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Karma Dravya

Karma is a word famous for its spiritual meaning in the masses. But the same word has different meanings in various sciences and subjects. Similarly in Aayurveda it has various different meanings according to reference. Here it is explained with reference to Dravya Gun`a Vidnyaana. It is one of the properties of Dravya and is important to know for acquiring the knowledge of its functionality. The actual term is Karman derived from root Kri meaning to do. Its literary meaning is action. It is one of the six major Kaaran`a (Means of Dhaatusaamya) are explained in Charaka Samhitaa as Saamaanya, Vis`hesha, Dravya, Gun`aKarma and Samavaaya.1


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Charakaachaarya defined Karma as the action behind the Samyoga (adhesion or coming together or conjunction or union or combining or connecting) and Vibhaaga (separation or parting or deletion) of the particles of Dravya and is intimately associated with the Dravya. It inseparably resides in Dravya and is responsible for various effects / actions / resultant of that Dravya on the body after digestion. Since conjunction of one particle to other particle can not happen without separation of first particle from its former state / contact / abode Karma is said to be responsible for both. Actions in the body are subject to change with the help of adhesion and separation properties just as in the universe.2 In Dravyagun`a, Karma is actions / effects of the drug on the body.

Karma in Dravyagun`a:
In Ayurveda many things are called upon as Karma like procedures as in Pancha Karma, unforeseen (Adrisht`a Karma), Prayatnaadi Karma or Chesht`aa (Initiation of the act from the soul or activity) etc. but according to Dravyagun`a Vidnyaana it is considered as the property of Dravya to act upon the body by various ways. In Dravyagun`a, Karma is explained as DeepanaPaachanaStambhana etc. which are actions of the drug on the body after its digestion.

Difference between Gun`a and Karma:
Gun`a and Karma are the two which are inseparably associated with Dravya. Without Gun`a Karma can not happen and depending upon the Karma or action Gun`a is identified. One can also say that Gun`a are static energy within the Dravya whereas Karma is Kinetic energy in the Dravya.3

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Various Karma:

  • In Charaka SamhitaaCharakaachaarya has enumerated 50 Karma as Mahaakashaaya. He has given 10 examples for each Karma also.4
  • In Shaarngdhara Samhitaa various Karma are explained with examples these are as follows.5

Deepana S`hatapushpaa (Mis`hi)
Paachana Naagakes`hara
S`hamana Amritaa (Gud`oochee)
Anulomana Hareetakee
Sramsana Aaragvadha (Kritamaalaka)
Bhedana Kut`akee
Rechana Trivrit
Vamana Madanaphala
S`hodhana Devadaalee Phala
Chhedana Kshaara, Maricha (Black peper),
Lekhana Madhu (honey), Ushn`odaka (hot water), VachaaYava (barley)
Graahee S`hun`t`hi (dry zinzer), Jeeraka, Gajapippalee
Stambhana Kut`aja, T`un`t`uka
Rasaayana Amritaa, Guggulu
Vaajeekaran`a Kapikachchhu Beeja etc


  • Though Karma has various meaning in Ayurved itself, in Dravyagun`a Vidnyaana it has different meaning.
  • It is one of the means of Dhaatusaamya.
  • Karma is the action behind any type of adhesion or seperation.
  • One can refer Karma as Kinetic energy of Dravya.
  • It is different from Gun`a and Gun`a are infered by examining Karma.


  • Charakasamhita by Charakacharya, Pub. Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi, 5th Edi. 2001, Page 7, Sutrasthan Chapter 1 Sutra 28-29
  • Charakasamhita by Charakacharya, Pub. Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi, 5th Edi. 2001, Page 13, Sutrasthan Chapter 1 Sutra 52
  • Sushrutasamhita by Sushrutacharya, Pub. Chaukhambha Sanskrit Series , Varanasi, 1st Edi. 1998, Page 252, Sutrasthan Chapter 46, Sutra 514.
  • Charakasamhita by Charakacharya, Pub. Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi, 5th Edi. 2001, Page 31, Sutrasthan Chapter 4 Sutra 8.
  • Sharangdhara Samhita, Prathama KhandaChapter 4.

Last updated on March 25th, 2021 at 04:33 am

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