Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana Chapter One-Detailed explaination

After finishing Introduction to Charak samhita ,let’s start with  the  detailed explanation . First we will see Charaka samhita Sutrasthana chapter one, the Deerghamjeevitiya adhyay. The very first verse of Charaka samhita is –

Athato deergharmjeeviteeyam adhyayam vyakhyasyaamaha||1||

                                             Charaka samhita sutrasthana chapter one verse 1

Translation- “With holy word atha, I start to describe in detail, the chapter for long life, i.e Deerghamjeeviteey adhyay.”

The chapter starts with Ayurveda Avataran (verses 3-40), i.e how Ayurveda came into existence. Since I have already Discussed it in “who wrote Ayurveda and When” , I will not repeat it here.

We will go to the next verses –

Trisutra Ayurveda (Three types of verses in Ayurveda)

Hetu ling aushadh dnyaanam swasthaatur paraayanam|

Trisutram shashwatam punyam bubudham yam pitamaha||24||

                                  Charaka samhita sutrasthana chapter one verse 24


Bramha recalled Ayurveda which has three types of knowledge (Dnyaan)

(verses) –

1. Hetu Sutra (Causes)

2. Linga Sutra (symptoms)

3. Aushadh sutra (medicines).

Hence it is called Trisutra (one which has three types of verses ) . People many times use the word Trisutra to describe and endorse Ayurveda.

It is of utmost use and the best way of life for healthy people , as well as sick people. Here it is notable , that here and throughout , Ayurveda always mentions health and preventive aspects first.

It is called Shashwat (one which stays forever) . Now we have experienced this, because even after being around for 2500 years ,it has survived. It also has stayed in use and is gaining popularity. This is because it is based on eternal principles which will never change.

It is called Punya , as it is the fruit of good deeds in the past . Also it gives Punya to vaidya who practises it. I.e the doctor who practises it to heal patients gets rewards in some form or other.

Definition of Ayurveda

Hitahitam sukham dukham Ayustasya hitahitam|

Maanam cha taccha yatroktam ayurvedaha sa uchyate||41||

                                     Charaka samhita sutrasthana chapter one /verse 41

Ayurveda is the knowledge of what is good for an Aayu and what is bad, what gives happiness and what doesn’t, and about the statistics of Aayu. So, what is Aayu?-

Definition of Aayu

Sharir Indriya satva aatma sanyogo Dhaari Jeevitam|

Nityagascha Anubandhashcha paryayai Aayu uchyate||42||

 Charaka samhita sutrasthana chapter one verse 42

Aayu is the combination of body, senses, mind, and soul . Dhaari, Jeevitam, Nityaga, and Anubandh are its synonyms.

This is a very beautiful definition of what Ayurveda is set out to protect – not just physical body, but our senses, our mind, our soul too.

Because body without any of these is just a cadaver.

By these two definitions, we can say that Ayurveda is the manuscript for living a healthy and happy life.

Thus, after explaining how Ayurveda came into existence, next the goal of Ayurveda and what is it set to protect is explained , as this is the first chapter of the samhita.

Then come the most important principles of Ayurveda –

Saamanya Vishesh Nirupan

Sarvadaa sarva bhaavaanam saamaanyam vruddhi kaaranam |

Rhaashetu visheshashcha pravruttir ubhayasya tu||44||

 Charaka samhita sutrasthana chapter one /verse 44 

Lord Charaka gives the principles of Ayurveda in a very micro, concise form here .

– The substances, properties of substances and actions all increase due to similar things and decrease due to dissimilar, opposing things . For treatment, you have to use either way of these . ( increase or decrease)

Sounds like a no big deal, isn’t it? – But it is the base of whole Ayurvedic treatment.  And if you master this simple thing, you can treat any disease – not even necessary to give it a name.


(pravruttir ubhayasya tu).

(pravrutti- Pratikarma samarambha|Tasya lakshanam bhishagaushadh aatur paricharakanam kriyasamaayogaha||charaka  samhita viman sthaan 8-129).

Bhavas= Dravya (substances), Gunas- Properties, & Karmas- Actions- Bhavanti sattam anubhavanti iti bhaavaa dravya guna karmaani ityarthaha.

Homeopathy uses first half of the verse – Similia similibus curanteur- same cures same.

And allopathy uses the second half – treatment by using opposites. ( I am not saying they took it from Ayurveda, but they have these principles by their own)

This verse says Ayurveda uses both of these principles according to diseases. — Great men think alike… After all, helping humanity live a healthy happy life is the goal of all pathies 🙂

The most part of rest of the adhyaya (topic)  explains in detail the components of this single verse.

Now let’s start with an important part of theorotical aspects of Ayurveda. This part though not directly useful in treatment forms the basis of understanding Charaka samhita . While you read the Charaka samhita, you will again and again find these words throughout the samhita . Hence, Lord Charaka has explained them in the first topic of sutrasthana so that you may understand them when he mentions them further. This part is a bit difficult to understand as it mostly contains the Philosophical aspects of existence of Human race, the Universe , etc , in an Indian view point . It was mostly derived from the Darshanas and Vedanta and forms a seperate subject Padartha Vigyan .

The Shad Padarthas-

Padartha- Padartha generally means any material substance . But here it means an object denoted by certain word . (Padasya Artha Padartha). Whatever that is knowable is denoted by a certain word . Hence all knowable things are described by words , and hence are called Padarthas .

Dravya, Guna , Karma , Samanya , Vishesh , Samvay are the Shad Padarthas accepted by Ayurveda .


Charaka samhita sutrasthana chapter one



 verse 50-2

Defination of Dravya- 

In which the Karma and Guna take refuge and which is the undeniable cause of karya is called Dravya. In simple words, Dravya means substance . So the properties of the substance take refuge in it and the actions are also because of the substance.

Verse 48-

 Dravya sangraha-

The Dravyas , by the  different combinations  of whom all the other substances are formed.Or , the basic elements-


Following are the 9 kaaran dravyas or the elements of this Universe-

1 to 5-.The 5 mahabhutas (Pancha mahabhutas )

  1. Aakash (Space like matter)
  2. Vaayu (Air like matter)
  3. Tej( Fire like matter)
  4. Jal (Water like matter)
  5. Prithvi (earth like matter)
  6. Aatma (soul)
  7. Man (mind)
  8. Kaal (Time)
  9. Disha (Directions)

From these  Karan dravyas, the Karya dravyas are formed. ( Different living and non living things found in this Universe. ).

Gunas-(Properties /Attributes)-

verse 51
Defination of Guna-

Guna means property or attribute. Defination – That without which Dravya cannot exist, but  which cannot take action by itself  is Guna.

All substances have properties, but the properties cannot exist without the substance, nor can there be any substance without properties .Hence Substance or Dravya is considered more important than Guna or Attribute.

Charaka samhita sutrasthana chapter one

There are total 41 Gunas-

1.The 5 Saarth gunas –

The subjects of 5 senses- Shabda, Sparsha , Rupa , Rasa , Gandha

2. The 20 Gurvadi gunas,

These are the Samanya gunas or general attributes .These are the attributes most commonly useful in practical purpose of treatment and hence are given more importance in Ayurveda . These are pairs of 10 properties and their opposite properties-

Property                           Opposing property

1.Guru (Heavy)                  Laghu (light)

2.Sheet (cold)-                   Ushna (Warm)

3.Snigdha (Oily/moist)-       Ruksha (Dry

4.Manda(Mild/ Dull/slow)-           Tikshna (Sharp/concentrated)

5.Stir(Steady)-                    Sar ( Moving)

6.Mrudu (Soft)                    Kathin (Hard)

7.Vishad (Clean/ Non slimy)       Pichchil (Slimy)

8.Shlakshna (Smooth)                 Khara (coarse)

9. Sthula (large)                        Sukshma (Small)

10. Sandra (viscous/dense)                   Drava (Less viscous/liquid)

3. Budhdhi-

Buddhi (Intellect)-

It consists of

  1. Smruti,- Memory
  2. .Chetana – Conciousness
  3. Dhruti- power to retain things which are learnt
  4. Ahankar – Ego (knowledge that I exist)


4. The Prayatnant 5 gunas-


  1. Iccha (Desire) – Wish to acquire something .
  2. Dvesh (Aversion)
  3. Sukha (Pleasure)
  4. Dukkha (Misery/Pain )
  5. Prayatna  (Effort)

Buddhi and Prayatnant gunas together are known as Adhyatmik gunas or attributes of the soul.

5. The 10 Paradi gunas –

These are also important in treatment point of view, as their complete knowledge helps in proper planning of line of treatment .

  1. Par-Chief
  2. Apar- Not chief
  3. Yukti – application of ideas
  4. Sankhya-Number
  5. Sanyog- Combination  /association.
  6. Vibhag-Detachment
  7. Pruthakatva-Distinctness
  8. Parimana-Magnitude
  9. Sanskar- Proccesing.
  10. Abhyas- Practice


Karma means actions made to achieve something.

verse 52

Karma is the reason of association/combining and detachment . It exists in Dravya. It does not require any other factor for its action than it being itself.

In Ayurveda , the effort done for treatment of patient is also called Karma.


Samanya means something which has similar properties or creates similar properties as your subject of interest .Samanya causes integrity.. It increases those properties of  the subject due to aggregation of similar properties together.

Example- If you eat meat ,the meat in your body – your muscle mass will increase too.

The main responsibility of Vaidya is to increase the decreased Dhatus,Doshas and Malas, and decrease the increased ones. and this can be done with the proper use of Samanya and Vishesh .


Something which is different, has different properties.Naturally it will not increase the properties of something else. It will reduce your subject due to opposition.

Example- As exercise increases Vata ,it will decrease Kapha and in turn decrease fat from your body .

 Verse 46 and 47

The three pillars –

Mind, body and soul are the three pillars of your existence. Their coming together is the sole reason of the existence of this whole world. They are the driving force and the base of this universe. They are the basic reason for whom Vedas (including Ayurveda ) are explained and they are also the subject of Vedas .

Verse 50


The inseperable relation between Prithvi etc Dravyas and their properties is called Samvay.  A substance cannot be seperated from its properties.

Ayurved Prayojan ( Goal statement of Ayurveda)

Sanskrit verse  53





                             Charaka samhita Sutrasthana chapter one verse 53

The goal of Ayurveda is to create a balance in  the Dhatus (  The basic 7 components of body). They must neither be less neither more than the optimum. If they are in optimum quantity, body is generally in a healthy state. So, in other words the goal of Ayurveda is to give good health.

The root cause of Diseases

Sanskrit verse with pronounciation


                             Charaka samhita Sutrasthana chapter one verse 54

The root cause of any disease is ;

1. misuse,overuse or underuse or inappropriate use of body

2. misuse, overuse or inappropriate use of mind

3. less than appropriate , more than appropriate or inappropriate characteristics of that particular season .


Overuse of mind or body causes exertion which may make it susceptible to diseases. The underuse of mind and body can cause them to become weak ,making them inept in fighting diseases , and the misuse can harm the mind and body, again making it susceptible to diseases. The ill effects of variations of season than normal are well known. Some times, there is more than normal severity of Summer , and we see people come down with sunstrokes. Similarly the less than adequate severity of seasons or seasons starting at wrong times than normal can cause people to fall sick. So whatever may be the immediate cause , the decline in immunity due to the above reasons is the root cause of all diseases .

The Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana Chapter One consists of much more-

  • The reasons of increase and decrease of Doshas, i.e the samanya and vishesh for Doshas,
  • also the definition of Pravrutti,
  • and the praise of one who does this correctly- the praise of a good physician , etc
  •  and many more are further contents of the topic , But I will come to it later in the next update of same post a few days later.

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Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana Chapter One Summary

charaka samhita sutrasthana chapter one english translation online




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