Agnivesa and Bhela studied at the same master�s feet and hence we find great similarity in their works. But Bhela Samhita is more concise and there is more prose in it than in his distinguished co-student�s treatise. The Bhela Samhita as handed down to us seems to be of quite old composition. Unfortunately, the treatise is incomplete and mutilated. Here and there portions are missing and the text is full of scribe's errors. The book is considered to be old even by Vagbhata and is spoken of reverentially by him.
Bhela'sname is very often given as Bheda by Vagbhata and Dalhana. This interchange of 'd' and 'l' however is authorized by ancient usage.
It seems that no redaction was done of Bhela�s original treatise. But some of the quotations of Bhela given by later authors are not found in the treatise available now. This can lead us to one of the conclusions that either the portion quoted by later authors but not found in the treatise has been lost, or that some earlier redaction might have been done.
Only one manuscript of Bhela Samhita is known to exist. It is in the Tanjore Library No. 10773 (Burnell's catalogue). Telugu and Devanagarl manuscripts are believed to have been written The Tanjore library manuscript was written about 1650 A. D. apparently copied from an injured Olai manuscript. It is in large and clear hand.
As Bhela was a co-student of Agnivesa, his Samhita was composed at the same time. Thus the Bhela Samhita is of great help to us in differentiating Agnivesa�s original work from the later redactions of Caraka and Drdhabala.
Bhela Samhita, fragmentary and mutilated though it is, must he studied by scholars with great care, as many new terms, similes, concepts and greater details of some subjects will be found in it, which will throw more light on medical history. Frequent references to Gandhara i. e. modern Kandhar in his work lead us to infer that he was a resident of that country. The following verses from Bhela Samhita are indicative of many things.
These lines have been of great value to the medical his�torian as they are helpful in proving the identity of Candrabhagi and Punarvasu. They are also significant of the great progress of the science of poison and the king being in constant fear of being poisoned. The verses mention the name of the ruler and his country and also the status of the court physician and the desire of the king to learn the science.
In the Janapada-vibhaktiya chapter we find new terms as applied to fevers in animals. In the same chapter he gives an interesting description of the countries and their peculiar diseases
Bheladescribed eight varieties of sudation. But Caraka gives 13 varieties. So it seems Agnivesa must have described only 8 kinds and five more were added during the redaction by Caraka.
The Bhela Samhita was considered to be a book of great merit for long as proved by numerous quotations and references to him in medical works separated by centuries.