

Other conditions different from but resembling Vata Vyadhi in nature (clearing confusions) –

Vata Vyadhi, Vata Prakopa

Differences between Vata Vyaadhi and Vata Prakopa
Vitiation of Vata is called Vata Prakopa. It is a pathological disturbance of Vata which may not necessarily produce a disease. If it has to produce a disease it has to pass through the stages of Kriya Kala (6 stages leading to the manifestation of disease), consequently get lodged in defective tissues or organs and cause damage. Vata Prakopa being a pathological disturbance of Vata cannot be equated to Vata Vyadhi.

Vata Vyadhi, Ashayapakarsha

Differences between Vata Vyadhi and Ashayapakarsha
It is a condition wherein a vitiated Vata pulls down the pitta (displacement of pitta) in the presence of Kapha Kshaya (pathological depletion of Kapha) and causes disturbances in other sites. This is not a disease but an impact of hyperactivity of Vata, which when not controlled in proper time might manifest in the form of a troublesome disease.
Read related: Ashayapakarsha By Vata: Displacement of Pitta, Kapha Dosha

Vata Vyadhi, Udavarta

Differences between Vata Vyaadhi and Udavarta
It is a retrograde movement of Vata which gets vitiated due to the forcible withholding of natural body urges mainly those of Adho Vata (flatus, fart), pureesha (feces) and mutra (urine). This Udavarta is the pathological change in course of Vata and cannot be equated with Vata Vyadhi.
Read related: Udavarta – Reverse Movement Of Vata Dosha Causing Disease

Just before finishing
All the above said conditions mimic Vata Vyadhi (being pathological disturbances, deviations of Vata) but cannot be equated with Vata Vyadhi.

This gives us an idea that Vata Vyadhi should be an entirely different condition (seeing the independent status being provided to it). It is a special pathological condition which doesn’t fall into either category of the above said Vata pathologies. Therefore it is discussed as a separate entity.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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