The Oja, bala, vyadhikshamatwa, immunity. INTRODUCTION Introduction The concept

The basic components of human body are Dosha, Dhatu and Mala. The
healthy state of body rests on the state of dynamic equilibrium of these
component. Human body is in a continous exposure to external and internal
stressors which make the body vulunurable to disease. But the tendency to have
disease is prevented by many factors within the body. Oja is one of the factor
that prevent the body from illness. Ojas is nothing but the pure essence of all
Dhatu of the body. Abnormalities of Ojas result in many illness and loss of
strength and stamina. So it is utmost essential to manage Oja in optimal
quantity and quality so that the body will enjoy healthy life. The present
study is carried out with an aim to have proper understanding of the Ojas with
special reference to immunity and access its clinical importance.

 

Keywords:
Oja, bala, vyadhikshamatwa, immunity.

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INTRODUCTION

Introduction

The concept of ojas in ayurveda is a very important principle.

 

Ojas
literally means “vigour”. It is described as an essential
component of the body to sustain life force. Ojas exists on a subtle level within
the body. Disease strikes at the location where there is derangement of oja.
The diseases in present

scenario such as
AIDS, diabetes etc. manifest features of decrease immunity or rather Ojakshaya.

Materials
and Methods

This article is based
on a review of various

Ayurvedic classical
literatures, online and offline journals. Materials related to oja,
vyadhishamatwa, immunity and

other relevant topics
were collected by searching through various search engines and digital
libraries. The search results thus obtained were compiled, analyzed and discussed
for a thorough and in-depth understanding of the concept of oja vis-à-vis
immunity in Ayurveda.

DISCUSSION

Formation
of Ojus

The Oja manifest
within the embryo right at the time of fertilization, when shukra (sperm)
fuses with shonita (ovum) paka of shukradhatu (both shukra
and shonita) takes place (fertilization) and two components are formed
i.e. sara (nutrient materials) and mala (excretory products). This
ojas will perform its function of avastambha and support the foetal
life the garbha. Thus the Oja can be regarded as the product of conception
having derived from sperm and ovum; carry the sara of all dhatus in
them, which make them viable. Further nutrition and enrichment in the quantity
of ojas to ardhanjali takes place by ahararasa (nutrient materials),
which is derived from  mother’s body and
possesses qualities similar to ojas and, it also simultaneously
nourishes the growing embryo. In later period of intrauterine life, when heart
is developed, it enters into heart and with the vessels connected to it, circulates
throughout the body of fetus; every tissue of the fetal body is supplied with ojas,and
is supported by it. So that pranas (factor responsible for sustenance of
life) are said to be seated in it. Hence ojas is said to be prevailing
in all the stages of intrauterine life.

1,2

Types
of Ojas

The ojas is
considered to be of following two types viz. para oja which is of astha
bindu pramana and located in hridya (heart) and apara oja which
is of ardhanjal. Chakrapanidata notes that param teja which is
the sara (essence) of all dhatus, being located in hridya (heart)
mixes with rasa (lymph) and circulates through dhamani (vessels)
and performs nourishment of entire

body. It represents
the bala of all the dhatus and is present in the organism from the
time of fertilization.3

Nutrition
of Ojas

Ojas
has to be synthesized by body in continual manner because it gets
utilized in the course of its functions. Hence, to fulfill the

amount utilized and
to keep intact the total quantity einforcement must be needed. Acharya
Sushruta says that food is the basis of all life as well as of bala,
varna and ojas.4 The

same view also holds
by Charakacharya i.e. body is the  utcome of food. At some other place, he states
the same fact in other words that ahararasa nourishes all the body
tissues as well as ojas.5 Thus it is obvious that ojas is produced
and nourished from food substances, which are conductive to ojas. But,
the

conversion of food,
in spite of having all nutritive factors of ojas, dhatus, bala and varna
etc. into specific metabolite depends upon the proper functioning of Agni
(digestive

factor).6Another
important factor that serves as an important entity for internal transport system
of body is termed as Srotasas.7 The nutrient factors, the precursors of
bodily

elements are
recognized and they transported to the place where they are subjected to digestion
and metabolism for the formation of latter body tissues.8

Seat
of Ojas

The Ojas is
said to be located in the hridaya (heart) 11. It mixes with rasa and
circulates through the dhamanis (circulating vessels).The heart plays an
important role in distribution of

sleshmika
ojas to all the tissues of the body. The channels of transport are the dasha
mahamula dhamanis which carry oja to the entire body. These channels
permit the exudation (filtration, diffusion and permeation) and maintain the
steady flow to

the body tissues for
nourishment.1

Quantity
of Ojas

According to Charaka,
the quantity of ojas in a healthy  ndividual is ardhanjali while vagbhatacharya
an  stangahrdayakara has stated
it to be one prasrta in quantity. It is

equitant to volume of
the cavity formed by hollowing one’s own palm, not mean two Pala in
weight for present context. In

Padmapurana,
the quantity of ojas (bala) is stated to be 1/4 kudawa which
is approximately 1/4 anjali when individualized

norm is taken as
standard measure. By summation of the above statements it appears that ojas is
ardhanjali in an individual and is subjected to fluctuation from 1/4 to
1/2 anjali according to the constitution. Since Charaka also says
that these fluids are always subjected to fluctuation i.e. increase or decrease.
Chakrapani Datta by quoting other authority, states that there is one
more kind of ojas which is astabindu in quantity and is

called as para
ojas and is different from ½ anjali ojas i.e. shlesmika ojas.
Arundatta on the other hand, observes that ojas pervades in all
the cells of body and its six drops are located in hridaya.12

Properties
of Ojas: The properties can play an important role in understanding its
multiple aspects precisely.

? Colour:
According to Sushruta it is sukla varna (clear white) whereas
other Acharyas has mentioned three colors of

ojas
i.e. a clear substance with the tinge of red and yellow.

? Odour: Lajagandhi
i.e. with the smell of laja.

? Taste:
According to Charaka, its taste is similar to that of honey i.e. madhurasa
with slight kashayatva. No one else among the Acaryas have
directly mentioned about

the taste of ojas.

Ojas
and Sleshma: The kapha in its normal status is supposed to give bala (strength)
to body hence it is correlated with Ojas.

According to
Chakrapani dutta sleshmika ojas is apara oja whose pramana is
considered as adhanjali pramana.

Ojas
and Bala: Acharya Charaka states that bala,arogya,ayu,prana and ojas
are dependent on Agni. Bala is classified into three types as
per samhita grantha:-

? Sahaja bala:-It
is resistance to disease states to be prakrita (natural/inborn) and exists
from birth. Some individuals are

observed as
physically strong from their birth whereas some are observed as physically weak
from the very birth. Acharya Charaka in analyzing the Sahaja Bala has
mentioned that the natural bala of the sharira and satva i.e.
the body and mind are termed as Sahaja Bala. Sahaja Bala can be
correlated with constitutional strength of an individual.

According to Acharya
Chakrapani the constitutional strength is present in every living being
form the very time of birth. This is because of the natural growth of the dhatus
(tissues). Thus the natural strength does not require any extraneous factor
for its growth. It is known that, there are some people who are by nature
strong; some others are weak, it is genetically

decided.

? Kalaja bala:-This
bala is influenced by seasonal traits and age of the person. Bala is
dissipated and lowest in adanakala. This kala corresponds to shishira,
vasanta and grishma, which represents the hottest season of the
year. On the other hand bala

is conserved and its
highest optimum level is witnessed in visargakala corresponding to varsha,
sharada, hemanta ritu that

represents the cooler
seasons of year. As regards to Bala the childhood and age come in last
descending order.

? Yuktikrita:-It
refers to the induction of body resistance against diseases by resort to
appropriate nutrition and rasayan

therapy.15

Clinical
importance of Ojas:

Ojas
plays a vital role in maintainance of health as well as production
of illness. When ojas is in normal state it brings health and when it become
vitiated or depleted it leads to many pathological conditions. The various
clinical implications of Ojas are as follows;

In Physiological
State:

The Ojas plays a
vital role right at the time of conception. During fertilization  Ojas is said to be present in the
sperm and ovum in the form of their sara or essence, in the absence of
which, fertilization does not take place. After fertilization sara of shukra
and shonita get converted in to a new substance, which is said to be
garbharasadrasah (resultant of fusion of sperm and ovum) it is the only
source of nutrition of garbha (fetus) for its growth and development.
Ojas is also responsible for viability or non-viability of fetus. During eight
month of pregnancy ojas circulate trans-placentally between mother and
foetus. If the fetus gets delivered in this month, in the state when ojas is
in maternal body, it does not survive being devoid of ojas.

Ojas help in
maintainance of health by helping the Dosha, dhatu

and mala awhich
are the fundamental units of the

body, to remain in a
state of dynamic equilibrium. It is also said that all the activities of the
living body may it be kayika,

vacika,
mansika take place smoothly if the body is endowed with proper qualities
of ojas. Thus it can be inferred that ojas influence the function
of physical, sensory, psychic and other higher faculties of the body and
maintain the homeostatic

condition of body. Ojas
acts
as Vyadhishamatwa within the body. Vyadhikshamatwa is nothing but the
immunity in ayurvedic concept which has two aspects viz. vyadhibalavirodhitwa
and vyadhyutpadakanibandhakatwa.. According to Charaka vyadhikshamatwa
is not of the same order in all constitutions, it varies in individual regardless
of their nutritional environmental and individual factors, physical and psychological
factors etc.

Pathological States
of Ojas:

The pathological
states of Ojas or Ojas Vikruti is of three types Oja Visransa Oja Vyapath
Ojakshaya

Oja
Visransa is characterized by Sandhivisleshana
(looseness of the joints), Gatrasada (inertness of the
extremities), Dosha chyavana (displacement of doshas from their

respective location),
Kriya Sannirodha (impairment of the function of the body, manas etc).
Oja Vyapad is characterized by  Stabdha
guru gatrata (inertness and heaviness of the extremities), Vatasopha (anasarca
due to vata),  Varnabheda

(discoloration of
skin or change of complexion), Glani (fatigue of the senses), Tandra (drowsiness),
Nidra (somnolence).

 

 

 

 

 

Oja Kshaya displays
symptoms like

Murcha
(loss of consciousness), Mansakshaya (wasting of muscles), Moha
(stupor), Pralapa (delirium), Marana (death)

There are also certain
other disorders in which the Ojas get vitiated or  become pathological and depleted . Those disorders
are as follows:-

Ø Sannipata
jwara: In  sannipata jwara in
when the excited pitta and vayu bring about the visramsa of
oja  then the symptoms like stiffness all over body, coldness, and desire
to sleep always, unconsciousness, somnolence, loosening of the limb, low fever
and body pain are seen.

Ø Rajayakshama:-In rajayakshama
due to the obstruction of the srotansi as a result of deficiency of
nutrients of raktadi dhatus ,lowered functioning of dhatushmas (dhatwagnis)
and apachaya (catabolic events), the food ingested which when subjected
to the process of digestion in kostha is changed into malas,
little of nutrition is available for production of ojas.

Ø Madhumeha:-In madhumeha
vyadhi, the aggravated vata by its ruksha guna converts the madhura ojas
into one of kasaya and transports it to the mutrashaya (urinary
apparatus). The ojas produced in this condition is qualitatively
deficient. Even the impoverished ojas is lost to the body through urine.

Ø Panduroga:-In
pandu roga, aggravated pitta vitiates the dhatus which
latter lose their integrity. Subsequently, varna, bala and sneha which
are the gunas of ojas are depleted by the vitiated doshas and
dhatus. The individual suffers from impoverished rakta and medo
dhatus and de-vitalization. The person is then affected as nissara (loss
of natural integrity, tone and strength of the tissues), shitilendriya (impairment
of the integrity of the senses) and vaivarna (abnormal color or
complexion of body)

Concept of Immmunity

The Body Defenses as per modern
science is termed as Immunity which can be regarded as resistance to disease.  the immune system is responsible for defense
against all the microorganisms and toxic cells to which  individuals are exposed.  There are many factors which directly or
indirectly affect the immunity eg. Genetics, Age, Health, nutrition, stress,
Hormones etc. The immune system is a functional system rather than a system
with discrete organs. The parts of almost all organs in the body play some role
in immunity. Wide spread chemical mediators, cells and tissues along with their
transport via  circulatory and lymphatic
systems constitute the immune system. There are mainly two types of immunity
present in body. First one is  1.
Nonspecific Immunity an innate reaction that acts as a general response against
all kinds of pathogens without having been previously exposed to it. The
examples of non specific immunity are  a.
physical and chemical barriers b. internal cells and chemicals 2. Specific
Immunity an adaptive system that fights specific individual pathogens in
customized and professional ways

Cells and tissues of the immune system

The cells of the immune system take
their origin from precursors in the bone marrow, after which they circulate in
the blood and live in lymphoid organs like lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils along
with virtually within all the tissues of the body. During the demand they can
rapidly migrate to any site of infection. Among circulating white blood cells
(leukocytes), the major phagocytes are neutrophils and monocytes. These cells
ingest and destroy microbes, other injurious agents, and one’s own dead and
damaged cells. Neutrophils respond rapidly to foreign stimuli and to injury;
their reaction is part of acute inflammation. When blood monocytes enter
tissues, they mature, and are called macrophages. These cells are present under
epithelia, in connective tissues, and in all organs. Macrophages respond more
slowly than do neutrophils but for longer times; this reaction is typical of
chronic inflammation. Macrophages also help to repair damaged tissue. The most
important cells of adaptive immunity are lymphocytes which are catagorised in
two main classes B lymphocyte and T lymphocyte. B lymphocytes (so called
because they mature in the bone marrow) secrete proteins called antibodies,
which bind to and eliminate extracellular microbes. T lymphocytes (which mature
in the thymus) function mainly to combat microbes that have learned to live
inside cells (where they are inaccessible to antibodies). There are two main
types of T lymphocytes one is helper T cells which help B lymphocytes to make
the most effective antibodies and help macrophages to kill ingested microbes.
The second group of T lymphocyte are called cytotoxic (cytolytic) T lymphocytes
(CTLs) which kill infected host cells and thus serve to eliminate reservoirs of
infection. A third, small population of lymphocytes is called “regulatory T
cells” because they control immune responses and prevent inappropriate
reactions. There are several other small populations of lymphocytes. In order
to get immune responses started, foreign substances have to be captured and
displayed to lymphocytes. The cells that perform this task of displaying
antigens are called antigen-presenting cells (APCs). The best defined APCs are
specialized type of cells called dendritic cells.

CONCLUSION

As the immune system is a two edged sword so is the Ojas. Ojas prevent
the body from having illness at the same time it also become responsible for
many illness if it get vitiated. So during diagnosis the state of Ojas should
be accessed properly and during treatment also Rasayan Dravyas should be
administered to maintain Ojas in its optimal state. Optimal state of Ojas leads
to the maintenance of unctuous quality of body parts, holding body entities
together, durability of body elements, maintenance of bulk of body, maintenance
of sexual vigor and strength of body.