Universe (Loka) – Meaning, Components, Utility

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
The term Loka in general is considered as universe.

Loka – the territory of operation and work place for medical system
Loka means the world. Each living being is a component of loka. Since we are discussing the meaning of loka as applicable to Ayurveda and medical system, let us limit the description to ‘only living human beings’ with due respect to other living and non-living things of the creation.
Read – Purusha: Definition, Types, Characteristic Features

Ayurveda has also explained the concept of Loka-Purusha Samya. There is a lot of resemblance between the universe and the human being. Therefore a living being is said to be a minor representative component of the gross universe.
Read – Human Being Is A Replica of Universe – Loka Purusha Samya Vada

Loka is a tripod of mind, soul and body
Master Charaka explains that loka is a tripod of mind, soul and body.

Just as the balance of the tripod is based on all its three limbs, the entire creation is based on the balance and coexistence of the three limbs of its tripod –

  • Sattva – mind
  • Atma – soul / consciousness
  • Sharira – physical body

Read – Manasika Doshas – Satva, Rajas, Tamas As Per Ayurveda

Relationship between Ayu and Loka
Master Charaka explains that the coexistence of the body, senses, mind and soul is called Ayu, a term often used to describe a lifespan of an individual.

The entire Ayurveda works and operates to establish the balance of Ayu and its components. The concept of Loka seems to be an extended explanation of Ayu.
Read – Mind – Qualities, Functions, Doshas As Per Ayurveda

Sanskrit Verse

Loka is Jivatma?
The experts believe that the term loka is moreover applicable to the individual soul.
Read – 16 Factors To Watch For A Healthy Mind And Body

Ayurveda explains,

  • Purusha = Loka
  • Purusha = Jivatma
  • Purusha = combination of five elements of nature and soul

In the explanation of purusha, the soul means chetana dhatu i.e. soul + mind and not the soul alone.

Therefore purusha = physical body made up of combination of five elements of nature + soul + mind. This is also the explanation of loka. Therefore loka and purusha appear synonymous. Loka = Purusha = Jivatma.
Read – Panchamahabhuta: Application, Areas of Utility in Ayurveda treatment

The jivatma in each individual totally depends on the balance of the tripod of mind, body and consciousness. If the balance of these three limbs of the tripod persists, the individual soul persists.

Sarvam tatra pratishtitam
All actions, the fruits of all actions which we are indulged in our life, knowledge, ignorance, grief, life and death all depend on the balance of the three limbs of the tripod of creation.
Read – Four pursuits of life – Purushartha Chatushtaya

Loka is Puman, Purusha
It is on this purusha that Ayurveda plans and implements the treatment protocols, for the well-being of purusha.

Thus the terms purusha, puman and chetana are used as synonyms with the term loka. All these mean to define the soul, the life element, which is a different one for each of us, yet derived from a common origin, the supreme soul.
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