TABLE OF CONTENT
- शीत/हिम – Sheeta/Hima
- Definition of शीत गुण (Sheeta Guna)
- Description of शीत गुण (Sheeta Guna)
- Benefits or Effects of शीत गुण (Sheeta Guna)
- उष्ण – Ushna
- Definition of उष्ण गुण (Ushna Guna)
- Description of उष्ण गुण (Ushna Guna)
- Benefits or Effects of उष्ण गुण (Ushna Guna)
- Comparison chart of शीत & उष्ण properties
Among the twenty properties that are considered under this group, the two namely Sheeta and Ushna are considered to be more prominent and have the maximum influence in the universe and even every human being. Its prominence is so much evident that the two are considered to be the primary properties or even the potentiated properties named under Veerya. The two properties are the one opposite to each other. Infact, the two are those which are dependent on the same factor namely the heat which is either emitted by the substance or absorbed by the substance. Thus the two properties namely Ushna and Sheeta represent heat and cold properties respectively. The two properties are understood by the aspect of presence and absence of heat itself. The two properties are so powerful that they are infact the main reason for the complete manifestation of this universe. The two properties are infact the reason for the flow of energy too which results in the change allowing the creation to modify itself and evolve. Thus these two properties are regarded as the main one which are considered under the concept of Veerya (Potency) too.
Among the five Mahabutas, Agni and Jala are known to possess the property of Ushna and Sheeta respectively. Agni is the main source of energy as it has the power of Pachana (Disintegration) while Jala has the ability to bind the components of the substance. Here both the process require energy and the activities will result in emission or absorption of Energy. Hence these two Mahabhutas are attributed with the Ushna and Sheeta Guna respectively.
Generally the property Sheeta is equated as that property which results in Coldness (loss of heat or temperature) effect of a particular substance and is regarded to supplement the same effect into the body. The equating of Sheeta Guna to cold is with regards to both the physical dimension and chemical characteristic feature of the substance. The ability of the substance to absorb energy or heat from the environment around it will result in coldness of the substance.
The property assumes utmost importance basically due to the fact that it exerts great influence on every particle of the universe including the body as it results in the activity of Sthambhana as told by Hemadri. The Sthambhana action is one of the primary actions that are being observed by the scholars. Hence, it is also considered under the label of Shadupakrama by Charaka. This property being the main cause to initiate the said action of Sthambhana. The action Sthambhana is resultant of two different ways where one is due to the blockage of pathway or by shrinking of the pathway as a bottle neck. In the present context, the second mechanism is more appropriate.
In the context of Dravyaguna, the coldness refers to the effect that the low temperature produces on the body resulting in the main action of Sthambhana or constriction to be more precise resulting in the accumulation of contents in the area or loss of functionality in the succeeding areas. Thus, the property Coldness of substance will assume a similar definition as decrease of temperature in the context of Dravyaguna also.
DEFINITION OF SHEETA GUNA
There are various definitions for this property. But the one that is important from the context of Dravyaguna is being considered here. Thus two references are considered as mentioned below:
- यस्य द्रव्यस्य स्तम्भने शक्तिः स हिमः । (हेमाद्रि)
- ह्लादनः स्तम्भनः शीतो मूर्च्छातृट्स्वेददाहजित् । (सु.सू. 46/415)
As per Hemadri the factor that is present in the substance and is responsible for the स्तम्भन (Sthambhana) effect on the body is to be considered as शीत (Sheeta).
As per Sushruta, शीत (Sheeta) is that factor present in the substance which is responsible for giving a feeling of pleasantness (ह्लादन), that which blocks the movement (स्तम्भन), and relieves the conditions like मूर्च्छा (Unconsciousness), तृट् (Thirst), स्वेद (Sweat) & दाह (Burning sensation).
Even Bhavaprakasha has explained in similar lines of Sushruta itself.
DESCRIPTON OF SHEETA GUNA
As the above definition goes the substance which is predominant with this property is considered to be possessing a feeling of coldness on touch. The basic low point of temperature from the surrounding is the physical parameter of assessment with respect to this property. On contact of the substances possessing this property, the body is relieved from the irritations resulting in decrease of the same and its relative symptoms mainly the inflammation usually depicted as a burning sensation (दाह). Thus the said action will be basically giving a chemical character of the substance. Its ability to absorb the surrounding temperature is the strong character that depicts the property present in the substance.
The main cause for the above nature of the property SHEETA is due to the fact that it is supposed to be manifested due to the predominance of जल महाभूत. It is infact the Primary property of जल महाभूत only. But it is also seen in the पृथ्वी महाभूत as well when it comes in contact with the जल महाभूत. Thus the effect of the जल महाभूत predominant components in the substance which may be along with पृथ्वी महाभूत will surely decide the intensity of the property. Even the level of predominance of जल महाभूत will be instrumental in determining the intensity too.
BENEFITS OR EFFECTS OF SHEETA GUNA
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 Sheeta Guna on these components are as under:
As most parts of the body is dominated with the जल महाभूत (Mahabhuta) itself, the use of substances which is predominant with this property will lead to increase in its relative effect on the body parts leading to its sluggish activity due to the action of Sthambhana (स्तम्भन) or simply decrease in the intensity of body activities. It also results in the decrease in the intensity of biochemical reactions where the transformation of the bodily components will be delayed.
With respect to the Dosha also the same chemistry of the महाभूत (Mahabhuta) is applied, where the Dosha with the similar composition is the कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha). Hence, the predominance of this property will lead to vitiation of the कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha) or its simple increase to चय अवस्थ (Initial state of vitiation or pathological process). But in case of वात दोष (Vata Dosha) the property being similar to it will lead to increase to different stages also. Lastly, in case of पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha) the action results in the control of the same as the properties are completely opposite.
With respect to the effect on मल (Mala) too there will be decrease in the excretion of the मल (Mala). This is due to the fact that the property slows down the intensity of biochemical reactions in the body as a result of which the formation of मल (Mala) is decreased considereably. This inturn decrease the bulkiness and the excretion quantity also. Thus it may lead to constipation, low frequency of excretion, etc.
The effect of the property has its own expression too. As the property शीत (Sheeta) will relieve the excess of temperature, the substance takes away the majority of the energy as a result it removes irritation and agitation of mind thus resulting in a feeling of pleasure or pleasantness (ह्लादन). It also gives utmost comfort to mind.
DEFINITION OF USHNA GUNA
This Guna is taken as the opposite of the Sheeta Guna and hence it is generally equated to the property of Heat or hotness and like the earlier one it is said to attribute the same property to the body. The equating of the property to heat or hotness shows that substance has the ability to disseminate energy to different other objects or to the environment in the form of temperature. Heat is defined as the form of energy that gets transferred from one object or systems of higher temperature to that with the lower temperature. This is measured in terms of temperature. Physically the property is denoted by the ability to give out energy to the surrounding object or environment thus increasing the temperature. As per Hemadri, the property has utmost importance like its opposite as it results in the activity of Swedana. Even this is also considered one among the Shadupakrama of Charaka. This property is said to be the main cause to initiate the action of Swedana which makes it more prominent and common to be applied.
But in the context of Dravyaguna, this property is to be taken as the ability of the object to release heat or energy to the surrounding environment or other objects which are in contact with it. It is also the one that has the ability to enhance the biochemical reactions within the body resulting in enhanced transformations of the body components too.
- स्वेदने उष्णः ____। (हेमाद्रि)
- उष्णस्तद्विपरीतः स्यात् पाचनश्च विशेषतः । (सु.सू. 46/415)
- उष्णो भवति शीतस्य विपरीतश्च पाचनः । (भावप्रकाश)
As per Hemadri the property that is present in the substance and is responsible for the स्वेदन (Swedana) effect on the body is to be considered as उष्ण (Ushna).
As per Sushruta, उष्ण (Ushna) is that factor present in the substance which is responsible for the substance to increase the metabolism or enhancement of biochemical reactions within the body and results in quick digestion too.
DESCRIPTON OF USHNA GUNA
As the above definition goes the substance which is predominant with this property is the one that quickens the process of digestion. This forms the point of assessment with respect to the chemical character of the substance with respect to the property SHEETA. It will also lead to स्वेदन (Swedana) which means that it increases sweating. These substances are those that cause irritation to the skin surface due to the effect of rise in temperature. Thus the physical parameter of analysis with respect to this property is the intensity of heat which has ability to irritate the one that comes in contact with it. It can also be measured on the basis of the corrosive nature of the substance.
The main cause for the above property USHNA to show the said action is due to the fact that it is supposed to be manifested due to the predominance of अग्नि महाभूत (Agni Mahabhuta). It is Primary property of अग्नि महााभूत. Thus the effect of the predominant महाभूत (Mahabhuta) is that it results in instability and in the process of changing and moving towards stability, it looses utmost amount of energy in the form of heat. This thermal energy is measured in the terms of temperature. The degree of predominance will decide the intensity of the property.
DESCRIPTON OF USHNA GUNA
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 Laghu Guna on these components are as under:
Among the seven धातु (Dhatu), those which are predominated by either of the अग्नि महाभूत (Agni Mahabhuta) is रक्त (Rakta) will be the most affected. But its effect on the other धातु (Dhatu) can also be noticed where the transformation of the body tissue or Dhatus will be quicker as the property will enhance the biochemical reaction or metabolism in general. The very nature of the substance to be corrosive or irritating in nature due to the energy it releases, the area with which it comes in contact will lead to increase of surface temperature especially the skin surface. This is the reason why there will be the sweating to counter the increased heat on the skin surface. When the substance is taken in the biochemical reactions increase will lead to enhanced transformation of tissues giving rise to धतुपाक (Tissue wasting) thus leading to decrease of the body tissues (धातु क्षय).
With respect to the Dosha also the same chemistry of the महाभूत (Mahabhuta) is applied, where the Dosha which is composed of the महाभूत (Mahabhuta) is पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha). Hence, the predominance of this property will lead to vitiation of पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha) or its simple increase. As the quality is opposite to वात दोष (Vata Dosha) it will be instrumental in the control of the same. But with respect to the कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha), it results in the liquefaction or विलयन thus resulting in further aggravation to प्रसर (Prasara) stage and the increase of the pathological condition caused by the कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha).
With respect to the effect on मल (Mala) too there will be increase in frequency of the same. As there is increased biochemical reactions, irritations of the surfaces with which it comes in contact, the formation of excretory bye-products will be more thus resulting in more production of मल (Mala). Hence the whether the bulk or quantity increases or not, the frequency will surely increase leading to its excretion which may be with sufficient bulk or less quantity according to the levels of effect exerted by the property.
With respect to the effect of the property on मनस् (Manas) or psychology, the substance with this property is more of corrosive in nature or atleast irritant in its manifestation which undoubtedly creates a very alert and energised effect on the psychology. But it may also result in an agitated state of mind also.