The psychological constitution of an individual is known as ‘manasika prakriti’. In terms of thoughts, motivation, response, intellect, logic, and emotion, it is the sum total of features and patterns that influence the personal and social conduct of the individual. In Ayurveda, the role of mental constitution in the treatment of ailments is widely recognized. Ayurveda explains mental dosha, psychological constitutions and classification of mental disorders distinctly. This is helpful in determining predisposition and vulnerability to stressors and their consequences. This drives the person to think, feel, and act in certain ways; and makes each person unique.
|Authors||Bhojani M. K. 1, Tanwar Ankur Kumar 2|
|Editors||Deole Y.S.4 Basisht G.3|
1 Department of Sharir Kriya, All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi
2 Department of Kriya Sharira, All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi
3 Rheumatologist, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.4 Executive Editor and Professor in Kayachikitsa, G.J.Patel Institute of Ayurvedic Studies and Research, New Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat, India
|Publisher||Charak Samhita Research, Training and Development Centre, I.T.R.A., Jamnagar, India|
|Date of first publication:||January 20, 2022|
The word ‘manasa prakriti’ is made from two different words, manasa and prakriti. Manasa denotes mind or psyche. Prakriti denotes nature or form or source. Thus, the word ‘Manasa prakriti’ means "natural or original form" or "original source" of individual’s psychological qualities. It forms the psychological constitution.
The psychological constitution is also known as mental disposition, mental temperament, mental constitution, personality, mental trait and psychological rhythm. Manasika prakriti denotes mind's design, psychological makeup of an individual, totality of an individual's reactions and interactions with others, influencing factors behind personal morals, perceptions, values, and attitudes.
Formation and development
Prakriti is formed during conception by union of sperm (shukra) and ovum (shonita) with consciousness elements (atmavikara).[Su.Sa. Sharira Sthana 4/63] Manasa prakriti is formed at the same moment by combination of three primary attributes (trigunatmaka)(Code: SAT-A.126).This forms the fundamental structure of psychological constitution. The hereditary components, social surroundings, personal factors like diet, experiences, and cultural background determine the development of psychological constitution further.
The qualities (guna) are constantly influenced by above mentioned factors. Thus, the psychological constitution may change relatively to the influence of surrounding factors and experiences. It may shift from tamas dominance to rajas dominance or sattva dominance and vice versa. There is always a predominance of activity of one attribute over another. This dominance influences and determines the individual's personality. A person's mind appears different in different situations owing to differences in perception and connections with purity (sattva), passion (rajas), and ignorance (tamas)(Code: SAT-A.127-129)[Chakrapani on Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana 3/13][Chakrapani on Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 8/5]. The mental disposition is ultimately determined by the frequency of predominance.[Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 8/6]
Mental personality is the result of an individual's continuous and inherent development in terms of how they adopt with the situation. A variety of mental characteristics are observed in the behavior pattern that are influenced by the social environment.
Ayurvedic mental constitution is categorized on the basis of three fundamental attributes (triguna). Accordingly, there are three types viz. shuddha (sattva dominant), rajas dominant, and tamas dominant having respective determining factors (bhaga or ansha). [Cha.Sa.[[Sharira Sthana 4/36] The three factors are welfare tendency or auspiciousness (kalyanansha), anger or passion tendency (roshansha), and perplexity or bewilderment (mohansha). This makes the constitution dynamic. The following table shows the characteristics of these three personalities. [Su.Sa.Sharira Sthana 1/98]
|S.No.||Type of Mental constitution||Qualities|
|1||Sattvika(Code: VE-1)||Kindness (anrushasyam)|
|Tendency of sharing belongings (samvibhagaruchita)|
|Believing in God or veda (astikyam) or optimism|
|Logical intelligence (buddhi)|
|Good retention power of the mind (dhriti)|
|Non attachment or overindulgence (anabhishanga)|
|2||Rajasika (Code: VE-2)||Excessive miseries in life (dukkha)|
|Excessive wandering (atanshilata)|
|Less retention or impatience (adhriti)|
|Hypocrisy or fraud (dambha)|
|Haughtiness or arrogance (mana)|
|Pleasure or exhilaration (harsh)|
|Lust or excessive indulgence (kama)|
|3||Tamasika (Code: VE-3)||Sadness (vishada)|
|Not believing in God and veda (nastikyam) or pessimism|
|Not follow the religion or righteousness (adharmashilata)|
|Perverted intelligence (buddhenirodho)|
|Lethargy or inactivity (akarmashilta)|
Sixteen subtypes of personalities
The three types are classified further into sixteen subtypes based on the development of perfection from the point of darkness. [Cha.Sa.Sharira sthana 4/37-39][Su.Sa.Sharira Sthana 4/81-97] Kashyapa added two more to bring the total to eighteen. [Ka.Sa.Sutra Sthana 28/8-31] Individuals are placed into one of these groups depending on their psychological development, which is arranged in a highly methodical sequence (order of development from tama to sattva). Individuals categorized under brahma kaya (traits of supreme God Brahma) have the highest level of mental characteristics. Individuals with vanaspatya (traits of vegetable life), which is at the bottom of the list of development phases have a lower level of mental faculties. This systemic pattern depicts the evolution process from vanasptya to brahma, demonstrating the inclination in terms of mental traits. Here, the first three prakriti classifications are further subdivided into subtypes based on variants arising from the natural interaction of the traits of each core group. Most of the subtypes have some common features with the upper one and lower one subtype which shows the possibility of inclination from one stage to another in terms of psychological development. This nomenclature is primarily based on the systematic development of psychological faculties.
Characteristics features of each of the following subtypes are following [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana 4/37-39]:
|1||Sattvika||Brahma (Purest among all) Traits of God Brahma||Purity (shuchita)|
|Having discrimination power (samvibhagita)|
|Endowed with knowledge (jnana sampanna)|
|Endowed with skills (vijnana sampanna)|
|Endowed with exposition power (vachana sampanna)|
|Endowed with reply (prativachana sampanna)|
|Good memory (smritimanta)|
|Away from desires (kamamapeta)|
|Away from anger (krodhaapeta)|
|Away from lust (lobhaapeta)|
|Away from pride (manaapeta)|
|Away from affliction (mohaapeta)|
|Away from envy (irshyaapeta)|
|Away from pleasure (harsh apeta)|
|Unbiased towards every creature (sarvabhutasamata)|
|Arsa (traits of rishi)||Committed to rituals (ijya)|
|Committed to studying (adhyayana)|
|Committed to penance (vrata)|
|Committed to oblation (homa)|
|Control over his own (brahmacarya para)|
|Away from pride (upshantamada mana)|
|Away from attachment (upshanta raga)|
|Away from affliction (upshantamoha)|
|Away from hate (upshantadvesha)|
|Away from lust (upshantalobha)|
|Brilliant in skills and knowledge (pratibhasampanna)|
|Endowed with exposition power (vachana sampanna)|
|Endowed with skills (vijnana sampanna)|
|Good retention power(upadharana shakti sampanna)|
|Aindra (traits of god Indra)||Having prosperity (aishvaryana)|
|Good advisor (adeyavakya)|
|Continuous performing rituals (yajvan)|
|Good strength (ojasvina)|
|Not easily felt fatigued (aklishtakarmah)|
|Farsightedness in terms of acts (dirghadarshina)|
|Delighting in religious acts (dharmabhirata)|
|Delighted in wealth creation (arthabhirata)|
|Having the satisfaction of desires (kamabhirata)|
|Yamya (traits of god Yama)||Understand good and bad acts (lekhavitta)|
|Initiation of action in time (praptikari)|
|Non aggressive (asampraharya)|
|Good memory (smritimanta)|
|Freedom from attachment (vyapagaraga)|
|Freedom from envy (vyapagatershya)|
|Freedom from hate (vyapagatadvesha)|
|Freedom from affliction (vyapagatamoha)|
|Varuna (traits of god Varuna)||Brave (shura)|
|Loves cleanliness and dislike impurity (shuchi-ashuchidvesha)|
|Performer of rituals (yajvan)|
|Loves and is fond of water-related activities (ambhovihararata)|
|Not easily fatigued (aklishtakarma)|
|Having anger at proper time and place (sthanakopa)|
|Having pleasure in proper time and place (sthanaprasada)|
|Kaubera (traits of god Kaubera)||Having many properties (sthanasampanna)|
|Having pride (mana sampanna)|
|Possesses luxuries (upabhoga sampanna)|
|Possesses well established family (parivara sampanna)|
|Devoted to religion or rituals (dharmanitya)|
|Devoted to pleasures (kamanitya)|
|Devoted to wealth (arthanitya)|
|Love purity (shuchi)|
|Expresses feelings like anger and pleasure in wrong places (sukhaviharavyaktakopaprasada)|
|Gandharva (traits of sage)||Loves dance, music, musical instruments, poetry, stories, history (Priya nritya-gita-vaditra-ullapaka-shloka-akhyayika-itihasa- puraneshukushalam)|
|Fond of pleasant smell, garlands, perfumes, and good clothes (gandha-malyaanulepana-vasana)|
|Loves presence of women (striviharanitya)|
|Not jealous of others (anasuyaka)|
|Jealous of others (asuyaka)|
|Having prosperity (aisvaryavat)|
|Having terrifying personality (rudra)|
|Having anger all the time (anubandhakopa)|
|Fond of food (aharatimatraruchi)|
|Loves eating meat (amishapriyatama)|
|Excessive desire for sleep (swapnabahula)|
|Hard worker (ayasabahula)|
|Paishacha||Excessive food intake (mahashana)|
|Fond of women (straina)|
|Loves female company (strirahaskama)|
|Unclean habits (ashuchi)|
|Does not like cleanliness (shucidveshina)|
|Coward in nature (bhiru)|
|Makes others frightful (bhisayitram)|
|Abnormal diet and lifestyle in comparison to others (vikritaviharaharashila)|
|Sarpa (traits like snake)||Brave when excessively angry (kruddhasura)|
|Coward in normal conditions (akruddhabhiru)|
|Hard worker (ayasabahula)|
|Sharp in actions (tikshna)|
|Always in fear (santrasragochara)|
|Loves food and pleasure activities (aharaviharapara)|
|Praita (traits like a dead body)||Loves food a lot (aharakama)|
|Always in pain (atidukhasilacaropachara)|
|Jealous of others (asuyaka)|
|Having no discrimination in behavior (asamvibhagin)|
|Excessively greedy (atilolupa)|
|Does not like to work (akarmasila)|
|Shakuna (traits of bird)||Attachment for passion (anusaktakama)|
|Excessive indulgence in food and activities (ajastramaharaviharapara)|
|Unsteady behaviour (anavasthitatva)|
|Not interested to acquire anything (asamcaya)|
|3||Tamsika||Pashava (having traits of animal with legs)||Coward (nirakarisnu)|
|Not intelligent (amedha)|
|Disgusting eating habits (jugupsitacaraharm)|
|Indulge in excessive sexual acts (maithunapara)|
|Excessive sleep taker (swapanashilam)|
|Matsya (traits of fish)||Fearful nature (bhiru)|
|Less intelligent (abudha)|
|Fond to food (aharalubha)|
|Unsteady mind and activities (anavasthita)|
|Always angry (anusaktakrodha)|
|Always busy at work (anusaktakama)|
|Fond of travel (saranashila)|
|Loves water (toyakamam)|
|Vanaspatya (traits like tree)||Lazy in nature (alasam)|
|Excessive indulgence in food (kevalamabhunivistamahare)|
|Deficient mental faculties (sarvabhudhyangahinam)|
Mental temperament can show infinite variations depending on the permutation and combination of various factors (liking, conduct, purity, enmity, memory, attachment, detachment, jealousy, valor, fear, anger, drowsiness, enthusiasm, sharpness, softness, seriousness, and instability, etc.). [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana 3/13] They are all present in the individual, but they cannot all manifest at the same time. As a result, the mind reveals an infinite number of prakriti variations. Thus, infinite classification is feasible but it becomes too complex to understand and comprehend. Therefore, a limited number of classifications based on preponderance have been identified (16 in numbers).
The Bhagvatagita describes inclinations of three types of personalities towards food (ahara), mental faculties, and acts of worship (yajna). It is the first ancient manuscript that showed the importance of the food and food-mind relationship which is accepted nowadays as nutrition psychiatry. The distinguishing features of each prakriti type are as following [Bha. Gi. 17]
|Sattvika person||Rajasika persons||Tamasika persons|
|Worship god||Worship demons||Worship ghost|
|Likes juicy food (rasya), oily (snigdha), nourishing (sthira), and naturally delicious (hrudya)||Likes foods that are excessively pungent (katu), sour (amla), salty (lavana), extremely hot (ushna), pricky (tikshna), dry (ruksha), and chili-flavored (vidahi)||Likes foods that are overcooked (yatyamam), stale (gatarasam), putrid (puti), polluted (paryushita), impure (uchhishtam) and not healthy for mind (amedhya)|
|Free from attachment, jealousy, ego||Full of attachment, lust, impure conduct||Uncultured, lacking self-control, arrogant|
In another context of classification, the Bhagvatagita described two types based on actions: divine (daiva) and demon (asuri).[Bha. Gi. 16/6]
Additional types by Kashyapa
Acharya Kashyapa described eight types of kalyanaja sattva (sattvika), seven types of krodhaja sattva (rajasika) and three types of tamasa sattva (tamasika). Sattva in the present text is the state of the mind. Two additional subtypes are added in the list mentioned above. Prajapati sattva [Ka.Sa.Sutra sthana 28/11] is added in sattvika type. Yaksha sattva [Ka.Sa.Sutra Sthana 28/24] is added in rajasika type. The characteristics features of prajapati and yaksa are as following:
|Prajapatya(traits similar to lord prajapati)||Yaksha(traits similar to demigod yaksha)|
|Always think of his/her juniors(prajavantam)||Always engaged in charity(dananityata)|
|Always engaged in work(kriyavantam)||Excessive sleep(atishayana)|
|Engaged in religious acts(dharmashila)||Loves ornaments (atialankaram)|
|Liked by everyone(jagatpriya)||Excessive intake of food and drinks(atipanabhojana)|
|Hate false(anirshya)||Excessive indulgence in sexual activity(atimaithunam)|
|Truthful(ashath)||Loves eating (prabhaksanam)|
In Bhela Samhita, the division of manasika prakriti differs from the generalized approach of Ayurvedic classification. Bhela divided kaya (prakriti) into two categories: human (manushi) and divine (divya).[Bh.Sa.Sharira Sthana 5/15] Each of them is further subdivided into seven different types. The divya kaya classification is based on mental faculties (brahma, daiva, varuna, gandharva, paishacha, asura, and maharaja).The Bhela classification of divya kaya is a blend of sattvika and rajasika personality types stated in various Ayurvedic texts. For manushi kaya, Bhela highlighted seven differentiating factors. Vision (pratyatmadarshan), hearing (sharvana), touch (sparshana), taste (rasna), smell (gandha), happiness (sukha) and sorrow (dukha). There are an endless number of constitutions based on permutation and combination of all of these.
Western classification of psyche
Plato (5th century BCE) proposed that each individual had just one soul, which he named the 'psyche.' The psyche was divided into three parts: thymos, which represented emotions; logos, which represented thinking, and pathos, which represented physiological desires for food and drink.
Aristotle, a pupil of Plato, further proposed that a person's soul might be divided into three types: 1) a rational soul (concerning reasoning and analysis), 2) a sensitive soul (concerning affections and wants), and 3) a nutritive soul (concerned with appetites and drives).
Plato proposes the concept of psyche dualism, in which the psyche is made up of a physiological component and an eternal component, the mind. Emil Kraepelin (19thcentury AD) proposed that mental disease had a biological foundation based on both environmental and hereditary elements. In the early twentieth century, the western world realized that there is concept of body-mind connection.
Factors influencing psychological constitution
Following factors influence one's mental makeup. [A.Sa.Sharira Sthana.1/38]
- Mental traits, behavior, and modesty of parents.
- The sound (the voice of others and oneself) the pregnant woman hears repeatedly.
- Effect of action of past lives (daivakarma) or destiny.
The BhagvadGita describes various aspects of psychological constitution in detail.[Bha.Gi. 17]All such divergent aspects are:
- Food (ahara)
- Intellect (buddhi)
- Retention (dhriti)
- Knowledge (jnana)
- Happiness or pleasures (sukha)
- Faith (shraddha)
- Contrition (tapa)
- Worship (yajna)
- Charity (dana)
- Performer (karta)
- Activity (karma)
With all of these aspects, the characteristic of the three-way classification of prakriti differs.
These precise classifications of manasika prakriti based on sattva, raja, and tama are termed as maha prakriti. [Su. Sa. Sharira Sthana 04/99]They are important in diagnosis and prognosis of psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders as well as therapeutic methods for their management.
The examination of psychological constitution helps in determining mental strength. A physician may be misled by a person's physical appearance, if the mental state of the person is not taken into account. [Cha. Sa.Vimana Sthana 7/3-7] For example, the outward appearance of an underweight person does not determine his strength, because overall strength is the sum of both physical and mental strength. The mental temperament of humans should be carefully assessed to determine their endurance capacity, job capacity, emotional status, disease susceptibility, seriousness or mildness of disease and treatment options.[Cha.Sa. [[Sharira Sthana 4/40],[Su.Sa. Sharira Sthana 4/98], [Ka. Sa. Sutra Sthana 28/9]
Diet has a crucial factor in maintaining the mental health. Bhagvatagita described the types of food that different manasika prakriti individuals prefer. Food items are closely linked to certain psychological states. There is a specific relationship between causation of mental diseases (like unmada and apasmara) and food. In unmada chikitsa, the role of food as etiological factor is described. [Cha. Sa. Chikitsa Sthana 9/4] Ayurveda accepted that the quality of food consumed, its preparation, appearance, aroma, and freshness have a direct impact on mind. Contemporary studies have found an association between diet quality and depression, as well as support for the notion that bad nutrition is a cause of psychological problems.
The physician should understand the individual's constitution before treating. The type of treatment provided to the patient is determined by the person's mental state. A person with low mental strength due to dominance of tamas or rajas prakriti is unsuitable for interventional treatments.
Psychological constitution assessment contributes to public health initiatives targeted at preventing and fighting mental health concerns, which have been increasingly common in recent years.
Tool for assessment
The psychological constitution proposes a separate new classification of individuals based only on psychological characteristics. This categorization considers an individual's attitudes, orientation, desires, inclinations, social behaviors, beliefs, manners, conduct, preferences, as well as many effective and even cognitive abilities. A mixture of all of these determines the prakriti. Validated and standardized tools for prakriti evaluation are found at the following links:
- AYUSOFT-CDAC (https://www.cdac.in/index.aspx?id=hi_dss_ayusoft_n).
- Mysore Triguna Scale (psycho-spiritual component).
- Sushruta Child Personality Inventory.
- Manasika prakriti inventory.
Individual interviews based on these questionnaires will serve as a powerful analytical tool for the assessment of manasika prakriti.
Future area of research
This concept can be researched further in view of nutrition psychiatry (psychic based nutrition need and role of nutrition in mental diseases), occupational psychiatry (prakriti based performance, job selection, and satisfaction), Prakriti based compatibility for selection of appropriate life partner, psychopathology (role of psychic in the manifestation of disease, and severity), psycho-therapeutic approach, developmental psychiatric approach (enhancement of good moral and conduct in children is currently more in trend), impact of social media on psychology, motivational psychology, neuropsychology, cardio-psychology, immune-psychology, geriatric psychology, rehabilitation psychology, social psychology and self-actualization (individual psychology).
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- Pandey Jaimini (1976): Psychic constitution and its association with certain cardiovascular disorders. Department of Basic Principles, IMS- BHU, Varanasi.
- Tiwari Ashutosh (1987): A scientific study on psychic constitution (Manasika prakriti), Department of Basic Principles, IMS-BHU, Varanasi.
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- Srivatsa (2000): Concept of manasa prakriti and its role in psychopathology w.s.r. to anavastita chittatva, Department of Basic Principles, IPGT & RA. According to the findings, people with a Rajas dominating Manasa Prakrti are more prone to all forms of psychiatric problems, especially Anavasthita Cittatva and Sattvavajaya Chikitsa offered excellent alleviation with no disease recurrence.
- Neha Awasthi (2017): A survey study on manas prakriti of adolescents in the perspective of psychosocial behavior. Department of Basic Principles, AIIA, Delhi. The study discovered a link between adolescent manasika prakriti and their psycho-social behavior. According to the study, people with sattva prakriti are more optimistic and have better-coping skills in difficult situations than people with rajas or tamas prakriti.
- Sharma Lokesh (2021): A study on understanding manasa prakriti in the perspective of graphology and a cross sectional survey study to evaluate graphology as a tool assess manasa prakriti. Department of Samhita and Siddhanta, AIIA, Delhi. The study discovered a link between manasa prakriti and graphology, which might aid in interpreting an individual's manasa prakriti using graphology.
Standardization of psychological constitution assessment proforma: A. Arhanth Kumar et al. has developed a tool for manasika prakriti evaluation, and has eventually created a Manasika prakriti inventory based on sattva, raja, and tama qualities. This is processed and verified using the face validation technique. It is used in a pilot survey research on 100 volunteers, which demonstrated that this inventory is an effective relevant instrument for assessing an individual's psychological disposition.
Sushruta Child personality inventory (SCPI): SP Suchitra et al. made an attempt to establish and standardize a self–rating scale to evaluate children's manasika prakrti for early detection of psychiatric problems. A 54-item scale is developed to evaluate the effectiveness of Yoga, food, and personality development programs in children to maintain a healthy and happy life.
Intelligence status and manasika prakriti: Satyam sharma and colleagues conducted a study to determine the association between intelligence status (as measured by intelligence quotients (IQ), social quotients (SQ), and performance quotients (PQ)) and maladaptive behavior in children with milder to moderate intellectual impairment, among other goals. The research of 120 children discovered that IQ and SQ were related to one another as well as to manasik prakriti.
Cognition, coping skills and manasika prakriti: Yoga practitioners had a higher sattva guna and preferentially recruited brain areas primarily associated with self-regulation and inhibitory control, according to a study conducted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Cognition, coping skills, and vedic personality among individuals practicing different lifestyles i.e. yoga, physical activity, and sedentary lifestyle were compared in this study using functional MRI.
Few studies on the idea of manasika prakriti have been undertaken, showing that this unique Ayurveda concept is yet unexplored and emphasizing the need for more research in this field.
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