By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Alochaka means ‘that which helps to see’ or ‘that which helps to think’. The word Alochaka is made up of the term lochana which is a synonym of ‘eye’. Thus lochana means eye and alochana means ‘to see’.
The subtype of pitta which is responsible for sight and thinking process is called alochaka pitta. Alochaka pitta enables us to see things, perceive and analyse them.
Alochaka Pitta is one of the five subtypes of pitta.
Alochaka Agni – Pitta represents fire or agni in our body. Therefore pitta and fire are considered to be one and the same. All subtypes of pitta carry suffix agni. Alochaka Pitta is also called Alochaka Agni.
Seat of Alochak Pitta
Drishti or eyesight is the seat of alochak pitt. Drishti means vision, that which enables us to see things around us and perceive them in the right sense. This perception happens in eye. Therefore eye is the seat of alochaka pitta.
This pitta subtype is not only located in the anatomical eye but also enables physiology of vision. It resides in all those parts of eye which are responsible in reading visual objects and transforming them into images for understanding the objects as they are.
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Functions and types of Alochaka Pitta
Functions of alochaga pitta can be better understood after knowing its types as explained by Acharya Bhela.
According to Acharya Bhela, Alochaka Pittam has two components (2 types). They are –
1. Chakshur Vaisheshika Alochaka Pitham – This component of alochaka pitta is confined to eye, i.e. only anatomical eye.
The visual perception takes place after coordination of 4 components. These components participating in visual perception are –
- Chakshu indriya artha – the objects which we see
- Chakshu indriya – organ of visual perception i.e. all components of anatomical eye involved in perceiving the image of object, this involves both structural and functional component of eye.
- Manas – the mind is both a sensory and motor entity. Mind discriminates between the visual objects which are beneficial and those which are harmful.
- Ahankara – egoism of an individual will impart the dominance and claim to perceive the things.
- Buddhi – intellect of an individual judges the perception. It either accepts or rejects the visual perception.
- Atma – soul will experience the perception after being associated with mind.
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Sequence of visual perception according to Ayurveda – When the mind and soul get associated with eye and the objects of vision, the visual objects are perceived.
- Being associated with mind, eye will perceive an object and identify it.
- Later, the egoism will impart authority over perception.
- The perception is now handed over to chakshurindriya buddhi i.e. the component of intellect associated with organ of visual perception. Intellect will decide if the perception is beneficial or not.
- Once the visual object is decided to be beneficial, the information is transferred to the soul. Thus, the soul, in association with mind, eye and the sense object would experience the visual perception.
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Role of Drishti Vaisheshika Alochaka Pitta in visual perception of objects of sight
Drishti Vaisheshika Alochaka Pitta brings about perception of vision after being associated with soul, mind and sense organs. After association of mind and soul, the objects perceived by eye are carried to intellect.
The alochaka pitta or vision pitta is responsible to transform and transfer the information of visual perception to intellect. This intellect judges if the information should be accepted or not. When intellect decides to accept the perception, the alochaka pitta located in the chakshurindriya i.e. the organ of vision will get involved into the act and provides us with distinctive knowledge about the characteristic features, form, structure, shape and color of the seen object.
Thus the vision pitta confined to eye helps in getting the fractional knowledge about various aspects of seen object. This pitta also helps the individual to differentiate, recollect and articulate the knowledge gained by vision.
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2. Buddhi Vaisheshika Alochaka Pitta –
This component of alochaka pitta is located beyond the eyes, in brain. It is located in the region of sringhataka i.e. in between eyebrows.
Below mentioned are the functions of buddhi visesika alochaka pitta –
- It perceives the minute and extraordinary matters and information experienced by the soul.
- This part of vision pitta enables in retention of gathered information in mind.
- It also expresses the thoughts received and retained by it.
- It takes part and controls memory process. It enables memorizing the past events.
- It helps in imagination. One can imagine the events that are likely to happen in future even before they have occurred with help of this component of vision pitta. This pitta also creates illusions deja vu moments.
- Newborn baby instinctively knows how to suck mother’s breasts, in spite of not being trained to do so. This pitta is responsible for these instinctive actions. It induces the desire and technique of sucking the breast milk in the new born.
- It provides the power of introspection (pratyhara) to the seers and saints involved in meditation and yogic activities.
- It enables concentration, response and conjunction.
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Overall functions of alochaka pitta
Alochaka Pitta renders its functions through its two components.
One of its components drishti vaisheshika alochaka pitta is confined to eye. It helps in perceiving the seen objects. It helps in identifying and knowing various aspects of objects.
The second component of vision pitta located between the eyebrows represents the central control of vision, located in frontal area of brain. This helps in retaining the visual information and later recollecting the saved information through memory, imagination, introspection and concentration.
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Pathology related to Alochaka Pitta imbalance
Imbalance of alochaka pitta can cause many disorders related to visual perception and eye. Example, disturbances and disorders related to identification and proper perception of visual objects, discriminating color, form and shape of objects, analyzing visualized objects, retention and recollection of information related to objects of visual perception.
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Probable Modern Correlation
Pigments of retina i.e. rhodopsin, iodopsin and melanin can be closely correlated to alochaka pitta due to similarity in location and functions of these components.
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Rhodopsin is formed in the layer of rods and is responsible for dark vision. Rods are particularly sensitive to dimlight and they serve predominantly in detection of motion.
The nerve impulse is caused by decomposition of rhodopsin into two fractions i.e. opsin and retinine. Retinine is again re-transformed into vitamin A and thus rhodopsin is regenerated.
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Retinine + opsin = vitamin A
Cones contain iodopsin. Color vision and photopic vision i.e. light vision takes place in layer of cones. The pigment layer of retina contains melanin. This makes the eye a dark chamber and prevents internal reflection of light rays.
Treatment for imbalance disorders of Alochaka Pitta:
Eye care remedies, Triphala oral intake, Triphala ghrita used for Tarpana, regular use of herbal eye liners, Jatyadi ghrita, Jeevantyadi Yamaka etc are very useful.
Shirodhara treatment, Trataka Yoga therapy, Yoga, Pranayama are also very useful. Brain tonics such as Brahmi ghrita, Saraswatarishta can be used based on the type of disorder.
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