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The Theory of Cause and Effect (Karya Karana Siddhanta)


A simple but profound theory in Ayurveda is that of cause and effect. Ayurveda asks us to be like detectives regarding our health - it's not just about what the imbalance is, but also why it has happened. I am fond of the way my teacher, Veronica, explained this entwined relationship to my class. "If a bear is whimpering in pain because there is a thorn wedged into her paw (the cause), you have to extract the thorn before you attend to the broken skin (the effect). Just putting a bandaid over the broken skin with the thorn still inside will not solve the problem". To address the health concern of an individual (or a bear), first you have to remove the root cause of the problem, then second, you treat the effects. 

Sometimes though the cause of the issue cannot be removed for a variety of reasons. The gunas are then a useful way to identify what you are experiencing as an outcome of the cause, and what therapeutic actions will re-balance the effects. For example, residing at altitude in the mountains of Colarado you might notice increased dry qualities in the skin, eyes and colon. You identify that the cause is stemming from the increased cold, dry and rough characteristics of the environment. With no plan to relocate (remove the cause), the guna scale would indicate increasing the warm, unctuousness and smooth qualities in your diet and lifestyle which can be done by adding ghee or oil consumption in your cooked, warming foods and doing daily oil massage to off set the impact of the high elevation. 

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