AYU (An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda)

: 2013  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 143--146

Concept of Satkaaryavaada in Darshana and its application in Ayurveda

Akansha Anupam1, RR Dwivedi2,  
1 Lecturer, Department of Basic Principles, Uttranchal Ayurvedic College, Dehradun, India
2 Professor, Department of Basic Principles, Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Akansha Anupam
Lecturer, Department of Basic Principles, Uttranchal Ayurvedic College, 17 - Old Mussorie Road, Rajpur, Dehradun, Uttrakhand


Ayurveda is a Sarvaparishada Shastra which means this system of medicine is related to all its scriptures, takes into account even the mutually divergent views expressed in various philosophical systems so far as they do not oppose the Ayurvedic concepts. The most nearest allied branch of Ayurveda is the Darshana Shastra (philosophical texts). There are similarities of some concepts of Ayurveda and Darshana Shastra, but as the Prayojana (aim) of both Shastra are different, they have been advocated in a different way. One such concept taken by Saankhya Darshana is DQSatkaaryavaada,DQ which is mentioned in respect to Srishti (evolution of universe). This theory is taken as it is in Ayurveda but applied in different manner.

How to cite this article:
Anupam A, Dwivedi R R. Concept of Satkaaryavaada in Darshana and its application in Ayurveda.AYU 2013;34:143-146

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Anupam A, Dwivedi R R. Concept of Satkaaryavaada in Darshana and its application in Ayurveda. AYU [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Mar 23 ];34:143-146
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Full Text


Historically, the origin of Indian medicine can be traced to Vedic period, basically Atharvaveda. The Darshana Shastra was also very much in vogue during the Vedic period. Its concepts and fundamentals had much impact on the scholars and science at that time. Hence, one may see similarity of some concepts of Ayurveda and Darshana Shastra. Although, there are similarities, Ayurveda has still retained its own originality. Darshana uses its concepts for Moksha salvation) and Ayurveda for the welfare of creatures, that is, Chikitsa (treatment).

Methodology and principles of Darshana are immensely scientific in nature. The principles have become more applied and extensive in Ayurveda, although their metaphysical essence has been cautiously preserved. Darshana thought begins from the origin of this universe, and of Ayurveda also. Regarding the origin of universe, several theories are postulated, out of which one is Kaarya- Kaarana Vaada (cause and effect theory). Different Darshanas have presented their views in form of Vaadas. Saankhya Darshana has given its view in the form of Satkaaryavaada. In Ayurveda, Chikitsa (treatment) is being described in terms of Kaarya Kaarana, basically Satkarana (existent Karana), which is the base of Satkaaryavaada.

In this current attempt, a portrayal of concept of Satkaaryavaada, as given in Saankhya has been made and attempted to search and enlighten the subjects where Satkaaryavaada is applied and can be applied in Ayurveda.

 Materials and Methods

Sankhyadarshana and available commentaries were explored for the references and understandingClassical texts of Ayurveda and other Darshana were screened for interpretationsThese references were compiled, analyzed, and discussed for a thorough and in-depth understanding of the concept of Satkaaryavaada.Conceptual review

The conceptual review is divided into two sections, the concept as per Saankhya and application in Ayurveda.

Satkaaryavaada in Saankhya

Satkaaryavaada has been mentioned in Saankhya with respect to Sristi. Saankhya described the origination of Sristi from Avyakta (unmanifested). In order to prove the existence of Avyakta, which the productive cause, Saankhya stated Satkaaryavaada. [1]

This theory states "Kaarya (effect) is present in Kaarana (cause) in unmanifested form." Before manifestation, Kaarana is gross, while Kaarya is subtle. After manifestation, Kaarya becomes gross, while Kaarana becomes subtle in it. For example, oil is present in seeds, but without applying pressure it do not appear, similarly, rice is present in paddy but requires thumping to come into sight, and same holds true with the milk. Milk is present in cow, but unless milking is done it cannot emerge. [2]

These above examples support the fact that effects are present in cause, before existence, only the operation of cause is required for their appearances. These all require man power for their emergence, but in this world few events occur as a matter of time, without requiring man power.

Giving a glimpse to human life cycle

There are the various stages of human life cycle (from fertilized ovum till death); each stage is the manifested state of preceding and unmanifested state of succeeding stage. The changes are occurring in an individual only, but as a matter of time, state, and condition they appear are different. Like a baby is only changing to toddler and then are adolescent, or in other words toddler is present in "Avyakta" (unmanifested) state in baby, as time passes it becomes "Vyakta" (manifested) in the form of toddler.

Satkaaryavaada is special and own view of Saankhya philosophy which advocates two states of all substances viz. Vyakta (Manifested) and Avyakta (Unmanifested). It cannot be said that only Kaarana is manifested and Kaarya is unmanifested, according to varying events, sometimes the Kaarana is manifested and sometimes unmanifested, and sometimes Kaarya is manifested and sometimes unmanifested. Satkaaryavaada gives equal importance to mode of manifestation; from kaarana to kaarya.

To support this theory, Saankhya has mentioned five Hetus[5] (causes). These are Asat Akaaranaat, Upaadaana grahanaat, Sarvasambhavaabhaavaat, Shaktasya Shakyakaaranat, and Kaarana Bhaavaccha. Each of the Hetu denotes the importance of Kaarana in one or the other way.

Asat akaaranat:It says that only sat can become Kaarana, while Asat cannot become Kaarana, that is, unable to produce any effect. [3]Upaadaana grahanaat:This Hetu depicts selection of causative material for producing effect. [3]Sarvasambhavaabhaava:This Hetu states that everything cannot be produced from everything and everywhere. [3]Shaktasya Shakyakaaranat:This Hetu states that potent cause can only produce effect. [3]Kaarana bhavaccha:This Hetu states that Kaarana should always be present to produce Kaarya. [3]

Saankhya has tried to establish the existence of Kaarya before manifestation, with the help of Purvaavat Anumaana (inference). In Purvaavat Anumaana, the later is inferred by the prior. As per Satkaaryavaada, Kaarana is manifested and Kaarya is unmanifested. Kaarana can be said as Pratyaksha (perceptible), while the Kaarya is known by Anumaana (inferred). Those substances that cannot be proved by Pratyaksha, can be proved by Anumaana. By means of inference based on analogy, the objects beyond senses are proved. Here, also the Kaarya that is beyond the senses of perception, before manifestation can be known by Anumaana.

Satkaaryavaada in Ayurveda

The term Satkaaryavaada is not mentioned in the original texts of Ayurveda, but at different contexts commentators have referred the term. Chakrapani while commenting on Vaadamargas, in Sambhava, [4] quote Satkaaryavaada. In Sharira Sthaana, while describing Aatmaja Bhaava of Garbha (fetus), Satkaarya is mentioned. [5]

The exact explanation of the Satkaaryavaada is not mentioned in classics, but the principle is massively applied all over. In Ayurveda, the Siddhaanta (theory) that are based on Kaarana and Kaarya represent always Satkaarana (existent cause).

Satkaaryavaada in Ayurveda is applied in two ways:

Literary aspect: Where the concepts are mentioned with the base of SatkaaryavaadaPractical application: Where it is used for Chikitsa (treatment).

Literary aspect

All the genetic disorders and congenital disorders can be brought under the examples of Satkaaryavaada. It states Kaarya is present in Kaarana in unmanifested form before its manifestation. Few examples are cited in support of this concept are as below:

The Aadibalapravrita Vyaadhi, i.e. the diseases that occur due to defects in maternal or paternal side like Prameha (diabetes and associated complications) and Kustha (skin diseases). They can occur without Nidaana Sevana, if their genes are carried to the fetus [6]Defects in Garbhaashya Bija results in Vandhyatva. If Garbhaashya Bijabhaaga Avayava dushti result in Putipraja. It clearly reflects that whatever Kaarya occurs they are already present in Kaarana in subtle form. [7] In addition to congenital and genetic disorders, other examples can also be explained on the basis of Satkaaryavaada. Few are as follows:

Secondary sexual characters are present in a child since birth in unmanifested form. With passage of time factor these characters get manifested. Since Shukra (sperm) and pubic hairs were present before birth in latent form, and at appropriate age they get manifested [8]After gestation, when the embryo is formed in first month, it has all the organs present in latent form, which later on develops into gross as a matter of time. [9]Practical aspect

The foremost aim of Ayurveda is Dhatusamyata, [10] which is also the Kaarya. To produce this Kaarya, the Kaarana used are six in number. [11] These six Kaaranas are Saamanya, Vishesha, Dravya, Guna, Karma, and Samavaaya. These Kaarana are divided into two on the basis of existence [12] viz. Sattasiddha (actual existence) and Bhattisiddha (virtual existence). Sattasiddha are which have a really existing influence. Bhatisiddha are the objects that are more intellectual than real.

Out of the six Kaaranas; Dravya, Guna, and Karma are Sattasiddha, means they exist. They are Satkarana, while the other three, Saamaanya, Vishesha, Samavaaya, are Bhatisiddha, which means these Kaaranas are not existing with their individual existence but their existence is seen to be with the Sat Kaarana. Although Saamaanya and Vishesha are the basics of Chikitsa in Ayurveda, they cannot act without the basis of Dravya, Guna, and Karma, which are Sat (existent) Kaaranas. Hence, one can conclude that the Chikitsa in Ayurveda is done only by Satkarana.

Although all six Kaaranas are responsible for Chikitsa, only Guna Pradhaana Chikitsa is widely used in practice. The Guna is present in unmanifested form in Dravya, which when combines with body, manifests itself into Karma. In other words it could be said that Guna is potential energy, while Karma is kinetic energy.

Guna are responsible for karma, but the Guna vary according to dosage, season, methods of preparation, habitat, and combination with other drugs. [13] So the natural qualities of drugs and their qualities in different condition should be ascertained before the administration of requisite therapy in order to achieve the desired effect: One Kaarana (Drug) can perform many Kaarya like milk can produce curd, ghee, butter, butter milk, and so on, here a single Kaarana is performing different Kaarya, depending on the mode of manifestation. Satkaaryavaada also talks about the mode of manifestation, like oil is present in Tila, but it cannot be seen, unless pressure is applied. The abstract of all these is that a single Kaarana can perform different Kaarya, depending on the mode of manifestation and this mode can be governed on the basis of Yukti.

From one Kaarana, different Kaarya (on the basis of Anupaana)

A single drug can be used in different disease, along with different Anupaana. For example, Naarayanna Churna[14] can be used in Aadhmaana (flatulence) if given with Madya, in Gulma with Badara twaka Kwaatha, in Vitsanga (retention of stool) with Dadhi Mastu, in Ajirna with Ushna Jala, in Parikartika with Vrikshamla, in Udara roga with Takra, in Vaata Vyaadhi with Prasanna, and in Arsha with Dadima Jala.

From one Kaarana, different Kaarya (on the basis of Samyoga)

A single drug when used in different combinations can produce different effects. [15] Haritaki pacifies Kapha if administered with Lavana, while pacifies Pitta with Sarkara, pacifies Vata with Ghrita. It is beneficial in all diseases if administered with Guda.

From one Kaarana, different Kaarya (on the basis of Samskaara)

Samskaara is the process where in, the Guna of drug is changed, and new efficacy is developed. [15] For example, if Haritaki is chewed, it acts as Agni Dipaka. On grinded form acts as Mala Shodhaka, boiled form acts as Sangrahi, fried form acts as Trioshahara etc.

From one Kaarana, many Kaarya (based on Maatra)

A drug is a Kaarana which performs a Kaarya. But the conversion of Kaarana into Kaarya requires many other factors such as Maatra (dosage) and Kaala (time). If the drug is not given in appropriate quantity (Maatra) or for appropriate time (Kaala), then its action is doubtful. These all factors come into consideration while selecting a drug.

For example, same Sanjivinivati can be given in different doses for different diseases. [16] One vati is good in Ajirna and Gulma, two in Vishuchika, three in Sarpadamsha, and four in Sannipata.


There is always presence of Kaarana to produce a KaaryaThere is a specific relation between Kaarana and KaaryaAll Kaarana are not capable of performing all KaaryaGenetic disorders and congenital disorders can be understood on the basis of SatkaaryavaadaGuna is present in unmanifested form in Dravya and manifests later in form of karma, when combines with body. These gunas are the pharmacological properties and not the physical propertiesOne Kaarana (Dravya) is capable of doing many Kaarya based on dosage, season, methods of preparation, habitat, and combination with other drugs.


Darshana Shastra and Ayurveda are contemporary to each other, so the concepts described in both are similar to some extent, but due to difference in Prayogana these are advocated in different way. Satkaaryavaada is one such concept, which is basically given by Saankhya but adopted in Ayurveda with alterations. Satkaaryavaada is unique contribution of Saankhya which advocates two states of all substances, Vyakta and Avyakta. In the support of the concept Saankhya gives five Hetus. [1] These Hetus denote only the importance of Kaarana and not of Kaarya; the reason to this may be that:

Kaarana is manifested, and Kaarya is still to be manifested. Here, Pratyaksha is been given importanceKaarana is primary and Kaarya is secondary. It indicates that Kaarana exists even before KaaryaIt can be inferred, Saankhya believes Kaarana and Kaarya are subsequent stages of one thing. So, by describing single the later is understoodFor the manifestation of Kaarya, always a Nimitta is required. In other words it is dependent on secondary factors. But Kaarana has its independent existenceThe presence of Kaarana does not assure the occurrence of KaaryaThe properties of Kaarya are dependent on Kaarana.Satkaaryavaada is utmost accepted in Ayurveda and extensively applied. The basic utility of Satkaaryavaada is in field of Chikitsa, as this is the aim of text, and this Chikitsa is based on the Kaarya-Kaarana Siddhaanta. Kaarya and Kaarana have a specific relationship, so Kaarya will be according to Kaarana. The Chikitsa is based on this theory, because the drug is selected on the basis that it will perform this function. But where drugs act by the means of Prabhaava, or where concepts like Vikriti vishama Samaveta and Vichitra Pratyaarabdha are mentioned, there Satkaaryavaada becomes answerless.


Satkaaryavaada is a unique principle, given by Saankhya with respect to Kaarya-Kaarana Vaada. It advocates two stages of all matter viz. Avyakta and Vyakta. Satkaaryavaada, along with interrelation of Kaarana and Kaarya, also describes the mode of manifestation from Kaarana to Kaarya. It is as such is not mentioned in original Ayurvedic classics, while the commentators have mentioned it. The Study also signifies the impact of Satkaaryavaada on Chikitsa.


Authors would like to acknowledge Prof. M.S. Baghel and Prof. H.M. Chandola for providing facilities for the research work.


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