HERBAL MYSTERY IN CHANAKYA NITI! (Post No.4645)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 21 JANUARY 2018

 

Time uploaded in London 15-22

 

 

 

Post No. 4645

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We know that Chanakya alias Kautilya was a great economist, author of the world’s first economic book Arthasastra, a poor and ugly Brahmin, a king maker, a statesman and author of several didactic works. But no one considered him a medicine man; yet he made some passing remarks about herbs and health tips. The puzzling one is a sloka/ couplet about a herb called Amruta. Here comes the trouble! What is Amruta?

 

Like no two clocks agree no two herb books on the term Amruta; but we are not wasting tie in identifying what exactly is Amruta. Whatever they say about different Amrutas is good according to Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu medical system.

 

Let us explore it further:

His sloka in Chanakya Niti runs like this:

sarvushadhinaamamrutaa pradhaanaa

sarveshu saukyeshvasanam pradhaanam.

 

sarvendriyaanaam nayanam pradhaanam

sarveshy gathreshu sirah pradhaanam

–chanakya niti, chapter 9, sloka 4

 

The translation for this sloka according to Satya Vat Shastri, a great scholar in Sanskrit, is as follows

“Of all the herbs it is the Cocculus Cordifolius that is the best, of all the forms of happiness it is eating that is so, of all the sense organs it is eye that steals the palm, of all the limbs it is the head that stands out”.

 

The next step is to identify this herb Cocculus cordifolius. In Sanskrit they call it Amrutavalli or Amrutaballi. But Chanakya just gave the name Amrutaa.

 

This Cocculus Cordifolius itself has another name Tinospora cordifolia. Both these names agree the leaf is Cordi= heart shaped, Folia= leaf. The leaf is heart shaped (like Pipal or peepul tree leaf)

 

The Ayurvedic sources give two  candidates for this name Amrutavalli; one is Guduchi and another is Amrutavalli. In Tamil we get Seenthil kodi or Sirukattukkodi. Most probably Seenthil corresponds with Amrutavalli. Bothe these have lot of curative properties. Diabetes, Cancer, Arthritis etc cured by these herbs.

 

It is interesting to see that Chankya mentioned this herb 2300 years ago.

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Water is a Medicine

Chanakya says,

“In indigestion water is the medicine, with the digestion of the food it imparts strength, it is nectar during meals and is poison at the end of them”

Ajiirne beshajam vaari jeerne vaari balapradam

bhojame caamrutam vaari bhojanaante vishapradam

chapter 8, sloka 7

 

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Butter Power!

Chanakya says,

“Flour has ten times more of potency in it than rice, milk has ten times more of it than flour, meat has eight times more of it than milk and ghee has ten times more of it than meat”

Ghee= clarified butter or melted butter

 

annaad dasagunam pishtam pishtaad dasagunam payah

payasoshtagunam maamsam maamsaad dasagunam ghrutam

chapter 9, sloka 19

 

“Diseases catch up with vegetables, body gains in strength with milk, semen increases with ghee, flesh gains from flesh”

saakena roogaa vardhante payasaa vardhate tanuh

ghrutena vardhate viiryam maamsaanmaamsam pravardhate

chapter 9, sloka 20.

 

My comments:

Here the power of clarified butter is explained. Brahmins consume it a lot in all the ceremonies. So it may be a warning about cholesterol.

The effect of meat is explained very well. Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar also said the same. What is the use of eating flesh to increase one’s own meat/flesh? asks Valluvar in Tirukkural.

 

Chanakya’s statement about vegetables should be understood properly. If you don’t cook or wash and cook the vegetables it serves as a  source of diseases. Apart from it certain vegetables are avoided when one is on regular Siddha or Ayurvedic medication. This is not in allopathic medicines.

In modern terms we can translate ‘potency’ (in the sloka) as cholesterol.

 

–SUBHAM–