Some light is thrown on the relative preponderance of the sperm and ovum in the birth of a female child. "When the maternal element preponderates the child is female; when the paternal element is stronger the child is male. When both the elements are equal, the child is of no sex." In theory at least Sushruta admits the possibility of the birth of many children at a single conception. "When the seed is divided into two by its inherent force (Vayu), twins are born in the womb" - a statement which points to the irresistible conclusion that multiplicity of birth is the outcome of the multifarious fission of the seed in the womb under certain abnormal conditions. Sushruta gives a reason for believing that, in exceptional circumstances, and without sexual union, the unfertilised ovum may give rise to perfect offspring, thus giving a prevision of the modern theory of parthenogenesis. Pathological parthenogenesis has occasionally been noticed in higher animals. Oellacher has noted this in respect of hen's eggs, and Janosik has observed it in the ovarian ova of many mammals such as the guinea-pig, etc.(2) Sushruta extends the probability to the human ova under certain conditions. He admits the possibility of conception without the admixture of the male germinal element, though he observes that like all asexual genesis" the development does not proceed far in the case." From such a hypothesis it is but one step to the theory which enunciates the possibility of conception without proper sexual union.
But to understand his theory of sexual diamorphism, it is necessary that on^shoufd fully comprehend the meaning of such Ayuryedic terms on the subject as Ichchha Shakti (will-force). Shukra-Vahulyam (1) (preponderance of the male reproductive element) and Shonita-Vahulyam (preponderance of the female reproductive element) etc. Sushruta, in common with the Brdhmanic philosophers of Ind, believed that distinction of sex has evolved from a primordial hermaphroditism. Manu in his Institutes has emphasised the fact (2), though in a highly poetic style. He observes that "the Purusha (Logos), by a stroke of Will, divided its body (animated cosmic matter) into two, one of which was male, and the other female." The Tantra says that, "the male part was endued with an energy (force) of its own, which is called Pitrika Shakti; and the corresponding female part, with the one, which is called Matrika Shakti. Pitrika Shakti is a disruptive force; Matrika Shakti is a constructive energy. Though the conception of force in Sanskrit sciences is but partially physical, the nearest approach to the connotations of the Pitrika and Matrika Shakti is made by the terms Ana-bolism and Katabolism of the Western physiologists. Sanskrit physiology recognises the two opposite poles of vital force in a living organism, and has not taken inconsiderate pains to determine their exact locations in man and woman. Matrika Shakti, it observes, predominates in the left half of a woman's organism which is negative as regards vital magnetism. (3) Now, Sushruta says that, in cases where female offspring is desired, the enceinte should snuff through her left nostril (the, expressed juice of certain herbals), while the same should be administered through her right nostril where male issue would be the object. In other words, the anabolic (Matrika) or katabolic (Pitrjka) forces of a mother's organism can be so adjusted with the help of drug-dynamics, as to determine the sex of the child in the womb. The birth of a male child is usually presaged by the appearance of the milk (which according to Sushruta is metamorphised menstrual blood) in the right breast of the enceinte; and where that has been effected with the help of suitable medicines, it must be presumed that the Katabolic pole of her life-force has been acted upon, as desired.
(1) Vide the chart of menstrual wave prepared by Von Ott given in Man and Woman (Havelock and Ellis) Chap. XI.
(2) The Evolution of Sex Ch. XIII. P. 185.
Prof. P. Geddes and J. A. Thompson.
(1) Shirirasthanam Ch. II.
Manu Samhita Ch. I. 32.
Sarada Tilak Tantram.
The original hermaphroditism, which forms the anterior condition of all subsequent sex distinctions, and the character of the two opposite poles of vital energy, have been very clearly set forth in the Pauranik allegory of Ardha-Narishvara(1). The figure, observes the Pauranik rhapsodist, is half male, half female; half life, half death (since, death, in fact, is the father of life) (2); half anabolism, half katabolism; with the crescent moon, the promise, the symbol of progressive evolution on its brow, is made to sit on the eternal bull, the representative of the immutable law of the universe (lit: - the four-footed order). The Rishis and Rasasiddhas of ancient India were fully aware of the fact that, conception is effected only at an enormous sacrifice on the part of the mother; that the Matrika Shakti is the real manufacturer of life, and that the Pitrika Shakti (paternal element) evokes, or calls it into play only through its disintegrating or disruptive effect by separating the two opposite life-poles, that lie neutralised through contact. It is love that governs these two complementary (though in fact they represent the two different aspects of the same energy) and controls its evolutionary rhythms through the desire of seeing itself many though one in reality. Does not modern biology endorse the same view when it says that the reproductive cells, as protozoons„are immortal, and that bodies are the natural appendages which blossom forth and fall off round these cells for the fructification of their innate purposes of being (2)?
(1) Vishnu Puranam Ch. 7. Vs. 10-11.