How to cite this article: Bhan Pratap Yadaw, Manoj Kumar Gupta. Critical Study of Dhamaniand Its Division in AyurvedaWsr To Sushruta Samhita. Adv
Biotech & Micro. 2018; 10(2): 555785. DOI:10.19080/AIBM.2018.10.555785
Cardiovascular System is an important life supporting and nourishing system of the human body. The term hridaya, siras and dhamanis are as old as vedas. They have been generally used in the sense of ayurvedic cardiovascular system.Siras and dhamanis arise from the nabhi (umbilicus) spread throughout the body and supply air to the dhatus constantly.Ayurvedic acharyas has used an anatomical term dhamani, which is one of the controversial terms (structure). The chief difficulty lies in the fact that every writer on the subject approaches the problem with preconceived ideas and tries to read his own views into the ancient texts, which invariably leads to confusion.Dhamanis (arteries) carry rasadhatu all over the body and fill it with air. Dhamanis indicated those ducts which have thick walls and siras those having thin walls.The concept behind origin of siras from nabhi is also supports the origin of dhamanis from nabhi i.e. the time period in which embryo forms in uterus is also the time of formation of dhamani.
Thorough structural scientific knowledge of the life was recommended by ancient acharyas. The knowledge of Rachana Sharira is mandatory for the students of any system of medicine.Acharya Sushruta has said to be the father of surgery because of description available in Sushrutasamhita regarding methodology for learning of the anatomy, dissection on cadaver, dhamani, sira, marma etc. He has given more emphasis on the practical knowledge. A surgeon who desires to obtain thorough knowledge of the body must dissect a dead body properly and see each and every structure and organ in it. In sushrutasamhita, dhamani words are used in many references like- moola of srotasas, nabhi-nadi, hridayashrita and in various diseases. The standing puzzle of Indian anatomy and physiology is the classification of siras, dhamanis and srotas, the channels, passages and ducts in the body, including the arteries, veins, nerves and lymphatic vessels. The difficulty was felt by the ancient medical writers themselves. All subsequent attempts at clearing up this puzzle have resulted in greater confusion. The functions of the dhamanis also differ.
The up-coursing dhamanisperform such specific functions of the body as sound, touch, taste, sight, smell, inspiration, sighing, yawning, sneezing, laughter, speech, weeping etc. and
tend to maintain the integrity of the body. The down-coursing dhamanis form the channels for the downward conveyance of vayu, urine, stool, semen and contaminated fluids’. From the above enumeration of their functions it is seems that dhamanis stand for nerves and ducts. But on critical analysis of cardinal features of dhamani, it should be only artery, not any other anatomical structures. On a critical comparison of the detailed list of siras and dhamanis it will be noticed that no ducts, no specific nerves except the vata vessels, and no rasa carrying vessels are mentioned in the list of the siras. Dhamanis carry rasa all over the body and fill it with air. It is significant that the conveyance of rasa is confined to the dhamanis only[2,3]. Rasa is the end product of digestion of food. It is converted into rakta in the liver and spleen, but its great receptacle is the heart.
The arterial blood of the Indian physiologist is the blood that leaves the liver and the spleen. The distribution of the systematic arteries is like a highly ramified tree, the common trunk of which, formed by the aorta, commences at the left ventricle, while the smallest ramifications extend to the peripheral parts of the body and the contained organs. Arteries are found in all parts of the body, except in the hairs, nails, epidermis, cartilages, and cornea; the larger trunks usually occupy the most protected situations,
running, in the limbs, along the flexor surface, where they are less
exposed to injury. There is considerable variation in the mode
of division of the arteries: occasionally a short trunk subdivides
into several branches at the same point, as may be observed in
the celiac artery and the thyrocervical trunk: the vessel may give
off several branches in succession, and still continue as the main
trunk, as is seen in the arteries of the limbs; or the division may
be dichotomous, as, for instance, when the aorta divides into the
two common iliacs.
Among the dhamani(arteries) arising from the nabhi
(umbilicus), ten spread upward, ten downward and four sideward
(transverse). The direction of vessels around the umbilicus
has been described by sushrutabut it cannot be precisely said
which are these vessels and what can be their actual name,
because basically we have not accepted the theory presented by
sushrutain relation to the origin of vessels from the umbilicus.
Sushruta has used the word ‘’Nabhiprabhava’’ only because
during intra-uterine life the vessels like umbilical arteries and
umbilical veins start from the fetal umbilicus. Therefore, one
can accept this statement in relation to fetal life. Second view is
that the word nabhimight have been used in the sense of heart.
Even if it is so then the use of word ‘’nabhi’’ is also justified.
But before one labels ‘’nabhi’’ fore heart, it should be decided
whether scientifically this can be proved or not. Even in charak,
astangasangrahaandastangahridaya, nabhi word has been used
in reference to fetal life. Sushruta has himself shifted from his own
view in relation to the origin of dhamanis from nabhi(umbilicus)
to hridaya (heart) in sutrasthan’’sonitavarniyaadhyaya’’[5,6].
Blood vessels first make their appearance in several scattered
vascular areaswhich are developed simultaneously between the
endoderm and the mesoderm of the yolk-sac, i. e.,outside the
body of the embryo. Here a new type of cell, the angioblastor
vasoformativecellis differentiated from the mesoderm7
Charaka has also mentioned in 30th chapter of sutrasthan
that the dhamanis (arteries) arise from the hridaya(heart).
Acharya sushruta says that, we will now describe the features
of derivations of the foetus, from the father, mother, rasa dhatu
(plasma), atma (soul), satva (mind) and satmya (habituation).
Kesa(hair of the head), samasru(mustaches) and roma (hairs on
the body), asthi (bone), nakha(nails), danta (teeth), sira (veins),
snayu(ligaments), dhamanis (arteries) and sukra (semen) etc.
which are stable are derived from the pitrija (father). Hridaya
(heart) and the pranavahadhamani (arteries sustaining
respiration and life) attached to it are produced by the essence
of sonita (blood) and kapha[9,10].
Therefore, it can safely be commented that sushruta had
a clear idea in his mind that dhamanisare the vessels which
originate from nabhi(umbilicus) during fetal life only whereas,
they are directly related with the hridaya (heart) after the birth.
As far as the confusion between dhamani, siraand srotas is
concerned, he himself has mentioned that this confusion is only
because of the close anatomical relationship between dhamani,
Those spreading upward, support (maintain) the body by
attending to functions such as receiving sensation of sabda
(sound), sparsha (touch), rupa (sight), rasha (taste) and gandha
(smell); praswas (inspiration), ucchwas (expiration), jrimbha
(yawning), kshavathu (sneezing), hasita (laughing), kathita
(talking), ghosita (shouting) and such other functions. These
after reaching the hridaya (heart) each one divides into three,
thus becoming thirty. Out of these, two each carry vata, pitta,
kapha, sonita and rasa - thus ten. two each carry sensation of
sabda (sound), rupa (sight), rasha (taste) and gandha (smell);
– thus eight. two attends to kathita (speaking in words), two
attends to ghosita (shouting or loud sound without words), two
attends to swapiti(sleep), and two to pratibudhi (waking), two
carry ashru(tears in the eyes), two carry stanya(breast milk) in
the breasts of women, these only carry sukra (semen) from the
breast in men-thus twelve. Thus, total thirty urdhvagadhamanis
are described by their divisions. By these (dhamani), parts of the
body above the umbilicus, such as the abdomen, flanks, back,
chest, shoulders, neck, arms etc are supported and maintained.
The upward dhamani perform all these functions always
(throughout life).Dr.ghanekarand gangadher shastri both have
submitted his statements in reference to the above couplet.
Pandit gangadher shastri has labeled all these dhamani
as nerve in the following order. Sabdavahadhamani (auditory
nerves), rupavahadhamani (optic nerves), rashavahadhamani
(nerves of taste i.e. branch from glassopharyngeal and lingual
nerves), gandhvahadhamani (olfactory nerves), bhasandhamani
(inferior laryngeal nerves, ghosakardhamani (hypoglossal
nerves) and ashruvahadhamani(lacrimal nerves).
Dr. Ghanekar preferred to label some of these vessels as
internal auditory artery for sabdavahadhamani (voice carrying
vessels), central retinal artery for sense of rupavahadhamani
(vision), lingual artery for rashavahadhamani (sense of
taste), sphenopalatine branch of internal maxillary artery
for gandhvahadhamani (the sense of smell), laryngeal artery
for ghosakardhamani (the sense of sound), sublingual artery
for bhasandhamani (the sense of speech), lacrimal artery for
ashruvahadhamani(the sense of lacrimation), mammary artery
for stanyavahadhamani (the sense of lactation). The modern
correlation of urdhwaga dhamani is given below
a. Sabdavahadhamani- Internal auditory artery (acoustic
b. Rupavahadhamani- Central retinal artery (optic nerve)
c. Rasavahadhamani- Lingual artery (nerves of taste that
is branches from glossopharyngeal and lingual)
d. Gandhavahadhamani-Sphinopalatine branch of the
internal maxillary artery (olfactory nerve)
e. Ghosakardhamani- Laryngeal arteries (inferior
f. Bhasandhamani- Sublingual artery (hypoglossal nerve)
g. Ashruvahidhamani- Lacrimal artery (lacrimal nerve)
h. Stanyavahidhamani- Mammary artery
Since the dhamani (arteries) present in the (region of) the
heart (the breasts) open after three or four days (after the birth
of the child), breast milk gets produced afterwards.
Some urdhwaga dhamanis are related to respiratory
movement in which diaphragm and other muscles are involved.
So, the blood vessels which supply these muscles are included in
these i.e. phrenic and intercostal arteries (phrenic nerve). Except
of these local arteries all other functions are controlled by brain.
The principal arteries of supply to the head and neck are the
two common carotids; they ascend in the neck and each divide
into two branches, viz., (1) the external carotid, supplying the
exterior of the head, the face, and the greater part of the neck;
(2) the internal carotid, supplying to a great extent the parts
within the cranial and orbital cavities.So urdhvagadhamanis
are correlated with all arteries and its branches which supply to
head, neck, brain, upper limbs and thorax.
Dhamani (arteries) spreading downward purvey flatus,
feaces, semen, and menstrual blood etc downward. These, on
reaching the pittasaya acting upon the essence of foods and
drinks (known as rasa dhatu) produce by the heat separates it
into sara (essence) and kitta (waste). Purveys it throughout the
body and nourish the body supplying nutrient materials present
in the essence of food, supply it to the dhamani spreading in
upward and transverse direction, fill the seat of rasa (hridaya)
and separate urine, feces and sweat (from the rasa). In between
the amasaya(stomach) and pakvasaya (colon) each one of these
(dhamanis) divides into three branches thus becoming thirty;
out of these, two each carry vata, pitta, kapha, sonitaand rasathus
ten. Two present in the intestine purvey anna, two carry
toya (water produce during digestion), two present in the
bladder carry urine, two are meant for production of sukra in
the testes, and two meant for its elimination, these only purvey
the blood known as artava in women and eliminate it; two
attached to the large intestine are for expelling the faces- thus
twelve. Another eight dhamani supply sweat to those (dhamani)
spreading transversely; thus, the thirty branches are described.
By these (dhamani), the parts of the body below the
umbilicus such as pakwasaya (large intestines), kati (pelvis),
mutrasaya(urinary bladder), purisasaya (organs of feces i.e.
rectum), guda (anus), vasti(bladder), medhra (penis) and
sakthi (legs) are supported and maintained. Dhamanispreading
downward perform these functions all the time (throughout
life). Adhogami dhamanis are related to the abdominal region
and lower limbs. Vata, mutra, purish, sukraandartava are formed
(produced) in abdomen and they move downwards.
These substances are formed in their respective organs after
getting blood supply from their arteries and then after it move
downward direction to pass out from body.Adhogami dhamani
moving downward to reach in amasayaand pittasaya. This is
the place of pittadhara kala. In this place food are digested and
absorbed to form annarasha, which nourishes the body in proper
way. These functions (digestion and absorption) of intestine
are possible only, when adhogamidhamanis supply blood to
intestine. So, this dhamani is called as vivechak (differentiator)
and abhivahak (supplier). By the help of adhogamidhamanis,
ingested food are digested to form rasa, which moves upward
to reach heart through siras (veins) and rasayanis (lymphatic
vessels) to nourish the urdhvagaandtiryagadhamanis. It means
that nourishment of urdhvagadhamanis is indirectly done by the
adhogamidhamanis. After digestion of food material satmyapart
of digested food is absorbed by rasa prapa(cisterna chili) and
rasa kulya (thoracic duct) to carry it in heart.
Mutra (urine), purisa (fecal matter) and sweda(sweat)
are malas ofpakwa anna (digested food). These malas are
differentiated in udarvibhag (abdominal region). Swedasravan
(sweating) is the function of tiryaggami dhamani, but blood
supply to tiryaggami dhamani is the job of adhogamidhamani.
Each adhogamidhamanis divided into three branches between
the space of amashayaand pakwashaya. The arteries which
supplies to amashayaand chhudrantra are capable to move
digested food in downward direction i.e. celiac artery and
superior mesenteric artery (vagi and sympathetic nerves) are
capable to do it.
Mutravahidhamani: The artery which supply blood to the
organ where urine is formed. In ayurveda main site of urine
is basti (urinary bladder). In this reference we take vessical
arteries as mutravahi dhamani. Kavirajgananathsen says that
gavini (ureter) is suitable for mutravahidhamani. But, if we
understand the urine formation according to modern science
then we take renal arteries (nerves from the renal plexus,
spermatic, ovarian, inferior mesenteric plexus and hypogastric
plexus) as mutravahidhamani.
Sukravahidhamani: Arteries which supply blood to sperm
producing organ can be taken as sukravahidhamani i.e. testicular
and spermatic arteries (spermatic plexus).
Sukra-visharjinidhamani: In maithun(coitus), sperm
produced by testis moves to epididymis, vas deference and
prostate. By contraction of urethra sperm ejaculation occurs. In
this context arteries supplying to epididymis, vas deference and
prostate are considered as sukravisharjinidhamani.
Varchonirashnidhamani: The function of large intestine
is to move fecal matter downward and defecate it outside the
body. So, the arteries which help to do this job are called as
varcho-nirashnidhamani i.e. inferior mesenteric artery, middle
colic and right colic arteries (pelvic visceral nerve).These thirty
adhogamidhamani nourishes and support the abdominal organ
by supplying blood to it through its branches .
The abdominalaortabegins at the aortic hiatus of the
diaphragm, in front of the lower border of the body of the last
thoracic vertebra, and, descending in front of the vertebral
column, ends on the body of the fourth lumbar vertebra,
commonly a little to the left of the middle line,by dividing into the
two common iliac arteries. The collateral circulation would be
carried on by the anastomoses between the internal mammary
and the inferior epigastric; by free communication between the
superior and inferior mesenterics, if the ligature were placed
between these vessels; or by the anastomosis between the
inferior mesenteric and the internal pudendal, when (as is more
common) the point of ligature is below the origin of the inferior
mesenteric; and possibly by the anastomoses of the lumbar
arteries with the branches of the hypogastric.The branches of
the abdominal aorta may be divided into three sets: visceral,
parietal and terminal.
Visceral branches are celiac, superior mesenteric, inferior
mesenteric, middle supra-renals,renals,internal spermatics and
ovarian (in the female). Parietal branches are inferior phrenics,
lumbars and middle sacral arteries. Terminal branches are
common iliac arteries.Of the visceral branches, the celiac artery
and the superior and inferior mesenteric arteries are unpaired,
while the suprarenals, renals, internal spermatics, and ovarian
are paired. Of the parietal branches the inferior phrenics and
lumbars are paired; the middle sacral is unpaired. The terminal
branches are paired16. In modern anatomy adhogamidhamanis
are considered as abdominal aorta and its branches. In lower
limb there is no any description of special function done by
arteries. So, arteries of lower limbs are not described in this
context, their names are given as swedamarpayanti.
Each one of the four dhamanispreading sideward divide into
hundreds and thousands of branches further and so becomes
innumerable.By these, the entire body appears to be gavaksita
(full of windows); these knit together broadly, their mouths
(openings) are attached to the romakupa (hair follicles); these
purvey sweda (sweat to the exterior) and rasa (chyme/nutrient
tissue) both inside and outside.Through these only the potency
(effect) of materials (medicines) used in the form of abhyanga
(anointing), parisheka(pouring liquids on the body) and lepa
(application of pastes), get cooked (processed by heat) in the
skin, enter into the interior of the body.
The sensation of touch both comfortable and uncomfortable,
are perceived (understood) by these only.
Firstly, it should be decided which arteries are the lateral
coursing dhamanis. Lateral coursing can be known as cutaneous
arteries which supply the skin, or which go to the sides of body.
Upper coursing means those which supply to the head, neck, upper
limbs, and thorax. Lower coursing means those which supply to
the abdomen and lower limbs. Sushruta could not specifically
tell which these four arteries which are directed laterally are.
But there is a direct indication of four dhamanis which devides
to become thousands, arteries of upper limb and lower limb are
not described here. So, we can accept cutaneous vessels of four
limbs as four tiryaggami dhamanis.Urdhvagami dhamanis
are related to head, neck, brain, thorax and upper limbs.
Adhogami dhamanis are related to abdominal organs and lower
limbs. Tiryaggami dhamanis are related to outer surface of the
body i.e. skin. In modern science tiryaggamidhamanis are called
as cutaneous or peripheral vessels
Apparent similarity between the functions dhamani and
nerves is because these functions are interdependent and
supplementary to one another. Functions of nerves will not be
effective in any part of the body if that part is not supplied with
blood by the arteries. Regarding origin and division of dhamani,
it can safely be commented that sushruta had a clear idea in
his mind that dhamanis are the vessels which originate from
nabhi during fetal life only whereas, they are directly related
with the hridaya after the birth.As far as twenty-four numbers is
concerned, there is presence of cardinal veins, vitelline plexuses,
umbilical veins and umbilical arteries seen in this area during
the intra uterine life.Therefore, this statement of twenty-four
dhamani (vessels) arising out of the nabhi (umbilicus) appear
to be hypothetical.