Ritucharya Adhayaya - 6th Chapter of Sushruta Samhita
Sushruta Samhita is written by Acharya Sushruta. This book was composed after Charak Samhita. It is a classical Ayurvedic text which has mentioned the hundreds of surgical procedures and medicines to treat diseases. Sushruta Samhita is the foundation of modern surgery which has given a detailed description of various surgeries like Rhinoplasty and Cataract surgeries. In this article, we will discuss the sixth chapter of Sushruta Samhita (Sutra Sthana) which is Ritucharya. We will get to know different types of Ritus (seasons) according to Acharya Sushruta and how these Ritus affect our bodies.
Ritucharya comprises two words Ritu and Charya. Ritu means season and Charya means Regimen. Ritucharya consists of all the activities that are meant to be done in various seasons. In this article, we discuss Kala, Shadritus, Anaya Dvaya, Ritu dosha Prabhava, Dosha Ritu Chikitsa, Din Ritu Bhava, Avyapana Ritu, Ritu Vyapada, Vyapana Ritu Charya, Avyapana Ritu Lakshan and basic line of treatment for elimination of doshas.
The Kala is self-born and is beyond Aadi (beginning), Madhya (middle) and Anta (ending). It is beyond life and death. It is called Kala because it doesn't even spare a microsecond. It brings destruction which is why it is called Kala. The Kala is divided into nimesha, kashtha, kala, muhurta, ahoratra, paksha, masa, ritu, ayan, samvatsar and yuga.
- Nimesha: Time taken to speak a short syllable or wink the eyelid.
- Kashtha: It is equal to 15 akshi nimesha.
- Kala: It is equal to 30 kashta.
- Muhurata: It is equal to 20 kala or the 10th part of the kala.
- Ahoratra: It comprises 30 muhurta.
- Paksha: It is equal to 15 ahoratra.
- Masa: 2 paksha is equal to 1 month (There are two pakshas that is Krishna paksha and Shukla paksha).
- Ritu: Ritu means Seasons. One ritu contains 2 months.
- Samvatsar: Samvatsar means Year. It contains 12 months. Dakshinayan and Uttarayan both make one Year.
- Yuga: A large period of time. 5 years combine to form a Yuga.
- From Nimesha to Yuga this duration is called Kala Chakra.
Ayana Dvaya (The Two Solstice)
- On the basis of various Ritus and division of Kala according to moon and sun, there are two types of Ayanas that are Uttarayan and Dakshinayan. Lord Moon and madhura (sweet), amla (sour) and lavana (salt) rasa are powerful during Dakshinayana. The energy of all living beings is also increased during Dakhsinayan. Shishira, Vasanta and Grishama ritus come under Uttarayana. Lord Sun is dominating in this period. Tikta (bitter), kashaya (astringent) and Katu (pungent) rasa are more prominent in this period. The energy of all living beings is reduced in this period.
- The Chandrama (moon) moistens the earth with its cold rays and Surya (sun) dries up the earth with dry rays.
Shadritus (Six Seasons)
Given below are six ritus:
1. Varsha (Rainy season)
Bhadrapada (June) and Ashwini (July) come under Varsha Ritu.
2. Sharad (Autumn season)
It consists of Kartika (August) and Margashirsha (September).
3. Hemanta (Early winter season)
Hemanta Ritu consists of Posha (October) and Magha (November).
4. Vasant (Spring season)
Vasant Ritu consists of Phalguna(December) and Chetra (January).
5. Grishma (Summer season)
It consists of Vaishaka (February) and Jaishta (March).
6. Pravrita (Early rainy season)
Ashada (April) and Shravana (May) are the two months that come under Pravrita Ritu.
Ritu-Dosha Prabhava (Effect Of Different Seasons On Dosha)
- In Varsha Ritu, the plants are juvenile and water becomes contaminated with foul waste materials on earth and therefore water does not remain clean and clear. The sky is filled with clouds and the earth is fully moistened with water. Due to such conditions, living beings have more moisture and agni becomes extremely weak under the influence of cold wind. If a person consumes food or medicine it creates a burning sensation in the body. This results in the accumulation of Pitta dosha. This accumulated Pitta dosha increases severely in Sharad Ritu.
- During Hemanta Ritu, with the effect of time, the same plant undergoes changes in its potency. The water is clear and very heavy to digest during this period. In this season, due to the softness of sunlight and cold air, the body of living beings becomes stiff. The intake of water and medicines will result in Madhura Vipaka which results in the accumulation of Kapha. In Vasanta Ritu, under the action of sun rays the Kapha melts down. It results in the aggravation of Kapha and causes diseases of Kapha.
- In Grishma Ritu, these medicines and water become dry and light. After consumption of these medicines, it causes dryness in humans resulting in the accumulation of Vata. In Pravrita Ritu, this accumulation of Vata is converted into Vata aggravation (prakopa) under the action of cold, windy and rainy weather.
- In this way, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are accumulated and aggravated under the action of various ritu’s.
Dosha, Ritu & Chikitsa
- Doshas accumulated in Varsha, Hemant and Sharad Ritu and doshas aggravated in Sharada, Basanta and Pravrita ritu should be treated properly.
- Diseases caused due to Pitta dosha should be treated in Hemanta Ritu.
- Diseases caused due to Kapha dosha should be treated in Grishma Ritu.
- Diseases caused due to Vata dosha should be treated in Sharada Ritu.
- Morning resembles Vasanta Ritu.
- Noontime resembles Grishma Ritu.
- Afternoon resembles Pravrita Rtiu.
- Evening time resembles Varsha Ritu.
- Midnight resembles Sharada Ritu.
- Brahma muhurta (time before sunrise) resembles Hemanta Ritu.
During Avyapanna Ritu (seasons with usual features) herbs and water remain pure and their use increases prana shakti (vital force), ayu (age), bala (strength) and ojas (immunity).
Ritu Vikriti (Unusual seasons) is called Ritu Vyapat. It is a result of Adharama (sinful activities). Abnormal changes in cold, heat, wind and rain cause abnormalities in the quality of plants and water. Consumption of such plants (herbs) and water will result in the manifestation of various diseases and pandemics. During abnormal changes in Ritus and pandemic/epidemic conditions, adushita (pure) herbs and water should be used.
Vyapanna Ritu Charya
It includes the regime that should be followed during unusual seasons:
- Sthana Parityaga (Migration)
- Shanti Karma (Pacifying rites)
- Prayashchita (atonement)
- Mangal (auspicious rituals)
- Japa (chanting mantra/hymns)
- Havana (fire sacrifices)
- Upahahr (oblations to supreme power)
- Yagya (fire sacrifices)
- Baddhanjali Pranama (salutation with folded hands)
- Tapa (penances/ discipline)
- Niyama (religious restraint)
- Daya (showing compassion towards others)
- Danna (charity)
- Dikshagrahana (initiation by preceptors)
- Worshiping God, Brahmana and Teachers.
Avyapanna Ritu Lakshana
Given below are the natural/usual features of various Ritu's/Seasons:
- Hemanta Ritu: In Hemant Ritu, the cold winds blow from the north. All four directions remain covered with dust and smoke. Due to snowfall the water bodies remain covered with snow. Crows, rhinoceros, camels and elephants become intoxicated and trees like Lodhra, Priyangu and Nagkeshar trees bloom during this period.
- Shishira Ritu: Shishira Ritu is very cold and all four directions are surrounded by breeze and rain. The various other features of Shishira Ritu are the same as Hemanta Ritu.
- Vasanta Ritu: During Vasanta Ritu, the winds blow from the Malya Giri. This mountain is covered with Laksha, Chandan, and Chameli trees. This produces a mesmerizing fragrance that provokes kama dev and couples. All the directions are clear, covered by forests. The earth is beautified with flowering trees like Palasha, Kamal, Bakul, Amra and Ashoka. Melodious sounds of Cuckoo and bees can be heard.
- Grishma Ritu: In Grishma Ritu, the sun's rays are intense and hot. The wind is unpleasant and it blows from the southwest direction. The earth remains heated up with heat. Riven becomes narrow/shrunken due to less water. All four directions remain bright. Pair of Chakwa and Chakvi (Brahminy duck) keep wandering here and there in search of water. Also, various animals like deer keep on searching for water. Small trees, grasses and creepers get dried up and leaves fall from the trees.
- Pravrita Ritu: In Pravrita Ritu, the sky remains covered with clouds that are blown by western winds. The clouds produce thunder and lightning. The earth remains covered with soft and grey-colored grass. It is also surrounded by fireflies, Kadamba (Burflower tree), Nipa (Mangrove palm tree), Kutaja (Kurchi tree), Sarja (White Dammar tree) and Keetaki (Screw-pine ) trees.
- Varsha Ritu: During Varsha Ritu, the river remains filled with ample of water. The trees near the barks are uprooted as a result of the powerful pressure of river water. Kumuda (White lotus) and Nilotpala (Blue lotus) are covered over the ponds. The earth is covered with grass all over so it is difficult to see the pits and depressions on the ground. The earth remains covered with various types of Dhanyas (cereal crops). Sun, nakshatra (stars) and the sky are covered with clouds.
- Sharad Ritu: In Sharad Ritu, the sun's rays are pingla (brownish) in color. The sky remains covered with white clouds. Swans are seen swimming over ponds. The earth is dry and remains covered with mud and anthills. Jhinti, Satona, Guldhupahariya, Kasha and Vijyasar beautify the land.
There is an imbalance in Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha present in the human body due to abnormalities in the usual feature of seasons in an inappropriate manner.
The Basic Line Of Treatment For The Elimination Of Doshas
One should pacify the doshas before the manifestation of disease by following the given methods:
- In Vasant Ritu, Vaman is done in order to pacify the Kapha imbalance.
- In Sharada Ritu, Virechana Karma should be done to pacify Pitta Dosha.
- In Varsha Ritu, Snehapan and Basti should be done to pacify Vata dosha.
Take all these in powder form and mix it with lavan (Salt), nimba patra (Neem leaves), and Ghruta (Ghee) and do the dhupana. The ghruta/ ghee left is used for mardana of the other vital structures.
With this, we ended Ritucharya Adhyaya. In this chapter, we discussed Kala. We got to know various ritu's (seasons) and their characteristic features, the effect of various ritus on the doshas and the basic line of treatment in order to avoid the manifestation of diseases. One should take care of their daily regimen depending upon various Ritu's (seasons).