Tantra Yukti: Tools For Composing And Understanding Treatises

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay), Dr Manasa, BAMS and Prof. Rangaprasad Bhat.
It is never enough if study materials and treatises are created which are not well edited or well presented. There are some criteria, rules and regulations following which a comprehensive, systematic and well compiled treatise or study material can be developed.  Ayurveda has dealt with the points to be considered to assemble or create a study material or encyclopedia or treatise in a standard way under the topic Tantra Yukti.

Term meanings

Tantra Tantra means Shastra, science or treatise or subject being dealt with or the content of the context (topic) being written in the form of a book or treatise.

Yukti Yukti means Yojana or assembling, arrangement or compiling
Tantra Yukti Thus Tantra Yukti means ‘Skillfully assembling the topic or topics of a subject or of a science in a methodical way’.

trAyate zarIraM anena iti tantraM zAstraM cikitsA ca, tasya yuktayo yojanAH
tantrayuktayaH|(DalhaNa)
That which protects the body is called Tantra. Shaastra or Chikitsa (treatment) are its synonyms. Proper arrangement of Tantra is called Tantra Yukti.

Su.U/1-2

The Shastra that which helps in protecting the Shareera by means of cikitsa and the yuktis adopted in achieving the successful conduct of treatment is referred as tantrayukti. They are basically of two categories – Vakya Yojana and arthayojana. Where in the former is related with conjunction or syntactical structure of sentences and the latter is related special  rules or principles of grammar in the absence of certain letters or words.

Tantra has a wide range of meanings. One definition of the term is ““tanoti
vipulAnarthAn tattvamantra samanvitAn | trAnaJca kurute yasmAta tantramityabhidhIyate ” || ” || (Reference:- The Doctrine of Tantrayukti-s, Dr.W.K.Lele, 1981, Chaukhamba Surabharati Prakashan, Varanasi, p.19)
Tantra can be termed as that which discusses and details subjects and concepts and also that which protects.

Ca.si-12/29 ||
Tantra is synonymously used with äyurveda, a branch of Veda, education, aphorism, knowledge, çästra and definition.

Thus etymological and conventional usages point to the fact that Tantra is used to denote a systematic work of literature.
And yukti is …”…”yujyante saMkalpyante saMbadhyante parasparamarthA: saMyaktayA prAkaraNike
abhimate arthe virodhavyAghAtAdi doSajAtamapAsya anayeti yukti:” || (Reference: Tantrayukti, Introduction. p.1, Vaidyasarathi Press, Kottayam, 1949.)

“… that which removes blemishes like impropriety, contradiction, etc., from the intended meaning and thoroughly joins the meanings together.”is called yukti.

Thus the compound Tantra-yukti denotes those devices that aid the composition of a text in a systematic manner to convey intended ideas clearly. (Citation courtesy:- The doctrine of tantrayukti – an ancient indian scientific& theoretical text –construction manual. Author:- Dr. M.Jayaraman, assistant director, Research department, Krishnamacharya yoga mandiram, Chennai)

Su.U/5-7

By the use of technical terms in a scientific treatise the points of argument of the opposite party are countered and negated thereby making  the points of one’s own argument get well established. The meanings of the words, be it distinctive or not; direct or indirect; or partly indicative – which so ever be the case, the tantra yukti when adapted in the treatise, makes the concept and presentation of argument clear and distinctive to provide the apt knowledge. As the sun helps in clear visualization of the cluster of lotuses in a pond, and an oil lamp illuminates the room to reveal the contents of the room, so does the tantra yukti provides illumination of the essence of the treatise when used in it’s structure building.

Number of Tantra Yuktis

Charaka and Sushruta have explained Tantra Yuktis in detail with slight differences in their presentations.
32 Tantra Yuktis according to Sushruta

  • Adhikarana
  • Yoga
  • Padaartha
  • Hetwartha
  • Uddesha
  • Nirdesha
  • Upadesha
  • Apadesha
  • Pradesha
  • Atidesha
  • Apavarga
  • Vaakyashesha
  • Arthaapatti
  • Viparyaya
  • Prasanga
  • Ekanta
  • Anekanta
  • Poorvapaksha
  • Nirnaya
  • Anumata
  • Vidhaana
  • Anaagatavekshana
  • Atikraantaavekshana
  • Samshaya
  • Vyaakhyaana
  • Swasamjgnaa
  • Nirvachana
  • Nidarshana
  • Niyoga
  • Vikalpa
  • Samuchchaya
  • Oohya

36 Tantra Yuktis according to Charaka

  • Adhikarana
  • Yoga
  • Hetwartha
  • Padaartha
  • Pradesha
  • Uddesha
  • Nirdesha
  • Vaakyashesha
  • Prayojana
  • Upadesha
  • Apadesha
  • Atidesha
  • Arthaapatti
  • Nirnaya
  • Prasanga
  • Ekaanta
  • Naikaanta
  • Apavarga
  • Viparyaya
  • Poorvapaksha
  • Vidhaana
  • Anumata
  • Vyaakhyaana
  • Samshaya
  • Ateetaavekshana
  • Anaagataavekshana
  • Swasamjgnaa
  • Oohyaa
  • Samuchchaya
  • Nidarshana
  • Nirvachana
  • Sanniyoga
  • Vikalpana
  • Pratytsaara
  • Uddhaara
  • Sambhava

atrAsAM tantrayuktInAM kiM prayojanam? ucyate- vAkyayojanamarthayojanaM ca ||Su.U/4||
lInasyAsaGgatasya cArthasya prakAzanaM saGgatIkaraNaM cArthayojanam|

What is the necessity of the use of these technical terms (Tantra-Yukti) ? The answer is – “For connecting words together, i.e, Helping to build up sentences to provide a sense or meaning to them, Sushruta further states,  that to gain v?kyayojan? and arthayojan? embedded within the sutras of Ayurveda granthAs, the tantra yukti jnAna becomes essential.

Because at certain circumstances the conjunction or syntactical structure of sentences in the form of sandhi and samAsa need to be understood when a longer and continous verse without any break is being written in the samhithas.
Over the simpler aspect , out of context from Ayurveda , a sentence when written continuously without any space or characters making it difficult to comprehend as in “THEGODISNOWHERE”, only if the knowledge of tantra yukti be present will it be possible to attain the v?kyayojan? by splitting the long sentence appropriately depending upon the circumstance of the chapter where in the sentence is getting explained. To explain it further, if the above sentence was read under the context dealing nAstika – then by applying tantra yuktis v?kyayojan? the sentence may be understood as “ The God is Nowhere”. But at the same time if the same above sentence would have been present under the topics related to Astikatva, by applying the v?kyayojan? that particular long sentence may be understood over that particular circumstance as “ The God Is Now Here”.
Having explained about the v?kyayojan?, now will deal with the arthayojan?. When the knowledge of a different object  which donot exist in that particular place, gets processed in one’s mind while mentioning about a specific object based on the grammatical rules is known as arthayojanA.
For example – if there be a mention of the word “In nirAma state of pathology one can have bath in cold water” , the arthayojana and application of tantrayukti over her gives another dimension of meaning to the above statement as “In Ama state of pathology one should not have bath with cold water”. Where in the context was actually about the topic related to nirAma avasthA, and there was leena or abhAva (absence) of any topic related to Ama getting discussed over in that particular stanza. Still through tantra yukti, one will be able to apply the grammatical rules opf Sanskrit to understand the indirect speech of statement involved in the afore said statement and thus get jnAna about the contra indication of cold water bath in AmAvastha. –

Su.U/5-7
By the use of technical terms in a scientific treatise the points of argument of the opposite party are countered and negated thereby making  the points of one’s own argument get well established. The meanings of the words, be it distictive or not; direct or indirect; or partly indicative – which so ever be the case, the tantra yukti when adapted in the treatise, makes the concept and presentation of argument clear and distinctive to provide the apt knowledge. As the sun helps in clear visualisation of the cluster of lotuses in a pond, and an oil lamp illuminates the room to reveal the contents of the room, so does the tantra yukti provides illumination of the essence of the treatise when used in it’s structure building.

Tantra Yuktis as per Charaka

36 Tantra Yuktis according to Charaka – 
The above 32 +
Pratyutsara, Uddhara, Prayojana, Sambhava

Charaka has mentioned Prayojana, Pratyutsaara, Uddhaara and Sambhava in excess but has not mentioned Apavarga mentioned by Sushruta. Sushruta’s Anekanta is mentioned as Naikanta in Charaka. Charaka has used the term Sanniyoga instead of Niyoga mentioned by Sushruta. Charaka has named Sushruta’s Atikraantaavekshana as Ateetaavekshana.

36 Tantra Yuktis according to Charaka

  • Adhikarana, Yoga, Hetwartha, Padaartha
  • Pradesha, Uddesha, Nirdesha, Vaakyashesha
  • Prayojana, Upadesha, Apadesha, Atidesha
  • Arthaapatti, Nirnaya, Prasanga, Ekaanta
  • Naikaanta, Apavarga, Viparyaya, Poorvapaksha
  • Vidhaana, Anumata, Vyaakhyaana, Samshaya
  • Ateetaavekshana, Anaagataavekshana, Swasamjgnaa, Oohyaa
  • Samuchchaya, Nidarshana, Nirvachana, Sanniyoga
  • Vikalpana, Pratytsaara, Uddhaara, Sambhava

Apart from these Tantra Yuktis, Bhattaara Harichandra, the commentator of Charaka has mentioned 4 extra Tantra Yuktis.

  • Pariprashna (can be included under Uddeshya)
  • Vyaakarana (can be included under Vyaakhyaana)
  • Vyutkraantaabhidhaana (can be included under Nirdesha)
  • Hetu

Tantra Yukti Uses

Purpose and use of Tantra Yukti
The main purpose or utility of Tantra Yukti is bi-fold –

Vakya Yojana – Proper editing, assembling and arrangement of sentence
Artha Yojana – Proper assembling or arrangement of meaning (of a sentence)

Other uses of Tantra Yukti –
asad vAdAdi prayuktAnAM vAkyAnAM pratiSedhanam|
sva vAkya siddhiH api ca kriyate tantrayuktitaH||
vyaktA na uktAH ca ye hi arthA lInA ye ca api anirmalAH|
leza uktA ye ca kecit syuH teSAM ca api prasAdhanam||
yathA ambu javanasya arkaH pradIpo vezmano yathA|
prabodhasya prakAzArthAH tathA tantrasya yuktayaH||(su.u.65/4)

Asad vaadi prayukta vaakya pratishedha – contradicting or opposing the views or statements (sentences, concepts) made by the opponents, false-speaking opponents to be precise
Swa vaakya siddhi – Establishing or proving ones theory or statement or view

Vyaktaa na uktaa cha ye hi arthaa leenaa ye cha api anirmalaaha lesha uktaa ye cha kechit syuhu teshaam cha api prasaadhanam

Tantra Yukti makes clear the meaning of the –

  • Avyakta – Unsaid terms and sentences
  • Anukta – Unseen (unheard) words or sentences
  • Leena artha – Words or sentences having latent and unclear meaning
  • Anirmala artha – words or sentences whose meaning is weirdly or haphazardly given
  • Lesha ukta – The words whose meaning has been partially said

Simile – Just as the Sun illuminates the garden of lotuses and lamp illuminates the house, the Tantra Yuktis illuminate and make clear the ‘materials of learning’, ‘science, subject or treatises’.

ekasmin api yasyeha zAstre labdha AspadA matiH|
sa zAstram anyad api Azu yuktijJatvAt prabudhyate||
adhIyAno api zAstrANi tantrayuktyA vinA bhiSak|
na adhigacchati zAstrArthAn arthAn bhAgya kSaye yathA||(cha.si.12/47-48)

The buddhi or intellect of an individual is a complex and well organized mechanism. When the buddhi properly understands a shaastra (science or treatise or subject), it also understands other shastras on the basis of yukti (skill and wisdom related to learning and understanding a shaastra which is saved in it as a strong memory).

Thus reading a shaastra and understanding a shaastra make a hell and heaven difference. For proper understanding of a shaastra one needs to have a comprehensive knowledge of Tantra Yuktis.

Charaka tells that ‘One who reads or tries to learn the Shastra will never obtain the true meaning of the shaastra unless he is well equipped with a comprehensive knowledge of Tantra Yuktis. Just as a man never finds way of earning money in the presence of bad luck or ill-fate, the man never finds ways of knowing the true meaning of the shaastras in the absence of the knowledge of Tantra Yukti’.

Bottom line – ‘The knowledge of Tantra Yukti is mandatory for a comprehensive understanding of Shastra’

Just before Finishing –
Ayurveda was the first ever science to have explained about the chronological and effective documentation of learning or study materials. This article is to present to our readers the ancient knowledge of Tantra Yukti as explained in Ayurvedic texts.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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