Sushruta Samhita – 3a


Sharira Sthanam, Chapters 1-5

Authors: Dr. Govind Rajpoot Ph.D

First edition: 2016

Publisher: Ayurvedachrya Publication, Czech Republic

ISBN: ISBN 978-80-906461-1-7

Pages 204, Format B5

Indian culture understands the mind, spirituality, karma, dharma, morality, the purpose of life, incarnation, behavior, psychosomatics, yoga, mantras, meditation, prayer and interpersonal relationships differently than European culture does. Literature written by Indian authors, like the Sushruta Samhita, was intended for the Indian way of thinking. Indian people acquire a basic awareness of Ayurveda during their upbringing in their culture, and many facts are considered to be a matter of course to them. These treatises do not discuss that basic awareness or those facts, because they presume the reader already knows them. When this literature is studied by a European student doing his or her best to understand it through European logic without that basic information, the student will have trouble understanding it. In this book we have done our best to explain the meaning of the individual sutras from the perspective of a European reader.

Sushruta Samhita (सुश्रुतसंहिता), which literally translates as “Sushrut’s Handbook”, is a work that was originally written in Sanskrit and discusses the physiology of the human body. This treatise is significant thanks to its detailed description of surgery in ancient times. Sushruta Samhita is a component of the instruction of Ayurveda at Ayurvedic universities.

The age of this work is unclear. Some authors date it to 3 000 BCE, others to 1 000 BCE, etc. Sushrut, in the third section of his work, writes about the functional and structural anatomy of the human body, which is a very important, interesting topic for beginning Ayurveda students.

This book aims primarily to aid students with comprehending this philosophical approach to how the human body is created. It contains the first five chapters of the work entitled the Sharira Sthana (the discussion of the human body in the Sushruta Samhita), as follows:

Chapter 1 – On the philosophy of the creation of life
Introduction to the causal factors of life, the origin of it all, the process of its creation, the 24 elements of life, the 25th element, characteristics of purusha and prakrti, recognizing an Ayurvedic practitioner, senses and sense objects, characteristics of mind, characteristics of the triguna, characteristics of the mahabhutas, the mahabhutas and the trigunas.

Chapter 2 – On the quality of the eggs and sperm, menstruation and sex
Introduction to reproduction, impaired sperm, disorders of sperm, disorders of menstruation, basic solutions to sperm disorders, characteristics of healthy sperm and of disordered vs. healthy menstruation, strong menstruation, weak menstruation, behavior of women during the menstrual period, first encounter with the husband, rules for the husband’s behavior, conception and the phase of the moon, contraindications for conception during menstruation, recipe to influence the sex of the child, conditions for conception, causes of various colorations of the child, influence of deviations on conception, offspring with abnormalities, five kinds of impotence, lack of discipline in sex, warning for those who are pregnant, physiology of the embryo, influence of the past life.

Chapter 3 – On conception and pregnancy
Introduction to pregnancy, conception, the diploid zygote and Atma, predetermination of the sex of the offspring, characteristics of a fertile woman, opening and shutting of the uterus, menstrual periods, sex of the offspring, signs of recent conception, signs of pregnancy, inappropriate behavior during pregnancy, the risky fourth month in the development of the embryo, embryonic development, two hearts, the desires of a pregnant woman, development of the embryo month by month, nutrition of the embryo, different opinions about the creation of the embryo’s body, factors individually determined by the principles of fatherhood and motherhood, signs that the embryo is female or male.

Chapter 4 – On the development of the embryo and its constitution
This chapter is about the structure of the embryo and its development, the definition of prana, the composition of the skin, the packaging of the organs, the kala (membranes), the mamsadhara-kala (fascie), development of the blood vessels, raktadhara-kala, medodhara-kala, shleshmadhara-kala, purishdhara-kala, maladhara-kala, pittadhara-kala, the four ways of intaking nutrients, shukradhara-kala, shukra dhatu, orifices – artava, pliha (the spleen) and yakrt (the liver), the creation of organs (organogenesis), the heart, sleep and its characteristics, indications and contraindications for sleeping during the day, sleeping during the day, addressing insomnia, excessive sleep, drowsiness, causes of loss of consciousness, vertigo and sleep, growth of the embryo, vata and pitta of the embryo, seven kinds of prakrti, vata prakrti, pitta prakrti, kapha prakrti, prakrti of two or three doshas, changes to prakrti, various kinds of typology of prakrti, sattvic characteristics, rajasic characteristics, tamasic characteristics.

Chapter 5 – On the characteristics of the physical body
Introduction to parts of the body, definition of the body and the embryo, various parts of the body, internal parts of the body, number of parts of the body, already-described parts of the body, ashaya – organs containing fluids or solids, kandara – ligaments, djala – plaits, kurcha – bundles of ligaments and rajja – large flat muscles, sevani – seams, asthi sanghat – mobile connections of the bones, simant – immobile connections of the bones, asthi – bones, number of bones, kinds of bones, bones are the sar (base and root) of the body, sandhi – connects the bones and cartilage, eight kinds of connections between the bones and cartilage, countless connections, enumeration of the snayus – tendons, kinds of snayus – tendons, kinds of peshas – muscles, women have 20 muscles more than men, characteristics and forms of the muscles, uterus and vagina, meaning of salya tantra – surgery, characteristics of the dead body appropriate for autopsy.

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