Padartha means an object or meaning derived through an aphorism (sutra) or a term (pada). It is described as an entity that reflects the meaning of one, two, or many words. Ayurveda follows Vaisheshika's philosophy while describing padartha for disease prevention and treatment. It does not include non-existence (abhava). Sankhya and Vaisheshika state that any object denoted by a word ‘(pada)’ is termed as ‘padartha’. Therefore, all the substances, qualities, actions, specialities, mutual relations, and negations fall under ‘Padartha’.[K.V.L Narasimhacharyulu, Padartha Vijnana p.29][1] It is thus the group of alphabets that has the power to denote the meaning of any object.[2] The padartha vijnana is a particular branch incorporated by Ayurveda and philosophical sciences to obtain specialized knowledge of all knowable objects. Padartha are described as entities that exist (astitvam), are knowable (jneyatvam), and are denoted with a name (abhidheyatva). [SAT A.115] Padartha translates as substance or matter in the perspective of contemporary science. However, the substance is a material that possesses physical properties. It is the matter or material entity having definite characteristics.[3] However, Ayurveda explores the entity of padartha as a broad term. It refers to every entity with a specific derived and applied meaning in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. This article describes the concept of padartha according to Ayurveda and its utilities.

Section/Chapter Concepts/Padartha
Authors Bhojani M. K. 1, Joglekar A. A.2
Reviewers Jamdade Y.3 Basisht G.4
Editor Deole Y.S.5

1 Department of Sharira Kriya, All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, India

2Department of Samhita Siddhant, All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, India

3 Department of Samhita Siddhant, College of Ayurveda and Research Centre, Nigdi, Pune, India

4 Rheumatologist, Orlando, Florida, USA

5 Department of Kayachikitsa, G.J.Patel Institute of Ayurvedic Studies and Research, New Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat, India
Correspondence emails,
Publisher Charak Samhita Research, Training and Development Centre, I.T.R.A., Jamnagar, India
Date of first publication: May 27, 2022
DOI 10.47468/CSNE.2022.e01.s09.099

Derivation and meaning

The term ‘padartha’ comprises two terms namely ‘Pada’ and ‘Artha’. Pada refers to any object, a word or an inflected word or the stem of a noun in the middle cases, and before some taddhitas (derivative noun or an affix forming nouns from other nouns)[Monnier Williams dictionary][4], a portion of a verse, quarter, or line of a stanza, pretext or part or portion of subject.[4]

The term 'artha’ refers to aim, purpose or meaning.[Monnier Williams dictionary][4] Thus, the term ‘Padartha’ denotes the meaning of any specific term. Padartha corresponds to a thing, material, man, object, purpose. He also explains it as category, subject, and predicament. [Monnier Williams dictionary][4]

Charaka has listed padartha under the heading of tantra yukti. [Cha.Sa.Siddhi Sthana 12/41] Chakrapani has elaborated this concept as a means to understand the meaning of a single term or group of terms. He explains that the term Ayurveda is the combination of two terms Ayu and Veda. The meaning of Ayu is life, and Veda refers to science. [Chakrapani on Cha.Sa.Siddhi Sthana 12/41]

The meaning of one word, two words, and more than two words is collectively called as ’padartha’. [Su.Sa.Uttara Sthana 65/10][5] It denotes the word's exact meaning that is understood after relating it with previous or subsequent words in the context or sentence. For instance, when the word ‘vedotpatti’ is mentioned in the first chapter of 'Sutra Sthana of Sushruta Samhita, the term ‘Veda’ is understood as Ayurveda and not Rigveda or Atharvaveda as context of the word is related to Ayurveda.

According to Saptapadarthi, all the knowable things are termed as padartha. [K.V.L Narasimhacharyulu, Padartha Vijnana p.29][1]

Characteristics of padartha

Prashashtapada, a commentator on Sankhya philosophy describes three main characteristics of padartha as below:

  1. Independent existence (Astittva)
  2. Which can be named (Abhidheyatwa)
  3. Which can be known or comprehended (Dneyatva)[6]

Classification of padartha

All padartha in the universe are classified as existent (bhava) or non-existent (abhava) termed as sat and asat, respectively. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 11] However, Charaka has not elaborated in detail regarding the abhava padartha in comparison to Vaisheshika philosophy. Hence it is not included among the six karana mentioned in the first chapter of Sutra Sthana.

The six padartha are divided into two categories as below [Chakrapani on Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 1]

a) Bhati Siddha: Samanya, Vishesha, Samavaya., These are inferential or possess indirect existence. These cannot be physically demonstrated. These are also known as ‘ashrayeepadartha’ (which take abode of others).

b) Satta Siddha: Dravya, Guna, Karma. These are padartha that possess direct existence. These can be proved or demonstrated. These are also known as ‘ashraya padartha’ (which give abode to others).

The classification and number of padartha according to a different school of thoughts can be summarised in the table given below:[7]

Table 1: Classification of padartha as per different schools
Number of padartha Author Name of padartha
1 Shankaracharya[8] Bramha
2 Charaka [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 11/17] Bhava Padartha, Abhava Padartha
Chakrapani [Chakrapani on Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 11/17] Satta Siddha, Asatta/Bhati Siddha
Bhavaprakasha[9] Dravyagata 5 Padartha- Dravya, Rasa, Guna, Vipaka, Shakti
Vedanta [K.V.L Narasimhacharyulu, Padartha Vijnana p.13, 34][1] Atma, Anatma
3 Ramanuja Nimbakacharya[10] Chitta, Achitta, Ishwar
5 Kumaril Bhatt[10] Dravya, Guna, Karma, Samanya, Abhava
Murari Mishra[10] Bramha, Dharmivishesha, Dharmavishesha, Aadharvishesha, Pradeshavishesha
Vaisheshika.[11] Charaka (does not directly mention these as padartha) Dravya, Guna, Karma, Samanya, Vishesha, Samavaya
7 Jain Darshana[7] Ashrava, Bandha, Sanvara, Nirjara, Moksha, Jeeva, Ajeeva
Navya Nyaya Darshana[12], Saptapadarthi Dravya, Guna, Karma, Samanya, Vishesha, Samvaya, Abhava
8 Prabhakar Mimans Dravya, Guna, Karma, Samanya, Vishesha, Samavaya, Shakti, Sadrishya, Sankhya
10 Madhavacharya [K.V.L Narasimhacharyulu, Padartha Vijnana p.13, 34][1] Dravya, Guna, Karma, Samanya, Vishesha, Vishita, Anshi, Shadrisha, Shakti, Abhava
16 Nyaya [13] Pramana, Prameya, Sanshaya, Prayojana, Drishtant, Siddhanta, Avayava, Tarka, Nirnaya, Vaada, Jalpa, Vitanda, Hetvabhasa, Jaati, Chala, Nigrahasthana
25 Sankhya [14] Basic realms or components of the evolution of the universe, namely the Avyakta, Purusha, Mahat, Ahankara, Tanmatra, Ekadasha Indriya, Panchamahabhuta
26 Yoga [15] 25 components put forth by sankhya along with Ishwar component

Shad (six) padartha theory

The origin of the concept of shad padartha traces back to the period of the propagation of Ayurveda on the earth. The sages desirous of long life and concerned about the well-being of creatures, visualised the six padartha to achieve life's goals. This is considered as the results of the first research developed on the basis of experiential knowledge of sages. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 1/28] Both Charaka Samhita and Vaisheshika philosophy describe these six padartha, but with alterations in the sequence. Charaka Samhita being a medical texts focuses more on the clinical aspect of the concept. Hence there is mention of samanya-vishesha before the dravya. Vaisheshika philosophy states dravya as the foremost padartha. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 1/29] As equilibrium of body components (dhatusamya) is considered as the ultimate aim of Ayurveda, samanyavishesha principles have been given immense importance amongst the six padartha. The six padartha namely dravya (material substances), guna (attributes), karma (action), samanya (similarities), vishesha (dissimilarities) and samavaya (inseparable concomitance) are the tools to achieve the equilibrium of body components (dhatusamya).

Padartha- a type of tantra yukti

Tantra yukti are tools to decipher and understand the texts. These are cannons of exposition meant for a deep understanding of concepts in the text. Padartha is described as one of the 36 types of tantra yukti. [Chakrapani on Cha.Sa.Siddhi Sthana 12/41-45] It is intended for any object or word's specific or technical meaning. [Cha.Sa.Siddhi Sthana 12/41-45] For instance, the meaning of Kashaya in the context of Ayurveda pharmacology is referred to as a type of rasa (taste) or a type of clothing worn by the student or five types of forms of medicines (panchavidha kashaya kalpana)

Padartha- Infinite and innumerable entity

There are innumerable padartha in the world having vast utility depending on their various action and application. [Su.Sa.Uttar Sthana 65/10][5] This imparts utility of every padartha or object in the universe for the purpose of therapeutics and application in daily practice.

Importance of concept of padartha

Padartha is primarily used to clinically and theoretically evaluate the application of any context of any concept according to Ayurveda.[Dalhana on Su.Sa.Kalpa Sthana 8/141-143][5] While describing the syntactical excellence (vakyaprashansa) [Cha.Sa.Vimana Sthana 8/55] criteria termed as adhigatapadartha (comprehensible and understandable term). The panchamahabhuta, medicinal plants (aushadhi dravya), components of ayu namely shareera (body), indriya (sense organs), sattva (mind), atma (soul), their properties, actions are all one or another form of padartha. Hence are immensely important in the prevention and treatment of diseases, according to Ayurveda. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 1/26]

Padartha as cause for all the actions

Padartha are causes (karana) for the occurrence of all the types of activities, especially equilibrium of components (dhatusamya) or the maintenance of health. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 1/53] These padartha are the basis on which the rationale of treatment of Ayurveda is executed and planned. Hence these are rightfully quoted as the cause of all the happenings in the universe. According to Ayurveda, it is the basis of cause-effect relationship (karya-karana bhava). [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 1/137]

Padartha, according to western philosophy

According to the western philosophy, padartha can be understood as a category or mode of apprehension to know reality. Aristotle has rightly described the ten categories that are similar to the concept of padartha in Ayurveda.[16] These can be enumerated as below:

Table 2: Aristotle's classification and corresponding correlations
Sr. No. Latin English
1 Substantia Substance (dravya)
2 Quantitas Quantity (parimana )
3 Qualitas Quality (guna)
4 Relatio Relation (samavaya)
5 Ube Place, Sthana (desha)
6 Quanto Time (kala)
7 Habitas Condition (prakara)
8 Situs Situation
9 Actio Activity (karma)
10 Passio Inactivity

Research works

1) Upadhyaya D., Dwivedi B.K. have described the clinical application of the shadapardatha with special reference to samanyavaada (theory of samanya padartha).[17]

2) Vaibhav Dadu explained the interrelationship between Vaisheshika philosophy and six categories of padartha.[18]

3) Dadu have conducted an extensive review of shadpadartha as mentioned in the Jalpakalpataru commentary of Gangadhar Roy.[19]

4) Archana I have explained the shadpadarth as a vital aspect of the similarity between Vaisheshika philosophy and Ayurveda along with their utility in present scenario.[20]

5) Sonam Jain, Rani Singh in their article on the applied aspect of Karma in Ayurveda, have stated Karma as an important constituent amongst the Shad Padartha or Shat Karana and its application in understanding the basic concepts of Ayurveda.[21]

6) In the article dealing with the importance of concept of disha in Ayurveda, Tanvi S have considered the disha amongst nine important causal elements (karana dravya) that have wide applicability in different fields of Ayurveda. The study of every padartha can be done using the methodology as depicted in the said review.[22]

Related Chapters

Deerghanjiviteeya Adhyaya, Uttar Basti Siddhi, Ayurveda, Kaarya Kaarana Siddhanta, Samanya Vishesha Siddhanta, Dravya, Guna, Karma, Disha,Samavaya,Abhava

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