According to Ayurveda, the epidemics and pandemics are termed as Janpadodhwansa, meaning, the group of situations which slaughter people physically, mentally, and economically leading to almost dissolution of the race. Vitiation of environmental air, water, soil and time leads to illness at large scale. This illness has one common presentation in all affected beings and spreads speedily. Epidemics happen when there is a disturbance in the cosmos, pollution, and changes with climate and seasons. As explained by Acharya Charaka in Chapter- Janapadodhwansa, there are particular causes behind the rise of an epidemic or a pandemic. It is apparent that whenever the man has disturbed the flow of nature, meddled the working of the ecosystem, and has not done the tasks which he was expected to do, the nature has always shown the man his place. In addition to harming nature’s ecology, the man has continued to harm his system too by practising unhealthy regimes and diets. Pandemics affect people at large scale when they do not live as per nature and allow desire, cruelty, anxiety, fear, anger, grief to overcome them. The reasons behind the occurrence of pandemics as per Ayurveda are-
• Air Pollution
• Water Pollution
• Pollution of Fields and Soil
• Misuse of Time and Resources
• Thought Pollution
Thought Pollution– Uselessly overcrowding our mind with unworthy thoughts, worries, fears creates a block between us and the positive energies and blessings coming our way.
Note– Acharya Charaka has not mentioned Thought Pollution, it has been added here viewing the present day scenario and relevant researches in the field of psychology.
Acharya Charaka further states the reasons that lead to polluted ecosystem.
- Adharma (Misconduct)- the people who forget their principles and morals, because of greed, anger, jealousy, ego and affection lead onto the path of wrongness. They tend to live wrongly, shirking from their duties well, cheating and failing in their personal zone, family zone, work zone, social zone, and spiritual zone.
- Shastraprabhawa (Use of weapons)- Use of poisons, cold wars between people, world wars, bio-weapons happen because of greed, anger, jealousy, ego and affection is also a type of Adharma.
- Abhishaapa (Curse)- Hurting people, animals, plants; insulting people worth worshipping, like parents, teachers, elders; killing and eating animals for pleasure; cursing everyone and everything around befalls bad omen and curses.
- Bhootasanga (Pathogens)- Being lazy and not staying hygienic leads to contamination of food, water and air, which further leads to various viral and bacterial diseases.
Acharya Charaka also elaborates the causes for the spread of disease–
a. Sadharana Hetu– Primary causes- A healthy person coming in contact with an unhealthy/infected person, leads to the spread of disease. Other factors controlling the spread are the immunity, sattwa, age of the healthy person, and the severity of disease.
b. Asadharana Hetu– Secondary Causes- A healthy person coming in contact with polluted and/or contaminated air, water, soil. The global climate change has also contributed to this. disease occurrence or spread due to these reasons can affect the population at large since all of the beings come in contact with the contaminated ecosystem.
These secondary causes are further classified as-
i. Niyat Hetu (Environmental causes)- Natural disasters like cyclones, flood, earthquake, etc.
ii. Aniyat Hetu (Personal causes)- Adharma, misconduct by the man.
Management of Janapadodhwansa as mentioned in the classical texts-
a. Investigation- Finding the root cause of the disease.
b . Social Distancing- Isolation of the patients to keep healthy population from the threat.
c. Research Work and Clinical Trials- Research for the disease-specific potential medication for the cure of the disease.
Note– These references are directly picked from authentic classical text of Ayurveda, i.e., Charaka Samhita, Vimana Sthana, Chapter 03.