Episode # 99 – “Vaatam”, “Pittham” and “Kapam” – Three major parameters defining our physical health as per Ayurveda!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed an important discussion on the eight different attributes that contribute to a person’s immense happiness and satisfaction in his/her lifetime. We had taken up the discussion in two parts of four each for the past two episodes. In due course of the previous episode we had spoken about the significance of the valuable advice that elders give us during the time of our need and when we pass through bad times. In fact, it is a blessing to have elders at our vicinity who can serve as a guiding light for us when the going gets tough. Their experience and views provide an unparalleled guidance, which can enable us to see through the tough times.

Now moving on further, in today’s episode we’re going to witness the next sloka wherein Vidura is going to pack nine attributes in each of them! Today we shall commence the discussion on the “first nine” attributes. Here he is going to talk about the nine different outlets that are present in our human body! Let us see what Vidura has got to say:

“Navadvaaramidam veshma tristhoonam panchasaakshikam!

Kshethragnyaa tishtitham vidwaan yo veda saparah kavihi!!”

Here Vidura says, “Nava dvaaramidam veshma”, which means that we should consider our human body as a city that is enclosed within nine different gates or entry/exit points! What are the nine-entry/exit points in our human body? We have two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one mouth and our two excretory outlets. If we total these together, we would realize that we have nine gates in our body!

We’ve already discussed in one of our previous episodes recently that there are three important “Gunas” that make up the human body – “Sathva Guna”, “Rajo Guna” and “Tamo Guna”, which together we call as “Tristhoonam” or the three important pillars with which a human being is made of! We’ve already spoken at length about this previously.

There are another three important aspects, as far as our human body is concerned – “Vaatam”, “Pittham” and “Sleshmam” or “Kapam”. These three aspects would always be present in our physical body throughout our entire lifetime. These three aspects assume significance during three different time periods of our lifetime. For instance if we’ve to split our lifetime into 33 years each, “Kapam” or “Sleshmam” assumes more significance during the first 33 years of our life. This is why we would often see that small children and youngsters would predominantly suffer from diseases that are related to this “Kapam”. For instance, diseases like common cold, fever, throat infection and other diseases aligned to it would occur during this stage of the human lifetime. As we progress into the next 33 years of our lifetime (until the age of 66), “Pitham” would occupy the center-stage. This is when we would start having some ailments with respect to our stomach, digestion, etc. because our physical activities gradually start reducing as we age further. This is why we see many people getting affected by diabetes, blood pressure, etc. during this particular age period. Now as we move towards the advanced age group of beyond 66 years, “Vaatam” takes center-stage. This is where many of us would start experiencing ailments like pain in the knee joints, backache, etc.

Thus only based upon these three important classifications, our traditional medicinal practices like Ayurveda, Sidda, etc. would prescribe medicines for different types of ailments. When we go to an Ayurvedic doctor, normally the first thing that they would do is to hold our fist with their fingers for a few seconds and with the pulse rate that our fist shows, they would conclude whether we have an ailment pertaining to “Vaadam” or “Pittham” or “Kapam”. Normally for a healthy person, all the three parameters of “Vaadam”, “Pittham” and “Kapam” should be on an equal plane. A person would start having problems only when one or two out of these three parameters show an abnormal increase or decrease.

Thus, an entire medicinal science of Ayurveda is based upon these three important pillars, and with basis of these three, our five senses in our body operate smoothly. If we are able to maintain our physical body in line with the prescribed “Vaadam”, “Pittham” and “Kapam” levels as per the Ayurvedic science, we would be completely free from any health problems at any point in our lifetime.

“Idam shareeram kountheya kshetramithyabi deeyathe!

Yethath yoveshtitham praahuhu kshetragnya ithi tadhvitaha!!”

The above verse is from the Bhagawat Gita wherein Bhagawan Krishna explains the importance of maintaining our physical body in a proper way. He says that this human body is like a fertile piece of land and the “Aathman” (Soul) is the farmer. Thus, just like a farmer who knows well about his piece of land where he has do his farming, the “Aathman” should know well about the body in which it resides. Just as the farmer sows useful crops in his land to reap good harvest, we should also sow good thoughts and actions through our physical body so as to reap good benefits. Here the good crops are nothing but the good “Gunas” that we need to inculcate within ourselves. Just like how a farmer would try to maximize his revenue by sowing the right crops at the right season, by removing the unwanted and harmful weeds, we also should try and maximize our opportunity to be born as a human being by inculcating the good “Gunas” and weeding out the bad ones, so that our thoughts and actions are pure.

Thus for today, let us introspect on this important sloka and reflect upon ourselves. Let us realize the significance of our human body and try to maintain it in a proper way. Only if our human body is fit and fine, will we be able to focus on our spiritual development. Hence, adequate care is to be taken to ensure that our physical health is up to the mark. We shall wait till the next episode to explore Vidura’s next important sloka. Here he’s going to explain ten different aspects in one sloka. Let’s stay tuned to find out! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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