Ayurveda categorizes the three main causes of diseases. These three causes encompass the entire sub-strata of human experience. They are the causes that originate in the mind and intellectual faculties, causes that are born from the external environment and causes that arise within the bridging of the internal and external world known as the organs of sensory perception. These three causes are divided into three variations, they are wrong-use, non-use, and excessive use.
The body and mind constitute the substrata of disease and happiness. Balanced utilization of time, mental faculties, and objects of the sense organs is the cause of happiness.
(Ca. Sutra 1:55))
The causes of disease relating to both body and mind are three-fold, wrong utilization, non-utilization, and excessive utilization of time, mental faculties, and objects of the sense organs.
(Ca. Sutra. 1:54))
WRONG USE OF TIME/ parinam
Time is considered as a cause of disease. Our sense organs, mind, and body are governed by the principles of creation, expression, and destruction. How we interact with the universal qualities and elements will determine the rate of aging and deterioration of the vehicle of the soul. Parinam also relates to external environmental factors. It is further influenced by our ability to respond and adapt to our external environment. This may be challenged by unusual seasonal activity leading to an increase or decrease in normal temperatures or seasonal duration, or widespread viral or bacterial epidemics. The harmful effects of parinam commonly occur during changes in the season, for example, the common cold and flu during the onset of winter, or hay fever at the beginning of spring. Parinam may also cause imbalance if we are faced with unexpectedly high levels of stress or trauma.
By paying attention and exercising awareness of our surroundings we are able to appropriately adjust to changes in the environment and maintain balance.
WRONG USE OF MENTAL FACULTIES/ pragnyaparadha
Or the misuse of intelligence quite simply is the act of going against our inner wisdom. How many times have we succumb to second servings at the dinner table when we know we’ve had enough to eat, or that second glass of wine we know will lead to us waking in the morning feeling foggy and lethargic? Ayurveda explains this lapse in appropriate decision making to be a result of impaired discernment, conviction, and memory.
WRONG USE OF SENSE ORGANS/ asatmya indriyartha ayoga
Improper contact of objects of perception with sensory organs. This is when our sensory organs - eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and skin are damaged as a result of excessive, wrong, or non-use.
These days more often than not overexposure is the predominant cause of sensory reduction such as spending too much time on electronic devices, excessive artificial lighting between dusk and dawn, or just long hours at work without adequate recovery time. When the organs of perception become impaired, we become limited with our capacity to engage in the world.
SECONDARY CAUSES OF DISEASE
Secondary causes of disease stated in Ayurvedic texts result from inherited, physical trauma, spiritual or karmic influence.
Initially, we might consider our environment to be our greatest threat due to the potential risk of viral and bacterial infections, widespread epidemics, or various other unavoidable natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, or droughts.
Interestingly, Charaka considers the misuse of intelligence to be the foremost driver of human suffering, the second being the improper relationship between our sense organs and objects of perception and the third being of external causes largely beyond our control.
Ayurveda holds a strong emphasis on maintaining a symbiotic relationship with nature, our spirit, our mind, and our body. When we consider ourselves separate from the whole; we are mistaken and take a path that will inevitably lead to suffering.