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Ashtanga Hridayam (Sutrasthana), Chapter-1,(BAMS Ist Year), verse1.1-1.8

Ayushkamiya Adhyaya (Desire for long life)Ashtanga Hridayam

Hello Friends, let’s start with the first chapter of Ashtanga Hridayam Sutrasthana of BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery)First year course.

Ashtang a Hridayam    BAMS CH-1  verse 1.1-1.8, Ayurveda

Namaskara (Obeisances)

Salutation to the unique and rare physician, who has destroyed, without any residue all the diseases like Raga (lust, anger, greed, arrogance, jealousy, selfishness, ego), which are constantly associated with the body and which are spread all over the body, giving rise to disease like anxiety, delusion and restlessness. 
This salutation is done to Lord Dhanwantari.

Now we will explain the chapter which is beneficial for those who wish to have Ayushkamya (wishing for long life and full life) from here, as the sages like Atreya have said earlier. Men who desire age, who are the means of attaining Dharma (religion), Artha (wealth), sukha (happiness), should have faith in the teaching of Ayurveda. They should respect the instructions stated in Ayurveda prominently.

Origin of Ayurveda

Lord Brahma, remembering Ayurveda ( the science of life ) taught it to Prajapati, he (Prajapati) in turn taught it to Asvin twins. They taught it to Sahasraksa (Indra), he taught it to Atri’s son (Atreya Punarvasu or Krsna Atreya) and other sages. They taught it to Agnivesa and others and they (agnivesha and other disciples) composed treatises, each one separately. From those treatises which are very elaborate (hence difficult to study), only the essence has been collected and this treatise- Ashtanga Hridayam is prepared which is neither too succinct nor too elaborate.

Eight branches of Ayurveda

1. Kaya Chikitsa – General medicine

2. Bala Chikitsa – Paediatrics

3. Graha Chikitsa – Psychiatry

4. Urdhvanga Chikitsa – Diseases and treatment of Ear, Nose, Throat, Eyes and Head (neck and above region)

5. Shalya Chikitsa – Surgery

6. Damshrta Chikitsa – Toxicology

7. Jara Chikitsa – Geriatrics

8. Vrushya Chikitsa – Aphrodisiac therapy

Noted: Kaya chikitsa is the treatment of disease arising from disorders of digestive activity, known in modern practice as general medicine. Bala chikitsa is the treatment of diseases of children (pediatrics). Graha chikitsa means treatment of diseases arising from possession by evil spirits, pathogenic micro-organisms, etc. It deals mainly with mental diseases (psychiatry). Urdhvanga chikitsa deals with the treatment of dise­ases of the head inclusive of the eyes ( ophthalmology ), ears ( otology ), nose ( rhinology ), throat ( laryngology ), and teeth (dentistry). Shalya chikitsa deals with treatment requiring the use of a knife (surgery). Damshtra chikitsa is the treatment of diseases due to poison. Jara chikitsa is also known as rasayan chikitsa dealing with the treatment of diseases of old age (gerontology, geriatrics). Vurshya chikitsa deals with the treatment of diseases like impotence, sterility, etc., and making man sexually strong by the use of aphrodisiacs.


Vayu (Vata), Pitta, and Kapha are the three Dosha in the body. In brief; they destroy and support (sustain and maintain) the body when they are abnormal and normal respectively.

Notes:—The dosha are material substances present in the body always, they have their own definite pramana (quantity), guna (quality), and karma (functions). When they are normal, (avikrta) they attend to different functions of the body and so maintain it. But they tend to become abnormal (vikrta) undergoing increase (vrddhi) or decrease (ksaya) in their quantity, one or more of their qualities and functions. When they become abnormal, they vitiate their places of dwelling-the dhatus ( tissues ) because of this tendency of vitiation, they are called dosha or vitiators. These three- Vata, pitta, and Kapha- are more intimately concerned with the body, hence called Sansarika Doshas in distinction to two Manasa doshas-the rajas and tamas-which are concerned with the mind. 

Site of Tri-dosha

Though present all over the body, they are found (predominantly) in the region-below, middle, and above, respe­ctively, of the area between the heart and the umbilicus.
Notes:—Doshas are present in every cell of the body attending to its different functions. They are found predominantly in certain places, viz. Vata is the area below the umbilicus, pitta in the area between the heart and the umbilicus; and Kapha in the area above the heart.

They are predominant, respectively, during the last, middle, and first stages of the life (span), the day, the night, and (the process of digestion of) the food.
Notes:— Vata is predominant in old age (after 60 years of age), in the afternoon (between 3 pm and 7 pm),late-night (2 am to 6 am), and at the end of digestion of food.

Pitta is predominant in the middle age ( between 20 and 60 years ), midday (between 11 am and 4 pm), midnight between 12 and 2 am) and during the middle period of digestion.

Kapha is predominant in early age (from birth up to 16 years of age), in the forenoon (between 6 am and 10 am), in the early part of the night (between 7 pm and 11 pm), and the early period of digestion.

Agnibhedaha (Kinds of digestive activity)

On the basis of influence from different types of doshas the digestive fires are classified as follows:

Vishama Agni (Influence by VATA): The digestion will be improper, unpredictable.

Teekshna Agni (Influenced by PITTA): The digestive activity will be strong and powerful. A large amount of food will be digested very quickly and there will be burning sensation, thirst, etc. in the body.

Manda Agni (Influence by KAPHA): The digestive fire will be low and appetite will be slow, dull, and inefficient. Small quantities of food take a longer time for digestion, and there is fatigue, exhaustion, drowsiness, etc. during digestion.

Sama Agni (Influence by the equilibrium of Tridosha): The digestion of the food will be perfect in all respects and food will be digested on time and will not have any of the symptoms above.

Koshtabhedah (kinds of alimentary tract)

There are three types of digestive tracts (Koshta):

1. Kroora Koshta – wherein the person will take a long time for digestion. The bowel evacuation will be irregular. It is influenced by Vata.

2. Mrudu Koshta – Sensitive stomach, has a very short digestion period. Even administration of milk will cause bowel evacuation.

3. Madhya Koshta – Proper digestive tract, bowel evacuation at appropriate times. It is influenced by Tridosha balance.

Notes: —With the predominance/aggravation of Vata, the bowel movement is hard ( hard scaberulous feces being eliminated with difficulty and not regularly every day). With the predominance of pitta, the bowel is soft ( semi-solid or liquid feces, eliminated more than once a day, even drinking of milk produces purgations). The predominance of Kapha bowel is moderate ( feces is neither hard solid nor liquid, is eliminated without difficulty once a day, regularly ). It is so when all the doshas are in equal proportion. This is the ideal condition and does not give rise to any disease, while the former two are abnormal and cause ill-health.

To be continued….

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