ONE DAY NATIONAL LEVEL CONFERENCE
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT – ISSUES & CHALLENGES
Barath Ram K, M.A.,M.Phil.
Research Scholar, Dept. of Sanskrit,
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College (Autonomous)
Mylapore, Chennai – 04
HEALTH AND INFRASTRUCTURE
INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF INDIAN STUDIES
The whole human life consists of only four pursuits according to ancient Vedic literature. They are Dharma, Artha, Kāma, and MokSha. Dharma refers to a righteous way of living, Artha to acquiring wealth, Kāma to experiencing all worldly pleasures, and MokSha ultimately refers to Salvation or Realisation. So, in successfully achieving each of the above said pursuits, there are certain ways of life which have to be followed by an individual, also a proper education must be learnt and brought into practice. The ancient Indian education, lifestyle and philosophy are defined and categorically explained elaborately through Śruti (Vedas) and Smṛti (Scriptures). The term Śruti refers to the four Vedas namely Ṛg, Yajur, Sāma and Atharva, each having many divisions and sub-divisions based on various topics. The Smṛtis are popularly known as Śāstrās or Scriptures containing the very same concepts of Vedas. These Scriptures are normally authored or received by many holy sages with the help of the power they gained by undergoing various austerities. Basically Indian studies consists of 14 (fourteen) Vidyās or Techniques and 64 (sixty four) Kalās or Arts. They are as follows:
1. Ṛg Veda 2. Yajur Veda 3. Sāma Veda 4. Atharva Veda
5. ŚikSha – Science of Phonetis and Phonology 6. Vyākaraṇam – Grammar 7. Chandas – Study of Vedic metre in Sanskrit literature 8. Niruktam – Etymology 9. JyotiSham – Astrology 10. Kalpa – Art of rituals
11. ArthaŚāstram – Ancient treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy 12. Dhanur Veda – Science of Archery 13. Gāndharva Veda – Treatise on performing Arts etc
14. ĀYURVEDA – SCIENCE OF HEALTH.
1 Geeta vidya—art of singing.
2 Vadya vidya—art of playing on musical instruments.
3 Nritya vidya—art of dancing.
4 Natya vidya—art of theatricals
5 Alekhya vidya—art of painting.
6 Viseshakacchedya vidya—art of painting the face and body with color
7 Tandula-kusuma-bali-vikara—art of preparing offerings from rice and flowers.
8 Pushpastarana—art of making a covering of flowers for a bed.
9 Dasana-vasananga-raga—art of applying preparations for cleansing the teeth, cloths and painting the body.
10 Mani-bhumika-karma—art of making the groundwork of jewels.
11 Sayya-racana—art of covering the bed.
12 Udaka-vadya—art of playing on music in water.
13 Udaka-ghata—art of splashing with water.
14 Citra-yoga—art of practically applying an admixture of colors.
15 Malya-grathana-vikalpa—art of designing a preparation of wreaths.
16 Sekharapida-yojana—art of practically setting the coronet on the head.
17 Nepathya-yoga—art of practically dressing in the tiring room.
18 Karnapatra-bhanga—art of decorating the tragus of the ear.
19 Sugandha-yukti—art of practical application of aromatics.
20 Bhushana-yojana—art of applying or setting ornaments.
21 Aindra-jala—art of juggling.
22 Kaucumara—a kind of art.
23 Hasta-laghava—art of sleight of hand.
24 Citra-sakapupa-bhakshya-vikara-kriya—art of preparing varieties of delicious food.
25 Panaka-rasa-ragasava-yojana—art of practically preparing palatable drinks and tingeing draughts with red color.
26 Suci-vaya-karma—art of needleworks and weaving.
27 Sutra-krida—art of playing with thread.
28 Vina-damuraka-vadya—art of playing on lute and small drum.
29 Prahelika—art of making and solving riddles.
30 Durvacaka-yoga—art of practicing language difficult to be answered by others.
31 Pustaka-vacana—art of reciting books.
32 Natikakhyayika-darsana—art of enacting short plays and anecdotes.
33 Kavya-samasya-purana—art of solving enigmatic verses.
34 Pattika-vetra-bana-vikalpa—art of designing preparation of shield, cane and arrows.
35 Tarku-karma—art of spinning by spindle.
36 Takshana—art of carpentry.
37. VASTU-VIDYA—ART OF ARCHITECTURE OR ENGINEERING.
38 Raupya-ratna-pariksha—art of testing silver and jewels.
39 Dhatu-vada—art of metallurgy.
40 Mani-raga jnana—art of tinging jewels.
41 Akara jnana—art of mineralogy.
42 Vrikshayur-veda-yoga—art of practicing medicine, by herbs.
43 Mesha-kukkuta-lavaka-yuddha-vidhi—art of knowing the mode of fighting of lambs, cocks and birds.
44 Suka-sarika-prapalana (pralapana) -- art of knowing conversation between male and female cockatoos.
45 Utsadana—art of healing or cleaning a person with perfumes.
46 Kesa-marjana-kausala—art of combing hair.
47 Akshara-mushtika-kathana—art of talking with fingers.
48 Dharana-matrika—art of the use of amulets.
49 Desa-bhasha-jnana—art of knowing provincial dialects.
50 Nirmiti-jnana—art of knowing prediction by heavenly voice
51 Yantra-matrika—art of mechanics.
52 Mlecchita-kutarka-vikalpa—art of fabricating barbarous or foreign sophistry.
53 Samvacya—art of conversation.
54 Manasi kavya-kriya—art of composing verse mentally.
55 Kriya-vikalpa—art of designing a literary work or a medical remedy.
56 Chalitaka-yoga—art of practicing as a builder of shrines called after him.
57 Abhidhana-kosha-cchando-jnana—art of the use of lexicography and meters.
58 Vastra-gopana—art of concealment of cloths.
59 Dyuta-visesha—art of knowing specific gambling.
60 Akarsha-krida—art of playing with dice or magnet.
61 Balaka-kridanaka—art of using children's toys.
62 Vainayiki vidya—art of enforcing discipline.
63 Vaijayiki vidya—art of gaining victory.
64 Vaitaliki vidya—art of awakening master with music at dawn.
From all these 14 Techniques and 64 Arts, both Health and Infrastructure are dealt elaborately under the headings Ayurveda (14th Technique) and Vastu vidya (37th Art) as mentioned above, which we will see now.
There is no doubt that both health and infrastructure plays a pivotal role in an individual’s lifestyle. But, let us see both the topics conceptually and try to understand that both are mutually connected too.
“Śariram ādyam khalu dharma sādhanam” is a very famous didactic statement which says that “A sound body is the foremost requisite in achieving Dhārmic activities (the first pursuit of human life as mentioned above)”. Āyurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words "āyus" and "veda." "āyus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science. The term "āyurveda" thus means 'the knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. It can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.
Widely regarded as the oldest form of healthcare in the world, it is an intricate medical system that originated in India thousands of years ago. The fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in the Vedas. The Rg Veda, contains a series of prescriptions that can help humans overcome various ailments.
The Basic Principles of Āyurveda
Āyurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in humans by three "doshas", or energies: Vāta, Kapha and Pitta.
1.Vāta pertains to air and ether elements. This energy is generally seen as the force, which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination.
2.Kapha pertains to water and earth elements. Kapha is responsible for growth and protection. The mucousal lining of the stomach, the cerebral-spinal fluid that protects the brain and spinal column are examples of kapha.
3.Pitta pertains to fire and water elements. This dosha governs metabolism, e.g., the transformation of foods into nutrients. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems.
When any of these doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas ("tridoshas"). Therefore, a healthy person, as defined in Sushrut Samhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, is "he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful".
VĀSTU VIDYĀ or VĀSTU ŚĀSTRA is the traditional Indian system of architecture and design of Vedic origin, which also consists of the science of proper Infrastructure. ‘Vastu’ means the dwelling of humans and Gods, ‘Shastra’ means Science. The art of Vastu originates in the Stapatya Veda, a part of the Atharva Veda. Vastu Shastra’s purpose is to maintain the welfare of the entire humanity. Its knowledge enables us to get benefits of mental peace, health, wealth etc. and make our life happy. In ancient times the human habitats were generally constructed according to the rules of Vastu Shastra and people lived happily. In those days the members of a joint family used to be content, prosperous and happy. But, today, despite the families being small, peace and happiness remains a far cry.
As times advanced, we started ignoring our old culture and tradition. The rules of Vastu Shastra too were ignored. No wonder the people experienced all kinds of troubles. You will be surprised to note that even today the residents of South India follow the rules of the Vastu shastra and are more peaceful and materialistically and economically more prosperous than North India.
This science, after propounding the rules of construction, goes to prove that by constructing properly our buildings, villages, towns, cities, shops, offices, factories and industries we can make ourselves prosperous.
The Vastu Shastra is founded upon the laws of nature. The equilibrium, significance of it can very well be noted from the movements of motorcars, ships, airoplaines, trains. The Buses are so accurately balanced that even deflation in any one of the tyres, can cause a serious accident if it is running at a high speed. Similarly, when a building is constructed without observing the rules of Vastu Shastra, various calamities, diseases and accidents take place. This is the eternal rule of nature and it has no place for any logic, doubt or debate.
Many Vastu rules are derived from 'Vastu Purusha Mandala' which is depicted as a man lying with his head pointing north east, in a grid of usually 64 squares. The different directions and sectors are assigned to different Gods and Guardians. It aims at providing guidelines for proper construction. Vastu orientates, places and dictates the proportions of every detail in building lines, skylines, elongations, levels, slopes, water (underground and overhead), kitchen, bedrooms, toilets, staircase, heights of ceilings and roofs, entrances, loci of doors and windows, compound walls and so on.
Fundamental concepts of Vāstu Śāstra
There are many principles in Vaastu Shastra. To mention a few which involve certain mathematical calculations, Maana is used for proportional relationships in a building and Aayaadi specifies conditions for maximum wellbeing and benefits for the residents of a building. Below are some of the basic theories in vaastu sastra.
According to vastu sastra, the world comprises five basic elements known as the pancha maha bhoota. Out of the nine planets, ours has life because of the presence and balance of these five elements. The five elements are as follows.
EARTH (Bhumi) - Earth, the third planet in order from the sun, is a big magnet with North and South poles as centers of attractions. Its magnetic field and gravitational force has considerable effects on everything on the Earth, living and non-living. The selection of site for building construction is very important. Besides, congenial environment, greenery and availability of water, we should also see if the land is suitable for building construction.
WATER (Jala) - This is represented by rain, river, sea and is in the form of liquid, solid (ice) and gas (steam, cloud). It forms part of every plant and animal. Our blood is nothing but water with haemoglobin and oxygen. As far as the flow of domestic water is concerned, it should be borne in mind and that such water should be drained out in North - East. Wells, tubewells, swimming pools etc. should all be in the North-East. The water from the toilets and bathrooms, too, should be drained out in the North- East. The North-East direction is always auspicious and suitable for water. There are sewer-systems in the cities. The Septic tanks or the flow of sewer systems should be towards North - West. The flow of rain or fresh water should be towards North- East.
FIRE (Agni) - Represents light and heat which account for day, night, the seasons, energy, enthusiasm, passion and vigour. The direction of Fire is South-East. The Kitchen, fireplace, geysers etc. should be placed only in this direction. Alternatively these could be placed in North-West, because it is at 180 degree to South-East.
AIR (Vayu) - As a life supporting element, air is a very powerful life source. Human physical comfort values are directly and sensitively dependent on correct humidity, air flow, temperature of air, air pressure, air composition and its content. The air should enter the building from North -East. All the openings and media for air entry such as doors, windows, ventilators coolers, air-conditioners, verandahs, balconies etc. should be in this direction.
SPACE (Akasha) - The akasha provides shelter to all the above elements. It is also considered the primary conductor of all energy sources within the universal context – physical energies such as sound and light, social energies such as psychological and emotional, and cognitive energies such as intellect and intuition. The open sky influences greatly. We can get the effect of terrestrial-energies uninterruptedly. But the buildings prove a barrier to the effects of open sky. Therefore, the importance of roofs or lawns gets emphasized, but the Vastu shastra has refrained from deliberating in detail over it, because it is related chiefly to building construction and we will discuss only this aspect. Traditionally every house in India used to have an open space (Court Yard) in the center of the house. It provided the dwellers more sunlight and cross-ventilation of air.
Infrastructure and Health – Relevance
The word infrastructure has been used in English since at least 1887 and in French since at least 1875, originally meaning “The installations that form the basis for any operation or system”.
The word was imported from French, where it means subgrade, the native material underneath a constructed pavement or railway. The word is a combination of the Latin prefix "infra", meaning "below", and "structure". So, we can even say that Infrastructure is a part of architecture and supports architecture, just as foundations support buildings.
Now we will see some Vastu principles that cause an effect on human’s health.
1.More vacant space to the south of a structure will cause health issues,
2.More open space or depth in the south-west corner of a building is always fatal and will lead to disastrous happenings for the owner,
3.Any depth or pit on the west of a structure, though there is no open space will cause health issues,
4.If toilets/bathrooms are provided in the north-east of a structure it will lead to chronic diseases like cancer, leucoderma etc.
5.If toilets are provided in the south-west fame of the owner of that structure will vanish,
6.Any “well” or water storage south-east corner will ruin the health and totally filling/closing the well will be a proper remedy,
Apart from these principles there are many other Vastu factors causing various effects.
Proper Infrastructural suggestions that can prevent human’s health from various ill-effects –
1.Planting “Tulasi” (Holy Basil) and other such herbal plants and construction of Go-shala (Cow shed)
Tulasi - The botanical name of Holy Basil or Tulasi plant is Ocimum sanctum which belongs to Lamiaceae family. It is a typical tropical shrub which is widespread as a cultivated plant. The plant is considered very sacred by the Hindus and it is compulsorily grown in the house of every Hindu family in India. Tulasi has a great significance as it is worshiped by the Indian married women in particular for a happy and prosperous married life. Tulasi occupies a great place in the Hindu families and is given a godly status and is considered as one of the forms of Lakshmi - the Hindu Goddess of Wealth. The plant is also known as 'Queen of Herbs'. There are 3 varieties of Tulasi which are as follows:
a)Krishna Tulasi: This plant has dark purple stem with dark green leaves which are smaller in size.
b)Vishnu Tulasi: This is also known as Lakshmi Tulasi and this plant has light green stem with light green leaves.
c)Vana Tulasi: This is a wild variety of Holy Basil which grows wildly.
Following are some of the essential benefits of the plant:
1.The leaves of Tulsi plant have been proven as a good tonic for the nerves.
2.The extract of boiled leaves acts as a preventive cure for common cold and fever. Gargling with the extract of boiled leaves helps in treating sore throat and cough. In fact Tulsi leaves are one of the home remedies for common cold during monsoon
3.So also a decoction made of Tulasi leaves, honey and ginger helps in relieving bronchitis, flu, common cold and seasonal cough.
4.Recent studies reveal that regular consumption of the juice made of Tulasi leaves and honey helps in removing stones from the kidneys.
5.Most important Tulasi is a very good medicine for reducing the cholesterol levels in the blood as it acts as a good purifier of blood.
6.Tulsi leaves are said to be one of the best anti-stress agents which help in fighting depression naturally
7.Tulasi leaves when chewed raw helps in removing the bad breath and thus improves oral health by preventing many of the mouth infections and ulcers.
8.Crushed leaves of Tulasi are one of the effective remedies for all skin related diseases. When the crushed leaves are applied on the forehead, some time it helps in removing headache.
Above all, applying the crushed Tulsi leaves in the site where there is insect sting / bite on the skin, it helps in relieving the person from pain by detoxifying.
Therefore, we are able to conclude that Infrastructure and Health mutually has a significant relevance and role in human’s life.