The set of properties where the list starts with the property named as Guru is known as गुर्वादि गुण (Guruvadi Guna). These set of properties are those which have profound utility in the science of Ayurveda. This is due to the fact that it traverses into every living and non-living substance that is present in this universe. The same set of properties are composed of 2 sets which are opposite to each other comprising of 10 opposites. Thus the total number of properties are 20 in number. As they are set of opposites these properties are known as विपरीत गुण (Vipareeta Guna) and these being 20 in number the group is known as विंशति गुण (Vimshati Guna). The 20 properties mentioned in the group are those which are said to be properties of the PANCHAMAHABHUTA and is present in every part of the universe. Thus the group is also known by the name भौतिक गुण (Bhautika Guna). These properties are those which give the physical characteristics of all the materials that are present in the universe. They form the physical attributes to every substance including our body. Thus the group of properties are also known by the name शारीरिक गुण (Shareerika Guna). Thus, the set of the properties have different dimensions which are denoted by the different synonyms given to them. These 20 properties stand for all the pharmacological activities that are seen in the body and play a very important role in the process of ascertaining different treatment. It is these set of properties that are taken as the basis for the evaluation of different substances either औषध (medicinal) or आहार (nutritional) such that its suitability can be ascertained for a given condition. These set of properties are the most important cause for any drug action in the body or even for the purpose of the physical condition too. Hence these are to be considered as SAMAVAYI KARANA or INSEPARABLE CAUSES of any action whether in the body or outside the body. The twenty properties are as enlisted below.
LIST OF PROPERTIES THAT ARE INCLUDED IN THIS GROUP
गुरु मन्द हिम स्निग्ध श्लक्ष्ण सान्द्र मृदु स्थिराः । गुणाः स सूक्ष्म विशदा विंशतिः स विपर्ययाः ।। (अ.स.सू. 1)
NOTE : The following are some of the points to be noted as opinions on the composition of these 20 GUNAs –
- Acharya NAGARJUNA considered मृदु opposite of तीक्ष्ण instead of the one mentioned above.
- Acharya NAGARJUNA has further included दुर्गन्ध X सुगन्ध, आशुकारी, व्यवाायी and विकासी in the list
- Acharya SUSHRUTA mentions as an opinion that मृदु X तीक्ष्ण, मन्द X सर and श्लक्ष्ण X कर्कश are to be considered instead of मन्द X तीक्ष्ण, स्थिर X सर and श्लक्ष्ण X खर.
- Acharya SUSHRUTA has also included दुर्गन्ध X सुगन्ध, आशुकारी X व्यवाायी along with the 20 enlisted properties.
- Acharya BHAVAMISHRA has changed the arrangement and mentioned that तीक्ष्ण X श्लक्ष्ण, मृदु X कर्कश, द्रव X शुष्क and आशु X मन्द.
- Even though there is difference in enumeration of GUNA, all have universally accepted that the total number of properties that are to be considered under this group is 20 itself.