Charaka Samhita (English translation)

by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society | 1949 | 383,279 words | ISBN-13: 9788176370813

The English translation of the Charaka Samhita (by Caraka) deals with Ayurveda (also ‘the science of life’) and includes eight sections dealing with Sutrasthana (general principles), Nidanasthana (pathology), Vimanasthana (training), Sharirasthana (anatomy), Indriyasthana (sensory), Cikitsasthana (therapeutics), Kalpasthana (pharmaceutics) and Sidd...

Chapter 7 - The Enumeration of the Parts of the Body (sharira-sankhya)

1. We shall now expound the chapter entitled, ‘The Enumeration of the Parts of the Body [i.e., sharira-sankhya]’ in the Section on Human Embodiment.

2. Thus declared the worshipful Atreya.

3. With the object of learning the enumeration and measurement of the whole body divided according to the various constituents of the body [sharira], Agnivesha questioned the teacher concerning anatomy. To him the worshipful Atreya replied:—

The Six fold Nature of the skin

4-(1). “Learn from me with one-mindedness, O, Agnivesa! as O describe accurately, the entire anatomy of the human body.

4. There are six layers of skin in the body. These are as follows—the first is the external one or epidermis. The second is the Asrigdhara [asṛgdharā] which holds the capillary vessels. The third is the layer which is the seat of Sidhma dermatosis and leprous lesions. The fourth is the seat of ringworm and other similar types of dermatosis. The fifth is the seat of dry gangrene and abscesses. The sixth is that layer of skin which on being excised, one suffers violent shock and falls into a swoon and which is the seat of boils extending to the joints, dark-red in color, thick-rooted and most difficult of treatment These are the six layers of skin that cover the entire body comprising its six parts.

The various organic divisions of the body

5. The body [sharira] consists of the following parts:—the two arms, the two legs, the head and neck, and the trunk. These make up the hexa-partite body.

The Bone of the Body

6. Inclusive of the teeth and nails, it has three hundred and sixty bones. These are—(1) Thirty-two teeth, (2) thirty-two sockets of the teeth. (3) twenty nails, (4} sixty phalanges in the hands and feet, (5) twenty long bones of the hands and feet, (6) four bases of the long bones, (7) two heels, (8) four ankle-bones of the two feet, (9) two wrist-bones of the two hands, (10) four bones of the two fore-arms, (11) four bones of the two legs, (12) two knees, (13) two knee-caps, (14) two hollow bones of the two thighs, (15) two hollow bones of the two arms, (16a) two shoulders, (16b) two shoulder blades, (17) two collar-bones, (18) one wind-pipe, (19) two palatal cavities, (20) two hip blades, (21) one pubic bone, (22) forty-five back-bones, (23) fifteen bones of the neck, (24) fourteen bones of the breast, (25a) twenty-four ribs in the two sides, (25b) twenty-four sockets of the ribs, (25c) twenty-four tubercles fitting into the sockets, (26) one (lower) jaw-bone of the chin, (27) two basal-tie bones of the (lower) jaw, (28) one bone constituting the nose, prominences of the cheeks and brows, (29) two temples (30) four cranial pan-shaped bones. These are the three hundred and sixty bones Inclusive of the teeth, sockets of teeth and nails.

The five cognative organs and the five conative organs

7. There are five seats of the sense organs. They are skin, the tongue, the nose, eyes and ears. There are five cognitive senses. They are the faculties of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. There are five conative senses. They are the hands, the feet, the rectum, the sex-organ and the tongue.

The heart etc.

8. There is but a single Scat of consciousness viz., the heart.

9. The resorts of life are ten. They are the head, the throat, the heart, the umbilicus, the rectum the bladder, the vital essence, the semen, the blood and the flesh. Of these ten, the first six are considered to be vital organs.

10 The parts of the alimentary tract are fifteen They are the umbilicus, the heart, the Kloman, the liver, the spleen, the two kidneys, the bladder, the pelvic colon, the stomach, the colon, the rectum, the anus, the small intestine, the large intestine and the omentum.

11-(1). There are fifty-six subsidiary members attached to the six main members of the body [sharira]. These have not been enumerated in the foregoing description of limbs. They will be described according to a different method of classification.

11. They are:—two calves, two thigh musculatures, two buttocks, two testes, one phallus, two axilla, two groins, two flanks, one pelvis, one belly, two breasts, two shoulders, two arm musculatures, one chin, two lips, two corners of the mouth, two gums, one palate, one uvula, two tonsils, one tongue, two cheeks, two pinnae of the ears (hollow part of the external ear), two ears, two orbits of the eye, tragus and antitragus, four eyelids, two pupils of the eye, two eyebrows, one nape, two palms and two soles.

The nine orifices

12. Nine major orifices:—seven in the head and two in the lower part of the trunk.

13. So much is perceptible and easy of description.

14. Beyond this what is not demonstrated here is to be inferred. Thus, for instance, there are 900 sinews in the body, 700 vessels, 200 arteries, 400 muscles. 107 vital parts, 200 joints, 29956 terminal ramifications of the arteries and capillaries; and the same number (29956) of hairs of the head, beard and body. Thus, the body-parts which have been described here correctly are visible as far as the skin; parts interior to the skin are to be only inferred. Both classes of body-parts (those which are visible and those which are established by inference) co not reveal individual variation so long as the body remains normal.

The measure of the body-elements

15. We shall now describe those substances in the body [sharira] which are measured in “Anjalis” [añjalis] (a measure formed by joining both hands in the manner of a cup). The measures here laid down relate to the ideal standard. These measures accordingly admit of increase and decrease; these, too, are to be only inferred. Thus, the measure of the aqueous element in the body is ten Anjalis measured with one’s own hands This aqueous element is distributed in various ways; thus firstly it is found in association with fecal matter that is being excessively eliminated as also with urine, blood and other elements of the body; secondly, it is found all over the surface of the body, its seat being the external skin; thirdly, it is found below the skin as in an abscess, when it is given the name of lymph; and fourthly, it is found exuding from the hair-follicles driven by the body-heat, when it takes on the name of ‘perspiration’; all these kinds of the aqueous element are of the measures of the Anjalis. There are nine Anjalis of the first metabolic product of the inges ed food, which is spoken of as ‘the body-nutrient fluid.’ There are eight Anjalis of the blood; seven of fecal matter; six of mucus-secretion; five of bile; four of urine; three of flesh-marrow; two of fat; one of bone-marrow; half an Anjali of cerebrospinal fluid; the same measure of seminal fluid and the same measure also of the vital essence. Thus we have set forth the basic factors concerning the body [sharira].

16. Whatever in the body is predominantly made up of the following is referable to the proto-element earth—parts that are gross; firm, solid, heavy, rough and hard, viz., nails, bones, teeth, fleshy skin, feces, hairs of the head, face and body, tendons as well as odor and the sense of smell. Whatever in the body is predominantly made up of the following is referable to the proto-element water. Parts that are fluid, mobile, slow, unctuous, soft and viscid, viz., body nutrient fluid, blood, fat, mucus, bile, urine and sweat etc., likewise taste and the sense of taste. Whatever in the body is of the nature of Pitta, heat and radiating lustre as well as color and appearance, is referable to the proto-element fire. Whatever in the body is of the nature of inhalation and exhalation, opening and closing the eyes, contraction and extension, movement, impelling, holding etc as well as touch and the sense of touch are referable to the proto-element air. Whatever in the body [sharira] is of the nature of porosity, utterance and the channels that are gross and minute, as well as sound and the sense of hearing, are referable to the proto-element ether. The conscious principle, as also the mind and understanding; are referable to the primordial element—Pradhana. Thus have been indicated the broad divisions of the body-parts as well their number.

17. The constituent parts of the body, if further divided into the atoms, are sure to become innumerable, since such cells or atoms are exceedingly numerous, very minute, and ultra-sensory. In the conjunction and disjunction of cells, the activating factors are Vata and the nature of action.

The fruit of anatomical knowledge

18. This embodiment which has thus been described and consists of many parts, when viewed as an individuality, gives rise to bondage; when contemplated with the analytical outlook, it leads to salvation. The primordial element of the Spirit is not attached to this conglomeration. When all the motivating factors good and ill) have ceased to operate, the process of Samsara [saṃsāra] (the cycle of birth and death), comes to an end.

Here are the two recapitulatory verses—

19. The physician who knows the anatomical enumeration of the body together with a description of all its different members, is never a victim to the confusion arising from the ignorance thereof.

20. The wise man does not come under the sway the vitiating influences which give rise to delusion. Thus, freed of vitiating tendencies, devoid of desire, and established in tranquility, he attains pence and has no future birth.

7. Thus, in the Section on Human Embodiment in the treatise compiled by Agnivesha and revised by Caraka, the seventh chapter entitled “The Enumeration of the Parts of the Body [i.e., sharira-sankhya]” is completed.

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