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Anukta Dravya Vichaara

Vd.Shreeprasad Bavdekar
Ph.D. (Ayurveda)

Introduction: Ayurveda, as the name suggests, is the Veda of life. It involves the discussion of every aspect related to human life. As mentioned in Charaka SamhitaaHitaahitam Sukham Duhkham Aayustasya Hitaahitam..C.Su. 1/41 [That is named the Veda of life, wherein is told the good and the bad life, the happy and unhappy life, wholesome and unwholesome in relation to life, and also the measure of life.]

Ayurveda, with a broader canvas, has no time and space limits. It is a continuous flow of knowledge with time tested core principles, taking cognizance of contemporary changes around and along these core principles.

Anukta Dravya Vichaara is one of the important subjects in Ayurveda. It is an example of cognizance of contemporary changes that take place in the society. The Anukta Dravya Vichaara is an important subject for an Ayurvedic practitioner. In clinical practice many food items have to be taken notice of as they may emerge as certain type of causative factors as described in texts. Similarly the persons traveling from place to place or from one country to another are to be advised about the locally available foods and accordingly about the system of consumption of food. Practically every Ayurvedic practitioner faces these problems in the practice.

  • What is Anukta?
    The word Anukta is derived from the root vac with negation attached to the basic root. Thus Anukta literally means unsaid, unuttered and unheard of. With specific reference to Ayurveda, the entity, which is not directly or specifically mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts, is Anukta.
  • What is Dravya?
    Concept of Dravya is well defined in the Ayurvedic texts. Various types and subtypes are elaborated at length. For example, the basic division is Kaaran`a Dravya and Kaarya Dravya. The Kaarya Dravya is further classified according to the Mahaabhuta dominance, tastes, properties, actions on the body etc. Respected commentator Chakrapaan`i divides Dravya as Aushadhi and Aahaara Dravya in certain reference. (C.Su. 2/11 Chakrapaan`i.) In this work, the word Dravya from the term Anukta Dravya Vichaara denotes the Aahaara Dravya (food articles) only.
  • What is Anukta Aahaara Dravya Vichaara ?
    Anukta Dravya Vichaara for this work is operationally defined as ‘ a detailed Ayurvedic investigation of properties of an Anukta Aahara Dravya and its probable role in human diet.’
  • Types of Anukta:

There are six Padaart`ha according to Ayurveda. Hence there are six types of Ankuta.

  1. Dravya Anukta –

    Yatkinchit Kaphavaataghnamusnam Vaataanulomanam| Bheshajam Paanamannam Vaa Tadhitam S`hvaasahikkine||Ca.Ci.17/147. (Whatever medicine or food is KaphavaataghnaUshn`a and Vaataanulomana, is wholesome for a patient of S`hvaasa and Hikkaa.)

    This Sootra is from the S`hvaasa Chikitsaa. It does not indicate any specific food and/or medicine, but tells the general properties to be used in the treatment. Here the selection of specific food, medicine is to be done by Vaidya. This is example of Dravyaanukta.
  2. Gun`a Anukta –
    Dravyamoordhvagamam Tatra Praayognipavanotkat`am|| AS.Su.9/11(The Dravya with a upward leading tendency generally bears Utkat`a (dominant) Agni and Pavana properties)

    This sutra does not indicate the properties but tells some specific trends. On the basis of this information one has to define the properties of such a Dravya.
  3. Karma Anukta –
    Svaadu S`heetam Mridu Snigdham Bahalam S`hlakshn`a Pichchhilam| Guru Mandam Prasannamcha Gavyam Das`hagun`am Payah| Bhav. 27/217 (The cow milk has ten properties that is Svaadu, Sita, Mridu, Snigdha, Bahala, S`hlaksn`a, Pichchhila, Guru, Manda, Prasanna.)

    This Sootra does not tell about the possible action of the cow milk on the body but the general properties are elaborated. A Vaidya has to specify the actions accordingly.
  4. Saamaanya Anukta
    During the general reading it was observed that Kut`aja and Kut`akee appear as group in many medicines. Apparently these medicines bear nearly opposite properties. It was found that there are about 400 medicines in which these two appear as a group. After an analysis it was clear that when there is involvement of Rasadhaatu and Aamasaya, these medicines can be used along with other medicines. This commonness (Saamaanya) is not mentioned in the texts but was known after the analysis of information. This is an example of Saamanya Anukta.
  5. Vis`hesha Ankuta
    Duhspars`hakena Bilvena Yavaanya Naagaren`a Vaa | Ekaikenaapi Samyuktaa Paat`haa Hanti Ars`hasaam Rujam || C. Chi 14/100(The Paatha, even used either with Dhamaasa or Bilva or Yavaanee or Naagara; reduces the pain of Ars`ha.)

    This sutra is read in the Ars`ha Chikitsaa. It does not directly mention the exact stage at which these medicines are to be used in the treatment of Ars`ha. It gives general information and the specifics are to be derived. This is an example of Vis`hesha Anukta.
  6. Samavaaya Anukta
    Chetanaadhaaturapyekah Smritah Purushasadnyakah| C. Sha 1/16 [The Chetanaa Dhaatu alone is also known as (ChikitsaaPurusha]

    In this Sootra, the Deha Mana Indriya are not mentioned neither their perpetual existence. This is an example of Samavaaya Anukta.
  • Reasons for Anukta
    The Ayurvedic texts like the other ancient Indian texts are in the Samhitaa form. This specific form expects and enjoys ‘ to be in brief . As they generally say, Ekamaatra Laaghavena Putrotsavam Manyante Vaiyaakaran`ah(if the grammarians are able to save a Maatraa; they celebrate as if joy of birth of a son). This expected briefness does not allow taking notice of every available entity. Neither it is possible to take notice of every minute detail in modern descriptive forms. The scientists mention the representative sample and expect ‘ to derive more on the same lines . The respected text says Dis`hanayaa Chaapi Svayamooheta Buddhimaana |A. S. Su 7/261 (a scholar should discuss more on the basis of this direction.) The representative sample thus discussed is what appears most frequently, most of the time and seen most commonly. It is labeled by the texts as Praayika, Praayopayogika or AaviskritatamaThe entities, which are not that much important in contemporary reference are not discussed and remain Anukta during that specific frame of reference.

Here are some quotes from the texts to explain the point.

Na S`hakyam Vistaren`aapi Vaktum Sarvam Tu Sarvathaa| Hitaahitatve Api Ekaantaniyamo Asmad Anischitah|| A.S.Su. 7/209 (It is not possible to speak about everything every time. Though wholesome (are these medicines etc) there is no specific rule. )

Saamaanyadaras`hanenaasaam Vyasvasthaa Sampradarsitaah| Su. U. 65/41 (This system is described in general.)

S`hukas`himbeejapakvaannamaamsas`haakaphalausadhaih|Vargitairannales`hoayamukto Nityopayogikah|| A. H. Su 6/172 (From the S`huka, S`himbi, Pakva Anna, Maamsa, S`haaka, Phala and Aushadhi; what is used regularly is told.) Yasya Tu Kaadaachitka Upayogah Satu Noktah Granthavistarabhayaat | Ayurvedarasaayana T`eekaa [what is used sometimes, is not told because of the constraint of enlargement in volume of book.]

Any entity which makes its impact on comparatively large population becomes important in social life and also when the impact remains for a considerable period of time within the society. Both types of entities have to be taken into account by all contemporary social sciences. For example- Y2K was an important factor for the world during the years 1998- 1999. It affected various sectors of population for various reasons. During those days the main focus of grape vine was on Y2K alone and somehow all other issues were comparatively sidelined. Such an entity is called Praayika or Avis`hkritatama other less important factors remain Anukta.

Another reason for Anukta is unavailability during particular frame of period and/or space. For example, the backache due to two wheeler driving has been a common problem in Pune since last few years. It was not that much important before, neither it is a serious problem for the people in Mumbai, but nowadays it has a Praayika status for people in Pune. Practically every Vaidya has a number of patients of such kind and it has been a subject handled for M.D. dissertation also.

In short, the main reasons for being Anukta can be summarized as Apraayikatva– less importance and Anupalabdhi– non availability.

  • Necessity of Anukta Vichaara.
    Anukta Vichaara always remains an important subject because of the continuous changes that are taking place in the society. As it is generally said – The only constant is change. These changes bring along many positives and negatives, pluses and minuses, divisions and subtractions in the society; which ultimately affect the health of an individual and/or of society in general. The Praayika factor also changes according to the societal changes. The general population describes the changes as something NEW. This nomenclature is alright when common people use the word. But an Ayurvedic person has to call it ANUKTA because Ayurveda can analyze those changes on the basis of its core principles. If an Ayurvedic person uses the term NEW then it sequels that it is outside the context of the Ayurvedic core principles. Charaka says, `Yadihaasti Tadanyatra Yannehaasti Na Tat Kvachit | Ca.Si 12/54 (whatever is here may be found elsewhere, whatever is not here is nowhere) this is not boasting of Charaka but it is a guideline to analyze that changes on the basis of core principles. To analyze the change and to define and derive the wholesomeness-unwholesomeness of such changes for common people, the Anukta Vichaara is must.

    An Ayurvedic practitioner (or any medical practitioner for that matter) is sought after by healthy and /or sick, ailing persons for health advise. Both preventive and curative purposes are to be thought over. In both the aspects the detailed inquiry of food habits is obligatory. The food generally eaten by people contains hardly any Uktaitems or raw materials or the preparation processes. Thus the Anukta Vichaara of food becomes essential.

    Nowadays the changes in food preparation and eating habits are remarkable. The South Indian dishes are available all over the world. The Chinese dishes are enjoyed at nearby corners of average Indian cities. The most common food of Maaharashtra Pit`hala-Bhaakaree has now received five star status. Television and other media coverage are providing new recipes from and to the people all over the world.

With specific reference to food items and food habits, the Anukta Vichaara becomes necessary because of..

Additions: – Nowadays many food materials are becoming available. New processes of food preparation are also accepted in the average life. The availability of Palm oil, Soya oil and commodities like pressure- cooker, non-stick pans are a few examples of additions.

Need of alternatives: – Some classic food materials are nowadays not easily available everywhere and always due to many reasons. For example, Tila Taila though highly recommended in the texts is not easily available or if available, is often compared to the cost of other available oils. Such facts do indicate the Anukta Dravya Vichaara in search of an alternative to the Tila Taila.

Changes in the properties. – The continuously growing population demanded and was provided with purposely developed varieties of food grains. The properties of these developed varieties are not exactly the same as mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. The properties of such grain varieties do need fresh investigation. Similarly the technical processes of preparation of jaggery, sugar etc is different as compared to conventional processes and these processes need to be studied freshly.

  • Is the Anukta Vichaara intended in Ayurveda?

Ayurveda texts do positively recommend the investigation of Anukta Dravya. The following quotations may help to clear the view of Ayurveda regarding Anukta Vichaara.

Suraamanthaasavaarisht`aamllehaams`hchoorn`aanyayskriteeh| Sahasras`hoapi Kurvrrta Bijenaanena Buddhimaana || Su.Chi. 10/16. (A scholar should make thousands of SuraaManthaAasavaArisht`aLehaChurn`aAyaskritih with this principle.)

Rogaa Ye Apyatra Noddisht`aa Bahutvaat Naamarupatah| Teshaamapi Etat Eva Syaat Doshaadeen Veekshya Bheshajam||C.Chi. 30/291 (The diseases which are not described because of their nomenclature is vast, they should be treated similarly considering the Dosha etc.)

Yachchaanyadapi Kinchit Syaad Anuktamiha Poojitam |Vrittam Tadapi Chaatreyah Sadaivaabhyanumanyate || C.Su 8/34.(Whatever other observances there may be which is not spoken here, but is worshipped (in society), Atreya always recommends it (to be accepted).)

Here the word ‘ observance’ is to be considered in its broader sense and hence it indicates the healthy customs of food preparation and food consumption.

Sometimes the texts themselves explain about the Anukta in the text. for example

Kaale Anukte Prabhaatam Syat Ange Anukte Jat`aa Bhaveta| Bhaage Anukte Tu Samyam Sayat, Paatre Anukte Mrin`mayam|| Drave Anukte Jalam Graahyam, Taile Anukte Tilodbhavam | Sh.S.P. 1/47-48 [If Kaala is Anukta, the morning is to be known, the root is to be known if any specific part of herb is not told, every item should be taken in equal parts if the exact proportion is not told, the earthen pot should be used unless mentioned specific, water should be taken if any liquid is not mentioned and oil of Tila should be taken if any specific is not told.]

Apart from these direct references, some indirect references indicate the Anukta Vichaara. E.g.

Dhaatun Malaan Vaa Dehasya Vis`hoshya Ullekhayecha Tam| Lekhanam Tadyathaa Kshaudram Niram Ushn`am Vachaa Yavaah| Sh.S.P. 4/10(The (medicine) which dries and scratches the Dhaatu and Mala of the body, is (called) Lekhana that is like honey, hot water, Vachaa and the Yava)the commentator explains the Anukta Vichaara in his commentary that the word Yavah being plural indicates the use of other medicines of similar properties.

The discussion of diseases like Phiranga-Upadams`ha and the discussion of medicines like Ahiphena and Chopachini in the chronologically later texts like Bhaavaprakaas`ha are direct examples of the then Anukta Vichaara appearing in contemporary Ayurvedic texts.

  • Limits of Anukta Vichaara

Though the Anukta Vichaara is intended in Ayurveda, it has certain limits. For example, in the chapter of Viruddha Aahaara, it has been said…..

Viruddharasaveeryaan`eeti Atra Vairodhikatvenoktaanyeva Viruddharasaani Viruddhaveeryaan`i Cha Yathaayogyatayaa Uhaneeyaani | Na Tvatraanukte Api Viruddharasatvaadikalpanaa; Tathaahi Sati Payo Api S`hitamushn`ena Viruddham Syaat, Paanakaadi Madhuraamlarasam Rasa Viruddhatvaat Viruddham Syat Iti Cakrah | S. Su. 20/ 19 (Footnote) (According to Chakrapaan`i, those Viruddha Rasa-Veerya should be appropriately discussed which are told to be Viruddha, here one should not think of any Viruddha which is not told. If it is done, Sita milk in the hot state would become Viruddha, and as the Paanaka etc include sweet and sour tastes, may become Rasa Viruddha.)

Works related to the subject

Some modern works related to the Anukta Dravya Vichaara are as follows

  • Articles, dissertations etc.
  1. Study of Bakery products. Dr. S. R. Sale
  2. Study of Groundnut oil. Dr. A.B. Dharmadhikari.
  3. Study of Tomato, Tamaakhu, Kobi, Parn`abeeja. Vaidya Ramesh Nanal.
  4. Study of Custard. Vaidya Vilas Nanal.
  5. Anukta Dravya, Ice-cream Vichaara, Vaidya Vijay Agrawal,
  6. Anukta Kalpana Vichaara Pizza. Vaidya Pallavi Moholkar.
  7. Anukta Dravya – Biscuits, Vaidya Seema Sonis,
  8. Pasteurization cha Abhyaasa, Vaidya Meenal Sawant,
  • Other materials
  1. Anukta Dravya Vichaara -( cassette) Dr B.V. Sathaye.

Vd. Shreeprasad Bavdekar,
Ph.D. (Ayurveda)

Last updated on February 26th, 2021 at 06:31 am

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