The Temperaments

The temperaments (Prakriti) of persons may be of seven different types, according as the deranged Doshas of the body are involved therein, either severally, or in combination of two or of all the three together. The temperament (Prakriti) of a man is determined by the preponderance of the particular Doshas at the time of his generation (actual combination of the semen and ovum) and is marked by that preponderant Dosha. The characteristics of the different Prakritis are now described. 57-58.


A man of Vátikatemparament is wakeful, averse to bathing and cold contact, unshapely, thievish, vain, dishonest and fond of music; the soles of his feet, and the palms of his hands are much fissured; has often a rough and grisly beard and moustache, finger nails and hairs in him; he is hot-tempered and is given to biting his finger nails and grinding his teeth (when asleep). Morally he is impulsive, unsteady in his friendship, ungrateful, lean, and rough; his body is marked with a large number of prominent veins (Dhamani); he is incoherent in his habit and vacillating in his temper. He is a fast walker and dreams of scaling the skies in his sleep. His eyes are always moving. His mind is never steady. He makes few friends, is capable of accumulating very little money and talks incoherently. The traits of his character etc. seem to resemble those of a goat, jackal, hare, mouse, camel, dog, vulture, crow, and of an ass. 59-60.


A man of Pittvaja temperament perspires copiously emitting a fetid smell. His limbs are loosely shaped and yellowish in colour. The finger nails, eyes, palate, tongue, lips, soles and palms of such a person are copper-coloured. He looks ugly with wrinkles, baldness and grey hair; he eats much, is averse to warmth and irritable in temper, though he cools down very soon. He is a man of middling strength and lives up to middle age. He is intelligent and possesses a good retentive memory and loves to monopolise the conversation (by pulling down any speaker that may be present). He is vigorous and is simply irresistible in battle. He dreams in his sleep of such things as meteors, lightning-flashes, fire, Nágeshvara, Palas'a or Karnikára plants. He is never overpowered with fear nor bends before a powerful antagonist; he protects the suppliant and is very often afflicted with suppuration in the cavity of the mouth. The traits of his character resemble those of a serpent, an owl, a Gandharba (heavenly musician), Yaksha, cat, monkey, tiger, bear, and of a mongoose. 61-64.

Kaphaja Temperament

The complexion of a man of Sleshmá temperament resembles either the colour of a blade of grass, blue lotus, polished sword, wet Arishta, or that of the stem of the Sara grass.

He is comely in appearance, fond of sweet tastes, grateful, self-controlled, forbearing, unselfish and strong; he does not hastily form any opinion, and is fast in his enmity. His eyes are white; his hair curly and raven black. He is prosperous in life. His voice resembles the rumblings of a rain-cloud, the roar of a lion, or the sound of a Mridanga. He dreams in his sleep of large lakes or pools decked with myriads of full blown lotus flowers, swans and Chakravakas. His eyes are slightly red towards the corners, the limbs are proportionate and symmetrically developed with a cool effulgence radiating from them He is possessed of the qualities of the Sáttvika stamp, capable of sustaining pain and fatigue and respectful towards his superiors He possesses faith in the Sástras and is unflinching and unchanging in his friendship; he suffers no vicissitudes of fortune, makes large gifts after long deliberation, is true to his word and always obedient to his preceptors. The traits of his character resemble those of Brahma, Rudra, Indra, Varuna, a lion, horse, an elephant, cow, bull, an eagle, swan and of the lower animals. 65-68.

A combination of two different temperaments should be called a double temperament or a Dvandaja one; and one of all the three temperaments in a person should be stated as a Sánnipátika one. 69.

The temperament of a man is never altered, nor does it suffer any deterioration or abatement. A change, abatement or deterioration in any particular case should be regarded as the harbinger of death. As a worm, bred in poison, is not troubled with it, so the temperament of a person however painful to others does no inconvenience to himself. Several authorities hold that the temperaments of persons have their origin in the material elements of the body and accordingly they classify them as the Vátika Prakriti, the Taijasa Prakriti, and the Apya (watery) Prakriti, the characteristic traits of which respectively correspond to the first three temperaments described above. 70 - 71. A man of the Párthiva temperament is large in his stature, and is firm, strong and muscular in his limbs. A man of the Nabhasa temperament is pious and long-lived, has large aural cavities. The mental temperaments are classified according to their qualities. 72.