Sushruta Samhita, Volume 6: Uttara-tantra

by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna | 1916 | 113,078 words

This current book, the Uttara-tantra (english translation) is the supplementary part of the Sushrutasamhita and deals various subjects such as diseases of the eye, treatment of fever, diarrhea, diseases resulting from superhuman influences, insanity, rules of health etc. The Sushruta Samhita is the most representative work of the Hindu system of m...

Chapter XXVII - Specific features of nine malignant Grahas

Now we shall discourse on the chapter which deals with the specific features (of the nine diseases of infant life, which are attributed to the influences) of the nine malignant Grahas (Nava-Grahakriti-Vijnana). 1.

Different Names:—

Attentively hear me describe, Sushruta, the origin, cause and medical treatment of the diseases of infancy which are due to the influences of malignant stars (Graha) or demons as well as the characteristic symptoms by which each can be accurately diagonosed. The diseases number nine in all and are called Skanda-Graha, Skandapasmara, Shakuni, Revati, Putana, Andha-Putana, Shita-Putana, Mukha-mandika and Naigamesha or Pitri-Graha. 2–3.

General course of attack:—

These malignant stars (Graha) or demons affect the person of a child in the cases where the directions laid down before (in the Sharira-sthana) in respect of the conduct of the mother or the nurse during the time the child is brought-up on the breast are not followed, and consequently where proper benedictory rites are not performed and the child is allowed to remain in an uncleanly state, or where the child becoming anyhow uneasy gets frightened, is rebuked, or begins to cry. They (demons) make their appearance for the purpose of getting proper respect and worship. They being omnipotent and omnipresent are not capable of being seen by man when they enter the person of a child. I should, therefore, discourse on the symptoms of their presence, as derived from the authority of the sages of yore. 4.

Symptoms of attack by Skanda-graha and Skandapasmara-graha:—

Swelling of the eyes and distorted features of the face and an aversion to the breast-milk are the indications of an attack by the Skanda-graha. The body of the child emits a bloody smell and one of the eyelids becomes fixed or motionless. The child looks frightened, closes his fists (as in a fit of convulsion) and moans a little. The eyes become highly rolling and the stool becomes hard and constipated. Alternate fits of fainting and consciousness, convulsive jerks of legs and hands like those in dancing, foaming (at the mouth), yawning and the passing of stool and urine with the passage of wind are the characteristic features of an attack by the Skanda-pasmara-graha. 5–6.

Shakuni and Revati:—

Looseness of limbs which emit a peculiar bird-like[1] smell are the indications of an attack of the child by the Shakuni Graha. The child in such a case starts up in terror and its body is covered with a large number of secreting ulcers (Vrana), or of eruptions of vesicles attended with a burning sensation subsequently suppurating and bursting of themselves. The face assumes a blood-red hue, the stool (as well as the urine) becomes green and the body of the child looks as if of deep yellow or dark brown colour, fever ensues with an inflamation of the mouth, a bruised pain is felt all over the body and the child frequently rubs its nose and ears—these are the features which mark a sure attack of Revati-Graha. 7–8.

Putana and Andha-putana:—

Looseness of the limbs, disturbed sleep whether by day or at night, loose stools, emission of a crow-like smell from the body, vomiting, appearance of goose-flesh on the skin and thirst are the specific symptoms of an attack of the child by the Putana-Graha. Dislike for the breast-milk as well as an attack of dysentry, (Atisara), cough, hic-cough, vomiting, fever, discolouring of the complexion, and swelling in the skin as well as an inclination to lie always on the face are the symptoms which are exhibited in a case of an attack by the Andha-Putanai-Graha. 9–10.

Shita-putana and Mukha-mandika:—

Constant and frightened startling up, excessive shivering, comatose sleep, constant diarrheic stools and bloody smell of the limbs are the symptoms which characterise a case of an attack by Sh ita-Putana. The child in this case cries almost unceasingly, and a rumbling sound is heard in the intestines. Paleness (emaciation) of the body (trunk) and a glossy line (swelling) of the face and the extremities attended with frightful ness, voracious appetite, appearance of net-like veins on the abdomen and the emission of urine-like smell from the body are the symptoms of an attack of the child by Mukha-mandika Graha. 11–12.


Frothy vomits, bending of the middle of the trunk, anxious appearance, loud crying, upward gaze of the eyes, constant emaciation (fever-D. R.), a fatty smell in the body and unconsciousness are the symptoms which mark a cage of an attack by the Naigamesha. 13.


A stupified state of the child attended with anaversion to breast-milk and constant fits of fainting as well as the full development of all the specific symptoms show the imminent fatal termination of the disease. Otherwise it may prove amenable to medical treatment, if it be not a case of long standing. 14.

Rules to be observed:—

The child should be kept in a clean and purified chamber and its body should be rubbed or anointed with old and matured clarified butter. Mustard seeds should be strewn all over the floor (by a person) in a clean state and a lamp of mustard oil should be kept perpetually burning therein.

Libations of clarified butter with the drugs of the Sarva-gandha and Sarvaushadhi[2] groups and garlands of flowers as well as sandal paste should,be cast into the fire and kept continually burning by reciting the following incantations,

“Obeisance to thee, O fire-god, obeisance to thee, O goddess Krittika, obeisance to thee, O Skanda, obeisance to thee, O lord of the Grahas (which has cast this malignant influence). With head down with deep humility, I supplicate thy favour. Dost thou accept the offerings I have made to thee. May my child get rid of the disease it has been suffering from. Makest it hale and hearty again.” 15.


Thus ends the twenty-seventh chapter of the Uttara-Tantra in the Sushruta-Samhita which deals with the specific features of an attack by the nine (malignant) Grahas.

Footnotes and references:


By the word “vihaṅga” (lit. a bird) in “vihaṅgagandhiḥ” is here meant meat-eating aquatic birds.


The drugs of the Elādi group are known as Sarva-gandha. Sarvaushadhi drugs here mean Yava, Dhānya, Tila, etc.

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