Talk:Quest For Longevity

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

The quest of longevity is called Dirghajivitiya. Health is the supreme foundation of virtue, wealth, enjoyment and salvation. Diseases ruin not only physical and mental health but they also pose a danger to life. When diseases in human body increased to the extent that it started affecting daily rituals, austerity, fasting, study, continence and the vows of the embodied souls, the need of finding cure to the diseases was inevitable. As a result, sages met together on the slopes of Himalayas to find treatment to these diseases. The more than 53 sages who were involved in developing this science.

The science relating to life is regarded by the philosophers as the most meritorious of all the sciences, because it teaches mankind what constitutes their good m both the worlds. The general is the cause of the increase of all things at all times and the particular (dissimilar) is the cause of the decrease, whereas the application of these principles in the treatment of the body leads to increase or decrease of body-elements. The general(similar) combines, the particular (dissimilar) differentiates, for the element of agreement is the general, while the particular is the reverse.

The advent of Ayurveda, the cause of it’s advent, its promulgation, the approbation of the aphoristic compilations, the definitions of the science. A complete definition of the cause, the effect and the object of the science of life, etiology, pathology, and therapeautics in brief. The tastes, the proto-elements as the cause of then manifestations, the three-fold classification of substances, rooters and fruiters, the unctuous substances, and the salts; the urines, the milks and the six plants whose milk and bark are used in medicine, the actions of all these, the merits and dements of the right and wrong administration of them.

The study of Ayurveda starts with a discussion on what indicates the best qualities of the physician. (put link here)

53+ sages involved in the development of Ayurveda

  1. Angiras
  2. Jamadagni
  3. Vaṣiṣṭha
  4. Kaśyapa
  5. Bhṛgu
  6. Atreya
  7. Gautama
  8. Sankhya
  9. Pulastya
  10. Nārada
  11. Asita
  12. Agastya
  13. Vāmdeva
  14. Markendeya
  15. Asvalayana
  16. Parikṣit
  17. Ātreya
  18. Bhāradvāja
  19. Kapijala
  20. Viṣvāmitra
  21. Asmarathya
  22. Bhārgava
  23. Cyavana
  24. Abhyit
  25. Gargya
  26. Śāndilya
  27. Kaundilya
  28. Varkshi
  29. Devala
  30. Galava
  31. Sanktya
  32. Vaijavapi
  33. Kusika
  34. Badarāyana
  35. Badisa
  36. Saraloma
  37. Kapya
  38. Katyāyana
  39. Kankāyana
  40. Kakaseya
  41. Dhaumya
  42. Manca
  43. Kaśyapa
  44. Sarkaraksha
  45. Hiranyaksha
  46. Lokaksha
  47. Paingi
  48. Śaunaka
  49. Sakuneya
  50. Maitreya
  51. Maimatayani
  52. Forest-dwelling hermits
  53. Valakhilyas

Early evoluation of Ayurveda

The prime question which needed to be taken care of primarily was the remedy of diseases. It is believed that Dakśa Prajapati, the progenitor, first obtained the science of Life in its entirety, as promulgated by Brahma, the Creator. This whole science was acquired by Aświn twins from him. The god Sakra<re>It is a name of Indra.</ref> learned the same from them. Having known regarding this through meditation, Bhāradvaja along with some sages, in search of the science of longevity, approached Indra.

On inquiring about the diseases, Indra informed that diseases are a terror to humankind. He propounded the science of life in a few words. He taught the science of causes, symptoms and medication for both the healthy and the ailing. The sage Bhāradvaja soon learned the whole Science of Life, tri-based and extending without end.

Bharadvāja after acquiring this knowledge taught this science of longevity to the sages, without either adding or withholding any part. And the sages, desiring longevity, received that science, beneficial to humanity and promotive of life, from Bharadvāja. These great sages perceived this science with the eye of discernment, the nature of the general and the particular, the substances, their qualities, action and inherent relation, and understanding it and then conforming to the rules laid down in the systems, they attained the highest happiness and enduring life. Thereafter Punarvasu, the most benevolent, moved by compassion for all creatures, bestowed the science of life on his six disciples.

Agniveśa, Bhela, Jatūkarna, Paraśara, Harīta, and Kṣarapam received the teaching of the sage. It was the excellence of his own understanding and not any difference in instruction by the sage whereby Agnivesa became the foremost compiler of the Science. Thereafter Bhela and the rest made each his own compilation of the science, and these talented ones read them out to Atreya and the assembly of the sages.

The sages, having listened to the presentation of the subject by these virtuous men, rejoiced, acclaiming that the science had been truly presented. All of them, pursuant of the welfare of all creatures, extolled the authors, saying “Great is your compassion for creatures”. The celestial sages, together with the immortals, stationed in Heaven, heard that auspicious cry of the great sages, and hearing, rejoiced greatly. “ Well-done !” that ovation, generous and profound, echoed with joy by all creatures in the sky, resounded throughout the three worlds.

The winds blew salubriously, all the quartets expanded with radiance, and divine showers of blossoms, together with rain descended. Thereafter the goddesses of Enlightenment, Understanding, Achievement, Memory, Genius, Resolution, Eloquence, Forgiveness and Compassion entered into Agniveśa and the rest.

The compilations of these compilers which were thus approved by the great sages obtained currency in the world for the well-being of the multitude of living beings. That is named the science of life wherein are laid down the good and the bad life, the happy and the unhappy life, and what is wholesome and what unwholesome in relation to life, and also the measure of life. Life is spoken of by such synonyms as “the union of the body, the senses, the mind and the spirit”, “the support”, “animation”, “the flux”, and “the link” between the past life and the future one.

Foundations of Ayurveda

The mind, the spirit and the body are together, as it were, the tupod, the world endures by reason of cohesion, and on that are all things established. That (aggregate of the mind, spirit and body) is man, he is the conscious agent. He is regarded as the subject-matter of this science; and it is indeed for his sake that this ‘science has- been promulgated.

The five proto-elements, ether and the others, together with the spirit, mind, time and space, constitute the totality of substances. Possessed of the senses, a substance is animate, devoid of the senses, it is inanimate. The sense-objects, (the qualities such as) heaviness etc, the intelligence, whilst ending with effort, and the modes of understanding described the higher etc. these are said to be the qualities. Behavior such as effort etc, is said to be action.

Samavaya[1] is defined as that inseparable relationship which exists between earth and others and their qualities. This kind of relationship is eternal; for, wherever the sub stance exists the coexistent quality is never absent. That which is the substratum of action and qualities and coexistent cause is substance. Quality is coexistent and inactive cause. Action which is the cause of conjunction and disjunction resides in the substance. Action is the performance of what is to be done. It depends on nothing else.

The effect is, here in medicine, said to be “the equilibrium of the body-elements”, and the procedure of maintaining the equilibrium of the body-elements is the objective of this science. The complex of causes with reference to disease psychic and somatic is either erroneous, absence or excessive interaction of time} mind, senses and sense-objects. The body and that which is called the mind are both considered to be the abodes of diseases, likewise of well-being, their concordance is the cause of well-being.

The spirit, which is changeless and transcendental, becomes the cause of consciousness when united with the mind, the selfless objects and the senses The spirit is the eternal witness observing actions. Vata, pitta and kapha are said to be die complex of pathogenic factors body, passion and delusion tire, again, considered the complex of pathogenic factors in the mind.

The former type of morbidity is quieted by medications, spiritual and physical, and the latter by religion, philosophy, fortitude, remembrance and concentration. Vata is dry, cold, light, subtle, unstable, clear and rough, it is quieted by substances of antagonistic qualities. Pitta is slightly unctuous, hot, acute, fluid, acid, mobile and pungent, it is readily quieted by substances of antagonistic qualities. The disorders classed as curable disappear when treated with therapeautic agents of antagonistic qualities with due consideration of climate, dosage and season the treatment of incurable diseases is however, not instructed here.

Kapha is heavy, cold, soft, unctuous, sweet, stable and viscid, it is quieted by substances of antagonistic qualities. The disorders classed as curable disappear when treated with therapeutic agents of antagonistic qualities with due consideration of climate, dosage and season. The treatment of incurable diseases is, however, not instructed here

Now a further description of qualities and action with reference to individual substances will be given. Taste is the sense-object of the tongue, and source-substances for its general manifestation are the two proto-elements, water and earth, its variations are determined by the other three proto-elements, ether etc. The group of tastes is described as the hexad made up of sweet, acid, salt, pungent, bitter and astringent tastes. The sweet, acid and salt tastes subdue vata, the astringent, sweet and bitter tastes subdue pitta, the astringent, pungent and bitter tastes subdue kapha. The pungent, acid and salt tastes provoke pitta, the sweet, acid and salt provoke kapha, and pungent, bitter and astringent tastes provoke vata.

Three Groups of Substances

Substances are classified in three groups: (add kapha / terminology)

  1. Some rectify the discordance of body-elements.
  2. Some vitiate the body-elements.
  3. Some are considered to be conducive to the maintenance of good health.

Remedies are classified into 3 groups

Again they are classified in three groups

  1. Animal
  2. Vegetable
  3. Mineral

Remedies involving animals

Honey, milk, bile, fat, marrow, blood, flesh, excrement, urine, skin, semen, bone, sinews, horns, nails, hooves, hau, down and inspissated bile- these are the substances used in medicine from the animal world. Gold, ores, the five metals, sand, lime, red and yellow arsenic, gems, salt, red chalk and antimony are the mineral products used in medicine. The vegetable group is divided into four classes—the direct fruiters, creepers, flowery fruiters and herbs.

Remedies involving Vegetables

The direct fruiters bear fruit directly without passing through the flowering stage[2]; flowering fruiters are those which bear fruit after passing through the flowering stage[3]. Herbs are the annuals namely those that die just after seasonal fructification and the creepers are those that creep or twine.

Root, bark, pith, exudation, sialic, juice, sprouts, alkalis, milk, fruit, flower, ash, oils, thorns, leaves, buds, bulbs and off-shoots are the plant products used in medicine. The rooters are said to be sixteen and the friuters nineteen. The principal groups of unctuous substances are four, similarly the principal salts are five. The principal urines are eight in number, and eight are the principal milks. The trees prescribed by Punarvasu for purification are six in number. He who knows how to use all these in diseases is the knower of the science.

Remedies involving Minerals

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Sixteen types of Vegetable Roots used in Vegetable based remedies

Sixteen rooters are :

  1. Oblong-leaved croton
  2. White sweet flag
  3. Black turpeth
  4. Turpeth
  5. Elephant creeper
  6. Soap-pod
  7. White mussel shell-creeper
  8. Red physic-nut colocynth
  9. Staff-plant
  10. Scarlet-fruited gourd
  11. Flax hemp
  12. Stinking swallow wort
  13. Wild carrot
  14. Physic-nut
  15. Lurtiz


Emetics are types of plants that trigger vomiting.

  1. Flax hemp
  2. Scarlet-fruited gourd
  3. White sweet flag are used as emetic

White mussel shell-creeper

  1. Staff-plant

are to be administered as cirlnness. The remaining eleven are to be used as purgatives. Thus have been described the names and the actions of the rooters.

Names and Actions of Fruiters

  1. Ctcnolipis
  2. Embelia
  3. Bitlci common cucumber
  4. Emetic nut
  5. Sponge gourd
  6. Bottle ground, biutb luffa, (S) bitter luffa
  7. Liquorice which p1 int is said to be of 1 two kinds — aquatic and ancestrial,
  8. India beech
  9. prickly brazil wood
  10. Plough chaff tree
  11. chebulic niMobalan
  12. Elcphant crecpci
  13. The autumnal friuts of lijstipaim (179 uainala, (iS) pinging cassia and
  14. knicht
  1. Sponge gourd
  2. Bottle gourd
  3. Bustle lnfia, (a) bitter luffa, (ś) cmehc nut, (b) kuichi and (7) bittci common cucumber and (8) the fruits of the hast’parni are used in emesis, and coiiectne enema, while the lough chaff is prescbed as eiihine flic remaining ten aie prescribed as purgatues.

The names and actions of the 19 fruiters has thus been described.

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The principal groups of unctuous substances described as being four, are ghee, oil, fat and marrow. They are, each of them, used in combination with other drugs as potion, inunction, enemata and nasal medication. They increase unctuousness, vitality, complexion, strength and I plumpness. They are laid down as the curatives of vata, pitta and kapha.


The sanchala salt, the rock salt, the red granular salt, and the efflorescence salt together with the sea salt comprise the five principal kinds of salts. They are unctuous, hot, acute and the foremost of digestive-stimulants. They are used, for external applications, in the oleation and sudatioh therapies, in cleansing the upper and lower parts of the gastrointestinal tract, in evacuative and unctuous enemata, and inunction, also as food, as erihme, in operative work, as suppository, as collyrium, in fuction massage, in indigestion, in constipation, in disorders of vata and in gulma, in colic and in abdominal diseases. These are the uses of salts.

Use of excretia

Now listen to me as I describe the eight principal urines which are enumerated in the system of Atreya. These are the urines of the ewe, she-goat, cow, she-buffalo, cow- elephant, she-camel, mare and she-ass. They are hot, acute, non-dry, pungent, saltish and are used for friction massage and external applications. They are also used in collective enema, purgatives and in sudation constipation, toxicosis, in abdominal diseases, piles, gulma, dermatosis and leprous lesions, poultices and affusions. They are prescribed as digestive-stimulants, as antidotes to poison and as vermicides, they are also said to be excellent remedies for persons affected with anemia. When they are administered internally, they quiet the kapha, regulate the peristaltic movement of Vāta, and draw pitta downwards.

The urine of the cow is slightly bitter, unctuous and not antagonistic to pitta, the urine of the she-goat is astringent, sweet, wholesome and dispels the discordance of humors. The urine of the cow is slightly sweet, alleviative of humoral discordance to some extent, and curative of helminthiasis and dermatosis. It relieves pruritus and taken internally in the proper manner is beneficial in abdominal diseases. The urine of the she-buffalo is curative of piles, biopsy and abdominal diseases and is saltish and laxative. The urine of the cow-elephant is saltish, it is beneficial for those suffering from helminthiasis and dermatosis.

It is also recommended in cases of retention of feces and urine, in toxicosis, in disorders of kapha and in piles. The urine of the she-camel is said to be slightly bitter and curative of dyspnea, cough and piles. The mine of the mare is bitter, pungent and is curative of dermatosis, wounds and toxicosis. He urine of the she-ass is curative, epilepsy, insanity and seizures. Thus have been described the urines and their uses according to their actions.

Use of Milk

Now we shall describe the milks, their actions and properties. The milks of sheep, goat, cow, buffalo, camel, elephant, mare and the woman are the eight principal varieties of milk. Milk is said to be generally sweet, unctuous, cooling, galactogogue, pleasing, roborant, aphrodisiac, brain-tonic, strengthening, exhilarating, vitalizing, refreshing, curative of dyspnea, cough and hemo-thermia, a synthesizer in injuries, wholesome to all living creatures, sedative, purificative, jadipsous digestive, and most beneficial , in emaciation due to pectoral lessons.

It is recommended anemia and acid dispepsia, consumption, gulma abdominal diseases, diarrhoea, fever, burning and particularly in dropsy, in vaginal and seminal disorders, in anomalies of urinary section, in oliguria and in scybalous stools. It is wholesome to patients suffering from disorders of vāta and pitta.

Milk is used everywhere, namely in nasal medications, external applications, baths, emesis, enemata, purgation and oleation therapy. We shall give a further and exhaustive description of the actions and uses of each of the milks in the chapter on diet and dietics.

Use of other plants

We shall now describe three other plants, besides the fruiters and rooters-the thorny milk hedge plant, mudar and heart-leaved fig, their respective actions are as follows. Heart-leaved fig is used in emesis, and the milk of thorny milk-hedge plant in purgation, and the milk of mudar, it should be known, is used both in vomition and purgation. There are three more plants whose bark is said to be useful in medicine, viz bonduc, drumstick and tilvaka. Bonduc and tilvaka should be used in purgation and drumstick in acute spreading affections inflammations, piles, ringworm, abscesses, swellings, dermatosis and gangrene. The wise physician should acquire the knowledge of these purification plants as well. Thus have been described the fruiters, the looters, the unctuous substances, salts, urines, milks and the six plants whose milk and bark are used. The goat herds, the shepherds and cowherds and other foresters are acquainted with the names and forms of plants.

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No one can claim to have a perfect knowledge of pharmacology by the mere acquaintance with the names or even with the forms of herbs. If one who knows the uses and actions of herbs, though not acquainted with their forms, may be called a pharmacologist, then what need be said of the physician who knows the herbs botanically, pharmacologically and in every other respect. He is the best of physicians who knows the science of the administration of drugs with due reference to clime and season, and who applies it only after examining each and every patient individually.

A drug that is not understood perfectly is comparable to poison, weapons, fire and the thunderbolt; while the perfectly understood drug is comparable to ambrosia. The drug whose name, form and properties are not known, or the drug which, though known, is not properly administered, will cause disaster. Even acute poison is converted into an excellent medicine by the right method of preparation, while even a good medicine may act as an acute poison if improperly administered. Therefore the intelligent man, who desires health and long life, should not take any medicine prescribed by a physician who is an utter stranger to the science. One may survive the fall of a thunderbolt on one’s head, but one cannot expect to escape the fatal effects of medicines prescribed by an ignorant physician.

move into overview article on training physicians

The vainglorious charlatan who administers medicine, though ignorant of it, to the ailing bed-ridden patient who has implicit faith in him, is lost to all sense of duty, and is sinful, wicked and death incarnate. Even by converse with him does one fall into hell. It is better for the person who Ins put on the garb of the physician to quaff the venom of the cobra or molten copper or to swallow bented iron balls than to extort food, drink, or money from a man who is affected with disease and has sought his aid.

Therefore the intelligent person who is aspiring to be a good physician should always persevere to his best in the acquisition of the best qualities of a physician, so that he may be a real giver of life to people. That is the right medicine which makes for health, and he is the best of the physicians who relieves people of disease. Success in treatment signifies the correct application of all therapeautic measures and success also indicates that the greatest of physicians is endowed with all the qualities of a good physician.


  1. It is called coexistence.
  2. It is called Gymno-spermia.
  3. It is called angio-spermia.