Prakruthi has both physical and mental dimensions to it. In fact if we go through the list of qualities attributed to various Prakruthis, we find in it a mixture of both physical and mental qualities. However, besides the mental aspects of Vata-Pitta-Kapha Prakruthis, there is also a classification of personalities based purely on mental qualities into three types as - Sattvic, Rajasik and Tamasik Prakruthis. Strictly speaking there is no water tight classification at a purely mental or a purely physical level. In this chapter we have dealt with the topic at two levels.
Study of Prakruthi in Relation to Educational Status
Our ancient Achaaryas have formulated a clear cut opinion about the educational status of the individuals of each Prakruthi which is evident from the references available in various texts. To get an idea of the educational status in the Prakruthis, some of the indications in his regard for the three major Prakruthis, i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are given.
Most of the Achaaryas have described Vata Prakruthi people as having poor memory (Alpasmriti), unstable mind (Avyavasthira mati) and short memories (Sighravismaranha). Qualities of Rajoguna are prominently found in the people having Vata Prakruthi. These people have a confused state of mind, and change their ideas and decision suddenly. With all these drawbacks, it may be assumed that the people of Vata Prakruthi do no have much interest in education.
the people of Pitta Prakruthi have been described as being intelligent, of skillful mind (Medhavi,Nipunamati) and also as having mediocre knowledge (Madhyama Gyan-Vigyan) and a prevalence of Satvaguna. The words used for indicating the educational status of Pitta Prakruthi clearly indicate that people of Pitta Prakruthi have sharp memories and brain but simultaneously, they have moderate knowledge and abilities. With these textual references it can be presumed that people of Pitta Prakruthi tend to have moderate educational status.
With regard to the educational status of Kapha Prakruthi people, the ancient Achaaryas have described that the Kapha Prakruthi people are endowed with education, are stable minded, have sastric knowledge (Vidyavantah, Dridha-sastramti), have good memory (Smritmana ) and are endowed with intelligence (Budhya Yuktha). This indicates that the people of Kapha Prakruthi are most learned,highly qualified and have the best brain and memory. They also have deep and up-to-date knowledge on their subjects. They have prevalence of Tamoguna. On the basis of this description made in Ayurvedic texts it can be presumed that the Kapha Prakruthi individuals have the highest educational status.
It is interesting to compare indications with what has been observed in the field by the CCRAS study. (Cited earlier in the Second Chapter)
Prakruthi and Occupation
The CCRAS study on Prakruthi has listed the attributes of various Prakruthi types in relation to their qualities that are relevant for occupation. Based on these qualities they have speculated upon the occupation that may be suitable for various Prakruthi types, which are summarised below -
The relevant characteristics are
|Chapala gati||Wavering bodily movements|
|Sigra samarambha||Quick grasping power|
|Ushna saho||Desire for warm articles|
|Hasa vilasa priya||Joyful and likes entertainment|
Keeping in view the characteristics of Vata Prakuthi they may be best suited for the jobs of - touring, field activities, social activities, lectures, debates,discussions,business,dancing,music and entertainment etc. Jobs in army, police intelligence agencies, engineering, agricultural work,mechanical work and also physical labour work of mild are suitable for them.
The relevant characteristics are -
|Klesa asahishnu||Intolerant to physical strain|
|Teekshna parakrama||Valorous and courageous|
|Medhavi||High intellect, good memory|
|Maani||High self esteem|
Pitta Prakruthi individuals may be best suited for jobs like teaching, administration, politics, defence services, management, acting,art, promotion of cultural activities and labour of moderate nature.
The relevant characteristic are -
|Klesha saha||Able to withstand severe physical strain|
|Gambhira||Very good intellect|
|Jalashayaloki||Fond of watery bodies and sources|
Kapha Prakruthi individuals may be best suited for the jobs in which application of brain is much required such as judiciary, scientific and technological work, medicine, engineering generala administration research, teaching of religion, philosophy and higher education. Jobs which need deep thinking and high concentration are also suited for them.
Dwandvaja Prakruthi and Sama Prakruthi
Dwandvaja (dual) Prakruthi person can perform the jobs well according to the combination of two of the Prakruthi forming their Prakruthi. Samadhatu Prakruthi individuals can do all types of work including heavy physical labour and mental work.
Satva, Rajas and Tamas Prakruthis
As we stated earlier, there is a classification of Prakruthi based on these mental attributes, namely - Satva, Rajas and Tamas, which are also qualities at an abstract level.
The Nature of Satva, Rajas Tamas
Satva is considered to be blemishless and healthy. It leads one to attachment to knowledge. Satva gives rise to happiness. When satva predominates it leads to correct knowledge. Sattvik mentality leads to actions performed with selflessness and noble motives. Sattvik mentality leads to actions which are noble motives. Sattvik mentality leads to actions which are non-egoistic, performed with firmness and enthusiasm and the doer is unaffected by the success or failure of his efforts. He retains a sense of balance.
Rajas gives rise to passion and is the source of feelings of longing and attachment. Leads one to attachment to action. When rajas predominates it leads to hasty initiation of action, restlessness and longing. Rajasik mentality leads one to action that is performed for specific effects and also performed ostentatiously. Rajasik acts are driven by strong passion to see results and they may be harmful. The doer is swayed intensely by joy or sorrow depending on the results of his action.
Tamas gives rise to indolence and sleep. It leads to inertia. When tamas predominates, it leads to heedlessness and delusion. Tamasik mentality leads to action performed in a lackadaisical manner without sincerity of purpose or devotion. Tamasik actions are unsteady. They may be malicious and may involve despondency and procrastination.
The sankhya Karika (a basic text of India Philosophy) describes the qualities of the three different gunas as follows:
Satva is of the quality of light and tends to be uplifting in nature. Rajas has the quality of movement and energy. Tamas has the quality of heaviness and inertia. However, all there of them can and do act in conjunction and combination.
The Sattvik temperament is free defects and it is endowed with good effects. The Rajasik type is defective since it promotes wrathful disposition, hastiness in action,anger etc. Similarly, the Tamasik disposition is defective since it represents ignorance, inertia etc.
Sub-Divisions of Mental Prakruthi
Though these are three broad varieties of mental Prakruthi, there are a large number of sub-divisions in them representing finer shades of these qualities. For example, the Sattvic mentality is sub-divided into seven categories.
Types of Sattvik Prakruthi
Brahma- having the qualities of Brahma such as purity, love of truth. self control etc.
Arsa - sharing the qualities of Rsis such as devotion, ritual study, celibacy, etc.
Aindra - having the qualities of Indra such as lordship and authority to speak,bravery, strength, farsightedness etc.
Yama - Having the qualities of Yama such as observance of the propriety of action, memory,freedom from envy etc.
Varuna - having the qualities of Varuna such as bravery, patience, observance of religious rites, expression of anger and pleasure on proper occasions etc.
Kubera - having the qualities of Kubera such as power, health and satisfaction of desire,purity,liking for recreation etc.
Gandharva - having the skills of Gandharva such as dance,singing and music, expertise in a variety of stories etc.
Types of Rajasik Prakruthi
Similarly the Ayurvedica classic have described subdivisions of Rajasik mentality into six categories, namely -
Asura - Having the qualities of an asura (demon) such as ferocious, valorous etc.
Sarpa- Having the qualities of Sarpa (snake) such as swift in movements, inflicting sorrow to fellow being etc.
Shakuna - Having the qualities of Shakuna (bird) such as always wandering etc.
Rakshasa - Having the qualities of Rakshasa such as jealous, not trustworthy etc.
Paishackaka - Having the qualities of Paishackaka such as eating food without giving it to others, lazy, greedy etc.
Pretha - Having the qualities of Pretha (ghost) such as shameless, always sad, jealous of others etc.
Type of Tamasik Prakruthi
Tamasik mentality is classified into three and are as follows
Pashu - having the qualities of Pashu (beast) such as low intellect, dreaming of sexual activities, lack of initiative in any work.
Matsya - having the qualities of Matsya (Fish) such as - the mind is always unsteady, foolish, fearful, always liking to be in water, quarreling with fellow beings for food etc.
Vanaspathya - having the qualities of Vanaspathya (tree) such as desire to stay put in one place, greedy for food and lack of virtuous qualities.
Mental disposition forms a continuum with innumerable varieties and what we have described here are only certain ideal forms. These mentalities are perhaps best understood by citing example of well known characters. For example it is said that in the ramayana, the three brothers namely - Vibheesana, Ravana and kumbhadarna epitomize the three qualities of satva, rajas and tamas. Vibheeshana who is virtuous in thoughts, speech and action gives sound advice to his brother Ravana and then he surrenders to Lord Rama. This is an example of Sattvic behaviour. Ravana acts under the forces of lust and uncontrolled passion. His actions are ill considered and his behaviour haughty and arrogant. His behaviour is controlled by Rajas. The third brother Kumbhakarna has an extraordinary quality. He sleep for six months at a time. The yuddha Kanda of Ramayana describes at great length the extraordinary efforts that have to be made to wake up the sleepy Kumbhakarna. They use elephants and spears to pound on him and blow the sound of trumpets and conches at his ears to wake him up. This is a typical quality of Tamas - inertia, excessive sleep, sloth and ignorance.
Food and the Three Gunas
The three gunas have a great effect on the mind. In fact they constitute as it were the "substance" of which the mind is made. In India tradition a lot of importance is given to the diet for a practitioner of Yoga or religious rituals since the effect of food on the mind has been noted. Foods can influence the mind by increasing any of the three gunas. A few example are given below:
Sattvik foods are those that increase the lifespan, give strength, health are juicy and pleasing Example - cow’s milk, butter, fresh ripe fruits etc.
Rajasik foods are bitter, sour saline, excessively hot, dry or burning. Examples of rajasic food are - fish,eggs,onions,garlic,tea,coffee,tobacco etc.
Tamasik foods are those that are stale, tasteless,putrid,rotten and impure. Intoxicants like Ganja,stale food,half cooked food,rotten food etc., are considered tamasik.
Balance of Gunas Needed
Nevertheless, our Sastras state that the function of three qualities in their proper place is what is needed for normal existence. Without rajas we cannot perform various actions that require for us to rest. Individuals under the influence of an excess or rajas, find it difficult to rest or go to sleep.
The Sankhya school describes the combined function of the three doshas by providing an analogy with the burning of an earthen oil lamp. The flame which is light, moving upward and shedding brightness represents satva. The oil which is the fuel representing rajas providing energy. The lamp which is an earthen container and holds the other two in place and in position represents tamas. It is the proper juxtaposition and combination of all the three qualities that is needed for the normal functioning of our mind.
Assessment of Manasika Prakruthi
The assessment of Mental Prakruthi is a more involved and sophisticated task, when compared to physical Prakruthi. Vaidhya Vilas Nanal, a distinguished Ayurvedic practitioner based in Pune has evolved an interesting protocol for the assessment of Mental Prakruthi. We have reproduced the format used by him in the following section. This was used by him to assess a set of students in a management course, in Pune. He states that the experience was interesting and worthwhile and the students appreciated the counselling that they received based on their answers. As it can be seen, there is no "Key" provided to say which answer corresponds to "What type". In fact same of the questions are open ended.(Such as question no. 9,10 etc) no choices have been provided. Thus this questionnaire cannot be made use of by the reader in the same way as the questionnaire on physical prakruthi given earlier in Chapter VI. Nevertheless it has been included since it gives the reader a taste of the possible approach to analysis and some grounds for reflection and introspeciton.