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 XXVIII - Elixirs (rasayana) to improve memory and life span

Now we shall discourse on the elixirs and remedial agents which tend to improve the memory and invigorate the mental faculties as well as to increase the duration of human life (Medhayushkamiyam Rasayana). 1.


The fruit (seeds) of the white Avalguja should be dried in the sun and then reduced to a fine powder. This powder should be stirred with (an adequate quantity of) treacle and placed in an earthen pitcher which previously contained clarified butter (Sneha-kumbha). The pitcher should then be kept buried in a heap of paddy for seven days after which it should be taken out and its contents given in convenient doses every morning before sunrise to a person, seeking improvement of memory and longevity, after his system has been thoroughly cleansed (with proper emetics and purgatives, etc.). Hot water should then be drunk. After taking the medicine, the patient should enter his room in accordance with the rules laid down in connection with the Bhallataka-Vidhana. After the digestion of the medicine, the patient should be advised to take a cold bith and to partake in the evening of a meal of well-cooked Shali or Shashtika rice with (boiled) milk sweetened with sugar. This medicine continuously taken in this manner for six months would make the life of its user sinless, and extend it in the full glow of health and vigour and in the sound enjoyment of a vigorous memory and of all his intellectual faculties to a hundred green summers. 2.

In cases of Kushtha, jaundice and abdominal dropsy (Udara), the medicine should be prepared by stirring (the powdered seeds of) the Krishna[1] (black Avalguja) with the urine of a cow (instead of with treacle) and given to the patient in doses of half a Pala weight every morning after the sun has ceased to look red.[2] In the afternoon the patient should be made to partake of a meal of boiled rice with clarified butter and unsalted Amalaka soup. A continuous use of this medicine in the aforesaid manner for a month would improve the memory and intellectual faculties of the user, and enable him to witness a hundred summers on earth in the full enjoyment of sound health. Citraka roots[3] and Rajani (turmeric) may be used in the same manner and for similar purposes with this distinction that the dose of the Citraka -root preparation should be two Pala measures (instead of half a Pala as laid down in regard to the foregoing compounds). The rest are identical with the above. 3.

Manduka-parni Rasayana:—

The Doshas of the system of a person should be first thoroughly cleansed (with the help of proper emetics and purgatives, etc.), and he should be advised to undergo the prescribed diet of (Peya, Yavagu, etc, in their proper order) He should be further advised to enter his chamber in the prescribed manner (and to remain there during the entire course of the treatment). An adequate dose of the expressed juice of the Manduka-parni should then be stirred with milk, and should be taken after consecrating it by reciting the proper Mantras a thousand times. A potion of milk may then be taken immediately after. After it had been fully digested a meal of cooked barley grains with milk should then be partaken of; or (the expressed juice of Manduka-parni) with an admixture of sesamum seeds followed by a potion of milk. A meal of boiled rice with milk and clarified butter should then be taken after the digestion of the medicine and should be continued for three months in succession. This would ensure a long life of a hundred years in the full vigour of retentive memory and intellectual faculties, and would impart a god-like effulgence to the complexion. As an alternative, the patient should fast three days and take only the expressed juice of Manduka-parni for these three days. After this period he should live on milk and clarified butter only, or he should be made to take a Vilva measure (of the paste of Manduka-parni) stirred with milk for ten consecutive days which would ensure a life of a hundred years in the full enjoyment of his intellectual faculties. 4.

Brahmi Rasayana:—

Having had the Doshas of the system duly cleansed (with proper emetics and purgatives, etc.), a person (wishing to undergo a treatment of Rasayana) should be advised to take the prescribed diet of (Peya, Yavagu, etc., in their proper order), and should be made to enter his room (Agara). He should then take the expressed juice of the Brahmi in an adequate dose after consecrating the juice a thousand times with the proper Mantras. After the medicine had been fully digested he should be advised to take in the evening Yavagu (gruel) without any salt; or with boiled milk in the event of his being habituated to its use. A continuous use of the medicine for a week improves the memory, leads to the expansion of the intellectual faculties and imparts a celestical glow to the complexion. In the second week of its course it revives old and forgotten memories in the user and adds to his proficiency in the writing out of any book to be written. In the third week it enables a man to reproduce from memory as many as one hundred words if twice heard or read (at a single sitting). In the same manner a (further) use of the drug for twenty-one days removes all inauspicious features whether of the body or of the mind, the goddess of learning appears in an embodied form to the (mind of the) user, and all kinds of knowledge come rushing into his memory. A single hearing is enough to make him reproduce (verbatim from memory a discourse however lengthy), and he is enabled to live for five hundred years. 5.

Brahmi Ghrita:—

Two Prastha measures of the expressed juice of tho Brahmi and one Prastha measure of clarified butter should be cooked with one Kudava measure of Vidanga seeds, two Pala weight of each of Vaca and Trivrit, and twelve (in number) of each of Haritaki, Amalaka and Vibhitaka well pounded and mixed together. When properly cooked, the (prepared) Ghrita should be carefully preserved in a covered pitcher. It should then be taken in adequate doses as in the preceding manner. The patient should be advised to take meals of boiled rice, clarified butter and milk, after the medicine had been fully digested. Under its use worms and vermin would be expelled (from their unsuspected seats in the organism) and creep out of the upper, lower and lateral parts of the body. This preparation would give a favourable turn to one’s fortune, impart a lotus-like bloom (to the cheeks) with perpetual youth, unparalleled intellectual faculties and a life that would cover a period of three centuries of song and sunshine. This elixir or Rasayana covers within its therapeutic range such affections of the body as cutaneous diseases (Kushtha), chronic fever, epilepsy, insanity, and the diseases due to the effect of poisons and to the evil influences of ghosts and malignant spirits, as well as of all other dangerous diseases. 6.

Vaca Rasayana:—

A paste of white Vaca to the size of an Amalaka should be taken with (an adequate quantity of) milk, after consecrating it (in the proper manner). The medicine should be taken after cleansing the system (with emetics and purgatives, etc.) and after entering the Agara (room). After the medicine had been digested, a meal of boiled rice with milk and clarified butter should be partaken of. A continuous use of this elixir for twelve days improves the power of hearing. It increases the power of memory if taken for the next twelve days. It enables the user to remember a hundred words at a time by a thrice repetition of the same (i.e., by taking it for a period of thirty-six days). A repetition of a twelve days’ (i.e., forty-eight days) use of the medicine leads to the expiation of all sins; it imparts a keenness of sight like that of Garuda and enables the user to witness a hundred summers on earth. A decoction prepared with two Pala weight of any other species of Vaca should be taken with milk[4] The benefits which would result from its use and the rules of diet and conduct to be observed (during its course) are identical with those of the preceding one. 7.

Shata-paka Vaca-Ghrita:—

Clarified butter should be cooked a hundred times in succession with an adequate quantity of Vaca. The use of a Drona measure of this medicated Ghrita (taken every day in an adequate dose) extends the earthly career of its user to five centuries, and proves beneficial in cases of scrofula, goitre, elephantiasis and hoarseness. 8.

Measures for prolonging life—M. T.:—

Now we shall discourse on life-prolonging measures and remedies. The powders of Vilva (roots) should be consecrated a thousand times with Vilva flowers by reciting the Sree-Sukta (as mentioned in the Rig- Veda). They should then be mixed with (powdered) gold, honey and clarified butter (in the form of an electuary), and licked every morning. It is thus a combination of medicine and Mantra, and, if used continuously for a year, would remove all inauspicious features (both of the body and of the mind). 9-10.

Every morning after a bath, a man should offer ten thousand oblations in fire and take the powders and decoction of the roots and bark of the Vilva with milk in a spirit of self-control, whereby he would be able to acquire longevity. This remedy should be considered as a good Rasayana. Similarly a decoction of Mrinala mixed with honey and fried paddy and duly consecrated a hundred thousand times with oblations in fire would be considered an infallible Rasayana. 11-12.

The use (of a compound consisting of gold, Padma-seed, Priyangu and fried paddy mixed with honey and taken in (an adequate quantity of) cow’s milk gives a favourable turn to one’s fortune. A potion of milk cooked with the decoction of the petals (Dala) of Nilotpala (in the manner of Kshira-paka Vidhi) and mixed with gold and sesamum seeds, is attended with similar results. 13-14.

Cow’s milk with gold, wax and Makshika (honey), if (regularly) taken after having performed a Homa ceremony a hundred thousand times, should be considered the best Rasayana. The use of the pulverised compound of the three things viz., Vaca, gold and Vilva, if taken with clarified butter, tends to improve the health, memory, intellectual powers and physical growth. It increase the duration of one’s life and brings good luck in its train. 15-16.

A (medicated) oil prepared by duly cooking it with the decoction of a Tula weight of Vasa - roots should be taken by a man after having performed a Homa ceremony with a thousand libations for the expansion of his intellectual faculty and the increase of the duration of his life on earth A Tula weight of barley grains should be powdered. The preparations of this barley powder (gradually) taken with honey and powdered Pippali increases one’s capacity for study. 17-18.

The use of pulverised Amalaka and gold with honey imparts vitality to a dying man. A regular use of the Shatavari-ghrita mixed with honey and pulverised gold enables a man to subjugate even his king. A compound consisting of Go-catidana, Mohanika, honey and gold should be taken by a man wishing a good turn to his destiny 19-21,

Clarified butter cooked with an admixture of the pasted Yashti-madhu and with the decoction of Padma and Nilotpala should be regularly taken with gold, and then a potion of milk cooked with the foregoing drugs should be taken. It invariably removes the evil features (of both mind and body), and gives a good turn to fortune. It increases longevity and makes the user (fortunate like) a king. 22-A.

The Tri-padi (lit. three-footed) Gayatri should be recited in connection with the use of any of these elixirs wheie no Mantra would be found to be specifically mentioned. The use of the foregoing medicinal compounds improves one’s beauty, surrounds a man with the majesty and effulgence of the gods and makes him as strong as an elephant. Constant study, disquisitions (on philosophical and scientific topics), discussions in other subjects, and residence with professors or men learned in the respective branches of knowledge, are the best means for improving memory and expanding one’s intellect. Eating after the digestion of a previous meal, non-repression of any natural urgings of the body, annihilation of all killing propensities, perfect continence, self-control and refraining from rash and hazardous undertakings, should be deemed the keys to a long life. 22.


Thus ends the Twenty-eighth Chapter of the Chikitsita-Sthana in the Sushruta Samhita which deals with elixirs and remedial agents for improving the memory and intellect and increasing longevity.

Footnotes and references:


Jejjata explains “Krishna” to mean Pippali. But both Gayi and Dallana explain it to mean the black Avalguja. It should be mentioned, here, that Dallana recommends the roots of black Avalguja, but we think that its seeds should be taken.—Ed.


Before sunrise.—D. R.


The roots of the Citraka with black flowers should be taken.—Dallana.


According to Dallana, this preparation of Vaca should be prepared by boiling it in the manner of Kshira-paka Vidhi.