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Charaka SamhitaCharakasamhita Sutrasthana Chapter 6 - Tasyashiteeya Adhyaya - Qualitative Dietetics

Charakasamhita Sutrasthana Chapter 6 – Tasyashiteeya Adhyaya – Qualitative Dietetics

षष्ठोऽध्यायः अथातस्तस्याशितीय मध्यायं व्याख्यास्यामः ॥ १ ॥ इति ह स्माह भगवानात्रेयः ॥ २ ॥

We shall now expound the chapter on the “Qualitative Dietetics.”

Thus said Lord Atreya. [ 1-2 ]

Importance of the knowledge of Dietetics :

तस्याशिताद्यादाहाराद्वलं वर्णश्च यस्यर्तुसात्म्यं विदितं चेष्टाहाव्यपाश्रयम् ॥ ३ ॥ वर्धते ।

The strength and lustre of one who knows the suitable diet and regimen for every season and practices accordingly are enhanced [ 3 ]

Enhancement of strength and lustre includes happiness, etc. caused by the maintenance of the equilibrium of tissue elements.

The two Solstices :

इह खलु संवत्सरं पडङ्गमृतुविभागेन विद्यात् । तत्रादित्यस्योद्गयनमादानं च श्रीनृतुञ्छिशिरादीन ग्रीष्मान्तान् व्यवस्येत्, वर्षादीन् पुनर्हेमन्तान्तान् दक्षिणायनं विसर्गे च ॥ ४ ॥

The year is divided into six parts according to seasons. The northward movement of the sun and its act of dehydration bring about three seasons beginning from late winter to summer. The southward movement of sun and its act of hydration give rise to the other three seasons beginning with the rainy to early winter. [ 4 ]

It is not possible to have the knowledge of suitable diet and regimen for different seasons without having the knowledge of seasons themselves. Even though, seasons are to be taken as separate entities, they, taken together, constitute the year inasmuch as the same seasons are repeated in rotation every year. It is only for the purpose of this chapter that number of seasons in a year is given as six; elsewhere, it could be otherwise; for example, in the chapter entitled “Rogabhisagjitiya” (Vimana 8 ), the year is divided into three seasons.

Months according to the Hindu Calendar

Uttarayana (adana kala or the period of dehydration) consists of late winter (Shishir), spring (Vasant) and summer (Grishma)

Daksinayana (visarga kala or the period of hydration) consists of the rainy season (Varsha), autumn (Sharad) and winter (Hemant)

Spring: Vasant Ritu, Summer: Grishma Ritu, Monsoon: Varsha Ritu, Autumn: Sharad Ritu, Pre-Winter: Hemant Ritu, Winter: Shishir Ritu.

No.RituSeasonHindu lunar monthsGregorian monthCharacteristics

SpringChaitra and VaishakhaMarch & AprilTemperature around 20-30 degrees Celsius; vernal equinox occurs in the middle of this season. First spring harvest along with harvest festivals.
Summer/Hot SeasonJyeshtha and Ashadha~ May & JuneVery hot, temperatures up to 45-50 degrees Celsius; summer solstice occurs. This is one of the two typical Indian/ Hindu Marriage Seasons.
Monsoon/Rainy SeasonShravana (Sawan) and Bhadrapada (Bhado)~ July & AugustVery hot, very humid and heavy monsoon rains; begins with the lunar month AFTER the summer solstice.
AutumnAshwina or Ashvayuja (Kwar, Asauj) and Kartika~ Late- September, October & mid-NovemberMild temperatures; 19-25 degrees Celsius; autumnal equinox occurs in the middle of this season. First autumn harvest occurs along with harvest festivals. Some trees in the Himalayas or upper elevations change colors much like in northern latitudes across the world.
5Hemanta हेमन्तPre-Winter/Cool SeasonMargashirsha (Agrahayana, Agahan) and Pausha (Pus)~ Late November & DecemberVery pleasant temperatures; generally, 19-25 degrees Celsius; ends with the winter solstice. Some trees in the Himalayas and other hills complete shedding their leaves much like in northern latitudes across the world.
Winter/Cold SeasonMagha and Phalguna~ January & FebruaryModerately cold, but pleasant during occasional sunshine; temperatures may decrease below 10 degrees Celsius. This season is typical to tropical and subtropical regions because trees actually shed their leaves in this season in tropical areas; starts with the winter solstice.

विसर्गे पुनर्वायवो नातिरूक्षाः प्रवान्ति, इतरे पुनरादाने; सोमश्चाव्याहतबलः शिशिराभिर्भाभिरापूरयञ्जगदाप्याययति शश्वत्, अतो विसर्गः सौम्यः । आदानं पुनराग्नेयं; तावेतावर्कवायू सोमश्च कालस्वभावमार्ग परिगृहीताः कालर्तुरसदोषदेहबलनिर्वृत्तिप्रत्ययभूताः समुपदिश्यन्ते ॥ ५ ॥

In the period of visarga (emission), winds are not very dry as they are during the period of adana (dehydration). The period of emission predominantly shares the qualities of the moon and during this period, the moon, with the unstrained cooling property, continuously delights the world with its soothing rays; the period of dehydration, on the other hand, is dominated by the qualities of agni (fire), so these two-the sun and the wind-and the moon being governed by the time, and nature and the path they follow, constitute the causes of time, season, taste (in drugs and diets ), ( vitiation of) dosas and bodily strength. They are being described here. [5]

During the period of emission, the power of the sun is restrained by various factors like time, cloud, etc.; thus, the sun is relatively weak.

The weaker the sun, the stronger the moon; so the moon shines with its full force during this period.

All the three-the sun, the wind and the moon are not affected by all the factors like the time, their inherent nature and the course of their movement. For example, the moon is not much affected by the course of its movements; winds do not have any course of movement at all.

According to some commentators, the sun and winds taken together constitute the factors for bringing about the period of dehydration while the moon alone is responsible for causing the peried of hydration.

Effect of Adana Kala on body :

तत्र रविर्भाभिराददानो जगतः स्नेहं वायवस्तीवरूक्षाचोपशोषयन्तः शिशिर वसन्तग्रीष्मेषु यथाक्रमं रौक्ष्यमुत्पादयन्तो रूक्षान् रसांस्तिक्तकषायकटुकांश्चाभिवर्धयन्तो नृणां दौर्बल्यमावहन्ति ॥

During the period of dehydration not only the sun with its rays, but also winds with their sharp velocity and dryness, absorb the moisture from the earth. Winds progressively bring about dryness in the atmosphere during the three seasons of this period, viz. late winter, spring and summer, which enhance the bitter, astringent and pungent tastes respectively-all having drying effects and as a result, human beings also become weak. [6]

The winds are neither sharp nor dry inherently; they become so during the period of absorption only due to their conjunction with the sun. During the period of elimination on the other hand, they are not dry because of their coming into contact with the soothing effect of the moon.

The period of adana ( dehydration) consists of three seasons, viz. late winter, spring and summer. The drying effect of the sun and winds goes on increasing progressively during this period. Moreover, the bitter, astringent and pungent tastes, all having drying effects on the body are enhanced during late winter spring and summer, respectively. Thus, in sisira there is enhancement of bitter taste, and the roughness and weakness in the body are of mild nature. In spring, there is enhancement of astringent taste and the roughness and the weakness of the body is of moderate nature. In summer there is enhancement of the katu ( pungent) taste; the roughness and weakness in the body is severe.

The degree of dryness is much greater in astringent taste than in pungent taste-cf. Sutra 26:53. And so, considering the degree of dryness, the enhancement of astringent taste should have been described during summer and so also that of pungent during spring. But inasmuch as the pungent taste predominantly shares the qualities of the vayu and agni mahabhutas, its enhancement has been shown during grisma which also predominantly shares the qualities of the vayu and agni mahabhutas. Similarly, the astringent taste being the outcome of the predominance of the vayu and the Prithvi, is enhanced during the spring having the same qualities. The dominance of Prithvi, etc. during the various seasons is effected by temporal factors.

The physical weakness during the period is caused not only by the sun and winds but also by the production of dryness in the atmosphere as well as by the enhancement of the bitter, astringent and pungent tastes.

Effect of Visarga Kala on body :

वर्षाशरद्धेमन्तेषु तु दक्षिणाभिमुखेऽर्के कालमार्गमेघवातवर्षाभिहतप्रतापे, शशिनि चाव्याहतबले, माहेन्द्रसलिलप्रशान्तसन्तापे जगति, अरूक्षा रसाः प्रवर्धन्तेऽम्ललवणमधुरा यथाक्रमं तत्र बलमुपचीयते नृणामिति ॥ ७ ॥

During the rainy season, autumn and winter, the sun moves towards the south, and its power (of heating) is slackened by various factors, viz. the time, course, storm and rain but the moon is not affected. The earth is relieved of its heat by the rain waters and (drugs having) sour, salty and sweet tastes which cause unctuousness in the body grow during the rainy season, autumn and winter respectively. As a result of all these, human beings also progressively grow in strength ( during the period of visarga or elimination ). [7]

It has been shown above that the drugs having sour, salt and sweet tastes grow in the rainy season, autumn and winter respectively. It might, however, be argued that sour and salt tastes are outcome of the compounds of Prithvi and agni, and ap and agni, respectively. As such there is no scope for their growth during the period which is dominated by the qualities of the moon. But this argument is based on the presumption that the power of the sun is completely slackened during this period. In fact, this is not so. Even when the sun moves toward the south, it does not lose its powers all of a sudden but this loss is gradual and slow. It has already gained enough strength during the course of its northward sojourn; the strength thus gained, cannot be altogether lost during its southward movement at least upto the equator.

भवति चात्र –

आदावन्ते च दौर्बल्यं विसर्गादानयोर्नृणाम् । मध्ये मध्यवलं, त्वन्ते श्रेष्ठमग्रे च निर्दिशेत् ॥ ८ ॥

Thus it is said:

In the beginning of the period of emission and the end of the period of dehydration, weakness prevails in human beings. In the middle of the both strength becomes moderate. (However), at the end of the period of emission and beginning of the period of dehydration human beings get considerable amount of strength. [8]

The period of adana (dehydration) consists of late winter, spring and summer; the period of visarga (emission) consists of the rainy season, autumn and winter. As it has been shown above, generally people are susceptible to weakness during the former while they gain strength during the latter period. But this is a general statement which cannot be taken too seriously. In fact, the rate of weakness or strength is to be determined according to the seasons rather than the period as a whole. Thus, even though the sisira season happens to come in the period of absorption people gain strength during this season; similarly, though the rainy season is one of the seasons of emission, i. e., visarga, people are susceptible to weakness during this season. The susceptibility to weakness or otherwise is in fact to be determined according to the following principle.

As regards the period of absorption ( dehydration), the first season, i.e. sisira is conducive to strength and good health; the second season, i.e. spring gives rise to moderate strength; the third season, i. e. the summer causes weakness. The process is reversed during the period of emission. Its first season, i. e. rainy season causes susceptibility to weakness; the second season, i. e. the autumn gives moderate strength, while the last season, i. e. winter is conducive to strength and good health.

The principle mentioned above is quite simple. One who has gained enough strength during the last season of the visarga kala (period of emission) will not altogether lose it during the first season of the adana kala (period of absorption) even though the weakening process has already started. For example, although the night starts getting shorter during the months of Magha (January-February) and Phalguna (FebruaryMarch), it is still longer than the day by virtue of its having gained considerable length towards the close of Pausa (December-January ).

Thus, the effects of the sun, etc. on the time, season and tastes and bodily strength have been explained; their effects on the vitiation of dosas will be subsequently explained.

Dietetics and Regimen for winter :

शीते शीतानिलस्पर्शसंरुद्धो बलिनां बली । पक्ता भवति हेमन्ते मात्राद्रव्यगुरुक्षमः ॥ ९ ॥ यदा नैन्धनं युक्तं लभते देहजं तदा । रसं हिनस्त्यतो वायुः शीतः शीते प्रकुप्यति ॥ १० ॥ तस्मात्तुषारसमये स्निग्धाम्ललवणान् रसान् । औदका नूपमांसानां बिलेशयानां भक्षयेन्मदिरां शीधुं मधु गोरसानिक्षुविकृतीर्वसां तैलं हेमन्तेऽभ्यस्यतस्तोयमुष्णं चायुर्न हीयते ॥ १३ ॥ अभ्यङ्गोत्सादनं मूर्ध्नि तैलं जेन्ताकमातपम् । भजेद्भमिगृहं चोष्णमुष्णं गर्भगृहं तथा ॥ १४ ॥ शीतेषु संवृतं सेव्यं यानं शयनमासनम् । प्रावाराजिनकौषेयप्रवेणीकुथकास्तृतम् गुरूष्णवासा दिग्धाङ्गो गुरुणाऽगुरुणा सदा । शयने प्रमदां पीनां विशालोपचितस्तनीम् ।। १५ ।। आलिङ्गन्यागुरुदिग्धाङ्गीं सुप्यात् समदमन्मथः । प्रका च निषेवेत मैथुनं शिशिरागमे ।। १७ ।। वर्जयेन्नपानानि वातलानि लघूनि च । मेद्यानामुपयोजयेत् ॥ ११ ॥ मांसानि प्रसहानां भृतानि च । चानुपिबेन्नरः ।। १२ । नवौदनम् । प्रवातं प्रमिताहारमुदमन्थं हिमागमे ।। १८ ।।

During the cold winter, the digestive power of human beings possessing good health (strength) is enhanced due to the restraint caused upon it by the cold wind, so much so that it is capable of digesting any food stuff irrespective of its heaviness and the quantity. When it does not get the proper fuel, the digestive fire affects the nutritive fluids, resulting in the vitiation of vata having cold quality. Therefore, during the winter one should take the unctuous, sour and saltish juices of the meat of the aquatic and marshy animals which are fatty. One should also eat the meat of burrow-dwelling animals and bhrta (a preparation of meat by mincing it) prepared of animals of prasaha type (who eat by snatching). Thereafter, one should drink madira and sidhu types of wine and honey.

If one habitually takes preparation of cow’s milk, cane juice, fat, oil, new rice and hot water during the winter his span of life is never decreased.

In winter one should resort to massage, unction, application of oil on the head, fomentaion by jentaka process ( for details vide Sutra 14:46), and one should reside in an underground residence and the inner heated appartment of a building.

In the winter one should see that the conveyance, beding and seat are well covered specially by heavy wrappers, skin, silken cloth, ropes and blankets. One should wear heavy and warm clothes and should besmear his body with heavy aguru ( Aquilaria agallocha Roxb.). One should embrace a healthy woman with her well developed and plumpy breasts, and with her body besmeared with aguru (Aquilaria agallocha Linn.); then he should lie down on the bed intoxicated with strong passion. One may indulge in excessive sexual intercourse during the winter. One should avoid food and drink which are light and are liable to vitiate vata. One should not expose himself to cold wave. Underfeeding and intake of gruel are also to be avoided. [ 9-18 ]

As stated in the previous verse, the winter is the best season for the attainment of good health. The effect of the season, however, is more felt only when the winter is excessively cold. The process is quite simple to explain. As the application of cold mud by a potter over the furnace restrains the inner heat and thereby helps burning of the earthen pots, so also the cold wind, bacause of its contact with the skin, restrains the outward movement of the inner heat and enhances the power of digestion and metabolism. So, is it not that the cold wind itself is transformed into fire, it rather enhances the inner heat only by obstructing its outward movement.

The effect of the winter on the power of digestion and metabolism is proportionate with the health of the individual. That is to say, the better the health, the stronger is the power of digestion and metabolism. A similar reference is available in the Hastivaidyaka (science of Medicine for Elephants). While explaining the cause of good health of young elephants it has been stated, “Elimination of diseases upon the strength (power of resistance-immunity) of the tissue elements which in turn depends upon the power of digestion; the power of digestion is the bodily strength; bodily strength is the outcome of the cheerfulness; cheerfulness can come only when there is unrestricted fulfilment of desires.”

For winter, heavy food is prescribed-both quantitatively and qualitatively. Unless heavy food is taken, the digestive process cannot function properly. Because, for the want of adequate fuel within the body, the digestive heat would start consuming tissue elements of the body (autolysis) as a result of which the vata gets vitiatied. This also happens because the vata is cold by nature and its contact with external cold wind during winter season renders it liable to be vitiated. This can be neutralized only by the intake of heavy food which provides sufficient heat and also adequate nutrition to the tissues.

The vitiated vata generally brings about both aggravation and reduction (vaisamya) in the power of digestion. But in this case, the vitiated vata brings about only aggravation and not reduction as it happens in the case of medoroga (a condion characterized by the excessive deposition of adipose tissue due to defective metabolism-for details of Sutra 21 :4).

Even though the meat of aquatic and marshy animals aggravates kapha, it has been prescribed in this season because it serves as an antidote to the vitiation of vata which is more harmful. Moreover, to neutralize the vitiation of kapha, sexual intercourse and such other devices are also prescribed for this season. Sexual intercourse, in fact does not only neutralize the vitiation of accumulated kapha, but, it also prevents cold and brings about strength.

हेमन्तशिशिरौ तुल्यौ शिशिरेऽल्पं विशेषणम् । रौक्ष्यमादानजं शीतं मेघमारुतवर्षजम् ॥ १९ ॥

तस्माद्धैमन्तिकः सर्वः शिशिरे विधिरिष्यते । निवातमुष्णं त्वधिकं शिशिरे गृहमाश्रयेत् ॥ २० ॥

कटुतिक्तकषायाणि वातलानि लघूनि च । शिशिरे शीतलानि च ॥ २१ ।।

The hemanta (winter) and sisira seasons are almost similar in nature with the only difference that in the latter, dryness caused by adana (absorption) and cold caused by the cloud, wind and rains prevail. So the entire prescription for hemanta (winter) is to be followed in the sisira as well. One should stay in a windless and warm home-more so during the sisira. One should avoid taking such of the diets and drinks as are possessed of pungent, bitter and astringent tastes which are instrumental in vitiating the vata and are light. During sisira, one should avoid taking the cold diets and drinks. [19-21]

Dietetics and Regimen for Spring:

वसन्ते निचितः लेष्मा दिनकृद्भाभिरीरितः | कायाग्नि बाधते रोगांस्ततः प्रकुरुते बहून् ॥ २२ ॥ तस्मान्ते कर्माणि वमनादीनि कारयेत् । गुर्वम्लस्निग्धमधुरं दिवास्वप्नं च वर्जयेत् ॥ २३ ॥ व्यायामोद्वर्तन धूमं कवलग्रहमञ्जनम् । सुखाम्बुना शौचविधि शीलयेत् कुसुमागमे ॥ २४ ॥ चन्दना गुरुदिग्धाङ्गो यवगोधूमभोजनः । शारभं शाशमैणेयं मांसं लावकपिञ्जलम् ॥ २५ ॥ भक्षयेन्निदं सीधुं पिवेन्माध्वीकमेव वा । वसन्तेऽनुभवेत् स्त्रीणां काननानां च यौवनम् ॥ २६ ।।

During the spring, the accumulated kapha is liquefied by the heat of the sun and as such disturbs the power of digestion and causes many diseases. So, one should administer therapies like emesis, etc. and should avoid heavy, unctuous, and sweet diets. One should not also sleep during day time. At the advent of spring one should habitually resort to exercise, unction, smoking, gargling and collyrium. The excretory orifices should be regularly washed with lukewarm water. One should besmear his body with Chandana (Santalum album Linn. ) and aguru ( Aquilaria agalocha Roxb. ) and take food consisting of barley and wheat, meat of Sarabha ( Wapiti ), sasa ( rabbit ), ena ( antelope ), lava (common quail) and kapinjala (grey partridge). One should drink unpolluted sidhu and mrdvika types of wine. One should also enjoy the blossoms of the woman and garden. [ 22-26 ]

The kapha gets accumulated in the seasons preceding the spring; it gets liquefied during the spring as the body is exposed to the increased heat of the sun during this time. Thus, the kapha, so liquefied, affects both the power of digestion as well as metabolism.

Elimination therapies consisting of emesis, purgation, niruha and anuvasana types of enema and siroVirechana (elimination of dosas from the head) should be administered so as to eliminate the vitiated dosas. Emetic therapy should be administered in the month of caitra only. Sexual intercourse with an amount of moderation is prescribed in this season so as to minimise the kapha in the body.

Dietetics and regimen for summer :

मयूखैर्जगतः स्नेहं ग्रीष्मे पेपीयते रविः । स्वादु शीतं द्रवं स्निग्धमन्नपानं तदा हितम् ॥ २७ ॥ शीतं सशर्करं मन्थं जाङ्गलान्मृगपक्षिणः । घृतं पयः सशाल्यन्नं भजन् ग्रीष्मे न सीदति ॥ २८ ॥ मद्यमल्पं न वा पेयमथवा सुबहूदकम । लवणाम्लकटूष्णानि व्यायामं च विवर्जयेत् ॥ २९ ॥ दिवा शीतगृहे निद्रां निशि चन्द्रांशुशीतले । प्रवाते हर्म्यमस्तके ॥ ३० ॥ पाणिसंस्पर्शैश्चन्दनोदकशीतलैः । सेव्यमानो भजेदास्यां मुत्तामणिविभूषितः ।। ३१ ।। काननानि च शीतानि जलानि कुसुमानि च । ग्रीष्मकाले निषेवेत मैथुनाद्विरतो नरः ॥ ३२ ॥ भजेच्चन्दन दिग्धाङ्गः व्यजनैः

During the summer, the sun evaporates the moisture of the earth by its rays. In that season, the intake of sweet, cold, liquid and unctuous diets and drinks is prescribed. One who takes cold mantha (a type of groat) alongwith sugar as well as the meat of the animals or birds of aried climate, ghee and milk alongwith Sali rice (Oryza sativum Linn.), during this season, does not suffer ( from any diseases). One should either drink alcohol in little quantity or should not drink at all and even if one drinks, he should drink alongwith plenty of water. One should further avoid taking diets which are salty, sour, pungent or hot. Physical exercise is also to be given up during this season. During the day time one should sleep in an aircooled apartment. During the night, after having besmeared the body with sandal paste, one should sleep on the open airy roof of the house which is cooled by the rays of the moon. One decorated with pearls should be comfortably seated on a chair enjoying fans and the touch of tender hands-both cooled with sandal water. One should keep himself aloof of sexual intercourse and should enjoy gardens, cold water and flowers during this season. [ 27-32]

Groat mingled with cold water and ghee-neither too liquid or too solid is known as mantha.

During the summer, alcoholic drinks are generally prohibited. However, for those who are addicted to drinking, it might not be advisable to prohibit it altogether; for them drinking in smaller quantity is prescribed. But for them also, only the drink mixed with plenty of water is prescribed. If the liquor is diluted with plenty of water, it gets rid of its harmful qualities like heat, sourness, etc. If alcoholic drink is completely withdrawn from those who are addicted to it, this may lead to diseases due to the break of habits; so drinking in smaller quantity or drinking liquor diluted with sufficient water is prescribed for those persons.

The word “mani” does not mean ‘gems’ in the present context. It rather qualifies mukta, i. e. pearl.

Gardens, cold water and flowers are to be enjoyed in the midday. One is, however, required to keep himself aloof of sexual intercourse in the entire summer season-both during day and night.

Dietetics and Regimen for the rainy season:

आदान दुर्बले देहे पक्ता भवति दुर्बलः । स वर्षास्वनिलादीनां दूषणैर्वाध्यते पुनः ॥ ३३ ॥ भूवाष्पान्मेघनिस्यन्दात् पाकादम्लाज्जलस्य च । वर्षास्वग्निबले क्षीणे कुप्यन्ति पवनादयः ॥ ३४ ॥ तस्मात् साधारणः सर्वो विधिर्वर्षासु शस्यते । उदमन्थं दिवास्वप्नमवश्यायं नदीजलम् ॥ ३५ ॥ व्यायाममातपं चैव व्यवायं चात्र वर्जयेत् । पानभोजनसंस्कारान् प्रायः क्षौद्रान्वितान् भजेत् ॥ ३६ ॥ व्यक्ताम्ललवणस्नेहं वातवर्षाकुलेऽहनि । विशेषशीते भोक्तव्यं वर्षास्वनिलशान्तये ॥ ३७ ॥ अग्निसंरक्षणवता यवगोधूमशालयः । पुराणा जाङ्गलैमसैर्भाज्या यूपैश्च संस्कृतैः ॥ ३८ ॥ पिबेत् क्षौद्रान्वितं चाल्पं माध्वीकारिष्टमम्बु वा । माहेन्द्रं ततशीतं वा कौपं सारसमेव वा ॥ ३९ ॥ प्रघर्षोद्वर्तनस्नानगन्ध माल्यपरो भवेत् । लघुशुद्धाम्बरः स्थानं भजेदक्कदि वार्षिकम् ॥ ४० ॥

In the body, weakened during the period of dehydration the power of digestion is also weakened. It is further weakened due to the vitiation of vata and other dosas during the rains. The power of digestion in the period is also affected due to gas coming out of the earth, rainfall, increase of acidity in water and consequently vata and other dosas get vitiated. So it is advisable to be moderate as regard to diet and regimen during the rainy season.

One should abstain from taking mantha (groat) diluted in excess, day sleep, frosts, water from river, ( excessive) exercise, moving in sun, and indulgence in sexual intercourse. One should generally use honey in preparing diets, drinks and others.

If the days are cooler due to heavy rains accompanied by the storms, one should take such of the diets as are conspicuously sour, salty and unctuous; this serves as an effective antidote to the vitiation of vata during the rainy season.

More In order to maintain normal power of digestion one should take old barley, wheat and sali rice (Oryza sativum Linn.), alongwith the meat of arid animals and vegetable soup. over, one should drink the madhvika or arista type of liquor, pure rain water or water from the well or pond-boiled and cooled, mixed with little honey. It is advisable to rub the body, apply unction, take bath and wear fragrant garlands during the season. One should wear light and clean apparel and should reside in a house devoid of humidity. [ 33-40]

In the event of the body being weakened, the power of digestion is also weakened. For the power of digestion always depends upon bodily strength.

The factors that cause vitiation of vata, pitta and kapha are the water vapour coming out of the earth, rain water and the acidity of water. The water vapour coming from of the earth vitiates all the three dosas, viz. vata, pitta and kapha due to specific action. The rainwater -vitiates vata and kapha. The rains are responsible for the increase of acidity in water which causes vitiations of pitta and kapha. In fact, the weakness in the power of digestion also causes vitiation of all the three dosas; kapha and pitta are vitiated due to the non-digestion or half-digestion of food; vata is vitiated due to the consumption of tissue elements caused by inadequate production of the nutrient material responsible for the nourishment of tissue elements. It, therefore, follows that during the rains, the vitiation of dosas is caused by the weakness in the power of digestion and vice versa-vide Astanga hrdaya: Sutra 3:43-44.

Even though by nature, honey is responsible for the vitiation of vata, its intake in small quantity is prescribed in order to overcome dampness (kleda) of the rainy season.

When it is too cold due to heavy rains accompanied with storms, the sour and salty diets are required to be taken. Even though such diets vitiate pitta, they are exceedingly useful in overcoming the vitiation of vata, which is the most harmful of all.

Dietetics and Regimen for autumn :

वर्षाशीतोचिताङ्गानां सहसैवार्क रश्मिभिः । ततानामाचितं पित्तं प्रायः शरदि कुप्यति ॥ ४१ ॥ तत्रान्नपानं मधुरं लघु शीतं सतिक्तकम् । पित्तप्रशमनं सेव्यं मात्रया सुप्रकाङ्क्षतैः ॥ ४२ ॥ लावान् कपिञ्जलानेणानुरभ्राञ्छरभान् शशान् । शालीन् सयवगोधूमान् सेव्यानाहुर्घनात्यये ॥ ४३ ॥ तिक्तस्य सर्पिषः पानं विरेको रक्तमोक्षणम् । धाराधरात्यये कार्यमातपस्य च वर्जनम् ॥ ४४ ॥ तैलमवश्याय मौद कानूपमा मिषम्। वसां क्षारं दधि दिवास्वप्नं प्राग्वातं चात्र वर्जयेत् ॥ ४५ ॥ दिवा सूर्याशुसंतप्तं निशि चन्द्रांशुशीतलम् । निर्दोष मगस्त्येनाविषीकृतम् ॥ ४६ ॥ कालेन पक्कं हंसोदकमिति ख्यातं शारदं विमलं शुचि स्नानपानावगाहेषु हितमम्बु 2 यथाऽमृतम् ॥ ४७ ॥ शारदानि च माल्यानि वासांसि विमलानि च । शरत्काले प्रशस्यन्ते प्रदोषे चेन्दुरश्मयः ॥ ४८ ॥

The body parts adopted for rains and cold are suddenly exposed to the heat of the sun with the beginning of atumn so the pitta accumulated during the rains gets generally vitiated. In this season, sweet, light, cold and bitter foods and drinks which have potentialities to alleviate pitta are to be taken in proper quantity when there is good appetite. Furthermore, the meats of lava ( common quail ), kapinjala ( Grey partridge ), ena ( antelope ), urabhra ( sheep ), sarbha (wapiti), and sasa ( rabbit ), rice, barley and wheat are prescribed during this season. Intake of ghee prepared with bitter medicines, purgation, bloodletting are also prescribed for this season. One should avoid taking sun bath, fat, oil and meat of aquatic and marshy animals and alkaline salt preperations and curd in food. One should not sleep during day time and should not expose himself to frost and easterly wind. The water is exposed to the heat of the sun during the day time and to the cooling rays of the moon during night, it is also purified by time and is detoxicated by star canopus (agastya) this is known as “hamsodaka” which is spotlessly clear and is as beneficial as nectar for the purpose of bathing, drinking and swimming. Use of garlands made of autumnal flowers and clean apparel and also the rays of the moon in the evenings are exceedingly beneficial in this season. [41-48]

The autumn is preceded by the rainy season. Thus, a human body accustomed to cooling effects of the rainy season here-to-fore, gets all of a sudden exposed to the scorching rays of the sun during this season. Generally, this causes vitiation of pitta. This can be prevented if proper stepes are taken to avoid the accumulatation of pitta during the rainy season. Unless the pitta is accumulated during the rainy season, the contact with the autumnal scorching rays of the sun may have no effect on its vitiation. the food,

In this season only light food is to be taken. The lighter the greater is the power of digestion. Even though, pitta is identified with the digestive fire itself, it brings about loss of appetite due to an increase in its liquid fraction. As it has been said, “As even hot water extinguishes fire, so does pitta suppress the digestive power.”

Intake of unproportionate diets is always harmful, but it is all the more so during this season because it brings about many severe types of ailments; hence is the emphasis on proper quantity.

Various therapeutic measures have been prescribed to overcome pitta. One should first of all try the intake of ghee prepared of bitter drugs. If this is not effective, one may try purgation, If this also fails to alleviate pitta and there is conspicuous vitiation of rakta, and for that one should take recourse to blood letting. It is very likely that the rakta also gets vitiated during this season-cf. Sutra 24: 10.

In order that the full benefit might be derived out of the autumnal water, it is necessary that the water remains exposed to the rays of the sun uninhibited by clouds, etc. for the whole day and so to the moon for the whole night.

Rain water is polluted owing to its contact with the earth and also because there is an increase of sliminess and acidity. All these are subsided during the autumn and so the water gets rid of such factors which are responsible for the vitiation of dosas. Again during the rainy season, water is infected, so to say due to its contacts with snakes, poisonous spiders, etc. This is neutralized by the advent of the star canopus (agastya) and water becomes free from all its poisonous effects.

The word “hamsodaka” has two connotations. Hamsa stands for the sun and the moon; so the water purified by the rays of the sun and the moon is known as “hamsodaka.” It is known as “hamsodaka” also because this is the type of purified water which swans (hamsa) enjoy.

The rays of the moon are beneficial to the health in this season only in the evenings. They are exceedingly cool in the night and as such they might be harmful for health.

One should simultaneously start following up the prescriptions of the succeeding season and the avoidance of those of the preceding season sometime between the last weak of the preceding season and the first week of the succeeding season-cf. Astanga hrdaya: Sutra 3 : 58.

Principles of homologation :

इत्युक्तमृतुसात्म्यं यच्चेष्टाहारव्यपाश्रयम् ।

उपशेते यदौचित्यादोकः सात्म्यं तदुच्यते । ४९ ।।.

Thus the seasonal homologation relating to the regimen and diet has been explained. Such of the regimen and diets which have become non-injurious to the body by habitual use are known as okasatmya (they form part and parcel of the nature of the body so much so that even otherwise harmful, they do not cause any harm to the body like the poison of a snake). [49]

देशानामामयानां च विपरीतगुणं गुणैः । सात्म्यमिच्छन्ति सात्म्यज्ञाश्चेष्टितं चाद्यमेव च ॥ ५० ॥

The experts in the subject advise habitual use of such diets (including drugs) and regimen having opposite qualities of the habitat of the individuals and the diseases they are suffering from. [50]

For the maintenance of health, it is necessary that a perfect equilibrium is established with regard to the various forces acting and counteracting on the body. If there is an excessive deficiency in any respect anywhere, it has got to be neutralized. Supposing a place is excessively cool, the body would constantly need some additional extraneous heat to maintain itself against the excessive cold of the place. Similarly, marshy lands are by nature dominated by the qualities of unctuousness and heaviness. Individuals residing in such places would naturally be required to becom used to taking meat of animals of arid climate, honey, etc. which are dominated by qualities like roughness and lightness in contradistinction with those of the unctuousness and heaviness which dominate the climate of these lands. Similarly, one should be required to follow a regular regimen on the above lines in order to

counteract the imbalancing forces of these places. The same principle also holds good with regard to the various diseases. For example, if a disease has occurred due to the vitiation of vata, then the diets, drugs and regimen are to be habituated in such a manner that they counteract the effects of the former.

तत्र श्लोकःऋतावृतौ नृभिः सेव्यमसेव्यं यच्च किंचन । तस्याशितीये निर्दिष्टं हेतुमत् सात्म्यमेव च ॥ ५१ ॥

To sum up :

Whatever is to be used and not to be used in different seasons by human beings have been described in this chapter on ‘Qualitative Dietetics’ along with the principles of homologation. [ 51 ]

इत्यग्निवेशकृते तन्त्रे चरकप्रतिसंस्कृते श्लोकस्थाने तस्याशितीयो नाम षष्ठोऽध्यायः ॥ ६ ॥

Thus ends the sixth chapter on ” Qualitative Dietetics” of Sutra Section of Agnivesa’s work as redacted by Charaka.


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