A Beginner’s Guide to the Shukra Dhatu
The word ‘Shukra’ has various meanings in Sanskrit. The word meaning is bright, white, and resplendent. In different contexts, it has different meanings. It means the name of the fire, it can be referred to as the preceptor of Daitya (teacher of demons), it is a white and potent substance, it also means a silvery white substance, a name for an herb or a tree called Ricinus communis, it is the other name for gold, it is the name of a planet in the solar system called Venus, etc. In the present context, this is the seventh dhatu in sequence. It gets nourished by majja dhatu. Shukra dhatu is the tissue element that is responsible for embryogenesis. In contemporary science, it is compared to semen and the sperm of females and vaginal fluid in females.
- Veerya – This means potency.
- Retas – This is the male reproductive fluid semen.
- Beejam – It refers to sperm in males.
- Tejah – Since the tissue is bright-colored fluid, it is called Tejah.
- Ananda Samudbhavam – Semen ejaculates out of the penis when there is a feeling of pleasure.
- Majja Samudbhavam – The previous dhatu Majja is responsible for the formation of Shukra dhatu hence the name Majja samudbhava.
- Majja Rasa – It is the essence of Majja dhatu.
- Kitta varjitam – It is devoid of any waste products or is very pure.
Discussion on Shukra in males and females
As per a few references in Ayurveda, Shukra dhatu in females is compared with the vaginal fluid that is produced during the sexual act that has no role in embryogenesis. A few others opine that Artava (ovum) is Shukra dhatu and is responsible for fertilization. In males, the Shukra dhatu is the semen and sperm responsible for fertilization. Since the Artava is the term given to the ovum, Shukra dhatu can be correlated with the vaginal secretions in females.
Bhautika composition and its Guna (qualities)
Shukra dhatu is predominant in Jala Mahabhuta.
Below are the characteristics of Shuddha Shukra (pure form of Shukra) as per various classics of Ayurveda:
- It has Shukla varna (white in color)
- It resembles ghee, honey, or crystal in appearance.
- It possesses a sweet taste.
- It smells like madhu (honey). Some say it is devoid of any bad odor.
- It is Ghana (thick/dense), snigdha (unctuous), and guru (heavy) in consistency.
Ashta Shukra dosha (eight characteristics of bad shukra)
- Phenila (frothy)
- Tanu (transparent)
- Vivarna (discolored)
- Ruksha (dried, very scanty liquid)
- Pichchila (slimy)
- Poothi (foul smell)
- Affected by the other dhatu
Formation of Shukra dhatu
Shukra dhatu is the last dhatu in the sequence to be formed. This attains the highest nourishment from all the previous six dhatu. The nourishing portion of the majja dhatu forms and nourishes the Shukra dhatu. It is also mentioned that since Majja is the filled portion in the Asthi (bones), during the formation it is secreted out from the bones.
Shukrasara purusha lakshana (Characteristics of an individual who has ideal Shukra)
- People with ideal shukra are attractive, strong, happy, and wealthy.
- They have good progeny.
- They have good and attractive teeth that are white.
- Such individuals are liked by women.
- Strong desire for women, etc.
Seat of Shukra Dhatu
Some authors mention Vrishana (testes) and shepha (penis). Some others also add majja (bone marrow). The shukra dhatu in females is in the sthana (breasts).
Duration taken to form Shukra Dhatu
Different pioneers mention different times to form the shukra dhatu. Sushrutha says it takes one month to form the shukra dhatu and others mention eight days. Vagbhata author quotes twenty-four hours / six days/ one month.
As per Chakrapani, one of the pioneers of Ayurveda, Shukra dhatu is produced at the speed of Agni (fire) that takes the time of eight days. When the production is at a moderate level, it takes place at the speed of Shabda (sound) which is approximately two to three weeks. If the production is at the mildest level, it takes place at the speed of Jala (water)and that takes nearly one month time.
Quantity of Shukra in our body
Shukra dhatu measures about half Anjali in the body.
Byproducts and the waste metabolites
Many authors quote that Shukra dhatu has no upadhatu (byproduct). Sharangadhara, the author says Ojus is its byproduct. Generally, it is also said that it has no mala (a waste product) but a few mention shmashru (beard) as its waste product, and some others have said that vaktra snigdhata (sebum of the face) and yauvana pidaka (acne) as the waste metabolites of Shukra dhatu.
Functions of Shukra Dhatu
- Beejartha – an essential component for embryogenesis or fertilization
- Chyavana – ejaculation of the seminal fluid during the sexual act
- Harsha – keeps happy or in a state of pleasure to have sexual intercourse.
- Dhairya– provides courage.
- Priti – induces affection towards the opposite sex.
- Since this is the last tissue element nourished, it provides good strength to the body carrying all the nutrients from the preceding tissues.
Causes of Shukra dhatu vitiation
The food and the lifestyle that does not nourish the shukra dhatu, suppression of ejaculation, excessive intercourse, sexual acts at inappropriate times, stress, trauma, injury during surgical procedures, etc.
Shukra vriddhi lakshana (increased Shukra dhatu symptoms)
- Increased desire for sex.
- Excess secretion of seminal fluid.
- Increased secretions from the prostate gland.
- Hardening of the semen.
- Low sperm count
- Premature ejaculation and orgasms.
Shukra kshaya lakshana (decreased Shukra dhatu symptoms)3
- The oral cavity remains dry.
- Generalized body ache.
- Difficulty in ejaculation
- Scanty ejaculation of seminal fluid.
- Painful intercourse
- Pain and burning sensation in the testes and penis.
Diseases caused due to vitiation of Shukra dhatu
- No erection of the penis
- Even if there is an erection, the person has difficulty in having sexual intercourse.
- Even if there is progeny, they are short-lived, afflicted with diseases, etc.
Treatment for vitiated Shukra dhatu
A nutritious diet that provides all the macro and micronutrients. Milk and milk products like ghee, butter, rice, barley, and sweet preparations with jaggery. Vajikarana (aphrodisiac)drugs, Rasayana (immunomodulators) drugs, purificatory therapies depending on the dosha involved like enema for vata dosha, purgation in case of pitta dosha, emesis therapy if there is involvement of kapha dosha. Positions during sexual intercourse are to be maintained properly, sexual intercourse at the appropriate time and with a stress-free mind, with desire and affection is always helpful to treat the shukra dhatu.
Shukra dhatu is the seventh and the last dhatu in the sequence to get formed and nourished. This is the essence of Majja dhatu. In males, it is correlated with the semen and sperm while in females it is the vaginal fluid. It has a predominance of Jala Mahabhuta. The ideal qualities of the pure form of Shukra dhatu are resemblance with that of ghee/honey in appearance, smells like honey, sweet taste, and is dense, heavy, and unctuous in consistency. There are eight qualities of bad shukra mentioned in the classics of Ayurveda. Treatment for the diseases caused by vitiated shukra dhatu is focused on Vajikarana and Rasayana drug therapies.