Can we corelate janapadhodhwamsa to pandemic?
The term janapado refers to people and udhwamsa refers to destruction. Thus, it refers to the widespread of a particular disease in a community at a particular time. We can compare this to epidemic and pandemic diseases.
In Ayurveda, the reference of janapadodhwamsa we get in the ancient scripture called charka Samhita, where an admirable duologue between a guru and his disciple is quoted. In Kampilya region (at present Uttar Pradesh state in India) sage Punarvasu Atreya, surrounded by his disciples was taking a stroll in the woods near the bank of river Ganga during the month of jyestha (April-may). Further, in the woods they were discussing regarding the epidemic diseases. So, we can compare janapadodhwamsa to epidemic and pandemic diseases. Here, we have to witness that from 2nd-century communicable diseases existed.
Common factors causing janapadodhwamsa:
- Polluted air (vikrut vayu)
- Polluted water (vikrut jala)
- Polluted region (vikrut desh)
- Polluted time (vikrut kaal)
Sage charka has classified diseases into two categories 1) those common to all human beings 2) those specific to individuals. We are going to talk about the former one. Though people have dissimilar body constitution, diet, lifestyle, age, physical strength, living in different countries still humans can get affected by the same diseases because of the above mentioned four factors.
Among the above 4 factors the strongest one is time. Because if air and water are found to be polluted in the city then an individual can travel to another the city. And, if we assume that the whole nation is affected with the same disease then a person can migrate to another country. But if at the same duration the whole universe is affected then one cannot escape through time. Hence, time is a supreme and vigorous factor.
Now let’s understand what is the prime reason for these factors getting exaggerated? According to guru charka, the pivotal cause is iniquity or sinful acts (adharma) performed by human beings leading to an unrighteous path. Furthermore, it is believed that diseases originated from evil deeds.
Detailed characteristic features of polluted land, water, country, season are clarified.
Acharya sushruta explains Mode of transmission:
- By physical contact with the patient (By sharing clothes, ornaments, bed)
- By sharing common meals and utensils
- Inhalation of droplet coming in contact from the patient
- Social gatherings (prasangata)
A similar mode of transmission is responsible at present for covid 19 pandemic.
Symptoms of communicable diseases by sushruta:
He has mentioned contagious diseases as upasargika roga
- Fever (jwara)
- Headache (shirshoola)
- Coughing (kasa)
- Breadthing difficulty (swasa)
- Vomiting (vamathu)
Preventive measure during janapadodhwamsa:
- Oral medication. Special emphases were made by sages to use Medicines which are collected before the onset of epidemics in order to have uncontaminated drugs.
- Five elimination therapy (panchkarma) that is emesis, purgation, enema, nasal instillation, and bloodletting. these are methods of cleansing and detoxifying the body. It is told to be the best treatment for janapadodhwamsa
- Anti-oxidant and rejuvenating therapy.
- references regarding rules of isolation, quarantine and leaving affected place are well explained in susuhrut samhita. (Sthana parityaga).
- fumigation and disinfection procedures (dhoopan procedure by neem, resin of Commiphora mukul, sweet flag, salt, ghee, and other herbs are explained) at present we are giving importance to hand sanitization and sterilization due to covid 19
- Greeting people with Anjali pranam that is namaskar. In the present covid 19 scenario also we are avoiding hand shake.
Duties to be performed during janapadodhwamsa:
One must follow the righteous path. And doing valuable deeds like charity, sacrifice, penance, prayer to God, truthfulness, compassion, tranquility by avoiding harm to other people, Helping the needy one, and so on.
In earlier times, during transmissible diseases, when people use to travel from one state to another the king’s practice to close the main gates ford and travelers were allowed to stay outside the kingdom for a week. After assuring that the migrants are free from diseases, they were permitted to enter their locality.
To put it in a nutshell, friends, thousands of years ago in the ancient science Ayurveda we find references about the pandemic diseases their symptoms precautions, management. Here I would like to emphases on the fact that, though there was a lack of scientific knowledge, laboratories, clinical trials, vaccinations, our great sages still gave a remarkable contribution in managing the epidemics with herbal healing. We find a lot of Similarities between the preventive aspect of that era and today’s pandemic disease covid 19.