By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Prasada and Sara are two Ayurvedic terms, often used interchangeably. Grossly there seems to be no difference between these two terms but they differ subtly. These terms are used in the contexts of digestion of food and formation of tissues from the food and from each other.
Read – Rasa Dhatu: Definition, Formation, Circulation, Imbalance Diseases, Treatment
Prasada means pure, wanted and usable part of anything.
In the context of formation of byproducts of digested food, Master Charaka tells that the digested food gets fragmented into two portions.
- The useful part is called prasada. It is the nutritional juice which is beneficial to the body, which nourishes all tissues.
- The useless portion is called kitta. The excreta constitute the kitta.
So, prasada is a term which needs to be understood in comparative sense. The nutritive juice becomes identified as useful only in comparison to the useless part.
Read – Tri Malas – The Three Major Waste Matters Of Body
When I go to a vegetable market, from a basket of tomatoes, I select the best ones and reject the damaged and rotten ones. In a sense, I am taking the prasada part by making bifurcation of big mass of tomatoes into two groups i.e. good tomatoes and bad tomatoes. Prasada is a part of a big mass wherein it is obtained after separation of aprasada part, as in digested food.
Sara means extract or essence. It is not a part of whole as in prasada. It is the essence or best part amongst the whole. In 10 fold examination of a person, saratah pariksha has been mentioned. Here the essence of every tissue should be examined.
This will give an account of which tissue is abundantly present in an individual in terms of quality and quantity. Each person may have richness of different tissues in them. The people having richness or particular tissues are called dhatu sara purushas. A person may be rich in blood tissue; he will be called as rakta sara purusha. Another person may have bone tissue in rich proportions. He will be called as asthi sara purusha. It means that a given person has rich quality and quantity of blood or bone tissue. It doesn’t mean that the other tissues are in a bad state. We are speaking of richness of something, but not in comparison to the others.
Semen tissue can be considered as the essence of all the predecessor tissue because it is formed at the end. Ojas which is often compared to the immune system, is the essence i.e. sara of all the seven tissues, including semen. They are not prasada in actual terms because they are not separated from their unwanted parts. Ojas is formed in the form of extract or essence of all tissues.
1. Out of my 50 students, I will send 2 best students for a competition. It doesn’t mean that the others are bad. It only means that all are good, but only these two qualify for the needs. I call them as representatives of my institute, the essence or sara. When they win, they bring good name to the whole institution.
Read – What is Ojas? How To Increase Ojas During Health And Disease?
2. When we prepare manda i.e. thin gruel we use the liquid portion, it is the sara of the total preparation. The solid portion is not consumed. But it is not useless, it is not kitta. Even that can be consumed. Here we are just taking the most useful part i.e. liquid portion.
3. When I am given a mango, I separate the skin and seed and eat the pulp. I am separating the kitta from prasada portion. When I have mango juice in my hand, I am already served with sara portion of mango.
I would agree that these two terms might be used interchangeably, as per situation and context. We need to be careful that the meaning of these words should not be put into damage.
Prasada = purest form following bifurcation of impure and unwanted portions from the whole
Sara = essence / extract / best among the good ones
Difference between dhatu sara and dhatu sneha
In terms of their meaning, sneha and sara are different. Sara is essence or extract, the most important and active ingredient of a tissue. Sneha means the unctuous part or fatty portion of a tissue. The unctuous part of a tissue may or may not fulfill the criteria of being the most important ingredient of a tissue. If the active essence of the tissue has all qualities of unctuous material, then dhatu sneha will be same as dhatu sara.
Read – Understanding Digestion Process From An Ayurveda View
The tissue fat becomes its best essence –
- when a tissue relies on its unctuousness at some time to render its activities, and
- if the unctuousness in the tissue confers strength, integrity and stability to the tissue
Read – Medo Dhatu: Fat Tissue, As Explained In Ayurveda
Sara is equated with the meanings of strength and stability. Sara of a tissue can be considered as the active essence of a tissue which gives strength and stability to the body.
Since all tissues have different proportions of fat and unctuousness in them and different tissues serve different set of functions. Therefore the fatty content and unctuousness of all tissues cannot be considered as the extract and essence of those tissues. The concept may be situational and elective. But there is no harm in using these terms interchangeably.
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