Dravyadivijnaniyam Adhyaya – 9 Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana

The 9th chapter of Sutrasthanam of Ashtanga Hridayam is named as Dravyadi Vijnaneeyam Adhyayam. This chapter explains about the substances and their qualities, how an action is brought about by a medicinal substance etc.

Pledge by the author(s)

अथातो द्रव्यादिविज्ञानीयमध्यायं व्याख्यास्यामः।
इति ह स्माहुरात्रेयादयो महर्षयः।( गद्यसूत्रे॥२॥)
athāto dravyādivijñānīyamadhyāyaṃ vyākhyāsyāmaḥ|
iti ha smāhurātreyādayo maharṣayaḥ|(gadyasūtre||2||)

अथातो द्रव्यादिविज्ञानीयम् अध्यायं व्याख्यास्यामः – athā ato dravyādi vijnaaneeyam adhyāyam vyākhyāsyāmah – after having offered prayers to the God, henceforth we are going to explain the chapter pertaining to the substances, their qualities and action,
इति ह स्माहुः आत्रेयादयो महर्षयः – iti ha smāhuh ātreyādayo maharshayah – thus say (pledge) atreya and other sages

Atreya and other sages pledge that after matrashiteeya adhyaya (chapter related to food habits and digestion), they would henceforth be explaining the chapter named dravyadi vijnaaneeyam adhyayam (chapter dealing with substances, their qualities and action).

Shloka Recitation Video

Dravya Pradhanya

AH Su 9.1.a

Importance of substance or mass

द्रव्यमेव रसादीनां श्रेष्ठं, ते हि तदाश्रयाः।
dravyameva rasādīnāṃ śreṣṭhaṃ, te hi tadāśrayāḥ|

द्रव्यमेव रसादीनां श्रेष्ठं, – dravyam eva rasādīnāṃ śreṣṭhaṃ – dravya is the most important factor among rasa (taste) and other qualities because
ते हि तदाश्रयाः – te hi tadāśrayāḥ – all of these qualities reside in the dravya itself

Dravya Composition

AH Su 9.1.b.1/2

पञ्चभूतात्मकं तत्तु
pañcabhūtātmakaṃ tattu

This substance or mass, is made up of (composed of) five basic elements of nature.

The dravya (substance or mass) is made up of five basic elements of nature i.e. prithvi (earth), ap (water), teja (fire), vayu (air) and akasha (space).  

AH Su 9.1.b.1/2

Prithvi or Earth forms the substratum of Dravya

क्षमामधिष्ठाय जायते॥१॥
kṣamāmadhiṣṭhāya jāyate||1||

This dravya manifests (comes into existence) having the Earth or solidity as its substratum

Among the 5 basic elements, the substance or mass comes into existence having the Earth or solidity as its substratum. The solidity (kshama) gives the shape to the dravya. Example, a ghata or pot comes into existence by having mud (Earth) as its substratum. Without the mud, the pot cannot be made.

AH Su 9.2

Prithvi or Earth forms the substratum of Dravya

अम्बुयोन्यग्निपवननभसां समवायतः।
तन्निर्वृत्तिर्विशेषश्च व्यपदेशस्तु भूयसा॥२॥
ambuyonyagnipavananabhasāṃ samavāyataḥ|
tannirvṛttirviśeṣaśca vyapadeśastu bhūyasā||2||

अम्बु योनि ambu yony – this dravya takes its origin from ambu (ap bhuta or water element) and is
अग्नि पवन नभसां समवायतः – agni pavana nabhasām samavāyataḥ – related with the fire element, air element and ether (space) element through intimate and inseparable combination
तन्निर्वृत्तिः विशेषः च – tannirvṛttir viśeṣaś ca – the origin (identification) of a specific dravya is decided by व्यपदेशस्तु भूयसा – vyapadeśas tu bhūyasā – the predominance of particular element in the given substance

Dravya – (substance / mass of the substance) is the most important factor among Rasa (tastes) and other qualities; because all of these qualities are residing in the substance only.

Mass is composed of five basic elements. It has Kshma – solidity as its substratum, it takes origin from Ambu (Ap Bhuta – water element), Agni (Tejas Bhuta – Fire element), Pavana (Vayu Bhuta – air element) and Nabhas (Akasha Bhuta – ether element), with their intimate and inseparable combination. Its identification/designation is decided by the predominance of particular element in the Dravya (mass / substance). 1-2.

Notes :- Panchabhuta refers to five basic elements – Earth (solid), Water, Fire, Air and Ether. As per a philosophy, called as Sankhya philosophy, every substance on earth is composed of these five basic elements, in different proportions. The dominant part of the basic element decides the nature of the substance.

Five basic elements

Prithvi – Earth – Gandha (smell) is the special quality, Guru (heaviness), Khara (roughness), Kathina (hard) etc are its general qualities.
Ap – Water –
Rasa (taste) is its special quality,
Tejas – Fire –
Rupa (appearance) is its special quality
Vayu – Air –
Sparsha (touch) is its special quality
Akasha – Ether –
Shabda (sound) is its special quality

These elements combine together in an inseparable combination (Samavaya) to become gross objects and give rise to the formation of all the substances of this universe.
Hence the entire universe is Panchabhautik (composed of five elements, hence designated as Prapancha).
The proportion/quantity of each Bhuta (element) varies and hence the existence of variety of substances in this universe, each one very different and unique.
Whichever element is predominant in any substance bestows its name to that substance.
If Prithvi Bhuta (earth element) is more than the other four in a certain combination, then the substance the gets formed is called Parthiva – solid;
If Ap Bhuta (water element) is dominant – then Apya – liquid
If Tejas Bhuta (fire element) is more, it will be Taijasa (Agneya),
if Vayu Bhuta (air element) it will be Vayavya, and
if Akasabhuta (space element) is more, it will be Akasheeya (Nabhasa).

Thus all the substances of the universe are classified into five kinds.

Rasa and Anurasa

AH Su 9.3

Rasa (Primary taste)

Taste of substances (Rasa) and elements, definition of Rasa

तस्मान्नैकरसं द्रव्यं भूतसङ्घातसम्भवात्।
नैकदोषास्ततो रोगास्तत्र व्यक्तो रसः स्मृतः॥३॥
tasmānnaikarasaṃ dravyaṃ bhūtasaṅghātasambhavāt|
naikadoṣāstato rogāstatra vyakto rasaḥ smṛtaḥ||3||

तस्मात् न एकरसं द्रव्यं – tasmān naikarasaṃ dravyaṃ – therefore there is no substance having only one rasa (taste)
भूत सङ्घात सम्भवात् – bhūta saṅghāta sambhavāt – since the substances (and the taste residing in the substance) are made up of combination of all 5 elements
न एक दोषास्ततो रोगाः – naikadoṣās tato rogās – similarly there is no disease arising out of a single dosha
तत्र व्यक्तो रसः स्मृत: – tatra vyakto rasaḥ smṛtaḥ – the taste that is perceived clearly (in a substance) is called rasa or primary taste.

Taste in a substance also arises out of Pancha mahabhuta (5 element) combination.  Hence, because of the combination of the elements, there is no substance having only one taste. Similarly, there is no disease arising out of a single Dosha. Any disease will have involvement of more than one Dosha.

Definition of Anurasa

AH Su 9.4.a

Definition of Anurasa (secondary taste)

अव्यक्तोऽनुरसः किञ्चिदन्ते व्यक्तोऽपि चेष्यते।
avyakto’nurasaḥ kiñcidante vyakto’pi ceṣyate|

अव्यक्तो अनुरसः – avyakto ‘nurasaḥ – the taste which is not clearly manifest is called anurasa
किञ्चित् अन्ते व्यक्तो अपि चेष्यते – kiñcid ante vyakto ‘pi ceṣyate – the secondary taste is also defined as that which is mildly perceived at the end (of the primary taste of a substance)

Anurasa or Secondary taste – which are not clearly manifested or which are recognized at the end.

Relationship between Dravya, Guna and Rasa

AH Su 9/4.b-5.a

Relationship between substance, qualities and taste

गुर्वादयो गुणा द्रव्ये पृथिव्यादौ रसाश्रये॥४॥
रसेषु व्यपदिश्यन्ते साहचर्योपचारत।
gurvādayo guṇā dravye pṛthivyādau rasāśraye||4||
raseṣu vyapadiśyante sāhacaryopacārata|

गुर्वादयो गुणा – gurvādayo guṇā – the guru (heaviness) etc qualities
द्रव्ये पृथिव्यादौ – dravye pṛthivyādau – present in the prithvi (earth) etc substances
रसाश्रये – rasāśraye – are residing in the taste of the substances
रसेषु व्यपदिश्यन्ते – raseṣu vyapadiśyante – it is referred to that the qualities reside in the taste of the substance,
साहचर्योपचारतः – sāhacaryopacārataḥ – because of their intimate coexistence
गुर्वादयो गुणा – gurvādayo guṇā – It is already said that the substance is the most important entity among the taste, qualities etc. The taste of a substance and qualities of a substance (guru etc gunas), all reside in the substance (dravya). But it is also said that the rasas too have gunas i.e. qualities like heaviness and lightness. Example, madhura rasa or sweet taste has guru guna (heaviness) and amla rasa or sour taste has laghu guna (lightness). Actually the tastes do not have qualities. It is because of the intimate coexistence of tastes and qualities (both having a common abode i.e. prithvi etc dravyas) that it appears that the tastes have the qualities. But in fact both are present in the substance and thus are closely related to each other. Thus the qualities of a substance are ascribed to the taste because of their intimate coexistence.

Qualities of substances based on elements

Parthiva Dravya Lakshana

AH Su 9.5.b-6.a

Parthiva Dravya Lakshana (qualities of solid substances or substances predominantly made up of Earth element)

तत्र द्रव्यं गुरुस्थूलस्थिरगन्धगुणोल्बणम्॥५॥
पार्थिव गौरवस्थैर्यसङ्घातोपचयावहम्।
tatra dravyaṃ gurusthūlasthiragandhaguṇolbaṇam||5||
pārthiva gauravasthairyasaṅghātopacayāvaham|

तत्र द्रव्यं – tatra dravyaṃ – among the elements, substances predominant in earth element have
गुरु स्थूल स्थिर गन्ध गुणोल्बणम् – guru sthūla sthira gandha guṇolbaṇam – abundance of heaviness (hard to digest), bulky, stable and smell qualities पार्थिवं गौरव स्थैर्य सङ्घातोपचयावहम् – pārthivaṃ gaurava sthairya saṅghātopacayāvaham – hence, the substances having Earth as the predominant element bestow heaviness, stability, compactness and good nourishment (qualities).

Earth has – Guru (heaviness, heavy to digest), Sthula (bulky), Sthira (stable) and Gandha (smell) qualities.

Hence, substances that have Earth as the predominant element (Parthiva Dravya) have Gaurava (heaviness), Sthairya (stability), Samghata (compactness) and well nourished qualities.

Apya Dravya Lakshana

AH Su 9.6.b-7.a

Aapya Dravya Lakshana (qualities of liquid substances or substances predominantly made up of water element)

द्रवशीतगुरुस्निग्धमन्दसान्द्ररसोल्बणम्॥६॥
आप्यं स्नेहनविष्यन्दक्लेदप्रह्लादबन्धकृत्।
dravaśītagurusnigdhamandasāndrarasolbaṇam||6||
āpyaṃ snehanaviṣyandakledaprahlādabandhakṛt|

द्रव शीत गुरु स्निग्ध – drava śīta guru snigdha – substances predominant in water element have liquidity, cold, heavy to digest, unctuous (oily, moist),
मन्द सान्द्र रसोल्बणम् – manda sāndra rasolbaṇam – dull, thickness (dense) and taste qualities in abundance
आप्यं स्नेहन विष्यन्द – āpyaṃ snehana viṣyanda – therefore, substances having liquid as predominant element has unctuousness (lubrication, moistness), secretion,
क्लेद प्रह्लाद बन्धकृत् – kleda prahlāda bandhakṛt – wetness, satiation (contentment) and holding together (binding, cohesion) qualities

Liquid element has Drava (liquidity), Sheeta (cold), Guru (Heavy to digest), Snigdha (unctuous, oily, moisture), Manda (dull), Sandra (thickness, dense) and rasa (taste) qualities.

Substances containing liquid as predominant element (Apya Dravya) have Snehana (lubrication, moistness), Avishyanda (secretion, moisture, production), Kleda (wetness), Prahlada (satiation, contentment, satisfaction) and Bandhakrut (cohesion, binding, holding together) qualities.

Agneya Dravya Lakshana

AH Su 9.7.b-8.a

Agneya Dravya Lakshana (qualities of fiery substances or substances predominantly made up of fire element)

रूक्षतीक्ष्णोष्णविशदसूक्ष्मरूपगुणोल्बणम्॥७॥
आग्नेयं दाहभावर्णप्रकाशपचनात्मकम्।
rūkṣatīkṣṇoṣṇaviśadasūkṣmarūpaguṇolbaṇam||7||
āgneyaṃ dāhabhāvarṇaprakāśapacanātmakam|

रूक्ष तीक्ष्ण उष्ण विशद – rūkṣa tīkṣṇoṣṇa viśada – substances predominant in fire element have dry, sharp (penetrating), hot, non-slimy,
सूक्ष्म रूप गुणोल्बणम् – sūkṣma rūpa guṇolbaṇam – minute and form (appearance) qualities in abundance
आग्नेयं दाह भा वर्ण – āgneyaṃ dāha bhā varṇa – Therefore, the substances that have fire as predominant element bestows burning sensation, radiance (charm, grace), color
प्रकाश पचनात्मकम् – prakāśa pacanātmakam – look (brightness) and digestion
Agneya Dravya Laksana – (qualities of Agneya substances) :-

Agni has qualities such as Ruksa (dry), Teekshna (penetrating, sharp), Ushna (hot), Vishada (non-slimy), Sookshma (minute) and Rupa (appearance, showing, form)

AH Su 9.8.b-9.a

Vayavya Dravya Lakshana (qualities of airy substances or substances predominantly made up of air element)

वायव्यं रूक्षविशदलघुस्पर्शगुणोल्बणम्॥८॥

रौक्ष्यलाघववैशद्यविचारग्लानिकारकम्।

vāyavya rūkaviśadalaghusparśaguolbaam||8||

raukyalāghavavaiśadyavicāraglānikārakam|

वायव्यं – vāyavyasubstances predominant in air element have

रूक्ष विशद – rūka viśada – dry, non-slimy (clear),

लघु स्पर्श गुणोल्बणम् – laghu sparśa guolbaam – lightness and touch (tactile sensation) qualities in abundance

रौक्ष्य लाघव वैषद्य – raukya lāghava vaiśadya –therefore, the substances predominant in air element will produce dryness, lightness, transparency (clarity),

विचार ग्लानि कारकम् – vicāra glānikārakam – movements (different kinds of activities) and exhaustion

Vayavya Dravya Lakshana

AH Su 9.8.b-9.a

Vayavya Dravya Lakshana (qualities of airy substances or substances predominantly made up of air element)

वायव्यं रूक्षविशदलघुस्पर्शगुणोल्बणम्॥८॥
रौक्ष्यलाघववैशद्यविचारग्लानिकारकम्।
vāyavyaṃ rūkṣaviśadalaghusparśaguṇolbaṇam||8||
raukṣyalāghavavaiśadyavicāraglānikārakam|

वायव्यं – vāyavyaṃ – substances predominant in air element have
रूक्ष विशद – rūkṣa viśada – dry, non-slimy (clear),
लघु स्पर्श गुणोल्बणम् – laghu sparśa guṇolbaṇam – lightness and touch (tactile sensation) qualities in abundance
रौक्ष्य लाघव वैषद्य – raukṣya lāghava vaiśadya –therefore, the substances predominant in air element will produce dryness, lightness, transparency (clarity),
विचार ग्लानि कारकम् – vicāra glānikārakam – movements (different kinds of activities) and exhaustion

Substances that have fire as the main element causes Daha (burning sensation), Bha (luster), Varna (expression of colour) and Pachana (digestion, process of transformation, putrefaction etc.)

Airy substances possess qualities such as Ruksa (dry), it produces dryness, Laghava (lightness), Vaishadya (transparency, clarity), Vichara (movements, different kinds of activities) and exhaustion 8.

Nabhasa Dravya Lakshana

AH Su 9.9.b-10.a ½

Nabhasa Dravya Lakshana (qualities of substances predominantly made up of ether element)

नाभसं सूक्ष्मविशदलघुशब्दगुणोल्बणम्॥९॥
सौषिर्यलाघवकरम्
nābhasaṃ sūkṣmaviśadalaghuśabdaguṇolbaṇam||9||
sauṣiryalāghavakaram

नाभसं – nābhasaṃ – the substances which are predominant in ether or space element have
सूक्ष्म विशद – sūkṣma viśada – minuteness, transparency (clarity),
लघु शब्द गुणोल्बणम् – laghu śabda guṇolbaṇam – lightness and sound (hearing) qualities in abundance
सौषिर्य लाघवकरम् – sauṣirya lāghavakaraṃ – therefore, the substances predominant in ether element produce (cause) cavitation (hollowness) and lightness (weightlessness)

Qualities of ether dominant substances – Nabhasa Dravya Laksana:-

Ether has Sukshma (minuteness), Vishada (transparency, clarity), Laghu (lightness) and Shabda (sound, hearing) qualities.
Substances with ether dominance  produce cavitation (hollowness) and lightness (weightlessness) 9

Nothing is non-medicinal

AH Su 9.10

Everything in this universe is a medicine

जगत्येवमनौषधम्।
न किञ्चिद्विद्यते द्रव्यं वशान्नानार्थयोगयोः॥१०॥
jagatyevamanauṣadham|
na kiñcidvidyate dravyaṃ vaśānnānārthayogayoḥ||10||

एवम् – evam – thus,
न किञ्चित् विद्यते – na kiñcid vidyate – nothing exists (not even a small thing exists)
जगत्य्  – jagaty – in this universe
अनौषधम् – anauṣadham – which cannot be used as a medicine,
द्रव्यं वशान्नानार्थ योगयोः – dravyaṃ vaśān nānārtha yogayoḥ – various plans of administration and multiple benefits of the substances as medicines depends on the proper knowledge of each and every substance

There is nothing in this universe, which cannot be used as medicine. Knowledge and purpose of each substance is required to use any substance as medicine.

Properties of Dravya

AH Su 9.11

द्रव्यमूर्ध्वगमं तत्र प्रायोऽग्निपवनोत्कटम्।
अधोगामि च भूयिष्ठ भूमितोयगुणाधिकम्॥११॥
dravyamūrdhvagamaṃ tatra prāyo’gnipavanotkaṭam|
adhogāmi ca bhūyiṣṭha bhūmitoyaguṇādhikam||11||

तत्र प्रायो – tatra prāyo – Generally,
द्रव्यम् – dravyam – the substances
अग्नि पवनोत्कटम् – ‘gnipavanotkaṭam – predominant (abundant) in fire and air elements
ऊर्ध्वगमं – ūrdhvagamaṃ – tend to (property of moving) move upwards
– ca – and
भूमि तोय गुणाधिकम् भूयिष्ठं – bhūmitoyaguṇādhikam bhūyiṣṭhaṃ – the substances abundant in predominance of qualities of earth and water elements
अधोगामि – adhogāmi – tend to (property of moving) downwards

Fire (Agni) and Pavana (air) predominant substances generally have the property of moving upwards.
Bhumi (earth) and Toya (water) dominant substances generally have the property of moving downwards.

Rasa of medicines

AH Su 9.12.a

Rasa – Taste of medicines

रसान् भेदैरुत्तरत्रोपदेक्ष्यते।
rasān bhedairuttaratropadekṣyate|

इति द्रव्यं – iti dravyaṃ – having said about the dravya
रसान् भेदैः – rasān bhedair – the types of rasa or tastes
उत्तरत्रोपदेक्ष्यते – uttaratropadekṣyate – shall be expounded in future (chapters)

After explaining about the dravya, the types of tastes shall be expounded in future.

Veerya (potency)

AH Su 9.12.b-13.a

Veerya – Potency of medicines

वीर्यं पुनर्वदन्त्येके गुरु स्निग्धं हिमं मृदु॥१२॥
लघु रूक्षोष्णतीक्ष्णं च तदेवं मतमष्टधा।
vīryaṃ punarvadantyeke guru snigdhaṃ himaṃ mṛdu||12||
laghu rūkṣoṣṇatīkṣṇaṃ ca tadevaṃ matamaṣṭadhā|

वीर्यं – vīryaṃ – Virya or potency of the drug
पुनः अष्टधा वदन्त्येके – punar aṣṭadhā vadanty eke – again said to be of eight types according to other opinion,
गुरु – guru – heaviness
स्निग्धं – snigdham – unctuousness (oily)
हिमं – himaṃ – cold
मृदु – mṛdu – soft
लघु – laghu – light
रूक्षः rūkṣ – dryness
उष्ण oṣṇa – hot
तीक्ष्णं – tīkṣṇaṃ – intense (piercing, strong)
च तदेवं मतम् – ca tad evaṃ matam – alone are accepted (as 8 types of virya)

Virya or potency of the drug is again said to be of eight types according to other’s opinion, therefore, the 8 types of virya enlisted below (alone) are accepted –

  • heaviness,
  • unctuousness (oily)
  • cold
  • soft
  • lightness
  • dryness
  • hot
  • intense (piercing, strong)

Among these there are four pairs of opposite qualities which form the 8 types of veerya i.e.

  • Guru (heaviness) and Laghu (lightness)
  • Snigdha (unctuous) and Rooksha (dryness)
  • Hima (cold) and Ushna (hot)
  • Mrdu (soft) and Teekshna (piercing, intense)

Note – All these 8 viryas are also the gunas or qualities of a dravya (substance)

Some authors opine that there are 8 types of Veerya (potency of an herb).

Guru (Heaviness) and Laghu (light to digest)
Snigdha (unctuous, oily) and Rooksha (dryness)
Hima (cold) and Ushna (hot)
Mrdu (soft) and Teekshna (piercing, strong).

Definition and authority of Virya

AH Su 9.13.b-14.a

Definition and authority of Virya or potency of a drug

चरकस्त्वाह वीर्यं तत् क्रियते येन या क्रिया॥१३॥
नावीर्य कुरुते किञ्चित्सर्वा वीर्यकृता हि सा।
carakastvāha vīryaṃ tat kriyate yena yā kriyā||13||
nāvīrya kurute kiñcitsarvā vīryakṛtā hi sā|

चरकस्त्वाह – carakas tv āha – master Charaka says
वीर्यं तत् – vīryaṃ tat – virya is that (property)
येन या – yena yā – through which
क्रिया – kriyā – the action of a drug
क्रियते – kriyate – is made possible
नावीर्य कुरुते किञ्चित् – nāvīryaṃ kurute kiñcit – the drug (or substance) devoid of veerya does not perform any action, because,
सर्वा वीर्यकृता हि सा – sarvā vīryakṛtā hi sā – all actions are possible only by (the presence of) veerya

Master Charaka says that Virya is that property, through which drug action is made possible. No drug action is possible without Veerya and all actions are possible only by the Virya 13.

Importance of ashta vidha virya

AH Su 9.14.b-15

Importance of ashta vidha virya (8 types of drug potency)

गुर्वादिष्वेव वीर्याख्या तेनान्वर्थेति वर्ण्यते॥१४॥
समग्रगुणसारेषु शक्त्युत्कर्षविवर्तिषु।
व्यवहाराय मुख्यत्वाद्बह्वग्रग्रहणादपि।।१५॥
gurvādiṣveva vīryākhyā tenānvartheti varṇyate||14||
samagraguṇasāreṣu śaktyutkarṣavivartiṣu|
vyavahārāya mukhyatvādbahvagragrahaṇādapi||15||

गुर्र्वादिष्वेव वीर्याख्या – gurvādiṣv eva vīryākhyā – Those who include (designate) heaviness etc eight qualities as Veerya,
तेनान्वर्थेति वर्ण्यते – tenānvartheti varṇyate – do so by direct implication
समग्र गुण सारेषु – samagra guṇa sāreṣu – among all the gunas or qualities (and also rasa, vipaka etc entities), these 8 qualities (which are considered as veerya) remain stable in the substance (or drug),
शक्त्युत्कर्षविवार्तिषु – śaktyutkarṣavivartiṣu – are stronger than the rest of the qualities and are capable of inducing action by themselves,व्यवहाराय मुख्यत्वाद् – vyavahārāya mukhyatvād – are important in the day-to-day routine of life,
बह्वग्रग्रहणाद् अपि – bahvagra grahaṇād api – are obvious choice among many substances and qualities (qualities other than the 8 mentioned in veerya, tastes etc) and also considered as the first options in all procedures (and treatments)
Hence these 8 qualities have been given importance (and considered as veerya). गुर्र्वादिष्वेव वीर्याख्या – gurvādiṣv eva vīryākhyā – All actions of a drug are possible only because of the veerya. Those who include (designate) heaviness etc eight qualities as Veerya, do so by direct implication (inference that these qualities themselves are responsible for the actions and hence are called veerya or the action potential of a drug).

AH Su 9.16

Reason for Rasa etc not being called as Veerya!

अतश्च विपरीतत्वात्सम्भवत्यपि नैव सा।
विवक्ष्यते रसाद्येषु, वीर्यं गुर्वादयो ह्यतः॥१६॥
ataśca viparītatvātsambhavatyapi naiva sā|
vivakṣyate rasādyeṣu, vīryaṃ gurvādayo hyataḥ||16||

अत: सा सम्भवत्य् अपि रसाद्येषु – atah sā sambhavaty api rasādyeṣu – so, in spite of the virya being present in the rasa etc entities, it is will not be called as (considered) virya
नैव विवक्ष्यते – naiva vivakṣyate – because of its inconsistent and invisible form (feebly present)
च विपरीतत्वात् – ca viparītatvāt – and also due to the taste etc being (having opposite nature) opposite to the 4 reasons mentioned above (to justify heaviness etc 8 qualities as virya) वीर्यं गुर्वादयो हि अतः – vīryaṃ gurvādayo hi ataḥ – Therefore, guru etc 8 qualities alone are the viryas.

Those who designated Guru (Heaviness) etc. eight qualities as Veerya, do so by direct implication.
Out of 20 qualities, these 8 qualities are predominantly seen in any substance. These 8 qualities are stronger than the remaining qualities. Hence, these 8 have been given importance.

Two types of veerya

AH Su 9.17-18.a

उष्णं शीतं द्विधैवान्ये वीर्यमाचक्षते अपि च।
नानात्मकमपि द्रव्यमग्नीषोमौ महाबलौ॥१७॥
व्यक्ताव्यक्तं जगदिव नातिक्रामति जातुचित्।
uṣṇaṃ śītaṃ dvidhaivānye vīryamācakṣate api ca|
nānātmakamapi dravyamagnīṣomau mahābalau||17||
vyaktāvyaktaṃ jagadiva nātikrāmati jātucit|

उष्णं शीतं च  uṣṇaṃ śītaṃ ca – hot and cold
द्विधैव वीर्यम् – dvidhai vīryam – are the only two types of veerya,
अन्ये आचक्षते ऽपि – nye ācakṣate ‘pi – also opine (consider) the other authors (according to the opinion of other authors),  because
द्रव्यम् नानात्मकम् अपि – dravyam nānātmakam api – though the substances are of many kinds and qualities,
अग्नीषोमौ महाबलौ – agnīṣomau mahābalau – only the fire and cold are the powerful ones (among the others),
व्यक्ताव्यक्तं जगद् इव – vyaktāvyaktaṃ jagad iva – just like the creation being grossly comprising of visible (perceivable) and invisible (non-perceivable) things, (in spite of presence of many substances and qualities), 
नातिक्रामति जातु चित्  – nātikrāmati jātu cit – no substance in the creation is ever beyond the limitation of hot and cold potency

Some other authors consider Ushna (hot) and Sheeta (cold) – only these 2 qualities as Veerya (potency). Because, though substances are of many kinds and qualities, only fire and water (Agni and Soma) are the powerful ones.

Action of Ushna Veerya

AH Su 9.18.b-19.a ½

तत्रोष्णं भ्रमतृड्ग्लानिस्वेददाहाशुपाकिताः ॥ १८ ॥
शमं च वातकफयोः
tatroṣṇaṃ bhramatṛṅglānisvedadāhāśupākitāḥ||18||
śamaṃ ca vākakaphayoḥ

तत्रोष्णं – tatroṣṇaṃ – hot potency causes
भ्रम – bhrama – delusion (dizziness)
तृड् ग्लानि tṛḍ glāni – excessive thirst, exhaustion,
स्वेद- sveda – perspiration (excessive sweating),
दाह – dāha – burning sensation,
आशुपाकिताः – āśupākitāḥ – quickly digested (transformation)
शमं च वातकफयोः – śamaṃ ca vāta kaphayoḥ – mitigation of vata and kapha

Action of Hot Potency (Ushna Veerya) –
Hot potency causes
Bhrama – Delusion, Dizziness
Trut – excessive thirst
Glani – exhaustion,
Sveda – perspiration,
Daha – burning sensation,
Ashupakita – quick cooking (transformation) and
Mitigation of Vata and Kapha;

Action of Sheeta Veerya

AH Su 9.19

Action of sheeta veerya (cold potency)

करोति, शिशिरं पुनः।
ह्लादनं जीवनं स्तम्भं प्रसाद रक्तपित्तयोः॥१९॥
karoti, śiśiraṃ punaḥ|
hlādanaṃ jīvanaṃ stambhaṃ prasāda raktapittayoḥ||19||

करोति शिशिरं पुनः – karoti śiśiraṃ punaḥ – cold potency causes
ह्लादनं – hlādanaṃ – satiation, happiness
जीवनं – jīvanaṃ – enlivening (enrichment of life activities),
स्तम्भं – stambhaṃ – stoppage, constipating (withholding, restraining),
प्रसादं रक्त पित्तयोः – prasādaṃ raktapittayoḥ – purification of blood and calming of pitta

Action of Cold Potency (Sheeta Veerya) –
Hladana – satiation, happiness,
Jivana  – living, activities of life, enlivening
Sthambha – stoppage, withholding, restraining and
Rakta Pitta Prasada – purification of blood and calming of Pitta. 18-19.

Vipaka: Taste after digestion

AH Su 9.20

Vipaka – taste after digestion (post digestion effect)

जाठरेणाग्निना योगाद्यदुदेति रसान्तरम्।
रसानां परिणामान्ते स विपाक इति स्मृतः॥२०॥
jāṭhareṇāgninā yogādyadudeti rasāntaram|
rasānāṃ pariṇāmānte sa vipāka iti smṛtaḥ||20||

यत् उदेति रसान्तरम् – yad udeti rasāntaram – the change in taste that occurs in
रसानां – rasānāṃ – the substances having taste,
जाठरेणाग्निना योगाद् – jāṭhareṇāgninā yogād – due to the contact (association) with stomach fire (digestive juices in stomach),
परिणामान्ते – pariṇāmānte – at the end of the digestion of food,
स विपाक इति स्मृतः – sa vipāka iti smṛtaḥ –  that changed taste is called as vipaka

The change in the tastes that a substance undergoes at the end of digestion by the association of Jatharagni (fire in the stomach – digestion power, digestive juice in stomach), is called as Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion).

Types of Vipaka

AH Su 9.21

Types of Vipaka

स्वादुः पटुश्च मधुरमम्लोऽम्लं पच्यते रसः।
तिक्तोषणकषायाणां विपाकः प्रायशः कटुः॥२१॥
svāduḥ paṭuśca madhuramamlo’mlaṃ pacyate rasaḥ|
tiktoṣaṇakaṣāyāṇāṃ vipākaḥ prāyaśaḥ kaṭuḥ||21||

There are three types of vipaka (post digestion conversion of taste)
स्वादुः पटुश्च मधुरं – svāduḥ paṭuś ca madhuram – sweet taste and salt taste undergo madhura (sweet) vipaka,
अम्लो अम्लं पच्यते रसः – amlo ‘mlaṃ pacyate rasaḥ – sour taste remains as sour (amla vipaka) after digestion,
तिक्त ऊषण कषायाणां विपाकः प्रायशः कटुः – tiktoṣaṇa kaṣāyāṇāṃ vipākaḥ prāyaśaḥ kaṭuḥ – bitter taste, pungent taste and astringent taste will generally undergo katu vipaka (pungent)

There are three types of Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion).
Swadu (sweet) and Patu (salt) tastes undergo Madhura Vipaka (sweet).
Sour remains as sour itself – Amla undergoes Amla Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion).
Tikta (bitter), Ushna (pungent) and Kasaya (astringent) tastes will generally have Katu Vipaka (pungent).

So, generally, sweet and salt tastes get converted into sweet taste
Sour remains as sour and
Bitter, pungent and astringent convert into pungent.

Similarities between Rasa and Vipaka

AH Su 9.22-23.a

Similarities between rasa (taste) and vipaka, mode of action of dravya on the basis of rasa, veerya etc

रसैरसौ तुल्यफलस्तत्र द्रव्यं शुभाशुभम्।
किञ्चिद्रसेन कुरुते कर्म पाकेन चापरम्॥२२॥
गुणान्तरेण वीर्येण प्रभावेणैव किञ्चन।
rasairasau tulyaphalastatra dravyaṃ śubhāśubham|
kiñcidrasena kurute karma pākena cāparam||22||
guṇāntareṇa vīryeṇa prabhāveṇaiva kiñcana|

रसैर् असौ तुल्यफलस् – rasair asau tulyaphalas – the effect (action, benefits bestowed) of the tastes felt in the mouth on consumption and of the vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) are similar,
तत्र द्रव्यं शुभाशुभम् कर्म – tatra dravyaṃ śubhāśubham karma – here, amongst the taste, action, converted taste after digestion, qualities, potency and effect (contained in the substance), the substances bestow beneficial or harmful actions (effects),
किञ्चिद् रसेन कुरुते– kiñcid rasena kurute – sometimes through its taste,
पाकेन चापरम् – pākena cāparam – through post-digestion taste at other times,
गुणान्तरेण – guṇāntareṇa – or by the virtue of the qualities that they possess or
वीर्येण – vīryeṇa – through their potency and
प्रभावेणैव किञ्चन – prabhāveṇaiva kiñcana – at times through their special effects

Substances act by the action of taste or by Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) or by the Guna (qualities) that they possess or by Veerya (potency) or by Prabhava (special effects).

Which ever the one that is powerful among them (Rasa, Guna, Vipaka, Virya and Prabhava) it suppresses all the other qualities to exhibit special influence and action.

Mechanism of action of substances – Karma Vidhana

AH Su 9.23.b-24

Law of dominance amongst the rasa, guna etc. entities contained in the substance

यद्यद्द्रव्ये रसादीनां बलवत्त्वेन वर्तते॥२३॥
अभिभूयेतरास्तत्तत्कारणत्व प्रपद्यते।
विरुद्धगुणसंयोगे भूयसाऽल्प हि जीयते॥२४॥
yadyaddravye rasādīnāṃ balavattvena vartate||23||
abhibhūyetarāstattatkāraṇatva prapadyate|
viruddhaguṇasaṃyoge bhūyasā’lpa hi jīyate||24||

द्रव्ये – dravye – in a substance,
रसादीनां – rasādīnāṃ – among the rasa, virya, vipaka and prabhava (resident in a dravya)
यद् यद् बलवत्त्वेन वर्तते – yad yad balavattvena vartate –whichever is predominantly present (one that is most powerful among all)
तत् तत् अभिभूयेतरांस् – tat tat abhibhūyetarāṃs – that will suppress all the other qualities and
कारणत्वं प्रपद्यते – kāraṇatvaṃ prapadyate – will establish (express, exhibit) its special influence (authority) and action
विरुद्ध गुण संयोगे – viruddha guṇa saṃyoge – in case of combination of two opposite qualities,
भूयसाल्पं हि जीयते – bhūyasālpaṃ hi jīyate – the weaker one will get suppressed (vanquished) by the stronger one

In case of combination of two opposite qualities, the strong one vanquishes the weak. 23½ – 24.

Suppose two opposing qualities are present in equal strength, in that situation, Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) wins over Rasa (taste);
Veerya (potency) wins over (Rasa (taste) and Vipaka and
Prabhava (special effect) wins over all of them (Rasa, Vipaka and Veerya)

AH Su 9.25

Pattern of natural strength among the taste, post-digestion taste, potency and special effect of a substance

रसं विपाकस्तौ वीर्यं प्रभावस्तान्यपोहति।
बलसाम्ये रसादीनामिति नैसर्गिक बलम्॥२५॥
rasaṃ vipākastau vīryaṃ prabhāvastānyapohati|
balasāmye rasādīnāmiti naisargika balam||25||

रसादीनां rasādīnām – among the taste etc entities (comprised in the substance) i.e. taste, post-digestion taste, potency and special effect,
बलसाम्ये – balasāmye – in the presence of equal strength among the two opposing qualities,
विपाकः रसं अपोहति vipākas rasaṃ apohati – post digestion taste will win over the taste,
वीर्यं तौ अपोहति vīryaṃ tau apohati – potency wins over both taste and post-digestion taste,
प्रभावः तानि अपोहति prabhāvas tāny apohati – special effect wins over all the three i.e. taste, post-digestion taste and potency,
इति नैसर्गिक बलम् – iti naisargikaṃ balam – this is the pattern of natural strength among these entities (qualities of substance)

Among the taste, post-digestion taste, potency and special effect, in the presence of equal strength among the two opposing qualities, post digestion taste will win over the taste, potency wins over both taste and post-digestion taste, special effect wins over all the three i.e. taste, post-digestion taste and potency, this is the pattern of natural strength among these entities (qualities of substance)

Prabhava: Special effect

AH Su 9.26.a

रसादिसाम्ये यत् कर्म विशिष्ट तत् प्रभावजम्।
rasādisāmye yat karma viśiṣṭa tat prabhāvajam|

रसादि साम्ये – rasādi sāmye – when the taste, post-digestion taste and potency of two substances are similar,
यत् कर्म विशिष्ट – yat karma viśiṣṭaṃ – that special action exhibited by one substance,
तत् प्रभावजम् – tat prabhāvajam – is called by (caused by) Prabhava.

Special action exhibited by a substance over-ruling Rasa (taste), Guna (qualities), Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) and Veerya (potency) is Prabhava.

Though Rasa, Guna, Vipaka, and Veerya in a drug may be similar, sometimes the herb may exhibit entirely different action opposite to these qualities. That special effect of the drug over-ruling inherent qualities is called as Prabhava.

Examples of Prabhava

AH Su 9.26.b.27.a

Examples of Prabhava

दन्ती रसाद्यैस्तुल्याऽपि चित्रकस्य विरेचनी॥२६॥
मधुकस्य च मृद्वीका, घृतं क्षीरस्य दीपनम्।
dantī rasādyaistulyā’pi citrakasya virecanī||26||
madhukasya ca mṛdvīkā, ghṛtaṃ kṣīrasya dīpanam|

रसाद्यै स्तुल्याऽपि चित्रकस्य – rasādyais tulyāpi citrakasya – Though it is identical with Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica) in respect of taste etc,
दन्ती विरेचनी – dantī virecanī – Danti (Baliospermum montanum) is a purgative, while Chitraka is not. Hence causing purgation is the prabhava or special effect of Danti.
मधुकस्य च मृद्वीका, – madhukasya ca mṛdvīkā – similarly so, are Madhuka (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Licorice) and Mrdvika (grapes), Licorice and dry grapes both have similar qualities, but dry grapes have mild purgative action but Madhuka does not.
घृतं क्षीरस्य दीपनम् – ghṛtaṃ kṣīrasya dīpanam – milk and ghee too possess similar qualities. But ghee increases digestion strength but milk does not. Hence increasing the strength of digestion is the special effect or prabhava of ghee.

Examples

Danti and Chitraka – Though Danti – Baliospermum montanum  is identical to Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica) in respect to Rasa (taste) etc, Danti is a purgative while Chitraka is not. Hence, purgation is the Prabhava of Danti.

Similarly, Madhuka – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra and Mrdvika (grapes)
Madhuka and dry grapes – both have similar qualities. But dry grape has mild purgative action, but Madhuka does not.

Milk and ghee – both possess similar qualities. But ghee increases digestion strength but milk does not. Hence increasing digestion strength is the special effect of ghee.  26.

Vichitra Pratyarabdha Dravya

AH Su 9.27.b-28.a

Vichitra Pratyayarabdha Dravya (extraordinary substances)

इति सामान्यतः कर्म द्रव्यादीना, पुनश्च तत्॥२७॥
विचित्रप्रत्ययारब्धद्रव्यभेदेन भिद्यते ।
iti sāmānyataḥ karma dravyādīnā, punaśca tat||27||
vicitrapratyayārabdhadravyabhedena bhidyate|

इति सामान्यतः कर्म द्रव्यादीना –  iti sāmānyataḥ karma dravyādīnāṃ – thus, the common (generalized) functions of dravya, rasa etc has been explained (in the earlier part of this chapter),
पुनश्च तत् – punaś ca tat – once again (after samanya karma),
विचित्रप्रत्ययारब्ध द्रव्यभेदेन भिद्यते – vicitrapratyayārabdha dravya bhedena bhidyate – a special category of substance known as Vichitra Pratyayarabdha exists

A special category, known as Vichitra Pratyarabda exists. It means – born out of peculiar combination of peculiar factors.

Examples of Vichitra Pratyayarabdha Dravya

AH Su 9.28.a-29.a (28 ½)

स्वादुर्गुरुश्च गोधूमो वातजिद्वातकृद्यवः॥२८॥
उष्णा मत्स्याः पयः शीतं कटुः सिंहो न शूकरः।२८१/२
svādurguruśca godhūmo vātajidvātakṛdyavaḥ||28||
uṣṇā matsyāḥ payaḥ śītaṃ kaṭuḥ siṃho na śūkaraḥ|28 ½

स्वादु र्गुरुश्च गोधूमो वातजिद् – svādur guruś ca godhūmo vātajid – in spite of having sweet taste and heaviness quality, the wheat mitigates Vata, but
स्वादु र्गुरुश्च यवः वातकृद् – svādur guruś ca yavaḥ vātakṛd – in spite of having sweet taste and heaviness quality, barley aggravates Vata,
स्वादु र्गुरुश्च उष्णा मत्स्याः पयः शीतं – svādur guruś ca uṣṇā matsyāḥ payaḥ śītaṃ – in spite of both having sweet taste and heaviness quality, fishes are hot in nature and milk is cold,
स्वादु र्गुरुश्च कटुः सिंहो न शूकरः – svādur guruś ca kaṭuḥ siṃho na śūkaraḥ – in spite of both having sweet taste and heaviness quality, meat of lion has pungent taste conversion after digestion and pig meat has sweet taste conversion after digestion

Examples

Both wheat and barley possess sweat and heaviness qualities yet wheat mitigates Vata but barley aggravates it.
Fish and milk are sweet and heavy but still milk is cool and fish is hot.
Meat of lion and meat of pig both are sweet in taste but still lion meat has Katu Vipaka (pungent taste conversion after digestion) and pig meat has sweet Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion).

इति श्रीवैद्यपतिसिंहगुप्तसूनु श्रीमद्वाग्भटविरचितायामष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहितायां सूत्रस्थाने द्रव्यादिविज्ञानीयो नाम नवमोऽध्यायः॥९॥
iti śrīvaidyapatisiṃhaguptasūnu śrīmadvāgbhaṭaviracitāyāmaṣṭāṅgahṛdayasaṃhitāyāṃ sūtrasthāne dravyādivijñānīyo nāma navamo’dhyāyaḥ||9||

Thus ends the 9th chapter of Ashtangahridaya Samhita, Sutrasthana, named Dravyadi Vijnaaneeya Adhyaya, written by Shrimad Vagbhata, son of Shri Vaidhyapati Simhagupta.

Leave a Comment


error: Alert: Content is protected !!