Adhyatmika Gunas – Qualities Related To Soul As Per Ayurveda

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

Qualities of a substance is classified as Adhyatmika – pertaining to sou and Adi Bhautika – pertaining to physical objects, as per Ayurveda.
Read – Dravya: Meaning, Ayurvedic Explanation


Adhyatmika Gunas

Adyatmika means ‘pertaining to the soul’. Therefore they are also called as Atma Gunas (qualities of the soul). They are six in number.

  • Ichcha –  desire
  • Dwesha – hatred, envy, aversion
  • Sukha – happiness, contentment
  • Dukha – grief, discontentment
  • Prayatna – effort
  • Buddhi – intellect

Smriti (memory), chetana (spirit), dhruti (courage), ahankara (egoism) etc are features of intellect (buddhi). Therefore they not counted separately.
Read – Relieving Negative Feelings With Self Awareness: Atma Vijnana

Ichcha quality

Ichcha means desire. Kama and Kamanaa are its synonyms.

Desire manifests in the mind of a person and it is also defined in the same terms. Liking towards any object or subject, which is manifested in the mind is called ichcha.
Read – 3 Basic Desires Of Life – Charaka Sanhita Sutrasthan 11

Ichcha is of two types.

Phala ichcha

Phala means fruits / benefits of any action. Generally, after completion of a good work, the result will be beneficial.

Desire towards obtaining a favourable result which is in the form of happiness or satisfaction following a noble action is called phala ichcha. Desire to obtain happiness / satisfaction itself can be defined as phalechha / phala ichcha.

Upaya ichcha

Upaya means mode, method and medium. For completion of any action or work, people would find different modes which include performing religious rites like fire sacrifice (yajgna) etc. Desire to perform yajna etc rituals which would form the basis for completion of any action / task undertaken is called upayechcha / upaya ichcha.
Read – Treatment For Excess Desires – Naishtiki Chikitsa

Dwesha quality

Dwesha means hatred. Whenever a feel of dislike develops in the mind, person feels as if being burnt from within. As a result the person becomes ferocious and feels as if his body is being burnt by fire. Tarka Sangraha treatise opines that hatred is a form of anger.
Read – Anger: Relation With Body Types, Ways To Control Anger

Sukha quality

Sukha is happiness. It is said to be a kind of pain, a comfortable / conducive pain. It is likeable and beneficial to everyone, immaterial of the person being closely related to us, a friend or a enemy. The feeling that gives satisfaction to everyone as a rule is called sukha.

It is the subject of liking for everyone in the whole world. It is said that pleasure (sukha) can be obtained by means of following path of righteousness (dharma). Happiness (sukha) is said to be under one’s own control i.e. one is responsible for his own happiness or pleasure.
Read – Pravritti – Attachment, Meaning, Causes, Effects of Attachment

Shloka iccha, dvesha, Sukha

Dukha quality

Dukha means discomfort. That which creates pain and thus is harmful is called dukha. That quality which being opposite of pleasure (sukha) makes everyone unhappy and unsatisfied is called dukha. Since it is non-beneficial, dukha is hated by everyone in the world.

It is said that pain (dukha) is caused when one gets indulged in acts of non-righteousness (adharma). It is the subject of hatred by everyone. Dukha is said to be under the control of others, i.e. others inflict pain and grief to us.
Read – 6 Easy Tips To Stay Positive, Happy And Successful Forever

Prayatna quality

Prayatna means effort / attempt. Prayatna is that which is done or attempted to be done. Thus, trying or attempting to do something is called prayatna.

It is of three types.

Pravrutti – that which is done / attempted through desire is called pravritti. This is any task / action undertaken consciously, after having liked to do it.

Nivrutti – that which is done or attempted with hatred is called nivrutti. Many times we take up tasks without a will to do those. They are called nivrutti.

Jivana karana (yoni) – any attempt done for the purpose of livelihood is called jivana karana / jivana yoni. It includes of all tasks and actions attempted to make a living. These tasks become the source of one’s life and livelihood. A person would do these attempts throughout his life in one way or the other.
Read – Cluttered Mind – Get Rid Of The Big Hurdle Between You And Success

Buddhi quality

Buddhi means intellect. It is also called Mahat tatva or mahan, upalabdi and jgnana. Jgnana means knowledge; therefore knowledge is synonymous with the term buddhi. It is said to be causal of all our day to day activities. The quality which is responsible for all activities we carry on day to day basis is called buddhi (intellect).

According to master Charaka, the intellect is of many types. It acquires the name of the sense organ with which it is associated at a given point of time. Therefore it is of 6 types, 5 types of intellect (buddhi) associated with five different sense organs and 1 type when associated with the mind, which according to Ayurveda is also a sense organ and organ of action. When associated with organs of action etc, the intellect would be of many types.
Read – Importance Of Soul In Perception Of Knowledge: Atma Jnana

According to Tarka Sangraha, intellect (budhi) is of two types.

1. Smriti – memory
2. Anubhava – experiences, this is of four types

  • Pratyaksha – direct knowledge
  • Anumiti – inferential knowledge
  • Upamiti – knowledge through comparison
  • Shabdaja – knowledge obtained through teachings and preaching

According to Karikavali, intellect (buddhi) is of two types i.e. prama and aprama.

Chakrapani, the commentator of Charaka Samhita opines that buddhi / prajgna is of three types i.e. dhee, dhruti and smriti.
Read – Ways To Improve Knowledge, Intelligence As Per Sushruta

Shloka – Dukha, Prayatna, Buddhi

Benefit of knowledge

Uses of ichcha etc qualities i.e. adhyatmaka qualities Master Charaka has explained Sadvritta in Sutrasthana and Achara Rasayana in Chikitsasthana. By following these, people will obtain physical and mental health. To follow the Achara Rasayna, the knowledge of Atma Gunas is very essential.
Read – Achara Rasayana – Behavioral Therapy For Calm Mind And Long Life

In Ayurveda, the below mentioned three are said to be the most essential etiological factors for the causation of any disease. They are –

  • Asatmya Indriyartha Sannikarsha – incompatible coordination between the sense organs and sense objects
  • Prajgnaparadha – committing mistakes and sins in a state of consciousness
  • Kala parinama – transformation and maturity of time
    Read – Improper Use Of Sense Organs: A Neglected Cause For Diseases

The most important one among these factors is the prajgnaparadha. Most of us knowingly or unknowingly commit mistakes on daily basis. But when mistakes are done in a state of consciousness and one does not attempt to make amendments on the same, they become responsible for many diseases. The knowledge of value of buddhi, ichcha etc qualities are very essential to know the self-worth, to avoid making mistakes while in a state of consciousness and thus prevent many diseases.
Read – Sadvritta In Ayurveda – Code Of Conduct For Healthy Life

While looking at them from an individual perspective, the knowledge of (desire) ichcha and (dislike) dwesha enables one to make conducive choices in terms of lifestyle practices, food etc and also to reject those which are non-conducive and harmful to the body.

The knowledge of dwesha (hatred) helps in keeping away the extreme emotions which are harmful for the body and mind, especially anger and hatred.
Read – Mind – Qualities And Functions As Per Ayurveda

Knowledge of sukha (happiness) helps in making choices which keep us happy and comfortable and also to follow righteousness to keep up the balance of pleasure in the life.

At the same time, knowledge of dukha (agony) enables one to learn about the causes which bring pain, agony and misery in one’s life and also to keep away the practices considered as non-righteousness and to follow the path of righteousness which would help in keeping away the discomfort and establish pleasure (sukha).

Knowledge of prayatna helps one to make efforts in the right direction and also to earn living for himself and his family, which is his primary duty.

Knowledge of buddhi enables one to be intellect and conscious about everything in life and to avoid committing mistakes and sins.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu) – Email / Skype

One comment on “Adhyatmika Gunas – Qualities Related To Soul As Per Ayurveda


    12/09/2019 - 8:00 pm

    The article is indeed very useful from the point of view of health . both mind and body..References to maintaining good conduct and character are worth emulating.Thank you so much

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