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Digestive Health

Relationship Between Agni And Pitta

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

Elements of nature are represented in body in the form of dosha. Agni i.e. fire element is represented in the body by the form of pitta.
Read – Understanding Agni: Concept, Definition, Functions, Types

Agni and Pitta are different?

Opinion of agni and pitta being different entities

According to Dalhana (Sutra sthana ch 21), agni and pitta are different. There are many instances wherein pitta and agni are described as different substances.

Sanskrit verse

i) A reference from pathogenesis of Grahani disease –

‘pitta vitiated by intake of pungent, corrosive, sour, alkalis and due to indigestion of food or foods causing indigestion will suppress digestive fire (agni) just as boiling water extinguishes fire in spite of being extremely hot’.

If pitta and agni were to be same substances, pitta would not put off fire. This substantiates pitta and agni to be different substances.
Read – Understand Pitta Dosha By Its Functions

pathogenesis of gray hairs

ii) In another context of explaining pathogenesis of palita disease i.e. grayness of hairs –

‘body heat (agni here) and pitta which are vitiated by anger, grief, exhaustion, reach head and produce greyness of hairs by afflicting hair roots’.

Here again terms pitta and agni are used separately. Both of them participate in pathogenesis of greyness.

iii) Pitta and agni are different in their properties also.
Pitta is liquid, unctuous and tends to move in downward direction.
Fire (agni) is dry and rough in nature, devoid of moisture and tends to move in upward direction.
Read – Pitta Increase Symptoms – Pitta Vriddhi Lakshana

iv) Even from therapeutic angle, certain medicines act in opposite ways on pitta and fire.
Ghee is pitta pacifying in nature while it enhances fire.
If pitta and fire were to be same, ghee would either increase both or decrease both. This justifies that pitta and fire are different substances.

v) Charaka tells that aggravation and pacification of doshas is always dependent on status of agni (fire).

If agni is balanced, doshas stay in balance. Charaka therefore emphasizes one to protect their fire always and keep away all those etiological factors responsible for aggravation of fire. This reference also shows that agni and pitta are different entities.
Read – How To Balance Pitta Dosha? Line Of Treatment

vi) Definition of health tells that –
‘equilibrium status of doshas, fire, tissues, excreta and pleasantness of mind, senses and soul is called swastha i.e. a status of health’.
This definition also points towards pitta which is a dosha and fire being different entities.

vii) Agnis are said to be 13 in number, while pitta is of five types.
Agnis are named as –
jatharagni i.e. digestive fire 1 in number,
bhutagnis i.e. 5 elemental fires
dhatvagnis i.e.7 tissue fires
Read – Lifestyle Tips For Healthy People And Patients In Ayurveda

Agni and Pitta Similarity

Opinion of agni and pitta being similar entities

i) Master Sushruta tells that both pitta and agni are one and same.

Agni i.e. fire element is located within pitta in the body.
Functions of fire and pitta are similar.

When this pitta is balanced, it is beneficial for body and mind.
All functions of body like –
assimilation and conversion of food into body elements and tissues
are carried out by this balanced pitta.

This pitta also eliminates wastes from body in a regular way and keeps body healthy.

Strength, colour, complexion, immunity, nourishment, enthusiasm, intelligence and many other factors depend on normalcy of pitta and fire located within it.
Read – Ranjaka Pitta – Location, Functions, Imbalance, Disorders, Treatment

When same pitta gets contaminated it leads to untoward consequences like
disturbed health, metabolism and immunity, many diseases and also death.

Morbid pitta can be manifested in an increased or decreased form in terms of quality and quantity. While pitta decrease only shows signs of decrease, increased pitta causes many diseases.
Read – Pachaka Pitta Location, Functions, Imbalance, Treatment

Acharya Sushruta has declared that
‘We can’t find any other Agni or fire in body other than Pitta’

This justifies that both pitta and fire are same.

‘Agni or fire in the body prevails in the form of Pitta’

ii) Agni is located in body in the form of pitta. This pitta is of five types and occupies five seats in the body.
Among all, pachaka pitta i.e. digestive pitta located in stomach and intestines is said to be superior form of pitta. This pitta, being seated in mentioned places controls other sub-types of pitta.

Other sub-types of pitta are –
Ranjaka pitta located in liver,
Sadhaka pitta located in brain,
Alochaka pitta located in eyes and brain and
Bhrajaka pitta located in skin.

Sushruta has called all five pittas by name agni.

Normally functioning pitta helps in –
proper digestion,
normal temperature,
normal color and complexion.
It bestows boldness, pleasure and pleasantness.

Abnormal pitta is responsible for –
improper digestion,
blindness and errors of vision,
abnormal temperature changes,
impaired color and complexion.
It becomes responsible for fears, worries and delusions.
Most functions of pitta resemble those of fire.
Read – Understanding Digestion Process From An Ayurveda View

iii) Agni is present in the form of five types of pitta in the body.
No separate agni is seen or perceived in the body other than one or other form of pitta. This shows that agni and pitta are same substances.

iv) When pitta gets increased in body, fiery qualities like heat, digesting nature etc are increased in the body. When pitta mitigating medicines or diet is given, fiery qualities also get pacified. This would not be possible if pitta and agni are different substances. Therefore pitta and agni are same substances and fire inside body is located within pitta.

v) When fiery qualities in body are diminished diseases like anorexia, indigestion, loss of appetite, loss of interest in food etc are manifested.
In such conditions when pitta increasing herbs like ginger, Plumbago zeylanica are administered, fiery qualities are restored and mentioned diseases are cured. This also justifies that fire and pitta are same entities.

vi) Classical texts too have again declared that pitta is nothing but antaragni or jatharagni i.e. internal fire. This theory is proved by direct evidences and inferences. Classical references quoted by ancient teachers and masters are accepted without any doubt, without debate or questioning. They are time tested theories. Thus, even by classical references and evidences, pitta and agni are same entities.

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View Comments

  • Pitta should be thought of as how fire expresses itself. Think of a caotic fire brush fire, vs a bbq. One is unbalanced and one is smooth and easy to use. Certain foods can aggravate pitta while also increasing or decreasing fire.

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