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Meaning of Rasa
Panchamahaabhoota and Rasa
Formation of Rasa
Rasa: Means different tastes that every drug, mineral and food matter are made up of the object, which can be sensed by the tongue is called Rasa. Tongue is called as Rasanaa or Rasanendriya as it identifies the different tastes. Rasa is the object of the gustatory sense organ. Rasa is not an independent object. Rasa is located and present in each, substance whether herbal drug, mineral drug or food.
The object, which is sensed and perceived with the help of Rasanendriya,is called as Rasa. In the Charaka Samhitaa we find discussions about the number of Rasa_s. From infinity to an affixed number. Finally only six numbers of Rasa_sare fixed. They are
Madhur – Sweet taste
Amla – Sour taste
Lavan`a – Salty taste
Kat`u – Hot taste
Tikta – Bitter taste
Kashaaya – Astringent taste
Ayurveda considers that every particle in the universe is made up of the Pancha Mahaabhoota_s. Rasa are also made up of these five basic elements, which contribute in the formation of each body. The object Rasa is perceived by the tongue, that is Rasanendriya. Rasanendriya is mainly made up of the dominance of Jalamahaabhoota; hence it perceives Rasa of each and every matter. Rasa or taste is manifested by the dominance of Jalamahaabhoota and Prithvimahaabhoota. Thus these two Mahaabhoota_s are the main contributors in the formation of Rasa or taste. This specific mode of formation of Rasa_sis named as Rasanirvritti that is the formation of Rasa or taste. So for the formation of each Rasa, Jala and Prithvi Mahaabhoota_sare necessary. But in the formation of each Rasa, the percentage and proportion of Mahaabhoota_sis different. This concept is named as Rasavis`hesha. Due to this difference in the proportion of Mahaabhoota_s, the actions of Rasa differ. Thats the reason for the difference between the actions of every Dravya. Rasa_sare located in the Dravya_s. Lokpurusha Siddhaanta is an important phenomenon which states that whatever exists in the universe exists in the human body also. Rasa are contributed by Pancha Mahaabhoota_s. But considering the action of Rasa on the human body every Rasa is composed of two Mahaabhoota_sor only two Bhoota_s take part in the composition of each Rasa. They are composed during specific seasons in the universe according to the predominance of Bhoota_s. For example:
Rasa Mahaabhoota Season
Madhura Prithvi+Jala Hemant
Amla Agni+Jala Varshaa
Lavan`a Agni+Prithvi S`harada
Kat`u Vaayu+Agni Grishma
Tikta Aakas`ha+Vaayu S`his`hira
Kashaaya Vaayu+Prithvi Vasanta
These are the Bhoota_s contributing in the formation of Rasa_sand the seasons in which they are formed. Rasa_sare mainly derived from Aapamahaabhoota. The base of the formation of Rasa_sis Aapa Mahaabhoota. According to the seasons, the dominating Mahaabhoota takes part in the formation of Rasa. Though Rasa_sare Paanchabhautik and derived from Aapamahaabhoota, two Mahaabhoota_sdominatingly contribute in their formation. Bhautika dominance of these two, contributing in Rasa_s, is also different. As in Tikta Rasa, Vaayu is more predominating than in Kat`u Rasa. Agni dominates over Vaayu in formation of Kat`u Rasa. This predominance in the composition of Rasa between the two Mahaabhoota_sis identified on the basis of action of the Rasa_sobserved when they come in contact with Rasanendriya that is the tongue. This contact between tongue and Rasa is called Nipaata. The type of Rasa and its properties are identified by this Nipaata. There are specific symptoms of each Rasa called Lakshan`a. This Lakshan`a is felt after Nipaata.
- Madhura (Sweet taste) Increases salivation in the mouth, presents a nourishing feel, deliciousness, sense of satisfaction, delightful, sweet substance produces stickiness in the mouth. It pacifies Vaata, Pitta but aggravates Kapha
- Amla (Sour taste) Identified by increased salivation with setting teeth on edge, clarifies mouth, may create a little burning in the mouth and throat. It pacifies Vaata but aggravates Pitta and Kapha
- Lavan`a (Salty taste) It is identified by purgation, salivation, stickiness, moistening in mouth, feeling of lightness, burning in the mouth. Pacifies Kapha, aggravates Vaata, Pitta.
- Kat`u (Hot Taste) It is pungent, burning of tongue and mouth, watering of eyes, nose, and mouth. Cutting pain and burning. Pacifies Kapha, aggravates Vaata, Pitta.
- Tikta (Bitter taste) Un-delightful, weakens the taste perception, purifies mouth, dries up but increases delightfulness later.
- Kashaaya (Astringent taste) creates dryness in mouth, heaviness and shrinking of tongue, rigidity and locking of the muscles, gives cooling and softening effect. Pacifies Kapha, Pitta, aggravates Vaata
With the help of the above-mentioned symptoms we can identify the Rasa of each Dravya. This specific concept of identification of taste is named as Rasopalabdhi in Ayurveda.
Lecturer – Bharati Vidyapeth College of Ayurved, Pune
Last updated on February 26th, 2021 at 09:47 am