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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-74  

Enigma in paraphrasing Ayurvedic Grantha


1 Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation, Recognized Research Center Under University of Mysore, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Rachana Sharir, Smt. K. G. M. P. Ayurvedic College, Charniroad, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission30-Sep-2016
Date of Decision05-May-2019
Date of Acceptance21-Oct-2019
Date of Web Publication20-Mar-2020

Correspondence Address:
Tarak Mahendra Mehta
Department of Rachana Sharir, Smt. K. G. M. P. Ayurvedic College, N. S. Road, Charni Road, Mumbai - 400 002, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ayu.AYU_206_16

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   Abstract 


Three different axioms of Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana were analyzed and its translations by respectable translators were studied. The different Sanskrit terms were also analyzed using Monier-Williams and Apte Sanskrit dictionaries as a part of intercomparison study. The Sanskrit terms used in Ayurveda are those which seem to be commonly used, but their meanings are not the same as commonly understood or known. The article is an attempt to understand this ancient wisdom from Sushruta Samhita so as to highlight the peculiarities of Ayurvedic concepts and remove the bigotry regarding the use of common Sanskrit terms for explaining Rachana Sharira (anatomy) this will further help for the correct translation of Samhita. Axioms 4-22, 4-31 and 5-28 of Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana are clinically important, because the clinical acumen is based on the correct knowledge of the human body.

Keywords: Ayurveda, joints, lungs, semen, Sharira Sthana, Sushruta Samhita


How to cite this article:
Balasubramanian KS, Kshirsagar MV, Mehta TM. Enigma in paraphrasing Ayurvedic Grantha. AYU 2019;40:69-74

How to cite this URL:
Balasubramanian KS, Kshirsagar MV, Mehta TM. Enigma in paraphrasing Ayurvedic Grantha. AYU [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Jul 13];40:69-74. Available from: http://www.ayujournal.org/text.asp?2019/40/2/69/281067




   Introduction Top


Translations have been of great help in this modern age where English has dominated all the other languages. Indians had to struggle hard for the revival and renewal of interest in Sanskrit language, especially among the current generation of Ayurveda students. Due to the availability of various translations, only today's world can acknowledge various secrets revealed in Ayurveda. In the present educational system, the undergraduate (UG) students of Ayurveda generally read the translation of Samhita for their studies. The same is the case with the scientific community who is exploring ancient wisdom for their research leads. The authors observed some enigmas in paraphrasing Ayurvedic Grantha. In this article, some such examples from Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana are discussed and elaborated.

Research question and Hypothesis

Will referring to meanings of the ambiguous Sanskrit terms from various dictionaries be helpful in developing faith in Ayurvedic Grantha's (Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana) authenticity?

If an Ayurveda scholar refers to various Sanskrit dictionaries to understand the meanings of critical Sanskrit terms from the beginning, he/she develops doubtless understanding of axioms in Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana, thereby increasing faith in it.

Aims and objective

  1. To clear the ambiguity of citations 4-22, 4-31 and 5-28 of Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana
  2. To develop a level of confidence in the reality of the axioms 4-22, 4-31 and 5-28 of Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana.



   Materials and Methods Top


Here, literacy source method is used for collecting historical data from secondary sources.

The citations in Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana are the basic study material and source, in order to establish facts and reach actual conclusion. To accentuate hypothesis of the present study, a few interpretations–translations made by respectable scholarly people like Kaviraj Kunjalal Bhishagratna, Prof. K. R. Srikanthmurthy, Shree Ambika Dutta Sashtri, Shree Atridevji, Dr. B. G. Ghanekar, Vd. Jadavji Trikamji Acharya, Prof. P. V. Sharma, Dr. Anantram Sharma, Prof. D. G. Thatte on Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana have been reviewed. For understanding the meanings of Sanskrit terms, different Sanskrit–English dictionaries of eminent lexicographers like Monier-Williams and V. S. Apte were taken into consideration. Moreover, to keep updated with contemporary sciences, appropriate information was obtained from the Textbook of Embryology by Dr. Inderbir Singh.

The authors searched through secondary sources and documented the available information. While documenting information from the available sources as used in historical research method, a positive internal criticism under the heading discussion is applied to establish validity and reliability of the data. Using it, the accuracy of the information contained is evaluated.

On reading and interpreting axioms in Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana, apparent contradictions were observed. Our faith in Acharya Sushruta should dispel clouds of doubt and difficulties in understanding the subject, but opposite seemed to happen. Then, it was felt that reading the paraphrasing must have been the real cause of uncertainty and obstruction to grasp the meaning. It seems to be causing problems in understanding what Acharya Sushruta was trying to explain. A quest to know the fact became stronger. It made us to fathom deep into the meaning of different words which were hitherto considered to be very simple. In this process, various Sanskrit–English dictionaries of eminent lexicographers like Monier-Williams and V. S. Apte were taken into consideration. A new perspective was adopted to view at the Sanskrit words. It proved to be very encouraging. What Acharya Sushruta was trying to convey became more clear and obvious.

Observation

Here, only few citations are observed along with their translations. However, an intense study is done to dispel the doubts.

On citation: 1

Dvayangule Dakshine Parshve Bastidvarasya Capyadhaḥ |

Mutrasrotaḥpathacchukram Purushasya Pravartate||

– (Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana, 4/22).

Meaning:

  1. The semen passes through the ducts situated about two fingers breadth on either side (vas deference) and just below the neck of the bladder and finally flows out through the canal[1]
  2. Shukra (semen) comes out through the urinary passage of man from a distance of two Angula (4 cm approx.) beneath the orifice of the urinary bladder on the right side[2]
  3. Two fingers below the urinary bladder on the Dakshina (right) side (according to one of the opinion – left) from the urinary passage Shukra of male's flow. Comments: In males, urinary and seminal passages are same. There are no different passages; on either side of the bladder, there are two Shukrakshaya (seminal vesicles) through which Shukra flows into the penis (urethral canal)[3]
  4. Two fingers below the urinary orifice on Dakshina Parshva from the urinary passage, only Shukra flows in males. Comments: Dakshina Parshva: here, we must deduce two fingers on Dakshina (right) and Vama (left) to arrive at the acceptable meaning of the original axiom; otherwise, it seems to be opposing the perception (Pratyaksha) – a valid source of knowledge (commentary in Pratyaksha Sharira)[4]
  5. Two fingers below the orifice of Basti (bladder) on Dakshina and Vama Parshva (accumulated in Shukradharakala), Shukra of male comes (out) through the urinary passage[5]
  6. Here to achieve the desired meaning of the axiom, we should read Dvayangule Dakshine Vame; otherwise, it seems to be opposing the perception (Pratyaksha) and Sushruta own saying, Shukravahe Dve Shukrapradurbhavaya Dve Visargaya Cha' Iti Sushrute Eva Pratyakshasharira Upoddhata[6]
  7. Semen is discharged through the urethra having reached there from two fingers on the right side below the opening of the bladder. Gananatha Sen (Pratyakshasharira Upoddhata page 72) has proposed the variant “Vame” in the place of “Parshve” as there are two ducts carrying semen on both sides[7]
  8. Beneath the orifice of the urinary bladder (internal urinary meatus) and two fingers on the right side, Shukra of male enters the urinary passage to come out.[8]


In this Shloka of Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana 4/22, the critical words are “Dakshina Parshva;” contemplating over these two words, we adduce to the meaning in the following manner:

There are different meanings of Dakshina[9] such as:

  1. From the right or from the south
  2. On the right side or from southward
  3. Declined as a pronoun when denoting relative position
  4. Opposites of north side – Uttara is upper and opposite of that is Dakshina – lower.


There are different meanings of Parshva[10] such as:

  • Side or nearness or proximity.


On citation: 2:

Let us continue the discussion on the aforesaid topic; this time, we would observe the translations of few respectable scholarly people on the following Sutra of Sushruta Samhita Sharira Shthana:

Rakta Medahprasadadvrakau Mamsasrkka KaphamedhprasadadVrshanau

Shonita Kaphaprasadajam Hridayam Yadashraya Hi Dhamanyah Pranavahah

Tasyadho Vamataha Pleeha Phuphphusascha Dakshinto YakrtaKloma Cha

Tadvisesena Chetanasthanam AtastasmimsTamasa Vrate Sarvapraninah Svapanti||:

– (Sushruta Samhita, Sharira Sthana 4-31).

Meaning:

1. From the essence of Rakta and Medas, the two Vrikka (kidney) are formed and the two Vrishanna are formed from the essence of Mamsa, Asrika, Kapha and Meda. Hridaya (heart)and the Pranavaha Dhamani attached to it are produced by the essence of Shonita (Blood)and Kapha. Below it (the heart) to the left are situated Pleeha and Phuphphusa (left lung) and to the right are situated Yakrita and Kloma. It (heart) is the seat of Chetana especially because of this when it is covered/enveloped with Tamas, all living beings sleep[11]

2. The kidneys (Vrikka) are made out of the essence of the blood and fat. The testes are formed out of the essence of blood, flesh, Kapha and fat. The heart is formed out of the essence of blood and Kapha and the vessels (Dhamani) carrying the vital principles of the body are attached to it (heart). The spleen and the lungs are situated below and beneath the heart on the left side, and the liver and Kloma below and beneath it (heart) on the right. The heart is the special seat of consciousness (Chetana) in all creatures. Sleep sets in when this viscus (heart) of a person becomes enveloped by the effect of the Tama s[12]

3. The Vrikka (kidneys) are formed from the essence of Rakta and Meda. Vrishana are formed from the Prasada (essence) part of the Mamsa, Rakta, Kapha and Meda. The Hridaya is made out of the essence of Rakta and Kapha. The Dhamani (vessels) carrying Prana of the body are attached to Hridaya. The Pleeha and the Phuphphusa are situated below and beneath the Hridaya on the left side and Yakrita (liver) and Kloma below and beneath Hridaya on the right side. The Hridaya has been especially described as the seat of Chetana (consciousness) in all human beings. When Hridaya (heart) becomes enveloped by the effects of Tama, all creatures sleep[13]

4. Vrikka develops from the essence of Rudhira and Meda and Vrishana from essence Mamsa, Rakta, Kapha and Meda. Hridaya develops from the essence of Rakta and Kapha. This Hridaya only provides the base to Pranavaha Dhamani and below the heart on the left side, Pleeha and Phuphphusa and on the right side, Yakrita and Kloma, are situated. That Hridaya is especially the seat of Chetana. When it gets covered by Tamoguna, all creatures fall asleep[14]

5. Vrikka develops from the essence of Rakta and Meda. And, Vrishana develops from Mamsa, Rakta, Kapha and Meda. From the essence of Rakta and Kapha develops Hridaya. It provides base to Pranavaha Dhamani. Below it on the left side lies Pleeha and Phuphphusa. On the right side lies Yakrita and Kloma. Hridaya is a special Chetana-Sthana. Therefore, when it is enveloped by Tamas, all creatures sleep[15]

6. 'Kloma cha' this reference in Sushruta shows their ignorance – below heart on Vamataḥ Pleeha on Dakshinatah Yakrita, on both sides Kloma and Phuphphusa; this should be the verse; otherwise, by no means, we could arrive at a consensus (Pratyaksha Sharira Upoddhata, Pristha, Pg. 79)[16]

7. Vrikka develops from the essence of Rakta and Meda. From the essence of Mamsa, Rakta, Kapha and Meda Vrishana develops and from the essence of Rakta and Kapha develops Hridaya because this Hridaya provides base to Pranavaha Dhamani. Below this, Hridaya on Vama Parshva, Pleeha and Phuphphusa and on Dakshina Parshva, Yakrita and Kloma are placed. This Hridaya is a special place for Chetana; therefore, when heart is enveloped by Tama, all creatures sleep[17]

8. From the essence of Rakta and Meda, Vrikka develops; from Mamsa, Rakta, Kapha and Meda, Vrishana develops; from the essence of Rakta and Kapha, Hridaya develops; on its base are Pranavaha Dhamani , below Hridaya on the left side, Pleeha and Phuphphusa (below) and on the right side, Yakrita, Kloma (and Phupphusa) are present. This Hridaya is especially Chetanya Sthana. Therefore, on getting enveloped by Tama, all creatures fall asleep[18]

9. Two Vrikka (kidneys) are formed by the essence of blood and fat; Vrishana (testicles) are formed by the essence of muscle, blood, Kapha and fat; Hridaya (heart) originates from the essence of blood and Kapha which supports the Prana carryingvessels; below this on the left side are spleen and lungs, whereas on the right side are liver and gall bladder. Heart is particularly the seat of consciousness and as such when it is overshadowed by Tama, all persons sleep.[19]

Now, in this aforesaid citation 2 of Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana 4/31, the keywords are Vamatah and Daksinato. As said earlier on contemplating and on referring to lexicographer Monier-Williams, Dakshine is[20]

  • South, southern directed, southward, coming from south Vama (3)[21]
  • Reverse, adverse, contrary, opposite, acting in the opposite way or different oblique.


On citation: 3

Let us consider one more example to observe the difficulties and ways to tackle them while learning Ayurvedic Samhitas. The present example is as follows:

Asthnam Tu Sandhayo HyeteKevalah Parikirtitah l

Pesisnayusiranam Tu Sandhisankhya Na Vidyate ll

(Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana 5/28).

Meaning:

  1. Here, only the joints of bones are described; the joints of muscles, ligaments and blood vessels are innumerable[22]
  2. Only the bone and joints have been enumerated and described; the joints of muscles, ligaments and veins are innumerable[23]
  3. Points so far described are of bones only; joints of Peshi (muscles), Snayu (ligaments), Sira (veins) are innumerable[24]
  4. This is the description of bony joints only. Joints of Peshi, Snayu and Sira are innumerable[25]
  5. These joints discussed here are the joints between the bones. Joints between Mamsapeshi (muscles), Snayu (ligaments) and Sira (vessels) are innumerable[26]
  6. The joints mentioned here are in bones only[27]
  7. These are the joints between the bones only. Joints of Peshi, Snayu and Sira are not counted[28]
  8. This (the above mentioned) description is about the joints between bones only. Joints of Peshi, Snayu and Sira could not be enumerated.[29]


On referring to a few Sanskrit–English dictionaries by Monier-Williams and V. S. Apte while keeping the basic knowledge of Sanskrit intact, we deduce the meaning of various words in the citation 3 as follows:

Asthanam (of bones), tu[30] (now, them, certainly), Sandhiyom (joints), Hi[31] (surely, indeed, definitely, without any doubt), Etad[32] (this, here, in this manner, thus, so, at now), Kevalah[33] (exclusively, only, unique), Pari[34] (much, more than, very much), Kirtita[35] (known, praised, told,), Kirti[35] (renowned, famous), Kirtita[36] (mentioned, said, mentioned, asserted, celebrated, known).


   Results Top


For citation 1:

The meanings of the words “Dakshine Parshve” may be considered as lower and proximal instead of right side or either side.

These interpretations on the critical words in Sushruta Samhita Sharira Sthana 4/22 make the citation quite meaningful without raising doubts; moreover, it is also consistent with the present-day anatomy. Finally, we can put the translation of Sushruta Samhita Sharira Sthana 4/22 as,

“The Shukra flows down through (the openings in) urinary passage, (situated) two fingers lower (Dakshine) and near (Parshve) to the orifice of the bladder.”

For citation 2:

Considering all the translation and various meanings we can deduce that, the meaning of word “Dakshinato” should be considered as southward or lower, downward or below and of “Vamatah” as opposite direction or reverse instead or right side or left side respectively.

Keeping these meanings in mind, we can translate citation 2 of Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana 4/31 as,

  • The Vrikka (kidneys) are developed from the essence (Prasada) of the Rakta and Meda. Vrishana (testis) are developed from the essence of Mamsa, Rakta, Kapha and Meda. The Hridaya (heart) develops from the essence of the Rakta and Kapha. The Dhamani (vessels) carrying Prana of the body are attached to Hridaya (heart)
  • Below heart (i.e., below = Tasyadho) develops Pleeha (spleen), in opposite or reverse direction (Vamatah) of heart develops lungs, at a lower level (Daksinatah) develops Yakrita (liver) and Kloma (pancreas)
  • Hridaya (heart) is the seat of Chetana especially, because of this, when it is covered with Tama, all living beings sleep.


For citation 3:

Keeping these meanings in view, the interpretation of the citation 3 of Sushruta Samhita Sharira Sthana 5/28 is as follows,

Only the bony joints are certainly very much famous (known). Joints of Peshi, Snayu and Sira are innumerable and certainly not possible to count.

Once again, it is clear that nothing from the Samhita can be taken lightly if we want it to under stand in depth.


   Discussion Top


On citation 1:

On looking at the urethra, we can find the openings of ejaculatory ducts in the urethral crest which is below and near (Dakshine-Parshve) the internal urethral orifice. Thus, Acharya Sushruta seemed to convey the same knowledge, but the words he used were interpreted in literary sense, thereby developing misunderstanding and misconceptions. With this understanding, a clinician's belief in Acharya Sushruta's anatomical description about the passage of Shukra becomes unambiguous. This would help plan various modalities for the treatments with confidence.

On citation 2:

Acharya Sushruta in Sushruta Samhita, Sharira Sthana 4/31 has described the fetal development or embryology. Now, if we observe the development of lungs and the body cavities, i.e., the pericardial, pleural and peritoneal cavities, the above citation shall become more obvious [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Formation of pleural cavity and its separation from pericardial and peritoneal cavities. (a) Pericardio-peritoneal canal enlarges to form the pleural cavity. The pleural cavity communicates freely with the pericardial and peritoneal cavities. (b) Gradual formation of pericardio-pleural and pleuro-peritoneal membranes and widening of the three cavities. (c) The pleural cavity is completely separated from the pericardial and peritoneal cavities by the formation of pericardio-pleural and pleuro-peritoneal membranes

Click here to view


The developmental anatomy as explained by Dr. Inderbir Singh along with diagrams is as follows,

From the [Figure 2][37], it will be seen that the pleural cavities are at first dorso-lateral to the pericardium, i.e., pleural cavities are in opposite direction of pericardium. So, it can be deduced that heart is developing centripetally and lungs are developing centrifugally i.e. in opposite or reverse direction of the development of heart. As the lungs increase in size, the pleural cavities extend into the mesoderm of the body wall which too is expanding at the same time and gradually come to lie lateral and to some extent ventral, to the pericardium. The pleural cavities also extend downward into the mesoderm, forming the posterior abdominal wall, and upward toward the neck.
Figure 2: Schemes to show (a-c) how pleural cavity expands into the body wall

Click here to view


If we observe the development of lungs in comparison to heart in the intrauterine life, it is quite clear that the lung bud and the pleural cavities are developing in reverse or opposite to the pericardial cavity i.e. it is developing Vamatah.

Keeping this in mind, a pediatrician can better appreciate the pathogenesis of various congenital diseases described in other places of Sushruta Samhita.

On citation 3:

Now, if we refer to few citations which are just before (Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana, 5/26-33), the current one (Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana, 5/28) in the same chapter, it will be clear that Acharya Sushruta has mentioned one of the types of joint as Mandala and has cited few examples also, wherein no bony parts seem to be involved. Then, how can we say that Acharya Sushruta has described only those joints that are made of bone? As per the definition of a joint – Sandhi, their count seems to be very high, so only those types which are clinically relevant are taken into consideration and others, though it may be called a joint, are not counted due to lack of practical applicability. Keeping this in view, the observed translations seem to be unclear and absurd. Moreover, when we consider the meaning of the keywords Kevalah and Parikirtita (Pari + Kirtitaḥ) as adduced earlier, the meaning of citation becomes quite relevant and clear. When a clinician who comes across a patient suffering from diseases pertaining to Mandal Sandhis believes it to be a joint, he/she may very well have to take into consideration the various Dosha and Dhatu which naturally constitute a Sandhi or a joint. The natural inhabitants, like Shleshmaka Kapha, Vyana Vayu, will definitely come into picture while formulating medicine. Moreover, the blood circulation of a joint and other parts too needs to be considered before one may proceed for the various modalities of treatment.


   Conclusion Top


From the above discussion based on semantics of various Sanskrit words used in the aforesaid axioms by Acharya Sushruta, it is ushered that the meaning of common Sanskrit terms such as Vame, Dakshine, Parshve, Parikirtita and Kevala is worth reconsidering and changing. Like here the word “Dakshine” should mean “southward or lower/downward or below” and not as right side, the word Vame should mean “opposite direction” or “reverse” instead or right side or left side, the word Parshve should mean “proximal” and not as either side, then the word Parikirtita should be considered as “very much famous (known)” and Kevala means “only.” This opinion seems to be hypothetical, but on applying Tantrayukti or semantic differentiation relating to the meanings of words, our faith does increases in Acharya Sushruta sayings, thereby dispelling the clouds of doubt and uncertainty and removing the difficulties and obstruction from our path of understanding.

Thus, on referring to these axioms of Sushruta Samhita-Sharira Sthana, it is quite obvious that Acharya Sushruta has used common words for making his treaty to be simple and appreciable. But, being simple doesn't mean easy. Unless we fathom, the real treasure from the ancient wisdom may remain obscured. Moreover, parochial paraphrasing will lead to doubts in Ayurvedic concepts. Only literary Sanskrit knowledge is not sufficient for Vaidyas.



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Conflicts of interest

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   References Top

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2.
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7.
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12.
Dwivedi L, Bhishagratna K, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sharira Sthana. Ch. 4, Ver. 31. 4th ed. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office; 1998 p. 172-73.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
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14.
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15.
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16.
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17.
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18.
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19.
Sharma P, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sharira Sthana. Ch. 4, Ver. 30. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Bharati Academy; 2000. p. 156.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
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21.
E. Leumann, C. Cappeller, editor. S. M. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary of Monier-Williams. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas; 1983. p. 941.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
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23.
Srikanthmurthy KR, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sharira Sthana. Ch. 5, Ver. 28. 2nd ed. Varanasi: Choukhamba Orientalia, Sharirsthana; 2004. p. 90.  Back to cited text no. 23
    
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Sharma AR, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sharira Sthana. Ch. 5, Ver. 28. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan; 2013. p. 80.  Back to cited text no. 24
    
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Thatte DG, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sharira Sthana. Ch. 5, Ver. 33. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia, Sharirsthana; 1994. p. 104-5.  Back to cited text no. 25
    
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Shastri A, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sharira Sthana. Ch. 5, Ver. 33. 12th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Bhawan; 1993. p. 47.  Back to cited text no. 26
    
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Deshpande ND, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sharira Sthana. Ch. 5, Ver. 33. 4th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Series Office; 1978. p. 120.  Back to cited text no. 27
    
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Gupta A., editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sharira Sthana. Ch. 5, Ver. 28. 5th ed. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas; 1994. p. 321.  Back to cited text no. 28
    
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Leumann E, Cappeller C, editor. S. M. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary of Monier-Williams. 3rd ed. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas; 1993. p. 449.  Back to cited text no. 30
    
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