Tools Of Comparative Learning For Understanding Ayurvedic Texts

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Tools for comparative learning

These tools for comparative learning are 17 in total. They help in easy understanding of text books and help to understand Ayurveda better.

These 17 tools are –
1. Taacheelya
2. Avayava
3. Vikaara
4. Saameepya
5. Bhooyastwa
6. Prakaara
7. Guni Guna Vibhava
8. Samsaktataa
9. Tad-Dharmataa
10. Sthaana
11. Taadarthya
12. Saahacharya
13. Karma
14. Guna Nimittataa
15. Cheshtaa Nimittataa
16. Moola Samjgnaa
17. Taatsthya

1. Taacheelya

Supta (sleep) and Supti (numbness) are both similar to each other because in the sleeping person there will be absence of activities, movements (voluntary) and responses. Similarly any part of the body afflicted by numbness doesn’t respond when pricked by a pin (due to lack of sensation). The Suptaavasthaa (state of being slept) is therefore compared to and thought to be similar to the numbness as the part having numbness too appears to be sleeping.

Thus Supta avasthaa helps in understanding Supti avasthaa on the basis of similarity. This is called Tacheelya.
Related reading – Taacheelya

2. Avayava

Avayava means part (of something), like branch is a part of tree. Avayava is that which is having a relationship with a particular part (amsha/desha) of a subject (vishaya), but has nothing to do with the entire subject (vishaya). This means that though the Avayava is a part of a Vishaya, it is not related with the entire Vishaya.

Example – Langhana (fasting, taking less or no food) helps in bringing about health. Langhan is only related to health. Similarly Alanghana (not starving, feasting) causes disease. Alanghana is only related with Roga.

In this example Langhana and Alanghana are said to be Avayavas or parts of a given subject i.e. health and disease respectively.

In this instance of health of a Vishaya (topic of discussion), by knowing about a portion (avayava or desha) of the subject i.e. Swaasthya, we simultaneously come to know about the other avayava (other part) i.e. Roga of another Vishaya i.e. Alanghana which is unsaid.

To make it clear –
Health is a subject. Langhana is its section related to the subject of discussion)
disease is a subject. Alanghana is its section related to the subject of discussion).

By saying that ‘Langhana causes health’ we can simultaneously infer that ‘Alanghana causes disease’ though it has not been said. Thus knowledge of Avayava is that in which we get the information of the part (avayava) of a vishaya which has not been said if the information of the part of another Vishaya is available.

Avayava helps in understanding the unsaid with the help of said information – With the help of Avayava, we can learn about the section of an unsaid subject when the information of the section of a said subject is available. Example, when it is said that Langhana causes Swaasthya, we understand that Alanghana causes Roga, the later being unsaid.

3. Vikaara

Vikaara means Vikriti (deformity). If Kriya (physiology) is normal, Vikaara is opposite of it (abnormal function). Thus Vikaara is nothing but Vipareeta Kriyaa (opposite of physiology, i.e. pathology). The Prakriti (normalcy) can be understood when Vikriti is mentioned. Likewise a Vikriti can be understood when Prakriti is mentioned. In this instance the term Vikaara denotes Prakriti (normalcy) also.

The flowers, leaves, fruits, tubers etc of plants like Patha are called Prakriti (natural to the plant). But when the same flowers etc are transformed to ripened stage, they will get different names i.e. Shaaka (vegetables).

But according to the ancient teachers, this stage is considered as Vikaara (transformed products), as they are the transformed forms (pakva) of the unripe forms (ama avasthaa) of the parts of the same plants. This means that the same parts of the plant which were in unripe form have transformed to ripe form. Here though the unripe parts are Vikaras (products of transformation), they give us the knowledge (information) of their prakritis (unripe forms). This is because the Vikaaras are also in the form of flowers, leaves etc of the same plant but are called shaaka.

Another example, by seeing a ripe mango, we get knowledge of its unripe form also because the ripe mango (vikriti) is a transformed form of its own unripe form i.e. unripe mango (prakriti). Thus by mentioning Vikriti, we get to know about Prakriti also. Thus the knowledge of transformation can be obtained by the concept of Vikaara.

Vikriti helps in knowing the changed forms based on comparing different states of same thing – Vikriti helps in gaining the knowledge of Prakriti (normalcy) when the information of its Vikriti (changed form, deformity) is available. Example, by seeing the ripe mango (vikriti or changed form of unripe mango) we get the knowledge of its original form i.e. ripe form (prakriti)

4. Saameepya

Saameepya means closeness, proximity. That which is very close to something is said to have Saameepya with it. If 2 things are staying closer to one another, then they are said to be related to each other with a relationship called Saameepya Sambandha or ‘relationship of proximity’.

Example – The qualities of ghee, sesame oil, which have been explained in Sneha Varga (group of fats) are said to have Saameepya. Both are members of the same group and serve the same function of causing snehana (unctuousness) when taken. Belonging to the same group, they share the same characters and properties. Thus Ghee and Oil are said to be related by Saameepya.
Saameepya helps in understanding similarities – Saameepya helps in understanding things by virtue of their closeness in properties, resemblance with each other and proximity in relationship. Example, understanding that ghee and oil are similar in action because of resemblance and closeness of their qualities is called Saameepya.

5. Bhooyastwa

The Apavaada Swaroopa Vachana i.e. ‘contradictory or exclusive statement’ which is present in the already said procedure (Vidhaana) is called Bhooyastwa.

Making a generalized statement (which is applicable and acceptable) and adding a contradiction in the same statement is called Bhooyastwa. We can call it as ‘negativity in positivity’.

Example – Saying – ‘Amla Rasa (sour taste) is everyone’s favourite but in some instances and for some people it is not a suitable taste’ is Bhooyastwa.

Here we can observe that in the first part of the statement a vidhaana (procedure) is strongly said i.e. ‘Amla rasa is everyone’s favourite’. In the second part of the same statement an Apavaada Vachana (contradictory statement) is made i.e. ‘Amla rasa is not suitable for some people in some instances’. This is called Bhooyastwa.

Bhooyatwa helps us in understanding exceptions – There may be some exceptions in a general rule. Bhooyastwa helps us in understanding these exceptions. This helps in medical science. Example – when we tell that the medicinal compound ‘M’ is the best remedy for cough but is not suitable for those who have dry cough, we have an exception in a general principle. This also helps us to understand that nothing is generalized or universal.

6. Prakaara

Prakara means ‘type’. That which is having Samaana Dharma (similar nature) with the other is called the Prakaara of the latter.

If ‘A’ is having similarities (Samaana Dharma) with that of ‘B’ then ‘A’ is considered as the ‘Prakaara of B’.

Example – ‘When the inner aspect of the throat is touched by Eranda Naala (petiole of castor leaf) , Vamana (vomiting) is induced. Similarly touching the inner aspect of throat with Kamala Naala (stalk or petiole of lotus) also induces Vamana. In this instance, the lotus stalk is said to have Samaana Dharma of castor stalk since it causes Vamana. Therefore Lotus stalk is said to be the Prakaara (Vaamaka prakaara i.e. both are inducers of emesis) of Eranda Naala.

Prakara helps us in categorizing and grouping things – on the basis of similarities between 2 or more things. This can be done on the basis of studying the properties of one thing in comparison to the other. Those which are similar in nature are shortlisted. Things which are similar to one another are said to be types of one another. They can be categorized in the same group. This knowledge helps us to classify the herbs, food materials etc into various groups based on the similarities they possess among themselves.

7. Guni Guna Vibhava

Guni means the person in whom particular qualities are induced. Guna means those qualities which get manifested in a Guni. When a Guni takes something (like food etc) which have some Gunas (qualities beneficial for the body and health), those Gunas induce gunas similar to them in the Guni. This is called Guni-Guna Vibhava i.e. Gunas induced in a Guni.

Those factors (bhaavas) which are acquired (induced, developed) in the Guni as a result of consumption of Samaana Gunaas (similar qualities) are called Guni-Guna Vibhava.

Example – the Bala-Varnaadi Gunas (qualities like strength, color etc) are acquired in the Paancha Bhautika Shareera (body made up of 5 elements of nature) due to the consumption of Paancha Bhautika Aahaaras (food which is comprised of 5 basic elements of nature).

The human body is made up of Pancha Mahabhutas (5 elements of nature). Similarly everything in the creation including the food we eat is made up of Pancha Mahabhutas. When foods made up of Pancha Mahabhutas are consumed, they enhance qualities like Bala, Varna etc in the body which is also made up of Pancha Mahabhutas. This happens because of the similarity in the Guna and Guni. Here, the pancha bhautika human body is the Guni and the bala varna etc are Gunas. These Gunas are present in a latent form in the Panchabhautika aahara. The panchabhautika food has the capacity (inborne tendency) to enhance the bala varna etc qualities in the body because of the similar structural components it shares with the body i.e. Pancha Mahabhutas.

In simple terms – ‘The paanchabhautika body is the Guni, it acquires the bala, varna etc gunas which are present in a latent form in the panchabhautika aahara when that aahara is consumed’. The bala varnadi qualities (gunas) present in the food get transformed into the balavarnadi qualities (gunas) of the body (guni).

Similar gunas (bala varnadi) present in the panchabhautika aahara enhance similar gunas (balavarnadi) in the panchabhautika shareera (Guni). This is called Guna Guni Vibhava.

Guni-Guna Bhaavas helps us in understanding the relationship between a material and its qualities – The knowledge of Guni Guna Bhava helps us to make accurate choices of medicines and food which have the qualities that can replace and replenish the similar qualities which have been lost in the body due to disease. In Ayurveda the lost / depleted things are replaced by giving food and medicines which have identical qualities of the depleted tissues or functions.

8. Samsaktataa

The relationship of one thing with many things is called Samsaktataa.

Example – a dravya or a material may be made up of a combination (samsarga) of many rasas (tastes). Different dravyas may consist of different combinations of rasas. But all are called dravyas (immaterial of permutations and combinations of tastes they possess).

Example – Honey is a dravya. It has Madhura (sweet) and Kashaya (astringent) tastes in it. But it predominantly tastes sweet. Therefore it is classified and included under Madhura Skanda (group of herbs and things having sweet taste predominantly).

Samsaktataa helps us to make substitutions – The knowledge of Samsaktataa helps us to understand the relationship of one thing with many things (having similar qualities, categorized in same group). This knowledge helps us in making substitutions in treatment. If a herb ‘A’ is the best choice for a disease ‘X’ and if it is not available for the treatment of that condition, we can pick herb ‘B’ or ‘C’ from the same group of herbs having similar qualities. ‘B’ and ‘C’ are substitute choices for handling the condition ‘X’.

9. Tad-Dharmataa

Finding a quality of one thing in another thing is called Tad Dharmataa.

In a particular padartha (material, substance) if we come to find some other dharma (quality / qualities and nature of some other thing), then we can consider the former to have the Tad Dharmataa with the later.

If we find the qualities of ‘X’ existing in ‘Y’ we tell that ‘X’ has Tad Dharmataa with ‘Y’.

Example – Visha (poison) is a Pranahara Dravya (lethal). Yama (God of death) also does Pranaharana (takes away the life). We can tell that ‘Visha has Tad Dharmataa of Yama’, because both share the same quality of Pranaharana (life taking phenomenon).

Tad Dharmata helps in understanding similar action of different things – Tad Dharmata helps us in understanding the similarity in action of 2 or more things. This knowledge also helps us in making appropriate medicine and food choices in medical practice.

10. Sthaana

Sthaana means Place. Sthaanee means that which resides in the sthaana.

Here Sthaana indicates Sthaanee and Sthaanee indicate Sthaana. This means to tell that – ‘Just by telling the Sthaana, we come to know about the Sthaanee. Similarly by telling the Sthaanee, we come to learn about the Sthaana’.

Knowing the Sthaana from the Sthaanee –

‘Karna Naada (abnormal sounds in the ear) is a Shrotra Roga (disease of the hearing mechanism)’. In this example, Naada (sounds) is not in the Shrotra indriya (Sthanee) but is in the Karna (Sthaanaa). Shrotra Indriya (mechanism related to the hearing function) is located in the anatomical ear. But here when we tell Shrotra Roga, it means to tell that the disease is in the ear. Thus by mentioning the word Shrotra (sthanee) we understand that the disease is located in its sthaana (karna).

Knowing Sthaanee from its Sthaana –
Jihwa (tongue) perceives Rasa (taste sensation). Here the Rasa Grahana (perception of taste) is not by Jihwa (tongue or sthaana), because it is a sthana (of rasana indriya). The perception of Rasa takes place by Rasanendriya because it is the Sthanee. Here by mentioning the Sthaana (tongue), we get the knowledge of Sthanee (Rasana indriya).

Sthaana helps in understanding location of the disease – The knowledge of Sthaana helps us in understanding the site of the disease and its relationship with the disease. The morbid doshas are said to locate in weak tissues (sthaana samshraya) and cause their damage thus leading to the manifestation of diseases. Treatment approach involves isolation of these morbid doshas from the tissues or organs and expelling them from the body. To understand this we need to have a comprehensive knowledge of the relationship of disease and diseased organ. This knowledge is provided by Sthaana.

11. Taadarthya

Something clarifying the purpose (benefit, utility) of something else is called Taadarthya.

Consider a particular thing to have some Prayojana (benefit, purpose). The factors which clarify the Prayojana of that particular thing are called Taadarthyas.

Example – ‘MadanaPhala (Randia dumetorum) is emetic and is useful in Vamana Karma (inducing therapeutic emesis). Discussing and clarifying the Prayojana of Madana Phala with respect to its Prayoga (therapeutic use), Guna (qualities), etc is called Taadarthya’.

Here the Prayoga, Guna etc are substantiating the purpose of Madanaphala as an effective emetic. This is called Taadarthya.

Taadarthya helps us to understand the purpose of administering the medicines – The physician should clearly know the purpose of administering particular herb or medicines towards combating different types of morbidity. The purpose of a herb or compound is got by comprehensive understanding of their qualities and actions. This knowledge is provided by Tadarthya.

12. Saahacharya

Saahacharya means association.
If a particular thing ‘X’ is having Nitya Sambandha (established and permanent association, relationship) with some other thing ‘Y’ then ‘X’ is said to have Saahacharya Sambandha (associative relationship) with ‘Y’.

Example – ‘Yatra Dhumaha, Tatra Vahni’ (Meaning – Wherever there is smoke, there exists the fire), in this phrase the Dhuma and Vahni are said to be associated by Saahacharya.

Saahacharya helps us to understand the association – The knowledge of cause and effect relationship is essential for good success in medical practice. Saahacharya helps us in understanding the relationship between the causative (etiological factors) factors and the pathogenesis of disease. Isolation of causative factors is the first step in a comprehensive treatment approach.

13. Karma

Karma means action.
‘Kartavyasya Kriya Karma’ (Charaka Sutra 1/52)

That Kriya (activity) which is done for the sake of Kartavya (attempt to function) is called Karma (action).

We all do all the activities with some purpose (prayojana), for some work to be done (kartavya). Activities resulting in work being done are called Karma. Here the purpose of doing those activities is to get the work done. When the work is done it will be called as Karma. The nimitta (inevitable cause) for everything in the life is Karma itself.

Karma helps in planning treatment – Karma is a protocol of planned activities heading towards accomplishment of a work. With the knowledge of Karma, the physician can properly make a comprehensive ‘step-wise’ treatment and diet protocol. The whole approach from planning to implementation of medicines and treatments would be called as Karma.

14. Guna Nimittataa

Guna Nimittata is that wherein certain Gunas (qualities) induce the same qualities in the Lakshya (target work or end product to which they are related). Such Lakshyas are called ‘Guna Anurupa Lakshya’ i.e. End products or work done which has similar qualities of the Kaaranas (causes) which bring about their existence.

Those Gunas (qualities) which are the causes (kaaranas) for achieving the Gunaanurupa Lakshya (work done) are called Guna Nimittata.

Example – ‘Dhaarmika Gunas are the Kaaranas for the attainment of Deergha Ayu’. Dhaarmika Gunas (noble qualities as said in related religions) are the causes (kaaranas) for attainment of Deergha Ayu  (Long life span). Here the Dharmika Gunas are the causes. Deergha Ayu is the Karya or Lakshya. Deergha Ayu is called Guna Anurupa Lakshya because it carries the same Dharmika Gunas from which it has its origin.

Guna Nimittataa helps us in judicious use of qualities of medicines – Any medicine acts only on the basis of its qualities. The knowledge of the qualities of herb or medicine is very essential in clinical practice. The knowledge of ‘action of a medicine on the basis of its qualities’ is given by Guna Nimittataa.

15. Cheshtaa Nimittataa

A ‘target or work done’ which depends on the Cheshtaa or activities done is called Cheshtaa Nimittataa.

Cheshtaa Poorvaka Lakshya Nimittataa (activities leading to the accomplishment of a job or task) is called Cheshtaa Nimittataa.

That Lakshya (target, work) which is obtained after doing a cheshtaa is called Cheshtaa Nimittataa. Doing any Cheshtaa to obtain a Lakshya is called Cheshtaa Nimittataa.

Example – Attempts made to acquire knowledge, Cheshtas (activities) of Karma Indriyas (motor organs) i.e. Vachana (speech, function of Vak indriya or motor organ of speech), Aadaana (holding, function of Paani or hands), Viharana (strolling, walking, function of foot), Utsarga (defecation and urination, function of anus and penis) etc are considered as Cheshtaa Nimittataa. Here all the work done will follow the activities done.

Cheshtaa Nimittataa helps us in judicious use of the action of medicines – Medicines work on the basis of Karma also. Karma is the disease modifying or curing capability of the medicine. Karma involves cheshtaa or sequential activities of the herb or medicine until it reaches the target tissue or organ and renders its function. The knowledge of ‘action of the medicine on the basis of its cheshtaa’ is given by Cheshtaa Nimittataa

16. Moola Samjgnaa

Moola Samjnaa is that which gives certain meaning in general conversation but has a totally different meaning in the Shaastra (textual references) is called Moola Samgjnaa.

Example – The term Rupa in general conversation means appearance i.e. neela (bluish), peeta (yellowish), lohita (bloody) etc, but according to Ayurveda Shastra (literature, treatises, classical references) Rupa means Lakshana or signs and symptoms of a disease.

Moola Samjnaa helps in understanding controversial terms – There are some difficult and controversial terms and words in the Shaastraas (treatises, classical references) whose meaning may differ in general worldly conversation. Moola Samjnaa helps us in understanding the difference between the meanings of the same given word in many different contexts.

17. Taatsthya

A particular thing which when present in a specific place gives us the imagination of the presence of a totally different thing which is not present is called Taatsthya.

Example – Mutra Vega Dharana (forcible withholding of urine reflex) causes pain in the urinary bladder and Penis. Here the reason for pain is Mutra Vega Dharana. But the Vasti and Mehana are always situated in their respective places even when the pain is absent. The Mutra Vega Dharana which when present in the Mutrashaya (bladder) gives us the imagination of pain (that pain is associated with these organs) which otherwise is not present in those sites (pain is not normal to bladder or penis). Even in the absence of pain the bladder and penis are usually present in their places.

Taatsthya helps us in understanding the difference between real and virtual things – The knowledge of Taatsthya helps us in discriminating between different type of symptoms, referred symptoms (viz pain), radiating symptoms (viz pain), actual and virtual pain etc which will help us in understanding the origin of symptoms, spread and manifestation.

Just Before Finishing –
Learning things through comparison of one thing with other things is what we all have learnt through the timeline of evolution. Taacheelya and the other topics explained above form the tools of learning through comparison.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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