Disease: Its Definition

The Purusha (man) is the receptacle of any/particular disease, and that which proves a source of torment or pain to him, is denominated as a disease. * There are four different types of disease such as, Traumatic or of extraneous origin (Agantuka), Bodily (Sharira), Mental (Manasa) and Natural (Svabhavika). A disease due to an extraneous blow or hurt is called Agantuka. Diseases due to irregularities in food or drink, or incidental to a deranged state of the blood, or of the bodily humours acting either singly or in concert, are called Sharira. Excessive anger, grief, fear, joy, despondency, envy, misery, pride, greed, lust, desire, malice, etc. are other fundamental material principles, it is not improper to classify all under the head of hot or cold, a third factor being non-existent. Hence the world Disease Its Definition 100152 is possessed of the twofold virtues, hot and cold.

* A disease may be defined as something which afflicts the Purusha (self-conscious personality), or those things or incidents which combine to afflict the Purusha are usually interpreted to connote that meaning.

II included within the category of, mental (Manasa) distempers; whereas hunger, thirst, decrepitude, imbecility, death, sleep, etc. are called the natural (Svabhavika) derangements of the body. The Mind and the Body are the seats of the abovesaid distempers according as they are restricted to either of them, or affect both of them in unison. *

Samshodhanam Cleansing), and Samshamanam (Pacification of the deranged or agitated bodily humours giving rise to the disease, and the regimen of diet and conduct are the four factors which should be duly employed in order to successfully cope with a disease. †

Food is the principal factor which materially contributes to the strength, complexion and vitality (Ojah) of animated beings. Food consists of six different tastes

* The Self or the Jeevatma of a person is above all human concerns and, as such, can never be affected by any disease.

† Cleansing (Samshodhanam) is of two kinds, viz. External and Internal. External purification consists in employing such measures as surgical operations, cauterisation of the affected part or organ, external use of alkaline preparations and medicated plasters, the internal one including such measures as exhibition of purgatives and emetics, application of intestinal enemas (Asthapanam) and blood-letting. Diet comprises four different factors such as, food, drink, lambative, etc., which, for the purposes of the Ayurveda, are again grouped under three different heads, such as the pacifier of the deranged bodily humours (Dosha-prashamanam), therapeutical (Vyadhi-prashamanam) and health-giving (Svastha=Vrittikara). Achara (conduct) appertains to three different factors, such as the body, the speech, and the mental acts. The abovesaid measures, duly employed, are potent enough to combat all sorts of bodily distempers, if the special exigencies of each case arc carefully taken into consideration.

(Rasa) [which can not exist independently of the substances] in which they are inherent. These substances which are called the Oshadhis may be divided into two classes such as the mobile and the immobile. The immobile Oshadhis in their turn, admit of being grouped under four sub-heads such as, the Vanaspatis, the Vrikshas, the Virudhas and the Oshadhis proper.

Those trees which bear fruit without blossoming are called the Vanaspatis such as, the Plaksha and the Oudumvura). Those that bear both fruits and flowers are called the Vrikshas. Shrubs and creepers that trail on the ground are called Virudhas, whereas those plants which die with the ripening of their fruits, are called Oshadhis proper such as cereals .

The mobile Oshadhis or animals are divided into four classes such as the viviparous, the oviparous, the sweat-begotten, and those that are born of decomposed vegetable matter. Alan and other mammals belong to the first group; birds, snakes, and reptiles belong to the second; ants, worms, etc. belong to the third; while frogs and Indragopas belong to the fourth. For medicinal purposes, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, bulbs, the expressed juice, and milky or resinous secretions of plants, etc. * are obtained from the vegetable world. The skin, nails, wool, blood, flesh, fat,, marrow, bones, are procured from the animal world.

* The use of oil expressed out of drugs and seeds, as well as of their ashes or alkaline preparations are likewise indicated.

Metals and minerals such as gold, silver, gems, and Manahshila (Realgar), as well as pearls, clay and Kapalas (bones), etc. should be included in the list of the earthy substances. *

Gale, windfall, sunshine, shade, moonshine, darkness, heat, cold, rain, day, night, fortnight, month, seasons, and solstices, etc. should be deemed as the works of eternal time, which, by virtue of their natural effects, contribute to the accumulation, augmentation, pacification or diminution of the deranged bodily humours (such as, wind, etc.

Authoritative Verses On The Subject

Physicians should look upon these four factors of food, conduct, earth and time, as the accumulators, aggravators and pacifiers of the deranged bodily humours and of the diseases resulting therefrom in man. Diseases due to causes which are extraneous to the body may affect the mind or the body. When it would affect the body in the shape of any traumatic disease (such as an inflammation due to a blow or a sword cut, it should be treated medicinally like the rest of the physical maladies, while the remedy should consist in the enjoyment of pleasurable sound?, touch, sights, taste or smell where the mind would be found to be the seat of the distemper.

* Oxide of Iron, sand, yellow sulphurate of arsenic (Orpiment), salt, Gairika (ferruginous earth), Rasanjana (antimony) should he regarded as appertaining to the class of earthy substances.

Thus I have briefly dealt with the Purusha, Disease, Medicine, Appliances and the Specific Time. The term Purusha should be interpreted to include within its meaning the combination of its five material components, and all things resulting therefrom, such as the limbs and members of the body, as well as the skin, the flesh, the blood, the veins and the nerves, etc. The term Disease signifies all distempers incidental to the several or combined actions of the three deranged bodily humours and blood. The term Medicine signifies drugs and their virtues, tastes, potency, inherent efficacy Prabhava and reactionary properties Vipaka . Appliances (kriya denotes such processes as, surgical operations injections, emulsive measures, lubrications, etc. The term Time signifies all opportune moments for medical appliances.

Authoritative Verses On The Subject

The primary principle of the Science of medicine has thus been briefly stated and will be fully dealt with in the following one hundred and twenty chapters distributed among the five main sub-divisions or Sthanas of the present work. These hundred and twenty chapters will be found to be elaborately discussed according to the specific import or significance of their denominations under the sub-heads of Sutra-Sthanam

(Definitive Aphorisms or Fundamental principles, Nidanam (Etiology), Sharira-Sthanam (Anatomy and Physiology, Chikitsa-Sthanam (Therapeutics) and

Kalpa-Sthanam 'Toxicology. Subjects other than the preceding ones will be discussed in the closing chapters of the book by way of an Appendix (Uttara-Tantram).

Authoritative Verse On The Subject

The man who reads this Eternal Science of Medicine (Ayurveda-Shastram) discoursed by the self-origined Brahma and propagated by the King of Kasi, becomes noted for his piety, is honoured by the kings on earth, and attains to the region of Indra (the lord of the celestials) after death.

Thus ends the first chapter of the Sutra-Sthanam in the Sushruta Samhita which deals with the origin of the Ayurveda.