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...

Now we shall discourse on the chapter which deals with the Rules of Health (Svastha-Vritta-adhyaya). 1.

Health indicates a normal condition of the (three) Doshas (fundamental principles), Agni (the digestive fire), Mala (excrements viz., feces, urine, etc.)[1], and the (seven) Dhatus or root-principles of the body as well as a serene state of the body, mind and the sense-organs. It has already been stated in the Sutra-sthana, that the primary object of medical treatment is to maintain this healthy state (of the body and of the mind) in its normal equilibrium. A brief outline of the means to be applied and of the rules to be observed for the realisation of that end, has also been given before. Now we shall enter into a lengthy and elaborate dissertation on the subject. 2–3.

Regimen of diet and conduct in the Varsha (rainy) season:—

Articles of particular tastes which are remedial to the specific deranged bodily Dosha should be used or employed by experienced persons in the particular season of the year in which the Doshas are respectively aggravated. The bodily Vayu, etc., of a person is generally aggravated during the Varsha (rainy) season owing to a slimy condition of the organism, producing an impairment of the digestive fire as well as goose-flesh on the skin. Articles of astringent, bitter and pungent tastes should therefore be prescribed for a king and king-like personages during those months of the year for correcting or remedying the altered slimy condition of (things which obtain inside) the body, as well as for mitigating the aggravation of the bodily Doshas. The food should be non-liquid and made neither too emollient (fatty or lardacious) nor too Ruksha (dry), and should be composed of articles which are appetising and heatmaking in their potency. Water for drinking should be prescribed according to the rules laid down before (in chapter XLV, Sutra-sthana), or water, heated and subsequently cooled, should be taken in combination with honey, if the sky is overcast with clouds and the air is charged with humid vapours, making the water consequently very cold. 4 5.

The herbs and vegetables being newly grown in this (rainy) season, are (over-juicy and; consequently not very easy to digest; a wise man should, therefore, avoid the excessive use of physical exercise, water, dew, sexual intercourse and the sun’s rays (which might lead to indigestion). One should, in this season, lie upon some higher place to avoid the cold damp due to the emission of earthly vapours at this time. When feeling cold one should protect oneself from it with warm clothes and should lie inside a room free from blasts of wind and with fire burning within. Fine A guru should be used as pastes, and elephants should be used as conveyance in this season. Sleep at day-time and eating before the previous meal is digested should be strictly avoided. 6.

Rules for Autumn:—

Articles of astringent, sweet and bitter tastes, different preparations of milk and of sugar-cane-juice as well as honey, Shali- rice, Mudga- pulse, oil and the meat of Jangala animals should be used in the Autumn (Sharat) season. All kinds of water are recommended in this season as they are all clear and pure at this time of the year. Swimming and (immersion) in ponds full of Kamala (lotus) and Utpnla (water lily), enjoying the moon’s rays at dusk and the use of sandal-pastes are recommended. The aggravation of Pitta in the (previous) rainy season should, in this season, be duly remedied by the use of Tikta-Ghrita (Chapter IX, Chikitsita sthana), by means of venesection or by the use of purgatives. Tikshna (sharp-potcncied or pungent), acid, hot and alkaline articles (of food) as well as the sun’s rays, sexual excess and sleep at day-time and keeping late hours should be avoided. Sweet and cold water and purified wine as transparent as crystals are also recommended. All kinds of water are in this season washed, as it were, by the clear white rays of the autumnal moon and being purified by the rising of the Agastya star,[2] become very clear and transparent and consequently beneficial. Clean and thin clothes scented with sandal-pastes or with camphor as well as garlands of autumnal flowers should be worn, and the Sidhu class of wine should be judiciously taken In short, all Pitta-subduing measures should be taken in this season. 7.

Rules for Hemanta and winter seasons:—

The season of Hemanta is cold but dry (Ruksha). The sun is weak and the atmosphere is very airy. Hence, owing to the outside cold, the bodily Vayu is also aggravated in this season. The abdominal fire becomes dull owing to the internal cold and dries up the bodily Rasa (liquid portion of the system). The use of oleaginous things is, therefore, beneficial in this season. The use of saline, alkaline, bitter, acid and pungent articles of diet (prepared) with the addition of clarified butter or oil are beneficial. Food should not be taken cold, and drinks prepared with tikshna (hot-potencied) articles (such as strong wine should be taken, after pasting the body all over with Aguru-pastes. Baths should be taken in tepid water after rubbing in oil all over the body. Large inner apartments completely surrounded by rooms on all sides and containing fire-pots (serving the purpose of chimneys) should be used as bed-rooms, and the bed-sheets should be silken. Sufficiently warm coverings for the body should be used. Kings (and king-like personages) should lie within the sweet embraces of maidens with big breasts and thighs and scented with the fumes of Aguru, and they can, in this season, enjoy the sexual pleasures to their heart’s content and should take proper soothing food. Sweet, bitter, pungent, acid and saline articles of food and drink, as well as Tila (sesamum-seeds), Masha-pulse, pot-herbs, curd, different modifications of sugar-cane-juice, scented and newly husked Shali-rice, flesh of Prasaha, Anupa, Kravyada, Bileshaya, Audaka (aquatic), Plava and Padin classes[3] of animals, as well as clear transparent wines and all other invigorating articles of diet should be used to his content at the advent of cold by a person wishing vigour (of the body and of the mind). The rules for Hemanta enumerated above would hold equally good for the Sisira (winter) season. 8–9.

Rules for Spring:—

The bodily Kapha already stored in the organism owing to the coldness of the body during the Hemanta season is aggravated during the spring by the (increasing) heat (of the sun and consequently of the organism) and gives rise to many diseases. Acid, sweet, demulcent and saline articles of food and drink as well as those that are heavy (of digestion) should, therefore, be avoided, and recourse should be had to vomiting, etc. Shashtika- rice, barley, articles of cold potency, Mudga-pulse, Nivara rice, and Kodrava- rice, should be duly prescribed after the cold i.e., in the spring with the soup of the meat of the animals of the Vishkira class, such as Lava, etc., as well as with the soup of Patola, Nimba- leaves, bringals and other bitter vegetables. All sorts of Asava and especially the Asiva and Sidhu prepared from honey should be freely used in the spring. Physical exercise should be had recourse to, Anjana (collyrium) should be applied (to the eyes), strong smokes should be inhaled and strong gargles used in the spring. Everything should be used with tepid water and a diet consisting of Tikshna (strong-potencied), Ruksha (non-demulcent), pungent, alkaline,astringent, tepid and non-liquid articles and especially the preparations of barley, Mudga pulse and honey would be beneficial in the spring. Physical exercise in the shape of mock-fight, walk, or the throwing of stones would be beneficial. Utsadana (massage) and bath should be had, and groves should be resorted to. Sexual pleasure may be enjoyed in this season. The bodily Kapha stored in the body during the Iīemanta season should be eliminated by means of Shiro-Vireka (errhines), vomiting, Niruha-vasti and gargles, etc. Day-sleep and sweet, demulcent aud liquid articles of fare as well as those hard to digest should be strictly avoided. 10.

Rules for Summer:—

Physical exercise, toil, hot and excessively drying articles of fare (e.g. those prepared with pulses), as well as those abounding in heat-producing (e.g. pungent, add and saline) tastes should be avoided in summer. Large tanks, lakes and rivers as well as charming gardens and cold rooms should be resorted to, and the finest (refreshing) sandal-pastes and garlands of flowers of lotuses and lilies, soft breeze from palm-leaf-fans and necklaces (of precious stones and pearls) as well as light clothes should be used in summer. Sweet-scented and cooling Panakas and Manthas with abundance of sugar should be used. Sweet, liquid and cold food mixed with clarified butter, and boiled milk sweetened with sugar, etc, taken at night-time would be found (tasteful and) beneficial at that time. One should at that time lie on a bed strewn over with fullblown and fresh flowers in some palatial building with his body besmeared with sandal-pastes and refreshed by cooling breeze, 11.

Rules for Pravrit (rainy) season[4]:—

Articles of the three (viz. sweet, acid and saline) heavy Rasas as well as milk, tepid meat-soup, oil, clarified butter, and everything which is Vrimhana (fat-making) and Abhishyandi (secreting) in its nature are beneficial after the end of the summer season i.e., in the rainy season. The bodily Vayu which is liable to be aggravated and which actually begins to aggravate in the summer should be pacified by wise men with Vayu-subduing remedies. 12 A.

River-water, Ruksha (non-demulcent) and heat-producing articles, Manthas prepared with abundance of water, the sun’s rays, physical exercise, day-sleep and sexual intercourse should be avoided in this season. Old barley, old Shastika-rice, old Shali-rice, and old wheat should be used as food, and the bed to lie upon should be stretched inside a room where there is no blast of wind and should be covered over with a soft bed-sheet. The rain-water (in and after its descent on the earth) becomes poisoned with the excretions, urine, salivation, sputum, etc., of poisonous animals as well as with the poisonous atmosphere peculiar to the rainy season; its use should, therefore, be strictly avoided in this season. The naturally aggravated bodily Vayu (in this season) should be duly pacified, or the rules for Varsha (i.e. the rainy season) should be duly observed in this season[5]. 12.

Whoever observes these rules for the different seasons of the year does not suffer from the evil consequences due to the change of seasons. 13.

Different kinds of food:—

Now we shall deal with the twelve different kinds of food (and drink). They are-Cold, hot, Snigdha (demulcent), Ruksha (non-demulcent), liquid, dry, taken once a day, twice a day, taken with medicine, taken in smaller quantity, taken for the pacification of (any aggravated Dosha) and taken for subsistence. 14.

Persons afflicted with thirst, heat, alcoholism, burning sensation, Rakta-pitta, poisoning and epileptic fits as well as those suffering from the effects of sexual excess should be treated with cold food (and drink); while persons afflicted with the aggravation of bodily Kapha and Vayu as well as those already treated with purgatives or Sneha and those whose bodies are full of Kleda (physical moisture) should be treated with warm food (and drink). 15–16.

Persons suffering from the aggravation of bodily Vayu and from a parched (Ruksha) condition of the body as well as those suffering from the effects of sexual excess and those accustomed to physical exercise should be treated with Snigdha food (and drink); while persons with an excess of bodily Medas and Kapha as well as those suffering from Meha and those previously treated with a Sneha should be treated with Ruksha (or non-demulcent) food and drink. 17–18.

Weak, parched and thirsty persons should be given Drava (liquid) food; while those suffering from Meha and ulcers as well as those whose bodies are full of Kleda (bodily moisture) should be given dry (non-juicy) food. Persons with impaired digestion should be given only one meal every day, so that the digestive fire may have opportunities to) be rekindled; while persons with the proper amount of digestion should be given two meals a day. 19–20.

Medicine should be given with food and drink to a person averse to it, while food and drink in smaller quantity would be beneficial to persons suffering from impaired digestion or any other disease. Food and drink administered with due regard to the bodily Doshas is called Dosha-prashamana; while any kind of food and drink taken for the preservation of life by a healthy person would be called Vrittayrtha food and drink. These are the twelve different kinds of food and drink. 21–22.

Propertimes for the administration of Medicines:—

We shall now speak of the ten specific times (i.e., proper occasions) for the administration of medicines. They are—Nir-bhakta, Prag-bhakta, Adho-bhakta, Madhye-bhakta, Antara-bhakta, Sa-bhakta, Samudga, Muhur-muhuh, Grasa and Grasantara. 23.

Of the above medicines what is applied alone (with or without some vehicle but not with any food or drink) is called Nirbhakta medicine. A medicine not applied with any food (but applied by itself with or without any vehicle) would have greater effect and would soon and certainly destroy the disease it is applied in; but a medicine should not be applied in this way to a child, an old man, a young woman and persons of mild temperament, for it is likely to produce lassitude and weaken the patient (in such cases). 24.

A medicine taken (in an empty stomach) just before a meal, is called Pragbhakta. A medicine taken in such a manner, is easily digested, does not lead to any diminution of strength and is not ejected out of the mouth owing to its being covered over with the meal, On the other hand, taken before the meal, it adds to the bodily strength and proves the most convenient form in which a medicine can be administered to old men, infants, females and persons of timid disposition. A medicine taken just after a meal is called Adhobhakta. It conquers diseases which affect the upper part of the body and gives strength in many ways. 25-26.

A medicine taken in the course of a meal is called Madhyebhakta. A medicine taken in this manner fails to be diffused all through the organism and hence proves beneficial only in those ailments which are confined to the middle part of the body. A medicine taken between the two meals (2. e. after the morning-meal but before the evening-meal) is called Antarabhakta. It is invigorating to the mind, greatly appetising and Hridya (agreeable) and is beneficial in every respect. A medicine applied with[6] any food is called Sabhakta. It is most convenient to administer a medicine with food in cases of female, old and infant patients as well as in cases of those averse to taking any medicine. 27–29.

A medicine taken at the beginning and again at the close of a meal is called Samudga. This form of administration is most beneficial in cases where the deranged bodily Doshas take both the (upward and downward) courses. A medicine taken at intervals, either with or without food, is called Muhurmuhuh. This mode is to be adopted in severe cases of asthma, cough, hiccough and vomiting. A medicine taken with every morsel (Grasa) of food is called Grasa. In this form the medicine in the shape of a powder is administered for increasing the appetite in cases of weak patients. Vajikara (aphrodisiac) medicines are also better administered in this form. A medicine taken with each alternate morsel of food is called Grasantara Emetics and Dhumas as well as the well-known and well-experimented lambatives for cases of asthma should be administered in this form. These are the ten proper occasions for administering medicines. 30-33.

Proper time for taking food:—

The proper time for giving diet to a patient is when he gets free stool, urine and eructations, and feels his body and sense-organs light and free, when he gets free actions of the heart as well as natural courses of his bodily (Apana) Vayu, when he feels hungry (D. R. feels easy) and has got relish for food and when his Kukshi (belly) becomes light (i. e. when his belly appears to be empty on account of hunger). 34.


Thus ends the sixty-fourth chapter in the Uttara-tantra of the Sushruta-Samhita which deals with the Rules of Hygiene.

Footnotes and references:


Some explain ‘Kriyā’ separately as the organic functions e. g. sleep and awakening, etc.—Dallana.


The waters in the rainy season are generally muddy and impure. When, after the rains, the waters become purer, it is said in Hindu mythology that owing to the rise of Agastya (a star making its appearance in the horizon after the rains—generally in the beginning of September) the waters become clear and transparent.


For a list of the animals of the different classes mentioned here, see Chapter XLVI, Sutra-sthāna, pages 480 &c., Vol. 1.


A period of four months has been ascribed to the rains. Of these the first two months are ealled Pravrit, and the last two Varsha—both meaning the rainy season. See chapter VI, Sutrasthana.


The whole of this Para is an interpolation in as much as Jejjata does not read this.—Dallana.


“A medicine applied with food” may mean a medicine prepared before and taken with the meal; or, it may mean that the meal is cooked (while being prepared) with the medicines to be applied.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: