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Chapter 2-Dinacharya, Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutrasthana


After the first chapter desire for long life (Ayushkamiea) Shri Vaghbhat explains the second chapter about the daily routine (Dinacharya Adhyaya) and preventive measures one has to follow for a healthy body, mind, and soul which is also one of the aims of Ayurveda. 

We shall now expound the Dinacharya Adhyaya-chapter on daily regimen; thus said by Atreya and other great sages.

Daily regimen, Ashtanga Hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-2, dinacharya

Prataruthana (getting up in the morning)

The healthy person should get up (from bed) during brahma muhurta, to protect his life. 

Notes:  The last three hours of the night (from 3 a. m. to 6 a. m.) is known as Brahma muhurta, because it is the best time for study and obtain Brahma or knowledge.

Dantadhavana Dinacharya(cleaning of the teeth routine):-

Keeping in view, the condition of his body, the individual should pass urine and faeces, clean teeth with any of the twigs of following herbs –

  • Arka (Calotropis procera), आक, अर्क, मदार 
  • Vata (Ficus benghalensis), बरगद 
  • Khadira (Acacia catechu), खैर, कत्था,
  • Karanja (Pongamia pinnata), करंज
  • Kakubha (Terminalia arjuna). अर्जुन 

Features of the twigs use for brushing the teeth.

  • To use the twig as a toothbrush, the thickness of the twig should be approximately equal to the tip of one’s little finger.
  • It should be 12 Angula length. 
  • The tip of the twig should be chewed a little to make it brush. 
  • Should be free from nodes. 
  • It should be collected from sacred places. 
  • The twig should be of astringent, pungent and bitter ( katu, tikta, and kasya) in taste.

Persons suffering from the following disease should not use a toothbrush for cleaning their teeth. 

  • ajirna (indigestion), 
  • vamathu (vomiting), 
  • swasa (dyspnoea), 
  • kasa (cough), 
  • jwara (fever), 
  • ardita (facial paralysis), 
  • tarashna (thirst), 
  • asyapaka (lacerations of the mouth), 
  • Hrdaya, netra, siro, karna roga (diseases of the heart, eyes, head and ears). 

Notes: — forbidding the tooth brush does not mean that these persons should not clean their teeth at all. 

Anjana dinacharya (collyrium to the eyes):

It is good to apply a special type of collyrium called Sauveera Anjana to the eyes. It should be applied daily. 

Advantages of sauviranjana:

  • Eyes become lovely and clean.
  • Able to see even minute objects.
  • All the three colored parts of the eyes will become well defined.
  • Eyelashes become smooth and firm.

As eyes are associated with tejo (agni) mahabhuta predominantly, continuous use of sauvirahjana provokes kapha dosha. Therefore  Rasanjana (aqueous extract of Berberis aristata), should be applied once in a week, to drain out Kapha (secretions) from the eyes.

Notes:—sauveer anjana is the ore of antimony sulphide, available as shining black pebbles in the river bed of sauvira country (modern Afghanistan and Baluchistan). A kind of collyrium (kajal) was being prepared from this ore along with some other plant products and used in ancient times both as a medicine and a cosmetic. Rasanjana is prepared from the decoction of daruharidra (Berberis aristata). It is an irritant and so used to produce more lacrimation.

After anjana vidhi, navana karma (nasya or nasal administration), gandusa (mouth gargles), dhumapana (inhalation of medicated fumes) and tambula-sevana (pana chewing) are to be conducted.

Navana and Gandusha 

After collyrium application, a healthy person should do Navana (Nasya – Nasal instillation of drops.). For this purpose, milk, herbal decoctions, herbal oils are usually used.

Regular use of anutaila as pratimarsa nasya (administering 2-2 drops in each nostril)—

  • Keeps the shoulders, neck and chest strong.
  • Voice becomes sweet.
  • Mouth becomes fresh and free from foul smell.
  • All the sense organs become clear and strengthen .

After that, Gandusha – gargling with warm water, milk, or herbal decoction or herbal oil should be done. Then Dhuma – inhalation of smoke from herbs and spices should be done, and then betel leaves should be chewed.

Advantages of gargles:

  • Gives strength to the mandibular joints.
  • Voice will be cleared.
  • Gives strength to the mouth.
  • Dryness in the mouth and cracks in the lips are relieved. 
  • Relieves toothache and strengthens the gums.
  • Khadira, ksiri vrksa, irimeda etc. are the drugs of choice for kavala-dharana.
  • Anorexia, foul smell of the mouth, salivation etc. will be relieved.
  • Gandusa with lukewarm water will make the mouth clean and cheerful.

Duration of gandusa/kavala-dharana:

Gandusa and kavala should be done till the person gets watery discharge from the nose and eyes. 

After nasal drops and gargles, inhalation of smoke (prayogika dhuma), use of perfumes and garlands are advised. By the use of prayogika dhumapana, diseases pertaining to E. N. T. (ear, nose and throat) originated by vata and kapha will be relieved.

Tambula sevana dinacharya (betel-chewing) 

The following persons are contraindicated for pan chewing—

  • Ksata (urahksata/injury to the chest)
  • Pittasra (rakta pitta/bleeding disorders)
  • Ruksa (dryness in the body)
  • Kupita caksu (eye diseases)
  • Visadusta(poisonous conditions)
  • Murccha (syncope/epilepsy)
  • Madarta (alcoholic toxication)
  • Sosa (dryness of mouth and tuberculosis) etc.

Notes: —Tambula (betel chewing or pan-chewing) is an ancient custom in our country. Vagbhata in Ashtanga sangraha prescribes two betel leaves, one small sized arecanut, and little quantities of slaked lime and extract of khadira (known as kaca, kattha, etc.) as the ideal combination. Fragrant substances like cardamom, cloves, etc. are also permitted in other texts, but none of the ancient texts mention tobacco, and such other intoxicating substances to be mixed with betel. This custom of chewing tobacco or using it in other forms like snuff, smoking (of bidi, cigarrette etc.) came into vogue during the Muslim rule in India. Chewing of betel leaves, arecanut, lime and other fragrant substances has definite medicinal properties and so beneficial for health; chewing of tobacco along with betel leaves is injurious to health and is the chief cause for cancer of the lips, tongue and throat.

Abhyanga dinacharya (oil-massage)

Conducting body massage on a regular basis will be beneficial. It:

  • Delays aging, relieves fatigue and mitigates vata. Imparts good vision and promotes strength. Increases lifespan and relieves insomnia.
  • Bestows toughness as well as prettiness to the skin and body becomes strong.
  • Oil should be applied especially to the head (head massage), ears (ear drops) and foot (massage on the soles), along with the whole body.

Contra indication:

Massage should not be conducted to:

  • The persons suffering with kapha disorders.
  • During the course of shodhana therapy.
  • And also in the state of indigestion.

Notes :—Abhyanga is anointing the head and body with medicated oil, massaging them mildly and then taking bath with warm water. It is very beneficial not only for the healthy but also for persons suffering from disorders of the nervous system etc.

Vyayama (exercise)

Activities, which produce tiredness in  the body, are known as vyayama. 

Advantages of exercise:

  • Body becomes light.
  • Able to perform normal duties with enthusiasm.
  • Increases the power of digestion.
  • Reduces the fat and body parts become distinct and firm.
  • Patients suffering from vata and pitta disorders.
  • Children, aged persons and persons suffering from indigestion

Strong persons, those who are habituated to take unctuous(fatty) food and in cold and spring seasons (hemanta, sisira and vasanta ritu) do exercises to half of their capacity. Others and in other seasons (grisma, varsa and sarad ritu) it should be done still less.  

After doing exercises, the whole body should be gently massaged.

Disadvantages of excessive exercises:

Excessive exercises leads to the following complications like:

  • trsna (thirst), 
  • ksaya (emaciation), 
  • pratamaka (severe dyspnoea), 
  • raktapitta (hemorrhage), 
  • srama (exhaustion),
  • klama( tiredness), 
  • kasa (cough),
  • jwara (fever), 
  • chardi (vomitings) etc.

Due to excessive exercises, not sleeping in nights, walking long distances, excessive coitus, too much talking & laughing, acts of exertion etc. will destroy the body as a lion fights with an elephant and dies. 

Notes:-The lion though vanquishes and kills the elephant, dies soon after wards due to severe strain and consequent exhaustion. This is similar to impress upon avoiding excess of physical work.

Udvartana ( massage) 

Massaging (with fine powder) in the opposite direction of hair follicles with high pressure is known as udvartana.

By the regular conduction of udvartana—kapha is mitigated, fat is liquefied, body parts became firm and the skin becomes healthy.

Snana (bath)

Advantages of bath:

  • Increases appetite. Heat exerting from the body through sweat pores is being obstructed and sends back to the original place and enhances the power of digestion.
  • Improves sexual vigor.
  • Enhances the life span.
  • Improves body strength.
  • Removes itching, din, exertion, sweat, fatigue, thirst, burning sensation etc.

Pouring warm water over the body bestows strength, but the same over the head, makes for loss of strength of the hair and eyes.

Bath is contra-indicated for those suffering from facial paralysis, diseases of the eyes, mouth and ears, diarrhea, flatulence, pinasa (discharge of foul smelling liquid from the nose), indigestion and who have just taken food. 

Sadvtta (good conduct) 

  • Person should take food after digestion (of the previous/meal), that which is suitable (to him) and in limited quantity.
  • Urges of the body (urine, feces etc) should not be initiated (prematurely) by force.
  • Should not be engaged in other works when the urges are patent.
  • Should not do anything (administration of drugs, therapies etc.) without treating the curable diseases (first).

All (human) activities are meant for the happiness of all the living beings; such happiness is based on dharma (righteousness, right moral conduct); hence every person should adopt (follow) righteousness always.

Friends should be served with affection and good deeds (beneficial acts) whereas others (foes, wicked persons) should be kept at a distance.

Ten sinful acts:

  • Hinsa (causing injury, torture etc.) 
  • Steya, (stealing, robbing), 
  • Anyathakama (unlawful sex activity), 
  • Paisunya (abusive or harsh speech), 
  • Parusa vacana (abusive/harsh words
  • Anrta vacana (scolding, speaking untruth) 
  • Sambhinna alapa (speech causing dissension, separation, breaking of company), 
  • Vyapada (quarrel, intention of harming), 
  • Abhidya (jealousy, not tolerating good of others) and 
  • Drg viparyaya (finding fault, misunderstanding, faithlessness, etc. with scriptures, elders, etc.)-these ten sins pertaining to the body, speech, and mind should be avoided.

Notes: —Of the ten sins, the first three pertain to the body, the next four to the speech, and the last three to the mind.

Those who have no means of livelihood, who are suffering from diseases and who are afflicted with grief should be helped (to get over their troubles) to the utmost extent.

Even the insects and ants should be treated (with compassion and kindness (just as one’s own self). 

God, cow, Brahman, elders, the physician, king and guests should be worshipped.

Never be indifferent to those approaching with real need or desires anything. Don’t disappoint, disrespect, or insult such persons who come to us with requests

One should be very helpful even to his foes, even though they are not helpful. One should maintain a single mind (balanced mind) during (his period of) wealth as well as during (period of) calamity. They should be envious of the cause (of wealth, happiness, well-being, etc. of others) but not be jealous of the effect (money, happiness, etc.).One should speak appropriately to the occasion, with words which are good, in brief, which is not untrue, and which is pleasing.

They should start conversing (with others) first, with a pleasant face; should be virtuous, kind and soft (mild), should not be comfortable and happy alone (should make others also like himself); They should neither believe everybody nor suspect everyone; should not reveal that someone is his foe and that he is an enemy; of someone else; should not make public the insults he had and the disaffection towards the master (his own insults from his master or of his master towards him).

Keeping in mind the nature of the people, one should deal with them in such manner as best pleasing to them, becoming well-versed in the art of adoring others. 

The sense organs neither should be troubled (strained) very much nor should they be coaxed (fondled) very much.

One should not engage himself in occupations which are devoid of the three pursuits [dharma (righteousness), artha, (wealth) and Kama (pleasure)]; should carry on the occupation without going contrary to them (dharma and Kama). 

In all dealings (activities), one should adopt the middle mean only (avoiding the extremes).

One should cut his hair, nails, and mustaches (not allow them grow long), keep his feet and orifices of waste materials (ears, nose, eyes, urethra and anus) clean; take bath daily, put on scents and good dress which is not superfluous but is pleasant to look at.

One should always wear precious stones, potent hymns and herbs (kept inside amulets) on the person (body), one should walk holding an umbrella, putting on foot-wear and looking straight to a distance of four arm’s length in front of himself; in case of urgent work at nights, one should go equipped with a baton, head-dress and an assistant.

One should not invade (temple / set foot on / traverse / occupy) on the shade of a holy tree on which deities    reside (or a Buddhist shrine), materials (or men) of worship, banner and unholy things, heap of ash, husk and dirt, (excreta etc.), sand dunes, boulders, places of bali (offering to gods, demons etc.) and bathing.

One should not swim across rivers with arms, should not walk facing huge fire, should not travel in a risky boat, not climb a tree doubtful of strength; or ride on a vehicle of bad condition.

One should not sneeze, laugh or yawn without covering his mouth.

One should not blow his nose (except for forcing out the dirty excretion); not scratch the ground without any reason, not do disorderly gestures of the parts of the body and not sit in a squatting position for a long time.

One should stop the activities of the body, of speech and of the mind before getting exhausted; should not keep his knees above for a long period (keeping erect legs folded at the knees while sleeping or standing on the hands keeping the legs up etc.)

they should not reside at night on trees, meeting place of three roads, (or place where people assemble for recreation), vicinity of a holy tree (or a Buddhist shrine), meeting place of four roads and a temple (house of god). One should not reside even during daytime, in a place of slaughter, a forest, haunted house and burial ground. 

Do not gaze at the sun for a long time, not carry heavy weight on his head, not see continuously objects which are minute, shining, dirty and unpleasant.

A person not engage in selling, brewing, distributing free or receiving (for drinking) of wine.

The person should avoid the direct breeze, sunlight, dust, snow (dew), hard breeze (whirlwind etc.); should not sneeze, belch, cough, sleep, dine or copulate in improper posture should avoid the shade of a scaffold, places hated by the king (or government), company of wild animals, biting animals and those with horns; of mean, wicked (uncivilized), and very intelligent persons;devoid quarrel with good men; avoid taking foods, copulation, sleeping, study and recapitulation in the two sadhya (the time of meeting of the night and sunrise, of the sunset and the night).

They avoid the food given by enemies, given during the sacrificial ceremony, (that offered by a large group of donors of different castes), that given by prostitutes and merchants; one should not make sound with the body parts, mouth, and nails, nor shake the hand and hairs should not move in between two (receptacles of) water, fire and the worshipful; should avoid the smoke of a cadaver; too much indulgence, in wine (drinking), believing and independence for women. 

For an intelligent person the whole world is a teacher, hence one should imitate the world after carefully considering their meaning (and effects) of such actions.

Compassion with all living beings, granting of gifts, controlling the activities of the body, speech and mind; feeling of selfishness in the interests of others (looking after the interest of others as his own) these are sufficient rules of good conduct (moral behavior)

He, who constantly thinks of (reviews, examines) how his day and night are passing (and adopts the right way only) will never become a victim of sorrow.

Thus was enumerated, in brief, the rules of good conduct; he who adopts it will (surely) attain long life, health, wealth, reputation and also the eternal world.

Notes -These are only a few rules of right conduct; many more are enunciated in the Dharamashastra texts which should be referred to for details; some of the dos and don’ts are in practice while some have disappeared.

As centuries roll on, many changes take place in all aspects of society, political, religious, philosophical, ethical, etc. Some of the precepts and practices relevant and good in the past may be irrelevant and even bad for the present day, while some others will continue to be relevant for all times. The spirit and the principles of health behind every rule of right conduct are to be given importance to and followed, if necessary with suitable changes. They should not be practiced blindly as routine rites, discretion to select the ideal ones is the need of the hour and not total adoption or rejection blindly.

Thus ends the chapter called Dinacharya, the second in sutrasthana of Ashtanga hridyam Samhita composed by Shrimad Vagbhata, son of Shri Vaidyapati Simhagupta.

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