Sushruta Samhita, volume 4: Cikitsasthana

by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna | 1911 | 123,229 words

This current book, the Chikitsa-sthana (english translation), deals with therapeutics, surgical emergencies, geriatrics, aphrodisiacs and various other subjects. The Sushruta Samhita is the most representative work of the Hindu system of medicine. It embraces all that can possibly appertain to the science of medicine. Susruta-samhita is recognized...

Chapter XXIV - The rules of hygiene and general conduct

Now we shall discourse on the rules of hygiene and the prophilactic measures in general (Anagata-vadha-Prati-shedhaniya). 1.

Metrical Texts:—

Now we shall describe the rules of conduct to be daily observed by an intelligent man (after leaving his bed) seeking perfect health and a sound body. 2.


A man should leave his bed early in the morning and brush his teeth. The tooth-brush (Danta-Kashtha) should be made of a fresh twig of a tree or a plant grown on a commendable tract and it should be straight, not worm-eaten, devoid of any knot or at most with one knot only (on one side), and should be twelve fingers in length and like the small finger in girth. The potency and taste of the twig (tooth-brush) should be determined by or vary according to the season of the year and the preponderance of any particular Dosha in the physical temperament of its user.[1] The twig of a plant possessed of any of the four tastes as sweet, bitter, astringent and pungent should be alone collected and used. Nimba is the best of all the bitter trees; Khadira of the astringent ones; Madhuka of the sweet; and Karanja of the pungent ones. 3

The teeth should be daily cleansed with (a compound consisting of) honey, powdered Tri-katu, Tri-varga[2], Tejovati, Saindhava and oil. Each tooth should be separately cleansed with the preceding cleansing paste applied on (the top of the twig bitten into the form of) a soft brush, and care should be taken not to hurt the gum anywise during the rubbing. This tends to cleanse and remove the bad smell (from the mouth) and the uncleanliness (of the teeth) as well as to subdue the Kapha (of the body). It cleanses the mouth and also produces a good relish for food and a cheerfulness of mind. 4.

Additional Texts:—

It brings on a relish for food, imparts a cleanliness, lightness and sense of freedom to the teeth, tongue, lips and palate. It protects the mouth, throat, palate, lips and tongue from being affected by any disease. It arrests salivation, imparts an agreeable aroma to the mouth and relieves nausea and water-brush. It strengthens the religious inclination and gives a lightness to the organs. Hence one should every day use the tooth-twig, but its use is prohibited in respect of persons suffering from diseases of the palate, lips or tongue as well as from Mukha-paka (stomatitis), dyspnea, hiccough, parchedness of the mouth and nausea. The last two lines of the additional text, however, occur in the text in a slightly different form. See the next two lines of the text.

Cases where tooth-brushing is forbidden:—

Tooth-brushing is forbidden to the persons suffering from affections of the teeth, lips, throat, palate, for tongue, or from stomatitis, cough, asthma, hiccough and vomiting, weakness, indigestion, epilepsy, head-disease, thirst, fatigue, alcoholism, facial paralysis, ear-ache, and to persons tired with overdrinking. 5.

The use of a thin, smooth and flexible foil of gold, silver, or wood, ten fingers in length, is commended for the purpose of cleansing the tongue by scraping. It gives relief and removes the bad taste, fetor, swelling and numbness of the mouth, Sneha (oil) should be used as a gurgle (Gandusha) every day (after the cleansing of the teeth), as it makes them firm, and brings on a natural relish for food. 6-7.

Eye and Mouth-washes:—

The mouth and the eyes of a person of sound health should be washed with the decoction of the barks of Kshira trees mixed with milk, or with that of Bhillodaka, or of Amalaka, or with (a copious quantity of) cold water.[3] This procedure would soon prove efficacious in destroying such affections of the body, as Nilika, dryness in the mouth, pustules or eruptions, Vyanga and the diseases due to the (concerted) action of the Rakta and Pitta, and by such washings the face becomes lighter and the sight stronger. 8.


Srotonjana, produced in the river Indus, is the best and purest of Collyriums. It alleviates the burning and itching sensations in the eyes, removes all local pains, secretions and impurities, increases the range of vision, enables the eyes to bear the blasts of the wind and the glare of the sun and guards against the inroads of occular affections. Hence the application of collyrium (along the eye-lids) is highly recommended; but its use is forbidden just after taking one’s meal or bath (washing the head) and after the fatigue of vomiting, or riding, etc., nor after keeping late hours and also not during an attack of fever. 9–11.

A betel-leaf prepared with cloves, camphor, nut- meg (Jati), lime, araca-nut, Kakkola and Katukahva (Lata-kasturi), etc., should be taken (chewed after meals), as it tends to cleanse the mouth, impart a sweet aroma to it, enhance its beauty and cleanse and strengthen the voice, the tongue, the teeth, the jaws and the sense-organs. It checks excessive salivation, soothes the body (Hridya), and acts as a general safeguard against throat disease. A betel-leaf (prepared as before) proves wholesome after a bath, after meals, after anointing as well as after rising from sleep. A person suffering from Rakta-Pitta, Kshata-Kshina, thirst, or parchedness of the mouth should refrain from taking betel-leaf, the use of which is equally forbidden in such diseases as anemia, internal dryness of the organism and epilepsy. 12.


Anointing (Abhyanga) the head with oil is a good cure for the affections of the head. It makes the hair grow luxuriantly, and imparts thickness, softness and a dark gloss to them. It soothes and invigorates the head and the sense-organs and removes the wrinkles of the face. The medicinal oil known as the Chakra-Taila should be cooked with the paste (Kalka) and the decoction of Madhuka, Kshira-shukla, Sarala, Deva-daru and the minor Panca-mula taken in equal parts (in each case). The head should be constantly anointed with this cooling oil. 13–14.

Combing the hair improves its growth, removes dandrifìf and dirt, and destroys the parasites of the scalp. Pouring oil (Karna-purana) into the cavities of the ears is highly efficacious in pains of the jaws (Harm) and of the Manya, and acts as a good cure for head-ache and ear-ache. Anointing (Abhyanga) the body (with oil, etc.) imparts a glossy softness to the skin, guards against the aggravation of the Vayu and the Kapha, improves the colour and strength and gives a tone to the root-principles (Dhatus) of the body.[4] 15–17.


Affusing the body (Parisheka) removes the sense of fatigue, and brings about the adhesion of broken joints. It alleviates the pain which usually attends burns, scalds, bruises and lacerations, and subdues the actions of the deranged Vayu. Sneha (oil) affused on the human organism imparts a tone and vigour to its root-principles (Dhatus), in the same manner as water furnishes the roots of a tree or a plant with the necessary nutritive elements, and fosters its growth, when poured into the soil where it grows. The use of Sneha (oil, etc.) at a bath causes the Sneha to penetrate into the system through the mouths of the veins (Shiras) and the ducts (Dhamanis) of the body, as also through the roots of the hair, and thus soothes and invigorates the body with its own essence. 18–20.

Under the circumstances, affusions and anointments of the body with oil or clarified butter should be prescribed by an intelligent person with due regard to one’s habit, congeniality and temperament and to the climate and the season of the year as well as to the preponderance of the deranged Dosha or Doshas in one’s physical constitution. 21.

Prohibitions of anointments, etc.:—

Anointments of the body simply with (unmedicated) Sneha are strictly forbidden in cases of undigested (Ama) Doshas (as long as the aggravated Doshas of the body continue in an unassimilated or undigested state and in their full virulence and intensity). Anointment should not be resorted to in cases of acute fever and indigestion, nor after the exhibition of emetics and purgatives, nor after an application of a Nirudha-Vasti. Anointment in the first two cases (acute fever and indigestion) serves to make the diseases curable with difficulty and even incurable, while that made on the same day after the application of purgatives, emetics, or a Nirudha- Vasti, tends to impair the digestive capacity, etc. Anointment is similarly prohibited in diseases due to Samtarpana (repletion, etc). 22–24.

Physical Exercise:—

What is (popularly) known as physical exercise is (nothing but) a sense of weariness from bodily labour, and it should be taken every day. After taking physical exercise, the whole body should be shampooed, until it gives rise to a comfortable sensation in the limbs. It makes the body stout and strong, helps the symmetrical growth of the limbs and muscles, improves the complexion and the digestive powers, prevents laziness and makes the body light and glossy, firm and compact. The power of enduring fatigue and weariness and the variations of temperature, thirst, etc., are the virtues which are invariably found to follow in its train. It leads to an undiseased existence and is the best means of reducing corpulency. The enemies of a man habituated to regular physical exercises, dare not molest him through fear (for his strength—D. R.). Imbecility and senile decay never approach him, and the muscles of his body become firm and steady. Diseases fly from the presence of a person, habituated[5] to regular physical exercise and (subsequent) shampooing, just as small beasts do on seeing a lion. It makes an aged and deformed man (young and) good-looking. Food consisting of articles incompatible in their potency, and indigested and decomposed food are easily digested in a man who takes regular physical exercise (and cannot produce any bad effect). Regular physical exercise is (particularly) beneficial to a strong man accustomed to the use of emollient food (abounding in proteid matter), in all seasons of the year; but in the winter and the spring, it is highly (indispensably) necessary for him. A man seeking his own good should take physical exercise every day only to the half extent of his capacity (Valardha), as otherwise it may prove fatal. That amount of exercise which makes the Prana- Vayu come out through the mouth[6] (ie., as soon as hard-breathing would set in), is known as the Valardha exercise. One’s own age, strength, physique and food as well as the season of the year and the physical nature of the country are the factors which should be considered before one began to take physical exercise, as otherwise it might bring on some disease 25.

Consumption, hemorrhage (Rakta-pitta), thirst phthisis, aversion to food, vomiting, illusiveness, weariness, fever, cough and asthma are the diseases, which are likely to originate from excessive physical exercise, and is, therefore, forbidden after a meal and the fatigues of sexual intercourse, in a fit of vertigo and in respect of persons suffering from hemorrhage, phthisis, cachexia, cough, asthma and ulcer. 26–27.

The deranged Vayu of the body is restored to its normal condition by the help of Udvartana (massage). It reduces the fat and the aggravated Kapha of the system, smoothes and cleanses the skin and imparts a firmness to the limbs. 28

Utsadana (rubbing) and Udgharshana[7] (friction) tend to dilate the orifice of the (superficial) ducts and increase the temperature of the skin. Utsadana specifically improves the complexion of females and gives a lovely appearance, cleanliness, beauty and suppleness to the female form. Udgharshana (friction) pacifies the bodily Vayu, cures itches, rashes and eruptions (Kotha). Phenaka[8] imparts lightness and steadiness to the thighs, cures itches, eruptions, Vata- stambha and excretal diseases. Friction of the body with brickbat powders excites the heat of skin, brings on the dilation of the orifices of the bodily ducts, and cures itches and Kotha. 29-32.


Bathing removes somnolence, (inordinate) bodily heat and a sense of fatigue. It allays thirst and checks itching and perspiration, brings on a fresh relish for food, removes all bodily impurities, clears the sense-organs, gladdens the mind, purifies the blood, increases the appetising power, destroys drowsiness and sin, and increases semen. The sight of a man is invigorated by applying cold water to the head at the time of bathing, while the pouring of warm water on the head tends to injure the eye-sight. In cases of an aggravation of the deranged Vayu and Kapha, the head may be washed with warm water, as a medicine, after a careful consideration of the intensity of the disease. 33–35

Prohibition of Bathing:—

Bathing in extremely cold water in winter tends to enrage the bodily Vayu and the Kapha, while bathing in hot water in summer agitates the blood and the Pitta. Bathing is not beneficial in fever, diarrhea, ear-ache, tympanites, Adhmana, aversion to food and indigestion, and in the disorders or diseases due to the actions of the deranged Vayu. It should not also be taken just after a meal. 36-38.


Anointing (Anulepana) the body (with scented pastes) removes a sense of fatigue and fetor and perspiration. It produces a sense of pleasure and improves the Ojas, the strength and the complexion of the body, enhances the beauty and glow of the frame and gives it a lovely appearance. Anulepana is forbidden in those cases in which bathing is prohibited. 39.

The wearing of gems, flowers and clean clothes is beneficial in a variety of ways, as it acts as a good prophylactic against the influences of monsters ancl malignant spirits, enhances the Ojas and the beauty of the body and keeps the mind in a cheerful mood and proves highly auspicious. 40.


Besmearing (Alepa) the face (with scented pastes, etc.) imparts steadiness to the eyes, brings on a broad and graceful contour of the cheeks and mouth, produces their healthful glow like that of a lotus flower and prevents its disfigurement by pimples, moles and such like growths and eruptions (Vyanga). The use of collyrium (Anjana) furthers the growth of large and beautiful eye lashes, cleanses the eyes by removing the unhealthy secretions, makes the eyes more wide and graceful and also imparts a brilliant lustre to the pupils. 41–42.

Devotion to the gods and Brahmanas and hospitality towards guests (Atithi) add to one’s good name, piety, wealth, progeny and duration of life. Food (ahara) nourishes and gladdens the heart and directly contributes to one’s bodily strength. It improves the memory, appetising power, energy and the natural strength of the mind (Tejas), and increases the Ojas and the duration of one’s life. 43-44.

Washing the feet increases the semen (Vrishya), removes the sense of fatigue, gladdens the heart, makes the soles free from all adhering dirt and local diseases, acts as a prophylactic against evil spirits (Rakshoghna) and clears up[9] the vision. Anointing (Abhyanga) the feet (with oil, etc) brings on sleep. It is refreshing and invigorating to the body and the sight, removes all drowsiness and sense of fatigue and softens the skin of the soles of the feet. 45–46.

The use of shoes is efficacious in curing the diseases of the feet and is conducive to pleasure and verile potency. It acts as a prophylactic against the influences of evil spirits, makes walking easy and pleasant, and improves the Ojas in the body. Walking without shoes is perilous to life and health, and is attended with the danger of impaired vision. 47–48.

The shaving of hair and the paring of nails lead to the expiation of one’s sins, make a man cheerful, tend to appease his fate, increase his energy and impart a lightness to the frame. The putting on of armour (Vanavara) improves one’s strength, energy and complexion and gives a lustre to the body. The wearing of a turban (Ushnisha) acts as a protection against wind, dust, sun and light, helps the luxurious growth of hair and tends to improve the purity of the mind. 49–51.

The use of an umbrella is a protection against rain, wind, dust, dew and sun. It improves one’s energy, Ojas, eye-sight and complexion, and is an auspicious thing in itself. The use of a stick (Danda) dispels the fear of dogs, snakes, beasts of prey, (tigers, etc.) and horned animals. It considerably alleviates the toil of a journey, lessens the probability of making a false step and is specially commended to the weak and imbecile. It increases one’s energy, strength and patience, makes the mind firm and bold, acts as a proper support and makes one fearless. 52–53.

Sitting idle (asya) gives pleasure. It improves the glow of one’s complexion, increases the Kapha and corpulency and makes the body delicate, while an active pedestrian habit (Adhva) is detrimental to the complexion. It reduces the fat and Kapha of the body, and removes the delicateness of the frame. Contrary results (to those produced by sitting idle) are produced by excessive walking which further brings on weakness and emaciation of the body. A gentle walk or stroll, which is not very fatiguing to the body, tends, on the contrary, to improve his memory, strength, digestive capacity (Agni) and the functions of the sense-organs. It increases also the duration of life. 54–57.

Lying down in an easy posture on a soft bed removes the sense of fatigue, pacifies or soothes the bodily Vayu, brings on sleep and lost recollections to the mind, is spermatopoetic and is conducive to the growth of the body; while lying down in a contrary manner is attended with contrary results. Fanning with Chowries (Vala-vyajana) is refreshing and keeps off flies and mosquitoes; while fanning (with ordinary fans) arrests perspiration, removes the sense of fatigue and fainting fits, and alleviates the burning, scorching and parched sensations. Shampooing (Samvahana) is pleasant, refreshing, soporific, and spermatopoetic (Vrishya). It destroys the bodily Vayu and Kapha, removes the sense of fatigue and is soothing to the blood, skin and the muscles. 58–60.

A strong wind (Pravata) is parchifying in its effect and injurious to the complexion. It destroys the burning sensation (if any) in the body, allays thirst, removes fainting fits and stops perspiration, but (at the same time) produces numbness of the body and destroys the digestive powers; whereas the contrary results are produced by a gentle wind. The gentle breeze of summer and of autumn should be breathed (as it is attended with beneficial results to the health). A seeker after health and a long life should reside in a chamber, not exposed to strong blasts of wind (Nivata). An undue exposure to the sun (atapa) aggravates the Pitta, but increases the power of digestion. It agitates the blood and begets thirst, perspiration, faintness (sun stroke), vertigo and a burning sensation in the body attended with a discolouring of the complexion, etc.; whereas the contrary results are produced by a (cool) shade (Chaya). A basking in the glare of fire (Agni) remedies the (wrong) coursing of the Vayu and Kapha, removes cold and shivering, digests the slimy secretions in the channels; but aggravates the blood and Pitta. A good sleep (Nidra) enjoyed at the proper time (and for the proper period) tends to improve the growth, strength, vigour and complexion of the body. It increases the power of digestion, removes drowsiness, and restores the natural equilibrium among the different fundamental principles (Dhatus) of the organism. 61–65.

General rules of conduct:—

The first rule is that one should keep his nails and hair short, always put on clean and white clothes,wear a light turban and a pair of shoes and carry an umbrella and a stick in his hand. One should discourse, when necessary, with another in a sweet and gentle voice and his speech should be laconic and pleasing. He should first accost his elders and acquaintances in cases of meeting before they speak. He should be kind and compassionate to all creatures, and be approved of by his elders and superiors. He should be in full possession of resources and in an undisturbed state of the mind. One should not stir out at night nor walk about in the grounds of public executions, undulated places, dens and rocks.[10] He should not go (at night) to where roads cross nor to places covered with heaps of husks, ashes, bones, hair, stones, baked earth and charcoal, nor to places commonly considered as unholy. 66.

Men should never deride a king, nor use harsh and impolite words to, nor act meanly and treacherously towards him. One should not speak ill of the king, the gods, the Brahmanas and the Pitris (departed Manes), and he should never use harsh and slanderous words. He should not tell a lie nor associate with king-haters nor with the insane, degraded, mean and narrow-hearted persons. 67.

Climbing up trees, mountains, ant-hills and undulating grounds, etc., and going up to a waterfall as well as riding on a wild and unbroken horse or elephant are strictly prohibited. One should not descend into an unknown tank, den as well as into the sea or into a river at flood times. Old haunted and deserted houses, cremation grounds and solitary forests should be strictly shunned. One should not come into actual contact with fire, wild beasts, snakes and venomous insects. The site infested with wild beasts, snakes, venomous insects, lizards and horned animals as well as where virulent epidemics would be raging should be avoided, nor should the sites of actual affrays and battles be resorted to, nor the scene of a violent conflagration of fire. 68.

Passing between two rows of fire, between cows, elders, Brahmanas, moving cradles and a married couple is forbidden. One should not (unnecessarily) follow a corpse. Even the shadow of a fallen, degraded and sick person as well as of a cow, Brahmana, divine image, banner or of a Caitya (tree growing on a cremation ground) should not be trodden upon. One should not gaze at the rising or the setting sun. One should not report to another the fact of a milch cow sucking her own calf, nor of her traversing or freely grazing in another’s field nor the fact of witnessing a rainbow or a meteor fall. One should not blow up a fire with one’s breath, nor hit the ground or water with one’s hands and feet. 69.

A man should never repress any natural urging of his body, nor should he pass water or evacuate excrements in an open or public place, within the confines of a town or village, close to a cremation ground or any place of worship, at the crossing of roads, in reservoirs of water or on the high road nor should he do so facing a fire, in the presence of his superiors, cows, the sun and the moon nor facing against the wind. 70.

Scratching (unnecessarily) the ground with one’s nails, etc., should not be done, and one should not yawn nor sneeze, nor raise any eructations nor breathe hard in an assembly (of gentlemen) without previously covering his face. Sitting in an unseemly raised-up position on a couch as well as with extended feet in front of one’s superiors should be renounced. 71.

The hair, nostrils, ear holes, teeth or any channel of the body should not be fingered. The hair, face, fingernails, clothes and the body should not be shaken. Never keep time with music by beating the body or the cheeks with the hands or by striking the finger nails against each other. Never (wantonly) strike or break or cleave a piece of wood or stone or weed, etc. 72.

Never expose yourself to the rays of the sun, or to the gusts of wind blowing in your face. Basking before a fire immediately after a meal or sitting on one’s legs on a narrow wooden stool should not be indulged in. Never hold the neck in a contrary (contorted) posture. Neither do nor eat anything by keeping the body in a contrary posture. Never look steadfastly towards any object and particularly towards the sun or any luminous body[11] or towards any extremely attenuated, revolving or moving object. Never carry a load on the head. Sleeping, waking, sitting, lying down, walking, jumping, running fast, plunging in water, swimming, riding on a horse or in a vehicle, talking, laughing, sexual intercourse and taking (any other) physical exercise though accustomed and recommended should not be inordinately indulged in. 73.

A bad habit should be gradually discontinued and a good one even when (beneficial to health) should similarly be gradually inculcated by a quarter only and not all at once. 74.

It is improper to lie down with one’s head downward. One should not drink water from a broken vessel nor with the help of blended palms. Food, which is wholesome and approved of by one’s physician and which abounds in articles of sweet and emollient properties[12] should be taken at the proper (and regular) time (every day) in a moderate quantity. It is forbidden to take any food in the house of a trader (i.e., of a (hotel keeper) or a courtesan, nor in the house of a wily, degenerate or inimical person, nor at a village- assembly. The refuse of another’s dishes, as well as articles of food infested with flies, insects, etc., or posessed of an objectionable colour, taste, smell, touch or sound or those which produce an unpleasant impression in the mind, or food of like nature as well as those served (handled) by many persons should not be partaken of (in spite of repeated requests in that behalf). It is not advisable to sit down to a meal without washing one’s hands and feet. One should never take anything by repressing a natural urging for stool and urine, nor sit down to a meal just at the break or the close of day, nor in an unprotected situation (i.e. without any shade, or without something to sit upon). One should not take his meal after the expiry of the (daily) appointed time nor in an insufficient or inordinate quantity, nor partake of food whose Sneha (oleaginous substance) has been removed. 75.

Metrical Text:—

It is forbidden to see one’s image reflected in water, nor is it advisable to plunge naked into water. Curd should never be taken at night, nor should it be taken (at all) without sugar[13] or clarified butter, nor without saturating it with Mudga - soup or the admixture of honey, nor without (the expressed juice of) the Amalaka, nor with any hot substance[14] or article, as otherwise it may bring on Kushtha (cutaneous affections), erysipelas, etc. 76-77.

Exercise, addiction to wine, gambling and music are bad. One should not bear witness to any fact (before a law court), nor stand surety for any body. One should not use the shoe, umbrella, garland (of flowers), ornaments or ragged clothes previously used by another. Never defile a Brahmana, or a fire, or a cow by touching them before washing (your hands and mouth) after eating. 78.

Memorable Verses:—

The general rules of (good) conduct are described above. Health, wealth and longevity never fall to the lot of those who do not follow these rules of conduct. A wise man should take food of such tastes (Rasa) in any particular season of the year as is antidotal to the bodily Dosha which is naturally aggravated in that season. 79-80.

Rules of drinking water, etc.:—

Water should not betaken during the rainy season and only in moderate quantities in autumn. Water may be sparingly taken during the first four months of the rainy season (if found to be indispensably necessary). Hot water should be taken in winter and spring (Vasanta),

but cold water to one’s fill in summer. Shidhu and Arishta should be taken in winter and spring. Water boiled and subsequently cooled should be drunk in summer and meat-juice in Pravrit. Yusha (Mudga- soup, etc.,) should be taken in the rainy season and cold water after the expiry of the rains. These rules should be observed only by persons in sound health, whereas the rules regarding persons suffering from any disease should be regulated by the prescription of any diet according to the particular Doshas involved in each case. 81-82.

Any Sneha (such as oil or clarified butter) saturated with powdered Saindhava salt and Pippali should be regularly taken for the purpose of improving the digestive capacity. The natural urging of the body should never be repressed (as a repressed physical propulsion is sure to usher in a physical distemper). A Sneha (oleaginous substance) should be freely and largely used during the Pravrit and the spring seasons as well as in antumn (Sharat) as such a proceeding would act as a good appetising measure and a cure for diseases. Emetics, purgatives and applications of Vastis are respectively beneficial in diseases due to the actions of the deranged Kapha, Pitta andVayu, whereas a regular course of physical exercise tends (equally) to curb an aggravation of all the three preceding Doshas of the body, so much so that their aggravation can never be detected in persons in the habit of taking it regularly every day, though otherwise addicted to an incompatible diet, etc. 83-86.

The attention should not be diverted to any other subject at the time of urination, defecation, sexual intercourse, taking of food, as well as at the time of taking emetics and purgatives, etc. It is not wise to anticipate and indulge in the gloomy thoughts of a future and probable invasion of a disease, and to suffer any physical privation on that account. 87-88.

All sexual excesses should be studiously abstained inasmuch as they are sure to produce Shula (colic), cough, asthma, fever, emaciation, phthisis, jaundice, epilepsy, convulsions, etc. A person, who is moderate in sexual intercourse, lives a long life, becomes good-looking, healthy, strong and firm in his nerves and muscles, and becomes capable of averting (untimely) decay. One may visit his wife (lit. a woman) on each fourth night in all the seasons of the year except in summer when he may see her once a fortnight. 89-A.

Women unfit to visit:—

A woman in her menses, not amorously disposed, uncleanly in her habits, not sufficiently endeared and endearing and belonging to a higher social order,[15] older than one’s self, affected with any disease, wanting in any limbs, inimically disposed to one’s self, in her period of gestation, suffering from any uterine disorder, belonging to his own blood (Gotra), or leading the life of an anchorite, or who is his preceptor’s wife, should not be gone unto by a man (seeking health and longevity). A woman should not be gone unto in the Sandhyas (morning and evening), as well as on the Parva days[16] (prescribed in the Shastras), early in the morning, at mid-day, or in the dead of night. Going unto a woman at an infamous, unwholesome, or exposed place is similarly forbidden. Sexual intercourse by a man who is hungry, or thirsty, or who may be suffering from any disease, or may be angry, or in a cheerless spirit, is strictly forbidden. A man should not go unto a woman by repressing a natural urging for Vata (flatus), stool or urine, or if he is in a weak state of health, (as it would be highly injurious to his health). Incest with lower animals, unnatural sexual intercourse, obstruction of semen in its passage, as well as sexual intercourse with a woman having any vaginal disease are strictly forbidden even in respect of a strong person. 89-B.

It is highly injurious for a man to indulge excessively in sexual intercourse, or to enjoy it while standing, or while lying on his back, or to shake his head at the time; these should not be indulged in by an intelligent and judicious person even (occasionally for pleasure’s sake. 89-C.

Evil effects of the foregoing abuses:—

Visiting a woman in her menses results in the loss of sight, longevity and vital power, and should be accordingly considered as a sinful act. The duration of a man’s life ìs diminished by going unto a woman, older in age or higher in social status (Varna), or unto the wife of his preceptor or superior, in the morning or the evening, or on the Parva days (the interdicted days), or unto a woman belonging to the same blood, as he. A visit to a woman big with child is extremely painful and injurious to the fetus confined in the womb. A visit to a diseased woman results in the loss of the man’s vital power. A going unto a deformed, uncleanly, spiteful, non amorous, or sterile woman, or at an unclean, infamous, or exposed place is detrimental to the semen and intellect of the visitor 89-D.

Similarly, sexual intercourse enjoyed by a man at noon time, or by one who is in an enfeebled, thirsty, or hungry state of the body, in a standing up posture, or in a cheerless mood, brings on an excessive loss of semen and aggravation of the bodily Vayu. Phthisis due to the loss of semen is the result of over-intemperance in sexual matters. Pain, enlargement of the spleen, epilepsy and even death may follow from sexual gratifications in a diseased state of health. The Vayu and the Pitta become aggravated by the sexual intercourse enjoyed early in the morning or at midnight. An incest with lower animals, unnatural sexual intercourse, or that with a woman having a diseased vagina is attended with an excessive loss of semen and an aggravation of the bodily Vayu, and is the cause of Upadamsha (syphilitic virus). An act of coition enjoyed by holding the woman on one’s bosom or by repressing the natural urgings towards urination or defecation, as well as a repressing of seminal discharge would help the early formation of seminal concretions (in the bladder). 89-E.

Hence these (injurious and harmful) practices should be shunned by a man for his welfare in this life as well as for that in the next. On the contrary, repression of a natural and (legitimate) sexual desire, from a sense of unwise delicacy or shame, is a physical sin.[17] Hence a healthy and passionate man possessed of the necessary fecundating element, under the course of a proper Vaji- karana (aphrodisiac) remedy, should cheerfully go unto and duly enjoy the pleasures of company with a girl, beautiful in looks, tender in years, modest, virtuous, equally passionate, cheerful, kindred to him both in physical and mental temperaments, and well-decked with ornaments. Fatigue after coition should be removed by the enjoyment of a bath[18], a cool breeze, or a sound sleep. Food or milk, saturated with sugar, and meat-juice, prove very refreshing after the act. 89.


Thus ends the Twenty-fourth Chapter in the Chikitsita Sthana of the Sushruta Samhita which deals with the rules of Hygiene and the prophylactic measures in general.

Footnotes and references:


A man of a Kaphaja temperament should use a twig of a plant possessed of a pungent taste (Tikta) in brushing his teeth. A man of a Pittaja temperament should brush his teeth with a twig possessed of a s wēet taste (Madhura), while a man of a Vatika temperament (nervous) should use that with an astringent (Kasaya) taste. This rule should be observed even in respect of the preponderant Doshas of the body, in a disease.


The term “Tri-varga” generally means Tri-katu, Tri-phala and Tri-mada. Dallana explains it as meaning Tri-sugandhi, i.e., Tvak, Ela and Patra.—Ed.


Gayadasa interprets that the mouth should be washed with the decoction of Bhillodaka and the eyes with that of Amalaka. He also interprets that the eyes and the mouth may both, however, be washed with cold water.

Perhaps Gayadasa was of opinion that the decoction of Amalaka, being astringent, might arrest the dilatation of the pupils due to age, and so help to keep the eye-sight unimpaired. Others explain that the mouth should be washed with the decoctions of Bhillodaka and of Amalaka, and the eyes with cold water. The decoctions, however, if used as an eye-wash, should be used in a cold state.—Ed.


Rubbed on the body and allowed to stand or kept unwiped, the Sneha (oil) reaches down the skin, through the hair-follicles in the course of time necessary to utter four hundred Matras. It reaches the principle of blood in the course of that necessary to utter five hundred Matras, and to the principle of flesh in the course of that necessary to utter six hundred Matras. It penetrates further to the principle of fat in the course of that necessary to utter seven hundred Matras, and to the principle of bone in the course of that necessary to utter eight hundred Matras, and lastly to the principle of marrow in the course of that necessary to utter nine hundred Matras. It successively cures the diseases respectively located in those principles.—Dallana.


Dallana’s reading here evidently is “vyayamasvinnagatrasya” in place of “vyayamakṣuṇagatrasya |”. This would mean “of one taking so much exercise as produces sweat.”


According to several authorities, the appearance of perspiration on the nose, the axilla, the forehead and in the joints of the hands and the legs and dryness of the mouth are the symptoms which indicate that one has taken Valardha physical exercise (i.e., to the half extent of his capacity).—Dallana.


Utsadana and Udgharshana are the two kinds of rubbing the body with medicinal powders with and without a Sneha respectively.


Phenaka is a kind of friction of the body with small wooden rollers,


Dallana explains that washing the feet keeps the nerve (Nadi) joining the soles with the eyes cool and thus helps to clear up the vision. There is a custom of frequently washing the feet amongst the Hindus most probably on this account.—Ed.


The text has Indra-kila which means a hilly country inhabited by barbarous people.


Some explain “Jyotish” as a blaze of fire and others explain it as stars.


The framers of the Ayurveda were aware of the fact that the human system is incapable of directly assimilating starchy substances without converting them into sugar. This has been emphasised in the Sutra- Shana, where Sushruta insists that a food stuff, in order to be worthy of the epithet, must be Madhura (i.e., of sweet flavour) and contain a large qnantity of proteid matter such as is found in milk, butter, meat, etc,—Ed.


Dallana adds that curd should not be taken without an addition of water and salt as well. This is also the practice in general.


All the existing editions of the Sushruta Samhita read “noṣnaiḥ” (i.e., curd should not be taken with any “hot” substance). Here it should be noted that the term “hot” may also include the substances which are heatmaking in their potency. Here, however, the reading seems to be incorrect. The lines are found verbatim in the work of Charaka, where he reads “noṣṇaṃ,” i.e., hot curd should not be taken, since it produces, as he himself tells us later on, an aggravation of the blood and the Pitta.—Ed.


The text has “Varna-Vriddha” which literally means superior to the man in respect of Varna or the magnetic vibrations of the body, which are determined by one’s birth in a certain family. It means several castes of the Hindus.—Ed.


The Parva days are the 8th, the 14th and 15th days of either fortnights and the last days of the solar months.—Ed.


It should be always borne in mind that God has implanted this desire in the mind of man and provided him with the necessary organic appendages only for the propagation of his species and not for the gratification of any diseased or morbid sexual propensity which is found nowhere else in Nature save and except in debauched human subjects and which lowers them even below the level of brutes. Hence love should be the essence of the bond which binds a couple and converts them into a kind of human centaur, the man and the wife, and union sexually considered, should be effected only under the promptings of that sacred instinct in Nature which makes the lilies blow and causes the pollens to unite their fecundating principles with one another and which a healthy unsophisticated human heart can instinctively read as the seed time of youthful exuberance.


A bath is recommended for a man of strong virile power, in case of sexual intercourse in the day time or it may be possible to take a bath early in summer nights.—Dallana.

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