Ayu – Meaning, Explanation, Types Of Lifespan

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

Ayu, means lifespan. If you haven’t already noticed, it is the first part of the word Ayurveda.

Introduction

Different meanings of Ayu – Living, Life, Living being, Lineage, Age

Read – Relationship of Water Element With Doshas And Lifespan

Meaning as per Charaka

Meaning and Definition of ayu according to Charaka

Combination of body, senses, mind and soul together is called ayu. Life or lifespan depends on the coexistence of these four entities. As long as these coexist, life exists. When this combination breaks, it results in death. Below mentioned are synonyms of ayu. Read – What is Ayurveda? 5 dimensions of the ancient Indian health wisdom!

  • Dhari – that which adorns or wears body, doesn’t allow body to get destructed or decayed
  • Jivitam – that which beholds life and allows us to live
  • Nityaga – that which moves constantly, daily
  • Anubandha – always keeps us associated with life principle

Study of ayu is called Ayurveda. Ayurveda means knowledge of ayu. It is a medical science, scriptures of which explain what is good and what is bad for lifespan, how to obtain advantageous and disadvantageous lifespan, and what type of lifespan bestows happiness and what type of lifespan curses us with miseries. Ayurveda also explains quality and quantity of life and ways of procuring it by following good principles, rules and ethics related to lifestyle, food and conduct of living. Read – Lifestyle Tips For Healthy People And Patients In Ayurveda

Types of Ayu

Ayu is of four types according to master Charaka.

They are –

  • Hita ayu – Good life / lifespan
  • Ahita ayu – Bad life / lifespan
  • Sukha ayu – Happy life
  • Dukha ayu – Sad life

While defining Ayurveda, Charaka tells – ‘ treatise in which beneficial and non-beneficial aspects of four types of lifespan i.e. good, bad, happy and sad lifespan and quantum and quality of lifespan has been elaborated is called Ayurveda’ Read – Mind – Qualities And Functions As Per Ayurveda

Qualities of Sukha Ayu

Sukha means happiness. It also means

  • Pleasure, Comfortable
  • Ease, Prosperous, Virtuous
  • Comfortable
  • Agreeable

All these mean same. In this context we will use word ‘happy’.

Here sukha ayu means enjoying a happy life span. This indicates happy state of body and mind.

A person is said to enjoying a happy lifespan if he is bestowed with below mentioned qualities –

  • Devoid of physical ailments
  • Devoid of mental diseases
  • Being young
  • Having immense strength and potency
  • Being successful
  • Being courageous
  • Person who is constantly in seek of four objectives of life i.e. righteousness, wealth in an ethical way, reasonable wishes and spiritual liberation
  • Person who has attained knowledge and analytical knowledge about everything
  • Person whose sense organs are working in perfect health, one whose sensory perceptions are precise
  • One who is equipped with all sorts of comforts earned in ethical ways
  • One whose dreams get accomplished
  • A person whose all tasks get done in right time, in right way as planned

Read – Best Natural Medicine For Anxiety: Courage

Dukha Ayu

Qualities of Dukha Ayu or Asukha Ayu

Dukha means unhappiness or grief. It also means

  • Disagreeable, Unpleasant, Distress
  • Sorrow, Suffering, Painful

All these mean same. In this context we will use word ‘unhappy’.

Here dukha ayu means experiencing an unpleasant life span. This indicates unhappy state of body and mind. This type of lifespan is possible due to many physical and mental hazards a person faces during his lifetime as an effect of his misdeeds and indiscipline mode, code and conduct of life. Read – 5 Ayurvedic Tips For A Healthy Lifestyle

A person is said to be suffering from an unhappy or unpleasant lifespan if he has opposite qualities as those of happy lifespan mentioned above. Those qualities are –

  • Suffering from physical and mental diseases
  • Being old
  • Having less strength and potency
  • Being failure
  • Being fearful and timid
  • Person who has never tried to achieve four objectives of life i.e. righteousness, wealth in ethical way, reasonable wishes and spiritual liberation
  • Person who has not attained knowledge of anything
  • Person whose sense organs have lost their power of perception
  • One who has not equipped himself with anything for a comfortable life
  • One who has followed unethical ways of earning his living and has been a culprit of bad deeds, punished by society and law, cursed
  • One whose dreams never get accomplished
  • Person whose none of plans or tasks get accomplished as per plan

Read – Sufferings And Health Of Spiritual People – Ayurvedic Analysis

Qualities of Hita Ayu

Hita means – Advantageous, beneficial, favorable

All these mean same. In this context we shall take its meaning as good.

Here hita ayu means experiencing a happy life span. This indicates happy state of body and mind. This type of lifespan is possible due to many good deeds and virtues a person follows during his lifetime. Qualities of favourable lifespan given below reflect discipline of one’s life which would eventually bestow him a lifespan to his advantage. This shows that life would be great and good if he is good enough with creation. Read – 16 Tips For A Graceful Ageing: Be Young At 60

A person is said to be experiencing from a happy or advantageous lifespan if he has below mentioned qualities or is involved in below mentioned virtues throughout his life. They are –

  • Person who is compassionate to all living beings in creation
  • Not greedy about others property and possessions
  • Always speaking truth
  • One who is a peace lover
  • Does all activities after analyzing them
  • Who cautiously follows righteousness, earns wealth in ethical way and wishes for desirable and reasonable ambitions
  • Respects respectable
  • Adorned with good knowledge and scientific analysis
  • Serves old aged people
  • Has good control on wrong emotions like excessive anger, greed, possessiveness, egoism, jealousy etc
  • Involved in charity, penance and auspicious rituals
  • Has mastered philosophical knowledge and also leads a philosophical and ethical way of life
  • Does any task by keeping in view goodness aspect, considering its effect in current life and after life

Read – Achara Rasayana – Behavioral Therapy For Calm Mind And Long Life

Qualities of Ahita Ayu

Ahita means –

  • Disadvantageous, Bad
  • Non-beneficial, unfavorable

All these mean same. In this context we shall take its meaning as unfavorable.

Here ahita ayu means experiencing an unfavorable life span. This indicates trouble one would face in a lifespan as an effect of his or her undesirable virtues.

Few qualities mentioned below would indicate and reflect indiscipline living style of an individual which would provide him with a lifespan which is not favourable to him. These are the virtues which are exactly opposite to those explained in favorable lifespan. Read – Effective Ayurvedic Treatment Protocol For Depression

  • Not being compassionate to living beings in creation
  • Being greedy about others property and possessions
  • Always telling lies and cheating others
  • One who does not promote peace and love
  • Does all activities without analyzing them
  • Who cautiously follows righteousness, earns wealth in ethical way and wishes for desirable and reasonable ambitions
  • Respects and worships respectable
  • Adorned with good knowledge and scientific analysis
  • Serves old aged people
  • Has good control on wrong emotions like excessive anger, greed, possessiveness, egoism, jealousy etc
  • Involved in charity, penance and auspicious rituals
  • Has mastered philosophical knowledge and also leads a philosophical and ethical way of life
  • Does any task by keeping in view goodness aspect, considering its effect in current life and after life

Anyone doing above mentioned deeds would have an unfavorable lifespan, a lifespan stuck with hardships, troubles, bad moments, grief and suffering.

Summary

Advantageous and happy lives are beneficial to us. Disadvantageous and miserable lifespan are harmful to us. Advantageous and disadvantageous lifespan seem to be causal, they reflect deeds we do. Results follow these deeds. Happy and miserable lifespan seem to be the effects. Virtues reflect effects of good and bad deeds done by us respectively.

Advantageous and happy lifespan help us to achieve four objectives of life, i.e. righteousness, wealth, wishes and liberation. Other two types of lifespan push us into dungeons of misery and troubles.

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