Ojas is the highest essence of all the dhatus (bodily tissues), beginning with rasa and ending with shukra, according to the Susruta Samhita. Ojas is also known as bala (strength). A person with good quality bala will have strong and well-formed musculature, clear voice, bright complexion, and proper functioning of all sensory, motor, and mental functions.
The properties of ojas have a predominance of the water element, and is also slimy, white, cool, steady, expansile, clear, soft, and moist. It is an important essence of life. All parts of the human body are permeated by it, and when deficient the body degenerates (Su. Su. 15/19-22).
- Rasa – nutritious part of food
- Rakta – blood tissue
- Mamsa – muscle tissue
- Meda – fat tissue
- Asthi – bone tissue
- Majja – bone marrow
- Shukra – reproductive tissue
Though it can be quantified, it cannot be seen or compared to any elements in the body. Some compare ojas to white blood cells, but this is only a partial comparison.
Caraka Samhita explains that ojas dwells in the heart and is predominantly white, yellow, and red in color. If ojas is destroyed, the human being will perish. The form in which ojas is produced in the body of human beings for the first time has the color of ghee, the taste of honey and the smell of laja (fried paddy). As the bees collect honey from fruits and flowers, similarly ojas is collected in the human body, by our actions, habits, and diet(Ca. Su. 17/73-75).
The Heart: The Seat of Ojas
The heart is indispensable for all daily mental and physical activities. In the heart resides Para Ojas – the superior ojas, which controls the mind. Therefore, Ayurvedic physicians have designated the heart as Hridaya, Mahat, and Artha (Ca. Su. 30/6-7).
Ten Qualities of Ojas (Ca. Ci. 24/31)
- Guru - heaviness
- Sita - cold
- Mrudu - softness
- Slaksna - smoothness
- Bahala - density
- Madhura - sweetness
- Sthira - stability
- Prassanna - clearness or leisureliness
- Picchila - sliminess
- Snigdha - unctuousness
Is Ojas a Dhatu or Upadhatu?
Ojas is the essence of all the dhatus and is formed after the shukra. Ojas has all of the essential ingredients and essence of all the tissues embedded in it and represents the gross immunity of an individual. If all the dhatus are balanced in terms of quality and quantity, ojas will be formed and balanced in a good way. Salient features like the vigor, vitality, charm, and intelligence of an individual are based on ojas.
Ojas, primarily located in the hridaya (heart), is spread out all over the body through circulation and maintains the health and integrity of the body. If ojas is stable, we live, and if it is unstable, it leads to death.
Ojas is not a dhatu, although it satisfies the criteria of shareera dharana (formation and maintenance of the body). It doesn’t nourish any of the other dhatus, which is what happens with all dhatus. Ojas is also not an upadhatu because it is not nourished by a single dhatu, which is what happens when all upadhatus are formed. In fact, ojas is the essence of and carries in it traces of all the dhatus. It is a sum average of all the dhatus, though some authors have considered ojas as a sub-tissue or upadhatu of shukra.
Symptoms of Strong Ojas
- Fewer colds, coughs, fevers
- Strong control of mind
- Good memory and concentration
- Spiritual belief and practice
- Eats moderate quantities
- Control over anger, jealousy, etc.
- Exercises and has well-muscled body
When ojas is depleted, it becomes displaced from the heart due to the vitiation of tejas by vayu. There are three stages of depletion, displacement, derangement, and diminution (Su. Su. 15/24).
Stage 1: Ojo Visramsa (displacement)
- Sandhi vishlesha - multiple joint pain, lack of strength in joints
- Gatra sada - fatigue, malaise
- Dosha chyavana - increase of all dosas
- Kriya Sannirodha - lack of normal body functions
Stage 2: Ojavyapth (derangement)
- Sthabda gurugatrata - stiffness and heaviness of the body
- Vatashopha - edema due to increase of vata dosa
- Varna bheda - skin discoloration
- Glani - fatigue
- Tandra - malaise, improper functioning of sense organs.
- Nidra - excess sleepiness
Stage 3: Ojokshaya (diminution)
- Murcha - unconsciousness
- Mamsa kshaya - lack of muscle mass
- Moha - delusion
- Pralapa - irrelevant talk
- Marana - death
Factors that Increase Ojas
- Regular intake of ghee, milk, and nutrition rich food
- Yoga, pranayama, exercises, physical activities
- Mental exercises to improve concentration
- Prayer and other spiritual practices
- Strength building substances, rasayana
How to Improve Ojas for Kapha Prakriti
Kapha dosa, when it is in it’s normal state, acts as bala (immune power). A kapha person is naturally more nourished when compared to a vata or pitta person. The best way for a kapha-dominant person to improve ojas is to maintain the correct balance for kapha dosa. The kapha body type tends to easily accumulate kapha, and the individual must take measures to control it. If kapha gets out of control, it leads to kapha disorders such as obesity, respiratory disorders, sugar imbalances, etc.
Factors that Decrease Kapha
- Regular exercise and an active lifestyle
- Moderate quantity of foods
- Primary tastes - bitter, pungent, and astringent
- Seasonal vamana panchakarma (emesis therapy)
- Regular use of tulsi, trikatu, and ginger
Pathology for Decreased Ojas
When vata and kapha are decreased, then pitta will cause vitiation of ojas, leading to glani (debility), indriya daurbalya (weakness of sense organs), trushna (excessive thirst), murcha (fainting) and kriya kshayam (depleted body functions) (Ca. Su. 17/62). The excessive pitta causes burnout of the body tissues, which depletes both the body tissues and ojas.
Diet and Lifestyle Habits That Decrease Ojas
- Anger, grief, jealousy, negative attitude
- Excess use of salty, pungent, and bitter foods.
- Over use of kshara substances (medicine and alcohol)
- Prolonged low intake of food
- Prolonged high intake of food
- Staying awake at night
- Excess release of semen
- Injury or trauma
Symptoms of Decreased Ojas
- Excessive worry without reason; fearful, negative thoughts
- Debilitated, weak and depressed
- Chronic pain and/or discomfort in the sense organs
- Dry discolored skin complexion
How to Improve Ojas for Vata and Pitta Prakriti
Ghee is the best thing to increase ojas for those with vata/pitta prakriti. As per Ayurveda, cow ghee balances vata and pitta, and it also improves ojas. For those with a vata/pitta body type, it is recommended to use ghee on a regular basis but in limited quantity.
Preservation of Ojas
Those who want to preserve ojas and maintain a strong heart and vessels should avoid things that lead to unhappiness such as worry and stress. Food and herbs that are conducive to the heart and health of srotas (body channels) should be emphasized.
Place of Ojas and Kapha
The Hrid (heart) is the location of ojas and Ura sthana (heart and lungs) is the main location of kapha. Avalambaka type of kapha resides in the heart. It keeps the heart stable, despite the continuous and heavy workload of the organ. Kapha forms the stratum or base upon which vata does division and movement and pitta carries out metabolism.
Two Types of Ojas
- Great importance, life depends on it
- Stable component
- Eight drops in quantity
- Located in the heart
- Lesser importance, health depends on it
- Mobile component
- Volume of one’s hand (10-15ml)
- Circulates all over the body
Ayurvedic Protocol to Increase Ojas
Ushna - hotness
- Useful when there is low digestion and metabolism
- Low Agni = low quality dhatu = low quality ojas
- Spices in moderate quantities helps increase ojas
Guru – heaviness
- Suggests toward strong and sturdy body tissues
- Hence, good amounts of ghee, fats and oils promote ojas
Stress Reducing Activities
- Yoga and Pranayama
- Loving relationships
- Disciplined life with regular routine
- Control excessive sexual urge
- Compassion towards all living beings
- Maintain positive attitude
- Ashwagandha Arishtam
- Bala Arishtam
- Kshirabala Oil
- Balaswagandhadi Oil
- Maharajaprasarini Oil SoftGel Capsule
Shukra Dhatu Promoting
Original source: Dr JV Hebbar, EasyAyurveda.com
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