Nourishing, Depleting and Distributing Functions Of Tridosha (Visarga, Adana And Vikshepa)

By Dr Raghuram Y. S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B. A. M. S

Doshas i. e. vata, pitta and kapha represent natural forces in body. They are made up of elements of nature and also behave in accordance to nature and changes occurring in nature.

Sanskrit verse

Meaning

According to above said verse – ‘Just like moon, sun and wind beholds, protects and supports universe through their visarga (nourishing), adana (depleting) and vikshepa (distributing) functions, three doshas i. e. Kapha, Pitta and Vata beholds, protects and supports body by rendering similar roles and functions as those of moon, sun and wind i. e. visarga, adana and vikshepa respectively.
Read – Normal Vitiation of Doshas As Per Seasonal Variation

Super forces of nature i. e. moon, sun and wind supports
universe.

  • Moon supports universe by its nourishing and water like activities. This activity of moon is called visarga karma.
  • Sun supports universe by its absorbing and fire like activities. This activity of sun is called adana karma.
  • Wind supports universe by its distributing and wind like activities. This activity of wind is called vikshepa karma.

Read – Ayurvedic Winter Regimen – 75 Diet And Lifestyle Tips

Kapha, pitta and vata represent moon, sun and air
respectively in body. Therefore –

  • Kapha performs nourishing function in body just like moon does nourishing in nature
  • Pitta performs depleting function in body like sun in nature
  • Vata performs distributing function in body just like wind in nature

When these doshas are balanced, they support body. When they are disturbed, they become pathogenic and cause many diseases.
Read – Functions Of Doshas In Balance In The Body – Prakrita Dosha Karma

Moon, Sun, Air

Moon, Sun and Air – nature’s super trio

Biggest forces of nature are moon sun and air. They are given utmost importance and a divine relevance in Ayurvedic and Vedic literatures and all other Indian scriptures. They are respected as Gods. They are said to protect and guard all lives apart from being representatives of nature.

Moon and Visarga

Moon is said to cause ‘visarga effect’.

Visarga means –

  • Giving
  • Granting
  • Bestowing
  • Supporting
  • Nourishing
  • Creating

Moon being cool in nature is expected to impart soothing and cooling effect on creation. It is ‘more giving’. Climate is also divided into visarga kala and adana kala based on predominance of moon and sun respectively.

Varsha (monsoon), Sharad (autumn) and Hemanta (early winter) are said to be visarga kalas. In these seasons, moon is said to be more predominant than sun. Moon graces creation with its cold waves. All life is at comfort. Vegetation, food and medicinal plants grow in full enthusiasm and are enriched with healing and soothing properties. Since moon and its effect is strengthening and enliving, human, animal and plant life are enriched with strength and vigor.
Read – Dakshinayana or Visarga Kala (Southern Solstice) Definition,Seasons, Health Effect

In visarga kala, moon is said to impart ‘water like effect’, i. e. all nourishing, supporting, strengthening and growth promoting. Moon also promotes physical and mental health.

Sun and Adana


Sun is said to cause ‘adana effect’.

Adana means –

  • Taking away, Receiving
  • Seizing, Reducing
  • Crushing,
  • Not giving,
  • Depleting

Sun being hot in nature is expected to impart a heating and squeezing effect on creation. It is ‘more taking and absorbing’. While moon predominant seasons are said to have a coolant effect, sun predominant seasons are said to be heat inducing and absorbing in nature.

Shishira (late winter), Vasanta (spring) and Greeshma (summer) are said to be adana kalas or hot seasons. In these seasons, sun is said to be more predominant than moon. Sun absorbs all moisture and water content from earth with its heating and absorbing effect. All life is put into disarray.
Read – Uttarayana – Adana Kala (Northern Solstice) Definition, Seasons,Effect On Health

Vegetation, food and medicinal plants lose their water content and are depleted of their active ingredients, nourishing, healing, strengthening and soothing properties. Since sun and its effect on all life produces weakness,human, animal and plant life are depleted of their strength and vigor.

In adana kala, sun is said to impart ‘fire like effect’, i. e. all depleting and weakening. Lives on earth are neither nourished, supported nor strengthened. Growth and development is halted. Sun also makes one physically and mentally weak.
Read –Brimhana Therapy – Nourishing Ayurvedic Treatment Principle

Air (wind) and Vikshepa

Wind is said to cause ‘vikshepa effect’.

Vikshepa means –

  • Dispersion
  • Distribution
  • Throwing away
  • Dispatching
  • Scattering
  • Carrying to and fro

Air is basically cold in nature. But it is influenced by variations of climate. Air can be hot when associated with sun, fire or heat. Example,air in summer is hot. Similarly wind blowing over fire will be hot. On other way, air can be cold when associated with moon or coldness. Example, air in winter is cold air.

Similarly wind blowing over water source would get a glimpse of coldness with it. Thus, air blends with heat and cold and behaves accordingly. This property of air is called ‘yogavahi guna’ i. e. ‘capability to blend with different things and behave accordingly’ in Ayurveda.
Read – Understand Vata Dosha By Its Functions

In adana kala or heat predominant seasons, vata will have association with sun and heat of that season and will be hot in nature. Similarly in visarga kala or cold predominant seasons, vata will have association with moon and coldness of that season and will be cold in nature.

Thus, air helps in vikshepa i. e. it helps in distribution of heat in summer and cold in winter. Air carries heat or cold waves and distributes them evenly in creation. This distribution of heat and cold caused by wind is called vikshepa karma. This is characteristic feature of vata.

Uniform distribution of heat and cold by vata is very essential because heat and cold created by sun and moon are not capable of getting scattered all by themselves and they need help of wind for getting distributed throughout. Thus, wind brings about balance of heat and cold in nature. If it weren’t for wind, creation would have been affected by extremes of heat and cold.
Read –Diet And Lifestyle Advice For Vata Dosha Body Type

Kapha, Pitta and Vata – body’s super trio

Just like entire creation is under control of moon, sun and wind, human body is under control of kapha, pitta and vata. Kapha, Pitta and Vata are called Tridoshas and they represent moon, sun and wind respectively in body.

Thus, kapha, pitta and vata are body’s super trio, just like moon, sun and wind are nature’s super trio.
Read – Understand Kapha Dosha By Its Functions

Kapha and Visarga karma

As already said, kapha represents moon in body. Kapha is a water body since it is predominantly made up of water element. Just like moon imparts visarga karma in nature (as explained above), kapha which is a representative of moon in body also is responsible for visarga karma in body. It induces coolness and soothing impact on body system which is quite natural of it. This happens when kapha is in balance.

When this kapha goes out of sorts and gets aggravated, it causes stagnation in different parts of body, causes blocks, excessive coolness and sheds down all activities. This leads to sluggish functions of different systems of body causing many disease of cold origin.

Kapha nourishes and enables proper growth and development of body. It protects body from bad effects of excessive heat of pitta and excessive dryness caused by vata. Thus, kapha acts as a buffer system of body. Kapha is responsible for all constructive functions in body.

Balanced kapha brings about integrity and endurance of body components, including all cells, keeps our joints healthy so that our locomotion and activities of daily living go on smoothly.
Balanced Kapha helps keep mind and sense settled and balanced, wards off excessive stress and strain from body and mind, helps in easy breathing, circulation and oxygenation of body and serves many other constructive functions.

It forms support matrix of each and every cell in body. Balance of kapha marks good immunity, health and longevity of body system.
Read –Types Of Doshas And Their Functions

Thus we can tell that moon and water in nature and kapha in body are ‘all nourishing’ and supports nature and body respectively by their cooling, soothing and nourishing properties. Kapha, like moon and water contributes towards visarga functions and thus represents cooler part of nature in human body.
Read – Activities And Diet For Kapha Balance

Pitta and Adana karma

Pitta represents sun in body. Pitta is a fire body since it is predominantly made up of fire element. Just like sun imparts adana karma in nature, pitta which is a representative of sun in body also is responsible for visarga karma in body. It induces heat and absorbing effect on body system which is quite natural of it. This happens when pitta is in balance. When this pitta goes out of sorts and gets aggravated, it causes burnouts, corrosion and inflammation in body leading to many diseases of heat origin.
Read – Understand Pitta Dosha By Its Functions

Pitta is responsible for all metabolic activities in body.It causes appetite and digestion of food. It also differentiates food into useful part which gets absorbed and utilized by body in form of nutrition and waste products which gets expelled from body in form of excreta. This activity of pitta is very much needed to maintain body activities on daily basis and also for maintenance of health and immunity.
Read – Ayurvedic Pitta Diet – food suitable for Pitta body type

Pitta also provides normal temperature of body, helps in visual activities, maintains skin health, liver health, thought process, judgment and controls many other activities. Temperature of body is an important indicator of life activities going on smoothly and uninterruptedly. Balance of pitta marks good metabolism, nutrition, mind health, good thought processing and decision making power to carry on life activities, good health and longevity of body system.
Read – How To Balance Pitta Dosha? Line Of Treatment

Thus we can tell that sun and fire in nature and pitta in body are ‘all taking’ and ‘all squeezing’ and supports nature and body respectively by their heating, converting, transforming and metabolizing properties.

Vata and Vikshepa karma

Vata represents air in body. Function of air, as already described earlier is to distribute cold and heat of nature uniformly.

Pitta, Kapha and other elements of body including tissues and excreta are said to be pangu i. e. dependent and these aren’t capable enough to render any activity or move around in body independently unless motivated and propelled by balanced vata, i. e. wind force in body. This movement and distribution of pitta and kapha in body and consequential uniform distribution and balance of heat and coldness of pitta and kapha respectively in body system is enabled by vikshepa or distributive function of vata.

While distributing pitta and kapha to the sites of need, where certain functions need to be done, vata doesn’t change its form. This is because of its yogavahi property, capability of vata to blend with heat and cold and yet not give up its qualities.

Vikshepa of vata related to pitta Vata when associated with pitta and activities related with pitta will adorn heat of pitta but doesn’t give up its cold quality or any other quality of self. Vata helps in kindling fire and keeping it balanced. When vata becomes aggravated it can disturb pitta by aggravating or displacing it. This will lead to imbalance of heat in body and its uneven distribution.

With this certain parts of body will have low pitta wherein metabolism will come down and at some other places pitta will become high and cause burnouts. Similarly when pitta gets aggravated,it makes vata associated with it too hot to handle. Combination of high pitta and vata is a deadly combination which could destroy body. Similarly when vata decreases, pitta and heat in it will not get propulsion in a proper way. Therefore vata should be balanced so as to distribute pitta and heat caused by it in a balanced way in body.
Read – Prickly Heat – Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Remedies

Vikshepa of vata related to kapha Vata when associated with kapha and activities related with kapha will adorn coldness and dampness of kapha but doesn’t give up any of its qualities. Aggravated vata can disturb kapha by aggravating, pulling, pushing or displacing it. This will lead to imbalance of coldness in body and its uneven distribution. Vata and kapha, both are cold by nature. Vata is dry cold and kapha is wet cold. When coldness of vitiated vata adds to coldness of kapha, there will be excessive coldness in body. Excessive coldness leads to constriction of channels (if vata is more) and clogging of channels (if kapha is more). This will lead to multiple blocks in body which will hamper circulation, nutrition and excretion leading to accumulation of waste substances, excreta and toxins in body tissues and organs. This will lead to many diseases of kapha origin and also will be associated with symptoms of disturbed vata.
Read – Langhana Therapy – A Unique Ayurvedic Treatment Principle

Similarly when kapha gets aggravated, it blocks pathways of vata. This will obstruct free movement of vata in body and consequentially many activities of body will come to a halt. This paves way for many diseases at sites of obstruction. When pathways of vata are blocked nutrition will not be carried to tissues. There will be tissue degeneration and destruction. This will lead to lessening of immunity, vitality, endurance and strength of an individual. Similarly when vata decreases, kapha or water and coldness in it will not get propulsion in a proper way. Therefore vata should be balanced so as to distribute kapha and coldness caused by it in a balanced way in body.
Read – Avarana Janya Vata Vikara: Vata Disorders Due To Blockage Of Channels

Balanced vata brings about coordination and motivation of all activities happening in body. When in equilibrium, vata forms remote control of body machine and master of orchestra of body functions. It provides a balance for heat and coldness in body by uniformly distributing pitta andkapha, thus serving vikshepa function.

Balanced Vata conducts many functions in body. It controls brain and nervous functions, enables perception by sense organs, controls mind functions, circulation, oxygenation, circulation of nutrients, intake and digestion of food, excretion of metabolic wastes, sexual functions and menstruation and lot more functions.
Read – Pratyaksha Pramana: Knowledge Perception Through Sense Organs

Thus we can tell that air in nature and vata in body is distributive, scattering and balancing in nature and integrates functions of body apart from balancing heat (pitta) and cold (kapha) related activities. Vata, like air (wind) contributes towards vikshepa functions.

Summing up –

Entire functional operations taking place in body as part of day to day activities is due to perfect synchronization and collaboration of cold and heat, water, fire and air, i. e. kapha, pitta and vata which renders visarga, adana and vikshepa effect in body. Body, mind and senses are happy, healthy and fit only when these three doshas work in perfect sync.

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