The basic components of human body are Dosha, Dhatu and Mala. Thehealthy state of body rests on the state of dynamic equilibrium of thesecomponent. Human body is in a continous exposure to external and internalstressors which make the body vulunurable to disease. But the tendency to havedisease is prevented by many factors within the body. Oja is one of the factorthat prevent the body from illness. Ojas is nothing but the pure essence of allDhatu of the body.
Abnormalities of Ojas result in many illness and loss ofstrength and stamina. So it is utmost essential to manage Oja in optimalquantity and quality so that the body will enjoy healthy life. The presentstudy is carried out with an aim to have proper understanding of the Ojas withspecial reference to immunity and access its clinical importance. Keywords:Oja, bala, vyadhikshamatwa, immunity.INTRODUCTIONIntroductionThe concept of ojas in ayurveda is a very important principle.
Ojasliterally means “vigour”. It is described as an essentialcomponent of the body to sustain life force. Ojas exists on a subtle level withinthe body. Disease strikes at the location where there is derangement of oja.The diseases in presentscenario such asAIDS, diabetes etc. manifest features of decrease immunity or rather Ojakshaya.
Materialsand MethodsThis article is basedon a review of variousAyurvedic classicalliteratures, online and offline journals. Materials related to oja,vyadhishamatwa, immunity andother relevant topicswere collected by searching through various search engines and digitallibraries. The search results thus obtained were compiled, analyzed and discussedfor a thorough and in-depth understanding of the concept of oja vis-à-visimmunity in Ayurveda.
DISCUSSIONFormationof OjusThe Oja manifestwithin the embryo right at the time of fertilization, when shukra (sperm)fuses with shonita (ovum) paka of shukradhatu (both shukraand shonita) takes place (fertilization) and two components are formedi.e. sara (nutrient materials) and mala (excretory products).
Thisojas will perform its function of avastambha and support the foetallife the garbha. Thus the Oja can be regarded as the product of conceptionhaving derived from sperm and ovum; carry the sara of all dhatus inthem, which make them viable. Further nutrition and enrichment in the quantityof ojas to ardhanjali takes place by ahararasa (nutrient materials),which is derived from mother’s body andpossesses qualities similar to ojas and, it also simultaneouslynourishes the growing embryo. In later period of intrauterine life, when heartis developed, it enters into heart and with the vessels connected to it, circulatesthroughout the body of fetus; every tissue of the fetal body is supplied with ojas,andis supported by it. So that pranas (factor responsible for sustenance oflife) are said to be seated in it. Hence ojas is said to be prevailingin all the stages of intrauterine life.1,2Typesof OjasThe ojas isconsidered to be of following two types viz.
para oja which is of asthabindu pramana and located in hridya (heart) and apara oja whichis of ardhanjal. Chakrapanidata notes that param teja which isthe sara (essence) of all dhatus, being located in hridya (heart)mixes with rasa (lymph) and circulates through dhamani (vessels)and performs nourishment of entirebody. It representsthe bala of all the dhatus and is present in the organism from thetime of fertilization.3Nutritionof OjasOjashas to be synthesized by body in continual manner because it getsutilized in the course of its functions.
Hence, to fulfill theamount utilized andto keep intact the total quantity einforcement must be needed. AcharyaSushruta says that food is the basis of all life as well as of bala,varna and ojas.4 Thesame view also holdsby Charakacharya i.
e. body is the utcome of food. At some other place, he statesthe same fact in other words that ahararasa nourishes all the bodytissues as well as ojas.5 Thus it is obvious that ojas is producedand nourished from food substances, which are conductive to ojas.
But,theconversion of food,in spite of having all nutritive factors of ojas, dhatus, bala and varnaetc. into specific metabolite depends upon the proper functioning of Agni(digestivefactor).6Anotherimportant factor that serves as an important entity for internal transport systemof body is termed as Srotasas.7 The nutrient factors, the precursors ofbodilyelements arerecognized and they transported to the place where they are subjected to digestionand metabolism for the formation of latter body tissues.8Seatof OjasThe Ojas issaid to be located in the hridaya (heart) 11.
It mixes with rasa andcirculates through the dhamanis (circulating vessels).The heart plays animportant role in distribution ofsleshmikaojas to all the tissues of the body. The channels of transport are the dashamahamula dhamanis which carry oja to the entire body. These channelspermit the exudation (filtration, diffusion and permeation) and maintain thesteady flow tothe body tissues fornourishment.1Quantityof OjasAccording to Charaka,the quantity of ojas in a healthy ndividual is ardhanjali while vagbhatacharyaan stangahrdayakara has statedit to be one prasrta in quantity. It isequitant to volume ofthe cavity formed by hollowing one’s own palm, not mean two Pala inweight for present context. InPadmapurana,the quantity of ojas (bala) is stated to be 1/4 kudawa whichis approximately 1/4 anjali when individualizednorm is taken asstandard measure. By summation of the above statements it appears that ojas isardhanjali in an individual and is subjected to fluctuation from 1/4 to1/2 anjali according to the constitution.
Since Charaka also saysthat these fluids are always subjected to fluctuation i.e. increase or decrease.Chakrapani Datta by quoting other authority, states that there is onemore kind of ojas which is astabindu in quantity and iscalled as paraojas and is different from ½ anjali ojas i.e. shlesmika ojas.Arundatta on the other hand, observes that ojas pervades in allthe cells of body and its six drops are located in hridaya.12Propertiesof Ojas: The properties can play an important role in understanding itsmultiple aspects precisely.
? Colour:According to Sushruta it is sukla varna (clear white) whereasother Acharyas has mentioned three colors ofojasi.e. a clear substance with the tinge of red and yellow.? Odour: Lajagandhii.e.
with the smell of laja.? Taste:According to Charaka, its taste is similar to that of honey i.e. madhurasawith slight kashayatva. No one else among the Acaryas havedirectly mentioned aboutthe taste of ojas.Ojasand Sleshma: The kapha in its normal status is supposed to give bala (strength)to body hence it is correlated with Ojas.According toChakrapani dutta sleshmika ojas is apara oja whose pramana isconsidered as adhanjali pramana.Ojasand Bala: Acharya Charaka states that bala,arogya,ayu,prana and ojasare dependent on Agni.
Bala is classified into three types asper samhita grantha:-? Sahaja bala:-Itis resistance to disease states to be prakrita (natural/inborn) and existsfrom birth. Some individuals areobserved asphysically strong from their birth whereas some are observed as physically weakfrom the very birth. Acharya Charaka in analyzing the Sahaja Bala hasmentioned that the natural bala of the sharira and satva i.e.the body and mind are termed as Sahaja Bala. Sahaja Bala can becorrelated with constitutional strength of an individual.According to AcharyaChakrapani the constitutional strength is present in every living beingform the very time of birth.
This is because of the natural growth of the dhatus(tissues). Thus the natural strength does not require any extraneous factorfor its growth. It is known that, there are some people who are by naturestrong; some others are weak, it is geneticallydecided.? Kalaja bala:-Thisbala is influenced by seasonal traits and age of the person.
Bala isdissipated and lowest in adanakala. This kala corresponds to shishira,vasanta and grishma, which represents the hottest season of theyear. On the other hand balais conserved and itshighest optimum level is witnessed in visargakala corresponding to varsha,sharada, hemanta ritu thatrepresents the coolerseasons of year. As regards to Bala the childhood and age come in lastdescending order.? Yuktikrita:-Itrefers to the induction of body resistance against diseases by resort toappropriate nutrition and rasayantherapy.
15Clinicalimportance of Ojas:Ojasplays a vital role in maintainance of health as well as productionof illness. When ojas is in normal state it brings health and when it becomevitiated or depleted it leads to many pathological conditions. The variousclinical implications of Ojas are as follows;In PhysiologicalState:The Ojas plays avital role right at the time of conception. During fertilization Ojas is said to be present in thesperm and ovum in the form of their sara or essence, in the absence ofwhich, fertilization does not take place. After fertilization sara of shukraand shonita get converted in to a new substance, which is said to begarbharasadrasah (resultant of fusion of sperm and ovum) it is the onlysource of nutrition of garbha (fetus) for its growth and development.Ojas is also responsible for viability or non-viability of fetus.
During eightmonth of pregnancy ojas circulate trans-placentally between mother andfoetus. If the fetus gets delivered in this month, in the state when ojas isin maternal body, it does not survive being devoid of ojas. Ojas help inmaintainance of health by helping the Dosha, dhatuand mala awhichare the fundamental units of thebody, to remain in astate of dynamic equilibrium.
It is also said that all the activities of theliving body may it be kayika,vacika,mansika take place smoothly if the body is endowed with proper qualitiesof ojas. Thus it can be inferred that ojas influence the functionof physical, sensory, psychic and other higher faculties of the body andmaintain the homeostaticcondition of body. Ojasactsas Vyadhishamatwa within the body. Vyadhikshamatwa is nothing but theimmunity in ayurvedic concept which has two aspects viz.
vyadhibalavirodhitwaand vyadhyutpadakanibandhakatwa.. According to Charaka vyadhikshamatwais not of the same order in all constitutions, it varies in individual regardlessof their nutritional environmental and individual factors, physical and psychologicalfactors etc. Pathological Statesof Ojas:The pathologicalstates of Ojas or Ojas Vikruti is of three types Oja Visransa Oja VyapathOjakshayaOjaVisransa is characterized by Sandhivisleshana(looseness of the joints), Gatrasada (inertness of theextremities), Dosha chyavana (displacement of doshas from theirrespective location),Kriya Sannirodha (impairment of the function of the body, manas etc).Oja Vyapad is characterized by Stabdhaguru gatrata (inertness and heaviness of the extremities), Vatasopha (anasarcadue to vata), Varnabheda(discoloration ofskin or change of complexion), Glani (fatigue of the senses), Tandra (drowsiness),Nidra (somnolence). Oja Kshaya displayssymptoms like Murcha(loss of consciousness), Mansakshaya (wasting of muscles), Moha(stupor), Pralapa (delirium), Marana (death)There are also certainother disorders in which the Ojas get vitiated or become pathological and depleted . Those disordersare as follows:-Ø Sannipatajwara: In sannipata jwara inwhen the excited pitta and vayu bring about the visramsa ofoja then the symptoms like stiffness all over body, coldness, and desireto sleep always, unconsciousness, somnolence, loosening of the limb, low feverand body pain are seen.
Ø Rajayakshama:-In rajayakshamadue to the obstruction of the srotansi as a result of deficiency ofnutrients of raktadi dhatus ,lowered functioning of dhatushmas (dhatwagnis)and apachaya (catabolic events), the food ingested which when subjectedto the process of digestion in kostha is changed into malas,little of nutrition is available for production of ojas. Ø Madhumeha:-In madhumehavyadhi, the aggravated vata by its ruksha guna converts the madhura ojasinto one of kasaya and transports it to the mutrashaya (urinaryapparatus). The ojas produced in this condition is qualitativelydeficient. Even the impoverished ojas is lost to the body through urine.Ø Panduroga:-Inpandu roga, aggravated pitta vitiates the dhatus whichlatter lose their integrity.
Subsequently, varna, bala and sneha whichare the gunas of ojas are depleted by the vitiated doshas anddhatus. The individual suffers from impoverished rakta and medodhatus and de-vitalization. The person is then affected as nissara (lossof natural integrity, tone and strength of the tissues), shitilendriya (impairmentof the integrity of the senses) and vaivarna (abnormal color orcomplexion of body)Concept of ImmmunityThe Body Defenses as per modernscience is termed as Immunity which can be regarded as resistance to disease. the immune system is responsible for defenseagainst all the microorganisms and toxic cells to which individuals are exposed. There are many factors which directly orindirectly affect the immunity eg.
Genetics, Age, Health, nutrition, stress,Hormones etc. The immune system is a functional system rather than a systemwith discrete organs. The parts of almost all organs in the body play some rolein immunity.
Wide spread chemical mediators, cells and tissues along with theirtransport via circulatory and lymphaticsystems constitute the immune system. There are mainly two types of immunitypresent in body. First one is 1.Nonspecific Immunity an innate reaction that acts as a general response againstall kinds of pathogens without having been previously exposed to it. Theexamples of non specific immunity are a.physical and chemical barriers b. internal cells and chemicals 2. SpecificImmunity an adaptive system that fights specific individual pathogens incustomized and professional waysCells and tissues of the immune system The cells of the immune system taketheir origin from precursors in the bone marrow, after which they circulate inthe blood and live in lymphoid organs like lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils alongwith virtually within all the tissues of the body.
During the demand they canrapidly migrate to any site of infection. Among circulating white blood cells(leukocytes), the major phagocytes are neutrophils and monocytes. These cellsingest and destroy microbes, other injurious agents, and one’s own dead anddamaged cells. Neutrophils respond rapidly to foreign stimuli and to injury;their reaction is part of acute inflammation. When blood monocytes entertissues, they mature, and are called macrophages. These cells are present underepithelia, in connective tissues, and in all organs. Macrophages respond moreslowly than do neutrophils but for longer times; this reaction is typical ofchronic inflammation.
Macrophages also help to repair damaged tissue. The mostimportant cells of adaptive immunity are lymphocytes which are catagorised intwo main classes B lymphocyte and T lymphocyte. B lymphocytes (so calledbecause they mature in the bone marrow) secrete proteins called antibodies,which bind to and eliminate extracellular microbes.
T lymphocytes (which maturein the thymus) function mainly to combat microbes that have learned to liveinside cells (where they are inaccessible to antibodies). There are two maintypes of T lymphocytes one is helper T cells which help B lymphocytes to makethe most effective antibodies and help macrophages to kill ingested microbes.The second group of T lymphocyte are called cytotoxic (cytolytic) T lymphocytes(CTLs) which kill infected host cells and thus serve to eliminate reservoirs ofinfection. A third, small population of lymphocytes is called “regulatory Tcells” because they control immune responses and prevent inappropriatereactions. There are several other small populations of lymphocytes. In orderto get immune responses started, foreign substances have to be captured anddisplayed to lymphocytes.
The cells that perform this task of displayingantigens are called antigen-presenting cells (APCs). The best defined APCs arespecialized type of cells called dendritic cells. CONCLUSIONAs the immune system is a two edged sword so is the Ojas. Ojas preventthe body from having illness at the same time it also become responsible formany illness if it get vitiated.
So during diagnosis the state of Ojas shouldbe accessed properly and during treatment also Rasayan Dravyas should beadministered to maintain Ojas in its optimal state. Optimal state of Ojas leadsto the maintenance of unctuous quality of body parts, holding body entitiestogether, durability of body elements, maintenance of bulk of body, maintenanceof sexual vigor and strength of body.