Dravya

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By Swami Harshananda

Dravya literally means ‘substance’.

Synonyms

The word ‘dravya’ has been used widely in several senses, including the technical ones in some systems of philosophy. The general senses are:

  1. Wealth
  2. An object or substance
  3. An auspicious one
  4. An ointment
  5. A intoxicating liquid
  6. Medicine
  7. Bronze

According to Nyāya System

In the Nyāya system of Gautama, ‘dravya’ is one of the seven padārthas or fundamental substances in the universe. This ‘dravya’ is of nine types:

  1. Five bhutas - elements
  2. Kāla - time
  3. Dik - quarters or directions
  4. Ātman - individual Soul
  5. Manas - mind

According to Dvaita Vedānta System

Dvaita Vedānta system comprises dravya of 20 items such as:

  1. Paramātman - God
  2. Lakṣmī - the Divine consort of God
  3. Jīvātman - the individual soul
  4. Prakṛti - Nature
  5. Three guṇas like sattva, tamas and rajas
  6. Buddhi - intellect
  7. Indriya - senses
  8. Avidyā - ignorance

According to Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta System

This system recognizes only six items under dravya. They are:

  1. Prakṛti - nature
  2. Kāla - time
  3. Śuddha or pure sattva
  4. Dharma- bhuta-jñāna - knowledge as an attribute of the jīva
  5. Jīva - individual soul
  6. Īśvara - god

According to Ayurveda

In the Ayurveda (health science) seven dravyas are mentioned which comprise of the physical body. They are enlisted as:

  1. Vāta - wind
  2. Pitta - bile
  3. Śleṣma - phlegm
  4. Tvak - skin
  5. Māmsa - flesh

In Sacrifices

The substances used in homas or sacrifices are also called as ‘dravya’ or ‘homadravya’. They are:

  1. Fuel-sticks of aśvattha (Ficus religiosa)
  2. Sesamum seeds
  3. Pudding of milk
  4. Ghee
  5. Sweetmeats
  6. Coconuts
  7. Jaggery
  8. Honey
  9. Certain fruits


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore