To understand the concepts of nadi pariksha (pulse diagnosis), we should first understand the concept of srotas sira, dhamani and nadi. We generally relate all these as the channels of the body which are assigned a job of carrying substances within the body. It is well admired fact that Maharishi sushurut managed to trace even minute-minute channels present in the body even when they were very difficult to be traced with naked eyes. He was able to recognize the ever pore in the skin that had its own nerve, blood and lymphatic supply. It was calculated that there were about 700 siras, two hundreds dhamanees, which could be easily enumerated but when the minute siras and dhamanees were counted with there tributaries and branches, there number was estimated to be the same as the number of hair follicles which was distributed throughout the body. Approximately their number was calculated at two lakh ninety thousand five hundred and fifty six (2,90,556). Hence it can be said that the study of anatomical aspect of the body was at very peak in those days. And they were able to reach to the maximum nearest to the anatomical survey of the body even they dint had those modern day facilities.
Srotas vessels which carry nutrition to the body such as the arteries are large at the source and they become minute at their terminal end. The channels and srotas carrying malas (excretory materials) like urine are very small at the source and gradually becomes bigger towards there terminal end. The study of nadi (nerves) however was a specialized technique which was perfected by yogis. They classified the big nerves as two and the smaller branches as seventy two thousand. A yoga text mentions fourteen nadis with there functions which are as follows:
Except these 14 nadis there is also mentioning of five afferent sensory nerves which carry impulse from the periphery to the centre. These are
There is also mention of five efferent or motor nerves, which start from the centre and discharge impulses at the periphery. These are:
Hence it sums up to twenty four big nadis. The yogis by practice can control these twenty four spheres of nervous influence at his will at the same time without disturbing the others sphere. Here the concept to voluntary and involuntary actions of the muscles is set a side as mentioned in modern system. It has been seen that yogis by practice are able to achieve things like sucking of water into the urinary bladder through the penis without the aid of catheter.
It is very important to understand the full implication of nadi pariksha. It is not just to study the venous pulsation in the wrist. Nadi science is the science of the nadi or nerves, which includes the study of life processes that are responsible for living and existence of man. Nadi is said to be jiva sakshi, the evidence of life.
Nadi gets influenced by various affects that influence the physiology of the body, especially the three dosha i.e. Vata, pitta and kapha. The dhamani or the nadi mentioned here simply refers to radial artery. Its gati (motion) does not merely indicate the rate or the rhythm of the pulse, the size and condition of the arterial wall or the volume of blood that flows through the artery or the force with which the blood flows. The gati or the motion of this nadi also indicates the imbalance of the three doshas i.e. vat a, pitta and kapha.
The nadi investigation is chiefly performed to ascertain the imbalance of dosha or doshas. The extent of derangement can also be known by this methodology. The pulse is recognized to be jiva sakshi i.e. the evidence of life. The prognosis of a physician st very critical moments when death is threatening, depends upon his accurate study of pulse and all the capacity of the physician should then be at his command. The knowledge of pulse investigation (nadi vigyanam) embraces in itself a vast science. It is partly based on the physical examination of the artery on the concentration of the mind that the physician can bring to bear at the moment of examination. It is not the counting of the pulse rate, which is normally 72 per minute. It’s just not the mechanical affair. The whole concept of examining the pulse is still faraway the reach of modern medical system. To be expert in nadi pariksha (pulse examination) one should have a good yogic powers like concentration of mind and bringing our mind nearer to the soul to achieve a ideal condition etc. hence to achieve a infinite forces which modern science has yet to explore. Thus a physician or a person, who wants to be a nadi expert, first should enter a state of Samadhi or samyama (stage of enlightenment). It is the fact that a physician can not enter in the body of a patient by the physical means but by spiritual methods he can easily explore the condition of the patient from inside which is only achieved by a state of mind attained by practice and realization of self.