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Yantravidhi Adhyaya - 7th Chapter of Sushruta Samhita


Acharya Sushruta who is also known as "The Father of Surgery '' has written Sushruta Samhita. He has mentioned various medicines and surgeries in this book. Sushruta Samhita is one of the three great treatises (Charak Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridya) in Ayurveda and is considered as the oldest classical text written on surgery. Sushruta Samhita is divided into 5 sthanas (books) namely Sutra sthana, Nidana sthana, Sharira sthana, Chikitsa sthana, Kalpa sthana and Uttar Tantra. In this article, we will discuss Yantravidhi Adhyaya which is the seventh chapter of Sushruta Samhita (Sutra sthana).

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In this chapter, we will learn about various types of Yantra, their qualities and dosha. Acharya Sushruta has very elaborately mentioned various types of yantras that were used at that time. These Yantra's are the base of modern surgical tools. Yantra stands for sharp instruments, alkalies and fire etc. Yantras can be of various types, shapes, and sizes. These instruments have different functions and are used in different parts of the body. There are various types of Yantra like Swastika Yantra, Samdhansha Yantra, Tala Yantra, Nadi Yantra, Shalaka Yantra and Upa Yantra. They help in removing Shalya (foreign body or abnormal growth) from our bodies.

Number Of Yantra

Yantra is 101 in number. Hands are considered Pradhana Yantra because, without the use of hands, Yantra can not be used.


Those factors which affect the mind and body are called Shalya. The instruments that are used to remove the Shalya are called Yantra.

Yantra Bheda

On the basis of Akriti (shape), Yatra is six in number:

  • Swastika Yantra (Cruciform instruments)
  • Samdansha Yantra (Foreceps)
  • Tal Yantra (Scoops)
  • Nadi Yantra (Probes)
  • Shalaka Yantra (Speculum)
  • Upa Yantra (Accessory instruments)

The number of each type of instrument:

  • Swastika Yantra = 24
  • Samdansha Yantra = 2
  • Tal Yantra = 2
  • Nadi Yantra = 20
  • Shalaka Yantra = 28
  • Upa Yantra = 25

Face Of Instruments

The face of the instrument should resemble the face of violent animals, tame animals and birds. This is because the face of these animals and birds resembles the face and structure of the instrument.

The instrument should be made by keeping the following things in mind:

  • The instrument should resemble the shap
  • es of animals and birds.
  • The measurement of the instrument should be referred to from scriptures or books.
  • The instruments should be used under the advice of experts.
  • The instruments should be made in context to the old classical instruments.
  • The instrument should be made tactfully.

Qualities Of Instruments

Given below are the qualities of Yantra:

  • Yatra should be ideal in size. Not too big and not too small.
  • The faces of instruments should be hard, smooth, good looking and easy to hold.

Swastika Yantra

Swastika Yantra is 18 angula (36 cm) in length and their faces resemble the face of a lion, tiger, wolf, hyena, panther, bear, deer, fox, jackal, owl, kite, flamingo. It has a handle that is bent like a goad at its roots. The handle and the front part are fitted with each other with the help of masoor shaped screws. Swastika Yantra is used for bones and other parts where Shalya is present.

Samdansha Yantra

Samdansha Yantra is of two types, Sanigraha and Anigraha. This yantra is 17 angula (32 cm) in length. It is useful for extracting foreign bodies from the ear, nose and veins.

Tala Yantra

Tal Yantra is 2 in number and 12 angula (24 cm) in length. It resembles the palate of fish. It is one and two in number.

  • Eka tala - It has one tala that resembles the palate of the fish.
  • Dwi tala - It has two tala that resembles the palate of the fish.

Nadi Yantra

There are various types of Nadi Yantra and they are used for various purposes. Some have openings at one end whereas others have openings at both ends.

Nadi Yantra is used for the extraction of foreign bodies from srotas (channels), to observe the abnormality inside the channels and some Nadi Yantra are used to remove impure blood and pus. It is also used to do Ksharapatanadi karma in piles.

We will be discussing Bangandar Yantra, Arso Yantra, Vrana Yantra, Basti Yantra, Niruddhhaprakasa Yantra, Sanniroddhaguda Yantra and Alabu Yantra further in this chapter.

Shalaka Yantra

Shalaka Yantra is also of many types. They are used in various ways. Their thickness and length vary according to their use. Among them, Gandupadmukhi (face resembling an earthworm), Sarapphanmukhi, Sharpankhmukhi and Badishmukhi are 2 -2 in number. They are used for probing, collecting, movement and extraction. Shalaka Yantra has two Shalaka and their head resembles masura dal (red lentil) which is bent downwards. There are 6 shalaka that are fitted with cotton and are used for cleaning, three shalaka are in the shape of a ladle and their face is bent down. It is useful for applying caustic alkali, the other three resemble the Jambu (Eugenia jambolina), whereas the other three shalaka have faces shaped like Ankusa (elephant goad). 6 shalakas are used for thermal cauterization. One is used for pulling out Nasa Arbuda (polyp or tumor inside the nose). Just like this, there is another Shalaka, round in shape with the thickness of a pea and both the corners have mukulakar thin shalaka. It is used to apply surma over eyelids. Another shalaka is used for cleaning the urinary tract and has a thickness equal to the stalk of a malti (jasmine) flower.

Upa Yantra

Upayantra includes Rajju (rope), venika (thread knitted in 3 parts), put (sheet of cloth), charma (leather), antarvalkala (thinner and inner layer of bark), lata (vine), vastra (cloth), stone resembling to ashthila granthi (hard stone), mudgara (mortar), panitala (palm), pada tala (sole), anguli (fingers), jihva (tongue), danta (teeth), nakha (nails), mukha (mouth), bala (hair), ashwakantak (horse bridle), shakha (branch of a tree), shathivana (), pravahana (straining), harsha (joy), ayaskanta (magnet), ksara (caustic alkali), agni (fire), bhesaja (medicines).

These Yantra and Upayantra can be used all over the body and in other parts of joints, body cavities and arteries.

Yantra Karma

Yantra Karma are 24 in number:

  1. Nirghanta (hammering)
  2. Purana  (to fill)
  3. Bandhana (tying or fixing)
  4. Vyuhana (collecting)
  5. Vartan (turning)
  6. Chalan (movement)
  7. Vivartana (rotation)
  8. Vivaran (exposure, open, dilate)
  9. Pidana (squeeze)
  10. Marga vishodhan (cleaning the tract)
  11. Vikarshan (split and pull)
  12. Aharana (extraction)
  13. Anchana (elevation)
  14. Unnamana (lift up)
  15. Vinamana (push downwards)
  16. Bhanjana (to break)
  17. Unmathana (churning)
  18. Achushana (suck, aspire)
  19. Eshana (probing)
  20. Darana (cracking)
  21. Rijukaran (to straighten)
  22. Prakshalana (wash)
  23. Pradhaman (air blow)
  24. Pramarjana (mopping)

Yantra Doshas

There are total 12 defects of Yantra:

  1. Atisthula (very thick)
  2. Asar (soft/delicate)
  3. Ati dirgaha (very long)
  4. Ati hrisava (very short)
  5. Agrahi (uneasy to hold)
  6. Vishama grahi (unstable grip)
  7. Vakra (irregular)
  8. Sithila (soft, weak)
  9. Atyunnata (very elevated)
  10. Mrdukila (loose nails)
  11. Mrdu mukha (soft face)
  12. Mrdu pasa (with loose threads)

Ideal Instrument

The Yantra which does not have the above-mentioned dosha and is 18 angula in length is called Prashasta Yantra/ Ideal Instrument.

The foreign body or Shalya that can be seen externally should be removed with the help of Sinhamukhadi Yantra. The foreign bodies embedded in Mamsadi Dhatu should be removed with the help of Kankamukhadi Yantra.

Kankamukha Yantra is considered the Pradhana Yantra because it can embed inside the vrana, can work efficiently and remove the Shalya (foreign body) from our body.


Yantras are 101 in number and there are six types of Yantras. Hands are considered Pradhana Yantra whereas among other Yantra Kankamukha Yantra is considered the Pradhana Yantra. Yantra should not be too big or too small. Yantras have 24 functions and 12 dosha in number which we have already discussed in this chapter.

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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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