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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 175-179

A review on the elucidation of fundamentals of Ayurveda in rasavaiśeṣika through the concept of Prakṛti


1 PG Scholar, Department of Samhitha and Siddhanta, Pankajakasthuri Ayurveda Medical College and PG Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
2 Professor and HOD, Department of Samhitha and Siddhanta, Pankajakasthuri Ayurveda Medical College and PG Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
3 Professor, Department of Samhitha and Siddhanta, Pankajakasthuri Ayurveda Medical College and PG Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Date of Submission17-Aug-2020
Date of Decision05-May-2021
Date of Acceptance08-Jun-2021
Date of Web Publication04-Jan-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. J Remya
PG Scholar, Department of Samhitha and Siddhanta, Pankajakasthuri Ayurveda Medical College and PG Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/asl.ASL_138_20

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  Abstract 


Background: rasavaiśeṣika stands distinct from the different literature works in Ayurveda available today. Although categorized as more significant in pharmacology and pharmacodynamics, the insight it throws on the fundamentals of Ayurveda is remarkable. Rasavaiśeṣika in sūtra form presents subjects in brevity and the necessity of bhāṣyakāra becomes mandatory to comprehend the idea. Aim: To decode the debate on prakṛti in rasavaiśeṣika to illuminate its intelligible way of presentation as well as the novel contributions to the fundamentals of Ayurveda. Materials and Methods: Data is collected from the different editions of rasavaiśeṣika which is analyzed and discussed here. Results: The debate on prakṛti is presented by showcasing the proposition as well as opposition sides. The author disapproves taddoṣavattaprakṛtipakṣa as well as guṇavimiśraprakṛtipakṣa and establishes bāhulyapakṣa. Even though prakṛti remains intact throughout one's life from birth to death, its mental and physical expressions change as life advances. Also we have to take the notion of 'birth to until the person exhibits riṣṭa'. The prakṛti is not contingent on the doṣa predominance of śukra and śoṇita but also on the food and regimen of pregnant woman highlighting pre and post conceptional care in preventing hereditary diseases. Conclusion: The adept representation of prakṛti, bala etc., and the multiple ripples of thoughts Nagarjuna and Narasimha bring to our minds through rasavaiśeṣika makes it an exemplary pathfinder for the practitioners. It is the need of the hour to recognize the huge significance of rasavaiśeṣika and introduce it in to our academic curriculum.

Keywords: Narasimha, prakṛti, rasavaiśeṣika


How to cite this article:
Remya J, Sundaran K, Jishnu R, Athri S S. A review on the elucidation of fundamentals of Ayurveda in rasavaiśeṣika through the concept of Prakṛti. Ancient Sci Life 2018;37:175-9

How to cite this URL:
Remya J, Sundaran K, Jishnu R, Athri S S. A review on the elucidation of fundamentals of Ayurveda in rasavaiśeṣika through the concept of Prakṛti. Ancient Sci Life [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Sep 26];37:175-9. Available from: https://www.ancientscienceoflife.org/text.asp?2018/37/4/175/334717




  Introduction Top


Rasavaiśeṣika stands distinct from the different literature works available to the Ayurvedic community today. Its uniqueness owes to the subject content dealt with in the book as well as the style of writing followed by the author. Rasavaiśeṣika is composed in the form of sūtra. The definition of sūtra is alpākṣaram asandigdhaṃ sāravat viśvato mukham| astobham anavadyaṃ ca sūtraṃ sūtravido viduḥ||. From this we understand that sūtra represent subjects in brevity, mostly a solitary theme. Hence the works consisting of sūtra make contributions to the subject in a very concise way and the necessity of bhāṣyakāra becomes mandatory for the readers to comprehend the idea. Although rasavaiśeṣika can be categorized to a book primarily dealing with pharmacodynamics in Ayurveda, the description of prakṛti, bala etc., accounts for an unparalleled approach to the fundamentals of the science. The bhāṣya on rasavaiśeṣika unveils the platform for a debate on the various concepts making it challenging as well as equally gripping for the readers. In this article, I try to decode the fascinating debate on prakṛti depicted in the first chapter of the rasavaiśeṣika text in order to illuminate its contribution to the fundamentals of our science.

About the text

Rasavaiśeṣika is a unique text among the best literature works in Ayurveda. It consists of 4 chapters and 485 sūtra. The name notates its exemplary quality that it is based on the viśeṣa or bheda i.e., it deals with the bheda of rasa. The name gives a sneak peek to its resemblance with vaiśeṣika darśana. Vaiśeṣikadarśana deals with padārtha viśeṣa or bheda of padārtha. In the similar manner, Rasavaiśeṣika deals with the magnificent and discrete padārtha popular in Ayurveda i.e. dravya, rasa, guṇa, vīrya, vipāka and karma.

The authorship of Rasavaiśeṣika is accredited to Bhadanta Nagarjuna. The word “Bhadanta” originates from bhad dhātu which means one who imparts auspiciousness. This reveals his Buddhist lineage. He is thought to have reached and served in a Buddhist precinct in Cherthala during a time when there was a greater influence of Buddhism in Kerala. This is affirmed by the fact that the source book of rasavaiśeṣika was obtained from the Ashtavaidya Chirattaman illam at Olassa near Kottayam District in Kerala. The authoritativeness of rasavaiśeṣika is demonstrated by the fact that ḍalhaṇa quotes it in nibandhasaṅgraha. ḍalhaṇa in his commentary on suśrutasaṃhitā śārīra 4/80 says 'sapta doṣataḥ, sapta guṇataḥ iti nāgārjunācāryoktatvāt'. This unlocks the statement that rasavaiśeṣika should not necessarily have originated in Kerala. It may have flourished in the state in due time. But then also, it had definite acceptance among the scholars of Ayurveda in Kerala.

The commentary to rasavaiśeṣika was written by Narasimha who is also thought to be a Buddhist monk. He is the author of svasthaprakaraṇam and mūlānubandha prakaraṇam. In the commentary, he mentions that Bhadanta Nagarjuna is also called by the names “Nagaveeryacharyan” and “Vaidyendran”. From his commentary, it is also understood that rasavaiśeṣika is also known by the name rasabhaidikam. Rasavaiśeṣika being compiled in the form of sūtras scream for an appropriate bhāṣya for easy understanding of ideas. It has to be noted that all the fundamental terms that are mentioned in the rasavaiśeṣika has been explained by Narasimha in an effective way so that it serves to understand the practical aspects of them in cikitsā. The first edition of rasavaiśeṣika was published by Kolatheri Sankara menon in 1928 who served as the Ayurveda director in Travancore. Later a revised edition by Dr N E Muthuswamy was published by Trivandrum Government Ayurveda College publication division in the year 1976.


  Materials and Methods Top


The entire matter for writing this article is obtained from the different editions of rasavaiśeṣika in Sanskrit and Malayalam languages. The collected data is closely analyzed and discussed here.


  Review of literature Top


The work starts with the verse 'atha ata ārogyaśāstraṃ vyākhyāsyāmaḥ.'[1] Here the author uses the word 'atha' to indicate that before reading in to the subject content of the book, one has to be well acknowledged of śarīra, the authority of health as well as the various theories pertaining to the acquirement of knowledge. The 2nd verse explains that the four factors regarded in the concept of health i.e. ārogya, ārogyalakṣaṇa, ārogyasādhana and ārogya phala.[2] In the 3rd verse, the author asserts that the same is to be considered in terms of anārogya. The 4th verse then mentions the 6 categories dealt within the text- dravya, rasa, guṇa, vīrya, vipāka and karma. From this, we should understand that the subject content of the work originally commence from the 4th verse only. The first three verses give an insight in to the importance of the work. Here the word 'atha' should be understood to have an austere approach that the readers of the work should first learn about the signs of health and ill health and then attempt to study the work. Also the author does not explain about doṣa to understand the concept of health, etiology to understand the various signs in the person and dharma artha kāma mokṣa to understand the benefits of health. Hence it becomes evident that the author is firmly adhering to the 3rd factor- ārogyasādhana i.e. dravya along with rasa, guṇa, vīrya,vipāka and karma.

How these 6 categories become the source of the polar concepts- health and ill health? The author proposes that the samyak prayoga and mithyā prayoga of these 6 categories result in health and ill-health in an individual. Here the author points out 34 factors which have to be closely considered for the favorable action. These factors are provided in [Table 1].
Table 1: Factors considered for favorable action

Click here to view


Nagarjuna does not indulge in the elucidation of all aforementioned 34 factors in the work. He just attempts to introduce the first 28 factors and then explains the 6 factors starting with dravya which constitutes the core element of discourse. This clarifies the fact that rasavaiśeṣika was not a primary level study material, but was meant to be read by scholars who were well acknowledged about the other facets of this science. Here Narasimha plays a pivotal role by explaining each of these 28 factors in a unique way. As we explore his commentary, we can see unique descriptions of prakṛti, Bala, sātmya etc. The definitions like “balo hi nāma dhātu vibhāga sampadjanita śarīraceṣṭāsu sāmarthyamgive an indepth apprehension of the concepts unlike any other sources. The descriptions are aimed at educating the practicing physician about the relevance of these factors in the treatment aspect. In other words Narasimha's bhāṣya guides us to the veracious essence of rasavaiśeṣika. Let us take the example of prakṛti to understand the versatility of the work.

Prakṛti is defined as the inherent nature of an individual. ācārya suśruta states that the doṣa that are in abundance during the fertilization of sperm and ovum loom as the prakṛti of the offspring.[3] ācārya caraka enumerated 4 factors responsible for the determination of prakṛti- śukraśoṇitaprakṛti,kālagarbhasya prakṛti,māturāhāra vihāra prakṛti and mahābhūtavikāra prakṛti.[4] Generally, prakṛti falls into 2 categories i.e., doṣaprakṛti and mānasaprakṛti [Table 2].
Table 2: Categories of Prakṛti

Click here to view


Narasimha defines prakṛti as “prakṛtirnāma janmamaraṇāntarālabhāvini garbhāvakrāntisamaye svakaraṇodrekajanita nirvikāriṇi doṣasthiti”. Prakṛti is a conducive state of doṣas, which is materialized at the time of formation of garbha due to self-excitatory causes and which runs from birth to death. The debate on prakṛti in rasavaiśeṣika is presented in an intelligible way by showcasing the proposition as well as opposition sides. The author basically proposes three pakṣa or sides, sums up arguments for and against the motions and establishes the concept subsequently.


  Discussion Top


Proposition- Taddoṣavattaprakṛti pakṣa

The individual is supposed to be of a particular prakṛti depending on the predominance of the doṣas.

Rebuttal

  1. The author opens the argument by stating that since all the three doṣa are present in each individual, there is nothing such as the specific prakṛti of the individuals
  2. Tridoṣa form the universal cause for all śarīra. Any one doṣa cannot function independent of other doṣa. If the individual is supposed to be called vāta prakṛti, pitta prakṛti or kapha prakṛti depending on the predominance of the doṣa, then it creates even more confusion. Rogastu doṣavaiṣamyaṃ, doṣasāmyam arogatā- depending on this if the person is said have the predominance of doṣa, then the concept of equilibrium of doṣa itself is nullified and prakṛti ought to be considered a rogaviśeṣa only. Paradoxically, roga or vikāra is the opposite concept of prakṛti
  3. In prakṛti, vikāralakṣaṇa are mentioned. The sphuṭita dhūsarakeśagātra of vātaprakṛti, tṛṣṇā bubhukṣā gharmadveṣī svedanapūtigandhi of pittaprakṛti and mandāgnitvam alpāśitvam of kapha prakṛti are all vikāralakṣaṇa i.e., if they are considered to be caused by the predominance of doṣa in the individual and then they should be called vikāra or diseases. This brings up the paradoxical view of how the vikṛti caused by predominance or excess of doṣa in the individual be considered his prakṛti
  4. In sannipāta prakṛti all the three doṣa are supposed to be in excess. As stated before, the doṣa in predominance determine the prakṛti of the individual. But in sannipāta prakṛti all the three doṣa are increased in the same level. So there is supposedly no predominance there and hence not to be called a prakṛti.


Proposition- guṇavimiśraprakṛti pakṣa

“Tasmāt vikāra eva prakṛti guṇavimiśra”

Prakṛti is a blend of vikāra and guṇa. Nāstikatvam, kṛśadīrghākṛtitvam of vāta prakṛti, auṣṇāṅgatvam, medhāvitvam of pitta prakṛti and saumyatvam, audāryam and sātvikatvam of kapha prakṛti are the guṇas. They stay along with the vikāra in prakṛti. But in diseases, there are only manifestation of vikāra and no guṇas. These vikāras subside or disappear with proper management, but the vikāra associated with prakṛti doesn't disappear although modified through lifestyle changes. Here the author proposes that prakṛti is vikāra, but unlike disease. “sa punarniṣekāt prabhṛtyucchritena doṣeṇa samutthito bījataḥ”-The author states that the prakṛti, consisting of vikāra and guṇa is formed at the time of garbhādāna. If there is increased doṣas in śukra and śoṇita, then at the time conception, it modifies the character of the garbha. This becomes the prakṛti of the offspring. Here the increase in doṣas or ucchraya indicates the increase in the qualities of the doṣas and never associated with vitiation.

Rebuttal

  1. The doṣa status in one's prakṛti is generally accepted as his healthy state. The vikāras seen in prakṛti are like hunger and thirst. They have associated doṣa aggravation, but subside on intake and then reappear naturally. They are invariably considered as the signs of health itself. So there is no necessity for regarding prakṛti as guṇavikāramiśrita, but can be considered as health itself. In this way, it is possible to have inherent characteristics due to the increase of three doṣa in a person i.e., sannipāta prakṛti.


Proposition- Bāhulya pakṣa

kathaṃ prakṛtiricchet bāhulyena”

Here bāhulya is the term used by the author to demarcate it from ucchraya. Ucchraya refers to an increase compared to a previous state. But in prakṛti there is never a previous state. At the time of conception itself, the state of doṣa is increased and it remained intact in the same level throughout. This determined the prakṛti of the individual. Thus depending on the doṣa predominance of bīja, there are 7 prakṛti- vāta, pitta, kapha, vātapitta, vātakapha, kaphapitta and samadoṣa prakṛti.

The author ends the debate by disproving taddoṣavattaprakṛti pakṣa as well as guṇavimiśraprakṛti pakṣa and establishes bāhulya pakṣa. This debate is enticing for an enthusiastic scholar as it helps him to get rid of the possible misconceptions on the concept and provides a comprehensive knowledge on the same. It is definitely a challenging take on the subject and is far from the reach of a primary knowledge seeker of the science.

Prakṛti, as its definition states, remains intact throughout one's life. Normally it is explained as that which remains constant from birth to death. But as one person ages, his behavior, his attitudes, his outlook towards society, his mannerisms etc., change to accustom oneself to the varied situations and stages of life. It becomes mandatory for any person to adopt these changes. Also physically, a person is susceptible to changes in relation with his age, his economic conditions and the ecosystem itself. Hence even when prakṛti is said to be intact, its mental and physical expressions need to change as life advances.

As already mentioned, prakṛti is the inherent constitution of the person. Life is the entity that stays from the birth of the person to his death. Unlike life, prakṛti ends somewhere sooner or earlier on that road. In the definition of riṣṭa, ācārya caraka quotes “rūpendriya svara chāyā praticchāyā kriyādiṣu anyeṣu api ca bhāveṣu prākṛteṣu animittaḥ vikṛtirvā samāsena riṣṭaṃ taditi lakṣayet”. If the prakṛti bhāva show changes without any pertinent reasons like age, disease etc., it can be called riṣṭa. Hence even though prakṛti is mentioned to be constant from birth to death, we have to take the notion of 'birth to until the person exhibits riṣṭa'.

Prakṛti remains stable from the time of birth throughout one's life. This explains why even if the two individuals are given same food and live the same life style, it aids in the nourishment depending on their inherent prakṛti. Also prakṛti of the offspring is not contingent on the doṣa predominance of śukra and śoṇita, but only likely to be so. It can be modified depending on the food and regimen of pregnant woman. This highlights that hereditary diseases can be possibly prevented by proper pre-conceptional and post-conceptional care.

The vitiated doṣas in bīja form the cause of the prakṛti in the offspring. This is stable throughout the life of the offspring. But the doṣa vitiation that happens in one's life due to various etiologies results in disease that need to be treated. This is termed vikṛti. The vaikṛta doṣas can be considered as the shadows of prākṛta doṣas. The shadow, of course depends on the etiologies followed by the individual, reflects upon the Ojas and manifests as the disease in the person.[5]

Here the illustration of prakṛti is selected to describe the uniqueness of ideas materialized from this work. All the necessary 34 factors that the physicians need to be acquainted with in treatment aspect are mentioned to the same extraordinary extend in the text. This adept representation of prakṛti etc., and the multiple ripples of thoughts Nagarjuna and Narasimha brings to the minds of readers through rasavaiśeṣika makes it an exemplary pathfinder for a practicing physician.

Rasavaiśeṣika used to be part of the academic curriculum years back. Unfortunately, the text is almost intangible in BAMS course today. Most of the scholars get acquainted with the text during the post graduation period, thanks to the teachers who applaud the value it brings to the table. Although it is categorized to be of more significance in pharmacology and pharmacodynamics, the insight it throws on the fundamentals of the science is worth appreciation.


  Conclusion Top


From the above descriptions, it is evident that Rasavaiśeṣika presents itself as an avant- garde by favoring unconventional and novel concept clarification. The contribution of the bhāṣya by Narasimha should be accredited as the guiding light that takes us to the quintessence of the work. Even though the subject matter in rasavaiśeṣika can be categorized as pharmacodynamics in Ayurveda, it acts as a preparatory school for the aspiring practitioners by acknowledging the core concepts. The fundamentals formulated as an exegesis contemplates the advanced needs of practical clinical medicine and succor in transforming graduating medical students in to clinicians. Hence it is the need of the hour to recognize the huge significance of the work and to introduce the same in to our academic curriculum.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Thirumulpad KR, editor. Rasavaiseshika of Nagarjuna. Third edition., Ch. 1. Thrissur: Publication Division Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College Union; 1993. p. 21.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Thirumulpad KR, editor, Rasavaiseshika of Nagarjuna. Third edition., Ch. 1. Thrissur: Publication Division Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College Union; 1993. p. 24.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Acharya Vaidya Yadavji Trikamji, editor. Sushruta Samhita, Dalhana Commentator. sareera stana 4/63. Varanasi: Choukambha Sanskrit Samsthan; 2009. p. 360.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Acharya Vaidya Yadavji Trikamji, editor. Charakasamhita of Agnivesha, Vimana Sthana. Ch. 8., Ver. 95. Varanasi: Chaukambhaorientalia; 2015. p. 277.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Thirumulpad KR, editor. Rasavaiseshika of Nagarjuna. Third edition., Ch. 1. Thrissur: Publication Division Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College Union; 1993. p. 50.  Back to cited text no. 5
    



 
 
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