Talk:/Medical Institutions in ancient india/method of theoretical and practical study/Medical Conferences

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Medical Conferences

 

The idea of holding national and international conferences of scholars and scientists in any branch of knowledge is not confined to modern times alone as some may be disposed to think. This was a custom obtaining in ancient times too and we have ample evidence in the Caraka Samhita to think that either periodically or whenever there arose doubt and differences of opinion on important questions affecting the theory and practice of science, there took place large or small conferences and discussions to resolve the doubts and establish an authoritative doctrine on the subject. These were different in their character from clinical meetings and debates that we have already surveyed. These were national gatherings where scholars and thinkers from various parts of the country and even scholars from neighbour�ing countries, assembled in the interests of the advancement of science as a whole and for the promotion of exchange of doctrines and their international dissemination

 

The Caraka Samhita opens with the description of one of the greatest such conferences of sages, when the people as a whole were confronted with the phenomenon of acute disease and premature death and selected and deputed one of them - Bharadwaja, to learn the science of life from Indra. There is a conference on a smaller scale of sages depicted, wherein the nature of Vata and other body-forces is discussed.

 

There is another conference devoted to the discussion of the theory of Taste and of the elemental composition of its varieties.

 

There is a conference of sages for discussing the origin of disease and the formation of body � elements. On the question of eugenics, of marriage inheritance and constitutional traits and pecularities, there are discussions among sages and the leader of them, Atreya, gives out two authoritative conclusions on each subject after the debate.

 

Other such discussions are on subjects like timely and prem�ature death and relative merits of various purgative drugs and other such topics. Thus as a sincere and serious method of advancing the cause of the science and the well-being of mankind, the conferences and debates and discussions were held in Caraka's times even as they are done today. This bespeaks the high degree of enlightenment and the love of progressive knowledge among the learned and their sincere desire for human welfare in those early times of history.