Abstracts - Vimana Sthana

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

Chapter 1. Taste-based factors for the measurement of diseases and drugs- Rasa Vimana

The word ‘Rasa’ literally means taste sensation, essence, fluid, mercury, flavours. This chapter is related with the tastes of food substance and its importance in diet related to health. Dosha and rasa are the prominent factors for the assessment of diseases and drugs respectively. There are six rasas - madhura (sweet), amla (sour), lavana (saline), katu (pungent), tikta (bitter), and kashaya (astringent). These have pacifying and provoking effect on physiological status of dosha in body. This effect of rasas on doshas is due to conjunction of rasas and doshas by virtue of their similar and dissimilar properties. Their proper use in accordance with the body constitution maintains health, otherwise they vitiate the dosha (increase or decrease) which leads to various disorders in the body. This interaction of rasa and dosha is described in details. Eight specific factors of dieting and twelve guidelines about eating food have been described in this chapter, which are of immense value for those seeking a healthy and long life. These rules set the criteria for categorizing food as wholesome or unwholesome.

Chapter 2. Three parts of abdomen and principles of diet- Trividhakukshiya Vimana

This chapter describes the principles of food and dietary intake for healthy living with special emphasis on the quantum of food ingested. It is advised that one must eat in accordance with the capacity of one’s stomach and the quantity of food is determined by the strength of one’s jatharagni (digestive ability). Ayurveda regards ama, or undigested food, as a source of vitiation of doshas (and consequently, a source of various afflictions). Proper quantity of food when consumed will, therefore, be digested in time without disturbing one’s health. Diet taken with proper consideration of agni positively promotes one’s strength, complexion, health and life, while improper quantity (amatra) of food - heena (less) or adhika (excess) - leads to various disorders.

Chapter 3. Destruction/Annihilation of Communities due to natural calamities- Janapadodhvansaniya Vimana

This chapter describes causes of environmental calamities leading to annihilation of communities (not limited to epidemics), along with their remedial measures. The queries and solutions about effects of afflictions caused due to such calamities on individuals whose constitution, immunity, lifestyle adaptations are “different”. Any contamination of four factors - vayu (air), udaka (water), desha (land), and kala (season) - results in outbreak of epidemics. To manage these outbreaks, one has to get hold of drugs that are potent in all aspects (rasa, guna, virya, vipaka etc.) well before any outbreak. Per Ayurveda, sins of the present life or the misdeeds of the past life are the root cause of the vitiation of these four etiological factors of epidemics. Negative emotions like greed, anger, ego, mutual fight, and curses of the wise and the learned can destroy mankind. Characteristics of vitiated (polluted) vayu, jala, desha and kala were explained. Life-span (ayu) of the individual depends on the daiva (predetermined based on the deeds of past life) and purushakara (human efforts in the present life). Administration of cold substances to cure diseases caused by heat or hot substances, and vice versa, was also discussed in the context of jwara and this principle is applicable to other diseases also. All therapies are broadly classified into two categories i.e., apatarpana (depletion therapy) and brimhana (nourishment therapy). Apatarpana (depletion therapy) includes of langhana (reducing therapy), langhana-pachana (reducing therapy and digestion of ama dosha), and doshavasechana (elimination of doshas). Patients who are unsuitable for shodhana (elimination therapy) is also highlighted.

Chapter 4. Three-fold clinical examination for comprehensive diagnosis of diseases- Trividha Roga Vishesha Vijnaniya Vimana adhyaya

This chapter deals with three methods of clinical examinations useful for understanding specific characteristics of diseases. These three methods are aptopadesha (authoritative instructions), pratyaksha (direct observation) and anumana (inference). These methods play a pivotal role not only in the diagnosis of a disease, but also in understanding whatever is knowable. In the beginning, one should faithfully go through the available authoritative literature available in that field of study. As per the guidelines of the literature, the physician should then proceed to perceive the direct observations, by his own senses. Many aspects of an ailment which are not perceivable by senses can be inferred by logic based on scriptures and by consulting experts. In this chapter, a set of assessment criteria has been provided for each method including pointers that help in determining what is to be examined by which method, how should something be examined, and what is to be inferred and on what basis, along with the authoritative sources of knowledge.

Chapter 5. Systemic biological transport in Human Body – Sroto Vimana

Ayurveda describes a systemic biological transport system comprising of gross and minute as well as very subtle channels transporting not only fluids, nutrients and waste products but also energies and impulses in different biological settings. These channels are called as srotas. The srotas are innumerable, but 13 gross channels are clinically approachable and are affected in different disease states with specific manifestations. These 13 gross channels comprise of three channels which transfer life-support substances from outside to inside the body and are called pranavaha (carrying vital energy), udakavaha (carrying body water) and annavaha srotas (carrying food nutrients). Another three channels perform gross excretory functions and remove faeces, urine and sweat and are called purishavaha, mutravaha and swedavaha srotas respectively. The remaining seven channels are for sustenance of the seven primordial tissues or dhatus and are collectively called sapta dhatus. Besides these gross channels, the living body has innumerable micro-channels responsible for secretion, synthesis and microcirculation of different life substances. There are as many srotamsi as there are life-factors operating in the body. These channels are prone to getting vitiated and obstructed, a fundamental reason for all pathologies in the body-mind system. Ama, the byproduct of diminished agni, is the most common cause of srotodushti (vitiation of transport system). There are four broad categories of srotas morbidity viz. hyperactivity, hypoactivity, distortions and swellings, and diversions of pathway. It is imperative to conserve the integrity of the srotamsi for good health. Ayurvedic srotovijnana is a unique approach to the understanding of macro, micro and molecular dimensions of the inner transport system of the living body.

Chapter 6. Classification of Diseases – Roganika Vimana adhyaya

This chapter describes criteria for classification and enumeration of diseases, agni (digestion capacity) and patients. Because of variable symptoms and pathogenesis, the diseases are innumerable and they are categorized in groups. The purpose of grouping is to find common modalities for treatment and diagnosis and it is essential to know the disease pathology at micro level. The source components of all the physical and mental disorders are tridosha (three morbid factors). There are three basic causes, viz. injudicious use of senses, intellectual errors and ignoring the bio clock. All diseases have common origin and pathway up to some level, which serves as criteria for grouping of ailments. The common criteria for the enumeration of diseases include prognosis, severity, location, nature of causative factors and site of origin. Classification of agni on the basis of strength is described in this chapter. Prakriti (constitution) as the parameter for the stratifying and clustering various types of patients and concept of psychosomatic diseases is highlighted. Primary and secondary diseases on the basis of priority of vitiation of doshas are explained for successful management of the disease.

Chapter 7. Types of patients and organisms affecting Human Body – Vyadhita Rupiya Vimana adhyaya

In this chapter, two subjects are described viz. 1. Two types of patients, based on the psychological types and physical strength are seen; 2. Knowledge of micro and macro organisms that affect human body is given. These two topics seem different, however are connected in view of varied response of humans to exogenous causative factors of disease. The first type of responding individual exaggerates their symptoms (guruvyadhita) and other type understate their symptoms (laghuvyadhita). It is important to make correct assessment of their condition to know the prognosis for proper treatment. Knowledge of micro and macro organisms affecting the body, their etiological factors, site (location), classification, morphology, pathology, nomenclature and treatment is described. These organisms termed as ‘krimi’ have both internal and external manifestations. Three internal types explained on the basis of their origin are raktaja (originating in blood), shleshmika (originating due to kapha predominant factors), and purishaja (originating in feces). Three step treatment protocol has been mentioned i.e., nidana parivarjana (giving up etiological factors), apakarshana (extraction) and prakriti vighata (creating unsuitable environment for parasites). Thus the chapter narrates in detail about the methodology of analysis of krimi, their origin and ill effects and also the modes and medicaments to treat them.

Chapter 8. Methods of conquering debate and disease – Rogabhishagjitiya Vimana adhyaya

This comprehensive and detailed chapter deals with assessment criteria of standard quality treatise, the teacher and the disciple, the means for receiving the knowledge from the treatise, method of discussion and its types- friendly or hostile, result of discussion, worth considering or worth discarding. It describes examination of ten entities to understand the state of health of the patient before starting the treatment. For providing treatment, physician should consider the strength of patient, severity of disease, prakriti (constitution), vikriti (nature of abnormalities), potency of drugs, season for purification therapy, and the status of the patients in context to use of drugs. Thus, this chapter gives a glimpse of how advanced the medical education in India was over two thousand years ago and how well the phenomenon of health was understood and managed.