Charaka Sutrasthana 25th Chapter – Yajja Purusheeya Adhyaya

The 25th chapter of Sutrasthana of Charaka Samhita is structured in a form of group discussion. This chapter enlists the best among the food types, like which type of fish is the best, which type of fruit is the best etc. The chapter is called Yajja Purusheeya Adhyaya – Origin of Living Being And Diseases.

It is in this chapter that Master Charaka explains Agrya Aushadhi – best and worst things for different health conditions.

Once upon a time sages assembled together before Lord Punarvasu who had the direct realization of the virtuous qualities, for a discussion on the determination of the origin of man – an aggregate of soul, senses, mind and objects and his diseases. [3-4]


Kashiraja’s doubt

Vamaka, the king of Kashi, who was well versed in the science of medicine approached the assembly of sages with respect and asked the following question:

Do the diseases also originate from the same source as that of man or not?

At this, Lord Punarvasu directed the sages as follows:
“You are all enlightened, with your doubts fully cleared by virtue of your unlimited knowledge and skill. You are capable of clarifying unlimited knowledge and skill. You are capable of clarifying the point raised by the King of Kashi.[5-7}

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Atma is the cause

Parikshi Maudgalya – Atma is the cause:
Parikshi, a descendant of Mudgala, after due examination, said,
“The living being originates from the soul and so also the disease. It is the soul which is the root cause of living beings and their diseases. The soul alone collects and enjoys the actions (Karma) and their results (Karma Phala) respectively.

Happiness (that is freedom from diseases) and miseries (that is affliction with diseases ) can never occur without the soul.[8-9]

Satva is the cause

Sharaloma – Satva (mind) is the cause:
Sharaloma, expressed that the soul which is by nature averse to all miseries cannot by himself be responsible for bringing about diseases or other miseries.

It is the mind (Satva) covered with Rajas and Tamas which causes the body (of the living being) as well as its diseases.

Rasa Dhatu is the cause

Vayorvida – Rasa Dhatu (nutritious fluid) is the cause:
Varyovia did not agree with Sharaloma and said, “The mind alone cannot be the cause. Neither the physical diseases nor mind itself can exist without the body.

Living beings and their various diseases are in fact caused by the Rasa (product of nutrition after digestion). As water abounds in Rasa Dhatu, it is the ultimate cause of living beings as well as their diseases.[10-13]

Six Dhatu School

Hiranyaksha – Six Dhatu School (Atma + five basic principles):
Hiranyaksha was not in favour of accepting Rasa (product of nutrition after digestion) as the origin of soul. He was of the view that neither Atma (soul) nor the mind is perceptible, none of them can be said to originate from Rasa Dhatu. Similarly all diseases cannot originate from Rasa. There are diseases which are caused by unfavorable sounds etc.

So Hiranyaksha concluded that living beings as well as their diseases originate from six Dhatus. According to the Samkhya system of philosophy, the six Dhatus consist of Atman (Soul) and five fundamental principles(Prithvi – Solid, Ap – water, Tejas – fire, Vayu – air and Akasha – ether).[14-15]

Father – Mother School

Kaushika – Father – Mother School :
Kaushika did not agree with the above view of Hiranyaksha. How the living beings could be born simply out of six Dhatus without reference to their parents. A human being is born from another human being, a cow out of a cow, a horse out of a horse. It is a well known fact that diseases like Prameha (urinary disorders), Kushta (Skin diseases) and piles are hereditary in nature. Thus, according to Kaushika, the parents represent the root cause of living beings as well as diseases.[16-17]

Past actions

Bhadrakapya – Karma:
Disagreeing with the above view, Bhadrakapya said, “It is not that the progeny of blind parents is invariably blind. Moreover, if Kaushika’s view regarding parental origination of living beings and diseases is accepted, how could the parents themselves be born at the primordial stage? So the living beings as well as their diseases originate from Karma (the past action). For, neither living beings nor diseases can be born without Karma. [18-19]


Bharadwaja – Swabhava (Nature):
Bharadvaja rejected the arguments put forth by Bhadrakapya and said “The Karma always presupposes the existence of an agent. There is no evidence to show that an  action, even if not performed, can result in the form of creation of a living being”.

So Bharadvaja concluded, Svadhva (nature) is the root cause of the existence of living beings as well as diseases. For example: It is by nature that Prithvi, Ap, Tajas and Vayu have roughness, Liquidity, heat and mobility respectively.[20-21]

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Kankayana – Prajapati:
Disagreeing with Bharadvaja, Kankayana said that if Svabhava (nature) is taken to be the root cause of living beings it would mean that individual efforts (e.g. performance of rituals, cultivation, study etc.) are altogether useless. Accomplishment or otherwise of an object, would then depend not on individual action but on Svabhava (nature) itself. So he concluded that Prajapati, the son of Brahma with his infinite creative powers will represent the origin of the happiness and misery of the world-sentient as well as insentient.

Time (Kala)

Bhikshu Atreya – Kala (time)
Refuting the above view, said that interested in the well being of the entire creation as he is, Prajapati cannot afford to bring about miseries for his subjects like any other cruel human being. So Bhiksu Atreya concluded that living beings as well as their diseases are caused by Kala (time) the whole universe is conditioned by Kala and Kala is the causative factor for all.[22-25]

Punarvasu Atreya’s conclusion

During the course of this controversial discussion of sages, Lord Punarvasu observed, “Please do not enter into such a controversy. It is difficult to arrive at the truth by taking sides with its partial aspects. Those who consider the varying controversial aspects of the truth as established facts, go on moving around without reaching the goal like a person sitting on the oil press (who goes around moving all along without a pause). So you should get rid of the riddle of Arguments and try to pursue the real truth. One cannot attain real knowledge without shunning one’s basics for the partial aspects of the truth.

The very same factors, which, in the state of their wholesome combination, are responsible for the creation of living beings, in the state of their unwholesome combination are responsible for the various diseases. [26-29]

Enhancing causes

After having listened to Lord Punarvasu, Vamaka, the King of Kashi enquired, “Oh! Lord, what are these factors whose wholesome and unwholesome combinations are responsible for the growth of living beings and their diseases?”

Lord Atreya said, “Wholesome food is one of the causes for the growth of living beings and unwholesome food for the growth of diseases.”

Agnivesha then asked, “How shall we correctly distinguish between wholesome and unwholesome food articles bring about opposite effects, depending upon the variations in dose, time, method of preparation, habitat, constitution of the body, disease and the age of the individual?”[30-32]

Wholesome and Unwholesome Diets

Sama and Vishama diets – Wholesome and unwholesome diet:
Lord Punarvasu replied, “The food articles which maintain the equilibrium of Dhatus (Tridosha in balance, body tissues and waste products) and help in eliminating the disturbance of their equilibrium are to be regarded as wholesome, otherwise they are unwholesome”.

Agnivesha asked again, “This type of general definition will not be comprehensible for all kinds of physicians”.[33-34]

Multiplicity of Dietetic Factors

Lord Punarvasu replied, “Those physicians who are versed with the food articles, (dravya) their properties, action, dosage etc. in all respects will find no difficulty in ascertaining the wholesomeness or otherwise of a given food article.

With a view to guarding the physicians of all categories, we shall explain the various specifications of food articles. It is however not possible to enumerate the dosage etc. of these food articles as their variations are too many to be specified. As to the dietetic variations, they will be explained in general and specific terms.[35]

Origin of food

Origin of Ahara – Food :
Defined in general terms, food is the one which can be consumed by living beings. By this virtue, food is only of one type.
If we consider source, there are two types of food –
Sthavara – vegetable products, the source which stays at only one place without movement
Jangama – animal products, the source which moves.

From the point of view of specific action, food articles can again be classified into two viz,
Hita – with ultimate wholesome effect
Ahita – food that causes unwholesome effect

Because of the mode of consumption, food is of four types.
Paana – drinks,
Ashana – eatables,
Bhakshya – chewables
Lehya – lickables (linctus).

Based on taste, food is of six types.
Sweet, Salt, Sour, Pungent, Bitter and Astringent.

Types of foods

Based on qualities, food is of twenty types:
Guru (heaviness) X Laghu (lightness)
Sheeta (cold) X Ushna (hot)
Snigdha (unctuousness, oiliness) X Rooksha (dryness)
Manda (dullness) X Teekshna (sharpness)
Sthira (stability) X Sara (mobility)
Mridu (softness) X Kathina (hardness)
Vishada (non-sliminess, clarity) X Picchila (sliminess, Stickiness)
Shlakshna (smoothness) X Khara (roughness)
Sookshma (minute, subtleness) X Sthoola (grossness, bulk)
Sandra (solidity) X Drava (liquidity).

Depending upon the combination of different food articles, the food types are innumerable. [36]. Let us learn in detail about examples of wholesome and unwholesome articles [37]

Best foods

Red type of rice is the best among Paddy having bristles
Among pulses, Green gram is the best
Among waters, Rain water collected before fall on the ground is the best
Among salts, Rock salt is the best
Among pot herbs, Jivanti (Leptadenia reticulate W.and A) is the best
Among the meat of big animals, Ena (antelope)
Among meat of Birds Lava (common quail)
Among Meat of animals living in holes, Godha (inguana)
Among fish, Rohita (type of fish)
Among Ghee, Cow ghee
Among Milk, Cow milk
Among Vegetable fats, Sesame oil
Fats of marshy animals, Lard (pig fat)
Fish fat – Fat of Chuluki (Gangetic dolphin)
Fats of aquatic birds – Fat of Pakahamsa (white swan)
Fats of Vishkira (gallinaceous types of birds, with beak) – Fat of hen
Fats of tree branch eating animals – Fat of goat
Rhizomes – Ginger
– Fruits – Grapes
– Preparation of sugar cane – Sarkara (Sugar candy) [38]

Most unwholesome articles

– Among Shuka Dhanya (Paddy having bristles), Yavaka (a variety of Barley) is most unwholesome
Among pulses (Shami Dhanya) black gram is most unwholesome
Among waters, river water in rainy season is most unwholesome
Among salts, Ushara (salt collected/prepared from saline soil)
– Among pot herbs, Mustard is the most unwholesome
– Among meet, Beef
– Among meat of birds, Kana Kapota (Young dove)
– Among Bileshaya (meat of animals living in the holes) – Frog is most unwholesome
Among fish, Chilichima
– Among ghee, Ghee of sheep milk
– Among milk, Sheep milk
– Vegetable fat Oil from Kusumbha (Carthamus tinctorius Linn)
– Fats of marshy animals – Fat of Buffalo
– Fats of aquatic animals – Fat of Kakamadgu (waterfowl)
– Fats of aquatic animals – Fat of Kumbhira (Crocodile)
– Fats of gallinaceous types of birds – Fat of Chataka (sparrow)
– Fats of tree branch eating animals – Fat of elephant
Fruits Nikucha (Atrocarpus nikucha Roxb)
Rhizomes and roots Aluka (potato?)
Preparations of sugar cane Phanita (treacle)

Most important drugs, actions, factors

Among those which sustain life, food (Anna) is the best.
Water is best to generate soothing effect
Wine is best to Dispel fatigue
Milk is best among enlivening, invigorating substances
Meat is best among nourishing food
Meat soup (Mamsarasa) is best among refreshing, nourishing food
Salt is best among substances that enhance taste.
– Sour substances are best among cardiac tonics
– Among foods to improve strength and immunity, Kukkuta chicken is best.
– Among aphrodisiac substances, Nakra Retas – Semen of crocodile is the best.
– Among substances to balance Kapha and Pitta, Honey is the best.
– Among substances to balance Vata and Pitta, cow ghee is the best.
– Among substances to balance Vata and Kapha, Taila (sesame oil) is the best.
– Among Kapha balancing procedures, Vamana (emesis) therapy is the best.
– Among Pitta balancing procedures, Virechana is the best
– Among Vata balancing procedures, Basti – Enema (both Anuvasana and Asthapana) is the best
– Among procedures to bring about softness and tenderness, Swedana – sweating therapy is the best.
Exercise (Vyayama) is the best to bring about body firmness.
– Among substances causing impotence, kshara is the best
– Among substances hurting the taste of food, Tinduka (Diospros peregrine Gurke) is the best
– Among those hurting throat and quality of sound, Unripe Kapittha (Feronia Limonia Swingle) is the best
– Among those damaging heart, Sheep ghee is the best
– Among those substances that relieve emaciation, improve breast milk, blood production, absorbent (useful in IBS) and bleeding disorders, goat milk is the best. (Related – goat milk benefits)
Sheep milk is best to Vitiate Kapha and Pitta Dosha
Buffalo milk is best to induce sleep (related: Buffalo meat and milk benefits)
– In obstructing the body channels and circulation, half formed curds (Mandaka Dadhi) is best
– Food prepared of Gavedhuka (Triticum aestivum Linn) to cause weight loss
– Food prepared with Uddalaka (a variety of black gram) is best to cause drying
Sugarcane is best in producing diuretic effects. Related – sugarcane juice benefits
Barley is best to increase bulk of faeces
Jambu -(Jamun – Syzygium cumini) is best in aggravating Vata
Shashkuli type of pastry (Chakkuli in Kannada language) is best in aggravating Pitta and Kapha
Kulattha (horse gram) is best in causing Amlapitta (acid dyspepsia)
Black gram is best in aggravating Kapha and Pitta
Fruit of Madana (Randia dumetorum Lam) is best in Vamana (emesis), Asthapana and anuvasana types of enema
Trivrit (operculina turpethum R.B) Causing easy purgation
Aragvadha (Cassia fistula Linn) is best in causing mild purgation
Milk of Snuhi (Euphorbia neriifolia Linn) is best in causing strong purgation
Apamarga (Achyranthes aspera Linn) is best in eliminating Doshas from the head
Vidanga (Embelia ribes Burm.) is best in Killing parasites.
Shireesha (albizzia Lebbeck Benth) is the best anti-venomous herb.
Khadira (Acacia catechu Wild) is best in curing skin diseases (Related: Best way to use Khadira for daily skin detox)
Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata) is best in alleviating vata
Amalaka (Amla – Emblica officinalis) is best to cause Rasayana (rejuvenation)
Haritaki (terminalia chebula Linn) is best wholesome fruit
Castor root (Eranda moola) is best in alleviating Vata and aphrodisiac
Pippalimoola (long pepper root) is best in promoting digestion, carmination and relieving bloating and constipation
Root of Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica Linn) is best in Promoting digestion, carmination and curing piles and colic pain
Pushkaramoola (Inula racemosa Hook.f) is best in curing hiccup, asthma, Cough and pain in the chest
Musta (cyperus rotunds Linn) is best in causing astringent effect – Udeechya – Pavonia odorata is best in causing digestion, carmination, antiemetic and antidiarrheal effect.
Katvanga is best to cause absorption, to improve digestion and carmination.
Ananta (Hemidesmus indicus) is best to cause absorption and in bleeding disorders.
Giloy is best to cause astringent effect, promoting digestion, alleviating Vata, Kapha, constipation and Raktapitta (bleeding disorders)
Bael is best to cause an astringent effect, promoting digestion and alleviating Vata and Kapha.
Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum) is best in causing astringent effects, promoting digestion, carmination and alleviation of all the Doshas.
Utpala (Nymphaea alba), Kumuda (a variety of lotus) and Padma (lotus) is best in ausin g astringent effect, alleviating bleeding disorders.
Duralabha (Fagonia cretica) is best in alleviating Kapha and Pitta.
Gandha Priyangu (Callicarpa macrophylla) is best in alleviating acute heavy bleeding.
Bark of Kutaja (Holarrhena antidysenterica) is best in balancing Kapha and Pitta, causing astringent effect over blood and to cause drying absorbing effect
Fruit of Gambhari (Gmelina arborea) is best in causing hemostasis, curing bleeding disorders
Prishniparni – Uraria picta is best in causing astringent and aphrodisiac, digestive effect and alleviating Vata
Vidarigandha (Pueraria tuberosa/ Ipomoea digitata) is best in aphrodisiacs and to cause Tridosha balance.
Bala (Sida cordifolia) is best in causing absorbent effect, improving strength and balancing Vata Dosha.
Gokshura (Tribulus) is best in relieving dysuria
Asa foetida is best in causing excision, promoting digestion, downward movement of vata, and alleviating Vata and Kapha dosha
Amlavetasa (Garcinia pedunculata) is best in causing purgation, promoting digestion, downward movement of wind (Anuloma) and balancing Vata and Kapha.
Ash of Barley (Yavakshara / Yavashuka)is best in causing laxative effect, carmination and curing piles
– Regular intake of buttermilk is best in curing Grahani (IBS), Shotha (edema), piles and ghee indigestion
– Habitual use of meat soup of carnivorous animals is best in curing Grahani (IBS), emaciation and piles
– Habitual use of milk and ghee is best in causing anti ageing effect (rasayana)
– Habitual use of a mix of equal quantities of ghee and Saktu (roasted corn flour) is best aphrodisiac and Vata balancing.
Sesame oil – oil pulling is best to strengthen teeth and to relieve anorexia
Sandalwood (Chandana) is best in relieving bad odour, burning sensation and best to apply as paste.
– Application of Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata) and Agaru (Aquilaria agallocha) is best in removing coldness, on external application.
Lamajjaka (Cymbopogon jwarancusa) is best in curing burning sensation, skin diseases and sweating, on external application.
Kushta (Saussurea lappa) is best in causing Vata balance upon usage as massage and poultice.
Madhuka (Licorice) is best in improving eye health, aphrodisiac effect, improving hair quality, throat/voice quality, skin complexion, imparting colour and wound healing
Air is best to restore Prana and consciousness
Fire is best in curing indigestion, stiffness, cold, colic pain and shivering
Water is best in causing absorbent/ astringent effect
Water from a pot prepared from heated mud, is best in alleviating acute attacks of thirst and vomiting

– Eating in excess quantities is best in causing excess Ama (Indigestion and impaired metabolism)
– Intake of food as per digestion strength, is best to improve digestion power.
wholesome diet and regime is best to adopt habits
– taking food in right time is best to promote health
– Trupti (Satiation) is the best quality of food
– suppression of urges is the best cause of disease
– alcohol (Madya) is best in causing soothing mind, exhilaration
– alcohol addiction is best to cause loss of intelligence, memory and patience
– heavy food intake is best to cause indigestion
– having one meal per day is best to cause digestion and absorption of food
– excessive indulgence in women is best to cause emaciation
– continuous suppression of ejaculation causes impotence
– A Slaughter place is the best place to cause aversion for food. In a slaughter house when one views the killing procedure of the animal, it becomes the cause for aversion towards the food prepared with the meat of it.
– Fasting is best to cause reduction of longevity
– Intake of food in reduced quantity is best to cause weight loss
– Intake of food before digestion of previous meal is best in causing vitiation of stomach and intestine
– Intake of food in irregular timings causes irregularity in digestive power
– Intake of incompatible foods – is best in causing worst of diseases like skin disorders
– Tranquillity, soothing, calming behavior is the best healthy regime
– Exertion beyond one’s capacity is best Unhealthy regime
– Mithya Yoga – Improper utilization of objects and sense organs – like looking at sharp objects, hearing to loud sound etc) is best in causing disease.
– Sex with a menstruating woman is a inauspicious activity,
– Practising celibacy is best to cause longevity
– Adultery is best to reduce longevity
– Determination is the best aphrodisiac
– having difference of opinion / different minds is the best un-aphrodisiac
strenuous efforts beyond one’s capacity is best to lose life
– Grief/ depression is best to worsen disease
– Bath is best in removing fatigue
– Cheerfulness is best to cause Delight
– Worry is best to cause emaciation, to lose weight
– Detachment is best to cause nourishment
– Having nutritious food is best to induce sleep
– Excessive sleep is best in causing drowsiness
– Having food with all the tastes is best to promote strength and immunity
– Having food with only one taste is best to cause debility
– Dead foetus is best to be removed immediately
– Indigestion is best to be prevented
– Children are best to be administered with mild medicines
– Aged patients are best to be administered with palliating medicines
– Pregnant women are best to avoid strong medicines, sex and exercise
– Having common minds is best way to achieve conception
– Sannipata – involvement of all Doshas is worst condition to treat
– Ama (altered digestion and metabolism) is best to be considered and treated as Toxicity
– Fever is best among disease
– Skin diseases are the longest duration disorders
– Rajayakshma (tuberculosis / AIDS) is the best disease combination with many diseases
– Urinary disorders are the best relapsing disorders
– Leech is the best accessory surgical devices
– Enema is the best among elimination therapies
– The Himalaya is the best habitat of medicinal plants
– Soma is the best medicine
– Desert is best among healthy places
– Marshy Land is Unhealthiest place
– Compliance with the instructions of the physician is the best quality of patient
– Physician is the best part of treatment
– An atheist is best to be rejected treatment
– Greed is the most troublesome practice
– Disobedience to the instructions of the physician is the worst prognostic sign
– Self confidence is the best sign of recovery
– An assemblage of physician is best in eradicating doubts (with regard to the line of treatment etc)
– Sense of propriety is the best quality of physician
– Knowledge is the best medicine
– Scriptures based logic is best to gain knowledge
– Presence of mind is best to understand the situation
– Inaction is the best way to waste time
– Practical experience is best to eradicate doubts
– Incapability is best to cause fear
– Clinical seminars, reasoning based discussion is best to improve wisdom and intelligence
– Guru is best tool to understand science
– Knowledge of Ayurveda (science of life) is the best among nectors
– Words of noble person is best to be complied with
– Words of wicked is best to cause harmful result
– Absolute detachment is the best way to achieve happiness [40]

Cakrapani clarifies that, now the causative factors of a given function will henceforth be explained. In other words , the food and activities cause certain changes in the function of the body and mind. For example – anna [food] helps in maintenance of the bodily functions, the udaka [water] causes refreshment. So is the case with herbs. For example – trivrit causes mild purgation [sukhavirecan] etc.,. All the varieties of food and the herbs have a collective form of multiple action, which is for sure. Still, those entities do have a pradhana karma [principal action] which could be substantially identified with them.

Thus one hundred and fifty two varieties of best drugs and regimen have been explained.
They are sufficient for giving guidance to a physician in connection with the treatment of various diseases. [41]

The best among drugs and regimens having similar actions, the best effects and qualities, have been listed. The drugs and regimen useful for alleviating diseases caused by Vata, Pitta and Kapha and the most useful ones among them have indicated here. A good physician should know all this before starting the treatment of the various diseases. It is only if he does so, he can enjoy happiness in this world and the world the world beyond.[42-44]

Definition of Pathya

Pathya – wholesome food is the one, which is –
Patho Anapetha (Patha means path / digestive tract) – which is good for one’s digestive system
Manasaha priyam – which is liked by the person.

Those which adversely affect the digestive tract and mind are considered to be Apathya – unwholesome. But this cannot be accepted as a general rule in absolute terms. The drugs and regimen in fact change their qualities, depending on the

Matra – dosage,
Kala – season,
Kriya – method of preparation,
Bhumi – habitat
combination with other useful and harmful drugs. [45-47]

Asava Yoni

Having listened to the above instructions of Lord Atreya, Agnivesha said. “You have answered our questions in entirety and we have followed it. Now we shall like to hear an elaborate and correct description of the ingredients that are used in alcoholic preparations.”

Lord Atreya replied, In belief, Asava Yoni – sources of ingredients for alcoholic preparations are eight Viz,
Dhanya – grains (6 preparations)
Phala – fruits, (26 herbs)
Moola – roots, (11 herbs)
Saara – heartwoods, (20)
Pushpa – flowers, (10)
Kanda – branches (4)
Patra – leaves (2)
Twacha – barks; (4)
The ninth one is sugar.

Alcoholic Preparation Types

Alcoholic preparations are innumerable depending upon the ingredients, their combinations and the method of preparation; however the most wholesome ones out of them are eighty four in number as follows:-
1 Six alcoholic preparations made of grains–– Sura, Sauvira, Tusodaka, Maireya, Medaka and Dhanyamla

2. Twenty six alcoholic preparations made of fruits-
1. Draksa (Vitis vinifera Linn)
2.Kharjura (Phoenix sylvestris Roxb)
3.Kashmarya (Gmelina arborea Linn)
4. Dhanvana (Grewina Tiliaefolia Vahl)
5. Rajadana (Mimusops hexandra Roxb)
6. Ketaka (Pandanus tectorius Soland)
7. Parushaka (Grewia Asiatica Linn)
8. Abhaya (Terminalia Chebula Linn)
9. Amalaka (Emblica officinalis Gaertn )
10. Mrigelindika (Terminalia belerica Roxb)
11. Jambu (Syzygium Cumini Skills)
12. Kapittha (Feronia limonia Swingle)
13. Kuvala (Zizyphus Jujuba Gaertn)
14. Badara (Zizyphus Jujuba Lam)
15.Karkandhu (Zizyphus nummularia W.A)
16. Plu (Salvadora persica Linn)
17. Priyala (Buchanania Lanzen Spreng)
18. Panasa (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam)
19. Nyagrodha (Ficus benghalensis Linn)
20. Asvatha (Ficus religiosa Linn)
21.Plaksa (Ficus lacor Buch Ham)
22. Kapitana (Albizia Labbeck Benth)
23. Udumara (Ficus racemosa Linn)
24. Ajamoda (Trachyspermum Roxburghianum)
25. Srngataka (Trapa Bispinosa Roxb)
26. Sankhini (Canscora decussata Roem et. Sch)

3. Eleven  Alcoholic preparation made of roots
1. Salaparni (Desmodium Gangeticum DC)
2. Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera Lam)
3. Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus Willd)
4. Syama (Operculina turpethum R.B)
5. Trivrt (A variety of Syama)
6. Danti (Baliospermum montanum Muell- Arg)
7. Dravanti (Jatropha glandulifera Roxb)
8. Bilva(Aegle marmelos Corr)
9. Eranda ( Ricinus communis Linn)
10. Citraka (Plumbago Zeylanica Lin)

4. Twenty alcoholic preparation made of heart- wood
1. Sala (shorea robusta Gaertn.f)
2. priyaka (Buchanania Lanzan spreng)
3. Asvakarna (Dipterocarpus alatus Roxb)
4. Candana (santalum album Linn)
5. Tinisa (Ougeinia Dalbergioides Benth)
6. Khadira (Acacia Catechu Willd)
7. Kasara (a variety of Khadira)
8. Saptarna (Alstonia scholaris R.Br)
9. Arjuna ( terminalia arjuna W and a)
10.Asana (Terminalia tomentosa W and A)
11. Arimeda (a variety of Khadira)
12. Tinduka (Diospyrus Peregrina Gurke)
13. Kinihi (white variety of Sirisa)
14.Sami (Prosopis spicigera Linn)
15. Badari (Zizyphus Jujuba Lam)
16. Simsapa (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb)
17. Sirisa (Albizzia lebbeck Benth)
19.Dhanvana (Grewia tiliaefolia Vahl)
20.Madhuka (Madhuka indica J.F Gmel)

5. Ten alcoholic preparation made of flowers.
1. Padma (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn)
2. Utpala (Nymphaea alba Linn)
3. Nalina (a variety of Padma)
4. Kumuda (a variety of Utpala)
5. Saugandhika
6. Pundarika (Nymphaea lotus Linn)
7. Satapatra (a variety of Kamala)
8. Madhuka (Madhuca indica J.F) Gmel)
9. Priyangu (Calliarpa Macrophylla Vahl)
10. Dhataki (Woodfordia fruticosa Kurz)

6. Four alcoholic preparations made of branches
1. Iksu (saccharum officinarum Linn)
2. Kandeksu (Saccharum Spontaneum Linn)
3. Iksuvalika (Asteracantha longifolia Ness)
4. Pundraka (a type of sugar cane)

7. Two alcoholic preparations made of leaves
1. Patola (Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn)
2. Tadaka (Borassus Flabellifer Linn)

8. Four alcoholic preparation made of barks
1. Tilvaka (Symplocos racemosa Roxb)
2. Lodhra (a variety of tilaka)
3. Elavaluka (Prunus cerasus L)
4. Kramuka (Areca catechu Linn)

There is only one variety of alcoholic preparation made of sugar.

When prepared individually from the above mentioned ingredients, they make eighty four varieties of alcoholic preparations. They are known as alcoholic preparation because of the process of fermentation involved. Depending upon the permutation and combination of these ingredients and preparation method, they have in fact innumerable varieties. Actions of these alcoholic preparations are based on the properties of the ingredients and the method of preparation. Keeping in view the effects desired to be produced by a particular alcoholic preparation, combination of ingredients, method, time(duration of fermentation), and place (inside a heap of ashes or grains etc.) of the preparation, quantity etc. are prescribed.{48-49}

The eighty four types of excellent alcoholic preparations have been enumerated. They all strengthen the mind, body and the power of digestion; they help in overcoming sleeplessness, grief and anorexia and are exhilarating.


To sum up:-
In this chapter – Yajja Purusheeya Adhyaya, various theories relating to the origin of living beings and diseases, the most wholesome and unwholesome diets and regimen and the most important alcoholic preparations have been described.{51}

Thus ends the Twenty Fifth Chapter of the Sutra section of Agnivesa’s work as redacted by Charaka.

32 comments on “Charaka Sutrasthana 25th Chapter – Yajja Purusheeya Adhyaya

  • Dr.M.S.Pratheebarani M.D.,

    25/07/2014 - 7:16 am

    very useful in learning fundamentals of foods to be taken

    Reply to comment
  • asha

    25/07/2014 - 10:32 am


    Reply to comment
  • austereseeker

    25/07/2014 - 11:54 am

    Very interesting. I have to read it a few times for this to sink in.

    Reply to comment
  • Sudhakar

    25/07/2014 - 3:34 pm

    Hello doctor, Greetings! This is confusing. Last week you had written an article on Buffalo’s meat being good etc., and in todays article, unwholesome articles, you state opposite and that is – “fat of Buffalo” is not good. Now this seems totally contradictory, so which is the TRUTH???
    Lastly there is a saying that, to lengthen thy life, lessen thy food, whereas here it says fasting is best to cause reduction of Longevity. So what exactly is CORRECT???
    Thanks and regards.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      25/07/2014 - 4:37 pm

      1. If someone is eating buffalo meat, then it has its own benefits. But not buffalo fat.
      2. अनशनमायुषो ह्रासकराणां – Fasting is best to cause reduction of longevity – it means fasting for a very long periods of time, for days together, causes reduction of longevity.
      It does not mean that short term fasting is harmful. Please also see –
      एकाशनभोजनं सुखपरिणामकराणां – having one meal per day is best to cause digestion and absorption of food
      Hope it is clear?

      Reply to comment
      • Sudhakar

        26/07/2014 - 10:38 am

        Thank you doctor for enlightening me with the above answer. I wish you would answer my query re ritu triphala in triphala section of your blog. The answer is pending for the past four months. Tks in advance.

        Reply to comment
        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

          26/07/2014 - 11:30 am

          Hi, I will cover all the topics requested. I am following a pattern of work with an order, so it will take some time.

          Reply to comment
  • del

    25/07/2014 - 3:37 pm

    अनशनमायुषो ह्रासकराणां – Fasting is best to cause reduction of longevity

    is it correct that by fasting we reduce our life?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      25/07/2014 - 4:36 pm

      Hi, it means fasting for a very long periods of time, for days together, causes reduction of longevity.
      It does not mean that short term fasting is harmful. Please also see –
      एकाशनभोजनं सुखपरिणामकराणां – having one meal per day is best to cause digestion and absorption of food

      Reply to comment

    25/07/2014 - 3:51 pm

    Excellent very informative. Thanks

    Reply to comment
  • Jayant Pandharinath Kulkarni

    25/07/2014 - 6:05 pm

    very best.nice informative.Thanks lot.

    Reply to comment
  • R Gopalan

    25/07/2014 - 9:49 pm

    The article is a treasure house of extremely useful and can be followed. It requires repeated study to get the points imprinted in one’s mind. A million thanks. Wish younger generation get to know about these.

    Reply to comment
  • Kailash

    05/08/2014 - 7:17 am

    Very informative.
    Is it ok to consume chavan prash in ulcerative colitis?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      05/08/2014 - 3:32 pm

      It depends. Some patients tolerate it well, done don’t.

      Reply to comment
  • Asheesh

    05/08/2014 - 3:56 pm

    I feel you have reffered to corrupted literarture. In principle this does not seem right that Ayurveda is proposing non vegetarian food. Many Vedic literatures got corrupted over a period of time by people with selfish motivation. I have strong doubts on the version of the literature that you are referring to.

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    08/10/2014 - 11:29 am

    Congrats for having a great tree near you.
    You can read about Khadira here –
    Its bark decoction – 10 ml, twice daily, can be had for a period of 6 – 8 weeks for skin diseases.

    Reply to comment
  • Sudhakar Bhat

    24/10/2014 - 8:22 pm

    Can you give an example of a meal/thali containing all the six tastes. If you have already mentioned elsewhere then please provide the link. Thanks in advance.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      28/10/2014 - 6:12 pm

      Here are a few examples, just to give some food for thought.
      Rice, wheat – sweet in taste.
      Lemon pickle – sour and pungent in taste.
      Little bit of salt.
      Use of any spice in small quantities for pungent taste – like black pepper, ginger etc.
      Regular Curry leaves, turmeric usage – bitter taste.
      Betel nut, buttermilk – Astringent taste.

      Reply to comment
  • Hameed

    27/09/2015 - 10:53 pm

    Sir now a days it is a general practice that if it is against pre conceived notion then there will be allegations that the referred book is corrupted or that wrongly translated or you are anti or you have been setup to insult our religious beliefs. We should be thankful to you that you have enlightened us now it our duty to further research and prove. 5000 years ago the entire world was wearing leaves or they were naked in jungles but our great rooshies and munies had invented silk and were clothing. Now we are raising finger against them.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      02/11/2015 - 10:54 am

      Thank you very much! 🙂

      Reply to comment
  • Ankit Marik

    19/07/2017 - 11:20 pm

    Thank you very much for such a nice post.You have mentioned meat and meat soup as the most nourishing food.I am a vegetarian.Which is the most nourishing food for vegetarians?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      20/07/2017 - 10:20 am

      Dal, peas, broccoli, pista, almond, raisins, soya etc.

      Reply to comment
  • Satyan Namdhari

    16/09/2017 - 8:55 pm

    Doubting what is apparent or perceivable is beginning of the process of learning by opening up to possibilities that are not visible or perceivable. Learning is when one dives below the surface to deepen one’s understanding and knowledge. Doubting without learning is believing. Belief is half knowledge and half hope.
    Simply doubting without diving below the surface limits your own learning and knowledge and potentially denies availability of knowledge from you to others. Don’t remain doubtful forever, start diving to find more. Please find what you believe to be correct, clean, and uncorrupted Vedic literature and provide references.

    Reply to comment
  • nilambara

    11/03/2018 - 1:02 pm

    I believe aluka may refer to discorea (yam). Do you know why it might be listed amongst the most unwholeseome of tubers? Perhaps it is too sweet or heavy?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      22/03/2018 - 1:33 pm

      Aluka means potato or esculent root of Elephant foot yam plant [Amorphophallus Campanulatus – Bot.]
      Probably due to its gas producing and bloating effect.

      Reply to comment
  • nilambara

    13/03/2018 - 1:32 am

    I think gavedukha is coix lacryma jobi.

    Reply to comment
  • nilambara

    23/03/2018 - 3:15 am

    As far as I know, potato is native to the Americas and did not reach Asia until around 500 years ago. Various sources including Khare identify aluka as dioscorea alata (purple yam). It is very sweet and I think the comment about it it being the worst is because it is heavy.

    Reply to comment
  • nilambara

    11/07/2018 - 6:52 am

    Glad to see mention of one meal a day for digestion. I haven’t seen many notice that.

    I hope you can answer two questions about 25.40.

    1. Gaveduka you translate as best for emaciation. Other translations say reducing or becoming thin. It’s said the grain has more protein than any other so perhaps it isn’t emaciation. Also unsure if a common variety at stores, coix lacryma-jobi ma-yuen is the same, but perhaps it’s close enough.

    2., Uddalaka you translate as drying. Two others say fat reducing. Sources I can find say this is a wild variety of kodrava (paspalum scrobiculatum), kodo millet. If that is true, I’m wondering if you know if the easily found kodo millet much differs, and if you have a guess as to why it is best at fat reduction.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      10/08/2018 - 12:24 pm

      1. I accept that weight loss is better word to associate with Gavedhuka, than emaciation. Have made the changes.
      2. Rookshana – is dry. Virukshana is drying or reducing oiliness, unctuousness. Lekhana is the term most commonly associated with fat reducing. Kodrava and Uddalaka terms are used as synonyms.

      Reply to comment

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