Do Not Suppress Body Urges: Charak Samhita Sutrasthana 7th chapter

As per Ayurveda, natural body urges like the urge to defecate, urinate etc should not be suppressed. The 7th chapter of Charak Samhita Sutrasthana explains in detail about various diseases caused due to suppression of natural body urges and the line of treatment for each.

Natural body urges

Natural non-suppressible body urges

One should not suppress the following natural urges.
Mutra Vega – urge to urinate
Pureesha Vega – urge to defecate
Retas – Urge to ejaculate
Vata – urge to fart
Chardi – Urge to vomit
Kshavatu – Urge to sneeze
Udagara – urge to belch
Jrumbha – urge to yawn
Kshut – hunger
Pipasa – thirst
Vashpa – urge to weep
Nidra – urge to sleep
Nishwasa – Urge to breathe caused by over exertion. [3-4]

Various types of diseases occur by the suppression of these urges. Such diseases and line of treatment is explained below. [5]

Suppression of micturition

Symptoms

Suppression of urge to urinate causes
Basti Mehanayo shoolam – pain in bladder and phallus,
Mutrakruchra – dysuria, pain while passing urine,
Shiro Ruja – headache,
Vinamo – bending of the body and
Vamkshana anaha – distension, fullness of lower abdomen.

Treatment

Sveda – sweating therapy
Avagahana – tub bath therapy
Abhyanga – oil massage
Sarpisha Avapidana – nasal drops of ghee
Three types of Basti – urethral / vaginal / rectal enema. [6-7]

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urge to urinate, defecate

Suppression of defaecation

Symptoms

If one holds the urge for defecation it causes
Pakvashaya Shula – abdominal colic pain,
Shirashula – headache,
Vata, Varcha Pravartana – involuntary defecation and release of flatus
Pindikodveshtana – cramps in the calf muscles
Adhmana – distension, fullness of abdomen.

Treatment

In such cases,
Sveda – sweating therapy
Abhyanga – oil massage
Avagaha – sitz bath
Varti – rectal suppositories
Basti Karma – rectal enema
Pramathi Annapana – intake of foods and drinks that are laxative in nature. [8-9]

Suppression of ejaculation

Symptoms

Suppressing urge to ejaculation leads to
Medhra Vrushana shoola – Pain in phallus and testicles,
Angamarda – malaise, body ache,
Hrudi Vyatha – pain and discomfort in chest region
Mutra Vibandha – retention of urine

Treatment

Abhyanga – oil massage over the groin region
Avagaha – sitz bath
Madira – wine
Charanayudha – chicken
Shali – rice
Paya – milk
Niruha type of basti (made with Kashayam)
Maithuna – sexual intercourse. [10-11]

Suppression of urge to fart

Symptoms

If one suppresses the urge for passing flatus, it causes
Sango Vit Mutra Vatanaam – retention of faeces, urine and flatus,
Adhmana – distension, fullness of abdomen,
Vedana – pain,
Klama – exhaustion, tiredness and
Diseases of Vata imbalance in stomach.

Treatment

Snehana – oil massage,
Sveda – sweating treatment,
Varti – rectal suppositories,
Vatanulomana Bhojana, Pana – intake of foods and drinks that enable normal downward movement of flatus and
Basti – rectal enema. [12-13]

suppression of yawning

Suppression of vomiting

Diseases and symptoms

Kandu – itching, pruritus, urticaria,
Kota – black pigmentation of face,
Aruchi – anorexia,
Shotha – oedema,
Pandu – anaemia,
Jvara – fever,
Kushta – skin diseases,
Hrullasa – nausea and
Visarpa – erysipelas, spreading type of skin diseases.

Treatment

Prachardanam – induction of vomiting,
Dhumapana – herbal smoking,
Langhana – fasting,
Raktamokshana – blood letting (useful in skin diseases),
Rooksha Annapana – food and drink that are dry in nature,
Vyayama – physical exercise and
Virechana – purgation treatment. [14-15]

Suppression of sneeze

Symptoms

Diseases caused by suppression of urge to sneeze are – 
Manyasthamba – neck stiffness – torticollis,
Shirashoola – headache,
Ardita – facial paralysis,
Ardhavabhedaka – hemicrania, migraine and
Indriyanam daurbalyam – weakness of the sense organs.

Treatment

Urdhwa Jatru Abhyanga – oil massage to head and neck,
Svedana – sweating therapy,
Dhumapana – herbal smoking,
Navana – nasal drops,
Food that pacifies Vata and
Ghrita – intake of ghee after meals. [16-17]

Suppression of belching

Diseases

Diseases caused by suppression of belching / Eructation reflex:
Hikka – hiccups,
Shwasa – breathing difficulties,
Aruchi – anorexia,
Kampa – tremors and
Vibandho Hrudaya uraso – feeling of obstruction in chest and heart region.

Treatment

Similar to the treatment for suppression of hiccups. [18]

Suppression of yawning

Symptoms

Diseases caused by suppression of yawning reflex:
Vinama – forward bending of the body,
Akshepa – convulsion,
Samkocha – contractions,
Supti – numbness,
Kampa – tremors and
Pravepana – shaking of the body.

Suppression of hunger thirst

Treatment

All the measures to balance Vata Dosha should be taken up. [19]

Suppression of hunger

Symptoms

Diseases caused by suppression of hunger –
Karshya – weight loss, emaciation,
Dourbalya – weakness,
Vaivarnya – change in skin complexion,
Angamarda – Malaise, body ache,
Aruchi – Anorexia and
Bhrama – dizziness .

Treatment

Intake of oily (unctuous), hot and light-to-digest food. [20]

Suppression of thirst

Symptoms

Diseases caused by suppression of thirst –
Kanta Asya shosha – dryness of throat and mouth,
Badhirya – deafness,
Shrama – tiredness,
Sada – weakness, body ache and
Hrudi Vyatha – discomfort in heart.

Treatment

Coolant drinks that bring about satiation. [21]

Suppression of tears

Symptoms

Diseases caused by suppression of Tears 
Pratishyaya – rhinitis, running nose,
Akshi roga – eye diseases,
Hrudroga – heart diseases,
Aruchi – anorexia
Bhrama – dizziness.

Treatment

Sleep, intake of wine and pleasing talks. [22]

Disease- Treatment Of Charaka Samhita Made Easy

Suppression of sleep

Symptoms

Diseases caused by suppression of Sleep:
Jrumbha – yawning,
Angamarda – malaise, body ache,
Tandra – drowsiness,
Shiroroga – headache, diseases of head,
Akshi Gourava – heaviness in the eyes.

Treatment

Sound sleep and body massage. [23]

Suppression of exertion breathing

Symptoms

Diseases caused by suppression of exertion Breathing :
Gulma – bloating,
Hrudroga – heart diseases and
Sammoha – fainting, unconsciousness.

Treatment

Rest and following of regimen prescribed for Vata Dosha balance. [24]

These are the diseases caused by the suppression of various natural body urges. One who wants to prevent diseases should not suppress these urges. [25]

suppressible urges

We learnt about Adharaneeya Vega – the urges that should not be suppressed / withheld.
Now Charaka explains about Dharaneeya Vegas – the urges that should be suppressed.

Dharaneeya Vega – Suppressible urges

One, who is desirous of his well-being during his lifetime and after death, should suppress urges of rashness and evil deeds – mentally, orally and physically. [26]

Mental suppressible urges

A wise person should suppress mental urges pertaining to
Lobha – greed,
Shoka – grief,
Bhaya – fear,
Krodha – anger,
Mana – vanity,
Nairlajja – shamelessness,
Irshya – jealousy,
Atiraga – excessive desire
Abhidhyaya – ill will, malice. [27]

Speech related suppressible urges

One should suppress the urges of
Parusha – speaking extremely harsh words,
Atimatra – speaking excessively,
Soochaka – back-biting,
Anruta – lies and
Akala Vakya – use of untimely words. [28]

Deeds related suppressible urges

Stribhoga – desire towards other women,
Astheya – theft,
Himsa – violence, hostility,
Parapeeda – ill-treatment are to be restrained. [29]

The virtuous person who suppresses all the above mentioned bad urges related to mind, speech and physical actions, is happy and he alone enjoys the fruits of
Dharma – good deeds,
Artha – wealth, prosperity
Kama – desire, wish. [30]

Exercise

exercise adverse effects

Definition

The physical activity done with the purpose of improving body strength and immunity is called Exercise – Vyayama. Exercise should always be done in moderation. [31]

Benefits

Good effects of exercise:
Right amount of exercise brings about
Laghavam – lightness to the body (and mind),
Karmasaamrthyam – increases work capacity,
Sthairyam – increases body stability,
Dukha sahishunta – improves body and mind resistance to discomfort,
Doshakshaya – balances the Tridosha and
Agnivruddhi – improves digestion strength. [32]

Ill effects of excessive exercise

Shrama – tiredness,
Klama – exhaustion,
Kshaya – depletion of body tissues,
Trushna – excessive thirst,
Raktapitta – bleeding disorders – such as nasal bleeding, worsening of menorrhagia in women etc.
Pratamaka – breathing difficulties,
Kasa – cough,
Jwara – fever and
Chardi – vomiting.  [33]

Features of right amount of exercise

Svedagama – sweating, perspiration,
Shvasa vruddhi – enhanced breathing,
Gaatranaam laghavam – lightness of the body parts,
Hrudayadi Uparodha – feeling of inhibition / resistance in the heart and such other organs of the body are indication that it is time to stop exercising.

Avoid excess indulgence in the following

Vyayama – exercise,
Hasya – laughing,
Bhashya – speaking,
Adhva – travelling by foot,
Gramya Dharma – sexual activities and
Prajagara – staying awake till late night. [34]
One who indulges excessively in these and other such activities, perishes like a lion trying to fight a huge elephant. [35]

contra indication for exercise

Exercise contraindications

The following should quit exercise –
Ativyavaya – who indulges in excessive sexual activity,
Bhara – who lifts heavy weight,
Adhva – who walks long distances,
Karmabhi atikarshita – who is weakened by excessive work,
Bala – children,
Vruddha – elderly,
Pravata – who have Vata imbalance,
Ucchai Bahu Bhashaka – who speak loud and who speak too much,
Kshudhita  – who is hungry and
Trushita – who is thirsty.

Schedule for giving up bad habits

A wise person should give up unwholesome and unhealthy practices to which he is addicted and should gradually adopt wholesome and healthy practices. This process of shifting to healthy practices should be gradual.

Dosha body types

On the first day one should give up a quarter of the unhealthy practice (shall maintaining ¾ of it) and correspondingly adopt a quarter of healthy and wholesome habits.
One the second and third days, half of the bad habit should be given up and half of the wholesome practice is to be continued.
On the 4th, 5th and 6th days, ¾ of the good habits should be adopted.
On 7th day, switch fully to good habits. [36-37]
By slowly and gradually giving up the bad habits and by slowly cultivating good habits, the body becomes accustomed to the new habits without any complications.  [38]

Dosha Body types

Some persons maintain perfect balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha from the very time of conception; some are dominated by Vata, some by Pitta and some by Kapha.
Those, with perfect balance of Tridosha are not prone to diseases – called Anatura.
Those with single Dosha body types, like, Vata body type, Pitta body type etc are called Sadatura and are very much susceptible to diseases. The persons with two Dosha dominant body types (i.e. Vata-Pitta, Pitta-Kapha, Vata-Kapha) are less prone to diseases.(than those with single Dosha body types).  [39-40]

In case of Single Dosha body types, diet and regimen with qualities opposite to the Dosha should be followed.
For individuals having  Tridosha balance body type, habitual intake of diets consisting of all Rasas (tastes) in proportionate quantity is prescribed. [41]

Excretory orifices

There are two orifices in the lower part of the body (rectum and urethra),
seven orifices in head (two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and a mouth)
and multiple openings of sweat glands, i.e hair roots serving the purpose of excretion.
These orifices may get vitiated by excessive production of waste products. If there is heaviness in the excretory orifices or there is excessive excretion, it is indicative of an increase in excreta (waste products). Similarly, if there is lightness in the excretory orifices or three is no excretion it indicates the decrease in excreta. [42-43]

Principle of treatment for disorders of excretory orifices

One should decide on the exact nature of the disease with the help of signs and symptoms indicated above. One should ascertain the extent of increase or vitiation of excreta and then should treat the curable ones with therapies which are having opposite qualities from the diseases and their causes, paying due regard to the dose and time. [44]

Importance of following the regimen for healthy persons

Those, who do not follow healthy daily and seasonal habits are prone to diseases. Hence, a healthy person should follow proper daily and seasonal regimens for the maintenance of good health. [45]

Time for Panchakarma purification procedures

One should administer purification procedures on
Madhava Prathame Maasi – Chaitra (Mid March – Mid April)
Nabhasya Prathame Maasi – Shravana (Mid July – Mid August)
Sahasya Prathame Maasi – Margashira (Mid November – Mid December)

After the oleation (Sneha karma) and sweating therapies (Svedana), one should administer emetics (Vamana) and purgatives (Virechana). Then one should administer enema (Basti) and inhalation therapies (Nasya) in proper sequences according to the requirement.
After that, one should administer rejuvenation and aphrodisiac therapies (Rasayana and Vajikarana) based on the patient’s requirement. By this, the body tissues get good nourishment. This delays ageing process.

Thus, the ways and means of preventing diseases due to endogenous factors (Nija vyadhis) have been described. Those with exogenous causes (Agantuja Vyadhis) are explained further. [45-50]

Agantuja Vyadhi

Exogenous diseases – Agantuja Roga

These diseases are caused by
Bhuta – evil spirits,
Visha – poison,
Vayu – wind,
Agni – fire,
Samprahaara – assault / external injury. These diseases are caused by Prajnaparadha – acting against one’s right conscience.

Even the bad emotions such as
Irshya – malice, jealousy,
Shoka – despair, grief,
Bhaya – fear,
Krodha – anger,
Mana – vanity and
Dvesha – hatred, etc mental disorders are due to Prajnaparadha. [51-52]

Prevention of Agantuja Roga

These Agantu rogas can be prevented by
Avoiding Prajnaparadha – acting as per one’s right conscience,
Indriyopashama – control over sense organs,
Smruti – Keeping God in memory,
Desha, Kala Atma Vijnana – knowledge of the place, time and one’s own soul and
Sadvrutta – good conduct.
One desirous of his own well-being should follow this, in advance. [53-54]

Aptopadesha (Knowledge about the prescription and advice of ancient authority sages),
Prajnana – having superior knowledge,
are the means to prevent and to treat diseases. [55]

Unsuitable persons for company

Such unhappy human beings, who have a sinful conduct, tension seekers, back biters, sadists, greedy, those who envy the property of others, cruel, those who indulge in defaming others, the fickle minded, those who serve the enemy, those without any compassion and those who do not follow the virtuous course of life should be disowned. [56-57]

Suitable persons for company

Buddhi Vidyavayaha – experienced, intellectuals, knowledgeable,
Sheela, Dhairya, Smruti – with good character, courageous, having good memory,
Vruddhopasevi – who takes care of elders,
Vruddha – aged,
Svabhaavajna – who understands your nature,
Gatavyatha – who are devoid of anxieties,
Sumukha – who speak sweet,
who are peaceful, those who follow righteous course of action; those who advocate good conduct and those whose very name and sight are auspicious should  be accompanied. [58-59]

curd at night is contra indicated

One desirous of health in this world and the world beyond, should try his level best to follow the principles of health relating to diet, conduct and action.[60]

Rules for using curd

One should not take curd at night;
If one desires to take curd at night, it can be taken along with ghee, sugar, green gram soup, honey or Amalaka (Amla – Indian Gooseberry.)
It should not be taken hot.
If one does not follow these rules he is likely to suffer from diseases like fever, Raktapitta (bleeding disorders), Visarpa (Erysipelas), Kushta (skin diseases), Pandu (Anaemia), Bhrama (dizziness) and Kamala (Jaundice). [61-62]

Summary

In this chapter, Acharya Charaka has explained, all about natural urges, diseases caused due to suppressing them, urges that are to be suppressed, what is wholesome, what is unwholesome; how to leave a bad habit and replace it with a good habit, diet rules, prevention of diseases, persons who should be accompanied and who should not be and rules regarding intake of curd. [63-64]
Thus ends the seventh chapter.

13 thoughts on “Do Not Suppress Body Urges: Charak Samhita Sutrasthana 7th chapter”

  1. What happens when a person fasts? Will he suffer from the diseases caused by suppression of hunger and thirst? Especially, when one fasts from dawn to dusk for one full month.

    Reply
    • Ayurvedically speaking, fasting from dawn to dusk for a month time is not ideal for health.
      However, occasional fasting upto one’s strength is a good habit.
      During fasting, if one feels vomiting sensation, feels darkness, dizziness etc, it is ideal to stop fasting and take some light oily food in hot condition.

      Reply
  2. Read this chapter because it has meaningful info for me but not read the full chapter.

    Just the natural urges that I don’t have to stop & the ones that I have to stop. Also, the time period when we have to cleanse our internal system.

    Reply
  3. Dear Doctor ,
    Thanks for the interesting and highly educative article.
    I have one query though.

    In allopathic system,vomiting , sneezing, or belching are all suppressed by giving medicines. here they are not ‘treated’ for the symptoms but actually they are suppressed and after some time body itself will adjust to the environment and the symptoms disappear.
    Do you think it will have any bad effects as per Ayurveda

    Reply
    • Hi,
      suppressing urges means, suppressing when they already have arrived, under normal circumstances. For example, when someone has urge to defecate, he is not supposed to withhold the urge to defecate.
      Sneezing, vomiting or belching etc, when associated with disease, they are to be treated so that person gets cured from it. That treating cannot be compared with ‘suppressing’.
      In case of vomiting, suppose someone takes heavy meals beyond her capacity and she feels nauseated and vomits. Initial one or two bouts of vomiting will help her get rid of undigested food material from stomach, which is good. But if the vomiting bouts continue, then treatment will surely be required to stop vomiting.

      Reply
  4. It simply means the urge to ejaculate. Vega (urge) at the moment when we are about to ejaculate.

    Reply
  5. sir really a great job sir, was scearching such a good source of knowledge to study charaka …….concepts are made very clear without any language complications……..very thankful 🙂

    Reply
  6. Dr. Hebbar,
    I think suppression is inaccurate translation of the word “Dhara (Dharan, used in Ashtanghridaya) used in Sanskrit verse. Dhara literally means wearing or holding (and accumulating). Since it is in reference to natural urges in context of prevention of diseases the correct meaning and recommendation is for allowing natural urges to flow naturally and follow their natural course without use of any force to suppress or any attempts to ignore them leading to their blockage and accumulation.

    Suppression relates to use of force to control something. Something that can be perceived, believed, and experienced as a limitation can be suppressed. Blockage relates to ineffectiveness of use of force to clear the path for progressing forward. Blockage is experienced when there is a lack of correct perceptions and ignorance exist in the form of beliefs. Force and suppression cannot be applied to something that cannot be perceived. But something that exists and can be experienced blocks even if, when, and where it is not perceived and inaccessible. Blockage is experienced if, when, and where progress is pursued through a path and means that one believes will enable progress, prosperity, and satisfaction but that path is blocked and those means are ineffective in clearing the blockage.

    Vata is mentioned as caused by holding the natural urge to release flatulence. But Vata imbalance, diseases, and aggravations exist even in individuals who do not suppress the urge to release flatulence. They have Vata because they choose to eat foods and make lifestyle choices that they believe (because of their traditions, culture, and compulsion for conforming with social norms in their society or for sake of convenience) will not cause Vata but those foods and lifestyle choices have natural qualities for increasing Vata. In other words their ignorance causes Vata.

    Vata originates from Malabandha or constipation in colon. Constipation itself is caused by diminished Vayu along with increased Kapha and Pitta in Pakvashaya (large-intestine — colon). Increased Pitta relates with suppression by means of consuming foods that have excessive fire or pungent (Katu) qualities. Increased Kapha on the other hand relates with holding on to wastes by consuming foods that are heavy to digest (Guru) or slow in digestion and thus slow in flowing through body. Excessive Pitta alone results in dysentry whereas excessive Kapha blocks release of what should be allowed to flow naturally. What makes constipation and Vata worse is consumption of astringent (Kashaya) foods that have the quality of absorbing, binding, and holding together with pungent (Katu) and heavy (Guru/ Madhura) foods.

    Use of the word suppression implies avoiding use of excessive or unnatural force. Doing so alone does not prevent diseases caused by holding on to natural urges through denial, delay, ignorance, convenience, …. All diseases are caused by holding on to (and accumulating) wastes that body has a natural urge or instinct, process, and flow for excreting out.

    Reply

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