Prakriti – The Basis of Understanding & Harmony

We sometimes hear older people commenting affectionately upon certain reactions and behaviour of their middle-aged children by saying, “He is just same as he was during his childhood.” And couples often try to change each other for the “better,” hoping the partner will change personality. Ultimately they give up their efforts, saying, “I have given up, he or she will never change.”

If you look around, or observe yourself, you will realize that there are certain ways of acting and reacting that always stay with you. For example you react in a particular way-whether it is the doorbell, telephone, or replying to a question. If you react quickly, you will do so all your life if you are a vata dominant person. In normal conditions (Non-pathological), the personality traits of vata-dominant people are a part of their being until their last days of life. Similarly, to have a slow reaction times and responses, an inability to make a decision quickly or postponing things to the next day, are traits of kapha dominant people. You cannot expect these people to become like vata people, as their fundamental nature is part of their being. Those who are generally impatient by nature cannot delay their meals, and if they have to, they get angry and irritated- the pitta type.

The above described traits are part of the prakriti or the fundamental nature, of an individual. The qualities for this way of behaving have been their since birth.

Understanding others:

After you have trained yourself to observe your action and reactions in the context of your fundamental nature or prakriti you will also begin to know the vikriti(abnormal) behavior. It is natural to see other people at same perspective at this point. It’s a good idea to cooperate with the people you work with based on the context of their fundamental nature. For example, if you are a vata personality and you work with someone who is kapha, don’t get irritated at the slow pace of this person. Learn to have patience, and think about the slow and steady progress this person can make while you forge ahead. In working situation, if you try to understand each other’s reactions, a feeling of togetherness develops and the group functions at a more personal level. This will inspire you to help each other, and to have compassion and love for each other.

The advantage of understanding others in the context of their prakriti is that people not so self-involved, and are not embarrassed, touchy, or sensitive about accepting their so-called negative traits. The group learns to understand the specific personality traits are linked with physiological reactions and behaviour patterns, and pointing these out is not passing judgment. Neither do people feel helpless, as they realize that there is a way to change themselves that requires a change in attitude or a change in nutrition.

Knowing each others prakriti can help you deal with interactions with others on the jobs. Everything has the time and place. For example, you never ask questions or discuss other work problems with a pitta person just before the lunch. These people cannot tolerate hunger and are easily angered immediately before meal time. Also watch your interaction with pitta people when they come inside after having been out in the hot sun. Vata people are easily exhausted in windy weather. Therefore, let them relax a little when they come to work when the wind is blowing, rainy cloudy. Dark winter days tell upon Kapha people and if you want to have an important business meeting with them, invite them for hot and spicy meals.

Some basic training in ayurvedic wisdom can initiate a successful process of mutual understanding. People are usually intrigued with this way of thinking, for it is so different from the mechanistic way of looking at the universe, body, mind, personality and behaviour. Making a few simple adjustments can help to create an atmosphere that is more human, loving and which give rise to more productivity and creativity in any business situation.

Sattva for Balance and Harmony:

Sattva not only helps us to develop positive qualities during the state of vikriti(abnormal) but also to bring balance and harmony in everyday life. The quality of tolerance, love, and compassion help enhance mutual understanding and support in a group. These quality is necessary in enhancing efficiency in a group on the one hand and in individual creativity on the other. The moment you are angry, irritated, or dissatisfied, you will make mistakes no matter what the nature of work is. One mistake leads to another and create a vicious circle of irritation and anger.

We should develop the sattvic quality of our mind even when we are functioning in total balance. There are certain things in each of seven types of prakriti that we ‘tend to do’. That means each prakriti has certain specific negative tendency, such as anger, irritation, lethargy, intolerance, dissatisfaction and so on. These traits may not come to the surface in normal circumstances, but in a given situations, they may get evoked in you. Even in specific and provoking circumstances, we should make an effort to maintain equilibrium by increasing the sattva. For this breathing technique and meditation might be helpful in this direction.

This article is written by Vaidya Aniket (BAMS).