Talk:Some Aspects of Life in Caraka

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Contents

Introduction

The great German Poet-philosopher Goethe said that 'If you want to understand an author, you must understand his age.' It agreeable with the context that the meaning and spirit of the greatest medical classics will become more intelligible and vitally interesting against the background of the context of life, things used in that era, ideas, forms of thought, sentiment and behavior that developed and prevailed in their age.

Though Caraka Samhitā is a work on medicine, if one wants to understand the book very well then one should also study the various general aspects of life of that period. It is very important to scrutinize the food, clothing, methods of education, the place of man and women in society, the pleasures people resorted to, sex and marriage, habits and addictions, social pleasures and religious practices pertaining to that age.

Any material or literature on history is based on the works on art, literature and particularly medicine of that particular era. The chronicles of general history provide data for the medical historian, similarly the chronicles of medical history and science highlights the facts and features of the general life and history. It needs the diligent and patient mind of the researcher to comprehensively investigate these ancient texts of the medicine with a historical perspective to paint a complete picture of the social, economic and religious aspects of life in Caraka's age.

The brief idea of the society portrayed here is picked up from the salient features obtained from the incidental references in Caraka. It draws a probable picture of the conditions of life in that era warranted by such references. Whether the culminations led from these instances are completely accurate and reliable is a point which stands dubious because to be very precise about the things that existed millions of years ago is quite arduous. Yet we can certainly can get an approximate clear idea of the conducts of life and society during that time. This advocates a more intense investigation with the objective which is bound to bear fruits and yield a history rich material for depicting the social, economic, religious and cultural aspects of life in the country of more than two thousand years ago.

Chapter I

Stages of Life

The man's journey of life consists of so many interesting stages of activity that a picture of this journey as it was in ancient times will give us a clear and connected view of life the ancients actually lived, the manners and customs and the ideas and ideals which motivated people's activities. The life span is a continuously progressive process of development but for practical purposes, it can be divided into fairly well-marked divisions. Caraka describes four broad divisions of life:

  1. Childhood - This is the first stage of life. It lasts up to the span of 16 years.
  2. Adolescent - Childhood is followed by the adolescent stage which lasts till the age of 30 years.
  3. Middle age - This age starts from the age of 30 years and lasts till the age of 60.
  4. Senescence - This is the last stage of life which starts from the age of 60 till his death.

The Ceremonials Observed at Birth

After the birth of the child, it passes through the routine procedure of cleansing and the severing of the umbilical cord. The very first socio-religious ceremony that a child passes through is Jāṭakarma ceremony. For the first ten or twelve days special precautionary and protective measures are taken for the peace and benedictory rites for the child as well as the mother.

On the tenth day after the birth of the child the naming ceremony is performed. The mother and the new born child are bathed in the water treated with fragrant drugs. Then they put on thin clean garments, light and variegated ornaments and receive the blessings of Brahmins. After this the child is given two names by the father, one denoting the constellation under which it was born and the other name which is of the intended meaning. The name was not selected randomly but it had to conform to several prescribed rules. Name of the child which conformed the constellation during birth was to cast the horoscope.

After this ceremony a thorough examination done on each individual part of the child's body to determine its life-span. This was based on the physiological and anthropological measurements. Hair, skin, head, forehead, joints, ears, eye-brows, eyes, nose, month, tongue, palate, voice, lips, jaws, neck, chest, collar, spine, breast, thighs, arms, fingers, navel, buttocks, wrist, ankles etc. were examined to measure the life span of a new born child. The mother's milk was considered to be the best for a child.

Childhood Ceremonies

In addition to the utmost cleanliness prescribed for the child's surroundings, extra care for perfect and healthy development of mind and body was taken. Special branch of medicine was evolved to treat and take care of the child in health and disease. It was one of the branches of octopartite Ayurveda. Special medications were prescribed to increase the resistance power and vitality of the child. The child was not to be frightened by the elders in the name of imaginary goblins or ghosts. The child was thus reared through childhood to youth under ideal physical and psychological conditions. In the sixth or the seventh month after the child's birth, the child had to undergo the ceremony of ear-boring, the ceremony of Karṇavedha. This was an essential religious ceremony because both the male as well as the female child had to undergo this ceremony as per given in Śuśruta.

In the sixth or the seventh month of the child's age, in the bright fortnight and on an auspicious day having proper Kāraṇa, Muhurta and constellation this ceremony was performed. After having performed the auspicious ceremonies of Mangala and benedictory rites, the child should be seated on the lap of the father. The wet-nurse or other attendant, would pacify and cheer the child by holding the toys and other playing things up to its view. The physician would bore the ear in the center. He must use a needle for a small hole and a probe for a larger one. The boy child must be bored in the right ear first while the girl child should be bored in the left ear first.[1]

Significance of Talisman for Child

The child was to put on jewels or herbs on his body as a protective and prophylactic measure. The prevalence of the Atharva concepts and manners in the society of the period is clearly indicated by this practice of putting on talismans. The articles worn by the child as talismans were gems, tips of the right horn of a living rhinoceros, deer, gayal and bull along with the herbs like the Aindri, Jīvaka and Bsabhaka. These talismans are recommended in few articles of the the Brahmana which are specialized in the Atharvaveda.

Tradition of Wet-Nurse

The custom of having a wet-nurse was prevalent in the aristocratic class. Great care was taken in selecting a wet-nurse. Minute and thorough examination was carried out not only with regards to the age, caste, color, family, race, character, etc. of the woman. The woman who was hired for being a wet nurse was appointed on the basis of the size and shape of the breasts and the milk from her nipples. The detailed care and attention they paid to the selection of the wet-nurse indicates the importance they laid on the influence of the qualities of the future man.

Residential nurseries

In princely and aristocratic families special residential nursery quartets were constructed. They were formed to accommodate old and experienced people and medical personnel residing with the child in order to take care of its health and upbringing. The nursery was provided with toys. Scrupulous cleanliness was observed regarding the bed, clothes etc. Fumigation was one of the means to ensure health and cleanliness and ventilation arrangements were given prime importance.

Chapter II

Principle of Ayurveda

The purpose of the Ayurveda was primarily to teach how to lead a good, long and happy life. Greater importance was given to the healthy condition of all the constituents of man viz, body, senses, mind and spirit. It aids in leading a good, benevolent and happy life. Ayurveda gives utmost importance to the maintenance of positive health. Curative measures required to prevent or cure a diseased condition which were needed occasionally to alleviate any kind of temporary setbacks to the health is of secondary importance to it.[2]

Although general rules were prescribed for the maintenance of normal health and treatment of the diseased condition, huge importance was laid on the individual and his peculiar constitution. The term 'Swāstha' is significant of this recognition of individuality which means well-being of one's own peculiar constitution.

The general rules laid down were to be applied with the necessary modifications and alterations according to the individual constitution which was acquired from his birth or previous life. It implies the moment from which the conception took place in the mother's womb. The regimen of conduct and food for the maintenance of health should be devised in accordance with his constitution.

Life In General

To understand the rationale of each endeavor and activity of man's life in the ancient times, one should view it with all the facets of the concept of life along with the purpose and province of Ayurveda or science of life evolved by Aryans. Āyuṣ[3] was not merely considered to be the mass of material body or the body with a different entity commanding it, the mind but it was accounted as the specific conglomeration of body, senses, mind and spirit. Thus one fully enjoyed the life fulfilling the four-fold purpose thereof. The peculiarly oriental luxurious life lived was unrivaled elsewhere and yet the mode of living made the people around happy. The universal spirit of kindness always remained dominant in all the activities. It is believed that a person undergoes three springs in life. Firstly own bodily existence, secondly wealth and thirdly the existence of the life hereafter. But all these motivating factors were kept in equal balance. One knew how to live happily and believed in making others happy.

The Karma theory is the spiritual or moral law equivalent to the physical law of actions. As per this theory every action done by a human being has equal and opposite effect. Karma is the action done and when anything is done, the reaction is bound to follow. One was always conscious for obeying these laws which conceives the working of this natural theory of karma. The essence of the concept of Ayurveda for the man is given in Sutrasthāna.[4]

Daily Life Routine

No definite time of rising in the morning is mentioned in Caraka, but the general trend as found in other texts is to get up early in the morning. After performing the daily morning ablutions the person must strengthen the tone of his various senses, organs of sight by daily use of collyrium, organ of smell by a course of nasal drops, organ of taste by oil-gargles, organ of hearing by oil-drops in the ear and skin by daily oily message of skin of head, body and feet. By strengthening the skin the resistance power to external injury increases and stabilizes the power of the whole body especially its musculature.

Daily routine procedures modifies in every season. There is a difference in diet, dress and behavior according to the variations in season. Twice or thrice in a year one undergoes the cleansing process of the internal system by cleansing all the internal passages possible of approach. Then one takes a regular course of medications of Rasāyaṇa and Vajlkaraṇa. These medications aids in the rehabilitation or prevention of aging of the body, senses, organs, mind and vital strength which helps to live for the longest possible span of life. This immunizes the body against the adverse environmental circumstances.

Teeth-cleansing

  1. Tongue-scraping
  2. Mouth flavoring
  3. Friction-cleansing
  4. Bath or the general washing
  5. Cleansing of feet etc., after all excretory processes.

All the above mentioned process of the cleaning the teeth are more or less the specialized procedures evolved particularly in the country with the view of its climate and other needs. Cleanliness of the body, externally as well as internally, and also of the mind was regarded as the complete process of personal hygiene in those days. A person was enjoined to put on clean apparel, to use fragrant articles and garlands and to decorate himself with jewels and ornaments. He put on shoes, carried an umbrella and a stick; he put on a light turban and remained ever vigilant in the care of his body.

Routine Personal Hygiene

A significant importance is given to the diet which ought to be taken in the proper measures both in quantity and quality. One must eat in measures only. To understand the problem of diet and nutrition, as described in Ayurveda, one must be acquainted with the peculiar concept of Ayurveda of grouping food and drug in the category. The only difference between the food and drug being that the former has more of mass while the latter has more potency. Food and its constituents are described and considered equivalent to the drug along with its constituents.

The vigor and vitality of the man undergoes variations in the different seasons. In the beginning and the end of the period of absorption and liberation respectively the body vitality is at its lowest. In between these periods, it is moderate and in the end of the former and beginning of the latter, the body vitality is at its peak.

Seasonal Personal Hygiene

The six well-defined seasons with their climatic variations are peculiar to the country and this peculiarity has been given full cognizance in the Ayurveda. This classification is an interesting study for the student of the physical geography because the description gives many suggestive data regarding the directions of wind, rains etc. It also highlights on how the seasonal variations are brought about by these factors.

In the cold season, the gastric fire gets stronger and the climate is cold, so one should have one's food, clothing, residence, sex-relations etc in accordance with it. In the summer all these are to be changed in order to suit the increased atmospheric temperature. Rainy season has its own peculiarities. Thus man should practice varied measures of personal hygiene in different seasons. There are special instructions laid down for the adjustment from one season to the receding season. This withdrawal from one habituation to the other was done in a special way which does not disturbs the working of the body. Physical exercise is advised to be practiced by every man according to his constitution and strength. A special system of psycho-somatic exercise was evolved and practiced by the yogis to develop the controlling power on the involuntary musculature of the body in addition to the stabilizing power and tone of the voluntary musculature.

The descriptions given in different text-books regarding the flora and fauna and natural scenery observed in each season provide the research scholar with the definite clues regarding the region referred to. To the medical student as well as the common man, these variations had great importance as they led to the variations in the body functions and vitality. It also affects the quality and potency of the articles of food and medicine resorted to.

There were special directions laid down for the adjustments and habituation from observance of one season to another. The ancients knew and valued the science of developing internal homeostasis of the body and hence they increased the resistance power of the body by developing immunity against the incursion of disease or the extremes of different climes. This indicates that they traveled to many different places of varying climes and seasons and were conversant with the periodic incidence of various diseases.

Significance of Purifying Body Seasonally

But platitudes and practice never completely coincide. In spite of all the vigilance observed in the execution of the rules of personal, daily and seasonal regimen, man was liable to commit errors, negligence and indifference. This led to the disturbance in the internal homeostasis. This disturbance of homeostasis was supposed to be brought to the normal state at least thrice a year. This is one of the greatest contributions of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda has definite methods and procedures laid down for internal cleansing of the whole body through all its excretory channels. All the toxic or harmful substances accumulated in the body got rid once in every four months. The Ayurveda personnel does not stop just at the cleansing but also knows that the delicate machinery of the body suffers wear and tear. Hence the functional capacity of the internal organs get deteriorated. With this point in view, there have been formulated marvelous procedures of revitalization for regaining the perfect homeostasis and rejuvenating the body. In increasing its powers of resistance to the disease and by retarding the process of aging, the five verses in the seventh chapter of Sutrasthāna give a vivid picture of this cleansing and revitalizing procedure.

Long life, sharp memory and intelligence, freedom from diseases, youth, excellence of luster, complexion and voice, optimum strength of the body and sense, glow of the skin, utterance that always gets fulfilled and reverence of the people are attained by the use of vitalizers. These vitalizers are so called because they help to replenish the vital fluids of the body.

Additional Measures for Personal Hygiene

There is an interesting classification of psychic and somatic urges of the body experienced by the man in his daily life. Prohibitive injunctions were laid down to ensure non-suppression of the somatic or natural urges viz, urges for micturition, voiding feces, seminal ejaculation, flatus vomiting, sneezing, eructation, yawning, hunger, thirst, tears, sleep and deep breath. Equal stress was laid on the suppression of psychic urges which were injurious to his mental and spiritual well-being.

These psychic urges required to be suppressed were grief, greed, fear, anger, vanity, imprudence, jealousy, excessive attachment, malice and any activity of mind, speech or body which would hurt another creature, specially falsehood, theft, adultery and violence. Another important fact in Ayurveda is that unless the body is kept scrupulously clean and free from toxic or morbid materials, the procedures for revitalizing and strengthening will not be efficacious just like the dirty cloth does not take away the base color of the fabric. Thus cleanliness was given supreme importance.

Violation of Rules of Health

There were three classes of activity which were regarded as violations of rules of health. They were called or volitional transgressions. Out of them, over-use, under-use or misuse of the mind, directly or indirectly, led to vitiation of mental or spiritual health. This all-comprehensive concept led to the evolution of ethical, social and humanitarian codes of Conduct. Caraka emphasizes the supreme importance of psychic health, appended Sadvitta or the right life to Swāsthavṛtta or personal hygiene. This inculcated discipline of mind and senses and regulation of the moral life which accords with the happiness and betterment of not only the individual merely but of the society as a whole.

Personal hygiene as enjoined in Ayurveda is thus physical, social and universal in its conception and application and comprehends a physical, mental and ethical frame-work of life. It is the way of life that Ayurveda expounds embodying philosophy, ethics and morality and also individual and universal health. The whole 8th chapter of Sutrasthāna is devoted to details of how a man should live in the society. It gives a clear picture of the rules and modes of social behavior.

References of Purification Procedures

For the detailed descriptions of these procedures, the person should refer to Sutra XIII for the oleation therapy, Sutra XIV for sudation therapy and Sutra XV and XVI for purification therapy. There are strong as well as mild precautionary measuresfor different classes of people. The courses of medication in that group of drugs which were termed Rasāyaṇa were prescribed for a particular period and strict regimen was to be observed with regards to the diet and behavior during this period. Emblic myrobalans that were picked up directly from the tree were highly valued. There is an empirical concept of vitalizing element vitamins of modern science in the selection of fresh emblic myrobalans and description of the action of this special course of Rasāyaṇa.

General Customs of That Period

We shall narrate in brief some of the customs prevailing during that period. The general rules for health are more or less same with the ones which are observed today. Gods, cows, Brahmins, preceptors, elders, adepts, teachers, guilds and king were held in great respect. The sacrificial fire was held very sacred. Meticulous care in the observance of the cleanliness was enjoined during the performance of the ceremonies. Special incantations in honor of fire, wind, water, Viṣṇu and Indra were to be sung. Man was expected to be dedicated to the designated sacrifices. Offerings to the manes were given. A dead body was treated with a great respect.

One should show the respect and reverence towards the superior acquaintances in the public places as well as the squares of the town. Tutelary tree, temple, totem tree, crematorium and the scaffold should be held in esteem. Hospitality to the guests was one of the prime duties anticipated by a house-holder. Company of the persons who were irreligious, disloyal to the king, arrogant, depraved, who practiced feticide and who were mean and wicked were prohibited. Drinking, gambling and prostitution were also considered as vices and thereby prohibited.

Decorating the body with herbs or jewels as a protective measure was widely practiced. Man's daily cleansing consisted of bathing twice a day and clipping or trimming of hair thrice a fortnight. Routine dress regulations, general behavior with regards to the speech, social manners, thought and nature, social code of conduct regarding dinner, manners, sex and hygiene are detailed properly. Even the number of holidays and days of work are minutely described. Other than the observances which would have been followed at that time, apart from the ceremonies followed is not mentioned here. Atreya opined that there are various positive and good ceremonies which should be welcomed and continued.

Goals of Life

Life was considered to have a special purpose of achieving virtue, wealth, enjoyment and salvation. It was also considered to be the step to achieve creative evolution. The universal, progressive and catholic spirit of Caraka is manifested towards the end of Caraka Samhitā.[5] The springs of activity or the pursuits of life derived their origin from the three goals which a man aspired to achieve. These three goals of every person's life is:

  1. Pursuit of life
  2. Quest of wealth
  3. Pursual of the next world

Pursuit of Life

Among the above mentioned quests, the pursuit of life is given the utmost priority. This required main attention constantly towards the preservation of positive health and the immediate correction whenever there is the slightest disturbance of the bodily health. With so many noble and goal oriented purposes, it was essential to maintain life not only in a disease-free condition, but in a perfect positive health of body, mind and spirit so that the desired success in the fourfold purpose of life could be fully attained.

Quest of Wealth

Second importance was given to wealth. A life devoid of wealth was considered a wretched life and so every man was asked to do some work and earn his livelihood and if possible opulence. The rules of selection of the work or profession tell us of the social concept of good and bad profession. Agriculture was considered the best of all the professions, next came the rearing of cattle, next to it came trade and the last was the service. Man selected any of these professions which were approved by the righteous practice. Ancient society seems to have been rather strict with regards to the selection of one's profession. One should have recourse to such means of livelihood which is in accordance with the rules of religion. One should also be devoted to the peace. By doing this and following the rules and regulations of the religion, one attains happiness.

Pursual of The Next World

The third and the last pursuit was for the attainment of the other world. There existed many diverse schools of philosophy for the same. It included some philosophies which were exclusively materialistic, others were spiritualist and some that believed either in nature or natural occurrence. There was other philosophy also which believed in a creator, parental creation and many such other concepts. The development of so many diverse concepts, each supported by plausible reasoning, is significant of the high intellectual level of that time. It yielded a permanent benefit to the world because it evolved the first postulates of scientific method.

Caraka reverts to the queries of other world or the survival of the spirit which evolves the principles of scientific investigation. He even describes each method of knowledge giving them it's proper value and place. The concept of the other world is based on the concept of continuity of the soul and influences of action in past lives on future periods of life. This view of life which was taken at its face value would eradicate the necessity of any human effort or endeavor to counteract what is predestined as a result of previous actions. Caraka puts forward another theory where past deeds are classified into three categories of mild, moderate and strong or severe. Manly endeavor can counteract the mild type of karma i.e past deeds and can get over them safely and thus justifies the necessity of therapeutic endeavors and activities of Ayurveda. Along with this Caraka also admits the man's ability to counteract the stronger effect of past actions which he has to inevitably suffer in his present life.

Chapter III

Clothing Etiquette

The most obvious feature of any stage of social advancement is highlighted by the dress and clothing of that time. The time delineated during the Caraka Samhita exhibits variety of clothing for both the purposes, therapeusis and general habiliment. Both in the Caraka and Śuśruta Samhitās the fabrics used for making the dresses and bandaging of wounds includes animal skins, silk, linen as well as vegetable fibers, bark cloth, woollen cloth etc.

Classification of Clothing

All cloth was classified into two categories as per the atmospheric conditions. They are:

  1. Summer Clothing - Cotton and linen were the preferred clothing fabrics during this time as they are of cool potency.
  2. Winter Clothing - Silk and wool were the preferred clothing fabrics during this time as they are of hot potency.

List of Fabrics

This is the account of the fabrics used in clothing during that time:

  1. Linen
  2. Cotton cloth
  3. Woolen cloth
  4. Bark fabric
  5. Silk cloth
  6. Plant-wool
  7. China silk
  8. Skin
  9. Inner bark or pith
  10. Silk cotton
  11. Rugs
  12. Jute
  13. Other fibers

Other Protocols

Every clothing was further classified as light and heavy. In that accordance they were utilized suitably as per the therapeutic, climatic as well as circumstantial conditions. We also find that the garments were colored in accordance with the prescriptions of the religion and social convention.

A general practitioner of the medicine was always required to wear clean and white raiment while the students who pursued the study were required to wear a brown-colored garment. With regards to the mode of dressing, it is evident that there was generally a two-piece suit, one lower cloth and one upper cloth. A man may not wear the upper garment in the course of his daily avocations, yet when he is in society or approaches his preceptor for study or even when he performs any religious and sacrificial ceremonies, he must wear the upper garment. The physician was required to carry a stick and wear shoes in addition to the sartorial equipment. People wore Kuthaka to protect themselves from cold weather. It is a woolen blanket of the variegated colors. The following clothing were regarded to be prevalent on a general basis during those times:

  1. Underwear or the genital strip
  2. The waist cloth or the nether garment
  3. The upper garment
  4. A thick cloth folded and worn on the shoulder specially by mendicants
  5. Turban or head-covering

Color Preferences

With regards the preference in colors, pure white was the color of general dress of all the classes. The yellow or the brown colors were prescribed on special and ceremonial occasions and also to the persons under religious vows such as the Brahmacari student and the Sanyāsi.[6] The red color is conspicuous by its absence in daily life. It was regarded as inauspicious. Its appearance in life or in dreams was regarded as an ill omen. There was seasonal variation in the dress. Thin cotton and silk fabric being worn in the hot months while thick cloth of wool, skin or other warm material was worn in the cold months.

Tailoring

The arts of weaving and dyeing were highly developed though there is no mention of tailored clothing. There is also the mention of sewing torn cloth. Tailoring as an art had not yet been invented because there is no mention anywhere in these Samhitās.

Cleanliness of Clothes

Neatness in dress and person was greatly valued. One is warned not to use the garments used by another person. Besides, after the bath one should not put on the discarded garments again nor wipe the head or body with the cloth which was tied while bathing. Thus it is evident that a high degree of sanitary sense was prevalent then in regards to the use of clothing, combined with an aesthetic appreciation of sartorial form and color.

Utilization of Animal Skins

The use of skins of animals to sit upon was very common in those times. Even the scriptural texts prescribe the deer skin for the Brahmin and other animal skins for people with lesser gradation like the Kṣatriya and Vaiṣya. But on special occasions such as celebrating the birth of a son, Caraka prescribes special skins for seating. He prescribes the white bull-skin for the Brahmin, skin of a tiger or other ferocious animal for the Kṣatriya and skin of a spotted deer or sheep for the Vaiṣya.

Chapter IV

Usage of Wine

There is an extensive and eulogistic reference to the potency of wine and this comprehensively detailed information about the wine cannot be so exhaustive if the usage of wine was done among a rare class of people very rarely. It is used on the regular basis by almost every class of people on the daily basis in the times depicted. Hence it is denoted to be the common recourse of pleasure resorted by everyone within their possible means. The great amount of detail in regards to the method of indulging in wine and the close observation of its effects at the various stages of intoxication and the social and therapeutic uses to which wine can be put, all these detailing bear an unmistakable testimony to the common prevalence of the use of wine.

Benefits of Wine

The section on the treatment of intoxication or alcoholism in the Caraka Samhitā starts with an eloquent eulogy of the potency of wine. It primarily describes the benefits it can bestow if taken in due mode. It is endowed to the gods with prosperity in the form of 'Ambrosia', the manes in the shape of 'Swadhā' and the twice-born in the form of 'Soma'. It can confer splendor, might and wisdom of the Aswin twins, that which is the power of Indra. The wine prepared in the Sautrāmaṇi sacrifice is the the destroyer of sorrow, unhappiness, fear and distress. It is so powerful that it can bless love, joy, speech, nourishment and beatitude. It is praised as the joyful wine by the Gods, Gandharvas, Yakśas, Rakśasas and mortals. It should be taken in the enjoined manner.[7]

Wine is similar to food in it's beneficiary effect on body. It is the root cause of disease if taken in improper manner and is like ambrosia if taken in proper manner. Food, which is the source of energy for the living creatures, if taken in improper manner destroys life; and even poison, which by nature is destructive of life, if taken in proper manner, acts as an elixir. Wine taken in proper manner soon gives exhilaration, courage, delight, strength, health, great manliness and joyous intoxication.[8]

From the point of view of medicine, the proper and measured use of wine has been greatly valued. The benefits accruing from such a use have been laid down in very emphatic manner after first condemning its consumption in improper measure and describing the ill effects that flow from such abuse. This is one of the most striking passages in the book and illustrates the liberal and scientific spirit of the treatise.

The therapeutic uses of wine were many and varied. Wine was also used as an anesthetic. It was used in parturition and after-delivery. Another but very reprehensible usage of wine was as a poison to be administered to one's foes. In this, women known as Viṣa-kanyās, those who are immuned to poison by long usage, were used as companions in whose company the victim might be beguiled to partake the wine with a sense of security.

Prescript for Drinking Wine

Subsequently the chapter describes the manner in which a person should address himself to the task of quaffing the precious liquid. Having attended to the internal and external needs of the body and having bathed and applied himself with fragrant sandal, a person must wear clean clothing along with ornaments and fragrances suitable to the season. Then decking oneself with garlands of variegated flowers, jewels and ornaments, one should worship the Gods and Brāhmanās and touch the most auspicious articles. One should drink only after praying to the gods and having received their grace. [9]

Seating oneself comfortably in a sitting or lounging position on a well made bed with pillows, in a spot scattered with flowers that are best suited to each season and fumigated with fragrant smoke he should drink wine. Drinking of wine should be always done in vessels of gold or silver or vessels set with precious stones or the vessels which are clean and well shaped. A person can also drink while being shampooed by clean, loving, beautiful, young and well trained women dressed in fine clothes, jewels and flowers suitable to the season.

Food Along with Wine

Along with drinking, one should eat green fruits and salted fragrant flesh and other sauces agreeable to the wine and in accordance with the season. One was allowed to eat fried flesh of many kinds of land, water and air creatures. One can also consume any kind of puddings made by expert cooks.

Pharmacological Sources of Wine

The pharmacological sources of wine are described in the very beginning of the treatise. There are more than eighty varieties of wines and brews described which were prevalent during those times. The brews were made from edible grains such as wheat, barley, rice, the roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, bark of plants like sugar, gur etc.[10]

Protocols for Drinking Wine

Wine is classified into the varieties that are either alleviative or exhilarating as per the three pathogenic factors of vāta, pitta and kapha on each individual. Whether a person is healthy or diseased, wine should be taken as per the proper mode suitable to his constitutional and pathological conditions respectively. The habitual usage of wine by both men and women is easily discernible in view of the circumstances in which wine is contraindicated. Women when they are pregnant are prohibited from taking wine and intoxicants. Yet in spite of the common prevalence of the consumption of wine, as it has been in all times, the ideal was to abstain from its use altogether. Caraka declares that he who abstains from drink, lives a malady free life both of the body and mind.[11]

The Brahmacāri who lived a life of celibacy and discipline in his preceptor's home was not allowed to drink wine. Even the recluse who renounced the world and strove for liberation was prohibited. Men who out of an innate purity and strength of mind lived a life of discipline and eschewed wine and meat and resorted to wholesome diet and cleanly habits, were regarded as immune from disease, whether endogenous or exogenous specially from insanity.[12] The highest state of liberation can be achieved in the most tranquil state of mind. Wine causes great agitation to the tranquility of mind, like the strong wind that shakes the trees on a bank. Ignorant men who are addicted to intoxication and overcome by passion and ignorance, consider the intoxicated state, which is a greatly morbid and diseased condition, to be a state of happiness. These men, enslaved by alcoholism, are deprived of wisdom and sāttvic qualities.

Wine is also the cause of great delusion, fear, grief, anger and death on the mental state. On the other hand it brings insanity, toxicosis, fainting, epilepsy and convulsions on the physical state. When a man is deprived of his memory, then every thing that follows upon it is a necessarily evil. Thus those who know the evils of drink condemn the habit of drink strongly. There are many undoubted evil effects described about the wine if it is unwholesome or taken in excess disregarding the prescribed regulations.

Stages of Intoxication

The effects of wine and the intoxication resulting therefrom have been divided into three stages:

  1. The first stage - It is the state of general exhilaration, when the senses are stimulated and all the mental perceptions are heightened. It leads to a pleasurable termination.
  2. The second stage - It is the state of delusion when the hold on mental co-ordination is loosened and man becomes victim to folly and crime.
  3. The third stage - It is the state of utter stupefaction when man becomes unconscious and falls down prostrate like a broken beam of wood. In this man, though alive, is one like dead.

Caraka argues that in the third stage the drunkard is frustrated by the basic habit of drinking. The root of his frustration is the pleasure in which quest the man resorted to wine and the same pleasure is not achieved by him due to the last stage. In this stage there is no awareness of any thing either inside or outside. Such unwholesome addiction is a sin which leads to physical and mental deterioration and disease.[13]

Inference

Thus we may safely conclude that though the ideal of abstention from drink was upheld with great devotion, the consumption of wine was a popular custom in the times described in the Caraka Samhitā. People were luscious towards love of life and the pleasures it held and hence each individual strove to the maximum to live a long and rich life heedful of the evils that excess in anything brought regress upon his health and spiritual well-being. Consequently, moderation and not total abstention was the motto of life.

Chapter V

Significant Practice of Smoking

Smoking seems to have been a common daily procedure in the country in olden times as is given in details in Caraka Samhita. As per the right code of conduct, it is mentioned as an essential item. Smoking was accounted to be curative, stimulant, luxurious, lightening, agreeable and enjoyable. No tobacco was used in smoking on the contrary a recipe of articles mainly of fragrant group was used. According to the constitutional organization of the body i. e vāta or kapha, some articles were added to the recipe for counteracting the effects of the disturbance of the respective constitution.

As smoking was the procedure dependent on fire or heat, it is not accounted to be case of pitta constitution because then it would enhances pitta tendency. It seems that smoking was done by women also because Caraka mentions that pregnant women were inhibited from smoking. It implies that women in that time used to smoke and only pregnant women were not allowed.

Usage of Smoking

Its Uses Were:

  1. Daily habit for recreation and relaxation.
  2. To get rid of slight disturbance of vāta or kapha. Unctuous smoke for vāta and errhines and dry smoke for kapha.
  3. Remedial as a treatment of respiratory troubles to soothe coughing and help the expectoration from the respiratory passage.

Outlook of Cigar

It is very interesting to find that the shape and size of the cigar described is just similar to the present day cigar. It should then be plastered over a piece of reed and molded into a cigar resembling the shape of a barley gram. It used to have thickness of the thumb and a length of eight fingers breadth. It was not smoked directly but through a pipe. The pipe material was either gold or silver or any other metal according to the financial or social status of the person smoking. There were unique bulges in the pipe i.e. halts for the smoke to check the speed and filter the smoke.

Time Regulations for Smoking

Eight specified times are laid down for habitual smoking because during these periods, the rise of vāta and kapha is observed. A self-controlled man should resort to smoking after these below mentioned daily activities:

  1. After taking the bath
  2. After taking the meal
  3. After tongue scraping
  4. After sneezing
  5. Tooth and nasal cleansing
  6. Use of eye salve
  7. End of sleep

Prescribed Method for Smoking

The number of smoking differs according to the purpose for which it is used. Even the number of puffs to be taken are mentioned. A wise man should practice habitual smoking twice a day. The unctuous smoke should be smoked once a day and the errhine smoke thrice or four times a day. Smoking should be done thrice, in three puffs each time. Moreover the smoke was enjoyed luxuriously is indicated by the description given through the signs and symptoms described for successful smoking.

Concurrence

Besides this, the actions and benefits of smoking as well as the indications and contra-indications of smoking are given in details. The complications arising from untimely or excessive smoking along with it's treatment, is also mentioned copiously. The ancient writers had paid full attention to the method of smoking through the mouth or the nose. The reasons of the each type of smoking, along with it's particular mode and benefits, is also discussed in details. Thus the whole subject of smoking has been treated with scientific detail and insight.

Chapter VI

Company

Man is a social creature who satiates his social instincts through caste, guilds, unions etc. The significance of the group for society is equal to the significance of friends to an individual. It is truly said that a man is known by the company he keeps. Hence a man should be very careful in the selection of his friends as these friends are not only an indication to the man's inner qualities but they very often mold a man's character. But it is not always expedient to have a fixed set of friends for all the occasions. Man's activities are diverse and the company for fundamentally diverse activities should be different in order to create harmony and receive stimulus.

Caraka Samhitā contains many instructions regarding the selection of one's company. Caraka does not preach the orthodoxy of having a company of same persons for all the occasions. One has to select the company of those who are not only of homologous nature but also fit for the purpose. In a learned people's assembly, one can have scholars as company, but at a wine party, they would certainly be unfit. At such parties, the company should consist of those who can compete in drinking bouts and enhance the pleasures of drinking.

For the purpose of increasing virility, persons who augment the sensual atmosphere would be the fittest. One should also seek the companionship of persons who helps in the development of his life throughout his life tenure. Caraka has given many citations which gives an idea of the life of in those days and the company one chose for the different activities and pleasures.

Company in General

Those who are of sinful conduct, speech, disposition, back-biters, quarrelsome, sarcastic, niggards, cheaters, envious; those who delight in scandal-mongering and are fickle-minded, those who contacts enemy and gives him the information, those who are without compunction and apostates all such qualities should be shunned. While those who are mature in understanding, learning, character, courage, memory, endowed with insight into the nature of things, free from all the ailments are the company which should be sought after by each person as this company helps in their development. Those who are well-disposed towards all the creatures, tranquil heart, commendable of character, the teachers of the right path and those who hear and see only that which is meritorious, are the persons whose company should be sought after.

Virilific Company

A man who can increase the masculinity, if remained in company, needs to have certain attributes. They are:

  • Who has intimate companions
  • Attained their objects
  • Mutually helpful
  • Skilled in fine arts
  • Similar in mind and age
  • Endowed with noble lineage
  • Magnanimous
  • Noble character
  • Pure
  • Desirous of enjoyment
  • Cheerful
  • Free from sorrow and depression
  • Akin in disposition
  • Pleasant in speech

Wine party Company

Men who indeed are a great company for drinking and in whose company one enjoys delight has some specific qualities. They are as under:

  • Excellent character
  • Pleasant speech
  • Amiable in expression
  • Applauded by the good people
  • Unversed in the arts
  • Pure heart
  • Quick in grasping
  • Mutually helpful
  • Sincere in friendship
  • Enhance the pleasure of drinking by their joy, affection and sweet manner
  • On seeing whom it causes mutual increase of joyous spirits

Chapter VII

Marriage and Procreation

Procreation is the result of the sexual participation. All the religions hold that procreation is the purpose of the sexual act, though in practical sense, indulgence may range from planned birth-control to anti-social and licentious behavior. In the ancient Aryan civilization, legislative assembly members held very idealistic views regarding the sexual act. They considered this act to be the means for procreation.

Age for Procreation

A distinction, however, was made between sexual maturity and the period fit for the act of reproduction. In the male, the 16th year is recognized as the starting period of the sexual impulse but the reproductive age is laid down to be 25. Similarly in the female, the sexual urge starts expressing itself with the appearance of menstruation i.e the 12th year, but the age for reproduction is laid down to begin from the 16th year.

It is not proper for a man desirous of long life to copulate with a woman when he is under sixteen or over seventy years of age. The menstrual discharge which begins from the twelfth year onwards continues till the fiftieth year when the body gets affected by senescence. The man who is of 25 years should wed and approach the young woman of sixteen years of age with a view to make progeny. Thus we find that the ages of males and females are fixed as under:

Male Female
Marriage age 21 12
Sexual urge 16-70 12-50
Beginning of Reproductive age 25 16

The idea behind this age limit was that the fertilizing elements both in the male and the female would be fully matured in order to generate the best progeny.

Significance of Male Child

The most dominant evident ambition amongst ancient Aryan people was to produce the best progeny, especially the male offspring. The concept of the immortality of the soul and its continuity through re-birth might have led the ancients to believe in the continued existence of one's own self in one's male child, hence the procreation of a male child was given the greatest sanctity and was considered to be the moral obligation of every human being. Childless condition was considered to be very deplorable and sinful and was looked down upon as a pity.

Theory of Eugenics

The ideological emphasis on procreation as a religious duty led to the development of the science of Eugenics. The meticulous care of the mother and other factors taken before, during and after the procreation process is significant of the brilliant understanding of eugenics that ancients possessed. This concept is a marvelous example of the combination of Eugenics,[14] Eutechnics[15] and Eutopias.[16]

Desired Result in Procreation

The Aryans studied the science of eugenics in great details and with lot of accuracy that they were able to evolve a specific procedure of procreation where they were quite definite of the success of the desired procreative act. The science have progressed one step further than mere certainty of success of the procedures. It has prescribed special procedures for generating progeny for a particular sex. This procedure should begin from the day the woman begins her pregestational menstrual season.

In chapter 8th of Śarirasthāna detailed description and injunctions are given as to how a woman should abstain from sexual congress during her menstrual period, sleep on the floor and avoid toilet. On the fourth day she should be massaged, bathed, shampooed and attired in white raiment. She should not have overeaten or either be extremely hungry. She should be free from anger and over-passion. Any woman tainted with abnormality should be eschewed. Then the woman had to follow a detailed description of the posture and recite the denoted mantras. Then she should eat the denoted diet, wear beautiful clothes and ornaments pertaining to her. Then she was allowed to mate with her husband.

Special rites are prescribed for those who want a male child. The man and woman, whose bodies have been treated in the manner described above and who have paired together, the unvitiated sperm comes in contact with the unvitiated plasma in the unimpaired uterus through the unobstructed vaginal passage. This process when followed completely becomes the cause of a conception and thereby a fertile embryo. [17]

Fundamentals for Psyche of Embryo

The factors that determine the different psychological endowments of children are the various mental traits of the parents, the impression received by the pregnant woman, the influence of ones own past actions and special mental habits in the previous life.[18]

The coming into existence of the embryo is attributed to various factors. Embryo comes into existence from the coming together of these various procreative factors like a tent from the assemblage of various materials or like a chariot from the combination of various parts of the chariot. Therefore we assert this that the embryo is mother-born, father-born, spirit-born, concordance-born and nourishment-born. There is over and above, the connecting agent the mind.[19]

Development of an Embryo

In the fourth chapter of Śarira-sthāna, the topics discussed in details are:

  1. Month-wise gradual development of the embryo
  2. Parameters that promote the consequences conducive to the rise and growth of conception
  3. Inhibitions of conception

Factors determining the sex are carefully noted providing a clue to the choice of sex by the control of these factors.

Parameters for Selection of Wife

There are certain rules for the selection of wife which ultimately gives birth to the progeny which is healthy physically, mentally and spiritually. Caraka's ideals of the selection of a wife are more specific than even those of the most aesthetic and amorous concepts of a poet specializing in amorous faculty. These ideals depict a biological and instinctive affinity of human attraction. There is no mention of caste or creed, but only taboos that occur if a person marries into the same clan or with a diseased woman.

According to the rituals, man should marry a virgin at the age of 21. The girls whom he is marrying should be of different clan, equal birth cadre, born in a family without hereditary diseases, possessed of good form, morality and identification marks. She should not have any physical defects in her like lost tooth, lip, ear, nose, nail, hair or breast. She should be delicate, not have a diseased constitution, neither reddish nor tawny. She should not have superfluous or deficient limb. She shouldn't be named after a god, serpent, river, mountain, tree, bird, constellation, low caste or a servant.

A person should not marry a maiden with reddish hair, redundant member, sickly, with no or too much hair on the body, garrulous and red eyes. One should not resort to a woman who is very corpulent, lean, long,[20] short,[21] and old in age. She should not be quarrelsome. A person should wed a female free from physical defects, graceful gait of a Haṅsa[22] or of an elephant, a moderate quantity of hair on the body and on the head, small teeth and soft limbs. Wife should be a delight of his heart, reciprocates his love, akin to him in mind, amenable and pleased with his advances.

Rules By Medical Authors for Selection

There are rules prescribed by the medical authorities which were accepted by the society in general. Vagbhatta gives a detailed description of the factors regarding the selection of a wife. He not only narrates in details the positive factors in the girl as a wife, but also mentions the negative factors in order to prevent from the wrong choice. These specifications are very interesting and instructive and appear to be quite scientific even in modern times. These show how careful and accurate were the ancients in their power of observation.

Caraka denotes the positive qualities necessary in a bride. As a woman she should be good looking, young, endowed with auspicious marks on her body, amiable and skilled in fine arts. The qualities of beauty in the woman develops in co-ordinance with the nature of the husband. Spouses should endear each other by the virtues of age, form, speech and gestures. Having a perfect life partner is either due to result of destiny or the merits of action in this very life.

There are code of selection of wife mentioned in Manusmṛti. One should not marry a female who neglects the sacred rites, of the family in which no male children are born, who did not study the Veda and the one who has thick hair on her body. Medically a female unfit for marriage has hemorrhoids, phthisis, weakened digestion, epilepsy or white and black leprosy.

Conduct of a Husband

The husband should be enthralled by her excellent qualities. He should feel desolation, if separated from his wife. He should gain confidence on seeing her. He should be greatly elated with her presence. He should approach his wife with great eagerness as if for the first time. Even after repeated uniting with her physically, he should want to unite with her only over and over again. Though men are of varied temperaments, these are the basic fundamental conduct expected from him towards his wife.

Chapter VIII

Treatment of the Patient

In ancient times, the patronage to poets, vaidyas and artists came from the aristocrat crowd. Hence the treatment prescribed in old medical works was mainly designed for the princes and aristocracy. However, the middle and the poor classes were not neglected. Caraka Sutra XV clearly states that the treatment prescribed for the patients was sometimes modified according to the status and situation of the patient but none of the patients were neglected. Moreover, the best possible treatment was prescribed and modifications were introduced according to the affordability of the patient.

Aristocratic Treatment and Prescription as per Lifestyle

Vivid descriptions of lavish dinner and drink parties are found in the Caraka-samhitā. The dominance and patronage of the aristocracy resulted into innumerable pharmaceutical preparations, advancement of the culinary science, hundreds of varieties of wine, fragrant preparations and milk and sugar preparations suited to the service of this class.

The love of art and display of riches permeated even into the medical practices. The medical apparatuses used for them were ornamental. Their basic constitution was accounted to be delicate due to the aristocratic way of living. Hence special preparations of medications were prescribed for this class so that their tender constitution may not be disrupted due to strong drugs and procedures.

State Laws for Vaidyas

The dual strictness of the rules of the state and the society often made the practicing vaidya hesitate or even refuse to treat a patient sometimes not because he lacked in the humane quality of compassion but because of the non affordability of certain expensive medical treatments. Failure to cure a patient brings blame or infamy upon the vaidya.

As per Śuśruta Sutra

But this is only one side of the picture. As per Śuśruta Sutra,[23] it was the duty enjoined upon the physician to treat such poor people at his own cost. The people to be treated by vaidya at his own cost as per his kith and kin. He earns his credits by the treatment of following persons:

  1. Twice born
  2. Preceptor
  3. Pauper
  4. Friend
  5. Recluse
  6. Person who has sought his shelter
  7. Virtuous
  8. Orphan
  9. Refugee

Proposition

Thus in spite of the dominance of the aristocracy, the poor patients were not neglected and a sacrifice of great magnitude was expected from a physician. The vaidya used to get enormous fees from higher classes.[24] Due to these fees, he could afford to treat the poor at his own cost, as a compensatory measure for the royal fees he got from his rich patrons.

Chapter IX

The Usage of Ornaments

Times of Caraka's period exhibited the notion of putting on ornaments and jewels not only as fashion but also for aesthetic practices, satisfaction of vanity and medical utility. The wearing of jewels and ornaments was accounted to be auspicious which brings prosperity. It was believed to be the promoter of longevity, dispersive of worries, exhilarating, attracting and vitalizing. Besides the metal ornaments and jewels, people used to put on some special herbs which were considered to be the protectors of life. Wearing of specific herbs was done for prophylactic and curative of that particular disease. It is evident from the texts that putting on jewels as well as herbs were prescribed for the children who were not adolescent. This perception of usage of ornaments is signified in the Atharvaveda also.

Rules for Abstaining from Ornaments

The love for ornaments was however never beyond the boundaries of propriety. When a patient was admitted to the therapy room for treatment, he was supposed to remove all the ornaments that was worn by him. He was allowed to wear ornaments only after he was cured completely. Similarly no ornaments were to be put on during Kutipraveśa. Students also did not put on ornaments as that would not suit the austere ideals of student life and natural surroundings. It was only when the natural charm was required to be supplemented by ornaments and decoration or when the auspicious occasion demanded such gaiety or when some medical purpose was supposed to be served that light or heavy ornaments were required to be put on.

Other Protocols

It was compulsory for a woman who was going to unite with her husband for procreation to put on garlands and ornaments to add to her natural womanly beauty. Similarly the mother taking the child for naming ceremony was to put on light and variegated ornaments. A wet-nurse was required to put on herbs when suckling was to begin. The decorative use of ornaments was not restricted to women only. At the time of sexual congress, ornaments were to be put on by both man and woman. Even in daily routine both man and woman were supposed to wear garlands and ornaments as they brought auspicious results.

Therapeutic Usage of Ornaments

Gems were believed to have very cooling effects. Hence they were used in therapeutic treatment. For e.g. if a woman is suffering from burning sensation due to fever, certain gems and ornaments were prescribed to void it off. The therapeutic use of jewels did not end with such cooling properties they were believed to possess. Gems play an important role in mitigating the effects of drink. Many gems and herbs were put on as a prophylactic measure against snake poison.

Aesthetic Usage of Ornaments

Besides these medico-cum-decorative uses of gems and ornaments we find references to the aesthetic use also. For e.g. in the description of wine parties. At such a party a person was required to be well-decorated in conformity with the gay spirit prevailing as per the occasion. Not only the participants in the revelry were required to be decorated, but the attendant women should also wear the ornaments in consonance with the spirit of gaiety.

From the various descriptions in Caraka Samhitā, we find that the metals, gems, precious stones and other materials were used to decorate body during that period. The inference has been advocated by various other references that could be found today.

Chapter X

Women in Caraka's Times

Gender differences between a man and a woman has been given a distinctive social position throughout the ages of human history. In the ancient world, women held a privileged position due to her charm and delicacy. She was regarded as a sub-ordinate for man. Woman was decorated with beautiful clothes and ornaments and she was expected to be pampered.

It is only in recent times that her claim to equality with man has gained recognition in all the civilized countries. Woman is not accounted to be inferior to man neither the privileged position with its implication of relative weakness and inferiority nor the subordinate position as an object of sense gratification. She is now asserting her equal partnership with the man in the enterprise of life and wants neither more nor less.

With regards to this, position and task she was assigned in the various context of social life as portrayed in the texts of Ayurveda and particularly in the Caraka Samhitā. We shall divide the reference into two classes:

  1. Growth, aging, constitution, disease general and special that she is liable to, modification of medications and dosage, physiology and pathology of the maternity period she passes through.
  2. The general references direct and indirect as a woman.

Disorders in Females due to Blood

Woman is liable to all the existent diseases which can happen to humans. She also suffers from diseases and disorders peculiar to her gender. These diseases are called gynec diseases and a special chapter has been devoted to it. In the chapter on Gulma[25], a special chapter is dedicated as 'Rakta Gulma'.[26] It describes the symptoms, diagnosis, cure and treatment comprehensively.

A child having vitiated blood is born through the women and not a men because of their peculiar feature of menstrual discharge from the uterus. Either just after the miscarriage or delivery or during the menses, if a woman takes vāta-provoking food, her vāta gets quickly provoked.

Disorders in Female due to Vāta

While describing vāta disease, Caraka says that her position of dependency on man, lack of enlightenment and natural inclination towards shyness, delicacy and modesty impose restrictions on the prompt display of natural urges.

Medical Treatment

The sages, by long observation and thought, knew the difference in the pace of growth and decay of the constitutions of both man and woman. In physical and mental development as well as maturity the deterioration of a man is slower than woman. This fact is depicted in observations like the following: 

  1. Man of twenty-five years of age and woman of sixteen years attains an equal stage of sexual maturity.
  2. Catemenal discharge which starts from the age of twelve in a woman comes to cessation at the age of fifty.

Code of Conduct for Physician in Front of Woman

Physicians should not indulge in laughter or jokes with women nor stay long with them. They were not supposed to accept gifts other than food from women. The code of surgical nursing prescribes the services of a female nurse. Sometimes, just by seeing a woman, there may occur seminal discharge. Thus even without sexual union, a man will suffer the evil effects thereof. Hence even the sight of a woman was considered undesirable.

But all these references which indirectly give us a glimpse of the status of women in those times does not lead us to the conclusion that she was not given imporance in the society. Although her natural tenderness and her anatomical peculiarities did not equalize her to man, her status as mother was highly respected. She was the prime and the only source of the propagation of race.

Significance of Progeny For a Man

The man without progeny is like a solitary tree that yields no shade which has no branches, which bears no fruit and is devoid of any pleasant odor. The man without progeny is to be regarded as a man of straw possessing only the shape of man. Man was not accounted to be established till he had children. Hence women gave them the very purpose of life to fruition.

Significance of Male Progeny

A male child, was considered to be absolutely necessary in order that the person become free from one of the three debts which he is enjoined upon. Good and filial sons who are thus born, handsome, truth speaking, long-lived and righteous owe a debt to their parents. Woman is the only source of progeny. She was highly respected in the role of a mother. As a matter of fact it was the protection that woman received as the source of progeny, family honor and the repository of dignity that kept the women from coming to the forefront.

It was also believed that righteousness, wealth, auspiciousness and the two worlds - this and other also belonged in her. Thus although the biological picture of a woman as given in the old medical texts is not so glorifying to the woman, her emotional and aesthetic value was regarded very high and her social value as the perpetuator of the race was almost adored.

References About Women in Ancient Scriptures

Body constitution of a woman is considered weaker than that of a male. Just like the body constitution of a child and aged person, medications made for women should be of milder intensity. For kings and his kinsman, women and persons of delicate constitution like children and aged people a routine prescription of dose of oil and honey is given.

  • The ethics of the medical practitioners as described in the texts indirectly give us an idea of the status of woman in ancient India. Other references on woman, biological structure, code of conduct specified for woman along with the diseases specially happening to her is as follows:
  • One special branch of Ayurveda, containing eight chapters, has been dedicated to the physiology and pathology of the maternity stage of a woman's life.
  • Caraka samhitā, a primary medical treatise, gives a scientific and biological view of man and woman. Yet the social practices of the age and the relative impositions over woman has been mentioned explicitly sometimes and implicitly more often.
  • In the etiology of 'Rakta Gulma', the social position of the woman in general is referred.
  • In the accounts of posology, woman has been described as tender, wavering in nature and overall delicate. Owing to this reason, in emergency, woman is primarily treated with non-distressing, mild and generally delicate remedies and later on gradually if the diseased symptoms still persists by heavy remedies which do not upset him or give rise to complications.
  • In the chapter instructing the principles of good way and behavior for man, it is recommended to neither condemn nor confide in the woman. It has also been suggested that one should not divulge a secret to her neither place her in power.
  • Women were also trained to play the part of a companion to man in his pursuit of pleasure. Caraka describes the part played by women attendants who are well trained in the art of entertainment. It has also been referred that a man should drink while being shampooed by clean, loving, beautiful, young and well trained women decked in fine clothes, jewels and flowers suitable to the season.
  •  In the description of the selection of a wife, the qualifications she needs to possess was her being amenable, mindful and enthralling.
  • A woman's body and appearance has been considered the best aphrodisiac. It is the ultimate stimulation of manly attributes. The attribute of virility in man is gained through an exhilarating sexual partner in the wife.
  • Woman are the only established source of progeny through which a man can have his receding generations.
  • Woman is also referred to as a therapeutic agent in the diseases coming under the category of pitta type, specially fever and alcoholism. To counteract and subdue such a condition, certain medical treatment was followed keeping the company of agreeable women wearing cool garments and garland.
  • In the ancient times, woman was used as a poison girl. She was called as 'Viśkanyā'. Skillful kings were killed by the means of poison when they come in contact with such girls. Hence the king's physician would constantly protect the king from the dangers of poison.
  • A person was advised to sleep with plump and passionate woman in winter.
  • There is no corresponding pre-natal ceremony as we have the Puṅsavan vidhi for male progeny.
  • There is no mention of female scholars or vaidyas in the texts. This indicates that women usually did not learn the medical science.
  • No offerings of meat by a woman without the behest of her husband or guardian was accepted.[27]

Chapter XI

The Sense of Smell

The sense of smell or the olfactory organ plays a significant part in our daily lives then it is comprehended. In the early stages of civilization, it was the most important sense, but it gradually lost its full significance with the advancement of modern civilization. In the ancient times, it was both a protective as well as a luxury organ. It is used for its olfactory power for various purposes in routine life. Animals were guided by this sense in their daily lives. It warned the animal of the approach of an enemy and even guided it towards it's food. This sense also provoked and motivated animal's sex reflexes. Man with his superior intelligence turned this sense into a luxury sense also.

Significance of Nose Rub in Ancient Times

The nose-rub was regarded as a relic of a time when man based his feelings of sympathy for other human beings upon the olfactory sensations which they provoked in him. The significance of this action in ancient times can be delineated as follows:

  • In ancient days nose rub was prevalent in lieu of the lip-kiss as a sign of love.
  • To early man, the kiss, as the Europeans know it, was unknown. The ancient scriptures bear a testimony to this fact.
  • The Sanskrit word for 'kissing' is 'ghra' which means to smell.
  • Amongst old Persians, the word for love means smell.
  • In classical Greek there was no word for kiss.
  • As per the Maori tongue of the New Zealand aborigines, there was no expression for greetings. For them the greeting was wished by the phrase 'I smell you'. Even today the Maoris use the nose rub as an expression of greeting.
  • The Japanese abhor the lip kiss in practice so much that the love scenes in cinema films are censored till date.

Olfactory Specialists in Ancient Times

Many physicians were reputed to be able to smell a disease. There is a story that when the mother of a sick child wanted a famous nineteenth century physician to conduct into the sick-room, he said not to wake her. Then on opening the door slightly, he sniffed the air and announced the diagnosis of scarlet fever. This is an excellent example of the higher development of the olfactory sense of a person who can sniff and separate the subtle difference of smell. Such persons are classified as belonging to the olfactory type. Such olfactory specialists are highly valued by perfume manufacturers even in the modern times.

Geographical Consequences for Smell

Scientists consider taste and smell in the chemical context. This chemical sense was highly developed in the early period of evolution of man. It's significance gradually decreases with the progress of modern civilization. Geographically, such type of olfactory persons are less in numbers in the Western Atlantic civilization than among the Oriental and tropical destinations.

It has been humorously remarked by an eminent botany scholar that Indians had noses but no eyes while Europeans had eyes but no nose. This is an apt summary of the fact that Indians prefer plants and flowers more for their fragrance than for their appearance, while the reverse is true for the western generations. Even nature seems to be discerning in this type of distribution. The Himalayan flora is full of fragrance while the Alpine flora is resplendent with variegated hues.

Different Uses of Scented Materials

Love for fragrance among the Orientals is enhanced by the coincidence of several facts like abundance of fragrant articles in the East, highly developed olfactory senses, sense of cleanliness, purity of internal as well as external parts of the body and the subtle aesthetic sense of olfactory luxury. There are plenty of references indicating the use of the olfactory sense for various purposes in health and disease. The use of scented articles formed a part of religious ceremonies. The sacrificial articles and wood were offered as oblation into the sacrificial fire which resulted in the impregnation of the whole atmosphere with pleasant aroma. The rooms, whether they were for assembly meeting, drinking party or even amorous chambers, were decorated with seasonal and pleasant smelling flowers. Sometimes even the ground was carpeted with such flowers.

After finishing the primary routine of body, one should apply fragrant sandal over the body, wear clean clothes and ornaments. It was advised to apply the fragrance suitable to the season. After decking with garlands of variegated flowers, jewels and ornaments, one should worship the Gods, the Brāhmanas and touch the most auspicious articles.

It was suggested that one should eat and drink wine while seating in comfortable position on a well-made bed with pillows, scattered with flowers that are best suited to each season and fumigated with fragrant smoke. One should eat green fruits and well cooked food which is appropriate as per season. Beds, seats and clothes were not only kept clean but also were perfumed with pleasant smelling fragrant articles and comfortable bed.

The bed, seats, spreads and covers meant for the child should be soft, light, clean and fragrant. As regards personal hygiene, odoriferous articles were made use of very profusely to impart fragrance and charm to every part of the body. After the preliminary purification process to cleanse every part of the body which is likely to exhale fetor[28] these parts were perfumed with sweet-smelling preparations.

Fragrant Material used in Daily Life

To enhance the routine in daily life, there was an extensive usage of fragrant materials in almost all the aspects of personal routine. It can be delineated as follows:

  • To impart sweet and delicious smell to the breath and counteract the fetoris, use was made of nutmeg, musk, mallow, betel-nut, cloves, cubed-pepper, good betel-leaves, camphor and small cardamom.
  • Whole body skin was cleansed with fragrant articles to remove the stench of perspiration and after the final cleansing of the body by the general bath, the body was anointed with fragrant applications and scented with exquisite perfumes.
  • A garland of the seasonal and sweet smelling flowers was also worn.
  • The oils used for nasal drops or for the hair were also scented.
  • Fragrant tooth powder and pastes were also made.
  • Even the tooth stick was selected from the sweet-smelling trees or sometimes the tooth-stick was perfumed by artificial methods.
  • Cigars whether used for daily habitual smoking or for therapeutic purposes, always contained an adequate amount of fragrant articles. One of the purposes of its use in daily regimen was to remove the offensive smell of the breath.
  • Food and drinks prepared exhibited the culinary art of sense of fragrance and aroma.

Thus the olfactory aesthetic sense was always given dominant consideration in the regimen of personal hygiene.

Olfactory Methods for Therapeutic Use

The special gift of the keen olfactory organ of the orientals and luxuriance of aromatic, balmly, musky and odoriferous products in the East influenced not only the personal, social and public hygiene methods and manners of the people, but also played a vital role in the diagnostic clinical methods and therapeutic measures of Ayurveda.

Physical examination, as described in the modern science, entails the use of four methods or procedures. They are inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation. According to Caraka it is very evitable to know the nature of a disease by direct observation. Then the physician, through the usage of all his sense organs excluding tongue, should explore the symptoms of disease in the patient's body. In the modern clinical methods of physical examination, the eyes,[29] hands[30] and ears[31] are used extensively, but the use of the smell sense is very rare.

Osmology

The test of any organ in particular for proper functioning can be comprehended but the use of olfactory methods is a bit difficult to understand. Probably the gradual under-development of olfactory power especially among the occidentals is one of the reasons behind this. Ayurveda developed a special science of smell-diagnosis; osmics or osmology which was used in clinical medicine.

Osmology is the method of physical examination which is based on the tests of the normal or abnormal secretions and excretion of the body. It occupies a significant place in the therapeutic investigation. It investigates the odors of the following secretions of the body:

  1. Vital essence
  2. Semen
  3. Mother's milk
  4. Menstrual fluid
  5. Sputum
  6. Stools
  7. Urine
  8. Vaginal discharge
  9. Vomit
  10. Discharge from the wound
  11. Sweat

Objective or subjective symptoms pertaining to smell were found useful in the diagnosis of almost all the diseased conditions. These dominant olfactory signs are considered to be the pathognomic of the disorganization of the pitta constituency of the body. Important references in this context are found in many diseased conditions. In the section on prognostic indication, it covers almost all the subjects under osmology bearing on prognosis. The therapist made use of the savory and fragrant articles in general. It is very significant therapeutically in all the disorders of pitta origin. Meticulous care was taken in pharmaceutics to flavor each medication. Potions or poultices, linctus or lozenges were made sweet and pleasant in smell. The number of aromatic drugs mentioned by Caraka is more than one hundred.

Conclusion

Tropical countries are rich in fragrant plant products and hence we find that these countries have the most aromatic dishes and pleasant pharmaceutic factories. They cater to this outstanding trait of the orientals. Nose, though tiny in size, is highly respected and valued in the East. This was the main reason behind the vendetta punishment in which the person cannot evaluate the environmental atmosphere. This punishment gave an opportunity to Śuśruta to invent the operation of rhinoplasty.

Chapter XII

Routine Purification Procedures

The excerpts given below describe the various observances and regulations that are necessary in the preparation of the patient for undergoing the purification procedures. The experts describe both the sanitary as well as the aesthetic aspects of the subject. After the person has taken the oleation and sudation procedures has tranquil mind after sound sleep. Then one should take bath, anoint the whole body, wear a garland and clean clothes, worship the deities, fire, Brahmana, Guru, elders and physicians. After this whole process a dose of decoction of emetic nut with honey, licorice, rock-salt and treacle sanctified by the benediction of the Svastivacana chantings[32] was administered.

Patient discharge Procedure

Once the patient has regained his vitality, complexion and cheerfulness of mind, he finished his daily routine. Only after that he was allowed to discharge from the hospital and hand over to his kinsman and friends. It was made sure that after discharge the patient would be able to do his work with all the vitality and energy of body.

Protocols Before Having Dinner

One should not partake any meal without the following:

  • Wearing a jewel on the hand
  • Bath
  • Saying prayers
  • Performing the Homa
  • Offering to the household gods and the manes
  • First feeding the elders, guests and dependants
  • Cleaning the hands, feet and face
  • Facing North, listlessly.

The Student Beginning his Work

The student who is healthy and has consecrated all his time for study, should rise at dawn. Student should perform the necessary ablutions and salute the gods, seers, cows, Brahmanas, guardians, elders, adepts and teachers.

The Student's Initiation

The teacher should address to the disciple siting near in the reverential mode. The teacher should address the disciple in the northern solstice of the year, in the bright half of the month, on an auspicious day when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation of Puśya or Hasta or Śravaṇa or Aświni. Student was required to start his study on an auspicious Kārana and Muhurta after being taken the tonsure, having fasted and bathed and clad in the brown garment. Students should bring fragrant articles and dry twigs, fire, ghee, sandal paint, water-pot, flower-garland, lamp, ornaments of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls and corals, silken garments and sacrificial stakes. One should also hold the sacrificial grass, fried paddy, white mustard seeds and white rice grams to offer to the teacher while joining the studies.

A Gravida Going to Maternity Home

When the ninth month is running, on an auspicious day, under favorable situation the pregnant woman was expected to gift certain offerings. These favorable condition include the sacred moon to be propitious and in conjunction with a favorable asterism. The kāraṇa and muhurta should be approving. The offerings are done to cows, Brahmanas, fire and water in the house at first. One should give grass, water, fried rice mixed with honey to cows as offerings. Brahmanas present there should be offered colored rice, flowers and pleasant fruits which indicates good fortune. She should bow to them and seek their blessings. Then, keeping the cows and the Brahmanas to her right and following them to the accompaniment of the benedictory cry, the expectant mother should enter the lying-in room. Dwelling therein she should wait for the delivery time.

Going For Naming

On the tenth day after the birth of the child, the mother along with child, should bathe in fragrant herb water, white rape seed and lodh. Woman was suggested to put on light, new and clean garments, deck herself with pure, coveted, light and variegated ornaments, touch auspicious objects and worship the appropriate deity. Then mother and child received the blessings of Brahmanas.[33] The child after being wrapped in a new cloth is placed with its head towards either east or north. Then it was declared that child salutes the God and twice-born. Then the father of the child gave two names to the child. One name denotes the constellation under which it was born and the other name was of intended meaning.

Procedure For Kutipraveśa

During the sun's northern course, in the bright half of the month, when the day and the constellation are propitious and the Muhurta and Kāraṇa are favorable, the man seeking rejuvenation should enter the kuti. One should first worship the Gods and then the twice born. Then one is expected to circum-ambulate the gods, cows and Brahmanas. One should shave and enter the retreat. It is desirable to enter only after fortifying oneself with resolution, purpose, full faith and firm minded. One should cast away all the kinds of sins from the heart and cherish good wishes for all the creatures.  

Going to Surgical Room For Operation

Thereafter when the day, Kārana, Muhurta and constellation are propitious, the patient was taken for operation. But before that he was expected to worship the fire, Brāhmanas and physicians by curd, rice, drinks and jewels. The patient should perform auspicious rites and Svastivacana after offering the oblations. Patient should take light meal and seat with his face towards east.

Chapter XIII

Protocols For Vaidya Regarding the Treatment

The Vaidya is very often nick-named as the brother of the God of death. The society as well as the state took every possible measure to prevent death. The rules of the society and state of those days were so strict that the Vaidya was afraid of taking responsibility in serious or incurable diseases. It was a dilemmatic situation in which he had to choose between the natural humane feelings or strict rules regarding the responsibility for the death of patient.

The responsibility of the Vaidya, evolved the science of prognostics to determine the curability or otherwise of a disease to an astonishing degree. This was the stage when the development of clinical methods made great progress. The necessity and importance of the knowledge of prognostics is greatly emphasized in the Caraka Samhitā in order to help the physician to steer the risks in undertaking the incurable cases.

State Regulations for Treating Patients

A Vaidya is advised not to undertake certain conditions. Incurable disease is one such condition. However, neither the therapy of elimination of morbid matter nor any other kind of medication should be administered even when indicated. By treating such a patient, the physician incurs opprobrious odium. These patients which are not to be treated had the following qualities:

  • One who has not justified his honor when questioned
  • Person without wealth or attendants
  • Person who fancies himself to be a doctor
  • One who is of fierce temper and envious nature
  • Person doing anti-social activities
  • Person who is enemy to state
  • One who has lost his strength, flesh or blood to an inordinate extent
  • Person afflicted with incurable disease
  • One displaying the prognostic signs

The physician who treats any person exhibiting above mentioned traits inflicts upon him many difficulties. Rest of the people, not exhibiting above mentioned traits, should be treated well with all the modes of treatment.

Distinguishing Curable and Incurable Disease

The physician, who knows the differential diagnosis between the curable and incurable diseases, begins the treatment with complete knowledge of the case in time, obtains success for his efforts without fail. But the physician who undertakes the responsibility of treating an incurable diseased patient invariably undergoes loss of income, dishonor, disrepute and unpopularity.

The whole section consisting of 12 chapters of the Indriyasthāna describes the development of minute clinical observations indicating the prognostics of the case. Besides dreams, omens and environmental circumstances, there were a host of things taken into account in the prognostic calculation. All this shows the meticulous care taken for demarcating between the curable and the incurable diseases.

Treatment of Incurable Disease Conditions

When the abdominal disease due to the gathering of fluid has gone beyond the stage of treatment or if the humoral tri-discordance has not got subdued, the physician should summon the patients kinsmen, well wishers, wives, brahmins, state authorities, and elders and speak to them about the precarious condition of the patient. If the aggravated condition is not treated, the patient's death is certain. But if treated by poison-therapy he may have a chance to survive. After being permitted by the patients well-wishers to proceed, the vaidya must administer poison to the patient combined with his food and drink.

Laws for Treating Diseases

Bold and remarkable treatments were undertaken to explore every possible way to survive the patient. Vaidyas attempted to treat, the otherwise incurable diseases, within the compass of curability. Still the Vaidya had to be very careful and shrewd enough for not taking the responsibility of failure while treating a patient.

The patient suffering from cough born of consumption with all the symptoms of consumption fully developed and who is debilitated should be considered incurable but if the cough is of recent origin and the patient is strong the treatment should be undertaken. Still the disease should be declared of incurable type. Vaidya might take up the treatment of such cases only if the patients kinsmen approached the Vaidya and besought him for treating the case. If the patient's kinsmen beseech the physician for treatment, then only the vaidya should undertake the treatment of the patient. Vaidya should prescribe the diet of meat-juice, but no purification therapy should be administered. Thus in keeping with the spirit of age and social conventions prevalent then, there were great restrictions on the physician's choice of undertaking cases for treatment.

Code of Conduct for Vaidya while Discharge of a Patient

The rules were not only negative in form but strict and positive injunctions were laid down as to how a Vaidya should conduct himself under certain circumstances like discharging a patient after cure. It was enjoined upon a Vaidya to exhibit his patient to his kinsmen and be recognized as being fully cured and then discharged. On finding that the patient has regained his vitality, complexion and cheerfulness of mind, he was allowed to discharge. After the patient has slept soundly, digested his food well, taken bath, applied sandal on his body, put on garland and neat clothes, adorned himself with befitting ornaments, he was brought before his relatives and kinsmen. Thenceforward, he should be allowed to resume his normal activities.

Conclusion

Apart from all the above said regulations and protocols for treating a patient, there was a large scope for humanity as a source of social helpfulness and guidance by vaidya being allowed to give society the advantage of his skill and learning after declaring the hazardous nature of the diseases. Vaidya always put in great efforts to treat an incurable disease at the same time absolving himself of the responsibility of failure despite his best endeavors.

In no society pertaining to any era, was a physician expected to behave otherwise. Thus judged by any standard, the humanity, benignancy and wisdom of the ancient physicians are beyond any doubt. All the rules and regulations of the society as well as the state were only administered to prevent the Vaidya from any chance of jeopardy to public health as well as to his own reputation and profession.

Chapter XIV

Significance of Legends

Legends and myths are the most valuable treasures in the country's national heritage and India is one of the richest countries in this respect. Such legends are the outcome of fantastic creations which should not be ridiculed and discarded. They contain the evolution of the ideology and concepts that have influenced the future course of civilization. They embody in verbal form the vague inklings into the dawn of knowledge, when the joy of life let loose the fancy of man inspired by the virginity of life.

Belief in the magic effects of certain words uttered in a fixed order with the prescribed intonation is a common feature in the history of early civilization of all the countries. Wherever experience and reason failed to understand the concept to a common man; legends and mantras, based on the belief in the super-natural, served to be a stepping stone towards the inquiry of evolution.

Myths During Caraka's Era

India, in Caraka's time, was much ahead of other countries in the progress of civilization and especially the science of medicine. Medical knowledge had attained a scientific decree on the traces of legend. Caraka continued the practice of analyzing these legends in his work in the illustration of medical beginnings and facts. For instance, the legend of the origin of fever ascribing it to the anger of God Śiva is quite in consonance with the idea of heat, the dominant pathological effect of feverish condition. Fever was the most common disease and Śiva, the god of destruction, got associated with the most common cause of death viz. 'fever'.

Origin of Diseases Mythologically

The legends in Caraka Samhitā are interesting. Their imaginative adornments appear to be literary versions of some scientific truth. The origin of fever is ascribed to the heat caused by the fire due to anger of Rudra while the destruction of Dakṣa's sacrifice. The destruction of this sacrifice was also the cause of many other diseases. The narration of this incident is interesting along with it's symbolical representation in the legends where certain diseases are ascribed to various causes.[34]

During the destruction of the Dakṣa's sacrifice, Gulma[35] first developed due to the agitated bodily movements by the assembled persons who ran panicking in all the directions running, swimming, racing, flung jumping etc. Even the urinary and dermatological disorders flared up as a result of the oblations that were eaten during this sacrifice. Psychological disorders like insanities developed as the result of fear, alarm and grief. There were major cases of epilepsy as a result of pollution by various kinds of unclean beings. Fever arose from the forehead of God Śiva. The heat of fever gave rise to another disease named Homeothermy. Tuberculosis was believed to have arise from the excessive sex indulgence of the lord of constellations i. e the Moon.

In the Caraka Cikitsā, origin of diarrhea is ascribed to the impairment of the gastric fire by the use of cow's flesh at Dakṣa's sacrifice. Cow's flesh is heavy, hot and disagreeable by it's basic nature.[36] In Cikitsā-sthāna there is an interesting derivation of the word poison. This is connected with a famous mythological event.[37] When the ocean was being churned by the gods and demons for the sake of ambrosia, prior to nectar there emerged a fearful looking person. He had a resplendent appearance, four fangs, tawny hair and fiery eyes. The whole world was despaired just at the sight of him. Hence he was known as Viṣa, poison, the despair of the world. This derivation is more significant than the English derivation of poison from potio which means to drink.

Logic Along with Myths

In spite of the legendary lore which is found in the Caraka Samhitā, it never loses true scientific insight. Caraka denotes in Vimāna-sthāna[38] that calamities never result from any other factor than unrighteousness. In some verses of Vimānasthāna, he logically traces the origin of disorder to a series of acts of unrighteousness one after other. According to him, indulgence leads to lassitude, lassitude to greed and this channel further leads to the deterioration of the health. Deterioration of the quality of the food and lack of exercise made man prey to various disorders. The primogenesis of the diseases is thus very aptly narrated in Caraka Nidāna.[39] Caraka clearly states that neither the Gods nor the Gandharvās, neither the goblins nor the demons can torment or harm the man in a way which man can harm himself.

References from Caraka Cikitsā

The scientific reason and astronomical phenomenon are covered under mythological garb. In Caraka Cikitsā[40] we get an interesting narration of the diseases of gods and demi-gods being cured by the Aświns. Aświns are believed to be the physicians of gods. They re-united the sacred head of sacrifice. They treated Puṣan whose teeth had loosened, Bhāga who had lost his eye-sight and Indra whose arm had got stiffened. Soma, the Moon God was cured of his tuberculosis and Cyavana was restored to his youth.

The cause of consumption of the Moon is very aptly ascribed to his submergence in passion and the consequent weaknesses. As the disease first befell the king of constellations and stars it is called as the royal disease. But Immediately following this myth Caraka asserts that consumption was driven away by Aświns from the heavenly world to the world of mortals because of its four etiological factors:

  1. Over-exertion
  2. Wasting tendencies
  3. Suppression of natural urges
  4. Irregular diet

Usage of Mantras

Charms and talismans etc., formed a part of the treatment, though mostly for the psychic effect. In Cikitsā-sthāna, there is a description of exogenous and endogenous wounds. Caraka explains the predominant dispute due to the difference in their treatment. Caraka lays an emphasis that when any treatment of exogenous wounds by medications do not yield any positive results, people resorted to the charms and other measures. It was due to their association with endogenous morbid factors.[41] Even while describing the properties of the substances like oil, Caraka sometimes introduces the traditional legend in the support of this statement.[42]

Mantras for Therapeutic Treatment

Traces of the belief in the curative effects of specially arranged hymns and incantations called Mantras are also found in the Caraka Samhitā. These are faint traces, hence the Mantra treatment is accompanied with the rational and scientific treatment. Such mantras form a part of psychic therapy and the inclusion of these in Caraka's work brings it more in accordance with the advanced views than the absence of them would have done. These mantras were meant to be uttered by only those persons who possessed certain qualities in them. Thus the sanctity of the mantras was strictly preserved. The mystical effect of mantras is still being used for snake poison treatment especially.

Mantras Before Daily Sacrifice

As it was enjoined upon a sacrificer to perform the sacrifice in a clean condition, Caraka gives some mantras which purifies the person. These chantings are in Sanskrit language. They mean that one should not pour the libations of holy ghee barley, til, small sacrificial grass and rape-seed in the sacrificial fire in an unclean condition. A person should bathe while performing the incantation of the sacrificial texts saying:
"May the fire not leave me, the wind grant me life, May the Viṣṇu grant me strength, Indra grant me virility and the waters enter me auspiciously,'

Water is considered to be the source of happiness from ancient times. Having laved the lips twice, sprinkled water on feet, touched the body with water on the cavities of the head, heart and top of the head one should start the daily sacrifices.

Mantras for Men for Having A Male Child

The psychic effect of mantras was acknowledged in all the spheres of human activity. Caraka advises a person desiring a heroic son, to utter certain mantras before engaging oneself in procreating act.
"Thou art the day; thou art the life, thou art well-established from all sides. May the dispenser dispense to thee Brahmic splendor, May Brahma, Bṛhaspati, Viśṇu, Soma, Surya, the two Aświns, Bhāga, Mitra and Varuṇa, bless me with a hero son.

Having uttered this mantra the couple should unite.

Mantras for Women for Having a Male Child

There are certain chanting prescribed for a woman desiring a male child. At the time of delivery, the following charm is to be uttered into the ears of the pregnant woman by her lady attendant.
May the earth, waters, heavens, light, wind, Viśṇu and Bṛhaspati ever protect you and your child. May they direct the delivery. O! auspicious faced one, bring forth, without distress to yourself or to him, a son who will possess the luster of and protection from Kārtikeya.

The concoction is prepared for mental and physical effect which is given to the woman delivering the child.

Procedure of Kinesis

The potion should be given in measurement pot and the following mantra should be recited over it.
Om, may Brahmā, Dakṣa, Aświns, Rudra, Indra, earth, moon, sun, gods of wind, the fire, the sages, host of drugs and all diving creatures protect thee. Even as the vitalizers are to the sages and ambrosia to the best of nāgās, so may this medicine be unto thee.

Having thus sanctified the potion of the patient with his face turned to the east or the north must be made to drink again and again and vomit until the bile is seen to come out especially in persons afflicted with fever of the kapha type, Gulma or coryza. This is the proper method of the procedure of Kinesis.

Antidote Mahāgandha-hasti

In Cikitsā-sthāna[43] Caraka speaks of the major perfumed elephant antidote. This remedy was taught to Kubera by Lord Śiva.[44] Caraka describes the wonderful effects of this antidote. It asserts that the effect of antidote is so strong that to say that if treated on a house, any kind of negative or evil spirits, Rākśaśas, hobgoblins or black magic cannot enter it. Caraka prescribes the following efficacious holy incantation to be uttered during the preparation.

My mother's name is Jaya[45] and my father is also Jaya and I am Vijaya. The son of victory, Jaya and Jaya; hence I conquer Salutations to the lion among beings, god Viśṇu, the maker of the world, eternal Kisna, the source and the glory of life, I am the very light of Viśṇu and that of Brahma, Indra and Yama. I have never heard of the defeat of the god Vasuveda and one wooing one's own mother's hand. Drying up of the ocean, so surely may this antidote achieve success by the truth of these words. O! thou best among the remedies allied with hili-mili, give protection. Praise be unto thee!

This was the significance of the antidote Mahāgandha-hasti described by Caraka.

Segregation of Mantra from Medicine

Just as the Hippocrates separated religion from the medicine in Europe, Caraka did the same in India. Thus Caraka was the pioneer of the scientific medicine in India. This clearly shows that Caraka had rational inputs regardless of the legends and mantras found in his work. Thus, although we find traces of the legends and charms in the scientific work, they are there with a purpose. There are some legends to connect the prescriptions in the hoary tradition to make this subject interesting and the charms and mantras create psychic effect which is accepted by even the modern scientists.

Chapter XV

Kampilya, Center of Learning

An unimposing hamlet called Kampila was situated on the banks of the Ganges 20 miles N E of Fatehgarh in the district of Farrukabad.[46] It is seldom noticed by a passer-by but during the ancient times it was a city teeming with population. It was a capital city and seat of a famous university possessing an international reputation. It covered an area of 28 to 30 miles. Excavations of this city have unearthed many gold coins and statues bearing testimony to a highly civilized and flourishing city in its halcyon days. 

Ancient Origin of Kampilya

Śrimad Bhāgavata states that there was once a powerful king named Bharmyasva. He ruled Pāncāla deśa. He had five sons named Mudgala, Yavinara, Brhadisu, Kampilya and Śrujay. They were called Pāncālas because Bharmyasva believed that his sons were efficient enough to protect his five dominions. There were five rivers in the Pāncāla Desa viz., the Ganges; the Kalindi, the Jumna, the Chambal and the Ramganga. It is believed that these five rivers also contributed to the nomenclature of the country through which they flowed.

Significance in Rāmāyaṇa Era

We find that Kampilya was a city of significance even in the Rāmāyaṇa period. During the Rāmāyaṇa era it was ruled by a king named Pravahana Jaibali, who like Janaka Videhi, was a scholar-king. Competitive disputations often took place between the scholars of Mithila and Kampilya. The king was also a preceptor at the university of Kampilya. Emperor of Videha performed sacrifices in which gifts were heartily distributed. Vedic scholars from Kuru and Pancāla assembled there. Śvetaketu, the grandson of Aruṇa, came to the assembly of the Pāncalas. He approached Pravahana Jaibali, the son of Jivala.

Significance in Mahābhārata Era

During the Mahābhārata period, the city was at its zenith. It was the capital of the Pāncala Deśa ruled by the king Drupada, the father of Draupadi.[47] It is narrated in the epic that Drupada and Droṇa were co-students, but when Drupada succeeded to his father's throne he denounced this friendship with Droṇa, a poor brahmin, due to the difference in the status. Droṇa then became the preceptor of Kaurava and Pāndava princes in the military science. When their education was complete, he asked the princes in his Gurudakśinā to defeat Drupada and bring him as a captive. First Kauravas tried but failed.

Then the Pāndava princes invaded and succeeded in bringing Drupada as a captive to their preceptor Droṇa. Droṇa reproachfully reminded king Drupada of the present reversal of status of each of them. He further added that as he wanted to revive the old friendship and friendship can be maintained only if there is equal status of both, he would mercifully give Drupada half the territories now conquered by him. Thus accordingly he kept the northern half of Pāncāla with Ahiksetra as his capital and returned the southern half to Drupada with Kampilya as the capital.

Hence king Drupada occupied the territory of Makandi with a thousand villages on the bank of the Ganges. He also ruled over the southern Pāncālas upto the river Carmanvati, with Kampilya.[48] The Swayamvara ceremony of Draupadi took place in Kampilya. Draupadi is very often referred to as Pāncāli as she hailed from Pāncāla. This event is recited by women even today in the wedding ceremonies there. If a tourist pays visit to this place, then he is proudly shown the ruins of the palace of Drupada and the spot where the Swayamvara of Draupadi took place.

Other References in Ancient Scriptures

We can trace the glory of Kampilya even further in the Vedic times. It was a prosperous and well known city.

  • In Yajurveda[49] we find a reference stating that beautiful and highly educated ladies resided in Kampilya.
  • There is a reference of Kampilya when it is said that Amba, Ambika, Ambalika resided there. It is also said that Subhadrā was the dweller of Kampala.
  • Purānas say that Pārvati, the wife of lord Śiva, made Kampilya her residence when there was some family dispute with her husband.
  • Jain literature is full of references to Kampilya. It was was selected by the Jain's first Tirthankara Ṝṣabhadevaji as his preaching center. When the Bahubali, son of Ṝṣabhadevaji, renounced the world, the prince of Pāncāla also followed suit.
  • Vimalnāth, the thirteenth jain Tirthankara, was born at Kampilya and he made it his headquarters till his old age.[50] His birth, his penance, his preachings are associated with Kampilya and hence Jain pilgrims make it a point to visit this holy place. Vimalnāth was the son of king Kṛtavarma and queen Jayasyama of Kampilya who ruled over it long before Drupada.
  • Mahavira Swami the last and 24th Tirthankara also stayed and preached here for a considerable time. Jain literature has the references about Draupadi and her Swayamvara.
  • Some scholars ascribe to Kampilya the honor of being the birth-place of Kapila Muni, the propounder of Sankhya philosophy. Panini the great grammarian refers to Kampilya and Pāncāla.
  • Sankasya was a prominent citizen of Kampilya after whom the one area was named.
  • In the Mahidhara, commentary of Bṛhajjataka, there is a reference to Kapitthika which is an area of Kampilya. Thus Kampilya, Sankasya and Kapitthika are more or less the same place.
  • The place referred to as Sankasya by the Chinese traveler Fahi-en in the 7th century A D. was referred to as Kapitthika by Hu-en-tsang, another Chinese traveler in the 8th century. Even today we have Sankisa[51] and Kathiya,[52] hardly twenty miles apart. This easily leads us to conclude that upto the 8th century of the Christian Era, Kampilya preserved its unity as one city.

Inference

To the list of luminaries from Kampilya, Maharśi Atreya, the propounder of the medical knowledge which has descended to us as Caraka Samhitā, is also the one who can be added to the list. The Samasa-pradi method of Pāncāla from Kampilya was a reputed method in literature. The great astronomer Varahamihira is another gift of Kampilya to the world. Great scholar graduates of Kampilya like Agniveṣa, Bhela, Jatukarṇa, Parāśara, Harita, Ksarapani, Kahkayana, Kumarasira, Varyovida of Kasi and a host of others carried the fame of Kampilya to the four corners of the world and proved its claim to be the alma mater of universal fame before the days of Taxila.

Chapter XVI

Various Schools of Thought In Caraka's Times

As has been already stated, the period to which Caraka belongs was an age of great intellectual unrest in the country. There were bold and independent thinkers propounding their views in the country. It included the beginners which are materialists and the evolutionists who were the theists and the Vedantins. In addition to the Nyāya, the Vaiśeśika and the Sānkhya schools which are the basic schools on which the concepts of medicine are build, its supports and mentions other school ideology which includes the following:

  1. Materialists - They are the people who recognize only what is observable by the senses as true. They believe that implicitly is in revelation alone.
  2. Naturalists - They are the group of people who believed that the things happen according to some natural compulsion.
  3. Accidentalists - These are the people who denies the causal occurrence of physical determinism and maintains that events can succeed one another haphazardly or by chance also.
  4. Creationists - These are the people who believe that whatever happens is done by the creator of universe.

Śuśruta describes the various schools of thought prevalent during his time while summing up the various opinions regarding the original force of the world. The broad visioned philosophers regard Prakrti as the original creative force variously known as nature, god, time and evolutionary force. All these schools of thought are referred to in connection with the establishment of the existence of the immortal spirit that is the reason of the existence of man.

Rebirth and Destiny

Faith in the immortal soul led to the conclusion that the actions of man must beget a force by which the results of these actions accrue to the person performing it, which releases a stream or succession of such causes and effects. The negative or positive results of these actions effects in a series of births because there are phases when people remain happy or suffer in their life.

This arises the question whether the past actions or their effects leave any scope for escape or counteracting in a succeeding life or not. To this question, Atreya firmly denies. According to him the effect of the past actions depend on their innate strength and if in this life one can act more powerfully compared to the effects of last birth one can counteract the past actions and avert its results. Thus he gives a message of hope whereby one can be the master of his destiny to the best extent.

Man can endeavor in this life and perform actions that can dilute the evil effects of the past evil actions. By his good deed and actions of the present life man can shape his future life. This is a rational basis and justification for propounding the science of healing, because if this life was so irredeemably predetermined, no therapeusis effect would be availed in curing the ailment. But the truth is otherwise, there is a scope for fresh initiative in this life and the therapeutic action commensurate with the causative factors of the disease can neutralize it. This is a definite contribution to metaphysical as well as the scientific thought.

Sin And Holiness, Hell And Heaven

The acts of commission and omission either of the present or past life results in pain and suffering. They are known as bad actions or sins. These leads to suffering in this life and hell after death. Similarly, acts which render happiness in present and past life were known as good actions. The religious name for such types of actions or deeds is called holiness. If one practiced holy behavior and actions, it assures happiness in past, present and future life which ultimately leads to heaven. It was believed that even a conversation with an evil man leads to hell.

Rebirth

The belief in rebirth or reincarnation is common to each schools of Indian thought. Even the protestant sects like the Buddhists and Jains believe in karma and rebirth, though not in a creator. Caraka concedes with the general Hindu thought and adduces a proof of it by the experience of the memory of their past lives by some exceptional people. This is the recollection of the past births.

Cakrapāṇi, the commentator, believes that men sometimes come back to life after death. It happens when the soul of that person is taken away by mistake by the messengers of Yama.[53] The corollary is that of a soul which can go out of the body and re-enter. It continues its sense of identity, within the bodies of its succeeding incarnations also.

Chapter XVII

The Final Renunciation

According to the Indo Aryan tradition of living, the aim of life is fourfold. The achievement of this fourfold aim constitutes of full living. This comprises of the following:

  1. Righteousness
  2. Wealth
  3. Pleasures
  4. Liberation

Pursuit of Life as per Caraka

In the Caraka Samhitā also, the pursuits of life are given in a slightly modified form. They are reduced to three:

  1. Pursuit of wealth
  2. Pursuit of life
  3. Pursuit of other world

Though these three are the natural pursuits of life, the supreme purpose of life and science of therapeusis is to attain the total liberation from the trammels of nature such as body, senses and mind. The ultimate goal of a person is to live as pure spirit being merged with Brahmā. Once the soul merges with Brahmā, the spirit attains the final renunciation.

When one has lived one's life full of pain and pleasures, one must resort to the solitude and meditation so that he can detach himself from his senses, body and mind. This detachment is only possible when his senses have been satisfied to the most extent and the clamor for pleasure and sensation have been abated. In this way, one merges into the original essence that is all pervasive. It is the state of pure being which is free from all the sensations. The knowledge and awareness attained after this kind of detachment and renunciation is beyond the scope of mind.

Path for Attaining Liberation

The Sānkhya, Vedānta and Yoga systems uphold this condition as the final beatitude which every individual should attain. It is called as the liberated condition. Caraka describes this as the last stage of renunciation in similar terms.[54] The path leading to that state is also described in elaborate details. This is called as the upward leading path for those who seek renunciation.

Code of Conduct to Attain Liberation

The seeker, who has experienced the vanity of world, after final emancipation should first approach his teacher. One should put the preaching of the teacher into practice. One should tend the ceremonial fire, study the sacred books, understand their meaning and take them as his guide. One should then change his conduct as prescribed. One should seek the good actions and persons and avoid the evil and wicked deeds and persons. One should be truthful in his speech and ever conducive towards the betterment of all the creatures. One should be gentle, reasonable and well considered and regard all the creatures with humility. One should avoid all reminiscence, desire, quest and discourse with women. One should renounce all the possessions retaining only the following appurtenances

  • Loin cloth for cover
  • An ochre-colored garment
  • Needles in case of sewing
  • Water pot
  • Bowl for collecting alms
  • Arm rest

One may substitute alms by natural food which is easily available in the woods and just enough to maintain life. If fatigued, one may rest on a bed made of dry fallen leaves and weeds, but that too not habitually. One may keep an arm rest as an aid in meditation. One should dwell in the woods and have no roof over his head. One should avoid drowsiness, sleep, laziness etc. One should check the desire and aversion to the sense-objects. One should exercise cautious in sleeping, staying, moving, seeing, eating, recreation and in the movement of every individual limb.

One should treat the situations like honorable treatment, adulation, contempt and humiliation as the same. One should not get boasted if honored nor should be upset when humiliated. One should be able to put up with hunger, thirst, fatigue, strain, cold, heat, wind, rain, pleasure and pain. One should not be affected by grief, depression, self-conceit, affliction, arrogance, greed, attachment, envy, fear, anger etc.

The person following the path of liberation is asserted to dread procrastination. It is expected that the person practicing this path should be the practitioner of yoga on regular basis. One should be of an enthusiastic frame of mind. One should divert all the powers of understanding, resolution and recollection towards the ultimate goal of life that is final emancipation. One is expected to restrain the senses by means of the mind and the mind by means of the spirit. The spirit of this person should be continuously self motivated for the renunciation. One should constantly analyze the factors which are responsible for the existent of beings on this planet. One should hold the conviction that in the renunciation of all the things lays the true happiness. This is the path leading to final emancipation described in the ancient scriptures.[55]

Code of Mind and Senses for Liberation

To attain the final renunciation of individuality, the following path is prescribed. After attaining the understanding of all the code of conduct one should seek the company of learned and good people. One should perform various austerities, study the sacred scriptures, meditate, avert from all the sense pleasures and persevere the path of liberation. One should have supreme determination of the desire to quit the world. One should practice humility, detachment and investigate the true nature of things. All these activities move a being towards the attainment of the true nature of self.

The true recollection comes from seeking the company of the good and ending with supreme determination. Having recollected in mind the true nature of all the things, man gets relieved from suffering. The methods of inducing recollection are said to be rightly recalling the circumstances and the appearance by comparison and contrast, by concentration of the mind, by practice, by the acquisition of knowledge and by re-hearing.

Significance of Path of Liberation

Recollection is very significant because by dwelling upon what was seen, heard or otherwise experienced, it collects comprehensive past experiences in the mind. This is the only road, consisting of the power of true recollection. This path is enlightened by the learned scholars and saints who have achieved liberation following it. Those who determine to achieve it follow the guidelines consistently. This path has been described by the yogis as the path of yoga and liberated seers who were well versed in the knowledge of philosophy, as the path of liberation.

Sage having the below emphasized notion continuously in the mind transcends everything:

All that results from causes give pain and non self and transitory. I am not this and this is not mine.

During final renunciation all the sensations together with their cause and cogitation, contemplation and resolution; come to an absolute termination. Thereafter the individual self becomes one with the universal self. After attaining liberation it is no longer particularized. It gets rid of all the qualities. The knowers of Brahmā have a comprehensive knowledge on this. It cannot be understood by the ignorant.[56]

Chapter XVIII

People and Their Professions

There were four main divisions in which people were classified. Each class had a particular type or trend of work in general. The order of the sequence of these classes was:

  1. Brahmins - They were the teachers and gurus.
  2. Rajanya - They were the protectors of the country.
  3. Vaiśya - They formed the business and trade community of the country.
  4. Śudra - They served all the other class people for their chores.

Scenario for Medical Studies Classwise

According to Caraka, only the first three groups of people were permitted to study the medical science. Each class was obliged to use of this science for a particular purpose. The śudra class was debarred from the study of medical science by Caraka while Śuśruta concedes the general study of medicine to the śudra class only debarring them from the mantra therapy. Rasāyaṇa therapy was not taught to them. In ceremonies, they were not allowed to perform Homavidhi. They only gave salutations to the Brahmins.

We can deduce that śudras were almost excluded from the medical profession because there is no mention of śudras in the description of classes of people. Even the purpose for pursuing the medical profession for them is not clear. The reason supporting this statement is that during procreation procedure they were debarred from the performance of main ceremonies. Śuśruta supports admission of śudra but mantra were not given to them. Kaśyapa mentions that the śudras were allowed the mantra therapy if they served as assistants to other medical doctors. Vagbhatta revolts against the whole concept of debarring of śudras.

References

  1. Śuśruta Sutra 16, 3
  2. Caraka Cikitsā 1. 4
  3. It refers to the life of Aryans.
  4. Sutrasthāna chapter XXX
  5. Chapter III Sutrasthāna verse 34
  6. He is the recluse person.
  7. Caraka Cikitsā XXIV, 7 10
  8. Caraka Cikitsā XXIV, 52-61
  9. Caraka Cikitsā XXIV, 11-21
  10. Caraka, Sutra XXV, 49
  11. Caraka Cikitsā XXIV-20
  12. Caraka Cikitsā IX-96
  13. Caraka Cikitsā. XXIV, 41-51
  14. It can be split as Eu-good, Gen-breeding.
  15. It can be split as eu-good, technic-work, the improvement of occupation.
  16. It can be split as eu-good, topos-place, the amelioration of environment.
  17. Caraka Śarira VIII-17
  18. Caraka Śarira VIII-16
  19. Caraka Sarita III14
  20. Here long refers to tall.
  21. It refers to dwarfish.
  22. It means swan.
  23. Śuśruta Sutra 2-3
  24. This point can be proved from Jīvaka stories.
  25. It is the Ayurvedic term for abdominal tumors.
  26. Abdominal tumors, lumps or cysts due to blood impurity or deformity.
  27. Caraka Vimāna VIII, 13
  28. mouth, tongue, teeth, throat, skin etc
  29. It refers to inspection.
  30. It refers to palpation.
  31. It refers to percussion and auscutation.
  32. It should be performed by Brahmins under an auspicious constellation, day, Kārana and Muhurta.
  33. The brahmanas should have unshorn hair and wear white garments.
  34. Caraka Nidāna VIII-11
  35. It is the Sanskrit word for a hard tumor developed in abdomen.
  36. Cikitsā XIX 4
  37. Cikitsā-sthāna XXIII, 4-5
  38. Vimāna Sthāna Chapter III verses 24, 27
  39. Caraka Nidāna VII-19
  40. Caraka Cikitsā I 4 verses 39 49
  41. Cikitsā-sthāna, chapter XXV verses 3-9
  42. Sutrasthāna chapter XXVII verse 288
  43. Cikitsā-sthāna chapter XXIII, verses 81-91
  44. Here lord Śivā is referred to as Tryambaka, the three-eyed.
  45. It means victory.
  46. It is situated at 79.37 E,27.33N
  47. Draupadi is the pivotal character around whom the giant epic of Mahābhārata evolved.
  48. Kampilya was accounted to be the best among the cities he ruled.
  49. Yajurveda 23-18
  50. While once on hunting expedition he saw snow in the lake melting and this reminded him of the short-livedness and meaninglessness of life. From that day onwards he resorted to penance and made himself immortal by his preachings of truth.
  51. It is called as Sankasya.
  52. It is called as Kapitthika.
  53. He is believed to be the god of death.
  54. Śarirasthāna I-154 and 155
  55. Śarirasthāna V. 12
  56. Śarirasthāna VIII, 143-153
  • The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India