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Charak Samhita - Sutrasthana - Chapter 1 (Deergham Jeeviteeya Adhyaya)


Ayurveda is a 5000 year old science that has stood the toughest test of all – time.  It is one of the ancient systems of medicine that has been benefiting mankind ever since its origin. Ayurveda literally translates to Ayu- Life and Veda- Science. This translates to Science of Life. Ancient Scholars such as Acharya Sushruta, Acharaya Charak and Acharya Vagabhata have majorly contributed to the Ayurveda textbooks. These ancient scholars have used holistic, natural methods and herbs to deal with various ailments in the body. The entire purpose of Ayurveda is to maintain the health of the healthy and treat the ill. Good health is something that is composed of Dharma, Arth, Kama and Moksha. They translate to contributing to the society, wealth, fulfilling desires and spiritual renunciation.

Introduction – What Is Charka Samhita?

Ayurveda has various classical textbooks that form the basis and pillars of medicine. The most famous, authentic and vastly described books are SushrutSamhita, CharakSamhita and AshtangaHrudayam. Charak Samhitas is one of the most authoritative and authentic books on Ayurveda. It is one of the most followed books by Ayurveda practitioners worldwide. CharakaSamhita was taught by Atreya Rishi written by Agnivesha, revised by Charaka and further edited by Drdhbhala. CharakSamhita is divided into different sections such as Sutra Sthana, Chikitsa Sthana, Viman Sthana etc. In this article, we will delve into the details of sutrasthana. Sutrasthana is the first section in the book and mainly deals with the basis and principles of Ayurveda and human body. It has 30 chapters in total.

First Chapter

First chapter of this ancient Ayurveda textbook is named as Deergham Jeevitayam Adhayaa which also translates to quest for longevity.

In this article let us take a look at the first chapter in detail.

Charaka Samhita, Chapter 1, First Chapter, Deergham Jeeviteeya Adhyaya, Quest for Longevity, Birth Of Ayurveda, What Is Ayurveda, Dravya, Guna, Karma, Cause Of Diseases, Concept Of Doshas, Properties Of Vata, Properties Of Pitta, Properties Of Kapha, Concept Of Shadrasa, Types Of Medicines, Mutra Properties, Uses Of Urine, Milk Properties, How To Use The Medicine

Birth Of Ayurveda

How did Ayurveda come to origin? Lord Brahma is considered as the one who collected the knowledge about Ayurveda and then transferred it to DakshPrajapati.

DakshPrajapati then further transferred the knowledge to AshwiniKumars. Ashwini Kumars have a very important place in Indian mythology, they were considered as the doctors of the Devlok. AshwiniKumars then passed on this sacred knowledge of Ayurveda to Lord Indra. Maharishi Bharadwaj was keen on learning about long life, and hence learnt the science of Ayurveda from Indra.

Bhardwaj's Visit To The Indra

MahrishiBhradwaj was sent by the sages to Lord Indra to learn the science of life, Ayurveda. MahrishiBhradwaj visited Lord Indra and requested him to teach the solution of all the physical problems of the world.

Lord Indra, being well versed with Ayurveda, taught Maharishi Bhardwaj about Ayurveda. From then on, Atreya Punarvasu and Agnivesha learnt Ayurveda from Mahrishi Bhardwaj. Lord Agnivesh then went on to write Charak samhita which was later refined by Charaka and Drudhbala.

What Is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is made of two words, Ayu- Life and Veda – science. Ayurveda translates to Science of life. Ayu is considered as a combination of Sharir (body), Indra (senses),Satva (mind) and Atman (soul).This science explains what eventually leads to,

  • HithAyu (Advantageous life)
  • AhitaAyu (Disadvantageous life)
  • Sukhayu (Happy life)
  • Dukhayu (sad life)

Concept Of Like Increase Like

According to Ayurveda, Kapha dosha has oily and heavy properties. If one’s diet majorly includes oily, heavy food products it will lead to the aggravation of the Kapha dosha. Similarly, if you consume light food items it will decrease the amount of Kapha dosha. Ayurveda’s concept of diet and treatment is based on this very concept.

Definition Of Dravya, Guna And Karma


Dravya is called the basic matter. The matter that includes quality (Guna) and action (karma) in a solid relationship is called a matter.


Guna is something that has a relationship with dravya (matter) but does not have any of its own action is what we call as Guna.


Karma is action. It lives with dravya, the matter and performs the actions irrespective of the Guna and dravya.

Cause Of Diseases

Various Ayurvedic textbooks define various causes for different diseases. Acharya Charak mentions various causes for both mind and body,

  • Atiyoga: Excessive utilisation
  • Heena Yoga: Less utilisation
  • Mithya yoga: Wrong utilisation


  • Kala: time
  • Artha: objects of sense organs
  • Buddhi: mental thoughts

Due to the over, under or wrong utilisation of sense time, sense organs and time, the disease eventually manifests, either in the body or in the mind.

The Concept Of Doshas

Doshas or body humours are of two kinds.

  1. Physical (Sharirik): The physical doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha
  2. Mental (Mansik): MansikDoshas are: Rajas and Tamas.

Properties Of Vata

Vata dosha has very typical properties. Some of them are:

  • Rough
  • Dry
  • Light
  • Minute
  • Mobile
  • Non slimy
  • Coarse

Properties Of Pitta

Pitta dosha has very typical properties. Some of them are:

  • Unctuous
  • Sharp
  • Liquid
  • Sour
  • Fluidity
  • Pungent

Properties Of Kapha

Vata dosha has very typical properties. Some of them are:

  • Heavy
  • Cold
  • Gentle
  • Sweet
  • Stable
  • Slimy

The Major Treatment Principle Of Tridosha Imbalance

Treatment in Ayurveda is based on the principle of using medicines with opposing qualities. Medicine administered to the patient is opposite to the Dosha of the disease and is given keeping in mind the correct dosage, time and place.

The Concept Of Shadrasa

Ayurveda mentions six major types of flavours such as:

  • Madhur (Sweet)
  • Amla (Sour)
  • Lavana (Salt)
  • Katu (Pungent)
  • Tikta (Bitter)
  • Kashaya (Astringent)

Types Of Medicines

There are three different types of medicines that are mentioned in Ayurveda namely:

Dosha Prashamana

Medicines which balance the aggravated Dosha.

Dhatu Pradushan

Medicines which balance the normal dosha to abnormal stage.


Medicines which maintain the health in the normal state.

Mutra Properties

Mutra is mentioned in detail in the first chapter of the Ayurveda textbooks. Ayurveda mentions urine of various varieties with their uses in detail. For example urine of sheep, urine of goat, cow, horse etc is mentioned in Ayurveda. Major qualities of urine or mutra mentioned in Ayurveda are:

  • Hot
  • Sharp
  • Unctuous
  • Pungent
  • Oily

Uses Of Urine

Urine is used in various aspects in Ayurveda. General properties of urine are as follows:

  • Unction
  • Anointment
  • Asthapana
  • Purgation
  • Fomentation
  • Appetisers
  • Bactericides
  • Calms Pitta Dosha

It is also used in the treatment of the following diseases:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal disorders
  • Piles
  • Skin diseases
  • Kilasa
  • Anaemia

Milk Properties

Milk is considered as the most nutrient dense food item in Ayurveda. Multiple varieties such as milk of sheep, buffalo, elephant, cow and goat etc are mentioned in Ayurveda.

Major qualities of the milk mentioned in Ayurveda are:

  • Sweet
  • Unctuous
  • Coolant
  • Lactogenic
  • Refreshing
  • Nourishing
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Appetiser
  • Balances Vata and Pitta

It is also used in the treatment of the following diseases:

  • Improves intelligence
  • Fatigue improving
  • Bronchitis
  • Wound healing
  • Phthisis
  • Anemia
  • Hyperacidity
  • Fever
  • Edema
  • Reproductive disorders (Male and Female)

How To Use The Medicine?

Ayurveda considers that the correct dosages of even poison can become medicine and incorrect doses of medicine can become poison. A physician should always recommend a medicine based on its properties, and Ayurveda Principles.

Ayurveda says one cannot escape the consequences of the medicines given by an ignorant physician. Only medicines which can cure, give good results and are based on the principles of Ayurveda are considered a good medicine.


To summarize the first chapter of the most sacred Ayurveda book, CharakSamhita, mentions about Origin of Ayurveda, objective of the Ayurveda science, cause of diseases, the concept of Doshas, the concept of Rasas, the concept of Dravya-Guna-Karma, properties of various kinds of milk, urine and the correct method to use the medicines by a good physician.

This chapter lays down the basics of all the treasure of knowledge that lay ahead in further chapters of CharakSamhita. These basics of Ayurveda clearly explained give the readers ability to understand the forthcoming chapters of the book.

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan


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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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