Understanding the attributes of vata dosha -a review


Understanding the attributes of vata dosha -a review

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  • On 09Sep

Ayurveda is a Smriti of lord Brahma . Ayurveda teaches a person the nature that he sees around is just an elaborated form of himself. The driving force present in the nature is just adapted within him. The three entities present in the nature i.e. Anila(wind), Surya(sun), Soma(moon) are adapted to Vata, Pitta, Kaphain the body. This three are called as Doshas, the factor which is capable of not only vitiation but also of vitiating other factors of the body is known as Dosha. The three humors are capable of getting vitiated due to their respective causes and modify or disturb the physiological functions to initiate the process of the onset of the disease. When the three humors, in the state of equilibrium working as complimentary to each other, perform and control all physiological processes of both physical structure and mind maintain the health. The concept of Ayurveda physiology and pathology of this body is explained on the basis of Tridosha and therefore it is inseparable part of it. These three humors are responsible for the origin, sustenance and destruction of the body just as the pillars support a building, these humors support and maintain the body. Therefore, they are also called as three pillars or Tristhunas. Then these are known as Tridhatus f the body. Among the Tridoshas the prime importance comes for Vata because of the following points such as life exists as long as the Vata lasts in the body.  (Bhela Acharya) According to Acharya Vagbhata Vatais Prabala among the Doshas because of its Vibhutva, Ashukaritva, Bala, able to vitiate other doshas, its swatantrya.  Movement in the body is indicative of presence of life. Vata is responsible for such movements. Vata is not only mobile but also capable of keeping Pitta, Kapha, Dhatus, and Malas in motion In Ayurveda classics, Vata Dosha is always described in the form of Guna and Karma. All Acharyas have told that Vata is an entity which comprises of certain Gunas which exhibit certain karmas in the body. Vata is a group of six Gunas  which is capable of doing the normal karmas ascribed to it. Here Guna can be correlated to the potential energy of Vata and Karma as kinetic energy of Vata. Along with these possess certain special properties such as Amurtatva (Atma Guna), Anavasthitava(Vishamata) , Swayambhu , Achintya Viryam , and Yogavahitvam . The reason why Vata is possessing these special Gunas is not much known.

 Aim and objectives

 •           To analyse each of the Rukshaadi Gunas in detail.

 •           To analyse each of the special Gunas in detail.

 •           To find out the reason of these special Gunas of Vata on the basis of Rukshaadi Gunas.

 •           To justify the reason with Dwividha Pramanas (Anumana and Yukti )

 Materials and methods

 The classical Ayurvedic texts along with its commentary is cited as the prime source for the conceptual work. The discussion was made on the basis of conceptual study and interpretation is made with the help of DwividhaPramanas and conclusions were drawn considering the conceptual study and discussion.

 Historical review of Vata Dosha

 Vata is included under the 96 Jeevatma Tatwa told in the Panjanjali Yoga Sutra, where there is term called as Dasha Prana which explains the Prana , Udana, Vyana, Samana, Apana which are called as Pranas and Naga, Krikara, Kurma, Devadatta, Dananjaya which are called as Upapranas. The other term included under the 96 Tatwas is Dushana Trayam which in turn is the Vata, Pitta, Kapha. In Rgveda a reference to Tridosha is seen below the term Tridhatu. Acharya Sayana, the commentator of Vedas, explains this term as the synonyms for Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

 Conceptual study

 Nirukti of Vata

 The word Vata is defined by Acharya Susrutaas Va Gati Gandhanayoh . It means that Vata indicates both Gati and Gandhana.

Review on Gunas of Vata.

According to Acharya Vagbhata Vata Dosha possess six Gunas which are Ruksha, Laghu, Sheeta, Khara, Sukshma, Cala . According to Acharya Caraka, Vishada is the additional Guna told in the Sutrasthana1st chapter Deergamjeeviheeyam. In Sutrasthana 12th chapter Vatakalaakaleeya6 Gunas are told by including Daruna excluding the Cala Guna. In Vimana Sthana 8th chapter Rogabhishajitheeyam Parusha and Bahu and Shighra Gunas are included. According to AcharyaSusruta, Vishtamba is the additional Guna told for Vata.

 Explanation of each Guna in detail

 Ruksha Guna

 According to Acharya Hemadri the factor of a Dravya which is responsible for the Shoshana action is called as Ruksha . According to Guna Parignana,Rooksha Guna is best among Vatakaraka, by this Guna Kapha Dosha is pacified. According to Ashtanga Hridaya Rooksha Guna is opposite to Snigdha Guna which does the Kledana Karma . According to Acharya SusrutaRuksha Guna is opposite to Snigdha Guna which does the Lekhana and Ropana Karma.

 Laghu Guna

 According to Acharya Hemadri the factor of a Dravya which is responsible for the Langhana action is called as Laghu .According to Guna Parignana, Laghu is Pathya, pacifies Kapha, cause Sheegrapaka i.e. early transformation. According to Acharya CarakaLanghana is an action through which the body becomes light .According to Acharya Arunadatta Langhana causes Apatharpana . According to Acharya Susrutha Laghu is opposite to guru and responsible for Lekhana, Ropana actions .

 Sheeta Guna

 According to Acharya Hemadri the factor of a Dravya which is responsible for the Sthambana action is called Sheeta . According to Guna Parignana and Acharya Susruta, Sheeta Guna is responsible for Hladana, Sthambana and destroys the Moorcha, Swedha, Daha, and Trit . According to Acharya Caraka Sthambana is the treatment modality through which the motion or flow is checked.

 Khara Guna

 According to Acharya Hemadri the factor of a Dravya which is responsible for the Lekhana action is called Khara .According to Acharya Susruta Parushatvam i.e. roughness is called as Kharatvum .

 Sukshma Guna

 According to Acharya Hemadri the factor of a Dravya which is responsible for the Vivarana action is called Sukshma.

 Cala Guna

 According to Acharya Arunadatta Cala is a property causing Gamanasheelatva, does not allow to stay in a place .

 Vishada Guna

 According to Acharya Hemadri the factor of a Dravya which is responsible for the Kshalana action is called as Vishada .

 Vishtambi Guna

 The Ruksha Guna present in the Vata does the Shoshana of the Kledamsha which results in the Vishtambi Guna as told by Acharya Susrutha.

 Daruna Guna

 According to Acharya Cakrapani Daruna Guna is evolved due to Kadina caused by the Shoshna.Vishtambi Guna and Daruna Guna are having similarity .

 Bahu Guna

 According to Acharya Caraka Bahu Guna is responsible for delirious speech and cause for the prominence of Kandara and Sira.

 Sheekra Guna

 According to Acharya Caraka Sheekra Guna is responsible for the sudden start, irritated nature, sudden angry, sudden affection and sudden dispassion.

 Review on special properties of Vata

 Vayo Amurtatvam

 This property is one of the Atma Gunas of Vata. According to Acharya Cakrapani, Amurtatva is Adrishytvam (invisibility).

 Vayo Anavasthitatva (Vishamata)

 This property is also included under the Atma Gunas of Vata. According to Acharya Cakrapani,Anavasthitava is Cala Swabhaava.


 Acharya Susruta has told this property. Vata is said to be self-existent. Acharya Susruta has told three factors which makes Vata as Swayambu Such as

 •           Swatantrya

 •           Nitya bhaava

 •           Sarvagatatva


 According to Acharya Vagbhata, Swatantrya property of Vata in which Vata becomes the causative factor for other Doshas.

 Acharya Dalhana has told that Swatantrya means Vata does not depend on anyone for performing its karma.

 Nitya bhaava  

 According to Acharya Dalhana, Vata is told to have Nityatva property. Vata does not have Karana for its origin.


 The property by which the Vata does the Sanchara all over the seat.

 Vayo Achintya Viryam

 According to Acharya Dalhana Achintya Viryamis Achintya Shakti which is present in Vata. The property by which Vata does the balancing and bearing of Dosha, Dhatu and Mala. The other version of this Achintya Viryais, Vata is told to have Sheeta by most of the Acharyas. Vaisheshika Darshana has told as Anushna Sheeta for Vata.

 Vayo Yogavahitvam

 According to Acharya Bhavamisra, A substance which when associated with other substances projects their qualities also without losing its own, is known as Yogavaahi. Acharya Cakrapani has also the same opinion. Vata is told to have the Yogavahitva property, when Vata joins with pitta   becomes Ushna and when Vata combines with Kapha becomes Sheeta. This one quality itself makes Vata unique from other two Doshas.

 Discussion on special properties of Vata on the basis of Rukshaadi Gunas

 In the part of discussion justification to the special properties of Vata on the basis of RukshaadiGunas will be given with the help of Anumana and Yukti Pramana.

 Discussion on Vayo Amurtatva

 Justification on the basis of Anumana Pramana

 The reason for which the Vata is showing the property of Amurtatva might be due to its Panchamahabhuta Sangatana. Every substance in the universe is made of Panchamahabhuta. But certain substance will be having the Adhikya of certain mahabhutas. in the case of VataDosha, Vata is having the Akasha and Vayu Mahabhuta predominance even though Vata is having all five Mahabhutas this can be substantiated by the concept taken from Tarka Sangraha i.e. Vata Dosha is having the Akasha Mahabhuta in Nitya Roopa ,Vayu Mahabhuta in Karya Roopa and rest of the three Mahabhutas ( Agni, Jala ,Prithvi) in Paramanu Roopa, because of this condition Vata is only possessing the Sabda and Sparsha Guna according to PurvapurotharaGuna Vriddhi Pramana. Roopa Guna is not evolved due to Agni Mahabhuta’s Nitya state. This reason makes Vata Amurta or Adrishya.

 Justification on the basis of YuktiPramana(Yuktisthu Yojana)

 When analysing the Pradana Sthanas of Vata Dosha, Srotra and Sparshanendriya is mentioned by Acharya Vagbhata which in turn gives the idea that Vata is having only Sabda and Sparsha Guna. In the Chikitsa aspect Maharshi Badisha Dhamargava in the context of Vatakalaakaleeya Adhyaya says that the Vatakara Nidana is not directly acting on Vata. Vata is getting Prakopa due to the changes occurring in the Shareera i.e. when the Shareera is turning to Ruksha state the Vata Sanchara Marga is constricted, this reason results in the Vata Prakopa. This concept is accepted in Ayurveda on the basis to Vata’s Amurtatva. Madhura, Amla, Lavana rasa reduces Vata but these Rasas directly doesn’t reduce Vata they turns the Shareera to guru, Slakshna, Ushna, Mridhu, Picchila, Ghana Avastha which in turn reduces the Ati Pravrutti (Prakopa) of Vata .

 Vayo Anavasthitatvam (Vishamata)

 Justification on the basis of Anumana Pramana

 Anavasthitatva of Vata is not only due to the Cala Guna. It can be due to the speciality of the combination of Gunas in Vata Dosha. Vata comprises of one anabolic Guna i.e. Sheeta and five catabolic Guna i.e. Ruksha, Laghu, Khara, Sukshma, Cala. Sheeta Guna is same in its ParkrutaAvastha in Vataand Kapha, but in Vata Sheeta Guna is always associated with Rukshata and in Kapha Sheeta Guna with Snigdha Guna. Here Sheeta and Snigdha Guna are having more affinity to each other because of their action i.e. both are Brahmana in nature. While in Vata, Sheeta is Brahmana and Ruksha is Langhana. So there is are pulsion among the Gunas of Vata which results in Anavasthitva or Vishamata.

 Justification on the basis of Yukti Pramana

 Anavasthitatva of Vata can be seen in the following contexts i.e. when the Agni is combined with Vata Agni turns to Vishamaavastha  i.e sometimes it is Teekshna Agni and sometimes MandaAgni. Teekshna Agni is formed due to the Adhikya of 5 catabolic Gunas and Manda Agniis formed due to the Adhikya of 1anabolic Guna. In the context of Vataja Jwara,Vishama Arambha Visargitvam, Ushmano Vaishyamam etc. gives the idea about uncertainty/instability of Vata Dosha and becomes hard to manage this happens again due to the repulsion of the Gunas of Vata. In the Chikitsa aspect Snehana(type of Brahmana Chikitsa) and Swedana (a type of LanghanaChikitsa) is told. Even the main line of treatment ie. Basti which comprises of Anuvasana and Niruha is been formulated on the basis of these combination of Gunas ie. Anuvasana Basti for Rukshaadi 5 Gunas nd Niruha for Sheeta Guna of Vata. So the Vatasya Upakarama is nothing but bring back the normal balance between this contradicting Gunas.


 Justification on the basis of Anumana Pramana

 As Acharya Susruta says Swayambu is due to Swatantrya,Nitya Bhavaand Sarvagati of Vata . In the aspect of Swatantrya, Vata Dosha performs all the karmas of the body in the form of Panchavatas. Vata is the main driving force behind the Karmas of Pitta and Kapha. In total Vata does the Dharana of the body. In the aspect of Nitya Bhava, AcharyaBhela has told that life exists in the body till the Vata exists in the body. In the aspect of Sarvagati, Vata is told to have the property of Asanghatva i.e. Vata can move all over the body (Vyana Vata) these three properties makes the Vata Swayambhu.

 Justification on the basis Yukti Pramana

 In the aspect of Swatantrya

 Vata Dosha is responsible for the Preraka Karma for the functions of Doshas , Dhatus and Malas for example the main karma of Vyana Vata is Gati.Bala, which is the Guna of Kapha is initiated by Udana Vata. Varna, which is the Karma of Pitta is initiated by Udana Vata. Pachana which is the Karma of Pitta is initiated by Samana Vata. The concept of Ashaya Apkarsha Hetu is completely based on the Preraka quality of Vata, where the Prakupita Vata takes a normal Dosha from its Sthana and deposits that Dosha in other Ashaya. Where Chikitsa should be aimed at Vata By this it is proved that Vata does not depend anyone for performing its Karma.

 In the aspect of Nitya

 Nityatva can be substantiated by the Vachana of CarakaAcharya that Vayu is responsible for Ayu, Bala and present all over the place.

 In the aspect of Sarvagati

According to Acharya Caraka, due to the Vatakara Nidana Vataprakopa occurs and takes Ashraya in Sarvanga and Ekanga. Here the term Sarvanga refers to the Sarvagatatva of Vata. so by this three reasons the Vata becomes Swayambu.

Vayo Achintya Viryam

 Justification on the basis of Anumana Pramana

 As above told in the context of Anavasthitatva Vata is the combination of contradicting Gunas. So the question arises that what is the reason behind this combination? By analyzing the Utpatti of Vata, Vata is a product of Katu Avastha Paka. Katu Rasa is of Agni and Vayu Mahabhuta.  This Paka is occurring in the Pakvashaya where all the Snigdhamsha gets dried up and produces vata. so Vata Dosha is a product of Vayu and Agni Mahabhuta. So when the Gunas of VayuMahabhuta is analysed Vayu Mahabhutais Ruksha and Sheeta and that of Agni is Ushna and Ruksha. So when these Gunas combines together the combination becomes RukshanubandhaSheeta. Which is a form of Vikruthi Vishama Samaveda  and an unexpected Guna combination. So by this Vata becomes a combination of Sheeta Guna and Rukshaadi five Gunas which are almost similar in action to Ushna Guna. Ushna Guna as such is not seen in Vata. It can be substantiated by applying the concept of Samyoga told in Ashtau AharaVidhi Visheshayatana . In the 20 Shareerika Gunas told 10 Brahmana Gunaat its Karmaantha becomes Sheeta Virya and 10 Langana Gunas at its Karmaantha becomes Ushna Veerya. Applying this concept into Vata Gunas Vata becomes Anushna Sheeta according to Vaisheshika Darshana. But most of the Acharyas have told as Vata is Sheeta.

 Justification on the basis of Yukti Pramana

 From the above concept of Achintya Veerya, Vata can have two types of Dushti i.e. Vata Prokopa in the form of Sheeta Guna and Vata Caya in the form of Ushna Guna. Examples given by Acharyas for the Sheeta Roopa Vriddhi of Vata is that in Varsha Ritu,Vata is getting Prakopa in the form of Sheeta Guna . In UrusthambaVyadhi, the Staamba of Vata is due to Sheeta Guna . In the context of Ati Maatra Ahaara where Vata becomes Staamba due to Sheeta Guna .These are some of the Sheeta Rupa Vriddhi of Vata.  Where as in the context of Vatarakta where Vata Prokopa is occurring due to the Ati Adhvain Ushna Kala where it creates the Rukshata and Prakopa is manifested. So this Rukshaadi Prakopa of Vata is having similarity to UshnaGuna because Ushna and Rukshaare having same effect over the body ie. Langhana. Keeping this in mind Acharya Vagbhata has reduced Shadvidha Upakrama to Dwividha Upakrama . So that it can be interpreted that 20 Shareerika Gunas falls in two types of Veerya i.e. Ushna and Sheeta. On this basis in VataPitta disorders, where Vata and Pitta Is having similarity in their Prakopa (i.e. Vata + Rooksha Pitta) Grishma Carya is indicated where Vata is getting caya in the form RukshaadiGuna which is similar to the Ushna Gunas of Pitta. Here Madhura Rasa can be applied easily applied because of the similarity in Gunas of Vata and Pitta. Where as in Varsha Ritu Vata Prakopa occurs due to Sheeta Guna of Vata and Pitta Chaya occurs due Amla Avasthapaka where Amla is having the Gunas like Laghu,Ushna and Snigdha . So there is Kriya Viroditvam in managing the Vata Pitta combination of Varsha Ritu.

 Vayo Yogavaahitvam

 Justification on the basis of Anumana Pramana

 As told above Vata is having the combination of contradicting Gunas. So because of these combination in Vata. When Vata combines with Pitta Dosha the Gunas in Vata which is having similarity to Pitta combines together and suppress Sheeta Guna of Vata and Vata becomes Ushna in nature . When Vata combines with Kapha, Sheeta Gunain Vata combines with KaphaGunas and suppresses the 5 catabolic Gunas(Ruksha, Laghu, Khara, Sukshma,Cala) and Vata becomes Sheeta in nature . This theory can be substantiated by applying the Chakarapani commentary “Doshaanaam Paraspara Upahatam Adrishtatvat Kvachit Bavathiiti. ” i.e.in the context of Vikrithi Vishama SamvedaAcharya Caraka says that Paraspara Upahata is a reason for Dravya and Dosha to show Vikruthi Vishama Samaveda. In the context of Dosha UpahataAcharya Cakrapani has commented that most of the times two Dosha Gunas does not get distressed by each other. But in some occasion Dosha Gunas gets distressed resulting unpredictable Guna combination. This process is happening in the Utpatti of Vata Dosha where KatuRasa having Agni Mahabhuta and Vayu Mahabhuta consisting of Ushna,Ruksha and Sheeta, Ruksha Gunas respectively combines together and forms Sheeta Rukshaadi combination in which the UshnaGuna is suppressed in the combination. This resulted Guna combination is the main reason for Vata’s Yogavahitva property.

 Justification on the basis of Yukti Pramana

 The application of Yogavahitva can be seen in many Chikitsa aspects of Vata .In the context of Ushnaabipraaya Sheeta Samuthana Jwara which is of Kapha Vata orgin Kapha Hara Chikitsa is indicated . In the Chikitsa of Sheetaabipraya Ushnasamuthana Jwara which is of Pitta Vata orgin, Pitta Hara Chikitsa is indicated . Here Vata is given least importance because of its Yogavahitva property. In the above two situations Vata is an Anubanda Doshato Pitta and Kapha. So VataPrashama occurs when treatment to Pitta and Kapha is done. This is happening because when Pitta is treated the Gunas of Pitta Is returned to its normal state there by the Vata Gunas which is similar to Pitta Gunas gets subsided and the normal balance of Vata Dosha is attained.


 Ayurveda is based on the Karya Karana Siddantha. If there is a Karya there should be a Karana. So from the above discussion it is clear that what the role is for Gunas of Vata in showing these particular characters. There is always a Vishamata in Vata in its Prakrutha Avsatha itself. Keeping this in mind the Vata Dosha should be handled with at most care .in Prakutha Avastha of Vata this combination becomes Anugraha to the body and in Vikrutha Avastha this combination becomes the toughest part in management. 

Dr.Edwin Kuriakose | DIR R&D