dhanvantaris ca bhagavan svayam eva kirtir
namna nrnam pururujam ruja asu hanti
yajne ca bhagam amrtayur avavarundha
ayusya vedam anusasty avatirya loke

“The Lord in His incarnation of Dhanvantari very quickly cures the diseases of the ever diseased living entities simply by His fame personified and only because of Him do the demigods achieve long lives. Thus the Personality of Godhead becomes ever glorified. He also exacted a share from the sacrifices, and it is He only who inaugurated the medical science or the knowledge of medicine in the universe.” – Bhagavata Purana 2.7.22

As stated in the beginning of the Bhagavata Purana, everything emanates from the ultimate source: the Personality of Godhead. It is therefore understood in this verse that medical science or knowledge in medicine was also inaugurated by the Personality of Godhead.

The body is a symbol of diseases. The disease may differ from one variety to another, but disease must be there just as there is birth and death for everyone. So by the grace of the Personality of Godhead, diseases of body and mind are cured. Not only are diseases of the body and mind cured, but also the soul is relieved of the constant repetition of birth and death. The name of the Lord as the source of curing the disease of material existence is also called bhavausadhi, or the source of curing the disease of material existence.

Cosmic and Unit Physiology

A) Panca bhutas (Five Great elements)

From all the authoritative statements of the great sages, the Vedic hymns and the aphorisms of the Vedanta sutra, the components of this world can be understood as follows: First there are earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are the five great elements (maha bhuta).

The color of these five elements are:

earth – golden
water – crystal
fire – red
air – blue
ether – smoke

The gross body of the living being is made of these five elements, as follows (Bhag. 2.10.31):

The thin layer on the skin (tvak), skin (carma), flesh (mamsa), blood (rudhira), fat (medah), marrow (majja), and bone (asthi), come from earth, water and fire.

The living force (prana) comes from sky, water and air.

B) Suksma bhutas (subtle elements)

The subtle body of the living being consists of Mind (manas), Intelligence (buddhi) and False Ego (ahankara).

The eight elements earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego are all products of the Lord’s inferior energy (aparaa-prakrti), whereas the living entities, who are seen to utilize the inferior energy, originally belong to the superior energy (paraa-prakrti), the internal potency of the Lord. The eight inferior energies work grossly and subtly, whereas the superior energy works as the central generating force. This is experienced in the human body. The gross elements, namely earth etc., form the external gross body and are like a coat, whereas the subtle mind and false ego act like the under clothing of the body.

C) The Creative Energies

Before the creation or manifestation of the material cosmic world, the Lord exists as total energy (maha samasti), and thus desiring Himself to be diffused to many, He expands Himself further into multitotal energy (samasti). From the multitotal energy He further expands Himself into individuals in three dimensions, namely adhyatmic, adhidaivic and adhibhautic (vyasti).

As such, the whole creation and the creative energies are non-different and different simultaneously. Because everything is an emanation from Him (the Maha Vishnu or Maha samasti), none of the cosmic energies are different from Him. But all such expanded energies display specific functions as designed by the Lord, and therefore they are simultaneously different from the Lord. The living entities are also a similar energy (marginal potency) of the Lord, and thus they are simultaneously one with and different from Him.

D) The Process of Creation (Bhagavata Purana 2.2.28)

A part of material nature, after being initiated by the Lord is known as mahat tattva.

A fractional portion of the mahat tattva is called the false ego.

A portion of the ego is the vibration of sound.

A portion of sound is atmospheric air.

A portion of the airy atmosphere is turned into forms.

The forms constitute the power of electricity or heat.

Heat produces the smell of the aroma of the earth.

Gross earth is produced by this aroma.

All these combined together constitute the cosmic phenomenon.

E) The Modes of Material Nature

Mahat tattva or the great causal truth, transforms into false ego, which is manifested in three phases, cause, effect and the doer. All such activities are on the mental plane and are based on the material elements, gross senses and mental speculation. The false ego is represented in three modes – goodness, passion and ignorance.

Every living being is under the plan of his natural inclinations in terms of the modes of material nature. His work is manifested in terms of the nature of the three modes, his form and bodily features are designed according to his work, and his name is designated according to his bodily features.

F) The Body and the Modes

The sense organs are attached to the modes of material nature, and the modes of material nature are products of the false ego. The mind is subjected to all kinds of material experiences (happiness and distress), and the intelligence is the feature of the mind’s deliberation.

G) Consciousness

Consciousness is the sign of the living entity, or the soul. The existence of the soul is manifest in the form of consciousness, called jnanasakti. Total consciousness is that of the gigantic virat rupa, and the same consciousness is exhibited in individual persons.

H) Self-identification

This consciousness is divided into three modes of self-identification according to the proportion of purity: adhyatmika or self-identification with the body and mind, adhibhautika or self-identification with the material products, and adhidaivika self-identification is the beginning of purity of consciousness in pursuance of the desire of the Lord.