Just as the Doshas are the essential energies of the body, the three Gunas, namely Satwa, Rajas and Tamas, are the three essential energies of the mind. Genetically determined, an individuals psychological characteristics are dependent on the relative dominance of the three Gunas. In equilibrium, the three Gunas maintain a healthy mind (and indirectly a healthy body).
Any disturbance in this equilibrium results in various types of mental disorders. Satwa has the characteristics of lightness, consciousness, pleasure and clarity. It is pure, free from disease and cannot be disturbed in any way. It activates the senses and is responsible for the perception of knowledge. Rajas, the most active of the Gunas, has motion and stimulation as its characteristics. All desires, wishes, ambitions and fickle-mindedness are a result of Rajas. Tamas is characterised by heaviness and resistance. It causes disturbances in perception and other activities of the mind. Delusion, false knowledge, laziness, apathy, sleep and drowsiness are a result of Tamas. The Gunas, as with the Doshas, can be unbalanced by stress, negative desires, etc. and generally the demands of everyday life.
Ayurveda describes people on the basis of their Manasa (psychology, controlled by the Gunas) and their Prakriti (constitution, controlled by the Doshas). The Panchamahabhootas, Tridosha and Triguna form the basis of all diagnosis and treatment procedures in Ayurveda. Balancing these is the best way to maintain health and to cure diseases caused by physical, mental or spiritual factors.
Ayurveda classifies the human body into seven constituents, or Sapthadhathus:
* Rasa: (Plasma/lymph fluid)
* Rakta : (Blood)
* Mansa : (Muscles)
* Meda : (Fat)
* Asthi : (Bone)
* Majja : (Bone marrow)
* Shukra : (Reproductive fluid or Semen)
Ayurveda believes that these seven constituents [dhathus] get weakened due to our body’s prolonged structural changes, as we age.