Abstracts – Sharira Sthana

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The abstracts of all eight chapters of Sharira Sthana are presented here for introductory knowledge about its chapters. For more knowledge, the readers can go to the individual chapters.

Chapter 1. Knowledge of holistic human being- Katidhapurusha Sharira adhyaya

A healthcare provider cannot treat an individual without comprehensive knowledge of his constitution. A study of human being can be initiated only after understanding concept of purusha, that means holistic human being, the self (atma), consciousness, the cosmic man, etc., depending upon the context. This first chapter describes purusha in the context of samyoga purusha that means a logical body of six constituents (shad-dhatuja), of twenty-four constituents (chaturvimshati- tattvatmak), or that which is ideal for treatment (chikitsya purusha). The third meaning of purusha is in the context of ativahika purusha, a subtle body that passes on from one body to the next along with the soul. Besides these, there are several other forms or connotations described here in this text. This chapter answers all queries about the soul, its origin, proof of existence, mind, its description, intellectual error and its adverse effect, types of miseries and their causes, etc. Thus this chapter describes aspects of human evolution, spirituality and psychology as well.

Chapter 2. Different clans and aspects of the Human Birth – Atulyagotriya Sharira

Gotra, literally means cowshed. However, in common parlance, it denotes the progeny (or a clan) of a common male ancestor (usually, a rishi, or a sage). Atulya Gotra, or diversity in clans, is what the sages of antiquity professed, thus laying the foundation of genetics in Ayurveda. In this chapter, thirty six specific questions on a wide range of topics such as the contributing factors for embryogenesis, labor, sex determination of the embryo, congenital anomalies, transmigration of the atma, and related phenomena are answered in detail. Apart from these, causes of disease, treatment, preventive measures and the role of past and present deeds of one-self in causation of disease etc. are discussed.

Chapter 3. Factors responsible for Embryogenesis- Khuddika Garbhavakranti Sharira

The present chapter deals with six important factors responsible for embryogenesis: maternal, paternal, atma (soul), satmya(suitability), rasa (nutrient fluid), and sattva (mental strength). The chapter emphasizes upon the fact that none of these factors has the ability to produce an embryo independently, but a combination of all the six is essential for this process. The chapter highlights importance of acclimatization to surroundings and environmental conditions, positive mental strength and self-consciousness for pregnancy beyond mere union of maternal and paternal factors.

Chapter 4. Detailed sequential growth and development of embryo in womb – Mahatigarbhavakranti Sharira

In Charak Samhita, this chapter focuses on garbha (embryo and/or fetus) in regards to the origin, definition of its composition, consecutive development in the womb, factors for growth, destruction and hindering of the birth. Six factors responsible for the formation of garbha and sources of respective organs have been described in detail. Sequential growth and development of fetus has been explained systematically in the womb from first month to tenth month of gestation. Detailed description of garbhopaghatkarbhava (factors inhibiting growth of foetus) and significance of dauhrida (connection of two hearts and its manifestations, mother and foetus) are made clear. Causes of the birth of genetically disordered foetus like putipraja (premature), varta (Female hypogonadism, chromosomalaneuploidy) and trinaputrika (male hypogonadism, chromosomal aneuploidy) are discussed. This chapter also includes the description of classification of sharira (body) and manasa (mind). Further types of mental constitutions based on predominance of sattva, rajas and tamas are sub-classified into 16 types under three major categories viz. sattvika, rajasika and tamasika with their distinguishing features. At the end of chapter, auspicious and inauspicious eight factors for the foetus are mentioned.

Chapter 5. Detailed Study of the Purusha – Holistic human being – Purusha Vichaya Sharira

Purusha Vichaya literally means detailed (or comprehensive) search or analysis of the person (or purusha). The preceding two chapters explained the developmental phase of an embryo to foetus and the birth of the child. This chapter deals with factors that help transform the child into a fully grown purusha. An important message from this chapter is the view that the purusha is a microcosm mirroring the universe, or the macrocosm. This is briefly indicated in the preceding chapter (Mahatigarbhavakranti Sharira, verse 13), where it is said that the purusha epitomizes the universe. All the structural forms that exist in the universe also exist in purusha and vice-versa. A study of the purusha is not simply restricted to exploring the anatomy and physiology of a human being. Rather, the purusha is said to be formed of the same shad dhatu (pancha mahabhuta, or the five fundamental elements, and the supreme consciousness) that the universe is made of. Thus, it signifies an interdependence between the microcosm and the macrocosm. This study underscores that a person – or a human being – should not be seen in isolation, but in the context of harmony between man and the environment.

Chapter 6. Analytical study of the Human body – Sharira Vichaya Sharira

The present chapter deals with various important aspects of physical body from diagnostic and therapeutic view. Starting with definition of the body, questions regarding causes of diseases or destruction of the body, increase or decrease of dhatus (body elements) and their treatment are well answered. Further, factors responsible for the growth of the body, promotion of strength, digestion and metabolism of ingested food (along with action of individual factor) are discussed. In the same context, the discussion regarding body wastes and body promoting elements appear subsequently. At the end, various queries related to foetal development, birth process, life span and time of death etc. are discussed.

Chapter 7. Numerological account of human body constituents – Sankhya Sharira

This chapter is dedicated to numerological account and quantification of human anatomical and physiological constituents. It provides comprehensive knowledge about the organization of the body, its gross and subtle structures. The basic panchabhautika composition of human body is revealed which is helpful in understanding disease pathogenesis and prognosis. In brief, the chapter gives a general picture of how a body is organized by its functional organs, and emphasizes upon the importance of the knowledge of not only gross anatomy but at the cellular and sub cellular level.

Chapter 8. Obstetrics, Maternal Health and Neonatal Care –Jatisutriya Sharira

The word Jati literally means birth. Hence this chapter describes aspects related to pre-conception, conception, methods of procreation and post-pregnancy. It deals with obstetrics and midwifery care, measures for good parental health and effective neonatal care. It also describes pioneering concepts such as architecture of a maternity home, attending wet nurses (and the concept of a milk bank), and well-furnished nurseries. It also prescribes measures for good upbringing of children.