Essence And Purpose Of Ayurveda – Charaka Sutrasthana 30

This chapter explains about the purpose of Ayurveda – the science of life, its eight branches, scope of Ayurveda, synonyms, how this science of life should be studied, importance of heart, Ojas, Different sections and chapters of Charaka Samhita etc. This is the 30th Chapter of Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana, called Dasha Mahamooliya Adhyaya – the 10 vessels and their roots in heart.

spiritual heart

Heart, its synonyms and importance

There are ten channels of great biological importance attached to the heart. The synonyms of heart are:
Mahat– big, of huge importance
Artha – means for life
Shadanga – 6 parts of the body – 2 upper and lower limbs, trunk and head,
other viscera
Vijnana – consciousness
Indriya – 5 sense organs (nose, tongue, eye, skin and ear)
Indriya Artha – objects of sense organs ( smell, taste, shape, touch, sound)
Atma – soul
Atma guna – qualities of soul – Iccha – desire, Dvesha – hatred, Sukha –happiness, Dukha – grief, Buddhi – intellect, Prayatna – effort
Cheta and Chintya – mind and objects of the mind are all located in the heart. [3-4]

Result of injury to heart

As the central wooden grid supports the thatch, the heart supports all the factors explained above. Even a small injury to the heart can result in
Murcha – fainting, loss of consciousness or
Marana – death. [5]

Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana Ebook
Buy “Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana Made Easy” Written by Dr Hebbar

Heart, the seat of Ojas

The heart is indispensable for all the normal mental and physical activities. In the heart, resides Para Ojas – the superior Ojas, which controls the mind. This is why, the physicians have designated the heart as ‘Hridaya’, ‘Mahat’ and ‘Artha’ [6-7]

Vessels (channels) attached to the heart:
Attached to the heart are the ten vessels which carry Ojas and Pulsate all over the body.[8]

Ojas and its importance

It is the Ojas which keeps all the living begins nourished and refreshed. There can be no life without Ojas. Ojas marks the beginning of the formation of embryos. It is the nourishing fluid from the embryo. It enters the heart right at the stage of the embryo’s initial formation.

Loss of Ojas amounts to the loss of life itself. It sustains life and is located in the heart.
It constitutes the essence of all the Dhatus (tissues).

The Elan Vital owes its existence to it. But all this action of Ojas manifests itself in different ways, by flowing through the 10 vessels (channels) attached to it. Hence, these 10 channels attached to the heart are also very important. [9-11]

Artery, Srotas, Sira definition

Definition of Artery (dhamani), Srotas (channels) and Sira (veins)
Dhmyanaat Dhamanyaha – because of pulsation, some body channels are called as Dhamani – arteries
Sravaraat srotamsi – because of transudation, movement of fluids inside some channels, they are called Srotas.
Saranaat sira – due to sarana – simple movement, some channels are called as Sira. [12]

Tips for preservation of Ojas

Those who want to preserve Ojas and maintain the heart and the vessels in good condition, should avoid such factors that lead to unhappiness (worries, stress). Diets and medicine which are conducive to the heart (Hrudya) should be taken.
The herbs that maintain good health of Srotas (body channels) should be taken. [13-14]

Disease- Treatment Of Charaka Samhita Made Easy

The best factors to be adopted:
According to the scholars of Ayurveda, the foremost factors to promote longevity, nourishment, delightfulness and happiness and lead to salvation are as follows:

  • Non violence is the best tool to improve life quality and expectancy.
  • Veeryam balavardhananam – potency and courage are the best tools to improve strength and immunity
  • Vidya Brumahanaanam – knowledge is the best promoter of nourishment
  • Indriyajayo nandanaanaam – control over sense organs is the best tool for rejoicing.
  • Tatva Avabhodo harshanaanaam – self realization/self awareness is the best tool for happiness
  • Brahmacharyam ayanaanaan – Celibacy is the best tool for salvation. [15]

Proper study of Ayurveda

Ayurvedic scholars should be in a position to explain clearly, the whole textbook, its different sections, chapters and specific topics in each chapter. They should be able to faithfully recite the contents of the text, interpret them and give their gist. How could this be done?

The entire text transmitted through the sages is to be recited in the appropriate order. After proper understanding, the meanings underlying the text are to be interpreted with due regard to the principles of elaboration, contraction, thesis, reasoning, exemplification, correlation and conclusion, understandable to all the three- superior, inferior and modest types of disciples. The concepts difficult to grasp from the text are to be clarified again and again so that a clear picture of the context is achieved[17-19]

Ayurveda, its sources and scope

Again the question arises – out of the four Vedas – Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda – which Veda(s) should Ayurvedic scholars follow? What is Ayu – lifespan? Why is it called Ayurveda? What is the object of Ayurveda? Is it eternal or ephemeral? What are its branches and how many are they? Who are eligible to study it and what for?[20]

Source of Ayurveda:
Of the four Vedas, Ayurvedic doctors owe their loyalty to the Atharva Veda, because this deals with the worship, auspicious observances, oblations, observance of spiritual rules, atonement, fast, incantations etc. they are prescribed for the sake of longevity. [21]

Definition of Ayu

After instructions about the Veda, various aspects of the life span are to be described.

Ayu – Life span is nothing but the continuation of consciousness, the act of keeping alive, Anubandha – which keeps the soul bonded to the body and Dhari – one that holds the body and life together.
So, Anubandha and Dhari are synonyms of Ayu. [22]

Definition of Ayurveda

The science which imparts knowledge about life, with special reference to its definition, and the description of happy and unhappy life, useful and harmful life, long and short spans of life promote and demote longevity, which explains medicine, its qualities and functions is called Ayurveda. It will be described in the entire treatise.[23]

Hitayu, Ahitayu

Happy life and unhappy life – Hitayu and Ahitayu:
In this chapter as well as in the first chapter of this section life has been defined.

Those who are not afflicted with physical and mental ailments, who are endowed with youth, enthusiasm, strength, virility, success, manliness, boldness, special knowledge of arts and sciences, senses organs, their objects and ability, riches and various luxurious articles for enjoyment, who achieve what even they want and move as they like, lead a happy life, others lead an unhappy life.

Those who are the well-wishers of all creatures, who do not aspire for the wealth of others, who are truthful, who love peace, who examine things before acting upon them, who are vigilant, who enjoy the three important desires of life viz, virtue, wealth and pleasure without the one affecting the other, who respect seniors, who are endowed with elders, who are endowed with the knowledge of arts, sciences and tranquillity, who serve the elders, who have full control over passion, anger, envy, pride and prestige, who are constantly given to various types of charity, meditation, acquisition of knowledge and solitude, who make efforts both for the existing as well as the next life and are endowed with memory and intelligence, lead a useful life, others do not.[24]

Ayu Pramana

Determination of life span – Ayu Pramana:
The limitation of the span of life is known from the sudden abnormal change in the sense organs and the reception of their objects in the mind, intellect and general movement. They help in the prediction of the death of an individual after a particular moment, time or day, after three, five, seven or ten days and after a fortnight, a month, six months or a year.

Svabhava (reversion to the original state), Uparama of Pravritti (decrease in activities), Marana (death), Anityata (not-permanent state), Nirodha (obstruction in the continuity of living process) – all these are synonymous for death.

This is about the limited span of life. In the absence of such signs and symptoms, the span of life is to be determined as unlimited from the point of view of prognosis.

In Ayurveda, the span of life is described to be determined by special signs.

Purpose of Ayurveda

The utility of this science is to help maintain the health of a healthy individual and  to cure the illness of the diseased.[25-26]

Eternity of Ayurveda

Ayurveda or the science of life is eternal because of the following:

  • Anaditvaat – Ayurveda has no beginning
  • Svabhava Samsidda lakshanatvaat – It deals with things that are inherent in Nature
  • Bhava Svabhava nityatvaat – Such natural manifestations are eternal.
  • There is no discontinuity either in the living process or in the knowledge of things. Knowledge of various factors relating to the science of life is eternal.
  • The knowledge of happiness (good health) and unhappiness (ill health) along with their aetiology, symptomatology and therapeutics has a continuity and is without any beginning. This what is described in the Ayurveda.

Substances having properties like heaviness, lightness, cold, heat, unctuousness etc. get increased when other substances having similar properties are added.

Substances having dissimilar qualities, on the other hand decrease their quantity. E.g. Habitual intake of heavy things increases the heavy factors and decreases the lightness in the body. Similar is the case with other qualities. This is the eternity of natural manifestations.

Origin of Ayurveda is not available. It is not known if ever Ayurveda was non-existent at any time after which it was propagated. Like the heat of the fire and liquidity of water, the Ayurveda or the science of life is innate and it does not involve any artificiality (effort of Mortals). This is what is described in this chapter as well as in the First chapter of this Sutrasthana. (cf. Sutra 30:23 and Sutra 1:42) [27]

The Eight branches of Ayurveda

Ayurveda has eight branches viz.
Kayachikitsa – Internal medicine
Shalakya – Science of diseases specific to supra- clavicle region, eye , ear, nose, mouth, throat etc
Shalya – Surgery
Visha, Gara Chikitsa – Toxicology
Bhuta Chikitsa – science of demonic seizures(Psychology, psychiatry)
Kaumara Bhrutya – Paediatrics
Rasayana – Science of rejuvenation, anti ageing treatment
Vajikarana – Science of aphrodisiacs.[28]

Role of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is suitable for Brahmanas (priests) for providing benefit to all creatures.
It is suitable for Kshatriyas (warriors) for protection and for Vaishyas (business people) live hood.

In general, Ayurveda can be studied by all for the attainment of virtues, wealth and pleasure. Virtues are attained by treating individuals who have spiritual knowledge, who practice and propagate righteousness and others like mother, father, brother, friends, and superiors. These are also achieved by spiritual knowledge contained in the science of life. With a view to lead a  comfortable life, one can earn wealth and protection by treating kings and other wealthy individuals.

He can also protect his subordinates and servants by this science. He draws pleasure by the respect shown to him by learned people, by his ability to protect others, by the prestige and obligation and by keeping his beloved ones like wife, free from diseases.
Thus all the queries are answered in their entirety.[29]

Mutual scholarly discussion

Eight problems on which a physician can examine another are the
Tantra – treatise
Tantra Artha – scope of treatise
Sthana – sections of treatise
Sthana artha – scope/meaning of sections
Adhyaya – chapters
Adhyaya Artha – scope of chapters
Prashna – topics
Prashnartha – scope of topics.
Being put to such questions, a physician should recite the textual data, interpret them and give the gist in their entirety.[30]

Synonymous of Ayurveda and its scope:
Shakha – having branches
Vidya -knowledge
Sutra – things explained in the form of formula,
Jnana – knowledge
Lakshana – explains the features of good and bad life
Tantra – treatises are synonymous with the Ayurveda.

The scope of this science has already been explained in its definition. Various topics discussed in this science are

  1. Anatomy
  2. Physiology
  3. Aetiology
  4. Pathology
  5. Therapeutics
  6. Achievement of good health
  7. Climatology including the stage of the disease.
  8. Physicians
  9. Therapies including wholesome locality and
  10. Procedure, Descriptions of these topics are spread over the entire treatise.[31-32]

Divisions of the treatise

The following are the eight sections of sections of the treatise:

  1. Slokasthana / Sutrasthana the section on general principles having thirty chapters.
  2. Nidanasthana or the section on diagnosis of diseases having eight chapters.
  3. Vimanasthana or the section on specific determination of drugs etc., having eight chapters
  4. Sarirasthana or the section on anatomy including embryology having eight chapters.
  5. Chikitsasthana or the section on therapeutics having thirty chapters.
  6. Indriyasthana or the section on prognostic signs having twelve chapters.
  7. Kalpasthana or the section on pharmaceutics having twelve chapters
  8. Siddhisthana or the section on the successful administration of Panchakarma (five elimination therapies) having twelve chapters. [33]

In brief:
Thus it is said:
Sutra and Chikitsa sthana have thirty chapters each,
Indriya, Kapha and Siddhi sections have twelve chapters each,
Nidana, Vimana and Sharira Sections have eight chapters each. This is about the entire treatise.[34]

The scope of each section is described in respective places (sections) in the order of their occurrence, the names of one hundred twenty chapters are given below:-[35]

Charaka Samhita Chapters

The chapter names of all the entire Charaka Samhita are enlisted.

  • The first 28 chapters are grouped into four chapters each – called Chatushka.
  • The first set four chapters are grouped as – Bheshaja chatushka – explaining about medicines
  • The second set of four chapters are grouped as – Swaasthya chatushka – explaining about health
  • The third set of four chapters are grouped as – Nirdesha chatushka – explaining about directions for good health
  • The fourth set of four chapters are grouped as – Kalpana chatushka – explaining about medicine making
  • The fifth set of four chapters are grouped as – Roga chatushka – explaining about diseases
  • The sixth set of four chapters are grouped as – Yojana chatushka – explaining about planning of treatment
  • The seventh set of four chapters are grouped as – Annapana chatushka – explaining about dietetics.
  • The last two chapters are grouped as – Sangraha dvaya deal with the resorts of life and qualities of physicians.[36-43]

Sub classification of Sutrasthana

Thus the first section of thirty chapters is very important. In fact it serves as the brain of the whole treatise. In this section, quadrates of great importance are collected. Because of the compilation of fundamental principles concerning various aspects of the Ayurveda, this is known as the “Shloka” section [44-46]

Chapters of Nidanasthana

The Nidanasthana or the section on the diagnosis of diseases contains eight chapters providing for the diagnosis of the following ailments

  1. Jvara (fever)
  2. Raktapitta (a condition characterized from various parts of the body)
  3. Gulma (abdominal tumor)
  4. Meda (obstinate urinary disorders including diabetes mellitus)
  5. Kustba (obstinate skin diseases including leprosy)
  6. Sosa (Consumption)
  7. Unmada (insanity)
  8. Apasmara (epilepsy) (47-48)

Then further, chapters of Vimana sthana, Shareera Sthana, Indriya Sthana, Chikitsa Sthana, Kalpa Sthana, Siddhi Sthana, are enlisted.

Contents of each chapter will be described in the respective chapters and sections. All these in brief will be described in all the respective chapters and sections.[68]

Definitions of technical terms

An inquiry from the treatise, in proper order and without contradicting the context, is called ‘Prashna’ or a question. Elucidating the question with reasoning and precise explanation with actual implications is known as Prashnartha or the exposition of the question. Because it provides information about the measures to be followed for the maintenance of health, it is called ‘Tantra’ or treatise (tantra means to sustain the body or to observe the rules of health). A Sthana or section deals with a particular topic and the specific problems of this topics are discussed in the chapters concerned (Abhyayas).

Thus, replies to all the eight questions (raised in para 20 of this chapter) along with a well ascertained summary of the entire treatise are given. [69-71]

Some individuals having only partial knowledge of the science, at times create difficulties for others like the sudden flights of the male bustards. Therefore, with a view to knowing their actual acquaintance with the science and assessing their superiority or otherwise, one should put these eight questions to them before a formal discussion. Only persons well versed in science can face such questions. Those who are not acquainted with the science as a whole and know it only partially, get frightened by the very sound of the treatise in its entirety like the male bustards by the sound of the bowstring.[72-74]


Similes for Pseudo physician and Genuine Physicians:
Taking advantage of the weakness of others, any animal may play the role of a wolf, but when it comes across a real wolf, its true nature is exposed. Similarly an ignorant individual, because of his garrulous nature tries to bully the ignorant ones but he breaks down when a real scholar is met with.

A man deprived of wisdom and knowledge is not well acquainted with science. But one who poses to be an expert should not be spared. He must be challenged with the eight categories of questions.

Ignorant individuals who are egoistic usually speak in excess with much inconsistency. Saintly individuals who are well versed in science usually speak less but they speak only relevant to the topic of discussion.

It is not for the sake of ego but for the purpose of keeping the light of knowledge burning that one must challenge a garrulous individual of little learning.

Those who have great compassion towards creatures and are even prepared to impart knowledge for this, should be ever vigilant in putting down false arguments. [75-81]

Characteristics of Physicians

Characteristics of ignorant and learned physician:
Those who are not well versed in the science of their own profession resort to dogmatic views, make excuses for lack of time or sudden illness, try to show their ability by demonstrating books, equipment etc. use harsh and abusive language and speak ill of others during debates.

They should therefore be shunned. On the other hand, one should serve good physicians who are full of tranquillity and have the knowledge of arts and sciences of the profession.[82-83]

Causes of unhappiness and happiness

All psycho-somatic ailments are caused by the ignorance of the individual whereas understanding of things leads to complete happiness to body and mind.

As the sun cannot help a blind man to see things, so also this treatment which provides instructions for the benefit of both the present life as well as the next life not only help to enlighten those who are devoid of the power of understanding.[84-85]


The reason for designating the ten vessels attached to the hearts as Mahamula. The foremost ones among the six categories of regimen, the characteristic features of learned physicians, the eight types of questions along with their replies, methods of reply and elaboration and six types of entire replies, methods of reply and elaboration and six types of pseudo- physicians all these are described in this chapter on the “Arthe Dasha Maha Mooleeya Adhyaya”.

A summary of the entire treatise is given in this chapter. As a garland is prepared of flowers by the help of thread (Sutra) so also the topics for the treatise are summarized. [86-89]

Thus ends the 30th chapter of Sutrasthana of Charaka Samhita, of the work by Agnivesha as redacted by Charaka.(31)

Here ends the Sutra Sthana – the Thirtieth section of Charaka Samhita.

3 thoughts on “Essence And Purpose Of Ayurveda – Charaka Sutrasthana 30”

Leave a Comment

error: Alert: Content is protected !!