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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 327-333

Analogy – Susruta perennial and elementary methodology in anatomy apprehension


1 Department of Rachana Sharir, National Institute of Ayurveda (Deemed to be University), Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Rachana Sharir, North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy, Shillong, Meghalaya, India

Date of Submission02-Oct-2021
Date of Decision03-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance23-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication17-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Neha Udainiya
Department of Rachana Sharir, National Institute of Ayurveda (Deemed to be University) Amer Road, Jaipur - 302 002, Rajasthan
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/joa.joa_316_21

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  Abstract 


Objective: To justify the use of art of analogy or Upmana in studying and understanding Rachana Sharir by the ancient sages and creating awareness for its incorporation in the present curriculum. Data Source: Published sources such as samhitas, ancient texts, magazines, periodicals, peer-reviewed journals, and the Internet. Review Methods: A narrative style is being adopted by using the abovementioned secondary data sources. Results: Since time immemorial where there was a lack of technological advancements, this technique has been efficiently used in Ayurveda and Rachana Sharir by the sages and Susruta being the pioneer of Rachana Sharir has imbued his treatise with numerous and relevant analogies which not only accomplishes the purpose of grabbing the anatomical structures thoroughly by academicians but also recoups to some extent the need of models, specimens, and dissection procedure for a while. Conclusion: This age-old and time-bound technique of the Susruta analogy should be incorporated in present-day anatomy apprehension by alluding and exemplifying several analogical affairs.

Keywords: Analogy, anatomy, Rachana Sharir, Upmana


How to cite this article:
Udainiya N, Soni G. Analogy – Susruta perennial and elementary methodology in anatomy apprehension. J Ayurveda 2022;16:327-33

How to cite this URL:
Udainiya N, Soni G. Analogy – Susruta perennial and elementary methodology in anatomy apprehension. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 6];16:327-33. Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2022/16/4/327/364049




  Introduction Top


Learning and conveying knowledge is a continuous process since the time eternal. Different modalities are tried to make the subject matter fascinating and clear.[1] Even when the transfer of knowledge was as primitive as just verbal or in the present era of the Internet and several other technological gadgets, one modality of comparing similar with the dissimilar to understand the constitution or structure of subject matter, i.e., analogy, has never slackened off its efficacy.[2] Analogy not only apprehends the structural and similarity but also has been well proven in developing long-term retention.[3] During the phase of the scientific revolution, i.e., in the 17th–18th century, the use of analogy got momentum, due to the implementation of many analogies in various scientific validations.[4]

Anatomy is one of the elementary subjects of the medical curriculum which prepares a scholar to understand the structural organization of the human body so that they get well versed with the position, shape, relation, etc., of a particular region of the body, whom they are going to treat in future via medicine or surgery.[5] Learning anatomy is in two-phased, firstly, the scholar has to know the theory, and then he goes for cadaveric dissection where they get a chance to visualize the structures in reality.[6]


  Father of Human Anatomy, a Historical Milestone Top


Herophilus and Andreas Vesalius, considered, respectively, as Father of Anatomy and Father of Modern Anatomy, have remarkably worked for the development of the subject, especially by their drawings based on vivisection or cadaveric dissection.[7],[8] However, contrary to belief, it was Susruta who has described the structural constitution of the human body based on cadaveric dissection and has enumerated numbers of parts as well as described the structures, relations, shape, and size along with clinical utility at suitable places in his compendium along with many gross/histological illustrations.[9],[10],[11]


  Importance of Analogy in Teaching Methodology Top


An analogy has been very useful in every part of education in clarifying the contents and making it more understandable for everyone whether a brilliant scholar or a layman without wasting much time or resources or indulging in unnecessary long discussion but with caution of proper discharge.[12] Analogies when appropriately used during practical/active learning sessions can earn the boasting results among students for a better and deep understanding of dissimilar structures.[13]


  Analogy and Human Anatomy Top


Visualization of internal structures is the most important prospect of anatomical studies, mostly via cadaveric dissection in medical schools.[14] Anatomy consists of understanding and recalling numerous structures varying from gross to minute level involving a lot of unfamiliar terms and information. Topics concerned with neuroanatomy, embryology, and histology are quite complex for students to imagine. Even, the faculty faces quite challenges for demonstration purposes and justifying sophisticated concepts. In such a tough situation, the analogy becomes quite a useful modality both for a student to understand and for the teacher to demonstrate.[15] Even, the newly admitted student appreciates the essentials of anatomy when based on the analogy which apprehends explanation of the unknown with the knowledge of the known.[16],[17],[18]


  Concept of Analogy in Susruta Top


Various tools and techniques have been used in the compendiums of Ayurveda, to convey the concepts efficiently.[19] Susruta being a surgeon has used dummies/ mannequins, vegetables, fruits, etc for hands-on training for various surgical procedures.[20],[21] The practice of using similar for better understanding dissimilar in respect of shape, size color, etc., is called analogy which in classical literature is so-called Upmana.[22] The principle of analogy has been vividly used in Susruta to apprehend the concepts of embryology, anatomy, physiology, diseases, prognosis, and even in treatment.[23],[24]


  Susruta's Contribution in Anatomical Analogies Top


Susruta being the ancient pioneer infield of anatomy described time-bound anatomical analogies in his treatise to encourage the scholars in that era who were mostly devoid of models and specimens due to several unavoidable constraints of society and also undiscovered preservatives and procedures.[25] Most analogies used are still easily visible in our surroundings though the appearance may be a little different. Anatomical analogies used in Susruta can be further classified on the structural and function types.

  • Based on mode of action (functional) – Susruta while deliberating the concepts and principles of embryology has pertinently used natural phenomena like farming, flowering, etc for the understanding of Sukshma (microscopically visualized) stages as an analogy. Many such functional analogies are used for many extensive topics to make them concise and comprehensible
  • Based on structural/histological – Susruta has explained the external anatomy of many organs by comparing it with the shape/size/color of different natural products such as flowers, trees, fruits, vegetables, or any other iconic structure or arrangement which makes it easily visually imaginable and hence memorable.[26] He has even illustrated the concept of microanatomy which is hard to observe without any visual aid.[27]


As a functional analogy, the development of a fetus via four basic components such as uterus, sperm, ovum, and nutrition is easily understandable by the combination of seeds, land, and water to get grains [Figure 1]. Further, the functioning of a lubricated wheel can be explained with the synovial membrane of joints [Figure 2] and discharge of liquid latex from rubber tree with bleeding through any cut tissues [Figure 3].
Figure 1: Analogy of farming factors with fetal development

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Figure 2: Lubricated wheel with the synovial membrane of synovial joint

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Figure 3: Analogy of oozing of latex with bloodletting on cut in muscular tissue

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As a structural analogy, a simple bud of lotus gives a beautiful demonstration of heart along with aorta and branches [Figure 4]; A log of wood depicts the fascial arrangement of the muscular part [Figure 5]; A simple bottle gourd gives a visualization of the urinary bladder [Figure 6]; a conch shell depicts the arrangement of anal canals [Figure 7], and its opening pattern appears to be as uterus/vaginal orifice [Figure 8].
Figure 4: Analogy of lotus bud with heart along with Aaorta

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Figure 5: Analogy of section of a wood log with TS of mid-arm denoting fascial arrangement

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Figure 6: Analogy of bottle gourd with urinary bladder

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Figure 7: Analogy of coils of a conch shell with anal canal

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Figure 8: Analogy of opening in a conch shell with uterus shape

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The list of analogies and the structure/phenomenon tried to be understood are tabulated along with their explanation [Table 1].
Table 1: Summarizing the different analogies used by Susruta about human anatomy (further categorized under the heads of structural/developmental types)

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Figure 9: Analogy of cream of milk with the formation of skin layers

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Figure 10: Analogy of hardwood with skeleton system both working as a structural framework

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Figure 11: Analogy of pounding apparatus with ball and socket joint

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Figure 12: Analogy of stitching marks with suture joints

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Figure 13: Analogy of crow beak with tempeoro-mandibular joint

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Figure 14: Analogy of oral opening of Rohu fish (Labeo rohita) with formation os of vagina

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Figure 15: Analogy of irrigation facility with the venous drainage

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Figure 16: Analogy of cow's mammary gland with the eyeball

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  Recent Apprehensions of Utility of Analogy in Anatomy Top


A recent human experiment was done by a faculty of medical school using potato, scalp hair, blankets, Tamarindus Indica, Brassica Oleracea as an analogy in proper position and labeling for illustrations of the thalamus, fibers of the brain, pelvic peritoneal folds, pharyngeal arches, cerebellum, etc. The results were highly encouraging as students gave the thumping response to analogies which not only enhanced their understanding of the structures but also helped in recalling the structural details also.[53]

Another study was conducted for better comprehension of embryological concepts with the help of two-dimensional animation made by Microsoft PowerPoint presentation conducted on nearly 150; students of medical college which was a quasi-experimental study also gave a positive response at early stages.[54]


  Limitations of Analogy Top


Analogies to be practiced should be critically evaluated before utilizing them with students/peers because it may also confuse due to misinterpretation rather than solving it that's why students must be shown how they perform, based on either structural virtue or functional. The limitations of analogy should be told to students, and if any misconceptions arise, it should be rectified promptly by the teacher before causing the whole concept to go futile.[55],[56]


  Limitations of Analogies Used by Susruta Top


Keeping in mind the period of the Susruta, many of the analogical illustrations have become outdated or not so common in the present-day scenario. The compendium was written on the observations based on natural belongings of the forest, lakes, rivers, etc., of which most of the area has been cleared or unrecognized; secondly, due to climatic changes or genetic variations, the shape/size/color of said products has been changed.[57] Further, these classical texts have undergone a series of modifications, and translations by different intellectuals have created more confusion than clarity. We can only comprehend and interpret the documented analogies efficiently if we get associated with the sociocultural ambiance of that era along with the basic knowledge of Sanskrit.[58]


  Future Prospects Top


Analogies used in the compendium of Susruta should be evaluated scientifically on modern-day prospects, making them more competent and comprehensible by present-day Ayurveda learners. Additionally also says that we should try to make students understand and learn things by keeping in mind present day examples or analogy with present day things. The help of technology can be taken to recreate the past era virtually so that scholars can relate themselves to the glory of the past and appreciate it.


  Conclusion Top


It means analogy is a technique equal to the result of any concept which comes after doing almost 3 hours of discussion . So it is worth time saving and less effortless and more fruitful. A methodical study of the compendium of Susruta, especially considering the topics related to the Rachana Sharir/anatomical description, owes its development to the appropriate usage of analogy, making it better understood and recallable.

The analogy has continuously been used since ancient times and still is the most trustworthy modality of the learning process, especially in anatomy.[60] Its utility in Rachana Sharir/anatomy is beyond any doubt and should be continued in present-day learning with suitable modifications like usage of more common structures which are easily available or even use of technological gadgets like anatomical atlas software for better visualization of body parts.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.





 
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