Today in New Delhi, India
Nov 14, 2018-Wednesday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Mistake of Intellect

Addictions to tobacco, drugs and alcohol is responsible for most life style disorders, writes Dr KK Aggarwal.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2005 18:05 IST

In Ayurveda the origin of all disease is traced to "pragyapradh" a term which means "mistake of the intellect". This term comprises of two words i.e. "Pragnya" meaning intellect and "apradh" meaning crime thus giving the whole term the meaning of doing wrong things in spite of knowing about their negative side effects or consequences that will lead to disease. This term is also called blasphem.

In ayurveda it is said that pragyapradh is the main cause of a disease especially janpadodhwans (epidemic diseases).

The crime performed by the intellect is classified into three groups: Dhi (intellectual) or Lack of intellect or ignorance. It refers to diseases occurring due to ignorance. For example a person not knowing the bad effect of alcohol resorts to drinking.

Dhriti (awareness):Inspite of the awareness when one does wrong things. For example when a person knows that smoking is bad for health but still is addicted to it and is not able to leave it due to liking it or weak will power.

Smruti (memory) or smrutivibhrast: It refers to the onset of ailment due to the loss of memory. For example a person who is aware of the bad effects of refined carbohydrates decides not to eat them in future but eats them forgetting that he had resolved not to eat.

In all these situations the body is controlled by the intellect and the ego and not by the soul. One stops taking decisions from the level of consciousness. Mistake of the intellect involves disobeying the laws of nature.

There are three common mistakes listed in the Vedantic literature, Attachment (or addiction), desires (weak will power) and show off (ego). The basic description comes from the Epic Ramayana where Attachment or Kama is represented by Kekayi, desires or greed by the golden deer Marich and the Ego by Ravana. If any one of them would have been absent the storey of Ramayana could not have taken place.

Today we know that addictions to refined carbohydrates, tobacco, drugs and alcohol is responsible for most life style disorders. Desires and greed are responsible for our nibbling habit at functions. And showing off in parties and marriage functions makes us choosing costlier fruits and vegetables which are non -seasonal and not locally grown and hence unnatural.


"pragya aparadh or "mistake of the intellect" when the intellect, drawn toward and influenced by material consciousness, loses connection with the wholeness of consciousness. This is when we stop being centered within ourselves." (Mahirishi Mahesh Yogi)

Aging is "a mistake of the intellect. This mistake consists of identifying oneself solely with the physical body." (Dr Deepak Chopra in Perfect Health)

"The Ayurvedic texts define the source of all disease and suffering as pragyaparadh. This occurs when individuals (or even single cells) "forget" their connection with the wholeness of life and believe themselves to be isolated entities. Creating, and then eating, genetically engineered foods exposes us to pragyaparadh". (Dr Ram Kant Mishra).

First Published: Oct 04, 2005 18:05 IST