By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Fever is the common ailment which occurs the most in one’s lifetime, than any other disease. It manifests independently and also as a symptom in many diseases. Ayurveda, especially master Charaka has given great importance to fever and has explained it elaborately.
Read – Ayurveda Lifestyle and Diet For Fever – 45 Important Things To Know
Fever has been allotted two chapters,
- one in the Nidana sthana dealing with causes, types, and symptoms of fever (Cha.Ni.Sth.Ch 1) and
- another in Chikitsa sthana wherein the treatment details of fever has been discussed in depth (Cha.Chi.Sth.Ch 3)
The term Jwara is not just a ‘raise in temperature of the body’. It is a disturbance, pain and raised heat in physical, mental and sensual planes. Jwara is also a synonym of disease.
Jwara Pravritti means initial manifestation or origin of fever.
Read – Charaka – Jwara Chikitsa 3rd Chapter
The origin of fever
Why should we know the origin of any disease?
Knowing the origin and history of disease gives us evidence about origin of disease, initial causes that led to the manifestation of that disease and the evolution of disease took place with time. This will help us to understand a given disease in present age in comparison to the earlier forms and change in patterns of manifestation of the same disease in the timeline of its evolution.
Sources of origin of fever in Ayurveda
Master Charaka tells that the knowledge of origin of fever can be obtained by two sources –
1. Parigrahat –
In Janapadodhwamsaneeya Vimana Adhyaya, i.e. 3rd chapter of Vimana Sthana it is explained that the ‘Parigraha i.e. greed of the person to accumulate things’ at the end of Krta or Satya Yuga i.e. the first era will lead to manifestation of fever and other diseases in the future era.
Read – Charaka Janapadoddhvamsaniyam Vimana: 3rd Chapter: Epidemic Diseases
Yuga means era within a four-age cycle. There are four eras –
- Satya / Krta yuga
- Treta yuga
- Dwapara yuga
- Kali yuga
We are now in the Kali yuga. Master Charaka tells that the quality and quantity of life and everything in the creation deteriorates with passage of each era. The nature of people in the creation, their health, attitude, behavior, strength, lifespan, goodness, righteousness, choices of food and means of living, quality of food and crops and almost everything declines with passage of each era. This will eventually lead to manifestation of many diseases including fever.
Events leading to origin of fever
Ref – Cha.Vi.3/23-24
Towards the end of Krta yuga, some well-to-do people started eating too much. This led to increased heaviness in the body. This further led to tiredness, laziness, and desire to accumulate wealth, material, women, progeny and lot more. With time, man became more and more greedy. The desire to accumulate things and increasing greed for the same is called Parigraha.
Read – Sadvritta In Ayurveda – Code Of Conduct For Healthy Life
This carried into the next era, the Treta Yuga. Due to enhanced greed people started cheating each other, telling lies, indulgence in lust, anger, egoism, hatred, cruelty, fear, grief, worries and other perverted mind behaviors. The righteousness reduced by one forth in comparison to the previous era. The ‘time period of Treta yuga’ and quality of everything in the creation too reduced by one forth. The qualities of elements of nature got destroyed. As a result, the goodness and rich properties like taste, potency, etc. of the plants, food and medicines too reduced.
When these foods and herbs which had lost their qualities and potency were consumed by the people of that era, they were deprived of the quality and quantity of nutrition which the people of the earlier eras had enjoyed. Consequentially, these people, for the first time became the victims of many diseases like fever etc. This led to gradual deterioration of lifespan in the succeeding eras.
Read – 16 Tips For A Graceful Ageing: Be Young At 60
2. ‘Nidane purvam uddhishtaa rudra kopam cha daarunaat’ –
The story of development of fever from intense fury of Lord Rudra has been quoted in Nidana Sthana of Charaka Samhita and the related events have been elaborated in Chikitsa Sthana.
a. Mention of ‘Anger of Lord Rudra’ as the origin of fever in Nidana Sthana –
Ref – Cha.Ni.Stha.1/35
Here it is said that fever is manifested from the anger of Lord Rudra / Shiva. The fever is as severe and dangerous as the anger of Lord Rudra which is said to be all consuming. The comparison has been made due to the below mentioned reasons –
- The fever afflicts all life principles and life related activities (Pranas) of all the living beings
- Enhances heat, pain and discomfort in the body, mind and senses
- It reduces the consciousness, intelligence, color, comfort and enthusiasm
- Causes fatigue, loss of consciousness and loss of interest towards food
- Increases pain and temperature in the body
- Other diseases don’t trouble the mankind, doesn’t produce complications and not difficult to treat like fever
- It is considered as leader of all diseases
- It manifests in all living beings
- All living beings are born along with fever and die along with it
- It is considered to be ‘enemy of mankind’ and ‘having the form of death’
- It is the fever which takes away the life of all living beings
Read – Ayurveda Home Remedy For Fever
b. Elaboration of the story and events related to ‘Fury of Lord Rudra’ related to the origin of fever
Ref – Cha.Chi.3/15-25
In the Treta Yuga i.e. the second era, Lord Shankara / Shiva had vowed to remain ‘anger free’. At that time, the demons started meddling with the peace of sages and people by destroying their penance and rituals. Daksha, who was the manager of creation and also the father-in-law of Lord Shiva, in spite of being capable of destroying those demons remained silent and neglected the menace created by those demons. In between, Daksha arranged for a grand fire sacrifice. In spite of repeated warning and alerts from the other Gods, Daksha ignored keeping the sacrificial portions in the name of Lord Shiva. He even denied and ignored reciting the sacred verses in the name of Lord Shiva mentioned to be read during sacrifices in the Vedas. He did not even give the oblations to the Lord.
When the duration of vow completed, Lord Shiva got extremely disturbed and angry on the negligence of Daksha in terminating the demons and the disrespect shown towards him in the sacrifice.
Read – Ayurveda Home Remedy For Fever And Cold
As a consequence, Lord Shankar’s anger surfaced. He opened his third eye in his forehead and destroyed all the demons from the fire emanating from it. Then, with a determination to destroy the fire sacrifice of Daksha, Lord Shankar created a child named Virabhadra from the fire derived from his anger. This fiery child took rampage and destroyed the sacrifice. Following this, all the Gods were grief struck and suffered from burning sensation and pain. They started running in different directions and got distraught. The worried Gods, along with the 7 great sages started enchanting sacred verses in praise of Lord Shankar until he settled down giving away his anger. On learning this all the Gods saluted Lord Shiva. Now ‘the anger of Lord Shiva’ who had ash in his hand as his weapon, had 3 heads, 9 eyes, his body enveloped with garlands of fire flames, looked fierce-full with small legs and belly, on being thrown away by the Lord, asked in anguish ‘Oh Lord, now that you have discarded me, what shall I do? Since you have settled down I don’t have any relationship with you. Please instruct me!’
Lord Shiva instructed the anger to go down into the creation and get associated with all the living beings. ‘You get into all living beings when they are born or die or when they consume incompatible and unwholesome foods, and be popularly called as Jwara henceforth’.
Thus, Lord Shiva sent his anger into the mortal world in the form of fever. Thus fever has its origin from the anger of Lord Shiva.
Read – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Of Recurring Fevers – Punaravartaka Jwara
The fever, according to Ayurveda, has its origin from –
- Greed which masks the wisdom
- Changing choices (bad food choices and lifestyles) with evolution of time
- Reduced righteousness and goodness of the living beings in the timeline of evolution
- Decrease in quality of nature, nature elements, foods, medicines etc. with evolution – this also includes contamination and pollution of nature by man
- Consuming low quality foods, grains, water and air predisposes all living beings to many diseases including fever, lowers immunity
- Emotional highs, mainly excessive anger, as evidenced by story of Lord Shankar’s anger and not willing to let go the anger
Read – Achara Rasayana – Behavioral Therapy For Calm Mind And Long Life
Even in modern day living, making bad choices of foods and lifestyle practices and stress, geographical variations, abnormal climate changes and pollution adding to it exposes us to large spectrum of diseases. We live amidst everything which is contaminated, including the minds and emotions. The above mentioned explanation is also related to other diseases of the modern day too. This is also because Jwara is a synonym of Vyadhi i.e. disease.