The number three is a vast topic in ancient Eastern philosophy, yoga and Ayurveda, just as the Trinity is a key concept in Christianity. I want to start exploring the significance of it here, with a view to opening up a wider conversation around what it means to be well…
Why three is a magic number in Ayurveda
Ayurveda does not separate the body, mind and spirit when treating a patient. There are three doshas, three fruits of triphala, three prongs to Shiva’s Trishula, and the three qualities or gunas of the mind (sattva, rajas and tamas). The number three suggests completeness. Like a three legged stool or pyramid, it represents stability and balance.
Even as I write this, in order to illustrate a point – I would usually give three examples. You get the picture?
The great Ayurvedic sage and godfather of surgery, Susruta talks about the three categories and roots of disease: adi bhautik, adi daivik and adhyatmik. They correlate with three levels of existence: that which we can perceive through our senses, that which can be seen by our inner sense or buddhi, and that which is beyond all of this and in the realm of pure consciousness or purusha.
When we speak of something in three dimensions rather than two, we know this means it has a lived quality to it: a realism and wholeness, rather than being a sketch on a piece of paper, a character in a book without depth.
But how is this relevant to health?
If all the materiality in our body is made up of cells, then one place to start is with them. What is balance in cell health, and what is disease?
This is where I think it gets super interesting. There are three states to a cell. It is either proliferating and mutating (e.g. cancer); it is drying up and dying (e.g. necrosis) or it is balanced and doing its job.
We could liken these three states of the cell to the godheads of the Trimurti: Brahma of creation and proliferation, Vishnu or protection and balance, and Shiva of destruction.
The problem with modern western medicine is that it seems so often to exist in two dimensions. Either drugs are prescribed, often meaning more toxicity is added to an already toxic situation, or that which has appeared is crudely cut out.
There is little exploration into the life led before the onset of these symptoms, nor the root cause of their display.
So what is the third dimension that is missing. I would argue it is that which Vishnu represents: the protection of living, breathing, prana-filled life. That of balance. Our bodies and minds want to be well, but we get in the way.
The missing link
So why do we do this, and what is missing philosophically that has led us here? How can we learn to protect LIFE, and understand what the three-dimensional essence of living and thriving is? How can we go about protecting the mind and body, remembering what it feels like to be energetic? Understand when we are not, and have the tools to bring ourselves back to a place of balance with gentleness, therefore promoting well being on every level.
- We need to know where we have deviated from; what our base line is.
- We need to clear the channels of the mind and body so we can feel what is missing in our diet and life and instinctively know what is needed to nourish us,
- Therefore creating healthy building blocks and tissues,
- And being brought back into a state of balance.
Chyawanprash is a medicine that has that ability. It suits every constitution, it contains every taste or rasa and is a pure rasayana. The ghee (ghruta) means that it is penetrating, and has the ability to access the cells and micro channels. It understands the micro and the macro, and it feeds the cells one by one. It is nourishing at every level. It understands that prana and ojas are life, and encourages them to live in our cells, body and mind. It protects us from the frazzling and numbing effects of modern existence, protecting the quality of our life and the quality of our cells. The vitamin C of the amla or amalaki protects, and the amalgamation of other herbs creates a melting pot of nourishment.
It is a great starting point for the recalibration of our cells, mind, and body… and a gateway to a conversation on what it means to be alive.
By Selina Van Orden