10 Abodes Of Life – Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 29

The 29th chapter of Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana is called Dasha Praana Aayataneeya Adhyaya – 10 abodes of life. It explains about 10 vital places where life is situated in the body, qualities of good and bad physicians. 

Dasha Prana Ayatana

Dasha Prana Aayatana – places where Prana (vital life energy) resides:
दशैवायतनान्याहुःप्राणायेषुप्रतिष्ठिताः |
daśaivāyatanānyāhuḥ prāṇā yeṣu pratiṣṭhitāḥ |
śaṅkhau marmatrayaṃ kaṇṭho raktaṃ śukraujasī gudam||3||
tānīndriyāṇi vijñānaṃ cetanāhetumāmayān|
jānīte yaḥ sa vai vidvān prāṇābhisara ucyate||4||

In the body, Prana – Vital life force resides in 10 places.
Shankhau – 2 Shankha places – temporal region
Marma Traya – Three Marmas – heart, urinary system and head
Kantha – Throat
Rakta – blood
Shukra – reproductive system
Ojas – immune system 
Guda – rectum.

The wise physician who is well acquainted with these ten important abodes of life and knowledge about sense organs, intelligence, soul, causes of diseases, treatment and signs and symptoms of diseases is known as the saviour of life – Praanaabhisara. [3-4]

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good and bad doctor

Types of Physicians

Two types of physicians – good and the bad:

Oh! Agnivesha, there are two types of physicians.
Pranabhisara – who saves lives and kills diseases.
Rogabhisara – who worsen diseases and kill life. [5]

Good Physician Qualities

Qualities of a good Ayurvedic physician:
Agnivesha inquired from Lord Atreya, “ How to recognize the two types of Physicians – the good and the bad.
Lord Atreya explained the qualities of a good physician.
Kuleena – Physicians who are born in Noble families,
Paryavadaata Shruta – who are well read,
Pari Drushta Karma – who have practical experience,
Daksha – disciplined, skillful
Shuchi – clean, hygienic
Jitahasta – with expert hands
Jitaatmana – who have a very good self- control over mind
Sarva Upakaranavanta – having all the equipments
Sarvendriya Upapanna – have healthy sense organs
Prakrutijna – who are acquainted with natural manifestations
Pratipattijna – who have presence of mind
The doctors with such qualities are Prana Abhisara Vaidya – saviours of life and destroyers of diseases.

Such physicians are well acquainted with the Anatomy and physiology of the entire body, manifestation and growth of the body and origin and aetiology, prodromal signs and symptoms, actual signs and symptoms as well as managements of diseases. They also can easily categorise patients as – easily curable, curable with difficulty palatable and incurable.

Such a physician will have sound knowledge of

  1. Trisutra – Three principles of Ayurveda :
    1. Hetu – aetiology
    2. Linga – symptomatology
    3. Prashamana – treatment
  2. Sound knowledge of acronyms, formulae
  3. Three sources of medicines: animal, mineral and plant
  4. 35 types of roots and fruits: 4 types of fat; 5 types of salt, 8 types of wine, eight types of milk and six plants whose latest and bark are useful.
  5. Various types of drugs used in Panchakarma therapies
  6. 28 types of gruel (Yavagu)
  7. 32 types of powders and ointments
  8. 600 types of purgatives
  9. 500  types of decoction.
  10. Knowledge of the factors responsible for the maintenance of positive health including diets, drug, regimen, residence, movement, sleep, rest, quantity, drugs, collieries, smoking, inhalation, unction, washing, non-suppression of body urges, suppression of mental urges. Physical exercise, wholesomeness for examining the sense organs.
  11. Knowledge of the four aspects  of therapeutics having sixteen factors.
  12. Determination of nature of diseases
  13. Three pursuits of life.
  14. Various actions of Vata Dosha
  15. Four types of unctuous substances prepared according to twenty four methods with drugs of various tastes permutation and combination and which are of sixty four types
  16. Various methods of preparation of drugs and therapies for oleation (Snehana), sweating (Svedana), emesis (Vamana) and purgation(Virechana)
  17. Diseases of head etc.
  18. Summary of diseases caused by permutation and combination of various Doshas.
  19. Ailments like Oja khsaya, carbuncle and abscess
  20. Three types of oedema and other diseases having swelling in one or the other part of the body
  21. Forty eight types of diseases
  22. One hundred forty types of diseases of Nanatmaja variety (diseases caused specifically by one Dosha)
  23. Aetiology , signs, symptoms and management  of despicable individuals who are either very crapulent or emaciated
  24. Useful and harmful nature of sleep, sleeplessness and excessive sleep along with their aetiology and management
  25. Six therapeutic measures like Langhana, Brumhana etc.,
  26. Signs, symptoms and treatment of diseases due to over nourishment
  27. Under-nourishment diseases caused by vitiation of blood. Viz. intoxication, fainting and syncope along with their aetiology, signs and symptoms and treatment by medicines and regimen
  28. Rules of dietetics, food preparations which are wholesome and unwholesome by nature
  29. The diets and regimen which are foremost in nature amongst their class
  30. Forty types of alcoholic preparation
  31. Determination of Dravya ( matter) Guna (Quality), Karma(action) primary and secondary tastes.
  32. Ingredients of food and drinks classified into twelve groups along with their properties
  33. Properties of post prandial drink
  34. Nine factors are required to be examined for determining the properties of food.
  35. Digestive and metabolic processes
  36. Various types of incompatible food ingredients
  37. Good and ill effects of wholesome and unwholesome food
  38. Diseases caused by the vitiation of various tissue elements along with their treatment in brief
  39. Ten resorts of life and other things which will be explained in the 30th chapter.

They understand the eight sections of Ayurveda (science of life) in their entirety along with the scope of the science. They have the power of grasping, retention and understanding of the text. They apply their knowledge so acquired for the treatment of diseases with a view to bringing the Dhatus to their normal state after determining the stage of the diseases, their own ability and the properties of the drugs employed. They are gifted with memory, intelligence, theoretical and practical knowledge. They have cordial feelings towards other creatures. Doctors with such qualities give life to patients and cure their diseases. [6-7]

A bad physician

Opposite to this, are the  pseudo- physicians who, instead of taking away the diseases, take away life itself. Like throans and move around the world due to the lack of vigilance on the part of the rulers.[8]

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Identification of a bad physician :

  • Too much of self- praise.
  • They move about from one street to another in search of livelihood in the garb of physicians.
  • Once they hear about somebody’s sickness, they would surround him and start listing their own qualities loudly so that the patient could listen to them.
  • In case a physician is already attending to him they try to find fault again and again with the attending physician.
  • They win over the friends of the patients by pleasing them, back-biting and flattering.
  • They propagate that they are interested in a nominal remuneration only.
  • After they succeed in winning over the patient, they look at him again and again skillfully trying to cover their ignorance.
  • If they are unable to alleviate the disease, they blame that the patient lacked proper equipment, attendance and self control.
  • As soon as the patient dies, they fly away to some other place in some other garb.
  • In the congregation of ordinary men they proclaim their ability in self- contradicting tones.
  • Like an impatient person they speak ill of the patience of courageous individuals.
  • In the event of their coming across a seminar of the wise, they immediately leave the place from the very distance as the travellers keep themselves away from the frightful forests.
  • In case they happen to have knowledge of some therapeutic formula, they will never hesitate in quoting them without caring for the relevance to the topic.
  • They do not relish any questions from others nor do they like to put any queries to others.
  • They get perturbed by the question as if attacked by death. Nobody would know anything about their preceptor, disciple, classmate or even their opponents [9]

Pseudo- physicians in the guise of doctors try to catch the patients as the bird-catchers catch their prey in the net. They are far away from the textual and practical experience, knowledge about the time of administering the therapy and its dosage. They are like the messengers of death on the earth, hence they should be boycotted.

A wise patient should avoid such egoistic dummy doctors, the worst among idiots who have taken to this profession only to earn livelihood. They are as dangerous as snakes satiated with the wind.
On the other hand, the real physicians well-versed in the science of medical knowledge and surgical operations and self-control deserve respect and honor. [10-13]

Thus ends  29th chapter – Dasha Prana Ayataneeya Adhyaya, of Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana of Agnivesha’s work as redacted by Charaka [21]

One comment on “10 Abodes Of Life – Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 29

  • Maah

    20/08/2014 - 1:28 pm

    Great.very interesting. Also love the strong language against the rouges which are prominent everywhere in Kali yuga.

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