Aruchi, Arochaka, Anannabhinandana, Bhaktadvesha, Abhaktachanda, Bhaktopaghata

Aruchi, Arochaka, Anannabhinandana, Bhaktadvesha, Abhaktachanda, Bhaktopaghata


Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa S, B.A.M.S

‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well’ – Virginia Woolf

Ahara – food is one of the supporting pillars of life according to Ayurveda. 

Though our body, every cell of it needs food, the choices of food we have in our life greatly differs from our fellow humans, including the people of our family who share the same dining table. Our tastes differ, because we differ from each other. 

Choices of food and want of food will nourish our cells and help us grow physically, mentally and emotionally. They are our support system. We all have love and hate relationships with certain foods, for reasons known and unknown. So, though the food is ‘body’s demand’ to sustain itself, food is the concept of mind. Accepting and rejecting foods come from our mind and consciousness based on the memories of foods we have, and also according to our practices, customs, habits and training. 

Since food is related to the mind, it is also related to the perception of tastes. So, our liking and not-liking the foods not only depend on the ‘food memory’ but also on ‘taste memory’ and the previous experiences we have about these tastes. This once again is related to love and hate towards food. Some of our love or hate towards foods can become lifelong obsessions to choose or reject foods. 

George Bernard Shaw tells ‘There is no sincerer love than the love of food’. 

What if you cannot love your food? What if you cannot appreciate the taste of your food? What if you start hating ‘the sound of food?’ 

If it is once in a while, it is okay. If you feel these things regularly, there might be a physical or mental ailment in its backdrop and many times it may be seriously demonic. This is where you need to consult your doctor. 

In this article we shall study some terminologies which explain different ways in which we often tend to reject or hate our food. These might mean ‘trouble’ in the long run. 

Understanding important terms related to taste, like and dislike for foods

Aruchi 

सत्यामपि बुभुक्षायामभ्यवहारासामर्थ्यमरुचिः..।मा.नि.१४/४, मधुकोश।
satyāmapi bubhukṣāyāmabhyavahārāsāmarthyamaruciḥ..|mā.ni.14/4, madhukośa|

Aruchi = Na Ruchi = no taste

By word meaning – Here the person will not be having any taste towards food. He or she will not be able to appreciate the taste of food like the others would do. 

Definition – ‘In spite of having hunger for food, the inability of the person to take the food is called Aruchi’. 

Here not being able to eat food depicts disinclination towards food due to not being able to enjoy the food and its taste. Here we need to see that the person is having hunger but when he starts eating food he would get ‘rejection signals’ from the body. This condition might not be limited to the ‘mindfulness towards food’ and may also depict a physical cause. It may be a case of early satiety. 

So, this condition, by word meaning, may not just be limited to the taste of food. It is a mismatch between the need for food and ability to eat food. It is also a case of ‘false hunger’ and volume rejection, with or without loss of taste. It is the inability to eat and hence rejection is what matters here. 

Aruchi is – ‘I have hunger, but I cannot eat food’ scenario. 

Arochaka 

प्रक्षिप्तं तु मुखे चान्नं जन्तोर्न स्वदते मुहुः।
अरोचकः स विज्ञेयो…|मा.नि.१४/४, मधुकोश।
prakṣiptaṃ tu mukhe cānnaṃ jantorna svadate muhuḥ|
arocakaḥ sa vijñeyo…|mā.ni.14/4, madhukośa|

Aruchi and Arochaka mean the same. But since these two terms are mentioned separately in different contexts and since they are slightly defined in a different way, let us understand the differences.

Arochaka = a rochaka = nu ruchyate = no taste or not able to appreciate taste

Definition – ‘When the food is put into the mouth, the person would not appreciate the taste of food in spite of the food being tasty and delicious. This condition is called Arochaka’. 

In aruchi, by definition, the person will have hunger but cannot eat food, but the reason has not been specified. It may or may not be due to lack of appreciation of taste. But in arochaka a delicious food is not appreciated as per its value i.e. its taste is not appreciated. The person may feel the food to be bland while the others enjoy the food. This person may or may not have normal hunger. 

Differential recognition of different tastes i.e. sweet, sour, salt, pungent, bitter and astringent may also be lost here. 

It is a case of ‘robotic eating’ without emotions towards food. It may depict loss of gustatory perception or some kind of mental disorder in the backdrop. 

Arochaka is – ‘I have hunger, I can eat but cannot appreciate the tasty foods and differentiate between tastes’ scenario. 

Annaanabhinandana 

अभिलषितमप्यन्नं दीयमानं नाभ्यवहरतीत्यन्नानभिनन्दनं..।मा.नि.१४/४, मधुकोश।
abhilaṣitamapyannaṃ dīyamānaṃ nābhyavaharatītyannānabhinandanaṃ..|mā.ni.14/4, madhukośa|

Anannabhinandana = na anna abhinandana = no food inclination 

Here there is a lack of appreciation towards food. 

Definition – ‘Inability of the person to eat even when the foods he desired for or his favourite foods are served’. 

Here we can see that the person has a desire for food. He may ask for his favourite foods. There is definitely a desire for food. But when the same food is given, he will not be able to eat it. There is initial inclination towards food which is temporary, followed by rejection of desired foods. 

Annannabhinandana is – ‘I like food, but I cannot appreciate or eat the same food when it is served to me’ scenario. 

Bhaktadvesha 

भक्तद्वेषमतः श्रुणु॥
चिन्तयित्वा तु मनसा दृष्ट्वा श्रुत्वाऽपि भोजनम्।
द्वेषमायाति यो जन्तुर्भक्तद्वेषः स उच्यते॥
bhaktadveṣamataḥ śruṇu||
cintayitvā tu manasā dṛṣṭvā śrutvā’pi bhojanam|
dveṣamāyāti yo janturbhaktadveṣaḥ sa ucyate||

Bhaktadvesha = bhakta dvesha = food enmity / hatred 

Definition – ‘Thinking about the food in the mind, seeing, hearing, touching or smelling the food which leads to uncomfortable feelings and hatred towards the food is defined as Bhaktadvesha’. 

Here we can see that the condition is worse than the above said conditions. There is a total blockage and rejection of any signals related to food from inside the person. There is total detachment. Here the person need not go to the level of eating food or even tasting it, the rejection is way ahead of even before any thoughts of food coming in the vicinity. All senses have rejected the food. The mind does not want to hear anything about food. It is not just a state of rejection, it is a state of hatred towards food, a total aversion. It is very difficult to handle people with such problems. 

Bhaktadvesha is – ‘I hate the concept of food’ scenario. 

Abhaktachchanda 

कुपितस्य भयार्तस्य अभिचारहतस्य च।
यस्य नान्ने भवेच्छ्रद्धा सोऽभक्तच्छन्द उच्यते॥
kupitasya bhayārtasya abhicārahatasya ca|
yasya nānne bhavecchraddhā so’bhaktacchanda ucyate||

Abhaktachchanda = Na bhakta chanda = no longing, desire, wish for food

Definition – ‘Abhaktachchanda is a condition wherein the person doesn’t have desire for food due to the mind being afflicted by anger, fear or due to external causes like spell, exorcism or incantation’. 

Here we can see that the mind afflictions have been clearly indicated as causal for not showing interest in the food. In the previous conditions we have not seen the mention of these mental imbalances coming into the way of ‘eating interests’, at least directly. Even among the causes we can see two conditions specified here, one is damaging emotions like excessive anger, fear etc and the other being external causes like spell etc. This may be a temporary condition as happens in anger etc, the person may take food once the bouts of mental upsets go away or fade away. It can also be a longstanding condition as happens when spells etc are causal. 

Abhaktachchanda is ‘I am mentally upset; I cannot focus on food or think about it. Just leave me alone’ scenario.

Bhaktopaghata

दोषैःपृथक्सहचचित्तविपर्ययाच्चभक्तायनेषुहृदिचावततेप्रगाढम्।।
नान्नेरुचिर्भवतितंभिषजोविकारंभक्तोपघातमिहपञ्चविधंवदन्ति।।३।।
doṣaiḥpṛthaksahacacittaviparyayāccabhaktāyaneṣuhṛdicāvatatepragāḍham||
nānnerucirbhavatitaṃbhiṣajovikāraṃbhaktopaghātamihapañcavidhaṃvadanti||3||

Bhakta = food, Upaghata = damage, morbid affection, disease, 

Master Sushruta has used this term ‘Bhaktopaghata’ for aruchi (Su.Ut.Ch.57). Bhaktopaghata means morbid affection or disease pertaining to intake of foods – which is the same as aruchi or arochaka explained above. It also means ‘damage to the pattern of food intake’. The name of the chapter is ‘Arochaka Pratisedha’ i.e. ‘treatment of arochaka’. So, according to Sushruta, Bhaktopaghata = Arochaka. 

Explanation and context – Arocaka manifests as five types – three types by each individual aggravated dosha, one type by aggravation of all the three doshas and the fifth type by disorders of the mind (too much of kama, soka, bhaya etc causative factors).

In this way the doshas get accumulated greatly and spread out in the seats of (channels of) food (taste) and the heart. In this condition, the person does not relish the food (present in his mouth). This disease is called by the physicians as Bhaktopaghata (arocaka), said to be of five kinds.

Note – The term ‘arochaka’ explained by Master Charaka and Master Sushruta pertains to a combined explanation of all the above said terminologies put into one. 

References – All these references are taken from Madhukosha commentary of verse 4 of ‘Arochaka Nidanam’ – the 14th chapter of Madhava Nidana. The definitions of arochaka, bhaktadvesha and abhaktachchanda are given by Master Vriddha Bhoja which have been quoted in Madhukosha commentary. 



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