A text dealing with Ayurveda-PAncarAtra connection

Vielle Christophe vielle at ORI.UCL.AC.BE
Mon Apr 26 12:36:05 UTC 1999

        In examining the broader context of the given  extract of my
"purANic saMhitA", I can say now that these physiological/embryological
conceptions are in fact exposed to the king Janaka by the sage Asita, whose
discourse concerns mainly the problematic of rebirth. Since other parts of
the text offers clear examples of PAncarAtra philosophy, my question should
have been: is there PAncarAtra texts dealing in some length with the
physiological/embryological mechanismes of rebirth?
Thank you for your help.

>I'm going to indulge in what seems like a minor
>nitpick, but turns out to be a point that often goes
>Vielle Christophe <vielle at ORI.UCL.AC.BE>
>>... Here is an abstract, in
>>which sAMkhya/Ayurveda conceptions are exposed (e.g. "form"-rUpa as one of
>>the five "subtle elements"-tanmAtra, corresponding to the fire as one of
>>the five "gross elements"; dhAtus or principles etc.). Here is an abstract
>>babhUva rUpatanmAtraM puruSecchApracoditAt
>It is incorrect to label this as a sAMkhyan
>conception. In the sAMkhya school, the
>transformations of material nature are for the
>sake of purusha (purushArtha), but never due to
>the desire of the purusha (purushecchA). The
>purusha is devoid of any agency, so that any
>desire or will would be ascribed by sAMkhya to
>a transformation of the internal organ
>(antaHkaraNa-vRtti). And as the antaHkaraNa is
>itself composed of transformations of prakRti
>(avyakta, mahat and ahaMkAra), all agency is
>removed from purusha.
>It is not right to ascribe a "sAMkhyan" origin to
>every passage that uses terms like tanmAtra,
>purusha, prakRti etc. They are as likely to be
>vedAntic terms, for example. Indeed, the use of
>purushecchA in the above extract seems to
>resonate more with the brahmasUtra (kAmAc ca
>na anumAna-apekshA) than with any sAMkhyan
>conception. Unless of course, one uses
>"sAMkhya" to refer not to a school of
>philosophy, but to any system of knowledge that
>is said to lead to liberation.
>>It is also mentionned in the same chapter that the semen introduced into
>>the womb of the woman by the man at the time of coition will get mixed with
>>the blood in the womb, and that the issue will be male, female or
>>hermaphrodite (napuMsaka) according to the proportion of the mixture: if
>>blood exceeds semen the issue will be a girl, if semen exceeds it will be a
>>boy, and if both are equal the child will be a hermaphrodite.
>This is probably to be found in Ayurvedic texts,
>but I doubt if sAMkhyan texts refer to it.
>vAcaspati miSra's sAMkhyatattvakaumudI
>mentions that the hair and blood come from the
>mother, while arteries, bones and marrow come
>from the father. However, it sounds like a
>generic enough description that could have
>parallels or ancestors in other purANic texts.
>Also check the Mahabharata. There is bound to
>be something in it. SikhaNDin and bRhannala
>offer sufficient context to introduce a discussion
>on the causes that normally determine a child's
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Dr. Christophe Vielle
Institut orientaliste
Collège Erasme
Place Blaise Pascal 1
B - 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
Tel. 32+10+47 49 54

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