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Viewing' the career of Ayurveda as a terrestrial science according to tbe-Caraka Samhita, Bharadwaja is certainly the father of medicine of Ayurveda. He is the Indian Prometheus that brought the fire from the gods and bestowed it on mankind. He is said to have' brought the sunfire to the eaith. At any rate the fire of the healing science that bestows the warmth of good health, happiness and long health, happiness and long life on man is certainly the gift to mankind he brought from the king of the gods. Our history, naturally enough begins with the inquiry into the nature and timer of this greatest among sages.


The prime source of all knowledge to the Indo Aryans was . the Veda and both legend and history must ultimately be traced to Vedic origins. The �Science of Life� and the gods and sages that have propagated and enriched it, find mention in that eternal body of knowledge, the Vedas. The Rgveda and the Atharvaveda are variously claimed as the source, or the original tree of which Ayurveda is a branch. It is thus called an Upaveda of the Atharvaveda by most and of the Rgveda by some.


Though the Vedas are the eternal source of knowledge, they are given out at the beginning of each cycle of creation by the creator Brahma and are promulgated by the foremost of his creatures for the guidance of the world. Thus, Brahma, according to the Mundakopanisad which belongs to the Atharvaveda, narrates the descent of the Brahma-vidya from Brahma. Brahma taught it to his eldest son Atharva. Atharva gave it to Angir and he to Satyavaha, a descendant of Bharadwaja. Through him it came down through generations to the world. What applies to this Brahma vidya applies the whole to the whole of the Atharvaveda. This Atharvaveda is also called the Brahma veda, the Veda par excellence. At the time of the sacr�ifice, the Rgveda is represented and sung by the Hota, the Yajurveda by the Adhvaryu , the Samaveda by the Udgata and

the Atharvaveda by Brahma i. e. the one that represents the creator. Thus Ihe place of honor is accorded to this Veda. The Gopatha Brahmana says that while all the three Vedas form one wing of the bird of sacrifice the Atharvaveda, by itself, forms the other wing.


We thus see that this Atharva-veda was held in high esteem and its promulgators were naturally regarded as the leaders of thought and practical wisdom.


This Atharva-veda is both religious and secular in its range of subjects and scope of practice. Not only was it sung and represen�ted at the performance of the sacrifice which was the nucleus of Vedic religion and worship, but its coteries were the ones considered duly qualified to be the priests, and advisers to lungs and entitled to perform the auspicious ceremonies for happlness and health and of coronation of kings.


Thus we see that the Atharva-veda containing as It does, both spiritual aud worldly lore, was patronised both by sages and kings Its promulgators were naturally the leaders of the society and the originators of the great sciences and arts that the Atbarva-veda conta�ined. This Alharvangirasa lineage is the one from which has sprung the great sage in question, Bharadwaja, and no wonder that in the Atharva-veda his name and stature stand out conspiciously; and according to the Caraka Samhita, he is the bringer of the medical� science

from the king of the gods and the first teacher of Ayurveda on earth, of whom Atreya and others are the great disciples. � Agni, Vayu aud Surya are the recepients of the Rk, "Yaju and Saaman respectively and similarly Atharva is the recipient of the Atharav-veda. Bharadwaja belonging to his line is naturally-accorded the great place as the earthly promulgator of its important branches of medicine and archery.


Now, as regards the evidence we have from the three foremost Samhitas of Ayurveda about its origin and earthly descent, there is unanimity upto a certain extent i. e. with reference to the celes�tial part of its devolution.


"Daksa Prajapati, the progenitor, first obtained the science of life in Its entirety as promulgated by Brahma, the great of the Creator and from him in turn, the Aswin. From them Indra, the lord of the immortals, learnt it. It is from the Indra that mortal protagonists acquired it, and according to the Caraka Samhita, the first mortal that received the science was Bhardwaja, who repaired to the court of Indra delegated by the congress of Rsis to appeal to the king of the gods to impart the science for the redemption of suffering mankind below. Graciously enough, Indra taught the whole of the science to passed on to their disciples. The prime object of the science of life is to lengthen the span of earthly existence and Bhardwaja, the first mortal knower of this science is credited to have achieved this end.


�Bharadwaja thereby acquired unmeasured life endowed with happiness�; for he is known to have lived through three lives i e, three generations of contemporary humanity. This, as we have already said, is the version of the Caraka Samhita of the beginning of Ayurveda on earth. But according to the Susruta and Kasyapa Samhitas which are more or less contemporaneous with Caraka Samhita or Agnivesa-tantra as it is also called, the original teachers of these treatises namely Dhanvantari and Kasyapa claim to have received the science direct from Indra, on a par with Bharadwaja.


The following table gives the manner of descent of Ayur�veda and the succession of teachers and disciples according to each of these three important treatises, each representing predominantly a branch of medicine. Thus the Atreya school is primarily one of medicine, the Susruta school of Surgery and the Kasyapa school of Pediatrics and obstetrics.




According to the Version in Susruta Samhita

According to the version in Kasyapa Samhita

According to the version in Caraka Samhita

Dhanvantari or Divodasa

Kasyapa, Vasistha, Atri & Bhrgu

Bhardwaja or Atreya Punarvasu

Susruta, Aupadhenva, Vaitrana, Aurabhra, Paushalavata, Karavirya, Gopuraraksita, Bhoja and others

Their sons and Disciples

Agnivesa, Bhela, Jatukarna, Parasara, Haarita, Ksurapani and others


In this connection it is necessary to refer to another part of the Caraka Samhita where a different account of the descent of Ayurveda, particularly of Rasayana, is given. In the section on Rasayana, the following narative occurs.

Which means that Bhrgu, Angira and other sages approached Indra in the Himalayan region, desiring to find a remedy for the ills born of dwelling in towns and villages. They receive the desired know ledge from Indra. There is no mention of Bharadwaja in this context as receiving Ayurveda from Indra; but there is the name of Atri among the galaxy of sages. The learned commentator Cakrapani comes to the reader�s rescue and explains that this refers to a later occasion than the one described in the opening chapter of the book and that in the meanwhile the science of healing had fallen into neglect and that the sages mentioned above approached Indra again for instruction. The explanation sounds quite plausible considering the fact that no two obviously conflicting versions could have been embodied in the same text by its authors or compilers and subsequent redactors; and a supposition like the one suggested by the learned commentator seems quite justifiable and to have been intended by the authors. The latter reference is evidently limited only to the science of Rasayana.


As regards the evidence of the other two Samhitas referred to, we shall first examine the Susruta Samhita. There is no mention of Bharadwaja having received the science from Indra or having impar�ted it to Dhanvantari, the king of Kasi Dhanvantari claims to have received it from Indra directly, as may be seen from the table given before. Yet in contradiction to what we see in the 'Susruta Samhita Itself, we find from the Taittiriya Brahmana and the Mahabharata that Bharadwaja was the priest (Purohita) of three generations.

of the Kings of Kasi i.e. Dhanvantari, Sudasa and Pratardana. He is thus said to have lived through three lives. Divodasa must have owed his knowledge to his preceptor and priest Bharadwaja. The Harivansa describes Bharadwaja as the teacher of the medical science to Dhanvantari.


Evidently, as Divodasa was regarded as the earthly incarnation of God Dhanvantari, the original God of medicine, he claims to have received the science directly from Indra, the king of the Gods. Thus alone can we explai the absence of any mention, in the Susruta Samhita, of Bharadwaja as the preceptor of Dhanvantari or Divodasa. The compiler of each treatise, perhaps, desired to make the particular preceptor in question supreme above all others. We see this tendency in other treatises too. In the Kasyapa Samhita, Kasyapa and not Bharadwaja is the recipient of the Science from Indra. Again, in the Harita Samhita, Harlta is a disciple of Atreya along with Agnivesa, Bhela and others we have a confirmation of the story of Bharadwaja as the teacher of Atreya and other sages.


Curiously enough, Vagbhata, who draws from all the Samhitas extant at his time, portrays Punarvasu Atreya as approaching Indra as lender of other sages among whom Bhardwaja is also the one.


and as learning the Science of life from him. He is not indebted to Bharadwaja for his acquisition of the science.


Perhaps it is these and such other conflicting narratives that have made some scholars believe Atreya to be identical with Bharadwaj. But the learned Cakrapini is emphatic on the different indi�vidualities of these two sages and is definitely of the opinion that Bharadwaja is the teacher of Atreya.


A much later writer on medicine, Bhavamisra, of the sixteenth century, has three differing versions of the story of Ayurveda. Evidently he contents himself by stating the actual versions then current in books and among the scholars of the science. He firstly narrates the story as told by Vagbhata wherein Atreya, as the leader of a group of sages, receives his instruction from Indra.


In the second story, he depicts Atreya as approaching Indra, by himself, out of compassion for suffering humanity, and having learnt the science from Indra, Atreya writes a treatise on Ayurveda and instructs his disciples Agnivesa, Bhela and others in it


According to the third story, once it happened that many sages met together on the slopes of the Himalayas. The first to arrive was the best among sages, Bharadwaja. Then all the sages that congregated, unanimously chose and besought Bhaiadwaja tp repair to �Indra and Bring down the Ayurveda.


He did so and the other sages studied the treatise written by him and acquired long life and health. This story is more in accordance with the one given in the

Caraka Samhita except for the feature which makes Bharadwaja offer himself voluntarily to be their deputy before Indra in the latter work. That the other sages learnt the science from him is common to both the versions. His teaching was imparted systematically lading out the foundations of logical concepts of Samanya, Visesa and Samavaaya, from which the theory of drug and action as evolved leading to the general principles of the science of medicine. Both are Bhavaprakasa ard Caraka, these logical concepts are specifically mentioned as the basic knowledge that Bharadwaja taught the other sages for learning the science of medicine. It is therefore natural to surmise that Bharadwaja should have been famous as a teacher of logic. We find one Udyota-kara,


the author of Nyayavarttika referring to Bharadwaja as the author of Nyaya.


From the foregoing it must be evident that despite conflic�ting narratives, Ayurveda owes its inception to Bharadwaja. The strongest point in favour of such a view is his line of descent from Atharva and Angiras, the receivers and seers of the Atharva-veda, and Ayurveda as a part of the Atharvaveda accords leadership in the science to Bharadwaja, a luminous sage of the Atharvavedic line of descent.


Besides, Bharadwaja is a name held in great veneration even in the Rgveda. He is the composer of the Brhat which is the best of the Sama melodies. In a hymn in the Rgveda (X. 181) it is sung that while Vasistha composed the Rathantara Melody it was Bharad�waja who was the author of the Brhat, these being the twin luminous wings of the fire-bird of sacrifice. It is also said that Bharadwaja was among the first to discover 'the highway leading to the gods," The hymn concludes saying, rather mysteriously, that it was "these sages (among whom Bharadwaja is one) that brought down the Gharma the heat, from the sun.


" They found with mental eyes the earliest Yajus, a pathway to the gods that had descended from radiant Dhatar, Savitar and Visnu. From Surya did these sages bring the Gharma." (Griffiths translation of Rigveda)


In the Mahabharata, Bharadwaja is said to be a sage settled near Haradwar on the banks of the Ganges, while in the Ramayana he has his hermitage at Prayag where he receives Rama and Sita.


According to both the Harivansa and the Bhagawata, Bharadwaja became the adopted son of Paurva, son of Bharata. In the story it is said that as the king was not satisfied with the qualities of the children his wife bore him, he was very much grieved and the Maruts commmended to him this son of Brhaspati as most worthy of being adopted by him for a successor.


The story of his birth in this connection is worth narrating. According to the Visnu Purana and the Mahabharata, he is the son of Mamata by Brhaspati. When Utathya�s wife Mamata was big with child, Brhaspati the husband�s younger brother cohabited with Mamata. The fetus, who later was the great sage Dirghatamas objected to the uncle�s attempt at further impregnation and kicked out the new fetus with his feet. In consequence, Brhaspati caused the original fetus to become blind as Drghatamas became since as his name indicates. Though thrown out, Brhaspatis offspring grew into the child that was Bharadwaja later. �Rear this child of double parentage" with these words Brhaspati offered the child to the mother.


Thus the strange tale of an instance of superfetation hangs about this great personage of ancient times, one of the greatest leaders of men at the very dawn of Aryan history in India. Prometheus-ltke in stature and benevolence, wise as behaves the son of Brhaspati, the teacher of the gods, he strode the� earth like a prophet, bringing the fire from the sun, the healing wisdom from the king of the immortals, and opened up the pathway leading to heaven which may mean the �Brahma-vidya� or the institution of sacrifice that opens up the path leading to the Gods. Prophet, sage and prince, this dynamic leader was the contemporary of three generations of humanity, counsellor and teacher to t!be kings of Kasi


revered leader and compeer of the greatest of sages, he might also be one of the seven original sages that exist from the beginning of each cycle. Manvantar Cakrapani, the commentator is of the view that he is only a descendant of the orginal sage of that name.


With this great personage, half legendary and half histori�cal, half divine and half human, striding the snowy heights of the Himalayas in the early dawn of history, footing the path to the home of the king of the immortals, 'looking larger than human on these frozen hills�, the history of Ayurveda begins. He remains for ever the bringer of the healing light, the father of the science of Medi�cine on Earth.


The Various Bharadwajas


� The first and the foremost famous vedic poet of this period was Bharadwaja Vajineya. He was a contemporary of D.vodasa, Prastoka and Abhyavartin Cayamana and consequently of Dasaratha. His sons were Garga and Payu. Rama Dasarathi repaired to his hermitage on his way back from Lanka. He was the Purohita of Divodasa gave Pratardana Daivodasi his kingdom and Ksattrasri Pratardani was his Yajamana. He was one of the Rsis of the Vedic age, who prohibited the slaughter of cows in sacrifices simply out of gratitude to the bovine race which showers on mankind kindness in the form of milk. Bharadwaja loved the cows so very deeply that he did not hesitate to identify them with Indra, his deity


The above is evidently the account of Bhardwaja that we have just studied in the foregoing pages as described by an orientalist. That Bharadwaja loved the cows and identified them with Indra is how we may understand if we take the word Go to mean cow. �Go� is primarily light or knowledge and the Veda which is the embodiment of it Bharadwaja was a great Gavesaka meaning not simply a lover or promoter of the well being of the cow, but a seeker after light and knowledge. That he identified knowledge with Indra is easily understandable when we know that he received


his Ayurveda from Indra, the fountain-head of knowledge, and the king of the immortals.


Later on in the Mahabharata we hear of a Bharadwaja, the father of Drona, the famous teacher of the Kauravas in archery.


Now we shall deal with the accounts of the various other persons bearing the name of Bharadwaja that we meet in the Caraka Samhita, so that there may be no mistake and confusion regarding the one great Bharadwaja, the first propagator of the Science of Life on ea'rth and the great seer that was among the bringers of the solar fire and that approached Indra for the Ayurveda, as the messenger of the sages.


In the Caraka Samhita we have another Bharadwaja, known as the Kumarasira and yet another that takes part in the learned discussion with Atreya. The context in which the names of these two persons appear leaves no doubt regarding their different identity from the great Bharadwaja


There are three places in the Caraka Samhita where this Bharadwaja with the title of Kumarasira is mentioned.


This is perhaps a nick-name bestowed on that particular Bharadwaja for his theory that in the course of the development of the fetus the head is the first part to manifest itself. Or it is also likely that he had a head bigger in size than is usual and resembling the head in an infant, in whom the head is very large in proportion to the rest of the body Or it is equally likely that he had an infantile head in proportion to his adult body and was hence known as Kumarasira �One having a boy's head� But we know for certain that he propounded the theory of the emergence of the head first in the fetus before other parts, and his theory might have earned him the lasting epithet of Kumarasira.


�It is the head that first develops in the womb, thus view


Kumarasira Bharadwaja�.


He participates in the discussion on the actions of Vata and again in the significant discussion on the number of tastes. He propounds 'that tastes are only five in number


"Hearing this statement, Bharadwaja, the Kumarasira said, ' It is even as your honor has said; such, to be sure, are the characteristics of Vata. It is by the repeated use of such like qualities, such like substances and actions of such like potencies that Vata becomes excited. For, verily, the increasing factors of the body-elements is the repeated use of homologous things.


�The sinless Bharadwaja known as Kumarasira� Bharadwaja known also as Kumarasira then said,'There are five tastes..... �


Thus we find a Bharadwaja Kumarasira, quite distinct from the Great Originator of the Science on earth and described in the beginning of the Caraka Samhita.


There is another person by the name of Bharadwaja, who is a great scholar taking part in the learned discussions of the sages and propounding the theory of Nature or the innate quality of things as the cause of man as well as of his diseases



�To this the sage Bharadwaja said�"No For the doer always precedes the deed. Nor have we any valid knowledge of action that has not been performed, whereof it may be said that an individual is the result. Nature alone is the cause, then, of both man and his dise�ase just as roughness, fluidity, mobility and heat are respectively the nature of earth, water, air, and fire �


�No!" said Bharadwaja to this. For what reason did he say so? Because neither mother nor father, neither the spirit nor concor�dance, nor yet the use of drinks or foods that are eaten, masticated or licked up, in fact, bring about the conception Nor does a mind, coming from another world, enter into the embryo�.


In the latter part of Sarira-sthana, Chapter III, a Bharadwaja asks the teacher Atreya a numter of questions. This Bharadwaja seems to be merely a student who goes on asking questions, and evidently a different person from the learned Bharadwaja of the earlier part of the chapter, who has authoritative views of his own.


�How is the embryo integrated? Why does the embryo emerge in the shape of man? Why are those, sprung of the idiotic, blind� unlike the parents ? �

In the Kasyapa Samhita there is a reference to a Kisna Bharadwaja who may be a son of Bharadwaja.


�There are four kinds of diseases exogenous, those born

of Vata, those born of Pitta and those born of Kapha; 'so says Kisna Bharadwaja��


It is necessary to mention, while yet on this subject, that there are a few works come in the name of Bbaradwaja.

1             �Bhavaprakasa ascribes to Bharadwaja a regular treatise on medicine from which the other sages studied and learnt the qualities and actions of substances.

2             There seems to have been current a book entitled Bharadwajiyam meaning the book on the system of Bharadwaja.

3. Bhesaja-kalpa is another book ascribed to him dealing with the pharmaceutics and treatment of fevers. A commentary of this work is also available.


There are a few recipes too bearing Bharadwaja's name, being perhaps propounded by him.


The following recipes bear the name of Bharadwaja:

1 Brhat Phalaghita

2 Phalaghita�


In conclusion, it is necessary to repeat that the great mass and variety of evidence that we have reviewed, leave no doubt regar�ding the existence and accomplishments of this great sage and father of medicine. There must have been lesser persons bearing his name who have played some part in the history of the cultural evolution of the Indo-aryan people; but the proto-type, the Bharadwaja that brought down the science of medicine and opened up the way to the court of Indra, is from all accounts, the real hero and originator of the Science of Medicine and of life, known as Ayurveda. No acc�ount of the evolution of Medicine in India can afford to ignore thus hallowed name, if it should be faithful to the inscribed" chronicles of racial history. It is only after a full cognizance of his greatness and significance that we can pass on to consider the lives and achieve�ments of other teachers and propagators of medicine, in the land of the Aryas.