This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007

 

Conquest of mind — the methods and means

A.R.V. Murthy — G.J.Patel Ayurveda College & Research Centre, Gujarat

 

“The conquest of Mind” is what the literary translation of the expression sattvavajaya suggests. Charaka Samhita, the ancient Indian classic of 500 BC, defines sattvavajaya as the Art and Science of restraining the mind from the unwholesome objects (arthas). Caraka, at this instance however does not suggest any means of achieving this act of “restraint”. It was Todara (17th century) who expanded the definition of sattvavajaya by suggesting, intellect, valour and knowledge of self (dhi-dhairya-atmadi vignana) as the means of achieving mind control. Sad it may seem but it is true that the expression sattvavajaya is available only in these two texts and none of the Ayurveda texts, recent or past have discussed the concept of sattvavajaya. An in depth analysis of psychotherapeutic component in Ayurveda literature suggests that sattvavajaya is a psychophysical exercise designed to achieve a regulatory mechanism over the human psyche in dealing with environmental stressors (indriyarthas) and subduing and balancing emotional stressors (manoarthas). The concept of sattvavajaya can be applied to include (1) Non pharmacological methods like pratidwandvi bhavas (replacement of emotions), (2) Para pharmacological procedures like shirodhara (scalp irrigation) and (3) Drugs in the form of manasarogaharas (anti psychotics) and medhya rasayanas (drugs promoting intellectual functions).

Email the author, Dr. Arv Murthy, at vasutpt@yahoo.com