The concept of Ayurveda not only limits itself to the gross body composed of the 5 elements, namely Fire, Earth, Water, Ether and Air but also has a finer understanding about the levels of working of the mind also. The working of the mind is indeed complicated and is influenced by many factors with which it associates. Since association carries with itself the fundamental nature of the entity as well as the person, we must be very much aware of the association we are having. As per Bhagwad Gita (13.22), the living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil amongst various species.
This verse is the very foundation of the human life and the famous proverb, “A man is known by his association”. The more elevated a person is (be it good or bad), the more we associate with him and the more we imbibe his/her qualities. Human beings are like sponges, very susceptible to the changes of the environment and hence, whatever they get in form of association, they immediately absorb and gain the characteristics which could be a boon as well as bane for them. A sponge doesn’t make any discriminations amongst the type of water in which it is kept and hence, absorbs both drain as well as Ganges water. This type of mentality of universal absorption is not enjoined in the scriptures whereby it is condemned to do anything and everything whimsically without thinking and consulting the scriptures. It is said (Bhagwad Gita 16.24), one should therefore understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.
Coming back to the topic of association, as per the authority of Bhagwad Gita, material nature consists of three modes – goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, he becomes conditioned by these modes. They are also termed as Satvaguna, Rajoguna and Tamoguna. Each of them has it’s own property and is responsible for to the respective behavior of the person who imbibes the relative proportion of the modes.
As soon as the person comes into contact with these modes of nature, his behavior changes and he becomes a person who can have a significant role in the upliftment as well as degradation of the society. These modes, being the precursors of the mind have their own ways of activities and accordingly they influence a person. As stated in Bhagwad Gita (14.10), sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance, O son of Bharata. Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.
Therefore, a tug-of-war is there amongst the modes which keep on affecting us. Sometimes, we feel ourselves being more inclined to activities coming under Goodness sometimes Passion and sometimes Ignorance. This regular molestation by the modes of nature is the cause of suffering of the mind. Since the modes play their roles by the method of association, a thoughtful person must therefore, never be careless about what he is up to.
Association happens through two gateways, things which remain in the outside world and things which enter our body. In other words, Environment and Food are the two main gateways of association. The food we eat has 4 portions, one goes as essence to body, one goes as waste, one goes as effect on mind and one goes on the karmic reactions. Therefore, the type of food we eat has an effect on our heart as well as mind. It is well said, “You become what you eat”. Therefore, one must be very careful about the food one is eating and whom is cooking. An analogy can be given to understand the same. For eg. If we eat the food cooked by person who has tuberculosis, we will be struck with the same. Similarly, if we eat the food cooked by a person with malefic intention, we ought to get the same. The practical aspect comes out in the case of difference of taste of the same food cooked with same ingredients by the mother and the hired cook. Mother cooks with love for her child and hence, food has a taste incomparable to others whereas the food cooked by a hired cook has a taste that we cease to eat as soon as possible.
Environment has a great impact on the levels of our consciousness, and this can be demonstrated by the types of houses we choose to live in. A person who is deliberately living in small house despite of being all rich is evident of his shrewd mentality if he thinks deep within. The hours of work are evident of the same things. The early morning hours have a different aura, the afternoon has a different and similarly do evening and mid night. The analogy can be given of a student. A student can study anywhere but the place of library is conducive for him rather than a DJ club.
Therefore, one must be very careful in choosing the association and the modes one imbibes from them and one can take an idea about whatever is good and bad from the results these modes show individually. The astrological influence of the planets help a person to revive the modes, since each of them has it’s own mode, owing to the fundamental nature of the planet itself.