Natural urges in Ayurvedic medicine

The suppressible and non-suppressible urges

The suppressible and non-suppressible urges
By: Alexis A. Arredondo

Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of physics states: “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In Ayurveda, this very same law can be applied through the suppressible and non-suppressible urges.

The eight suppressible urges are greed(Lobha), grief(Soka), fear(Bhaya), anger(Krodha), vanity(Mana), shamelessness(Nirlajja), envy(Matsarya) and attachment(Raga).

As students of the Dharma and Ayurveda, we are aware that by allowing ourselves to give in to these urges, we run the risk of an “equal and opposite reaction” from them.

For example, by giving in to attachment, we open the door to the equal and opposite reaction of greed, envy or anger.

These urges not only affect our mind and body, but also effect the four goals of life which are:

i) a life of righteous living in harmony with nature (Hit-Ayu),
ii) a self-absorbed life not living in harmony with nature (A-Hit-Ayu),
iii) a life of good health/comforts with partial consideration to nature (Sukh-Ayu), and, a
iv) disturbed mental/physical state of negative karma (Dukh-Ayu).

By giving in to these urges, we quickly climb our way down to Dukh-Ayu by allowing our minds and bodies to take 0n that negative karma.

The non-suppressible urges are Urination(Mutra), Defecation(Purisa), Ejaculation(Retas), Flatus(Vata), Vomiting(Cardi), Sneezing(Ksavata), Hunger(Ksut), Thirst(Pipasa), Tears(Vaspa), Sleep(Nidra), Breath(Srama Nihvasa) and Cough(Kasa). Once again, like Newton’s law, each one of these urges will create an “equal and opposite reaction” to the suppression of that urge.

I still remember being in high school and having problems with flatus. When we are in that awkward age, we do what we can to impress others and remain socially viable. I would often hold in flatus in order to save myself embarrassment and began to develop constipation, stomach aches and pains. I know now that these were caused by the “equal and opposite reaction” of suppressing flatus.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery in my path, is that the suppressible urges often played a role in my non-suppressible urges. My attachment and vanity to be thin caused me to skip meals. Then by having that fear of violating social stigmas, I would suppress my flatus which would cause even more suppressible urges and non-suppressible urges to arise.

Finally the combination of all these imbalances would lead to Dukh-Ayu, a life of disturbed mental and physical state. Each suppressible and non-suppressible urge is related because each action reaches an “equal and opposite reaction” to each other. It is our goal in Ayurveda to keep the urges balanced in order to attain Hit-Ayu, a life of pure balance in body and mind.

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