।। ॐ श्री धन्वन्तरये नमः ।।

TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. Introduction
  2. सूक्ष्म – Minute or Macro
    1. Definition of सूक्ष्म गुण (Sukshma Guna)
    2. Description of सूक्ष्म गुण (Sukshma Guna)
    3. Benefits or Effects of सूक्ष्म गुण (Sukshma Guna)
  3. स्थूल – Large or Macro
    1. Definition of स्थूल गुण (Sthula Guna)
    2. Description of स्थूल गुण (Sthula Guna)
    3. Benefits or Effects of स्थूल गुण (Sthula Guna)
  4. Comparison chart of सूक्ष्म & स्थूल properties
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INTRODUCTION

Among the twenty properties that are considered under this group, the two namely Sukshma and Sthula the 9th Set of opposite properties as enlisted by Vagbhata in his book Astanga Hridaya. The two properties have a great influence on other properties namely chala and laghu as the properties facilitate the functioning of these properties as well. The properties like the other sets are also dependent on one particular variable namely the size which determines as which it should be categorized into. Along with this it also depends on the ability to facilitate the functioning of other two properties as well. The two properties denotes the micro or minute and macro or large properties of the substances respectively. But the aspect of small and large or even micro and macro in physical sense is dependent on the object that is compared. But chemically the size are with respect to the their atomic or molecular sizes and their functionalities. 

Among the five Mahabhutas, Akasha, Agni and Vayu are known to possess the property of Sukshma. While the Sthula property is known to be possessed by the Prithvi. Still, the two properties are considered to be the basic properties namely Akasha and Prithvi Mahabhuta respectively. 

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

सूक्ष्म गुण – Sukshma Guna

Generally the property Sukshma is equated as that property which results in Minuteness or miniscule (Small in size even microscopic) of a particular substance and is regarded to supplement the same effect into the body.  The equating of Sukshma Guna to minute or micro nature is with regards to both the physical dimension and chemical characteristic feature of the substance. The ability of the substance to traverse into the minutest channels in the body is one of the main character to assess the property. The size of the molecules is one of the primary basis of selection for absorption. The smaller the size of the material, the quicker and better is its ability to traverse into deeper parts of the body. 

The property assumes utmost importance basically due to the fact that it gives the ability of the substance to reach the remotest part of the body. It is due to the fact, that the substance that possess this property will be able to enter into the minutest channels of the body. Hence the property is considered as an important criteria for considering the substance for the treatment of Shodhana (Biopurification) of the body especially Vamana (Therapeutic Emesis) and Virechana (Therapeutic Purgation). The property is attributed with action of Vivarana by Hemadri which explains the ability of the substance to open and spread into the remotest part of the body. 

In the context of Dravyaguna, the minute property refers to the ability of the substance to reach the remote part of the body. This also gives the idea about the fineness of the substance and the micro aspect of its particles especially the molecules present in it. Thus, the property Micro or Minute being equated to Sukshma is based on the definition of Sushruta in the context of Dravyaguna.

DEFINITION OF SUKSHMA 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:

  1. यस्य द्रव्यस्य विवरणे शक्तिः स सूक्ष्मः । (हेमाद्रि)
  2. सौक्ष्म्यात् सूक्ष्मस्तु सूक्ष्मेषु स्रोतः स्वनुसरः स्मृतः ।  (सु.सू. 46/424)
  3. देहस्य सूक्ष्मछिद्रेषु विशेद्यत्सूक्ष्ममुच्यते । (भा.प्र.)

As per Hemadri the factor that is present in the substance and is responsible for the विवरण (Vivarana) effect on the body is to be considered as सूक्ष्म (Sukshma).

As per Sushruta, सूक्ष्म (Sukshma) is that factor present in the substance which is responsible for providing the ability to enter into the minutest channels or opening of the body freely. 

Even Bhavaprakasha has explained that the property that helps in allowing the substance to enter into the minute channels along with which it clears the pathway or opens it is known as सूक्ष्म (Sukshma).

DESCRIPTON OF SUKSHMA GUNA

As the above definition goes the substance which is predominant with this property is considered to be possessing the ability to enter the minutest स्रोतस् (Srotas) or channels of the body. This gives the idea of the molecular fineness that the substance will be transformed when it gets transferred due to different processes in the body. This ability may be an immediate action or a late action depending on how and in what time it gets transferred. But in majority of the substances that possess this property will be easily digested and assimilated as the substances will be associated with Laghu and Sara property. But if the substance possess Manda guna and Guru guna, then the substance will enter into the system but much later as the time taken for transformation will be more. Thus chemically, the substance should have the ability to reach the remotest part of the body while the physical character is undoubtedly being smaller or micro sized. 

The main cause for the above nature of the property SUKSHMA is due to the fact that it is supposed to be manifested due to the predominance of आकाश महाभूत. It is infact the Primary property of आकाश महाभूत only. But it is also seen in the अग्नि महाभूत  and वायु महाभूत as well. Thus, when it comes to understand the component responsible for the manifestation of this property, all the three are to be considered. It is obvious as the level of the relative predominance will play an important role in determining the production of effect and its intensity too. This is due to the fact the three will determine the other properties like Laghu and Teekshna property which have a substantial influence on the effect of Sukshma property. 

BENEFITS OR EFFECTS OF SUKSHMA 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:

DHATU

The main action of the property is विवरण (Vivarana) it will be able to enter into the deepest part of the body tissues including the cellular level. Thus its fineness and micro property also helps the components to be transported to the deep level too. But the composition of the substance is very important in understanding the effect on the body as whether nourishing or not. Generally, the substances with this property possess all the three महाभूत (Mahabhuta) that are responsible dominant leading to low nutrition output. This will lead to easy digestion (लघु पाक) along with decrease in the body tissues (धातु क्षय). Moreover, the tissues become weak as the channels are opened by the action of this property. 

DOSHA

With respect to the Dosha also the same chemistry of the महाभूत (Mahabhuta) is applied, where the Dosha with the similar composition is the वात दोष (Vata Dosha) and पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha). Hence, the predominance of this property will lead to vitiation of the वात दोष (Vata Dosha) and पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha). But being opposite to that of कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha) this property will dry and control the कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha) effectively. 

MALA

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 will result in the decrease of quantity of मल (Mala) itself. This will also result in the decrease of frequency too. The decreased output will also result in the drying of मल (Mala) which also makes them loose the bulkiness and decrease of frequency. 

MANAS

The effect of the property has its own expression too. As the property सूक्ष्म (Sukshma) is having the ability to traverse into every part of the body, this will also lead to alertness of mind and triggering of intelligence. This is due to the presence of अग्नि (Agni) that is one of the important component in the substance. 

।। सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु माकश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।।

स्थूल गुण – Sthula Guna

DEFINITION OF STHULA GUNA

This Guna is taken as the opposite of the Sukshma Guna and hence it is generally equated to the property of Macro or Large and like the earlier one it is said to attribute the same property to the body. The equating of the property to large in terms of size or macro natured. With regards to both the physical and chemical characteristic feature of the substance, the size of the material is to be considered with respect to mass of the material and the molecule respectively. The size of the molecules as described earlier is one of the basis of absorption where a large size material or molecule will only lead to either rejection or blocking of the pathway which it tries to enter. Even in the ionic channels too the size is one of the criteria for allowing it through. Thus large molecules if they don’t undergo further simplification as their nature prevents it to be simplified is to be considered as Macro or Sthula in the present context. 

The property is attributed with the action of संवरण (Samvarana) which means that covers, blocks or conceals something. Here due to the size of the molecules it has the capacity to conceal or block the channels in the body leading to blockages and collecting of the materials leading to their related conditions in the body like स्थौल्य (Sthaulya) which is commonly compared to obesity.

In the context of Dravyaguna, this property is to be taken as the size of the object that hinders its movement into different parts of the body and instead gets deposited in some free areas. 

  1. यस्य संवरणे शक्तिः स स्थूलः । (हेमाद्रि)
  2. स्थूलः स्थौल्यकरो देहे स्रोतसामवरोधकृत् । (भावप्रकाश)

As per Hemadri the property that is present in the substance and is responsible for the संवरणे (Samvarana) effect on the body is to be considered as स्थूल (Sthula).

As per Bhavaprakasha, स्थूल (Sthula) is that factor present in the substance which is responsible for increasing the bulkiness of the body and blocking of the various स्रोतस् (Srotas) or channelsin the body. 

DESCRIPTON OF STHULA GUNA

As the above definition goes the substance which is predominant with this property is the one that leads to covering or conceal the स्रोतस् (Srotas)  leading to increase the bulkiness in the body. This gives the idea about the size of the particles especially the molecules which will lead to obstruction of the channels when it reaches it. As a result of this blockage, it will lead to deposition of the substance in the region thus increasing the bulkiness. It also will give adequate amount of stability as it will not be easily disseminated due to the size. Majority of the substances that possess this property will be digested with difficulty and the assimilation of the substance is directly associated with the Guru and Manda property. But again the property is accompanied with Laghu or Sara guna in the substance then there will be comparatively quick transformation making it easily digestible. This will inturn decrease the effect of the property. But basically, the action of संवरण (Samvarana) is resulted due to the property and the time that it does this activity is dependent on the relative properties that the substance possess. 

The main cause for the above  property STHULA to show the said action is due to the fact that it is supposed to be manifested due to the predominance of पृथ्वी महाभूत (Prithvi Mahabhuta). It is Primary property of पृथ्वी महााभूत. Thus the effect of the predominant महाभूत (Mahabhuta) is that it results in stability and in the increase of mass or bulk. Thus, when it comes to understand the component responsible for the manifestation of the property, the influence or predominance of the Mahabhuta in the substance will be very instrumental. The relative predominance of the other Mahabhuta will decrease the effect of the property. 

DESCRIPTON OF STHULA 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:

DHATU

The property has a great influence in the bulkiness and even stability of the body tissues. Among the different धातु (Dhatu), the मेद (Meda) and later are those which are possessing the स्थूल (Sthula) properties them till the अस्थि (Asthi) while when it reaches the last धातु (Dhatu) the property will decline. Thus the property is important for the maintenance of these body components. The ability to perform the action of संवरण (Samvarana) will lead to blocking of the or the channels that lead to transformation. On blocking, it will even block the transformation and instability of the component. This will lead to increase in bulkiness of the component or स्थौल्य (Sthaulya) or in a general sense the increase in the bulk of body tissues (धातु वृद्धि). 

DOSHA

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 कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha). Hence, the predominance of this property will lead to vitiation of कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha) or its simple increase. As the quality is opposite to वात दोष (Vata Dosha) and पित्त दोष (Pitta Dosha) it will be instrumental in the control of the same. But with respect to the कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha), it prevents its liquefaction hence will not be leading to its विलयन thus preventing in further aggravation to प्रसर (Prasara) stage and the increase of the pathological condition of कफ दोष (Kapha Dosha) will lead to only a increase in quantity.  

MALA

With respect to the effect on मल (Mala) too there will be increase in bulk of the same. As there is blockage of the channels, the property will lead to low frequency of excretion but increase in bulkiness. Hence it is considered to result in the increase of excretion bulk (मलवृद्धि)

MANAS

With respect to the effect of the property on मनस् (Manas) or psychology, the substance with this property is more of nutritional in nature thus it has the ability to give a boost to the memory of the individual. It also will lead to the stability of the psychological activities resulting in a comfortable feeling.

।। ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः ।।

COMPARISON CHART OF THE सूक्ष्म (SUKSHMA) & स्थूल (STHULA) PROPERTIES

CRITERIA

  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 (SUKSHMA GUNA)

  1. सूक्ष्म
  2. Micro or Fineness or Small
  3. Small or Micro
  4. Highly penetrative
  5. Vitiates Pitta, Vata and Control Kapha
  6. Dhatuhrasa
  7. Decrease excretion 
  8. Increase Appetite 
  9. Decrease strength & Bulkiness
  10.  Alert and energised mind
  11. आकाश, अग्नि & वायु
  12.  लवण, मरीच, मद्य

सौम्य गुण (STHULA GUNA)

  1. स्थूल
  2. Macro or Large
  3. Large
  4. Less or non penetrative
  5. Vitiates Kapha but controls Vata and Pitta 
  6. Brimhana or Dhatukara 
  7. Increase excretion 
  8. Decrease Appetite 
  9. Increase strength & Bulkiness 
  10. Pleasant and comfortable
  11. पृथ्वी
  12.  गोधूम, दधि, शालि

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