Rasashastra Paribhasha Prakarana (Section of terminologies)

There are a few terminologies that are quite commonly used whenever medicines are described. Getting a hold of these terminologies will help in understanding Ayurvedic medicines in a better way. Knowledge of Paribhasha helps in this regard. The word meaning of ‘Paribhasha’ is definition. It teaches the proper interpretation or application of technical terms.

Introduction

नियमं कुरुते या हि नियमै रहिते सदा ।
अव्यक्तानुक्तलेशोक्तसन्दिग्धार्थानिबोधिनी ॥
परितोभाषणात् साऽस्मिन् परिभाषा निरुच्यते ।
niyamaṃ kurute yā hi niyamai rahite sadā |
avyaktānuktaleśoktasandigdhārthānibodhinī ||

paritobhāṣaṇāt sā’smin paribhāṣā nirucyate |
Paribhasha or terminologies is the factor that help to understand and explore –
Avyakta – unexpressed, hidden concepts,
Anukta – unspoken, unexplained concepts,
Leshokta – less explained concepts and
Sandigdha – controversial, difficult-to-understand concepts of the science.

Benefits of paribhasha

ओषधानां विनिर्माणं सम्यक् चोपयोगं तथा ।
परिभाषामविज्ञाय न कश्चित् कर्तुमर्हति ॥
oṣadhānāṃ vinirmāṇaṃ samyak copayogaṃ tathā |
paribhāṣāmavijñāya na kaścit kartumarhati ||

Proper knowledge of preparation of medicines and accurate usage of medicines are the main benefits of knowing paribhasha. Without knowing paribhasha, one cannot formulate or administer any medicines in a right way.

Lavana

Lavana Panchaka (The Five Salts)

सैन्धवञ्चाथ सामुद्रं बिडं सौवर्चलं तथा ।

रोमकञ्चेति विज्ञेयं बुधैर्लवणपञ्चकम् ॥ (र.त.२/३)

saindhavañcātha sāmudraṃ biḍaṃ sauvarcalaṃ tathā |

romakañceti vijñeyaṃ budhairlavaṇapañcakam || (ra.ta.2/3)

1. Saindhava – rock salt
2. Saamudra – common salt
3. Bida – a type of black salt
4. Sauvarchala – Potassium nitrate, sochal salt or black salt
5. Romaka – Earthen salt – These are the group of five salts and known as lavana panchaka.

According to Yogaratnakara –

सौवर्चलं सैन्धवं च बिडमौद्भिदमेव च ।
सामुद्रेण समायुक्तं ज्ञेयं लवणपञ्चकम् ॥
sauvarcalaṃ saindhavaṃ ca biḍamaudbhidameva ca |
sāmudreṇa samāyuktaṃ jñeyaṃ lavaṇapañcakam ||

1. Sauvarchala – Potassium nitrate
2. Saindhava – Rock salt
3. Bida – a type of black salt
4. Audbhida – fossil salt
5. Samudra – common salt  

सिन्धु सोवर्चलं चैव विडं सामुद्रकं गडम् ।
एक-द्वि-त्रि-चतुःपञ्च लवणानिक्रमाद्विदुः ॥ (परिभाषा प्रबंध)
sindhu sovarcalaṃ caiva viḍaṃ sāmudrakaṃ gaḍam |
eka-dvi-tri-catuḥpañca lavaṇānikramādviduḥ || (paribhāṣā prabaṃdha)

1. Saindhava 2. Sauvarchala 3. Vida 4. Samudra 5. Sambhara – These are the five types of salts and known as lavana Panchaka.

If only the word salt is mentioned, then saindhava salt should be considered.

TermGeneral consideration
LavanaSaindhava
Dwi LavanaSaindhava & Souvarchala
Tri Lavana or Lavana TrikaSaindhava, Souvarchala & Bida
Chatur LavanaSaindhava, Sourvarchala, Bida & Samudra
Pancha LavanaSaindhava, Sourvarchala, Bida, Samudra & Sambhara

The textbook Rasaratna samuchchaya has mentione six types of salts.

लवणानि षडुच्यन्ते सामुद्रं सैन्धवं विडम् ।
शौवर्चलं रोमकं च चुल्लिकालवणं तथा ॥(र.त.१०/६७)
lavaṇāni ṣaḍucyante sāmudraṃ saindhavaṃ viḍam |
śauvarcalaṃ romakaṃ ca cullikālavaṇaṃ tathā ||(ra.ta.10/67)

Shad lavanas are –
1. Samudra – common salt
2. Saindhava – rock salt
3. Bida – a type of black salt
4. Sauvarchala – potassium nitrate
5. Romaka- earthen salt.
6. Chullika – ammonium chloride

Kshara

Kshara Panchaka

मुष्कक्षारौ यवक्षारः किंशुकक्षार एव च ।
स्वर्जिकक्षार: तिलक्षारः क्षारपंचकमुच्यते ॥ (र. तं. २/७१)
muṣkakṣārau yavakṣāraḥ kiṃśukakṣāra eva ca |
svarjikakṣāra: tilakṣāraḥ kṣārapaṃcakamucyate || (ra. taṃ. 2/71)

  1. Mushka kshara
  2. Yava kshara
  3. Kimshuka kshara
  4. Svarjika kshara
  5. Tila kshara

According to Rasaratna Samuchchaya –

  1. Palasha kshara
  2. Mushka kshara
  3. Yava kshara
  4. Suvarchika kshara
  5. Tila kshara

Kshara Traya

  1. Yava kshara
  2. Sarjika kshara
  3. Tankana kshara

Kshara Dvaya

  1. Svarjika kshara
  2. Yava kshara

Ksharashtaka

सुधापलाश शिखरचिञ्चार्कतिलनालजाः ।
स्वर्जिका यावशूकश्च क्षाराष्टकमुदाहृतम् ॥ (र. तं २/८)
sudhāpalāśa śikharaciñcārkatilanālajāḥ |
svarjikā yāvaśūkaśca kṣārāṣṭakamudāhṛtam || (ra. taṃ 2/8)

  1. Sudha kshara
  2. Palasha kshara
  3. Apamarga kshara
  4. Chincha kshara
  5. Arka kshara
  6. Tila kshara
  7. Svarjika kshara
  8. Yava kshara        

Madhura traya (The three sweets)

Synonyms – Madhura Trika, Trimadhura.

घृतं गुडो माक्षिकञ्च विज्ञेय मधुरत्रयम् । (र.र.स.१०/७०)
ghṛtaṃ guḍo mākṣikañca vijñeya madhuratrayam | (ra.ra.sa.10/70)

Ghrita -ghee,
Guda – jaggery and
Makshika – honey are known as madhura traya.

Rasaratna samuchchaya also mentions the same three substances under madhura traya.

Amla varga (Group of sour herbs)

जम्बीरं निम्बुकञ्चैवत्वम्लवेतसमम्लिका ।
नारङ्गं दाडिमञ्चैव वृक्षाम्लं बीजपूरकम् ॥
चांगेरी चणकाम्लञ्च कर्कन्धुः करमर्दकः ।
चुक्रिका चेति सामान्यादम्लवर्गः प्रकीर्तितः ॥ (र.त.२/१३-१४)
jambīraṃ nimbukañcaivatvamlavetasamamlikā |
nāraṅgaṃ dāḍimañcaiva vṛkṣāmlaṃ bījapūrakam ||
cāṃgerī caṇakāmlañca karkandhuḥ karamardakaḥ |
cukrikā ceti sāmānyādamlavargaḥ prakīrtitaḥ || (ra.ta.2/13-14)
The following substances are grouped under Amla varga –

jambīra – lemon,
nimbuka – variety of lemon,
Amlavetasa – garcinia fruit,
amlikā – tamarind,
nāraṅga – orange,
dāḍima – pomegranate,
vṛkṣāmla – Kokum fruit,
bījapūraka – citron fruit,
cāṃgerī – Indian sorrel,
caṇakāmlañca – sour Bengal gram,
karkandhu – jujube,
karamardaka – Bengal currant,
cukrikā – yellow sorrel
Amla panchaka – Group of five sour herbs

कोलदाडिम वृक्षाम्ल चुल्लिकाचुक्रिकारसम्
पञ्चाम्लं समुद्दिष्टं तच्चोक्तं चाम्लपञ्चकम् । (र.र.स.१०/१०)
koladāḍima vṛkṣāmla cullikācukrikārasam
pañcāmlaṃ samuddiṣṭaṃ taccoktaṃ cāmlapañcakam | (ra.ra.sa.10/10)

Kola – jujube fruit, Dadima – pomegranate, Vrikshamla – Kokum fruit, Chullika –  and Chukrika – yellow sorrel – these are catogerized under Amla panchaka.

Panchamrita

गव्यं क्षीरं दधि घृतं माक्षिकञ्चाथ शर्करा ।
पञ्चामृतं समाख्यातं रसकर्म प्रसाधकम् ॥ (र.त.२/२१)
gavyaṃ kṣīraṃ dadhi ghṛtaṃ mākṣikañcātha śarkarā |
pañcāmṛtaṃ samākhyātaṃ rasakarma prasādhakam || (ra.ta.2/21)

Following five products are known as Panchamrita –

gavyaṃ kṣīraṃ – cow milk,
dadhi – curd,
ghṛtaṃ – ghee,
mākṣika – honey and
śarkarā – sugar
Read more about Panchamrita here

Panchagavya

गव्यं क्षीर दधि घृतं गोमूत्रं गोमयं तथा ।
एकत्र योजितं तुल्यं पञ्चगव्यमिहोच्यते ॥ (र.त.२/२२)
gavyaṃ kṣīra dadhi ghṛtaṃ gomūtraṃ gomayaṃ tathā |
ekatra yojitaṃ tulyaṃ pañcagavyamihocyate || (ra.ta.2/22)

Following five products in equal quantities is know as Panchagavya –

gavyaṃ kṣīra – cow milk,
dadhi – cow curd,
ghṛtaṃ – cow ghee,
gomūtraṃ – cow urine and
gomayaṃ – cow dung.
Read more about Panchagavya here

PanchamrutaCow milk, curd, ghee, Honey, Sugar
PanchagavyaCow milk, curd, ghee, cow dung, cow urine
Amla PanchakaKola, Dadima, Vrukshamla, Chullika, Chukrika
Ksheera TrayaArka, Vata, Snoohi
Dravaka GanaGunja, madhu, Guda, Sarpi, Saubhagya, Guggulu
MitrapanchakaGunja, Madhu, Guda, Sarpi, Saubhagya

Ksheera traya

रविक्षीरं वटक्षीरं स्नुहिक्षीरं तथैव च ।
क्षीरत्रयमिति ख्यातं मारणादौ प्रशस्यते ॥ (र.त.२/२३)
ravikṣīraṃ vaṭakṣīraṃ snuhikṣīraṃ tathaiva ca |
kṣīratrayamiti khyātaṃ māraṇādau praśasyate || (ra.ta.2/23)

ravikṣīraṃ – latex of Arka (Calotropis gigantea),
vaṭakṣīraṃ – latex of Vata (Ficus benghalensis) and
snuhikṣīraṃ – latex of Snuhi (Euphorbia neriifolia) – These three are known as Ksheera traya

They are used in purification and incineration of Metals.

Dravaka gana

गुडगुग्गुलुगुञ्जाज्यसारद्यैष्टंकणान्वितैः
दुर्द्रावाखिललोहादे द्रावणाय गणो मतः (र.र.स.१०/९५)
guḍagugguluguñjājyasāradyaiṣṭaṃkaṇānvitaiḥ
durdrāvākhilalohāde drāvaṇāya gaṇo mataḥ (ra.ra.sa.10/95)

guḍa – jaggery,
guggulu – Commiphora mukul,
guñjā – Abrus precatorius,
ājya – ghee,
sāra – honey,
ṭaṃkaṇa – borax
durdrāvākhilalohāde drāvaṇāya gaṇo mataḥ

They are used for quick liquefaction of metals that are difficult to liquefy. By mixing dravyas of the dravaka gana, first it liquefies itself and helps in liquefying other difficult metals very quickly.

Kajjali

धातुभिर्गन्धकाद्यैश्च निर्द्रवैर्मर्दितो रसः ।
सुश्लक्ष्णः कज्जलाभऽसौ कज्जलीव्यभिधीयते ॥ (र.र.स.८/५)
dhātubhirgandhakādyaiśca nirdravairmardito rasaḥ |
suślakṣṇaḥ kajjalābhā’sau kajjalīvyabhidhīyate || (ra.ra.sa.8/5)

Triturating parada (mercury) with any dhatu or Gandhaka (salfur), without the addition of any liquid to obtain a black colored fine powder called as Kajjali. But now-a-days only parada and Gandhaka are triturated, without adding any liquid to obtain Kajjali, because, without adding Gandhaka, getting black coloured end product is not possible.

Kajjali is used in preparing a variety of Mercurial preparations and in marana of Dhatus.

Rasapankha

स द्रवा मर्द्दिता सैव रसपङ्कः इति स्मृतः (र.र.स.८/६)
sa dravā mardditā saiva rasapaṅkaḥ iti smṛtaḥ (ra.ra.sa.8/6)

Triturating Parada with Gandhaka by adding any liquid till obtaining a semi-solid mixture. And this is called Rasapankha.

Rasapishti

खल्ले विमर्द्य गन्धेन दुग्धेन सह पारदम् ।
पेषणात्पिषटतां याति सा पिष्टिति मता परे ॥ (र.र.स.८/८)

khalle vimardya gandhena dugdhena saha pāradam |

peṣaṇātpiṣaṭatāṃ yāti sā piṣṭiti matā pare || (ra.ra.sa.8/8)

Parada is triturated with Gandhaka and milk till the mass turns into a paste form. This is called as Rasapishti.

Bhavana

यच्चूर्णितस्य धात्वादे द्रवैः संपेष्य शोषणं
भावनं तन्मतं विज्ञै भावना च निगद्यते (र.त.२/४९)
khalle vimardya gandhena dugdhena saha pāradam |
peṣaṇātpiṣaṭatāṃ yāti sā piṣṭiti matā pare || (ra.ra.sa.8/8)

The process of triturating metals etc. with liquids (juice, decoction, water etc.) till the added liquid gets dried up is called Bhavana.

The liquid used in Bhavna Karma should be taken in such quantity that the it should make a paste with the powder of solid material taken.

If the bhavana is to be given with decoction, then for the preparation of decoction powder of the bhavana dravya should be be taken in equal amounts to that of bhavya dravya, to which 8 parts of water is added and decoction is prepared according to the standard method.
Read more about Bhavana samskara here

Dhalana

सन्द्रावितस्य द्रव्यस्य द्रवे निक्षेपणन्तु यत् ।
ढालनं तत् समुद्दिष्टं रस कर्म विशारदैः ॥ (र.त. २/३६)
sandrāvitasya dravyasya drave nikṣepaṇantu yat |
ḍhālanaṃ tat samuddiṣṭaṃ rasa karma viśāradaiḥ || (ra.ta. 2/36)

The dravya should be melted and poured into a liquid for the purpose of purification.

Pithara yantra – The vessel in which the iquid is taken for the purpose of purification. It should habe a lid containing a hole. This instrument prevents spilling of molten metal during the procedure.

Avapa, Prativapa, Acchadana

दृते द्रव्यान्तर क्षेपो लोहाद्ये क्रियते हि यः ।
स आवापः प्रतीवपस्तदेवाऽऽच्छादनं मतम् ॥ (र.र.स ८/५२)
dṛte dravyāntara kṣepo lohādye kriyate hi yaḥ |
sa āvāpaḥ pratīvapastadevā”cchādanaṃ matam || (ra.ra.sa 8/52)

The procedure where the hot liquid is poured over the substance to soften it and remove the external impurities present in it. It is also called Prativapa and Acchadana.

This is done during the Jarana process of certain metals.

This procedure is adopted while doing Jarana process of certain metals. (Jarana is done after Shodhana and before Marana).

Nirvapa

तप्रस्याप्सु विनिक्षेपो निर्वापः स्रपनञ्च तत् । ( र.र.स. ८/५४)
taprasyāpsu vinikṣepo nirvāpaḥ srapanañca tat | ( ra.ra.sa. 8/54)

The procedure where the substance is heated to red hot and dipped into a liquid for softening and gaining the brittleness.

Eg: Abhraka shodhana (Purification of mica)

It is also called as Nisheka or Snapana. 

Shodhana (Purification)

उद्दिष्टैरौषधैः सार्द्धं क्रियते पेषणादिकम् ।
मलविच्छित्तये यत्तु शोधनं तदिहोच्यते ॥ (र. त. २/४२)
uddiṣṭairauṣadhaiḥ sārddhaṃ kriyate peṣaṇādikam |
malavicchittaye yattu śodhanaṃ tadihocyate || (ra. ta. 2/42)

The procedures used for the purification of metals etc. is called as Shodhana. Eg: Washing, trituration etc.

By doing Shodhana procedure, impurities present in the substance are removed and it will be enhanced with more therapeutic qualities.

There are two types of Shodhana –
1. Samanya Shodhana – General purification
2. Vishesha Shodhana – Special purification
Read more about Shodhana here

Mrita loha

features of properly incinerated metal

तर्जन्यङ्गुष्ट संघृष्टं विशेद्रेखान्तरं तु यत् ।
निविष्टञ्च बहिर्नैति मृतलोहं तदुच्यते ॥
मृतं लोहं पुटे ध्मातं ताराज्य मधुसंयुतम् ।
न त्यजेत्तारमानं वा मृतलोहं तदुच्यते ॥ (र. त २/५४-५५)
tarjanyaṅguṣṭa saṃghṛṣṭaṃ viśedrekhāntaraṃ tu yat |
niviṣṭañca bahirnaiti mṛtalohaṃ taducyate ||
mṛtaṃ lohaṃ puṭe dhmātaṃ tārājya madhusaṃyutam |

na tyajettāramānaṃ vā mṛtalohaṃ taducyate |

(ra. ta 2/54-55)

When the incinetarted metal is rubbed between the thumb and forefinger, if minute particles get struck in the creases, then it is called Mrita.


The incinetarated metal is taken in a crucible, equal to silver and honey and subjected to intense heat. If there is no increase in the weight of the silver, then the Bhasma of the metal is entitled as “Mritaloha”. This test is called as Niruttha.

Apart from this, there are some other methods to detect the quality of bhasma.

They are –

Varitara

मृतं तरति यत्तोये लोहं वारितरं हि तत् । (र. र. स ८/२६)
mṛtaṃ tarati yattoye lohaṃ vāritaraṃ hi tat | (ra. ra. sa 8/26)

Varitara is nothing but floating of bhasma, when put over the water.

Rekhapoornatva  

अङ्गुष्टतर्जनीस्पृष्टं यत्तद्रेखान्तरे विशेत् ।
मृतं लोहं तदुद्दिष्टं रेखापूर्णाभिधानतः ॥ (र. र. स ८/२७)
aṅguṣṭatarjanīspṛṣṭaṃ yattadrekhāntare viśet |
mṛtaṃ lohaṃ taduddiṣṭaṃ rekhāpūrṇābhidhānataḥ ||         (ra. ra. sa 8/27)

The bhasma getting struck in the creases, when rubbed between thumb and forefinger is known as Rekhapoornatva.

Apunarbhava

गुडगुञ्जा सुखस्पर्श मध्वाज्यैः सह योजितम् ।
नायाति प्रकृतिं ध्मानादपुनर्भवमुच्यते ॥  (र. र. स ८/२८)
guḍaguñjā sukhasparśa madhvājyaiḥ saha yojitam |
nāyāti prakṛtiṃ dhmānādapunarbhavamucyate ||  (ra. ra. sa 8/28)

When the bhasma mixed with jaggery, abrus, borax, honey and ghee, if it gets mixed so as it cannot reverse back into its original form is called Apunarbhava.

Niruttha

रोप्येण सह संयुक्तं ध्मातं रोप्येण नो लगेत् ।
तदा निरुत्थमित्युक्तं लोहं तदपुनर्भवम् ॥ (र. र. स. ८/३०)
ropyeṇa saha saṃyuktaṃ dhmātaṃ ropyeṇa no laget |
tadā nirutthamityuktaṃ lohaṃ tadapunarbhavam || (ra. ra. sa. 8/30)

Equal parts of incinerated metal, silver and honeyare taken in a crucible and subjected to intense heat. If there is no increase in the weight of the silver, then the Bhasma of the metal is said to be “Mritaloha”. This test is called as Niruttha.

Hamsavatteeryate vari

तस्योपरि गुरुद्रव्यं धान्यं चोपनयेद्ध्रुवम् ।
हंसवत्तीर्यते वारि व्युत्तमं परिकीर्त्तितम् ॥      (र. र. स. ८/२६)
tasyopari gurudravyaṃ dhānyaṃ copanayeddhruvam |
haṃsavattīryate vāri vyuttamaṃ parikīrttitam ||         (ra. ra. sa. 8/26)

Bhasma should be put over water and a grain is placed over the bhasma. If the bhasma continues floating over the water, then it is considered as bhasma of good quality. This test is called as Hamsavatteeryate Vari.

Nirdhooma Bhasma

This test is done on the ashes of उडन शील substances or it is useful in the examination of the ashes in which उडन शील substances have been mixed to make ashes. For this, a small amount of ash is sprinkled over fire or it is done by placing ashes on the iron plate. If fumes do not come out, then it is called Nirdhooma Bhasma.

Nishchandreekarana

This test is done only for Abhrak Bhasma. First of all, bhasma should should not be shining. It is considered as the test of good ashes. Apart from this, other examinations are also seen in other texts like Anjana sadrishya etc. But due to not having much importance, it has not been described in detail. The test should be done after examining the bhasma in detail.

Pancha mrittika

इष्टिका गैरिका लवणं भस्म वल्मीकमृत्तिका ।
रसप्रयोग कुशलैः कीर्त्तिताः पञ्चमृत्तिका ॥    (र. र. स. ८१)
iṣṭikā gairikā lavaṇaṃ bhasma valmīkamṛttikā |
rasaprayoga kuśalaiḥ kīrttitāḥ pañcamṛttikā || (ra. ra. sa. 81)

Ishtika churna – brick powder, gairika – red ochre, lavana – salt, bhasma – ash and valmeeka mrittika (ant hill mud) – these five are known as Panchamrittika.

Rasendra sara sangraha has mentioned Grihadhooma (soot) instead of bhasma.

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