From what has been stated before it will appear that during the process of tissue-formation, the lymph or chyle, under the influence of Pittam, or metabolic heat, is transformed into the same, the refuse or un-utilisable portion of it being passed off through the apertures of the body, is excretions. The Ojah-Dhatu is present in the reproductive energy that lies latent in every organic principle, viz. lymph, blood, muscles, bone (synovia), marrow, and in the male & female reproductive elements. Hence it is not a matter of surprise when we find in Ayurvedic works this Soma, or Ojah-Dhatu mentioned as lying diffused in the human organism and described as the essence of the lymph chyle, blood, etc. (1). The terms Rasagata Ojah. Raktagata Ojah are therefore used perhaps in the sense of modern serum-albumen, blood-albumen, etc. The male & female reproductive elements, according to this view, form the essence of 'the body as a whole, and the Ojah, which is abundantly found in these protoplasmic cells, is the quintessence of a quintessence. The muscle of the heart alone, according to Charaka, is chiefly associated with this energetic substance, which is of a bloody yellowish colour &. possesses both cooling & heat-making virtues. (2)
In diseases caused by defective assimilation it is said to be ejected through the kidneys and to pass off with the urine (as in certain types of Prameha) (3), whereby the patient gradually loses strength, flesh, and healthy glow of complexion inasmuch as these are but the accompaniments of its healthy continuance in the human organism. "Health and strength," observes our Rishi," reside latent in the Ojah-dhatu, as butter (Ghritam) lies latent in milk, (1)
Charaka (Sutra Sthanam) Ch. XVII.
Charaka (Sutra Sthanam) Ch. XVII.
Charaka (Sharira Sthanam) Ch. IV.
Dallana Mishra, the celebrated commentator of the Sushruta Samhita, has defined Ojah as a fatty su6stance completely combustible in its character. Thus in the course of tissue combustion its excess quantity is deposited especially in the female body as fat which produces that peculiar softness and elegance. (2) The presence of Ojah in urine is said to induce Madhumeha (3). Taking this fact alone into consideration one is inclined to the belief that Ojah must be something of the nature of sugar. As a consequence of these different interpretations of Ojah the question arises whether there is present in the human organism any such common element that produces either of these two important oxidising materials, viz. fat and sugar.
It is a demonstrated fact in modern Physiology that glycogen is found in other tissues and organs besides in the liver. Tissues of embryos and of young animals as well as newly formed pathological growths may be said to contain glycogen. The activity of the heart, as well as the development of the fetal body (4) is largely dependent upon this Ojah-dhatu which may be best translated as glycogen in the parlance of Western physiology. In fact, our Acharyayas have used the term "ojah" to denote that vital principle in the organism which is essential to the maintenance of a healthy combustion in its tissues and to the due performance of their normal functions and activities, no matter whether that principle is patent in the form of protoplasm, protoplasmic albumen, glycogen or mucosin (Prakrita shleshma)* in accordance with the difference of their functions, geneses, and conditions of protoplasmic metabolism. In short, they were cognisant of the fact that fat and sugar are evolved out of a common basic principle in the organism as has been very eruditely demonstrated by Dr. S. N. Goswami, B. A., L. M. S. in his treatise on Pumsavanam † It is far from our intention to thrust this opinion on any one; we have simply stated our conclusion in the matter and will welcome the result of fresh enquiries on this subject.
Bhavaprakasha. Part I.
(3) See Note 3 (B) Page iiv.
Charaka Sutrasthanam, Chap. XXX.
Charaka Samhita Sutrasthanam, Chap. XVII.
Chakradatta's Commentary S. Samhita, Sutrasthanam Chap. XV.
† "From these extracts it appears to us still more vividly that our countrymen did also discover, like Dr. Pavy, the importance of fat and sugar in the animal economy, as well as the mode in which they can be elaborated from one common principle. (76-7S). A comparative study of the two systems of medical science, Indian and European, has led us to arrive at this conclusion; if we, therefore are not inclined to identify Ojah with albumen, as it has been done by some modern Indian commentators, we have reasons to believe that the aforesaid extracts have not as yet received sufficient consideration from them, as forming the nutritive basis of the procreative elements; in short the subject has hitherto been neglected or, at least, been placed in the back-ground, rom want of attention on the part of those whose business it was to investigate into the truths of Science. To hold that Ojah is kept in deposit in the heart as a reserved Food material, for the maintenance of its own work Space does not permit us to give here even something like a satisfactory synopsis of the physiology of Sushruta. It is enough for our purpose if we can create for our readers an interest in the various physiological problems discussed by our author in this part of his work, or in his description of the various physiological processes, which are essential to the healthy continuance of human economy. But if Hindu physiology is startling in its demonstration of the as well as for the production of germinal seed, is to admit that efficiency of reproduction depends entirely upon the efficiency of this important substance in the body."
76. Those who partake of heavy and cooling food abounding in acids and salts, of new rice, and beverages, or constantly enjoy sleep and luxuries, or neglect the exercise of body and mind, or who habitually abstain from the use of corrective medicines, help to accumulate in their bodies phlegm, bile, fat and flesh; and these interfere with the functions of the Vayu, which causes the Ojah to be displaced from its proper place down in the bladder and produces glycosuria, fact that growth is not the only condition of life, that vitality is somewhat independent of the physiological processes, that the inner man, with the help of Yoga, can long survive even without food and respiration,* and that death and decay may be arrested to a considerable degree by completely stopping many of those physiological processes in the body,† which are considered so very essential to living by the savants of the West, then Hindu pathology is unique in its conception of the nature of disease.
77. As Ghee pervades the whole of milk, so Teja (ojah) permeates all the tissues of the body.
78. Teja (Ojah) too is combustible; in course of tissue-combustion, the excess quantity of it gets deposited especially in the female body as fat which produces softness and elegance.