According to Ayurveda, Ojas is a essence present in every dhatu (tissue) and considered as Sara of all the seven dhatus starting from Rasa to Shukra and responsible for the strength of the body. The purest substance in the universe and omnipresent in the human being, Ojas is responsible consciousness, purity in thoughts, health, positivity in feelings in every situation, better immunity, longevity, intelligence and memory. According to Ayurveda, Ojas is one of most important element for maintains and sustaining of life. All human beings are well nourished by Ojas and its decrease leads to the cessation of life. Though Ojas is located in the Hridya (heart), it pervades all over the body. It controls or regulates the whole working system of the body. In Veda Bala, Prana, Veerya, Kapha etc terms are considered as the synonyms of Ojas. In Ayurveda Ojas is also known as Bala (strength) because it provides strength to the body in terms of physical, mental, immunological and resistance to the body. It is a bit difficult to define Ojas as per modern methodology. Various authors have mentioned the concept Ojas in their own way which has made the topic of Ojas more controversial. Therefore this review article attempts to create certainty of Ojas understandable in scientific way and it's over all effects on human body which will be helpful for scholars in treatment of diseases and advising precautions. Keywords: Oja, Sarva dhatu Saar, Bala, Para Oja, Apara Oja
Guna of Ojas is not established completely. Therefore Ojas is
According to the context of physical health and vitality, Ojas
unstable in 8th month because exchange of Ojas takes place
means "vigor".1 In Ayurvedic literatures, Bala, Prakriti and
through blood vessels from mother to fetal heart and from
Kapha theses types of words are used as a synonym of Ojas.2
fetal to mother's heart. When Ojas is transmitted from Garbha
Charak has mentioned that the kapha in its prakrita avastha
(fetus) to mother, she looks happy and born fetus at this time
(normal state) then it promotes strength, lubrication, virility,
will be prone to develop infectious disorders. Due to which
immunity, resistance and stability in the form of Ojas.3
delivery in this month is to be considered dangerous.6,7
According to Sushruta, Ojas is the fine essence of all the
Ojas gets nourishment after digestion of food.8 In short we
Dhatus and the superfine essence of Shukra dhatu
of Ojas is
(reproductive tissue) which are responsible for biological
on Ojas nourishing
food and its
proper digestion. Good
strength, vitality and immunity in the body which make a
nourishing quality of food with deficient Jatharagni (digestive)
physically active person.4 Our physical, mental and spiritual
energy) causes vitiation in the Ojas.
strength is totally dependent on Ojas. This is our best
Controversies about Ojas
safeguard against mental and physical disease. Ojas gets
formed first in the body of living beings.5 This indicates that
Some scholars of Ayurveda say that Ojas is an Upadhatu
Ojas is established during the time of the fertilization of
(secondary tissue) because the term dhatu applies to the the
sperm and ovum. It means Ojas is already exists in sperm and
function of Dharana (supporting) and Poshana (nourishing).
ovum in the Saar form. When sperm and ova combine with
Ojas only supports the body, it is not nourishing it. So it can
Soul Garbha is formed. In Morula stage of fetus Ojas is
not be the eighth dhatu.
present in the form of Garbha Sara. When all body parts of
Formation of Ojas
fetus formed, Ojas manifested by its symptoms. In other
words we can say that this Ojas before pregnancy remains in
The best way to describe formation of Ojas is to understand
sperm and ovum. In the 8th month of pregnancy, Sthira
honey is made. Nearly ten to twenty thousand bees
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collect the nectar or essence of thousands of fruits and flowers and stored them into their hives for the formation of honey. Similarly Ojas is also the nectar or essence and is the end product of various physiological process.9
Dwelling place of Ojas
Primary location of Ojas is the heart, from where it circulates to and circulated in the entire body. There are two places where Ojas prevails10,11.
1. Para Ojas – Hridya Sthan (in the heart)
2. Apara Ojas - Sarva Sharira Vyapi (all over the body) like ghee in milk or honey in flowers
But in Bhela Samhita, Acharya Bhela has described twelve sites of Ojas in the body. They are as follows – Rasa (plasma), Shonita or Rakta (Blood), Mamsa (muscles), Meda (fats), Asthi (bones), Majja (bone marrow), Shukra (semen), Sweda (sweat), Pitta (GIT secretions), Shleshma (mucoid secretions), Mutra and Purisha (urine and stool)12
Types of Ojas
According to Acharya Chakrapani two types of Ojas found in the body. They are as follows.
1. Para Ojas
Acharya Charak mentioned that Hridaya (heart) is dwelling place of Para Ojas. It is best and most important. Its parinama is ashta bindu (eight drops)14. It is highly pure (without any waste ingredient). This Para Ojas is responsible for continuation of life, therefore whenever, there is any decrease or loss in the volume of Para Ojas it would give rise to serious diseases and instantaneous death of that person. Therefore the protection of Para Ojas is the main aim of Yogic practices.
2. Defend Ojas
Apara Ojas is also known as Shleshmika Ojas because its properties are similar to Shleshma (Kapha). Apara Ojas is present all whole the body. According to Acharya Charak, the quantity of Ojas in a healthy individual is Ardhanjali 15 (one anjali represents the volume equal to that of two hands joined in the form of a cup and is applicable only for that individual. Anjali Pramana is the unit of measurement of body fluids employed in ancient Ayurvedic texts. The seat of Apar Ojas is the ten vessels connected with Hridaya. Any diminution in the volume of Apara Ojas will result in the absence of strength of the body and causes of various diseases.13
Qualities of Oja
Acharya Charak has explained ten qualities of Ojas which are similar to milk and ghee while totally opposite to Madya (Alcohol) and Visha (poison). They are as follows -
• Guru (heavy)
• Sheeta (cold)
• Mridu (soft in nature)
• Shlakashna (smooth)
• Bahalam (which spreads into the minute channels)
• Madhura (sweet in nature)
• Sthira (stable or firm)
• Prasanna (pleasant)
• Picchilam (sticky)
• Snigdha (unctuous or oily)16
It is very difficult to comprehend the exact nature of Ojas. According to Charak, the color of Oja is predominantly white, slightly reddish or yellow resembling to the Sarpi Varna [Ghee (clarified butter) like appearance]. It is sweet (Madhur) in taste like Madhu (honey) and has the smell of Laja.17
Characteristic features of Ojas
• Somatmaka (cool like moon)
• Snigdha (unctuous or oily)
• Shukla (white in color)
• Sheeta (cool in nature)
• Sthira (stable or firm)
• Sara (flowing or moving and liquid in nature)
• Viviktam (clear or transparent)
• Mridu (soft in nature)
• Mritsnam (slimy)18
Functions of Ojas
Ojas is very useful to maintain the condition of the good health. It not only nourishes all the body constituents but also nourishes the mind. It controls or regulates all the physiological activities and immunity power of the body. In Ayurveda it is believed that life cannot exist without Oja in the body. Some of the functions are as follows
• Whale (strength bestows)
• Sthira Upachita Mamsata (stability and growth of muscles)
• Sarva Cheshta Swapratighatah (ability to perform all activities without any hindrance)
• Swara Varna Prasado (clarity of voice and brightness of color or complexion)
• Karana Nama Aatma Karya Pratipatti (ability of external and internal sense organs to perform their own functions.) 19
Abnormalities of Ojas
Oja Visransa, Oja Vyapada and Oja Kshaya are the three stages of Oja Vikriti which may occur in various conditions and diseases ranging from physical and mental fatigue to acute and chronic mild and severe types of diseases. According to ancient Ayurvedic view these conditions may arise as a result of metabolic abnormalities leading to diminished production of Ojas They are as follows
• Ojas Visransa
• Ojas Vyapada
• Ojas Kshaya
Symptoms of Ojas Visransa (first stage)
• Sandhi Vishlesh (looseness of joints)
• Gatra Sada (weakness of the body)
• Dosha Chyavanam (provoked tri doshas move away from their normal seats)
• Kriya Sannirodha (inability to perform normal functions)
• Shrama (lethargy in organs).
• Aprachuryam Kriyanam (It also results in the impairment of Kayik (physical), Vachik (vocal) and Mansik (mental) functions of the body.20
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Symptoms of Ojas Vyapad (second stage)
• Stabha Gurugatrata (Stiffness and feeling heaviness in the body,
• Vata Shopha - swelling caused by Vata dosha impairment
• Varna Bheda (change in complexion or discoloration)
• Glani (exhaustion)
• Tender (drowsiness or stupor)
• Nidra (sleep)21
Symptoms of Ojas Kshaya (third stage)
A. According to Sushruta Samhita
• Murchha (unconsciousness or fainting)
• Mansakshaya (decrease of muscles)
• Moha (mental disturbance specially in judgment)
• Agyan (loss of sense)
• Pralap (delirium)
• Mrityu (death)22
B. According to Charak Samhita
• Bibheti (person is constantly suffer from fear complex)
• Durbalo abhikshanam (physical and mental debility)
• Worries always without apparent reason
• Vyathita Indriya (feels discomfort in the sense organs)
• Duschhaya (developed impaired or loss of complexion of body)
• Durmana (bad mentation or feeble mental stamina)
• Ruksha (dryness or roughness)
• Shama (skin becomes black)
• Kashya (Emaciation of the body).23
Factor responsible for reduction of Ojas
Various causes which are responsible for the decreases of Ojas have been mentioned in the text of Ayurveda. They are as follows
• Ativyayama (excessive physical exercise)
• Anashana (fasting for long period)
• Straight (constant worry)
• Consumption of foods which are dry (moistureless) in nature
• Pramitashana (consuming very less quantity of food)
• Vata-atapa seven (excessive exposure to heavy blows of wind and sun heat)
• Bhaya (fear)
• Shoka (grief and sorrow)
• Rukshapaan (drinking strong wines)
• Prajagar (keeping awake at nights)
• Excessive elimination of Kapha, Shonita (blood), Shukra (semen) and mala (urine and faces)
• Kala (due to old age)
• Abhighata (mental and physical trauma or injury to Marma (vital share)
• Kopa (anger)
• Ativyavaya (excessive sex)24-26
Factor nourishing Ojas
Food and drugs having same qualities to Ojas should be used to enhance quality and quantity of Ojas. Ojas can be increased in the body by following measures-
• Should be protected from activities, which causes unhappiness of the mind.
• Food and drugs having same qualities to Ojas should be used to enhance quality and quantity of Ojas.
• Fried foods and alcohol and other drinks should be avoided.
• Hot and spicy foods should be avoided.
• Bitter, sour and pungent substances should be avoided.
• The person should be advised to desist from sexual intercourse during the course of the treatment.
• To promote the creation and flow of Ojas, we need a good diet focused on pure foods, referred to as "sattvik" in Ayurveda. The most sattvik foods include organic milk, ghrita (clarified butter) almonds, sesame, honey, rice and fruits.
• Consume the foods or medicine which are sweet in taste, cold and lighter (easily digestible)
• Jeevaniya Gana Aushadhi (Life promoting medicine) like Maamsa Rasa (meat juice), milk and its preparations should be used.27,28
Ojas Vriddhi (Increase of Ojas)
Ojas Vriddhi does not cause any disease; it provides satisfaction, strength, nutrition to whole body.29
• Ojas is the pure and subtle substance that's extracted from food that has been completely digested.
• Ojas provides psychological stability and endurance without which we experience fear and anxiety.
• As Ojas is considered most important cause of strength and which is said to be its function. Aahara is responsible for the strength, complexion and Ojas substance in human beings.
In Ayurvedic system of medicine, it is considered that a living system is made of Panch-mahabhuta, in the form of Vata, Pitta and Kapha at the physical level and Satwa, Raja and Tama at the mental level. The imbalance in these body humors is the basic cause of any type of disease manifestation. Till date, several objective parameters have been proposed to monitor the level of these basic humors but none of them is complete. In this exercise, now it is proposed to consider free radical theory of diseases as one of the objective parameters. To be more specific, Vata can be monitored in terms of membrane bound signal transduction, pitta as the process of phosphorylation and de-phosphorylation of different proteins (signaling moieties and enzymes) and kapha can be viewed as the degree of gene expression as protein synthesis. This can be correlated with the Ojas of the body or total body defense mechanism. Disease occurs when these transformative processes do not take place properly. There is no complete separation of the essence from the waste and the ingested food does not complete the transformative cycle. The quality of Ojas is affected and the bala of the body lowered. The ideal situation for occurrence of disease is thus created.30 Treatment is aimed at once again restoring the natural functions of the body. This is achieved by removal of these accumulated wastes and cleansing the channels of circulation. This is known as Shodhana. Restoring the functions of Agni and Doshas is known as Shamana. Finally boosting the bala of the body is known as Urjaskara. Rasayana, it is said is the means of obtaining body tissues of high quality. In other words, it is the means to promote all transformative process in the body so as to culminate in the production of the refined essence
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called Ojas. It is called Somatmaka. The nature of Ojas will differ from person to person depending on constitution, Agni, Satva and so on. So the level of bala that can be attained by each individual varies. So the strategy for enhancing bala is also different from person to person. We have just glanced through the Ayurvedic concept of bala superficially. But, one thing would have become clear. The Ayurvedic approach is not fundamentally drug oriented. To develop drugs with immunological effects would be to allopathic Ayurveda. There are many drugs of plant, animal and mineral origin that are attributed with properties to boost the bala of the body. But to reap the benefits, they have to be applied according to the principles of Ayurveda. So it is more important to understand the Ayurvedic approach to immunology than study some plants that have immune promotive properties.31 Walton KG et al stated that a key part of Ayurveda that has been obscure to modern science is the substance "Ojas", which the classical texts say maintains balance of the physiology. Also indicates specific steroids or steroid classes are proposed as likely candidates for both the "ordinary" and the "superior" types of Ojas described in Ayurveda. Current evidence for the functions of these steroids, as well as their role in stress, disease and the maintenance of health; is reviewed. The knowledge of Ayurveda, as recently brought to light by Maharishi, includes methods for recovering and maintaining optimal function of steroidal systems. Such effects may help mediate the improvements in health and increased longevity attributed to Ayurveda and other ancient methods.32 Ojas is the essence of dhatus, which gives strength to the body, improves immunity power and takes care of well being of the body. It is present all through the body like ghee exists in the milk or honey exists in the flower. It is Sarabhaga (ultimate essence) of all the Dhatus. If we desire perfect health, it's crucial to eliminate the ama stored in our body and focus on producing Ojas, which is the essential life energy. Ojas is considered as the most refined result of digestion metabolism, absorption and assimilation. Ojas bring clarity to the mind and balancing the emotions. This is our best safeguard against mental and physical disease. Our physical, mental and spiritual strength is totally dependent on Ojas. Ojas is the sap of one's life energy which, when sufficient, is equated with immunity and, when deficient, results in weakness, fatigue and ultimately disease. In a nutshell, Ojas is the sap of the entire physiology and sustains the life of an individual. Therefore Ojas is considered as vital nectar of life.
CONCEPT OF OJAS: A SCIENTIFIC OVERVIEW
SANGEETA GEHLOT AND B. M. SINGH
Ojas has been mentioned as best essence of all the dhatu. It resides in the heart and circulates all over the body to maintain the homeostasis . Development of immunity is a process by which body learns from experiences of past infection to deal efficiently with subsequent ones. The term Vyadhi-Kshamatva is first time used in Ayurveda to represent the immunity of the body against the onset , occurrence or reoccurrence of disease. It is also used to denote the resistance to arrest the progress of disease. Immunity of body is usually represented in terms of Bala. In Veda the Bala, Ojas, Prana, Sahasa, Manyu, Varchas, Veerya, etc. are the terms which have been considered to be the synonym of Ojas. In Ayurveda Bala, Ojas, Kapha have been also mentioned as synonyms. Ojas has been explained as the resistance against the decay and degeneration of the body. Sushruta has given stress to maintain the resistance which will check the progress of the disease. Lack of Ojas will not be able to maintain the body even though Doshas are in equilibrium. Bala denotes three types of immunity innate, acquired and artificial. There are many factors mentioned in Ayurveda such as place of birth, genetic qualities, properties of food, physique, tolerance, mental status, exercise, young age, happiness which influence the immunity. Ojas must be a physically existing body may be represented by energy providing substances (glucose, glycogen, etc.), fat, plasma, lymph, serum, anterior pituitary hormone, thyroid hormone, etc. Blood cells (macrophage, monocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes, etc.) provide immunity by releasing different enzymes which kills microorganisms. As Ojas is a controversial topic. Different authors have explained it in their own way. To make it clear and easily understandable in scientific way have planned this analytical study.
The term Ojas has been considered as an essential factor for survival of human. Different authors have explained it in their own way which has made it controversial. To make it clear and easily understandable in scientific way this analytical study has been planned.
Bala, and Prakrit Sleshma are synonyms of ojas. (Ch. Su.17/117). In normal state, Prakrita Kapha provides lubrication, compactness, stability, heaviness, virility, immunity, resistance and greedlessness. (Ch.Su 18/51)
In vedic literature various synonyms of Ojas, like Tejas, Veerya, Bala, Manyu, Sahasa, Varchas, Urja, Prana, Daksha have been mentioned. (Shu. Yazu. 19/1035, Ath/7/56/1863) All these terms indicate power, strength, energy of the body. The term Ojas has been stated by some authors not only for Sleshma
Associate Professor, Department of Kriya Sharir, Faculty of Ayurveda, IMS, BHU, Varanasi, U.P. (India)
Associate Professor, Department of Kaumarbhritya, Faculty of Ayurveda, IMS, BHU, Varanasi, U.P. (India)
but also for Rasa and Rakta. The term Vyadhi-Kshamatva is used for Bala by Chakrapani (Cu.Su.28/7).
Vyadhi-Kshamatva means the capacity to oppose the genesis of disease.
Ojas is said one of the vital entity, expansible and present in entire body. Individual wanes and dies in absence of it. (Haranchandra on S.Su.15/21) Ojas is responsible for the stability of all sensory stimuli. Disturbance of any kind endangers life.
Twelve sites of Ojas have been described by Acharya Bhela(BhelaSamhita page 82 ) Shonita(Blood), Mamsa(muscles), Medo(fats), Asthi mazza(bone marrow), Shukra (genital secretions), Shukla (body fluids), Sweda (sweat), Pitta (GIT secretions),Sleshma (mucoid secretions), Mutra and Pureesha(urine stools)
As Acharya Bhela has decribed twelve sites of Ojas , it means Ojas is not a single entity it has different functions at different site but ultimate outcome of this is to protect the body and provide strength. RBC increases oxygen carrying capacity of blood. In anemic patients decreased oxygen carrying capacity leads to suppress immunity. Lysozyme in nasal secretions, saliva, tears and intestinal mucus which attacks the cell wall of bacteria. Regarding Pitta as the site of Ojas, Hydrochloric acid in stomach and lysozyme in intestinal mucus kills ingested bacteria and protects these parts. Bone marrow is the site of production of all the blood cells which are responsible for maintenance of immunity. In sweat, fatty acids and high salt content prevents growth of microorganism on skin. Flushing action of the urine also provides protection from microorganisms. Pureesha is a good culture media for the growth of certain bacteria which are responsible for the synthesis of Vit-K and Vit-B complex etc. Proteins , albumin and globulin in body fluids form immunoglobulins concentration of immunogobins reflects the immune status of the body and WBCs present in body fluids may kill foreign bodies by the process of phagocytosis
As Ojas is considered most important cause of strength and which is said to be its function. Aahar is responsible for the strength, complexion and Ojas substance in human beings. (S.Su1/28 ) Aahardravyas supply materials from which the body builds up its structural and functional element. Rasa ,raktadi dhatus and finally Ojas is produced from Aaharadravyas, (Ch.Su.28/4) Charak has compared the formation of Ojas with that of honey gathered by bees from various flowers and fruits. (Ch.Su.17/74) Ojas is derived from all the dhatus or in other words, all the dhatus contribute in the formation of ojas. It is excellent and unctuous part of every dhatu. It remains in body as milk bears Ghee. (B.P.503/281)
Resistance to decay and degeneration of the body is known as immunity. Immunity opposes the strength of diseases and denotes the resistance which an organism offer against attack by an invader. Development of immunity is a process by which the body learns from experience of past infection how to deal efficiently with the subsequent one? Vyadhi-kshamatava is the resistance of the body to arrest the progress, occurrence of reoccurrence of the disease. Always make effort for the maintenance of the resistance, if restored it will check the progress of disease. Stressing on the importance of Ojas, Indu has commented that doshas even being in equilibrium are incapable to maintain the defense of the body which is lacking of Ojas. (Indu on As. Su.19)
The Ojas is first produced in the body of all living beings. (Ch.Su.17/74) . Ojas is established since the fertilization of sperm and ovum takes place. It means ojas is already present in sperm and ovum in saar form. When these sperm and ova combine with soul garbha is formed. In morula stage of fetus Ojas is
present in the form of Garbharasasaar. When the body parts of fetus formed, Ojas manifested by its symoptoms. In other words we can say that this Ojas before pregnancy remains in sperm and ovum, in early pregnancy in the form of garbha rasa while in fully developed fetus present in heart from where it is circulated by dhamanies(vessels) all over the body and regulates the function of the body(Ch.Su30/10). On this basis these dhamanies are called mahaphala while ojas and hridaya is called mahat.
Two kinds of Ojas Par and Apar mentioned by Chakrapani i.e ashtabindu and ardhanjali . These are important and significant in the context of vyadhikshamatva interpreted both as vyadhibalavirodhitva (resistance against the strength of disease) and vyadhutpada-vibandhakatva(resistance power to prevent the onset of disease). Ojas have a direct bearing on body's defence against decay degeneration and infection.
Charaka has mentioned Sleshmika ojas. Chakrapani has differentiated this from the ashtabindu ojas. He stated that Sleshmika ojas is not ashtabindu ojas, It is transported through the ojovaha dhamanies and similar in quality of shuddha Sleshma. It is ardhanjali in pramana. In Arthe dasha maha muliya adhyaya, Chakrapani has commented that the quantity of Apar oja is described in terms of Anjali pramana while the quantity of Par oja is Ashtabindu, located in hridaya. The seat of Apar oja are the ten vessels connected with hridaya. (Chakrapani on Charaka Sutra 30/7) Para oja which is best and originated in intrauterine life of an individual and its main function is to sustain. It is not affected by easily. Apar oja is also nourished by food. It is half anjali in measure. Diseases and other etiological factors affect this. Heart contains white slightly red and yellowish tinged substance. With the destruction of oja body also dies. Color of Apar oja is like ghee, smells like parched cereal and taste is like honey. (Ch.Su.17/74)
Dalhana has described two types of Ojas-Upchaya Lakshana and Shakti Lakshana. Upchaya Lakshana is a gross substances and essence of all Dhatus, ardhanjali in measures while shakti Lakshana Ojas is microscopic, best and eight drops in measures. Differentiating in Ojas and Bala, Dalhana has commented that Ojas is reaslized by Upchaya or nourishment and which is unctuous, bear physical properties like color, odor whereas Bala is realized by weight carrying capacity does not bear physical or chemical properties.
Ojovaha dhamanies(Ten vessels) emerging from the heart sends Ojas to all the body parts so that all the body tissues received this Ojas continuously. Charak has described that dasha, maha mula dhamanies are the channels of transport of Ojas to the entire body. They are called dhamanyaha because they pulsate. (Ch.Su30/8 ) Ojas is diffused in entire body of living beings even in every cell(Sha. Pu.5/18). Ojas is found in the cellular organelles of all dhatus, the site in the cells may be mitochondria which is the store house of energy and due to which Ojas is called strength. Although Ojas is present in entire body but main site of Ojas is hridaya because hridaya is rich in mitochondria and glycogen to provide the energy for its continous function.
Ojas is having properties like Somatmakam(cool, liquid) Snigdha( unctuous, viscous),Shukla ( clear white), Sthira (responsible for stability and strength of the organs of the body) Sara (capable of flowing and permeating), Vivikta (foremost in action, nutrition of best quality) Mritsana(slimy), seat of life, Picchila, Madhur , Prasana(happiness)(Su.Su.15/21) Charaka has explained ten qualities of Ojas.. (Ch.Chi.24/31) which are similar to milk and ghee while opposite to Madya. While commenting on Charaka Sutra30/7, Chakrapani has described Ojas as saar of all dhatus. Sharangdhar has explained Ojas as an updhatu. (Sha.1.5.13). Dhatus support and nourish the body, while supporting the body Ojas does
not nourish it. Therefore it is not the eighth Dhatu. Some mentioned Ojas as Shukra vishesha but it does not contribute to mental pleasure like Shukra. (Chakrapani on Charaka Su.30/7)
Regarding the mode of transport and circulation of this Ojas, Chakrapani stressed that param teja which is the saar of all dhatus located in hridaya, mixes with rasa and circulate through the dhamanies and performs tarpan of entire body. It represents the bala of all dhatus. . (Chakrapani on Su. Su.15/99) Hemadri has described different types of ojas(Hemadri on A. H. Su.11/37-38) like Rasatmaka, Dhatutejorupi and Jivashonita rupi. Ojas which circulates all over the body along with Rasa dhatu is known as Rasatmaka Ojas. All WBCs, substances of compliment system and antibodies may be included in this. Dhatutejarupi ojas which is present in tissues may represent the immune mechanism due to macrophages, mast cells and WBCs at tissue level. Jivashonita rupi Ojas is specific for blood cells, malfunctioning of which may cause hypersensitivity reactions. (Patwardhan 2005) Ojas is an enity which has strength to keep body, sense organs mind and soul in homeostasis. Ojas has been mentioned in Ashtanga Samgraha as esteem excellent part of Shukra dhatu. It is purest and without mala. (As.Sam.Sh.6) while in Ashtanga Hridaya 3/63 referred as mala of Shukra. Ojas has been considered among ten life spots. (Ch.Su.29/3 )
While describing the site and function of Avalambaka Kapha, Vagbhatta mentioned that this supports trikka, heart through ambukarma and also supports the sites of other kapha (As.Hri.Su.12/15-16) Behind trikka is thymus gland and ambukarma may be referred to lymphatic drainage. Sites of other types of kapha like kledaka and bodhaka kapha is involved with gut associated lymphoid tissue and tonsils respectively participate in immune mechanism..
All individuals do not have similar Vyadhi-kshamatva (immunity). (Ch. Su. 28/7 ) There is a certain inhibiting factor on account of which hygienic errors donot produce a sudden ill effect among the unwholesome or contaminated diet takers. Significant peculiarities in the form of non occurrence, incomplete or complete manifestation of diseases are dependent on etiological factors, Dosas and Dhatus. It is from these very factors that diverse kinds of diseases mild or severe, rapid or slow onset occur. (Ch.Ni.4/4) In other words, we can say that susceptibility of an individual to infectious agent and the potency of etiological factor is important factor in causation of disease.
Substances having opposite qualities to the body tissues when enters in the body tissues have to face the tissue reaction or opposition. (Ch.Su.26/81) This description specify the response of immune system against any antigen or foreign body.
Bala is the root cause of life. Health also depends on resistance or bala. (Ch. Vi3/141) 'Bala' represents all the three types of immunity viz. innate, acquired and artificial. (Ch. Su. 11/36 ) The term innate indicates the response to an infection solely determined by the inherited qualities of the individual and uninfluenced by any prior events in its life time. Yuktikrita bala is that which is obtained by means of diet, physical exercise and medication. Kalaja bala(seasonal or periodic) depends on season and age (Ch.Su.11/36 ), which is highest in Visarga kala and in young age while lowest in Adana kala and child age. Due to bala, all types of body movements are smooth and without any obstruction. (Su. Su15/20) Voice and complexion of a person is pleasant.
Charaka has explained the various factors influencing immunity i.e place of birth and time, genetic qualities, favorable weather, food having good properties, good physique, good tolerance power, good mental status, favorable nature, young age, exercise and happiness. (Ch.Sh. 6/13) All these factors are well known for the enhancement of immunity. Premature delivery of new born baby may occur due to defect
of kshetra(uterus) –Bicornuate uterus and fibroid u terus. These premature babies have lowered immunity. Genetic disorders found due to defect in Beeja (Spaerm/ovum)-X-Linked agamma globulinemia. Immunity is suppressed in an individual suffering with protein energy malnutrition. Intake of nutritional diet is responsible for the maintenance of immunity. Intolerance or hypersensitivity to particular food substance may lead to disease e.g. lactose intolerance etc. Such individuals have low immunity and prone to infectious disorders. Immunity can be enhanced by performing different exercise. As Charaka has explained that exercise increases strength and produces body stability. (Ch. Su. 7/31)
Ojas vriddhi does not cause any disease, it provides satisfaction, strength, nutrition. (As.Hr. Su.11/41) but its kshaya may result in various diseases. Injury , decreased body tissues, anger ,anxiety, worry, excessive physical work, fasting are the important causes of Ojas kshaya. Fearfulness, weakness, disturbed sensory and motor functions, loss of luster, dryness of skin, decreased volume of voice are the common features of Oja kshaya. (Ch.Su. 17/72) Visransa ,Vyapata and Kshaya are three stages of ojas kshaya which may occur in various conditions and diseases ranging from physical and mental fatigue to acute and chronic mild and severe types of diseases. According to ancient Ayurvedic view these conditions may arise as a result of metabolic abnormalities leading to diminished production of Ojas, loss of integrity of dhatuvaha Srotansi, non supply due to obstruction of Srotamsi leads to increased susceptibility to diseases like Rajyakshma, Sannipataja jwara, Madhumeha. In Madhumeha, vata by its ruksha guna changes the madhur rasa of ojas to kashaya and transports it to the mutrashya. The term Hatujas has been used by Sushruta to describe a special variety of Sannipata jwara known as Abhinyasa. In the stage of Visransa and vyapata one should always make efforts to initiate immunity while the stage of Kshaya has been considered as incurable.
Ojas is unstable in 8th month because exchange of Ojas takes place through blood vessels from mother to fetal heart and from fetal to mother's heart. When Ojas is transmitted from fetus to mother, she looks happy and born fetus at this time will be prone to develop infectious disorders. (Ch.Sh.4/24, Su.Sh.3/30) Due to which delivery in this month is to be considered dangerous. This might be caused by the synthesis of certain substance at this particular time, transfer of these to mother suppresses the immunity of fetus.
To maintain the immunity of the body one should avoid the exposure to the factors responsible for Ojas kshaya. Milk and ghee along with the drugs of Jivaneeya group may be used. Give up the causes which are injurious to mind and heart. Follow the such regimen which is beneficial to the heart and does not obstructs the channels. (Ch. Su.30/13-14 )
Administration of specific antisubstances helps in alleviation of pre-existing diseases and develops passive immunity. Prior sensitization of the body with specific antigen develops active immunity (Ch.Su.26/104) This indicates the concept of active and passive immunity.
Therefore, Ojas is a entity which functions for harmony of structural body components with their functions and special sense organs and also with mind.
Ojas is Bala and Prakrita Shlesma which provides strength to fight against infectious agent by providing substrate. These may represent energy providing substances (glucose, glycogen, etc.), fat, plasma, lymph, serum, anterior pituitary hormone, thyroid hormone etc. Blood cells (macrophage, monocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes, etc.) provide immunity by releasing different enzymes which kills microorganisms. However, Ojas is considered as Bala (Strength) which can be achieved by urja or Ushma (Energy). In other words, these substances ultimately produce energy at cellular level in mitochondria with the help of different enzymes. All the functions including intrauterine function in Garbha formation;
normalcy of voice and& complexion; motor & sensory function of organs etc. performed by the Ojas can be considered due to this energy.