।। ॐ श्री धन्वन्तरये नमः ।।


  1. Introduction
  2. मृदु – Mrudu
    1. Definition of Mrudu Guna
    2. Description of मृदु गुण (Mrudu Guna)
    3. Benefits or Effects of मृदु गुण (Mrudu Guna)
  3. कठिण – Kathina
    1. Definition of Kathina Guna
    2. Description of कठिण गुण (Kathina Guna)
    3. Benefits or Effects of कठिण गुण (Kathina Guna)
  4. Comparison chart of मृदु & कठिण properties


The two properties that are one opposite to each other are those that determine the presentation of the substances. The property is more understood on the basis of the ability of the substance to change its shape or form. The property depends on whether the substance has the ability to resist any change of its form or shape. The ability to resist the deformation of shape will be the measure of hardness while the least ability to resist to pressure is the softness of the material. The level of Mrudu and Kathina is thus dependent on the ability of the substance to resist the pressure that it is subjected to. Usually, the substance referred here is solid and at times some liquids which are tubid enough to resist the pressures that is being applied on it. 

Among the five Mahabhutas, the property Mrudu is mainly attributed to Jala and Akasha while the property Kathina is attributed to Prithvi. The level  predominance of these Mahabhuta will be responsible for the manifestation of the property in the substance. It will also determine the nature of the substance and its presentation physically to a large extent. It is like more the predominance of Kathina property, the more will be the resistance towards the transformation while a weak resistance due to the predominance of Mrudu property will make it easily transformable into any shape as per the pressure and the shape that it is made into. The details of the two are as described below:

।। सर्वे जनाः सुखिनो भवन्तु सर्वे सन्तु निरामय ।।​

मृदु गुण – Mrudu Guna

Generally this property is equated as that property which results in Softness effect of the substance. The property of giving little resistence to pressure and being easily cut or moulded“. Soft matters are the substances that are condensed or altered due to heat or mechanical pressure. These include substances like liquids, flesh, colloids, etc. The nature that they succumb to the pressure exerted on them will determine the physical nature or characteristic feature of the property. Chemically the nature of these soft substances they are easily transformed and hence have weak structures or bonds between the particles that give rise to free energy hidden in them. Chemically the structures are much smaller than what they present physically and have a lot of free spaces that have the free energy. They undergo considerable thermal fluctuations have a weak interactions between the particles in them. The property is attributed with the effect of Shlathana (Flaccidity) which shows that the substance has less nutrients making the body flaccid and weak. This becomes the chemical character of the property. 

In the context of Dravyaguna, the ability to make the body flaccid assumes utmost importance as their is considerable decrease in the compactness of the body even though they may provide sufficient energy. This forms the basis for the pharmacological assessment with respect to the branch of Dravyaguna.


There are various definitions for this property. But the one that is important from the context of Dravyaguna is being considered here. Thus three references are considered as mentioned below:

  1. यस्य द्रव्यस्य श्लथने शक्तिः स मृदुः । (हेमाद्रि)
  2. ………..मृदुरन्यथा । (सु.सू. 46/418)
  3. दाहेत्यादि अन्यथा इति । अदाहपाककरोऽस्रावणेत्यर्थः । (ड)

As per Hemadri the factor that is present in the substance and is responsible for the श्लथने (Shlathane) effect on the body is to be considered as मृदु (Mrudu).

As per Sushruta, मृदु (Mrudu) is that factor which is opposite to the action of तीक्ष्ण (Teekshna) and hence it is opined to be having an effect opposite to it. 

The explanation given by Dalhana for the word अन्यथा (Anyatha) is that it refers to the conditions namely दाह (Daha), पाक (Paka) and स्राव (Srava) which refers to burning sensation, maturity and draining respectively. Here the effect is going to be reducing the same. 


As the above definition goes the substance which is predominant with this property has the ability to produce the effect of Flaccidity (श्लथन) to the body components namely Dosha, Dhatu and Mala. Physically, the property is understood by the softness effect where the substance will be giving a little resistance to the pressure. The substance will be easily altered in terms of shape, appearance and even may change their state from solid to liquid when the pressures like thermal or physical is applied on them. When this forms the physical character of the substance, the chemical character is where they are smaller structures with lots of free spaces making easier to flow in case of liquid or showing an accommodative effect with respect to solids. But generally they are weak bonded and have free energy in them. This is the reason probably that they are unable to provide the nutrients sufficiently as required to the body making the the body parts flaccid and the bonds loose.

The main cause for the above nature of the property MRUDU is due to the fact that it is supposed to be manifested due to the predominance of जल  महाभूत and आकाश महाभूत which to have spaces in them along with some amount of the bonding without much energy or nutrition to the body.


Any part of the body that is said to be predominant with the related महाभूत (Mahabhuta) will be affected leading to their increase or predominance. Thus all the components of the body namely दोष, धातु & मल which form the basic composition of the body are directly affected by the property. The effects of Sandra Guna on these components are as under:


The property being related to the जल महाभूत, this becomes a quite good material for the supplementation to many of the body components. But the property being associated with the आकाश महाभूत, this will also result in the opposite effect. Hence, the mention of श्लथन (Flaccidity) action for the property shows that the predominant mahabhuta is the आकाश. Hence the strength of the Body tissues is decreased (धातु क्षय) even though the initial energy may be obtained from it. Thus leading to flaccidity or laxity of Body tissues.  


Being associated with the जल महाभूत it is quite obvious that it leads to the increase in the कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha). But the sticky nature of the Dosha is decreased due to the presence of the आकाश महाभूत hence will be able to move out of its site leading to next level of vitiation namely the प्रसर (Prasara). With respect to the वात दोष (Vata Dosha) and even the पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha) this property will lead to pacification as they don’t have any similar supporting characters. 


With respect to the effect on मल (Mala) the property will lead to increase in the frequency of evacuation of मल (Mala) but the bulkiness may be slightly decrease. Instead the liquefaction or thinning of the consistency with respect to the excretory products will occur due to which the frequency will be increased.


The ability to flow, get adjusted nature of softness is attributed to the qualities of mind also. The thoughts are more or less increased making the mind active and more alert. 

।। सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु माकश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।।

कठिण गुण – Kathina Guna


This Guna is taken as the opposite of the Mrudu Guna and hence it is generally equated to the property of Hardness or Toughness and like the earlier one it is said to attribute the same property to the body. As per the english Dictionary it is defined as The ability of a material to resist deformation. Same way toughness is defined as Property of the material which is the measure of ability to absorb energy and withstand the shock or pressure exerted on it till the point of fracture. The two definitions even though looks very similar there is a small point of difference where one refers to the surface strength while the other refers to the complete strength of the material in resisting the force. But with respect to the proprety mentioned as Kathina both the properties are to be amalgamated for a better understanding. The property is attributed to the Drudikarana (Strengthening or toughening) effect of the body by Hemadri which suggests its ability to impart the quality to the body. The physical assessment of the property is easily done by using different tests for hardness like impact toughness, notch toughness, Rockwell hardness test, etc. Thus it gives the idea of physical characteristics of the substance. But the aspect of the chemical character is possible by assessing the effect of Drudikarana (Strengthening or toughening) on the body. Basically, the hard tissue in the body is the one that is mineralised one like bones which contains high proportion of calcium in them. In the similar way the substances that have high mineral components in them will result in the strengthening of itself and the body when taken inside. Thus it becomes the chemical characteristic feature of the property.

In the context of Dravyaguna, the concentration of the mineral ions or presence of micro-nutirents  that result in the toughening or strengthening of the body or Drudikarana is to be considered as a pharmacological effect on the body. 

  1. यस्य दृढीकरणे शक्तिः स कठिणः। (हेमाद्रि)

As per Hemadri the property that is present in the substance and is responsible for the दृढीकरणे (Strengthening or toughening) effect on the body is to be considered as कठिण (Kathina) property.


As the above definition goes the substance which is predominant with this property has the ability provide enough nourishment such that the body gets toughened or strengthened. In other words the body will be able to resist the various stresses on itself when applied. Chemically it is found that the substances which are predominant with micro-nutrients namely the minerals like calcium, zinc, etc are helpful in strengthening the physical body in different manner. Thus the vary nature and composition of the substance can be taken into consideration of the property. Sushruta has considered the Teekshna in place of Kathina hence the definition is not being mentioned in relation to the property kathina. But others have discussed it as a property opposite to the Manda guna itself.

The main cause for the above nature of the property KATHINA is due to the fact that it is supposed to be manifested by the predominance of पृथ्वी महाभूत as per the text Rasavaisheshika sutra. 


Any part of the body that is said to be predominant with the related महाभूत (Mahabhuta) will be affected leading to their increase or predominance. Thus all the components of the body namely दोष, धातु & मल which form the basic composition of the body are directly affected by the property. The effects of Kathina Guna on these components are as under:


The effect of the property is basically its ability to strengthen them and make it strong. it increses the ability to resist the various stressors whether from outside or inside the body. Thus the property will result in more compact, increase of energy and abilty to resist any change in them. This makes the body to preserve the components for long duration without much changes which results in the increase of the body tissues (धातु वृद्धि). 


With respect to the Dosha the property being generated by पृथ्वी महाभूत (Prithvi Mahabhuta) it more heaviness which may not lead to the vitiation of कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha) but can increase it in quantity substantially. In case of पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha), it will not vitiate पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha) too as the property is entirely different to it and has all the chances of pacifying it. With respect to वात दोष (Vata Dosha) there will be increase of the same due to the blockages that it creates and resistance to change or movement. 


Here the effect on मल (Mala) is that it will make the bye-products of metabolism more harder and difficult for the process of evacuation. Hence, there will be increase in the quantity but not its bulk and will become hard enough to hinder the process of evacuation leading to decrease of Mala (मलक्षय).


The effect of the property on the mind is basically to be analysed on the basis of its ability to resist changes. This makes the mind more lethargic, rigid and stubborn. This will also be augmented by the resistance of the body too. 

।। ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः ।।



  1. Name
  2. English equivalent term
  3. Physical Equivalent
  4. Chemical Equivalent
  5. Action on Dosha
  6. Action on Dhatu
  7. Action on Mala
  8. Action on Agni (Appetite)
  9. General Action on Body
  10. General Action on Mind
  11. Panchamahabhuta Base
  12. Examples

आग्नेय गुण (KATHINA GUNA)

  1. कठिण
  2. Toughenss or Hardness
  3. Resist changes
  4. Toughens the body tissues
  5. Vatakara and Pittahara 
  6. Dhatuvriddhi 
  7. Decrease excretion 
  8. Decrease Digestion 
  9. Increase strength & Toughens
  10. Letharge and Stubborn
  11. पृथ्वी
  12.  प्रवाल, मुक्त

सौम्य गुण (MRUDU GUNA)

  1. मृदु
  2. Softness
  3. Easily moldable
  4. Decrease nourishment 
  5. Kaphakara, Pittahara and Vatahara 
  6. Dhatukshaya 
  7. Increase excretion 
  8. Increase Appetite 
  9. Decrease strength & increase Bulkiness 
  10. Active and Alert
  11. जल & आकाश
  12.  तैल, जल


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