By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Susrutasamhita, SuZrutasamhitA, Sushrutasamhitaa
Sages have paid much attention to the life here and after death. That is why many great sages developed secular sciences too, in the various fields of mundane life. Since our body is the most wonderful gift of God and since we can achieve whatever we want in life only through it, to keep it in a fit condition is the primary duty of every human being. The science of Ayurveda aims exactly at this.
Out of the several standard treatises on this subject, the Carakasamhitā of Caraka and the Suśrutasamhitā of Suśruta have carved for themselves a unique place in the field of health science in ancient India. Whereas the former is a work on medicine, the latter is predominantly on surgery. Tradition considers Suśruta as one of the sons of the sage Viśvāmitra and a disciple of Divodāsa. He might have lived anywhere between 1000 B. C. and 600 B. C. The work is in the form of sutras, anuṣṭubh ślokas and also the prose.
Commentaries on Suśrutasamhitā
Two commentaries are available on this treatise:
Sections of Suśrutasamhitā
The Book, as available now, is in six sthānas or sections. Each sthāna is divided into adhyāyas or chapters containing ślokas, verses and sutras. The following table gives an idea of the work:
Content of Suśrutasamhitā
The contents summarized briefly are:
It is a kind of introduction. It deals with the following topics:
- Origin of Āyurveda
- Instruments and implements to be got ready before surgery
- Operation procedures and post-operative care
- Uses of machines and surgical instruments
- Ointments and medicinal drinks
- Taking out bad blood using leeches
It explains more about diagnosis. The topics dealt with in it are:
- Sixteen serious diseases like imbalance of vāta or wind, fistula, leprosy, diabetes and so on
- Their causes
- Their cure
It deals with the physiology and anatomy of the body. The main topics dealt with are:
- Sensitive places in the body
- Blood-vessels and nervous system
- Other allied topics
It deals with diagnosis and treatment. This section has many more details than are found in other similar works like the Carakasamhitā or the Astāñgahrdaya. It explains about the various topics such as:
- Diseases like fistula, leprosy, fractures, kindney-stones etc.
- The methods of their operation
It deals with toxicology. The main points covered are:
- How to remedy the poisons that might have been consumed through food materials
- Offsetting the evil effects of the poisons by snake bite or bites by insects
- Other related topics
It is also called as Uttarasthāna which is a fairly voluminous work. It contains the descriptions and remedies of several diseases like those of the eyes, the ears, the nose, the head and the mouth, which is perhaps a later addition.
It is remarkable that this work prescribes in the very beginning the necessary qualifications of a disciple to become a good vaidya and also the obligations of the teacher. Suśruta permits even a śudra of good physique and conduct to be trained in this science.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore