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What is Naadi Parikshan (Pulse Reading)?

The art of Naadi Parikshan or pulse reading is one of the ancient branches of knowledge of country INDIA.

Two persons can be said to have truly grasped the pulse of the masses of Maharashtra. One was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the other is Balasaheb Thackery. The very use of this phrase in the socio-political context signifies the respect and reverence that people in general have for this ancient art of pulse reading.

Even today when an ailing person visits a doctor, he or she wants to have his or her pulse checked. If the physician is able to diagnose the patient’s ailment simply by naadi parikshan (pulse reading), then he wins the latter’s faith and respects easily. The ailing person comes away with the conviction that the doctor who has come to know about his or her ailment even without asking a single question must indeed be a competent one.

The Rigveda contains the earliest mention of Naadi or pulse,”lyamasya Dhamyate Naadi (Rigveda 10:135:7).” That which always flows like a river is called Naadi or pulse. Whenever we hear about or visualise pulse reading, our thoughts invariably turn to Ayurveda.

Naadi Parikshan (Pulse Reading)

Ayurveda means the enlightened knowledge of life and good health. Lakhs of years ago, the world was swept by sickness and suffering. The Rishis residing in the Himalayas organised a purposeful meeting during which the health and physical well-being of humanity as whole came to be discussed and debated. This, in turn, led to the enlightened science of Ayurveda being recorded in countless verses in the form of scriptures for the benefit of prosperity.

Those ancient Rishis and Munis carried out studies regarding life and health. It came to light during these studies that the basic elements of ‘Pind’ (the single entity) and ‘Brahmaand’ (the Universe) are one and the same – The five elements of earth, sky, water, air and fire are present in both. These 5 elements presents inside the body are classified according to their functions as : Vata(Vayu), Pitta(the Sun) and Kapha (the Moon). These are also known as the Tridosha or three Doshas. The term Dosha signifies the 5 elements in their functional state in the human body. The good health of the body is governed by these three Doshas (the 5 elements). When Vata,

These are also known as the Tridosha or three Doshas. The term Dosha signifies the 5 elements in their functional state in the human body. The good health of the body is governed by these three Doshas (the 5 elements). When Vata, Pitta and kapha are not in their natural balance and exceed their natural proportions, the body succumbs to various illness.

(Naadi Parikshan) According to Ayurveda

The Charak samhita is 1 of the important and revered books of the science of Ayurveda. This covers the examining of sick persons through touch and the method of questioning. The Charak Samhita deals extensively with the functions of the heart and also the numerous problems afflicting it. During the 13th century, elaborate research was carried out upon the healing techniques described in the Samhita by Saarangdhar, Bhavamika, Yogaratankar, Kanaad, Nandi and other Acharyas.

The well-developed practice of examining a patient through sight, touch and questioning has been elaborately described in the Charak Samhita and has been further diversified into 8 further detailed tests. Naadi Parikshan or Pulse reading is included in this. In the 13th century, the Saarangdhar Samhita clearly mentioned pulse diagnosis as an important part of the treatment of a sick person, devoting 8 Shlokas to this. This Samhita refers to the pulse as ‘ Jeevan Saakshini ‘ or a testimony of life being present in the body.

“Kasyaangushtamoole ya dhamani jeeva saakshini” – or in other words, the pulse should be tested by the thumb in order to ascertain signs of life and health. The Samhita clearly mentions this. The pulse rate has been compared to the speed of a snake, frog, swan and so on. The Doshas can also be diagnosed utilizing these peculiar readings; for eg – ‘snake only’ means Vata Dosha, ‘ crow-frog’ pulse rate may mean Pitta Dosha and ‘ Swan’ speed signifies Kapha Dosha. Many other attributes can be described to different pulse speeds.

The Doshas, as well as other disorders, are related to desire, anger, anxiety, reduction of the digestive fire, semen disorders are reflected in the manner in which 1’s pulse beats. During fever, the pulse rate quickens.

Because of the close relationship between the human pulse and human life, Saarangdhar has termed the pulse as an indicator of life.The pulse can tell us whether life is present in the body or about to depart. That being so, there do exist different schools of thought regarding the subject.

During the 16th century, another well-known expert on Ayurveda Bhavamika wrote his treatise called the Bhavaprakash Granth. This granth recommended the reading of the Naadi Parikshan (pulse Reading) of the right hand for males and left hand for females. The pulse had to be grasped with 3 fingers. If the pulse beat was quick under the 1st finger, it signified Vata Dosha, Pitta Dosha under the 2nd and Kapha Dosha under the 3rd finger.

The (Naadi Parikshan) reading of a pulse of even a healthy person can also reveal any hidden or lurking sickness. The increase of Vaayu in the pulse can be a pointer to the occurrence of gas trouble in the near future. Such a person is required to abstain from brinjals and other vegetables that can lead to an increase in gas and take more of oils, hot water, salt and hing (asafoetida). This may provide relief from gas and also prevent its occurrence in the early stages.

THE PULSE OF A HEALTHY PERSON

Till now we have managed to have a close look at some of the functions of the Naadi or pulse. We have also seen how to diagnose the prevailing disease as well as proceed with its treatment, apart from looking at different kinds of pulses. However, these pertain to the pulse of a person suffering from ailments. Is is also important to study the pulse of persons who are normally healthy. Our forebearers have left behind very important clues regarding the same which should be gone onto.

The Healthy Pulse –

A healthy person’s pulse beat six times before a pause and then starts again, beating six times and then returning to its previous rhythym. This is the pulse of a healthy person. There are pulses which beat 4 times and thrice but they are not the pulse of normally healthy persons.