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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 61-65

Pancha Indriya Buddhi: Association cortices

Department of Kaya Chikitsa, Parul Institute of Ayurveda, Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication28-Nov-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kshama Gupta
Department of Kaya Chikitsa, Parul Institute of Ayurveda, Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijny.ijoyppp_10_17

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Ayurveda considers Buddhi (intellect/cognition) as a separate entity which works in collaboration with the Manas (mind). Buddhi provides confirmative knowledge after proper analysis. Buddhi is considered as the organ of perception. Pancha indriya buddhis (Chakshu buddhi, Shrotra buddhi, Ghraana buddhi, Rasana buddhi, and Sparshana buddhi) are the basic intelligence or knowledge which are responsible to generate pancha indriya gyana (knowledge related to five sensory organs). In Ayurveda, till date, no studies are available on Pancha indriya buddhis. Pancha indriya buddhi and their clinical significance have been underexplored. “Chakshu buddhi” helps in seeing and perceiving different objects with different shapes, colors, and sizes. Chakshu buddhi's functions resemble with the functions of visual association area of the brain. “Shrotra buddhi” helps to hear and understand the sounds as well as speech and its functions resemble with the functions of auditory association area. “Ghraana buddhi” helps to perceive or identify different types of smells, and its functions are equivalent to the functions of piriform cortex, amygdale, and orbitofrontal regions of the brain. “Rasana buddhi” helps to perceive taste, and its functions are similar to insula/operculum or anterior temporal lobe. To perceive the stimuli of touch and to recognize the objects by touch ‘Sparshana buddhi’ is essential. The functions of Sparshana Buddhi are equivalent to sensory association cortex. Functions of Pancha indriya buddhis resemble with the functions of association cortices of the brain and the pathological states of indriya buddhis denote different types of Agnosia.

Keywords: Agnosia, association cortices, Ayurveda, brain, cognition, Pancha indriya buddhi

How to cite this article:
Gupta K, Mamidi P. Pancha Indriya Buddhi: Association cortices. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2018;6:61-5

How to cite this URL:
Gupta K, Mamidi P. Pancha Indriya Buddhi: Association cortices. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol [serial online] 2018 [cited 2024 Mar 3];6:61-5. Available from: https://www.ijoyppp.org/text.asp?2018/6/2/61/246330

  Introduction Top

Ayurveda considers Buddhi (intellect/cognition) as a separate entity which works in collaboration with the Manas (mind). Buddhi provides confirmative knowledge after proper analysis. Buddhi is considered as the organ of perception.[1] According to “Dalhana,Buddhi” is an entity which gives final conclusions after analyzing pros and cons of the object.[2] It has been mentioned in Ayurveda that the gnanendriyas (sensory organs) comes in contact with their respective indriyarthas (sensory stimuli) in the presence of manas (mind) for gaining the corresponding knowledge after the analysis done by indriya buddhis.[3] According to “Charaka,” the empirical soul (Atma) is endowed with the power of perception. It (Atma) perceives things when it is associated with the mind, intellect, and sense faculties. Here, Atma is considered the “preceptor” or “doer,” and it requires instruments or karana to get the knowledge. These instruments are manas, buddhi, and indriya (buddhindriya and karmendriya). If these instruments of perception are either absent or impeded, then there will be no perception.[4]

Initially, during the process of perception, the desire for knowledge comes in Atma, which is then transferred to manas. Manas further in association with indriya perceives the respective indriyaartha or the object of perception. This perception is purely mental in the beginning (primary information processing). The practical advantages or disadvantages are ascertained thereafter. The buddhi (intellect), which determines the specific properties of the object, impels an individual to speak or act intelligently (complex processing of information/cognition/higher mental functions).[1],[3] Thus, Atma, manas, indriya, and indriyaartha are basic four components required for perception. In “buddhi vibhrama” (functional impairment of intellect), the person will not be able to judge the things properly.[5]

“Indriya pancha panchaka” (five pentads of senses) are the collection of 25 elements (terms) related to the indriyas (sensory organs). They define the structural and functional components of indriyas in brief. “Indriya pancha panchaka” consists of pancha indriya (five sensory faculties), pancha indriya dravya (five sensory material), pancha indriya adhisthana (five sense organs structural), pancha indriya artha (objects of perception/five sensory stimuli), and pancha indriya buddhi (five sensory perceptions). Indriya buddhis are the basic intelligence or knowledge embedded in the indriyas, which enables indriyas to perceive the knowledge of the related object. This indriya buddhi helps an indriya to perceive its related information. Chakshu buddhi, Shrotra buddhi, Ghraana buddhi, Rasana buddhi, and Sparshana buddhi are considered as Pancha indriya buddhis.[6] The present study aims at better understanding as well as clinical significance of Pancha indriya buddhis with the help of modern research and literature.

Pancha indriya buddhis – Association cortices

Indriyas (sense organs) are just like the door from which the sensory stimuli are received. Ayurveda has described two types of faculties – Gyanendriya (sensory faculties) and karmendriya (motor faculties). Gyanendriyas are helpful in cognitive process and karmendriyas in conative/motor process. Out of five gyanendriya, shrotra (auditory sense organ) and chakshu (visual sense organ) are the most important in cognition and learning process. Perception of other sense organs, i.e., ghraana (olfactory), rasanaa (gustatory), and twak (tactile/somatosensory) are stored as anubhoota (memory). Indriyaarthas are the five basic objects of perception, namely, shabda (sound), sparsha (touch), roopa (vision), rasa (taste), and gandha (smell), which are perceived from their respective sense organs. There are some internal stimuli, which can be perceived through manas without the help of any other sensory faculty.[7] Pancha indriya buddhis (chakshu, shrotra, ghraana, rasana, and sparshana buddhis) are helpful in recognizing/identifying the objects (cognition).

Chakshu buddhi

Chakshu indriya buddhi/Chakshu buddhi provides the knowledge or information of rupa (sight, vision, form) and helps to see and understand the objects. Primary visual cortex (area VI) helps us to see the objects and visual association cortex helps us to understand what was seen. The alterative term for visual association cortex is visuopsychic cortex. Visual association cortex provides meaning to the visual impressions. Lesions within area VI leads to blindness, while those in the “visuopsychic” cortex lead to the syndrome of “mind blindness,” later termed as “agnosia,” a condition in which a patient is able to “see” but not to “understand” what is seen. Primary visual area is specialized to receive the visual sensations and visual association area is helpful in elaborating and interpreting these primary visual sensations. Area VI is an essential part of the process that allows conscious experience and hence understanding of vision.[8] The visual association area (area 18 and 19), located in the occipital lobe, receives impulses from primary visual area and also from thalamus. These visual association areas relate present and past visual experiences and are essential for recognizing and evaluating what is seen.[9] The functions of visual association area are equivalent to the description of “Chakshu buddhi.”

Shrotra buddhi

Shrotra indriya buddhi/Shrotra buddhi provides the knowledge or information of shabda (sound/speech) and helps to hear and understand the auditory stimuli. The primary auditory cortex is tonotopic and corresponds to Heschl's gyrus, the first cortical region which receives auditory input. Auditory association cortex receives input from primary auditory cortex and it is implicated in processing complex sounds as an intermediate stage in the hierarchical auditory processing pathway. Tone adaptation occurs mainly in primary auditory cortex, whereas adaptation to complex sounds occurs in auditory association cortex of the brain.[10] The auditory association area (area 22), which is located inferior and posterior to the primary auditory area in the temporal cortex, allows us to recognize a particular sound as speech, music, or noise. Wernicke's (posterior language) area (area 22 and possibly areas 39 and 40), a broad region in the left temporal and parietal lobes, interprets the meaning of speech by recognizing spoken words. This area is active while we translate words into thoughts. The regions in the right hemisphere that correspond to Broca's and Wernicke's areas in the left hemisphere also contribute to verbal communication by adding emotional content.[9] The functions of auditory association cortex are similar to the description of “Shrotra buddhi.”

Ghraana buddhi

Ghraana indriya buddhi/Ghraana buddhi provides the knowledge or information of gandha (odor/smell) and helps to identify the olfactory stimuli. The orbitofrontal cortex (area 11) along the lateral part of the frontal lobe receives sensory impulses from the primary olfactory area. This area helps us to identify odors and to discriminate among different odors. During olfactory processing, the orbitofrontal cortex of the right hemisphere exhibits greater activity than the left.[9] The piriform cortex is functionally heterogeneous and participates in numerous aspects of olfactory learning and memory. The amygdala is also functionally complex, encoding the emotionality of an odor stimulus and helping to establish links between environmental cues and biologically salient smells. The orbitofrontal cortex, as the principal neocortical target of the primary olfactory cortex, performs a wide assortment of higher level operations related to multisensory integration, reward processing, and associative learning.[11] Odor discrimination activated the hippocampus, implicating a possible role in olfactory working memory. Odor identification involved Broca's area and the left inferior frontal lobe, which may suggest a combination of subvocal articulation and semantic associations. Discrimination involved the hippocampus, implicating its role in serial odor comparisons (olfactory working memory).[12] Olfactory functions of piriform cortex, amygdale, orbitofrontal regions, and hippocampus are equivalent to “Ghraana buddhi.”

Rasana buddhi

Rasana indriya buddhi/Rasana buddhi provides the knowledge or information of rasa (taste) and helps to identify the gustatory stimuli. The two taste areas are associated with different functions in the gustatory system. The insula / operculum is the main sub cortical processing area for gustatory input which is associated with taste.[13] Human cortical gustatory representation is related to the areas, parietal opercular region (in the post central gyrus immediately adjacent to the somatosensory representation of the tongue), the insula, or the anterior temporal lobe. There are multiple gustatory areas within the insula/opercular cortical region of the human brain. The ventral insula and parietal opercular cortex represent supplementary as opposed to primary taste regions. Human secondary gustatory area (caudolateral orbitofrontal cortex) is situated in the right hemisphere. This is consistent with other reports in the literature, suggesting a functional specialization for the right hemisphere in both gustation and olfaction.[14] Gustatory function of various areas in the brain such as insula/operculum or anterior temporal lobe or secondary gustatory areas resembles with the functions of “Rasana buddhi.”

Sparshana buddhi

Sparshana indriya buddhi/Sparshana buddhi provides the knowledge or information of sparsha (touch) and helps to feel the touch, recognition of objects by touch, and to identify various somatosensory stimuli. The somatosensory association area (areas 5 and 7) is just posterior to and receives input from the primary somatosensory area, thalamus, and other parts of the brain. This area permits us to determine the exact shape and texture of an object by feeling it, to determine the orientation of one object with respect to another and to sense the relationship of one body part to another. The somatosensory association area is the storage of memories of past somatic sensory experiences, enables us to compare current sensations with previous experiences. The somatosensory association area allows us to recognize objects such as a pencil and a comb simply by touching them.[9] The functions of somatosensory association areas are similar to the functions of “Sparshana buddhi.”

The common integrative area (areas 5, 7, 39, and 40) is bordered by somatosensory, visual, and auditory association areas. It receives impulses from these areas and from the primary gustatory area, the primary olfactory area, the thalamus, and also from parts of the brain stem. This area integrates sensory interpretations from the association areas and impulses from other areas, allowing the formation of thoughts based on different types of sensory inputs. It then transmits signals to other parts of the brain for the appropriate response according to the sensory signals it has interpreted.[9] The prefrontal cortex or frontal association area is situated in the anterior portion of the frontal lobe and is well developed in humans (areas 9, 10, 11, and 12). This area has extensive connections with other areas of the cerebral cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, limbic system, and cerebellum. The prefrontal cortex is concerned with the makeup of a person's personality, intellect, complex learning abilities, recalling information, initiative, judgment, foresight, reasoning, conscience, intuition, mood, planning, and development of abstract ideas.[9] The functions of the common integrative area and prefrontal cortex/frontal association area clearly denote the functions of “Buddhi” as explained in Ayurvedic classics.

Agnosia – Indriya Buddhi Vibhrama?

“Agnosia” is a perceptual disorder in which sensation is preserved but the ability to recognize or to identify a stimulus or know its meaning is lost. Agnosia means “without knowledge.” Patients with agnosia cannot understand or recognize or identify what they see, hear, or feel. Agnosia results from lesions that disconnect and isolate visual, auditory, and somatosensory input from higher level processing. When assessing agnosia, it is important to establish that sensation is preserved; the patient is alert, intelligence is intact (or near intact) with no language or memory disorder. Agnosia can be apperceptive type or associative type. Apperceptive agnosia describes a failure in object recognition primarily due to problems in early stage perceptual processing. Associative agnosia refers to a condition when early stage perceptual processing is intact; the patient can develop a percept of an object but is unable to access memory or knowledge of the object (unable to identify or recognize the object). The object is perceived as an object but it has no meaning.[15] Agnosia refers to an acquired impairment in the ability to recognize the identity or nature of sensory stimuli.[16] Agnosia is classified according to modality and different types of agnosia are present such as, visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory agnosia.

Visual agnosia – Chakshu buddhi vibhrama

Visual agnosia is a deficit in object recognition confined to the visual modality despite intact elementary visual processes and without any problems related to language, memory, or intellectual decline. There are two broad categories; apperceptive and associative visual agnosia. Apperceptive visual agnosia is characterized by an intact visual ability on a basic sensory level, but a defect in early stage visual processing prevents a correct percept of the stimulus being formed. In associative visual agnosia, primary sensory and early visual processing systems are preserved. The patient can perceive objects presented visually but cannot interpret, understand, or assign meaning to the object or face or word. Associative visual agnosia occurs due to bilateral damage to the inferior temporo-occipital junction and subjacent white matter.[15] Visual object agnosia (unable to recognize the meaning of objects), simultanagnosia (unable to apprehend the overall meaning of an object), prosopagnosia (unable to recognize the known faces), color agnosia (disproportional impairment in recognizing, naming or otherwise utilizing color information), and optic aphasia (unable to “name” a visually presented object), etc., are different types of visual agnosia.[16] Visual agnosia can be interpreted as “Chakshu buddhi vibhrama” (where the function of chakshu indriya is normal but the function of chakshu buddhi is affected).

Auditory agnosia – Shrotra buddhi vibhrama

Auditory agnosia is an inability to appreciate the meaning of sound despite normal perception of pure tones. Nonverbal and verbal forms may exist either independently or may coexist.[15] Cortical deafness (unable to recognize or understand verbal and nonverbal auditory stimuli), pure word deafness (unable to comprehend spoken language though the patient is able to read, write and speak in a relatively normal manner), amusia (impairment of perception of music), etc., are different types of auditory agnosia.[16] In auditory agnosia, the patient is able to hear but unable to understand the meaning of auditory stimuli. Similarly in ‘Shrotra buddhi vibhrama’, the functioning of shrotra indriya is normal but shrotra buddhi is dysfunctional.

Tactile agnosia – Sparshana buddhi vibhrama

Selective impairment of object recognition by touch is seen in tactile agnosia despite intact primary and discriminative somesthetic perception. It is a unilateral disorder usually resulting from lesions of the contralateral inferior parietal cortex.[15] A clinically useful distinction can be made between “cortical tactile disorders” and “tactile agnosia.” In general, apperceptive agnosias involve more extensive damage to sensory association cortex while associative agnosias result from lesions of corticocortical pathways or from impairment in those areas where semantic representations of objects are stored.[16] Amorphognosia (impaired recognition of the size and shape of objects), ahylognosia (impaired recognition of the distinctive qualities of objects such as weight, density, texture and thermal properties), and tactile asymbolia (impaired recognition of tactile objects in the absence of amorphognosia or ahylognosia), all different types of tactile agnosia's denote dysfunctional sparshana buddhi/sparshana buddhi vibhrama.”

Olfactory agnosia – Ghraana buddhi vibhrama

The inability to identify common odors in the presence of normal acuity is termed as olfactory agnosia. Olfactory acuity can be defined as the ability to detect an odor. Olfactory identification is the ability to name a common odor when presented with an odorant. The peripheral olfactory nervous system must be functioning for the odorant to be perceived. The literature suggests that olfactory agnosia can occur in patients who had insults to the cortex and are not aphasic or anosmic. The olfactory system is a hierarchical one in which the peripheral sensing function precedes the more central, higher order information processing that is required for the identification of different odors.[17] Olfactory agnosia denotes “Ghraana buddhi vibhrama.”

Gustatory agnosia – Rasana buddhi vibhrama

Gustatory agnosia is a rare condition. It is historically seen in patients with long-standing bilateral temporal lobe dysfunction after surgical resection for control of seizures. Patient with gustatory agnosia can name the item but unable to recognize the edibility of the items.[18] A patient with gustatory agnosia showed bilateral (right > left) atrophy in the medial temporal lobes and complete atrophy of the left insula in magnetic resonance imaging. The anteromedial temporal lobe has an important role in recognizing taste quality.[14] Gustatory agnosia is equivalent or similar to “Rasana buddhi vibhrama.”

Sensory information undergoes extensive associative elaboration and attentional modulation as it becomes incorporated into the texture of cognition.[19] Real world behavior and perception are driven by the integration of information from multiple sensory sources. Convergence and integration of information from different sensory modalities is an essential component of cognition. The integration of information from different sensory systems is a fundamental feature of perception and cognition; different kinds of information from the various sense organs are put together in the brain to produce a unified, coherent representation of the outside world. The integration of such disparate information of the cortical levels was the task of specialized higher order association areas of the neocortex.[20] Parietal, temporal, and occipital regions of the cerebral cortex “integrate” visual, auditory, and contextual sensory information. Damage to different combinations of these brain areas often results in apperceptive and associative agnosias in adult patients.[21]

  Conclusion Top

Pancha indriya buddhis represent association cortices of the brain. Chakshu, shrotra, and sparshana buddhi represents visual, auditory, and somatosensory association areas of the brain, respectively, whereas ghraana buddhi denotes the functions of piriform cortex, amygdale, and orbitofrontral regions of the brain. Rasana buddhi represents the gustatory functions of insula/operculum/anterior temporal area of the brain. The functions of the common integrative area and prefrontal cortex or frontal association area clearly denote the functions of “Buddhi” as explained in Ayurvedic classics. The pathological states of indriya buddhis cause different types of “Agnosia.”

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