Last week we briefly covered Ojas, a superfine by-product created by the body to build vitality and immunity. It pulses through your veins and is what gives life to your heart and tissue. It is the golden honey of the body. We highly encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to check out our article “Discovering Ojas: the Pure Essence of You” before continuing with Tejas. Ojas, Tejas, and Prana work together synonymously so we find that understanding each allows for deeper comprehension. Tejas is how your body knows how to perform functions, fight infections, and diseases, and why it has the intrinsic knowledge to heal itself without us having to lift a finger. Tejas is pure intelligence.
What is Tejas?
As Ojas is water, Tejas is fire. It is an internal flame responsible for transforming everything we digest. In Ayurveda, we are what we digest. This includes more than the food you take into your body. It includes what you think, what you do, what you look at, what you listen to or all the sensory input from the outside world. That is why creating balance with our internal fire is crucial in the proper function of digestion.
The essence of Ojas is manifested in physical bodies. This includes bones, muscles, tissue, etc. It is the very molecule that has been processed by your body, so small and pure, that is then sent to your muscle to recover from a workout, or maybe it is sent to your skin that is recovering from an injury. But how does the body do this? How does it know what to break it down into and where to send it? This is the role of Tejas. Tejas is manifested as the hormones, enzymes, acids and overall intelligence in the body that helps break down sustenance and “food” that you are taking in. Tejas can help break down physical food and help maintain a healthy ojas, or it can process experiences and emotions to turn into thoughts. Tejas is the light and heat that transforms you from the inside out. It supplies proper substances to ojas, and is carried through the body by prana. “Tejas is the energy of biological intelligence; ojas is the vital protective energy, a subtle substance; and prana is the life force, the flow of intelligence” Vasant Lad, M.A.Sc., Textbook of Ayurveda. These three powerful energies are the pure essence of how your body is functioning right now.
What exactly is intelligence of the body? To understand that let’s break down Tejas, as it has many responsibilities in the body. Similar to the two types of Ojas, there are fourteen qualities of Tejas. We will only briefly dive into these, but each of these qualities holds highly essential intelligence! These fourteen qualities are:
- Rupa (color): Color of skin, hair, eyes are all expressions of Tejas
- Sparsha (touch): Quality of touch, warm or cold, is determined by Tejas
- Sankhya (number): The intelligence of how many cells in order to form new tissue, as well as number of chromosomes, etc.
- Parinama (dimension): This is what makes you a 3-dimensional being. The formation of a cell and the distance between each is the intelligence of Tejas.
- Pruthaktva (separation): The separating of cells and molecules. Imbalance in this area can create ulcers.
- Samyoga (union): The intelligence to create a compact mass, being you!
- Vibhaga (distinction): Defines the size, shape, and margin to have distinct form down to a cellular level, because even cells have their own form.
- Paratva (priority): This is an intelligence that fuels your body to burn toxins when needed. Distracting this intelligence leads to dis-ease. For example being sick and eating sugar distract the body from an infection and will cause you to become sicker.
- Aparatva (postponement): The intelligence that tells your consciousness you need to sleep more, or take a rest day after working out.
- Dravatva (liquefaction): The heat from tejas liquefying mucus or toxins and to remove from the body.
- Gati (velocity): Even though movement is usually governed by vata, gati is governed by Pitta. A movement with focus. Eliminates sweat, urine, and mucus
- Bhasvara (illumination): The sun is called Bhasvara and svar means self. Tejas illuminates every cell of the body
- Urdhva Gamitva (upward movement): The intelligence to go beyond, not getting stuck in emotion and to conquer negative experiences.
- Nitya (eternal): The flame of Tejas is forever and never goes away. Heat and light will always be present. It is the flame of life.
It is evident that Tejas plays many roles in your body. This is why healthy digestion in Ayurveda is CRITICAL so please do not take that lightly. In all aspects of life, there is Tejas. Tejas is more than light and heat, it is illumination and not always seen with eyes. It is an energy found in all matter that determines form and color. It is a profound intelligence.
Tejas and Consciousness:
In life, we are held by both our physical bodies as well as our spiritual consciousness. Tejas creates the stepping stones, physically and mentally. However, your thoughts and emotions create memory. This memory is housed within our cells and requires processing. Tejas and meditation allow for this digestion to happen. You may find that your awareness after meditation is greater. This is because of the digestion of subconscious thoughts. Just as it was mentioned in Discovering Ojas, meditation empties the content that creates the container of your consciousness, creating space to grow. Well how does the conscious grow and what does it grow from? From Tejas, your body’s preexisting intelligence and Prana, or movement. Intelligence is what forms your thoughts. The movement of those thoughts is directed by prana. If you have a greater intelligence for what you need, then take action on those needs, you will create a healthier lifestyle. This is a very broad, expansive view of this practice, but it can be very simple to cultivate.
Imbalance of Tejas:
If someone is lacking Tejas, their body might be cold and dry. They may lack the ability to use clear judgement and can be irrational and unclear in what they say or do. When we lack Tejas, we lack the ability to process emotions and experiences, making us impressionable and slow. “If Tejas is low, there is undue production of Ojas. If tejas is high, it will dry and burn ojas. Therefore, the nature of Ojas depends upon the quality of the Tejas” Vasant Lad, M.A.Sc., Textbook of Ayurveda.
How can you maintain healthy Tejas?
Tejas is the fire that provides optimal digestion. This means that what we put into our bodies will then be processed and turned into our very being. The phrase “you are what you digest” rings very true in Ayurveda. Imbalanced Tejas can be treated two ways, eating Sattvic (pure) living food, and by meditation and mantra. Physically you can:
- Exercise to create heat internally
- Eat foods that create heat within the body like garlic and onion
- Eating herbs and spices like black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon
It is also important to note that based on your natural constitution this can change. If you are naturally a pitta person, you may have an excess of Tejas. So avoiding hot foods and spices with a focus on cooling foods like cucumber would aid more in finding a balance in Tejas.
As always, meditation provides incredible health benefits to maintaining healthy Ojas, Tejas, and Prana.
“Meditation opens the door to higher consciousness and life without meditation is a futile, meaningless game…Meditation blesses us even during times of pain or intense moments of grief or sadness. We enjoy that grief and sadness, because bliss is not the opposite of grief. Grief merges into bliss…bliss and love are contagious. Love is infectious and transformative…without it there is no creation. Love is creative” Vasant Lad.
Tejas creates and transforms. That makes Tejas love. If we truly love something, we love it including the negative things that come with it like anger and jealousy. By loving those things, it transforms it back into love once again. This is why Tejas is more than just light and heat. It is an internal and eternal flame, burning with purpose. True love goes with pure awareness, pure awareness is light, and light is Tejas. Keeping your flame burning bright will always allow you to live the most pure and loving life possible. Below is a beautiful mantra we want to provide you with to meditate on.
“Textbook of Ayurveda” Vasant Lad, M.A.Sc.