Dr. Namburi Hanumantha Rao is one of the great scholars of Ayurveda of this centrury. His book Pancabhuta Theory is a great contribution not only to Ayurveda, but also to the Modern scientific world. He has explained well the concept of the origin of the universe utilizing the two ancient theories on the subject. His modern scientific interpretation of these theories, especially the first one, is the same as the one accepted by the modern scientist. The author's explanation of the Moolaprakrti, Pancabhutas, Trigunas, Tridosas and Sadrasas with modern concepts is out standing. His Tridosa theory vis-a-vis the neurohumoral theory is a wonderful exposure of ancient physiopathological concepts.
This book wil1 be useful not only to teachers of Ayurveda but also to modern scientific research workers.
I hope the author wi11 bring out more such valuable books for the benefit of humanity.
When I was studying Caraka Sutrasthanam I came across one observation "Balamra Sa Kasaym tarunamram amlam pakwam madhuram" and another one" Ksaramlarasa Samyoga madhure bhavati Ksanath (Susruta).
Some more such instances have invoked in me to make a deeper study into Pancamahabhuta theory. But it is explained in piece meal in various texts of Ayurveda in different situations.
And it was thrilling when studying Susruta's Samyoga dharmas, which are near to the laws of Chemical combination. They are given in one Sloka along with the evolution of Pancamahabhutas and their integration took place basing on certain samyoga dharmas, for example parasparanugraha, Sarvesu servesam Sannidhya-masthi etc. Which are not highlighted by any commentator nor Scholars of today acceptable to ancient and modern thought.
My anxiety is that the ancient wisdom should be made acceptable to the modern thought. Fortunately modern science is lending a new perspective to it.
To have a comprehensive idea about the entire pancabhuta theory the subject is dealt with the EVOLUTION OF THE UNIVERSE; PLANT AND ANIMAL KINGDOMS and EVOLUTION OF PANCAMAHABHUTAS AND THEIR APPLICATION.
It is a first attempt of its kind for objective thinking and also an attempt to prove that the concept of pancamahabhutas evolution is not subjective or speculative.
There is another Phenomenon what one hears or what one sees is 'PANCATWAM GATWAT' which takes place after the human/ animal body is dead. In dahana samskara of human body it disintegrates into pancamahabhutas. This way of disintegration is called as "Pancatwam gatwat". What more positive clue is required for one to claim that pancamahabhutas can be separated and weighed?
The reader is suggested to go through the articles one after another from the beginning to get a comprehensive knowledge of the subject since all the articles are interlinked in their serial order. The modern science, of late has began to realize the important role of mind and its influence in manifestation mechanism of some (if not most) of the diseases and their cure. Many diseases are termed as psycho-somatic diseases, for example, Asthma, Gastric ulcer, Hypertension, Psoriasis and some skin diseases are attributed to emotional episodes of the mind. The author felt the need to analyse the subject on the basis of Ayurvedic concepts since Ayurveda is the philosophy and science of life. In the analysis it is found that Rajo and Tamo dosas of the mind influence the three saririka dosas viz; Vata, Pitta and kapha which ultimately result in inhibition or excess release of neurotransmitters & hormones. This situation has prompted the author to postulate Neurohumoral Theory. It is pre-sented after a careful study.
Susrutacarya observed that one need not go beyond Pancabhuta level in treating the ailments. Perhaps he meant that the pancatanmatras have no role to play in the 'Sareera Kriya' (physiology) and 'Sareera vikrit kriya Vijnanam' (pathology). This is another situation, which has prompted the author to postulate Neurohumoral theory.
Presently, the modern Ayurvedist who studied physical and biological sciences is on the crossroads. Since he studied that the Three dosas are the playmasters of the body organs as per Ayurveda but he already studied that the bio-chemicals are the play masters of organs according to the biological sciences. Which is true? Truth cannot be two. He has to reconcile with the two theories. A deeper study will solve the problem. It should not become a problem to every student, indeed. An intelligent student will find that while pancatanmatras are the physiological equations of Trisdosas, the pancamahabhutas are the physiological equations of bio-chemicals, and pancamahabhutas are the gross forms of pancatanmatras. And some related subjects are also discussed leaving to the intelligentsia to give a thought to the subject.
Whenever conflicting ideas arise since the Tantras were written by different authors, the interpretations may be made intelligent in tune with the time and region/country.
The author has developed his hypothesis on the basis of Susruta's concept; vide Sutrasthana 42 nd., chapter-I to 3 slokas and Susruta sareera in the proceeding pages at the relevant places, which is very nearer to nyaya Vaisesika concept of Pancabhuta theory. It is also to be noted that the Pancamahabhutas that are in discussion are Sthula Bhutas since they are discussed in the context of "Rasotpatti", which in turn constitute Dravyas of Physical matter.
The Pancamahabhuta theory is important to understand Hindu science as Atomic theory to Modern Science. Hindu Sages consider the pancamahabhutas viz., AKASA, VAYU, AGNI, AP AND PRTHVI as the infinitely smallest particles of different nature which are known as Cosmic elements and responsible for the existence of various matters, just like Modern Scientists who consider that different pattern of alignment of electrons, protons and neutrons in the atoms are responsible for the existence of different elements constituting different matters. According to the concept of Hindu Sages the atoms of Modern Science, which constitute various matters, are nothing else but Pancamahabhutas, which are in fact, still smaller than the atoms. That is to say that even the particles of the sub-atomic structure are Pancamahabhutic.
A few Scholars have attempted to some extent to give interpretation to PANCAMAHABHUTA THEORY in the light of modern Atomic Theory. The author could evolve a workable hypothesis or a viable formulae to explain the play and interplay of Sadrasas with their different pancabhoutic constitution in relation to Guna, Karma of Dravyas and Dosas in swastha and aswastha.
It may be pointed out that the varied compositions of Pancamahabhutas are responsible for the existence of Shadrasas and the varied composition of Sadrasas in dravyas are responsible for the varied Guna Karma (pharmaco dynamics) of dravyas. While this is in the science of Ayurveda, in its counter part i.e. the modern (Western) Medicine the student has to study the Pharmaco-dynamics rather than the Atomic theory to understand the drug action. For an Ayurvedist the Pancamahabhuta theory is very important deligently understand the role of dravyas in relation to Dosas. Therefore, a clear understanding of amsamsa-kalpana of Pancamahabhutas of Sadrasas individually, being the basis for the Guru Karma of dravyas, is in great need to explain the following phenomena.
For example: Why Lavana Rasa is "Usna" alone' instead of "Seeta and Usna" since AP And AGNI constitute Lavana Rasa? It is not enough to say that it is due to Bhutasannivesa Prabhava.
How to explain that "snigdhanam Madhuraha Paraha, madhy. omlaha lavanascantyaha"? How and why Madhurarasa is formed when amlarasa dravyas is treated with Ksara?
It is found after a critical study of concerned literature that two schools of thought exist with regards to the evolution of Panca. mahabhutas. One is that each Mahabhuta has evolved independently from its Tanmantra. For example Akasa from Sabda Tanmatra and Vayu Bhuta from Sparsa Tanmatra and so on where as the second school of thought is that Pancamahabhutas have evolved one from the other i.e. Vayu from Akasa, Agni from Vayu etc. The latter view is supported by the Vrddhatrayee of Ayurveda, which is found logical and scientific and could evolve a viable hypothesis to explain the above phenomena paving a way to undertake experimental work on dravyas on the basis of pancamahabhuta theory and the play and interplay of pancamahabhutas in dravyas and Tridosas etc. Following the present hypothesis it is no more a problem to the Teacher and Research scholar to explain the many incomprehensible phenomena with ease and rational approach.
None of the Vrddhatrayee has devoted any chapter exclusively for this subject in their treatises although some slokas are given in Sutrasthana and some in Sarirasthana etc., of various treatises. So much so, neither the teacher nor the student could form a comprehensive view of the Pancamahabhuta theory. It is also very difficult to link a few slokas scattered here and there, each one with a different style of expression.
After discussing Pancabhuta theory the author discussed the Pancabhoutic concept of TRIDHATUS at cellular level for acceptability by the present scientific minds of Scholars. It is also pointed out that the Neurohumors, their release and play is under the control of Tridhatus which in turn are under the control of the three psychic factors- Trigunas Viz: Satva, Rajo and Tamo.
It also discusses about the Origin of Universe, Origin of Man, Trigunas and Pancatanmatras. The author has postulated a formulae confirming the numerical strength of Trigunas when they are in balanced and dynamic state in Tridhatus and Dravyas just as in the case of Pancabhutas whose molecular formulae are already given and found workable.
This enables one to know that how Vata is Rajasika, Pitta is Satvika and Kapha is Tamasika. In other words the relative strength of Trigunas in Pancabhutas, Tridhatus and Dravyas is explained in a rational way.
Besides this the author feels that the modern Ayurvedist should realize that the important play of bio-chemicals in the body and play of Tridosas simultaneously in the human physiology and pathology as the case may be. In support of this the author he postulated "Neurohumoral Theory" and claims that the Neurohumoral Theory is the continuation of Tridosa Theory.
It is exciting and thought provoking.
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