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Some Aspects of Life in Caraka's Times




It was the great German Poet-philosopher Goethe that said, �If you would understand an author, you must understand his age. �Most people will agree with us when we say that the meaning and spirit of this greatest of medical classics will become more intellig�ible and vitally interesting against the background of the context of life and things, and 'the ideas, the forms of thought, sentiment and behavior that obtained and developed in their age.


Though this is a work on medicine, it is not without interest to the general man, for medicine is one of those vital subjects that have a bearing on various general aspects of life It has a light to throw on the food and clothing, the methods of education, the place of man and women in society, the pleasures people resorted to, on sex and marriage, the habits and addictions, the social pleasures and the religious practices pertaining to that age.


It is thus that the material for writing history is culled from the works on art, literature and particularly medicine. Even as the chronicles of general history provide data for the medical historian, similarly the chronicles of medical history and science throw considerable light on the facts and features of general life and history.


It needs the diligent and patient mind of the researcher to exhaustively investigate these ancient texts of medicine in the light of a historical perspective, to paint a complete picture of the social, economic and religious aspects of life in Caraka�s age. We have cont�ented ourselves under the present circumstances to pick up only the salient features obtained from incidental references in Caraka and to draw a probable picture of the conditions of life warranted by such references. It is hazardous to aver that our conclusions are exactly and completely true of the state of things obtaining several millenniums ago. Yet we are certainly able to suggest the direction in which the truth might lie and thus guide the interested reader in his further and more detailed investigations in the realm. We are thus in a position to declare that a more intense investigation, in the light of and with the object in view we have suggested in these - pages, is bound to bear fruit and yield the historian rich material for depicting the social, economic, religious and cultural aspects of life in the India of more than two thousand years ago. We are sure that the following outline of the picture of life then, built upon the salient features mentioned in the Caraka Samhita and allied works, will greatly interest the general reader.


Chapter I


The Ceremonials Observed in Childhood


The man�s journey from cradle to grave consists of so many interesting stages of activity that a picture of this journey as it was in ancient India 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.


Soon after the child was declared born into this world and he had passed through accoucheuse's routine procedure of cleansing and the severing of the umbilical cord, the last connecting link of the fetus with the mother's body, the first socio-religious ceremony he had to pass through was Jatakarma ceremony.


For the first ten or twelve days special precautionary and protective measures were taken including ________ etc., i.e peace, benedictory rites etc , for the child as well as for the mother.


On the tenth day the naming ceremony was performed. The procedure followed was as under:�


The mother and the new born child bathed in water treated with fragrant drugs; put on thin clean garments, light and varieg�ated ornaments and received the blessing of Brahmins. After this the child was given two names by the father, one denoting the constell�ation under which it was born and the other of intended meaning. The name was not selected in a haphazard way but it had to conform to several prescribed rules, one of which being, the name conforming to the constellation at birth, was in order to enable to cast his horoscope from the mere name of the child.


After this ceremony a thorough examination was made of each individual part of the child�s body to determine the life-span of the child. This was based on the physiognomical and anthro�pological 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 arrive at the appraisement of the measure of the life span of the new born child.


The mother's milk was considered to be the best for a child but human nature was not very different then from now and it seems the custom of having a wet-nurse at least in the aristocratic class was prevalent. Great care was taken in selecting a wet-nurse A minute and thorough examination was carried out not only as regards the age, caste, color, family, race, character etc, of the woman but even of the size and shape of the breasts and the nipples and of her milk.


The detailed care and attention they paid to the selection of the wet-nurse indicates the importance they attached to the influence of the nurture on the qualities of the future man.


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 three broad divisions of life viz, childhood, middle age and senescence.


The first stage or chilhood lasts upto 16 years, followed by adolescent stage or lasting upto 30 years. The second is the middle or stage lasting for a period of 30 years from the age of 31 to 60 years. Then follows the third and the last stage of senescence or which gradually carries the man to the grave.




In princely and aristocratic families special residential nursery quartets were devised. They were constructed to accommodate old and experienced people and medical men residing with the child in order to take care of his 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 arrange�ments were not at all neglected. 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 horns of a live rhinoceros, deer, gayal and bull, herbs like the Aindri etc, the herbs Jivaka and Bsabhaka, as also all such articles as the Brahmana, specialised in the Atharvaveda, recommended.


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 parts of Octopartite Ayurveda.


Special medications were prescribed to increase the resistence 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 conditions, physical and psychological.


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 Karnavedha. This was an essential religious ceremony for both the male as well as the female child to undergo Susruta describes the ceremony thus.


�In the sixth or the seventh month of the child's age in the bright fortnight, in an auspicious day, Karana, Muhurta and constellation, having performed the auspicious ceremonies of Mangala and benedictory rites, and seating the child on the lap of the father, the wet-nurse or other attendant, on pacifying and cheering the child by holding up to its view the toys and other play-things, the physician should bore the ear in the center which is by nature meant for boring and which is revealed by the exposure to the sun's rays. 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." (Susruta Sutra. 16, 3)


Chapter II


The Routine of Daily Life


Man gets up rather early in the morning and finishes his or the purificatory process of excretion and bath. Then follows his daily procedure. This he modifies in every season, his diet, dress and behaviour. Twice or thrice in a year he undergoes the cleansing process of his internal system by cleansing all the Internal passages possible of approach and then he takes a regular course of medications of Rasayana and Vajlkarana whose action is rehabilitation or i.e. prevention of aging of the body, senses, organs, mind and vital strength which helps him to live for the longest possible span of life for him immunizing him against adverse environmental circumstances.


His moral and spiritual life can best be inferred from the passage of given in the text.


Thus he fully enjoyed the life fulfilling the four fold purpose thereof viz. _____ and _________. The peculiarly oriental luxurious life he lived was unrivalled elsewhere and yet the mode of living made the people around him happy. _____ or the universal spirit of kindness always remained dominant in his activities. He had three springs or of life. Firstly his own bodily existence, secondly wealth and thirdly ______ or the life hereafter. But all these motivating factors were kept in equibalance. He knew how to live happily for himself and he believed in making others happy. The Karma theory is nothing but the spiritual or moral law equivalent to the physical law of actions and reactions being always equal and opposite. Karma is the action done and when anything is done, the reaction is bound to follow. He was ever conscious to obey these laws which he himself had conceived and found them working in nature.


The essence of the concept of Ayurveda for the man is given in Sutrasthana chapter XXX.


Life In General������


To understand the rationale of each endeavour and activity of man�s life in ancient India, one should view it in its proper setting of the concept of life the Aryans held as well as the purpose and province of Ayurveda or the science of life evolved by the Aryans. 'Ayus� or life, to the Aryans, was not merely the mass of material body or the body with a sparingly considered mind tolerated as inseparable addenda, but to them life was the specific conglomera�tion of body, senses, the mind and spirit.


Again life was not just a purposeless accidental phenomen�on to be wondered at, to he frittered away as it came, but it had a special purpose of achieving virtue, wealth, enjoyment and salvation, to go one step higher on the ladder of creative evolution. With such a vast field for progressive activity and purpose, it was essential to maintain life not only in a disease-free condition, but in perfect positive health of body mind and spirit so that the desired success in the fourfold purpose of life could be fully attained


The province and purpose of the science of life was prima�rily to teach how to lead a good, long and happy life. Thus greater, importance was attached to the healthy condition of all the constituents of man viz, body, senses, mind and spirit to enable him to lead a good, benevolent and happy life. As such the science of life gave primary consideration to the maintenance of positive, health and only secondarily it considered the curative measures which were needed occasionally to alleviate the temporary setbacks to health. (Caraka Cikitsa. 1. 4)


Although general rules were prescribed for the maintenance of normal health and for the treatment in diseased condition, great stress was laid on the individual and his peculiar constitution. The word Swastha is significant of this recognition of individuality denoted by the term which means one�s own peculiar constitution.


The general rules laid down were to be applied with necessary modifications and alterations according to the individual constitution which a man acquired from his very birth or even from previous to it i.e. from the moment the conception took place in the mother�s womb.

And so the regimen of conduct and food for the maintenance of health should be devised in accordance with his constitution.


Personal Hygiene


Daily routine - The greatest importance is attached to diet which ought to be taken in proper measure both in quantity and quality. The first of the four chapters devoted to personal hygiene begins with the following aphorism. "One must eat in measure". 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 food and drug being that the former has more of mass while the latter has more of potency.

The detailed description of food and factors concerned with it will be given later on. Food is described and considered in the same way as the drug i.e. the materia medica of food is equally important with the materia medica of drugs.


The following articles of diet have been recommended as wholesome and fit to be included in the daily diet


No definite time of rising in the morning is mentioned in Caraka, but the general trend as found in other texts seems to get up early in the morning. After performing the daily morning ablut�ions the person must strengthen the tone of his various senses, organ 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 ear-drops and skin by oily message of skin of head, body and feet. By streng�thening the skin the resistance power to external injury increases and stabilizes the power of the whole body especially its musculature.


The vigour and vitality of man underwent following variations in 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 highest.


This statement of Ayurveda will be an interesting study to research scholars to compare the incidence of disease in different seasons or months in India. In the cold season, the gastric fire gets stronger and the climate is cold, so one should have ones food, cloth�ing, residence, sex-relations etc, in accordance with it In the summer all these are to be changed in order to suit the increased atmosph�eric temperature. Rainy season has its own peculiarities. Thus man should practise varied measures of personal hygiene in different seasons.


There are special instructions laid down for adjustment from one season to the next. This withdrawal from one habituation to the other was done in a special way as may not disturb the working of the body.


Physical exercise is advised to be practised by every man according to his constitution and strength. A special system of psycho�somatic exercise was evolved and practised by yogis to develop the controlling power on involuntary musculature of the body in addition to the stabilizing power and tone of voluntary musculature.


There is an interesting classification of psychic and somatic urges of the body experienced by 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, and of 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 requiring 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 material, the procedures for revitalizing and strengthening it, will not be efficacious as the dirty cloth will not take proper colour.


Thus cleanliness was given supreme importance. Here below we give various items of daily hygiene recommended by the writers of Ayurveda...




Mouth flavoring


Bath or the general washing

Cleansing of feet etc., after all excretory processes.


All these are more or less the specialized procedures evolved particularly in India in view of its climatic, and other needs Cleanliness of the body, externally as well as internally as 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 ornam�ents. He put on shoes, carried an umbrella and stick; he put on a light turban and remained ever vigilant in the care of his body.


There were three classes of activity which were regarded as violations of rules of health. They were called or volitional transgressions. 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 of led to the evolution of ethical, social and humanitarian codes of Conduct. Caraka laying supreme stress on psychic health, appended a Sadvitta or the right life to Swasthavrtta or personal hygiene. This inculcated discipline of mind and senses and regulation of the moral life so as to accord with the happiness and good, not of the indivi�dual 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 an entire way of life that Ayurveda expounds embodying philosophy, ethics and morality, and also individual and universal health.


The whole of the 8th chapter of Sutrasthana is devoted to details of how a man should live in society. It gives a clear picture of the rules and modes of social behaviour.


The general rules were the same as are observed today. We shall narrate in brief some of the customs prevailing at that period.


Gods, cows, Brahmins, preceptors, elders, adepts, teachers, guilds and king were held in great respect.


The sacrificial fire was held sacred and meticulous care in observance of cleanliness was enjoined in the performances of the ceremonies. Special incantations in honour of fire, wind, water, Visnu and Indra were to be sung. The man was desired to be devoted to sacrifices. Offerings to the manes were given. A dead body was treated with great respect. One should be given to salute acquaintances in the public places and squares of the town. Tutelary tree, temple, totem tree, crematorium and the scaffold were to be held in esteem. Hospitality to guests was one of the prime duties enjoined on a house-holder. Company of persons who were irreligious, disloyal to the king, arrogant, depraved, who pract�ised feticide and who were mean and wicked, was prohibited. Drinking, gambling and prostitution were prohibited. Putting on the body of incanted herbs or jewels as a protective measure was widely practised. Man's daily cleansing consisted of bathing twice a day, hair-clipping thrice a fortnight, and his dress regulations, his general behaviour as regards speech, social manners, thought and nature, his social code regarding dinner, manners, sex-hygiene, holidays and days of work, all these are minutely described.


The universal, progressive and catholic spirit of Caraka becomes quite manifest when one finds at the end of the chapter VIII, Sutrasthana, verse 34.


�Whatever other observances there may be that are not spoken of here, provided they are good are always to be welcomed in the opinion of Atreya."


The Springs of activity or the pursuits of life derived their origin from the three goals which a man aspired to achieve. They were the pursuit of life, the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of the other world.


From among these pursuits, the pursuit of life is given priority. This required main attention in the constant preservation of positive health and the immediate correcting whenever there is the slightest disturbance, of the bodily health.


Next importance was attached 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 work or profession tell us of the Social con�cept of good and bad profession.


Agriculture was considered the best of professions, next came the rearing of cattle, next to it in order of preference came trade and the last was service. A man was to select any of these professions, or any other that was not disapproved of by the righteous.


Ancient society seems to have been rather strict as regards the selection of one�s profession Caraka lays down a definite state�ment as under:�


"One should have recourse to such means of livelihood as is not contrary to the dictates of religion and one should be devoted to peace and studies Doing this, one attains happiness.�


The third and the last pursuit was ________ or the other world. There existed many and diverse schools of philosophy, some exclusively materialistic, others spiritualist and some that were believers in nature or natural occurrence, others in a creator and some in parental creation and so on.


The development of so many diverse concepts, each supported by plausibe reasoning, is significant of the high intellectual level of the times. It resulted in one permanent benefit to the world for it evolved the first postulates of scientific method.


Caraka taking up the question of the other world or the survival of the spirit evolves the principles of scientific investigation and describes each method of knowledge giving it its proper value and place.


The concept of the other world is based on the concept of continuity of the soul, and the influences of action in past lives on future periods of life. This view of life taken at its face value would, it he thought, negative the necessity of any human effort or endeavor to counteract what is predestined as a result of previous actions.


But here Caraka puts forward another theory where past deeds are classified into three categories, mild, moderate and strong or severe. Manly endeavour can counteract the mild type of Karma i.e past deeds and can get over them safely, and thus justifies the necessity of therapeutic endeavours and activities of Ayurveda.


He, no doubt, admits man s inability to counteract the stron�ger effect of past actions which he has to inevitably suffer in this life.


Personal Regimen


The six well-defined seasons with their climatic variations are peculiar to India and this pecularity has been given full cognisance in the science of life, Ayurveda. This classification is an interesting study to the student of physical geography as the description gives many suggestive data regarding directions of wind, rains etc, and how the seasonal variations are brought about by these factors. The descriptions given in different text-books regarding the flora and fauna and natural scenery observed in each season provide the research scholar with definite clues regarding the region referred to. To the medical student as to the common man, these variations had great importance as they led to variations in his bodily functions and vitality and also because they affected the quality and potency of the articles of food and medicine resorted to.


There were special directions laid down for adjustment and habituation from observance of one season to another. The ancients knew and valued the science of developing internal homeostasis of the body and to increase the resistance power of the body, i.e. to develop immunity, against the further incursion of disease or the extremes of different climes, which shows that they travelled to far places of varying climes and seasons and were conversant with the periodic incidence of various diseases.


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, the ever-active man was liable to commit errors, negligence and indifference and the internal homeostasis would be disturbed.


This disturbance of homeostasis was required to be brought to the normal state at least thrice a year.


This is one of the greatest contributions of Ayurveda. It has definite methods and procedures laid down for internal cleansing of the whole body through all its excretory channels. And all the toxic or harmful substances accumulated in the body was got rid of once in every four months. The Ayurvedist is not satisfied with this mere cleansing but he knows that the delicate machinery of the body suffers wear and tear and becomes deteriorated in its functional capa�city. With this in view there have been formulated marvellous pro�cedures of revitalization for regaining the perfect homeostasis, and in rejuvenating the body and in increasing its powers of resistance to disease and of retarding the process of aging, the five verses in the seventh chapter of Sutrasthana give a vivid picture of this cleansing and revitalizing procedure.


For detailed descriptions of these procedures, the reader may refer to Sutra XIII for oleation therapy, Sutra XIV for sudation therapy and Sutra XV and XVI for purificatory therapy.


There are stronger measures as well as mild ones prescribed for different classes of people. The courses of medication in that group of drugs which were termed Rasayana were prescribed for a particular period and strict regimen was to be observed regarding diet and behaviour during this period. One feels astonished when one finds that emblic myrobalans that were picked up directly from the tree were highly valued. Here we get the empirical concept of vitalizing element (vitamins of modern science) in the selection of fresh emblic myrobalans. And here is a description of the action of this special course of Rasayana.

"Long life, heightened memory and intelligence, freedom from diseases, youth, excellence of lustre, complexion and voice, opti�mum strength of body and sense, utterance that always gets fulfilled, the reverence of people, body-glow, all these does a man obtain by the use����� of ������ vitalizers. The vitalizers are so called because they help to replenish the vital fluids of the body.�




Chapter III



Dress and Clothing


The most obvious feature of any stage of social advancement is the dress and clothing represented by it In the time delineated in the Caraka Samhita, there is already In use a surprising variety of clothing both for purposes of therapeusis and general habiliment. Both in the Caraka and Susruta Samhitas the material used in dress and in bandaging of wounds is drawn from skins, silk, linen and other vegetable fibres, bark cloth, woollen cloth etc.

All cloth was classified into two categories that which is of a hot potency and that which is of cold potency. Skins, wool etc, were regarded as of hot potency while silk, cotton and linen etc., were of 51112 potency. We give below the words used to represent the various skin or other used in clothing.

I.             ����Linen

2.�� Cottton cloth

3.            ���Wool, 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 etc.

12. Jute and other fibres


All clothing was also classified as light and heavy and utilised suitably to the needs of therapeusis as well as of habiliment in accordance with season and circumstance. We find also that garments were coloured in accordance with the prescriptions of religion and social convention. Thus a general practitioner of medicine was always required to wear clean and white raiment while the student who went to a preceptor to be initiated into the science was required to wear a brown-colored garment.


The Kuthaka is a woollen blanket of variegated colors. The arts of weaving and dyeing were already highly developed though there is no mention of tailored clothing. There is mention of sewing in the sense of mending torn cloth.


The mendicant is expected to carry housewife for mending his blanket. As regards the mode of dressing, it is evident there was generally a two-piece suit, one lower cloth and one upper cloth. Though a man may divest himself of the upper garment in the course of his daily avocations, yet when he is in society or approaches his preceptor for study or when he performs religious and sacrificial ceremonies, he must wear the upper garment.


The following prevalent then

may be regarded as the general items of



Underwear or the genital strip



..The waist cloth or the nether garment.



The upper garment.



�A thick cloth folded and worn on the shoul- der specially by mendicants



..Turban or head-covering.


The physician, of course, was required to carry a stick and to wear shoes in addition to the sartorial equipment.


The use of skins of animals to sit upon was a common usage in those times. Even the scriptural texts prescribe the deer skin for the Brahmin and other animal skins of lesser gradation for the Ksatriya and Vaisya. 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, the skin of a tiger or other ferocious animal for the Ksatriya and the skin of a spotted deer or sheep for the Vaisya.


As regards the preference in colors, pure white was the color of general dress of all classes. The yellow or the brown colors were prescribed on special and ceremonial occasions and on persons under religious vows such as the Brahmacari student and the Sanyasi (the recluse). 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 as an art had not yet made its appearance, for there is no mention anywhere in these samhitas in question of tight fitting garments such as came into vogue in later days.


But cleanliness in dress and person was greatly valued and one is warned not to use the garments used by another. Besides, after a bath one should not put on the discarded garments again nor wipe the head or body with the cloth which one has tied while bathing.


Thus it is evident that a high degree of sanitary sense was prevalent then as regards the use of clothing, combined with an aes�thetic appreciation of sartorial form and color.


Chapter IV


The Use of Wine


The chapter on the treatment of intoxication (alcoholism) in the Caraka Samhita, starting with an eloquent eulogy of the pote�ncy of wine, describes thus the benefits it can bestow if taken in due mode.

�That which endows the gods with choicest prosperity in the form of ambrosia, the manes in the shape of �Swadha� and the twice- born in the form of �Soma,�� that which is the splendour, might and the wisdom of the Aswin twins, that which is the power of Indra, that which is the �Soma� prepared in the �Sautramani� sacrifice, that which is the destroyer of sorrow, unhappiness fear and distress, which is powerful and which itself turns into and causes love, joy, speech, nourishment and beatitude, that which has been praised as the joyful wine by the Gods, Gandharvas, Yaksas, Raksasas and mortals, should be taken in the enjoined manner.� (Caraka Cikitsa XXIV, 7 10 ).


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 painted himself with fragrant sandal, a person must wear clean clothing along with ornaments and fragrances suitable to the season. Then decking himself with garlands of varie�gated flowers and with jewels and ornaments, he should worship the Gods and the Brahmanas and touch the most auspicious articles. Seating himself 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 always in vessels of gold or silver or vessels set with precious stones or other vessels clean and well shaped. He should drink while being shampood by clean, loving, beautiful, young and well trained women dressed in fine clothes, jewels and flowers suitable to the season. He should eat while drinking, green fruits and salted fragrant flesh and other sauces agreeable to the wine and proper to the season, and the fried flesh of many kinds of creatures of the land, water and the air and many kinds of puddings made by expert cooks. He should drink, having before prayed to the gods and having first received their grace and having poured the libations of wine on the earth mixed with water for the desiring spirits" Caraka Cikitsa XXIV, 11-21


Such eulogistic reference to the potency of wine and so elaborately painted method of courtship of wine could not be regarded as the outcome of mere scholarly powers of portrayal without its foundation in real daily life of the times depicted. On the contrary that indicates the common prevalence of the pleasure resorted to by the small and the great each in the measure and the mode that were possible within their means. The great amount of detail m regard to the method of indulging in wine and the close observation of its effects in the various stages of intoxication and the social and thera�peutic uses to which wine can be put all bear unmistakable testimony to the common prevalence and opportunity of the use of wine.


The pharmacological sources of wine are described in the very beginning of the treatise and no less than eighty varieties of wines and brews are described therein edible grains such as wheat, barley and rice and the roots, leaves and flowers fruits and bark of plants as also sugar, gur etc, are the sources mentioned of these wines and brews. (Caraka, Sutra XXV, 49)


Wine is classified into the varieties that are provocative or alleviative of the three pathogenic factors of Vata, Pitta and Kapha and each individual, be he in health or in disease, is to take wine in the proper mode suitably to his constitutional and pathological conditions respectively.


The habitual usage of wine by both men and women is easily descernible in view of the circumstances in which wine is contra�indicated. Women when they are pregnant are prohibited from taking wine and intoxicants.

Yet in spite of the common prevalence of the use of wine, as it has been in all times, the ideal was to abstain from its use alto�gether. Caraka declares (Cikitsa XXIV-20S) that he who abstains from drink lives free from distempers both of the body and of the mind.


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 use 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.

�For all men all that which is contributive of well-being in this life and the other, and bliss in that higher life of liberation, is established in the perfect tranquility of mind. Wine causes great agitation to such a tranquil mind, like the strong wind that shakes the trees on a bank. Ignorant men who are addicted to and are blinded by 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 and blinded by alcoholism, are deprived of wisdom and Sattwic qualities and are lost to all goodness. Wine is also the cause of great delusion, fear, grief, anger and death as well as insanity, toxicosis, fainting, epilepsy and convulsions. When a man is deprived of his very memory, then- every thing that follows upon it is necessarily evil. Thus those who know the evils of drink condemn the habit of drink strongly. True and undoubted indeed are these great evil effects, described about wine, if it is unwholesome or taken in excess or taken disregarding the prescribed regulations.


But wine, by nature, is regarded as similar to food in its effect. It is productive of disease if taken in improper manner, and is like ambrosia if taken in proper manner. Food, which is the life of 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' (Caraka Cikitsa XXIV, 52-61)


The effects of wine and the intoxication resulting therefrom have been divided into three stages. The first stage is one of general exhilaration, when the senses are stimulated and all the mental perceptions are heightened, and lead to a pleasurable termination. The second is the stage of delusion when the hold on mental co-ordination is loosened and man becomes victim to folly and crime. The last stage is that of utter stupefaction when man becomes unconscious and falls down prostrate like a broken beam of wood when man, though alive, is like one dead.


Caraka argues that in this stage the drunkard lies frustrated of the very object of his habit of drinking, for the pleasure in whose search the man resorted to wine has ceased to be perceived or enjoyed by him for in that last stage there is no awareness of things either inside or outside. Such unwholesome addiction is a sin and leads to physical and mental deterioration ana disease. (Caraka Cikitsa. XXIV, 41-51)


The Brahmacari who lived a life of celibacy and discipline in his preceptor�s home was not allowed the use of wine as also the recluse who renounced the world and strove for liberation. 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. ( Caraka Clkitsa IX-96)


The therapeutic uses of wine were many and varied. Wine was also used as an anesthetic. It was used too in parturition and after-delivery


Another but very reprehensible use of wine was a vehicle for poison to be administered to one s foes. In this as already stated elsewhere, women known as � Visa-kanyas �� that is those that acquired immunity to poison by long usage, were used as companions in whose company the victim might be beguiled to partake of the wine with a sense of security.


Thus we may safely conclude that though the ideal of abstention from drink was upheld with great devotion the use of wine along with Its occasional abuse was a popular custom in the times described in the Caraka Samhita. There was luscious love of life and the pleasures it held, and each individual strove to the utmost to live a long and rich life heedful of the evils that excess in anything brought upon his health and spiritual well-being. Con�sequently moderation and not total abstention was the motto of life.



Chapter V


The Practice of Smoking


Smoking seems to have been a common daily procedure in India in olden times as is given in details in Caraka Samhita. In the code of right conduct it is mentioned as an essential item. It was a smoking, curative and stimulant, luxurious and lightening, agreeable and enjoyable. No tobacco was used but a recipe of articles mainly of fragrant group was used. According to the constitutional organization of the body i. e Vata 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 indicted in the cases of Pitta constitution because then it enhances pitta tendency. It seems that smoking procedure was administered to women also because Caraka mentions a gravida to be one of the cases for contra-indication which means to convey that except a gravida all women can have resort to smoking.


Its Uses Were:

II.          . Daily habit for recreation and relaxation.

III.        . To get rid of slight disturbance of Vata or Kapha. Unctuous smoke for Vata, and errhines and dry smoke for Kapha.

IV.         . Remedial As a treatment of respiratory troubles to soothe coughing and to help the expectoration from the respiratory passage.


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 moulded into a cigar resembling the shape of a barley gram and having the 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 other metal according to the financial or social status of the smoker, but the real interesting thing is that there were bulges in the pipe i.e. halts for the smoke to check the speed and to filter the smoke.


The times most suitable are meticulously described explaining the indications.

�Eight specified times are laid down for habitual smoking, because during these periods, the rise of Vata and Kapha is observed. That is, after taking the bath, after taking the meal, after tongue scraping, after sneezing, tooth cleansing nasal toilet and the use of eye salve and at the end of sleep, the self-controlled man should resort to smoking."


The number of smoking differs according to the purpose for which it is used, even how many puffs are to be taken is also given.

�A wise man should practise 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 that the smoke was enjoyed luxuriously is indica�ted by the description given and by the signs and symptoms described for successful smoking.


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 together with their treatment are also mentioned copiously.


The ancient writers have paid full attention to the method of smoking through the mouth or the nose, and separating each, reasons are given for the resort to a particular mode. Thus the whole subject of smoking has been treated with scientific detail and insight.


Chapter VI




Man is a social creature Caste, guilds, unions etc, are the attempts of man to satisfy the social instinct. What these groups are to society, friends are to the individual. It is truly said that a man is known by the company he keeps. A man therefore 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 mould a man�s character.


But it is not always expedient to have a fixed set of friends for all 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 Samhita contains many instructions regarding the sele�ction of one's company. He does not preach the orthodoxy of having a company of particular persons for all occasions. One has to select the company of those who are of homologous nature and at the same time fitted for the purpose. In a learned assembly, one can have scholars, but at a wine party, they would certainly be out of place. At such parties, the company should consist of those who can compete in drinking bouts and enhance the pleasure of drinking. For the purpose of increasing virility persons who augment the sensual atmosphere would be the fittest. For a company not meant for any particular occa�sion, one should select persons who help in the development of his life. The citations from Caraka given below will give an idea of the life of those days and the company one chose for the different activities and pleasures.


Company in General


�Those who are sinful of conduct, speech and disposition, back-biters, quarrelsome, sarcastic and niggards, those who are envious of others prosperity, and cheats; those who delight in scandal-mongering and are fickle-minded, those who have a foot in the enemy�s camp, those who are without compunction, and apostates all such, the scum of humanity, should be shunned. While those who are mature in understanding, learning, years, character, courage, memory and one-mindedness, those who frequent the company of such, those who are endowed with insight into the nature of things, those who are free from all ailments. A those who are well-disposed towards all crea�tures, those who are tranquil of heart, those who are commendable of character, the teachers of the right path and those who hear and see only that which is meritorious, are to be sought."


Virilific Company


�The man that has, his intimate companions, men given to the same activities as himself men who have attained their objects, who are mutually helpful, skilled in be fine arts, who are similar in mind and age, who are endowed with noble lineage, magnanimity, skill, character and purity, who are ever desirous of enjoyment and are cheerful, free from sorrow and depression of spirits, who are akin to him in disposition and who are loving and beloved and pleasant in speech, such a man gets increase in his virility."

Wine party Company:


��The men of excellent character, those that are pleasant of speech, that are amiable in expression, that are applauded by the good, that are not unversed in the arts, that are clean of heart and quick in the grasp of things, those that are mutually helpful and whose coming together is out of sincere friendship, who enhance the pleasure of drinking by their joy, affection and sweet manner and the seeing whom causes mutual increase of joyous spirits: such men indeed make happy company at drink, for, drinking in their company one enjoys delight.�


Scholars� Company:


�Unto Punarvasu seated in the company of the masters of the numerical metaphysics ( Sankhya ) who had counted all the existing categories of truth, Agnivesa put his question having in his view the world�s welfare.�


The last citation but indirectly indicates the qualities of scholar�s company.


Chapter VII


Marriage and Procreation


Procreation is the result of the sexual act. All religions hold that it is the very purpose of the sexual act, though in practice sense indulgence may range from planned birth-control to anti-social and licentious behaviour. The ancient Aryan law-givers held very ideali�stic views regarding the sexual act, which was considered to be the means to an end viz, 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 recognised 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 repr�oduction 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 twenty-five years of age 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






Marriage age



Sexual urge



Beginning of Reproductive age




The idea behind this age limit

was that the fertilizing

elements both in the male and the female might be fully mature in order

to generate the best progeny.


The most dominant ambition we find in ancient Aryan people was to produce better and still better offspring, 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 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.


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 superb understanding of eugenics that the ancients possessed.


This concept is a marvellous example of the combination of Eugenics (Eu-good, Gen-breeding), Eutechnics (eu-good, technic-work, the improvement of occupation) and Eutopias (eu-good, topos-place, the amelioration of environment.


The Aryans studied the science of eugenics in such derail and with so much accuracy that they were able to evolve a specific procedure of procreation where they were quite definite of the success of the procreative act.


The science had progressed one step further than the mere certainty of success of the procedures. It prescribed special proce dures for generating progeny bearing a particular sex. This procelure should begin from the day the woman begins her pregestatorv menstrual season. In chapter 8th of Sarirasthana detailed description and injunctions are given as to how a woman should, during her menstrual period abstain from sexual congress, sleep on the floor and avoid toilet. On the fourth day she should be massaged, bathed sham�pooed and attired in white raiment. She should not have overeaten or been famished, she should be free from anger and over-passion. Any woman tainted with abnormality should be eschewed. Then follows a detailed description of the posture, the Mantra to be recited, diet, raiment, ornaments etc pertaining to her at mating with her husband.

Special rites are prescribed for those who want a male issue ��Of the man and woman whose bodies have been treated in the manner descri�bed above and who have paired together, the unvitiated sperm coming into contact with the unvitiated plasma in the unimpaired uterus through the unobstructed vaginal passage, gives a rise, of a certainty, to conception". (Caraka Sarlra VIII-17)


�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." (Caraka Sarira VIII-16)


The coming into existence of the embryo is attributed to various factors �This 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 combina�tion of various parts of the chariot. Therefore did 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.� (Caraka Sarlta III�14)


In the fourth chapter of Sarira-sthana, the gradual develop�ment of the embryo from month to month, the forces that promote there influences which are conducive to the rise and growth of conception and those inhibitive of conception and its subsequent development are described in detail. Factors determining the sex are carefully noted providing a clue to the choice of sex by the control of these factors.


The partner of the sexual act resulting in the ultimate noble goal of procreating of progeny, healthy physically, mentally and spiritually, was not to be procured at random. Caraka�s ideals of the selection of a wife exceed those of even the most aesthetic and amourous concepts of a poet specialising in amorous faculty. These ideals depict a biological and instinctive affinity of human attraction. The author conceives of natural love at first sight. He does not mention caste or creed, but only taboos the marriage in the same clan or with a diseased woman. Vagbhatta gives rather 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 red-signal the wrong choice. These are very interesting and instruc�tive and appear to be quite scientific even in modern times. These show how careful and accurate were the ancients in their power of observation.


�Now the man of the age of 21 years should, according to best rites, marry a virgin who is of alien clan, of equal high birth, born in a family without hereditary diseases, possessed of good form, morality and physiognomic marks, who is not dificient, who has not lost a tooth, lip, ear, nose, nail, hair or breast, who is delicate, not of a diseased constitution, who is neither reddish nor tawny, who has neither superfluous limb nor is deficient of limb, who is about 12 years of age, who does not bear the name either of a god, serpent, river, mountain, tree bird, constellation, low caste or a servant or a name which is not terrifying who is devoid of sin and who is not the object of censure."


Caraka gives the positive qualities necessary in a bride thus:

"The woman who is good looking, young, endowed with auspicious physiognomic marks, amiable and is skilled in fine arts, acts as the best virilific.


The qualities of beauty etc. in the woman develop suitably to the nature of the husband. They are found either as a result of their destiny or as a result of the varied tastes of people. She, who is the best of woman for a man, and endears herself to him quickly by virtue of her age, form, speech and gestures either as a result of destiny or the merits of action in this very life, who is the delight of his heart, who returns his love in equal measure, who is akin to him in mind, who is amenable to and is pleased with his advances, who enthralls all his senses by her excellent qualities, separated from whom he feels the world to be desolate, joyless, but for whom he feels his body a burden and as if devoid of its senses, at the sight of whom he is untouched by grief, distress, depression or fear, approaching whom he gains confidence, seeing whom he gets greatly elated, whom he approaches dally with great eagerness as if for the first time, and uniting with whom in sex repeatedly he remains yet unsatisfied, such a woman is the best of virilifics to him, and men indeed are of varied temperaments�.


These rules prescribed by medical authorities were accepted by the society in general as will be seen by the code of selection of a wife given in Manusmrti.

"One which neglects the sacred rites, one in which no male children (are born), one in which the Veda Is not studied, one (the members of) which have thick hair on the body, those which are subject to hemorrhoids pthisis, weakness of digestion, epilepsy, or white and black leprosy.


Let him not marry (a maiden (with) reddish (hair), nor one who has a redundant member, nor one who is sickly, nor one either with no hair (on the body) or too much, nor one who Is garrulous or has red (eyes), nor one named after a constellation, a tree, or a river, nor one bearing the name of a low caste, or of a mountain, nor one named after a bird, a snake, or a slave, nor one whose name inspires terror.


One should not resort to a woman who is very corpulent, very lean, very long (tall), very short (dwarfish), old in age, bereft of any limb and who is quarrelsome.


Let him wed a female free from bodily defects, who has an agreeable name, the (graceful) gait of a Hansa(swan)or of an elephant, a moderate (quantity of) hair on the body and on the head, small teeth and soft limbs.


Chapter VIII


Treatment and the Status of the Patient


In ancient India the patronage to poets, Vaidyas and artists came from the aristocracy and hence the treatment prescribed in old medical works was mainly designed for the princes and aristocracy. It Is but natural that the patronized class catered to the patrons� tastes and status. The middle and the poor classes, however, were not neglected. The treatment prescribed for the aristocracy was modified according to the status of the patient. Moreover, it is in the fitness of things that the best possible treatment be described and modifications introduced according to the pecuniary condition of the patient. Thus although the whole chapter of Caraka Sutra XV is meant for the upper strata of society, we find that at the end of the chapter it is clearly stated that treatment should be modified according to circumstances.

The aristocratic methods of treatment in various conditions especially in burning sensation in the body out do any of the luxurious way of treatment known to the modern world. Vivid descrip�tions of lavish dinner and drink parties are found in the Caraka-samhita. The dominance and patronage of the aristocracy resulted in innume�rable pharmaceutical preparations, the great 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 medical practice and even the medical apparatuses used were ornamental.

Delicateness of constitution was considered to be a result or a characteristic of the aristocratic way of living and hence special prepa�rations of medications were prescribed for this class, so that their delicate constitution may not suffer from strong and drastic drugs and procedures.

The predominance of the rich was quite in consonance with the prevalent outlook of the people at the time. Wealth was considered one of the three great ambitions of life. It stands next only to life in order of importance. (Caraka Sutra XI3)


The man devoid of money was considered miserable.


The dual strictness of the rules of the state and the society often made the practising. Vaidya hesitate or even refuse to treat a poor patient, not because he lacked in the humane quality of compassion, but because the Vaidya was doubtful of his suceess in treating such a patient as the poor patient could not afford to have all the required articles of medication and also attendants. Failure to cure a patient would bring blame or discredit upon the Vaidya, and it is in order to save himself from such a fact that the pool man is included in the category of persons who are not to be taken up for treatment.


But this is only one side of the picture. In Susruta Sutra 2-3, we find that it is enjoined upon the physician to treat such poor people at his own cost.


"One should treat at his own cost as his kith and kin the following persons: the twice born, the preceptor, the pauper, the friend, the recluse, those who have sought his shelter, the virtuous, the orphan and the refugee. Thus does he earn credit.�


Thus in spite of the dominance of the aristocracy, the poor patients were not neglected and a sacrifice of great magnitude was expected of a physician. The Vaidya used to get enormous fees as is evident from Jivaka stories, and so he could afford to treat the poor at his own cost, as a compensatory measure for the royal fees he used to get from his rich patrons.


Chapter IX


The Use of Ornaments


Putting on of ornaments and jewels was a fashion, aesthetic practice, satisfaction of vanity and a medical utility all at once in Caraka�s period


"The wearing of jewels and ornaments brings prosperity and is auspicious, promotive of longevity, decorative, dispersive of worries, exhilarative, attractive and vitalizing."

Besides the metal ornaments and jewels, people used to pnt on some special herbs which were considered as protective of life and prophylactic and curative of particular disease.




Thus we find that the putting on of jewels as well as herbs were prescribed for children few) who had not yet attained adolescence.

These two were the precepts of the Atharvana also.


The love for ornaments was however never allowed to over�step the boundaries of propriety When a patient was admitted to the therapy room for treatment, he was bereft of all ornamentation. It was only when he was to be discharged and exhibited before his friends and kinsman as cured that he was dressed well and made to put on ornaments.


Similarly no ornaments were to be put on during Kutipravesa. Students too 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.


It was enjoined upon a woman 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 ornanments.

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 the parties. Even in daily routine of wholesome living both man and woman were exhorted to wear garlands and ornaments as they brought auspicious results.

Gems were believed to have very cooling effects and as such they were used as therapeutic measures, e g women wearing gems and ornaments were prescribed in burning sensation in fevers.


Even applications of gems were made.




The therapeutic use of jewels did not end with such cooling properties they were believed to possess. A person with consumption should always keep himself dressed and decorated with ornaments as an alleviating measure.


The following gems and herbs were put on as a prophylactic measure against snake poison.

Besides these medico-cum-decorative uses of gems and ornaments we find references to the merely aesthetic use of these 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 of Bacchus prevailing on the occasion


Not only the participants in the revelry were required to be decorated, but the attendant women were also to present themselves gaily decorated in consonance with the spirit of gaiety.

Vessels used on such occasions were ornamental so that there may be no discordant note to mar the joy pervading the atmosphere.


But these gems, even in such drinking parties, contributed their mite towards mitigating the effects of drink. Gems were believed to be cooling and refrigerant agents and as such they served the medical purpose also. The vessels used for filling refrigerant medicines were made of rich metals and were used as cold applicators.

From the various descriptions in Caraka Samhita, we find that the following metals, gems, precious stones and other materials were in use during the period.

Besides these we come across references to ________ etc.



Chapter X


Woman in Caraka's Times


The primary as well as the secondary sexual differences of the woman from those of man have given her a distinctive social position throughout the many ages of human history. In the ancient world she held either a privileged position by virtue of her charm, delicacy and relative weakness or an inferior position to man�s and was regarded as a subordinate, ornament and source of sense satisfaction, to be possessed, decorated or pampered. It is only in recent times that her claim to equality with man has been seriously put forth and has gained recognition in all civilised countries. It is only now that she claims 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 In view of this, it would be interesting to see what 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 Samhita, the work under review.


We shall divide the reference into two classes (A) those regar�ding her growth, aging and constitution, the disease, general and special, she is liable to, modification of medications and dosage, and the last but the most important the physiology and pathology of the maternity period she passes through and (B) the general references direct and indirect as a woman:


A Medical references:

1. The sages of India 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 and maturity as well as in their decay man is slower than woman. This fact is depicted in observations like the following:


�The wise physician should know that a man of twenty-five years of age and a woman of sixteen years of age have attained to an equal stage of sexual maturity."


�The catamenal discharge which starts from the age of twelve in a woman comes to a cessation at the age of fifty when the body enters in its stage of senescence.�


[1] She is liable to all diseases which human flesh is heir to and in addition to these diseases she suffers from diseases and disorders peculiar to her due to the special structure of her sexual organs. These diseases are called gynecic diseases and a special chapter has been devoted to them. In the chapter on Gulma, a special types of it called as 'Rakta Gulma' is described which is a peculiar affection of the female species as it is a uterine affection. Again while describing Vata disease, Caraka says that her position of dependency on man, her lack of enlightenment, and her natural inclinations to shyness, delicacy and modesty, impose restrictions on the prompt discharge of natural urges.


�The Gulma born of vitiated blood occurs only in women and not in men, because of their peculiar feature of menstrual discharge from the uterus. Owing to her position of dependence, ignorance and continual occupation in service and duty, she restrains the natural urges of the body. Either just after abortion or miscarriage, or just after delivery or during the menstrual period, if a woman takes Vata-provoking food, her Vata gets quickly provoked .��


V.           �Her constitution, being considered weaker than that of a male is compared with the constitutions of the child and the aged persons, and accordingly medications are to be made milder for her.


�For kings, and kingly persons, and great men, for women, and persons of delicate constitution as well as for children and the aged (we shall describe the dosage of oil and honey.)


VI.         �One special branch of the octopartite Ayurveda has been devoted to the physiology and pathology of the maternity stage of a woman�s life.



B. Caraka samhita being primarily a medical treatise takes a scientific and biological view of man and woman. Yet the social practices of the age and the relative imposition of woman have been mentioned explicitly sometimes and implicitly more often.

1. In the etiology of Rakta Gulma, the social position of the woman in general is referred to quoted above.

2. In the description of posology, she has been described as unsteady by nature, tender, wavering, easily disturbed and generally delicate, weak and dependent on others.


It is owing to this reason that in emergency a weak patient should be first treated with non-distressing, mild and generally delicate remedies and later on gradually, by heavy remedies which do not upset him or give rise to complications. This should be specially done in the case of woman. They are by nature unsteady, tender, wavering, easily disturbed and generally delicate, weak and dependent on others.��


VII.       . In the chapter instructing the principles of good way and behaviour of life to man, it is said

"Do not contemn nor confide in the woman overmuch, nor divulge a secret to her, nor place her in power."


VIII.    Women were also trained to play the part of companion and entertainer to man in his pursuit of pleasure. Caraka describes the part played by women attendants and carriers who actually were to be well trained in the art of entertainment.


"He 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.�

IX.         In the description of the selection of a wife, life�s partner, one of the qualifications she must needs possess was her being i.e. amenable.

�....who is akin to him in mind, who is amenable to and pleased with his advances, who enthralls, all his senses by her excellent qualities.�


X.           �A woman's body and appearance have been considered the best aphrodisiac.

��The last means of stimulating one s manhood (the best agent of virilification) is an exhilarating sexual partner in the wife. When the desired sense-objects yield great pleasure even if singly experien�ced by the senses, then what need be said of the person of the woman in whom the delectable objects of all the senses are found established together. Such combination of the delectable objects of all the senses is found only in the person of the women and nowhere else. Indeed it is the object that is found m the person of the woman that evokes our pleasure greatly. Hence it is that man's pleasure is mainly in the woman and that in her is established the source of progeny.�


5.            �Mention of woman is made 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 the following measures should be taken


... keeping algo the company of agreeable women wearing cool garments and garland.�


XI.         �She has been used as a poison girl or poisoner.


�Evil minded women destroy the life of the skilful king by means of poison and sometimes by various poisonous potions for the sake of winning good luck, man also loses his life quickly by contact with poison girls, it is therefore that the physician should constantly protect the king from the dangers of poison."


XII.       �Man is advised to have as sexual partners different types of woman according to the season; e.g. one should have a plump and passionate woman as bed-mate in the winter.


�When winter begins, one should always wear warm and thick clothing and should have one�s body anointed with thick paste of eagle-wood. Lying in bed with a plump and passionate woman of high and plump breasts who has anointed herself with the paste of eagle-wood, one should, warmed up by aphrodisiac wines, spend the night in her embraces�


One should drink wholesome Sidhu or honey wine and enjoy the youthful loveliness of women and gardens."

10. There is no corresponding pre-natal ceremony as we have the Punsavanvidhi for male progeny. There is no special ceremony

believed to be as inducive and constitutive of the procreation of a female child as we have it in the case of a male child.


11 The vlrilification section which forms one of the eight branches of the octopartite. Ayurveda is devoted solely to helping the man and there is no mention of a woman in this process.


12. No names of renowned female scholars or Vaidyas are found in the texts. This is an Indication that women usually kept or were kept aloof from learning the medical science.


13 The ethics of the medical practitioners as described in the texts indirectly give us an idea of the status of woman in anci�ent India.


�Women who are not attended by their husbands or guard�ians (shall not receive treatment).�

No offering of meat by a woman without the behest of her husband or guardian shall be accepted by thee."(Caraka Vimana VIII, 13)


��Physicians should not indulge in laughter or jokes with women nor stay long with them, nor should they accept gifts other than food from women."


The code of surgical nursing prescribes the services of a female nurse. Not only that even the sight of a woman is considered undesirable.


"Sometimes, by even sight and other contacts with a woman there may occur seminal discharge. Thus even without sexual union, a man will suffer the evil effects thereof�.

But all these references which indirectly give us a glimpse of the status of women in those times need not lead us to the conclusion that she was regarded as no more than a chattel or a useful toy to please the whims of man. Although her natural weakness and her anatomical pecularities kept her far behind in the race as against man, her status as mother was highly respected. She was the fountain source of the propagation of race. Childlessness was not only deplored, it was despised.


�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 odour. The man without progeny is to be regarded as a painted lamp, a dried up lake, or a pseudo-metal which only has the appearance of the precious metal and is like a man of straw possessing only the shape of man. Again, such a man without progeny is regarded to be not well-established, bare, like a void, and possessed of only one sense and as having lived a purposeless life.�


So it was the women who brought the very purpose of life to fruition.�����������


Again a child, a male child, was absolutely necessary in order that the person be free from one of the three debts which he is enjoined upon to discharge:

� Good and filial sons who are thus born, who are handsome, truth speaking, long-lived and are righteous owe a debt to their parents (and should discharge the same)�.


Woman is the only source of progeny and as such she was highly respected. As a matter of fact it was the protection the woman received as the source of progeny, family honour and the repository of dignity that kept the women from coming to the forefront. So her very usefulness was turned into her weakness. Caraka when he comes to speak about this aspect of woman's life, waxes eloquent and surpasses others in his eulogy of the woman.


� Indeed it is the object that is found in the person of the woman that evokes our pleasure greatly. Hence it is that man's pleasure is mainly in the woman and that in her is established the source of progeny. In her also are established righteousness, wealth, auspiciousness and the two worlds - this and the other.�


Thus although the biological picture of a woman as given in medical texts of old is not so glorifying to the woman, as she is by nature weak and inferior to man, her emotional and aesthetic val�ue was regarded highly and her social value as the perpetuator of the race was almost adored.


Chapter XI


The Sense of Smell


The sense of smell or the olfactory organ plays a more important part in our daily lives than is ordinarily believed. 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 ancient times it was a protective organ and luxury organ combined and man made use of this olfactory power for various purposes.


Animals were guided by this sense in their daily lives. It warned the animal of the approach of an enemy, it guided the animal in its quest for food and motivated its sex reflexes. Man with his superior intelligence turned this sense into a �luxury' sense also. 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 languages bear testimony to this fact. The Sanskrit word for � 'kissing' is 'ghra also, which means to smell. In old Persian the word for �love� means 'smell'. In classical Greek there was no word for 'kiss' and in the Maori tongue of the New Zealand aborigines, the greeting expression is not found, but its place is taken 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 so that love scenes in cinema films have to be scissored before being exhibited. Thus the nose-rub may be 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.

Many physicians were reputed to be able to smell a disease. There is a story that when the mother of a sick child wanted to conduct a famous nineteenth century physician into the sick-room, he said �don�t wake her�. Then on opening the door slightly, he sniffed, the air and announced the diagnosis of �scarlet fever."


The above is an 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 modern times.


Scientists consider taste and smell as chemical sense. This che�mical sense was highly developed in the early period of the evolution of man. It gradually became blunted with the progress of modern civilization. It has been found on geographical considerations that persons of the olfactory type are less numerous in the Western Atlantic civilzation than among the Orientals and in the tropics. It has been humourously remarked by an eminent scholar of botany that Indians had noses but no eyes as Europeans had eyes but no nose. This is but 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 of the Westerners. Even nature seems to be discerning in the distribution of her bounties. The Himalayan flora is full of fragrance while the Alpine flora is resplendent with variegated hues.


This love of fragrance among the Orientals is either the result of or is enhanced by the coincidence of several facts such as the abundance of fragrant articles in the East, the higher development of the olfactory sense, the superb sense of cleanliness and 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 thuriferous articles formed part of religious ceremonies. The sacrifical articles and wood were offered as oblation into the sacrificial fire and this resulted in the impregnation of the whole atmosphere with pleasant aroma.


The rooms whether they be for assembly meeting or for drinking party or they be amourous chambers, were decorated with seasonal and pleasant smelling flowers. Sometimes even the ground was carpeted with such flowers.


�Having attended to the internal needs of the body and having bathed and painted himself with fragrant sandal, a person must wear clean clothing along with ornaments and fragrances suitable to the season. Then decking himself with garlands of variegated flowers and with jewels and ornaments, he should worship the gods and the Brahmanas and touch the most auspicious articles. Seating himself 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 eat, while drinking, green fruits and salted fragrant flesh and other sauces agreeable to the wine and proper to the seasons.'

Beds, seats and clothes were kept not only clean but were perfumed with fragrant articles


�...a pleasant smelling, well spread 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 iragrance and charm to every part of the body.

After the preliminary purificatory process to cleanse every part of the body which is likely to exhale fetor (mouth, tongue, teeth, throat, skin etc), these parts were perfumed with sweet-smelling preparations.

To impart sweet and delicious smell to the breath and counteract the fetor-oris�, use was made of nutmeg, musk, mallow, betel-nut, cloves, cubeb-pepper, good betel-leaves, camphor and small cardamom.

The skin of the whole body was given a friction cleansing 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. And finally m addition to the sartorial covering, a garland of the seasonal and sweet smelling flowers was 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 made fragrant by artificial methods.


Cigars whether used for daily habitual smoking or for therapeutic purposes, always contained a good number of fragrant articles. One of the purposes of its use in daily regimen was to remove the offensive smell of the breath.

Special attention was paid to make the food and drinks savory and the culinary art was highly developed in conformity with this superb sense of fragrance and aroma.


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


The special gift of the keenness of the olfactory organ of the orientals and the 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 an important part in the diagnostic clinical methods and therapeutic measures of Ayurveda.


Physical examination, as described in modern science, entails the use of four methods or procedures inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. It means according to Caraka


�Seeking to know the nature of a disease by direct observation, the physician should explore by means of all his sense-organs except the tongue, the entire field of sensible data presented by the patient's body.�


In the modern clinical methods of physical examination, the eyes (inspection), hands (palpation) and ears (percussion and auscutation ) are used extensively, but the use of the smell sense is rarely made. We can understand the aversion to the use of the taste organ in modern clinical methods, but it becomes difficult to understand why olfaction is not used freely in the Investigation Probably the gradual under-development of olfactory power especially among the occiden�tals is one of the reasons.


Ayurveda developed a special science of smell-diagnosis; osmics or osmology to be made use of in clinical medicine.


This method of physical examination is given an important place in the investigation of normal or abnormal secretions and excre�tions of the body viz, 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 nearly all disease-conditions Osmatic domineering signs are rather considered the pathognomic of the disorganization of the Pitta constituency of the body. Important osmatic references are found in the following disease condition.


In the section on prognostic indication nearly the whole chapter is devoted to the subject of osmology bearing on prognosis. The therapeutist made use of the savoury and fragrant arti�cles in general and specially in all disorders of Pitta types. Meticulous care was taken in pharmaceutics to flavour every medication Potions or poultices, linctus or lozenges all were made sweet and pleasant in smell. The number of aromatic drugs in Caraka is more than one hundred.


The concept of good and bad smell was so popularly recognized that bad smell was considered very despicable. Caraka while despising the condition of sterility or barrenness compares it to the tree with bad smell.

�'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 odour��.

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, thus is very highly respected and valued in the East, though it is but tiny in size. This may be one of the reasons of nose-cutting as a very subtle way of vendatta - may be due to its possession inside of this valuable apparatus of evaluating the environmental atmosphere. And this nose-cutting gave an oppor�tunity to Susruta of originating the operation of Rhinoplasty.


Chapter XII


Routine Observed During the Purificatory Procedures


The excerpts given below describe the various observances and regulations that are necessary in the preparation of the patient for undergoing the procedures of purification. The excerpts describe both the sanitary as well as the aesthetic aspects of the subject.


��After the person has taken the oleation and sudation procedures, and is of tranquil mind and has slept soundly, digested the food well, taken a full bath, anointed the body, worn a garland and untorn clothes, worshipped the deities, the fire, the Brahmana, the- Guru, the elders and die physicians, he should be administered a dose of the decoction of emetic-nut together with honey, liquorice, rock-salt and treacle sanctified by the benediction of the �Svastivacana�� chantings of the Brahmins performed under an auspicious constellation, day, Karana and Muhurta�.


Routine Observed During Various Other Procedures


Procedure for Discharging a Patient

�On finding that he has regained his vitality, complexion and cheerfulness of mind, and after he has slept happily, digested his food well, taken a full bath, and painted the body with sandal, has put on garlands and untorn clothes, and has adorned himself with befitting ornaments, he should be shown round to his kinsmen after being presented to his friends. Thenceforward, he should be left to resume his normal activities.


Attending a Wine party

�Having attended to the internal and external needs of the body and having bathed and painted himself with fragrant sandal, a person must wear clean clothing along with ornaments and fragrances suitable to the seasons.


Then decking himself with garlands of variegated flowers and with jewels and ornaments, he should worship the gods and the Brahmanas and touch the most auspicious articles.�'


Going For a Dinner

"Partake not of a meal without wearing a jewel on the hand, without having had a bath; clad in tattered clothes, without saying your prayers, without performing the Homa, without offering to the household gods and the manes, without first feeding the elders, guests and dependants, unscented, ungarlanded, without cleansing the hands, feet and face, with unclean mouth, with the face towards north, list�lessly, ������� �


The Student Beginning his Work

�The student who is healthy and has consecrated all his time for study, should rise at dawn or while yet a portion of the night. It left and having performed the necessary ablutions and "having saluted the gods, the seers, the cows, the Brahmanas, the guardians, the elders, the adepts and the teachers."


The Student�s Initiation����

�The teacher should address himself to the disciple who has thus come to him desiring to study and who sits close in reverenital mood, and say unto him, �Come and sit at my feet for instruction, 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 Pusya or Hasta or Sravana or the Aswini, and in an auspicious Karana and Muhurta, having taken the tonsure, having fasted and bathed, and clad in brown garment, bringing in your hands fragrant articles and dry twigs, fire, ghee, sandal paint and water-pots, also flower-garlands, a lamp, gold, ornaments of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls and corals, silken garments, sacrificial stakes, also holding in your hand the sacrificial grass, fried paddy, white mustard seeds ana white rice grams, and flowers strung in garlands as well as loose, and pure articles of food and rubbed sandal paste�.

A Gravida Going to Maternity Home

�When the ninth month is running, on an auspicious day, when the sacred moon is, propitious and favourable, and is in conjunction with a favourable asterism as also the Karana is favourable and the Muhurta is, friendly, having brought the cows, the Brahmanas, the fire and the water into the house at first, and having given grass water and fried rice mixed with honey to the cows and to the Brahmanas, who have been presented water and seated, having offered colored rice, flowers and pleasant fruits indicative of good fortune, having bowed to them and having sipped water once again, she should seek their blessings. Then, keeping the cows and the Brahmanas to her right and following them to the accompaniment of the benedictory cry �this is a good day�, the expectant mother should enter the lying-in room. Dwelling therein she should await the time of delivery."


Going For �Naming

�On the tenth day, the woman, together with the child, should bathe in water treated with all fragrant herbs and with white rape- seed and lodh, put on light, new and clean garments, deck herself with pure, coveted, light and variegated ornaments, touch auspicious objects and worship the appropriate deity, receive the blessings of Brahmanas with unshorn locks, white garments and whole bodies, then having wrapped the child who should be placed with his head either towards the east or the north in the folds of a new garment, and declaring that it (the child) salutes the twice-born headed by the gods, the father of the child should give it two names: one name denoting the constellation under which it was born and the other of intended meaning.�


Procedure at Kutipravesha

"Thereafter, 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 Karana are favourable, the man seeking rejuvena�tion, should being shaved, enter the retreat, having fortified himself in his resolution and purpose, full of faith and single-mindedness, having cast off all sins of the heart, cherishing good will for all creatures, having first worshipped the gods and then the twice born, and having performed the circum-ambulation of the gods, the cows and the Brahmanas."


Going to Surgical Room For Operation

�Thereafter when the day, Karana Muhurta and constellation are propitious, the patient who has taken a light meal, should be seated with his face towards the east, after worshipping the fire, the Brahmanas and the physicians by curds, rice, eats and drinks and jewels, and after performing auspicious rites and Svastivacana and after offering oblations��.


Chapter XIII


Regulations of Society and State Regarding Treatment

The Vaidya is very often nick-named �the brother of the God of death" but the society as well as the state took every possible measure to prevent him from emulating the example of his comfrere, the god of death. The rules of the society and of the state of those days seem to have been so strict that the Vaidya was afraid of taking responsibility in serious or incurable diseases. He was caught between the horns of a dilemma where his natural humane feeling and strict rules regarding his responsibility often ran counter to each other.

The responsibility cast on the Vaidya to treat only curable cases helped in evolving 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 emphasised in the Caraka Samhita in order to help the physician to steer clear of the risks in undertaking incurable cases.


�The physician who knows the differential diagnosis between the curable and the incurable diseases and begins treatment with full knowledge of the case and in time, obtains success for his effort without fail. But the physician who undertakes to treat incurable dise�ases will invariably suffer loss of income, tarnish his learning and fame, and earn for himself disrepute and unpopularity to boot."


The whole section consisting of 12 chapters of the Indriya sthana shows the marvellous development of minute clinical observations indicating the prognostics of the case. Dreams, omens, the messenger, environmental circumstances besides a host of such things were taken into account in the prognostic calculation. All this shows the meticu�lous care they took in order to draw a recognisable line between the curable and the incurable diseases.

A Vaidya is advised not to undertake to treat certain conditions. Incurable disease is one of such conditions.

�However, neither the therapy of elimination of morbid matter nor any other kind of medication should be administered even when indicated, to the following kinds of patients one who has not justified his honour when questioned one. Who is without wealth or attendants, one who fancies himself to be a doctor, one who is fierce tempered, one who is envious, one who takes keen plea�sure in vicious acts, one who has lost his strength, flesh or blood to an inordinate extent, one who is afflicted of an incurable disease, and one who presents the prognostic signs. By treating such a patient, the physician incurs opprobrious odium".


The physician was also warned against treating persons who were regarded as antisocial and evil in nature, such as

�The man that is fierce, rash, cowardly, ungrateful or fickle, who is aha ter of good persons kings and physicians or he who is hated by them or he who Is afflicted with grief, or is a fatalist or one doomed to death, one who is devoid of the means for treatment or an enemy, impostor or one devoid of faith, a confirmed sceptic or who does not carry out the directions of the physician such a man should not be taken up, by a wise physician, for treatment. The physician who treats such cases invites many difficulties Persons other than such should be treated well with all modes of treatment. Classifying the various morbid conditions, we shall now describe the indication and the contra-indications�' of the five purificatory proce�dures with reference to them.��


�No persons, who are hated of the king or who are haters of the king or who are hated of the public or who are haters of the public shall receive treatment. Similarly those that are of very unnatural, wicked and miserable character and conduct, those who have not vindicated their honour and those that are on the point of death and similarly women who are unattended by their husbands or guardians shall not receive treatment."


The rules were not only negative in form but strict and positive injunctions were laid down as to how a Vaidya was to conduct himself under certain circumstances such as discharging a patient after cure.

It was enjoined upon a Vaidya to exhibit his patient to his kinsmen to be recognised as being fully cured and then discharged.


�On finding that he has regained bis vitality, complexion and cheerfulness of mind, and after he has slept happily, digested his food well, taken a full bath, and painted the body with sandal, has put on garland and untorn clothes, and has adorned himself with befitting ornaments, he should be shown round to his kinsmen after being presented to his friends. Thenceforward, he should be left to resume his normal activities.�


�When the abdominal disease due to the gathering of fluid has gone beyond the stage of treatment or if the humoral tridiscordance 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 not treated the patients death is certain. But if treated by poison-therapy he may have a chance to survive. Having spoken thus and being permitted by the patients well-wishers to proceed (he must administer poison to the patient combined with his food and drink)".

The last citation shows that when a bold Vaidya wanted to give a chance of cure in a case believed to be incurable by means of special therapeutic measures, he had to take permission of the kinsmen, friends, wife and others of the patient. This bold and rather out of the ordinary treatment was undertaken and full opportunity was given to ambitious. Vaidyas to attempt to bring the hitherto incurable diseases within the compass of curability.


Still the Vaidya had to be very careful and shrewd enough not to take any responsibility for failure on his shoulders. In case of any doubt about success in treatment, the Vaidya, to be on the safe side would declare the case to be incurable before the patient�s relations and then begin his treatment.

�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 despite declaring it to be of the incurable type.��


Or he 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 with great importunity for treatment, he should prescribe the diet of meat-juice, but no purificatory therapy should be administered.��


Thus in keeping with the spirit of the age and the social conventions prevalent then, great restrictions were placed on the physician�s choice of undertaking cases for treatment. Yet there was a large scope left for his higher nature and humanity to function as a source of social helpfulness and guidance by his being allowed to give society the advantage of his skill and learning after declaring the hazardous nature of his efforts and absolving himself of responsibility for failure despite his best endeavours. In no society pertaining to any age can a physician be expected to behave otherwise. Thus judged by any standard, the humanity, goodness and wisdom of the ancient physician are beyond question. All the rules and regulations of society as well as the State were only calculated to prevent the Vaidya from all chance of injury to public health as well as to his own reputation and profession.


Chapter XIV


Legends and Mantras

Legends and myths are the most valuable treasures in a country's national heritage and India is one of the richest countries. in this respect. Such legends are not just fantastic creations of idle minds to be ridiculed and discarded. They contain in them the beginnings of the idealogy and concepts that have influenced, in their own way, the future course of their civilization. They are the crude attempts at embodying in verbal form the vague inklings into the dawn of knowledge, when sublime nature awed the insignificant looking man, and 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 prescribed intonation is a common feature in the history of early civilization of all countries and India is no exception to the rule. Where experience and reason failed to solve a mystery to a common man magic and Mantras, based on the belief in the super�natural, stepped in.


India in Caraka�s time was ahead of other countries in the progress of civilization especially in the science of medicine. Medical knowledge had attained the scientific stage and yet we find traces of legend. Caraka continued the practice of absorbing these legends in his work in the illustration o medical beginnings and facts. For instance, the legend of the origin of fever ascribing it to the anger of God Siva is quite in consonance with the idea of heat, the dominant pathological effect of feverish condition.� Fever was the most common disease and Siva, the God of Destruction, naturally came to be associated with the most common cause of death viz., fever. Traces of the belief in the curative effects of specially arranged hymns and incantations called Mantras are also found in Caraka Samhita. The traces are however faint and more often than not, the Mantra treatment is accompanied by the rational and scientific treatment. Such mantras form part of psychic therapy and the inclusion of these in his work brings it more into a line with advanced views than the absence of them would have done. And we must not forget that these mantras were meant to be uttered by only those persons who possessed certain qualities in them. Thus the sanctity of mantras was strictly preserved.


The mystical effect of mantras is still being made use of especially in snake poison treatment.


The legends in Caraka Samhita are interesting and we find that shorn of their imaginative adornments, some of them appear to be literary versions of some scientific truth.


The origin of fever is ascribed to the heat caused by the fire which poured from the anger of Rudra at the destruction of Daksa�s sacrifice of old. The destruction of the above sacrifice was also the cause of many other diseases. The description is interesting as there is a symbology in these mythical representations and legend where are certain diseases ascribed to various causes. ( Caraka Nidana VlII-11 ).


�It was during the destruction of the sacrifice of Daksa that Gulma first arose in the past as the result of the agitated bodily movements gone through by the assembled persons who in their panic ran helter skelter in all directions running, swimming, racing, flung jumping etc. Also at this time, the urinary and dermic disorders took their rise as the result of the oblations that were eaten, the insanities as the result of fear,�alarih and grief, the epilepsies as the result of the pollution by various kinds of unclean beings. As regards the fever we have already described how it arose from the forehead of great God Siva, from the heat induced by fever arose the disease Hemothermia. As for consumptions, it took its rise from the excessive sex indulgence of the lord of constellations i. e the Moon."������ �����������

In spite of the legendary lore which is found here and there in the Samhita Caraka never loses true scientific insight and as he says in Vimana-sthana Chapter III verses 24, 27, � calamities never result from any factor other than unrighteousness." In these verses he logically traces the origin of disorder to a series of acts of unrigh�teousness, one following the other; how indulgence leads to lassitude, lassitude to greed etc and how deterioration of the quality of food and exercise made man the prey to various disorders. The primogenesis of diseases is thus very aptly narrated In Nidana VII-19 Caraka clearly states:

��Neither gods nor the Gandharvas, neither the goblins nor the demons, nor aught else, torment the man who is not tormented of himself."


Just as Hippocrates in Europe separated religion from medicine, Caraka did the same in India. Thus Caraka was the pioneer of the scientific medicine in India. This clearly shows what a rational outlook Caraka had in spite of the legends and mantras we find in his work.


In Caraka Cikitsa I (4) verses 39 49 we get an interesting nar�ration of the diseases of gods and demi-gods being cured by the Aswins who are the physicians of gods. It is they who re-united the sacred head of sacrifice. They treated Pusan whose teeth had become loos�ened, Bhaga who had lost his eye-sight and Indra whose arm had got stiffened. Soma, the Moon God was cured of his consumption and Cyavana was restored to his youth.

The cause of consumption of the Moon god is very aptly ascribed to his submergence in passion and the consequent weakness. The scientific reason and astronomical phenomenon are robed in myth�ological garb. As the disease first befell the king of stars it is called the royal disease. But Immediately following this myth he says that consumption was driven away by Aswins to this mortal world finding its four etiological factors viz. over-exertion, suppression of natural urges, wasting and fourthly irregular diet.

In Cikitsa XIX 4 the origin of diarrhea is ascribed to the impairment of the gastric fire by the use of cow�s flesh (which is heavy, hot and disagreeable) at Daksa's sacrifice.


In Cikitsa-sthana XXIII, 4-5 there is an interesting derivation of the word poison and this is connected with a famous mytho�logical event.

When the ocean was being churned by the gods and the demons for the sake of ambrosia, there emerged prior to the nectar, a fearful looking person. He had a resplendent appearance, four fangs tawny hair and fiery eyes and the world despaired at the sight of him. Hence he was known as �Visa5, poison, the despair of the world.


This derivation is more significant than the English deriva�tion of poison from "potio", to drink.


Charms and talismans etc., formed part of the treatment, though mostly for psychic effect. In Cikitsa-sthana, chapter XXV verses 3-9 we get descriptions of exogenous and endogenous wounds and Caraka explains the predominant difference by the difference in their treatment. Here too, Caraka lays emphasis on the treatment of exog�enous wounds by medications when they do not yield to the �Charms' and other measures due to their association with endogenous morbid factors.

Even when describing the properties of the substance like oil, Caraka sometimes introduces the traditional legend in support of his statement. (Sutra-sthana chap. XXVII verse 288).


As it was enjoined upon a sacrificer to perform it not in an unclean condition,' Caraka gives some Mantras which would purify the person.

� Pour not the libations of holy ghee barley, til, small sacri�ficial grass and rape-seed in the sacrificial fire is an unclean condition. Bathe to the incantation of the sacrificial texts beginning with the words �May the fire not leave me', �May the wind grant me life', �May the Visnu grant me strength, �May Indra grant me virility',

and ��May the waters enter me auspiciously�, 'The waters are indeed the source of happiness' etc., and having laved the lips twice and haying besprinkled the feet, touch the body with water on the cavities of the head, on the heart and on the top of the head�.


The psychic effect of mantras was accepted in all spheres of human activity and a person desiring a hero son, is advised by Caraka to utter the following mantra before engaging oneself in procreating act.

Then the following charm should be uttered apostrop�hizing the child that is to be - �Thou art the day; thou art the life, thou art well-established from all, sides. May the dispenser dispense to thee Brahmic splendour," May Brahma, Brhaspati, Visnu, Soma, Surya and the two Aswins, and also Bhaga, Mitra and Varuna,� bless me with a hero son. Having uttered this, the two should unite�.


In the next few lines the charms to be uttered by a woman desiring a son are given.


At the time of delivery, the following charm is prescribed to be uttered into the ears of the pregnant woman by her favourite lady attendant.


May the earth, the waters the heavens, the light, the wind, Visnu and Brhaspati ever protect you and the child, and may they direct the delivery. O! auspicious faced one, bring forth without distress to yourself or to him, a son who will possess the lustre of Kartikeya and have the protection of Kartikeya.�

The potion to be given to a patient to whom emesis is to be administered should be pat in a measure pot and the following mantra should be recited over it.


�Om, may Brahma, Daksa, Aswins, Rudra, Indra, the earth, the moon, the sun, the gods of the wind, the fire, the sages, the host of drugs, and all diving creatures protect thee Even as the vitalizers are to the sages, and ambrosia to the best of Nagas, so may this medicine be unto thee. Having thus sanctified the potion 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 especi�ally in persons afflicted with fever of the Kapha type, Gulma or coryza. This is the proper method of the procedure of Kinesis".


In Cikitsa-sthana chapter XXIII, verses 81-91, Caraka speaks of the �major perfumed elephant antidote�. This remedy was taught to Kubera by Tryambaka, the three-eyed Siva. Caraka describes the wonderful effects of this antidote and goes even so far as to say that 'The house containing this antidote cannot be entered into by evil spirits afflicting children or by Raksasas or hobgoblins, nor can evil charms or black magic gain entry into the house.� He then prescribes the following efficacious holy incantation to be uttered during the preparation.

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


Thus although we find traces of legends and charms in the scientific work, they are there with a purpose; the legends to connect some prescriptions in the hoary tradition or to make the comparatively dry subject interesting, and the charms and mantras to create psychic effect, a principle accepted by even modern scientists.



Chapter XV

Kampilya as a Centre of Learning


An unimposing hamlet called Kampila on the banks of the Ganges 20miles N E of Fatehgarh in the district of Farrukabad (79.37 E,27.33N) seldom noticed by a passer-by was once a city teeming with population. It was a capital city and a seat of a famous university possessing an international reputation. It covered an area of 28 to 30 miles. Excavations have unearthed many a gold coin and statues bearing testimony to a highly civilized and flourishing city in its halcyon days.


During the Mahabharata period, the city was at its zenith. It was the capital of the Pancala Desa ruled over by king Drupada, the father of Draupadi, the pivotal character round whom the giant epic of Mahabharata evolved. It is narrated in the epic that Drupada and Drona were co-students, but when Drupada succeeded to his father's throne he denounced this friendship with Drona, who was hut a poor Brahmin, on the ground of inequality of status. Drona then became the preceptor of Kaurava and Pandava princes in the military science and when their education was complete, he asked the princes in his Gurudaksina to defeat Drupada and bring him as a captive. First Kauravas tried their hands and failed. Then the Pandava princes invaded and succeeded in bringing Drupada as a captive at the feet of their preceptor Drona. Drona 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. And thus accordingly he kept the northern half of Pancala with Ahiksetra as his capital and returned the southern half to Drupada with Kampilya as the capital


��Because in childhood you have played with me in the hermitage, O best among Ksatriyas ! our mutual love and affection have developed.

"O lord of men, I desire friendship with you again and so I give you a boon, O king that you should get half of the kingdom."

"O Yajnasena! As a king cannot be a friend with one who is not a king, I have tried to put you on the throne."


You shall be a king on the southern bank of the Bhagirathi and I on the northern one. O Pancala, if you agree, consider me to be your friend�.


Drupada said, �O Brahman, there is no wonder for such a thing with regard to powerful great souls! I am pleased with you and I expect perpetual love of you.�


Vaisampayana said, ��Having told him thus, O Bharata, that Drona made him free, and being pleased he honoured him and gave him half of the kingdom.


He occupied the territory of Makandi with a thousand villages on the bank of the Ganges; and the other with humiliated mind occupied the southern Pancalas upto the river Carmanvati, with Kampilya, the best among cities."


It was at Kampilya that the Swayamvara ceremony of Draupadi took place and even today women recite this episode in the wedding. A stray tourist who cares to pay a visit to this forgotten place is proudly shown the ruins of the palace of Drupada and the spot where the Swayamvara of Draupadi took place.


Even in the Ramayana period, centuries older than the Mahabharata period we find that Kampilya was a city of note. During that period it was ruled by a king named Pravahana Jaibali who, like Janaka Videhi, was a scholar-king. Competetive disputations often took place between scholars of Mithila and Kampilya and the king was also a preceptor at the university of Kampilya an event probably unparalleled anywhere in the world.

"Om, Janaka, Emperor of Videha, performed a sacrifice in which gifts were freely distributed. Vedic scholars from Kuru and Paficala were assembled there'.


�Svetaketu, the grandson of Aruna, came to the assembly of the Pancalas. He approached Pravahana, the son of Jivala, who was being waited on (by his servants)�.


We can trace the glory of Kampilya even further even in the Vedic times. It was a prosperous and well -known city. In Yajurveda (23-18) we find a reference to Kampilya stating that beautiful and highly educated ladies resided there.


�Amba ! Ambika ! Ambalika l No one is taking me away. The sorry horse will lie beside another, as Subhadra, the dweller in Kampala."


Puranas say that Parvati, the wife of lord Siva, made Kampilya her residence when there was a family quarrel with her husband.��


Srimad Bhagavata states that there was once a powerful king named Bharmyasva. He had five sons among whom one was Kampilya after whom the capital was named Kampilya, and the country is called Paficala Desa.


�His son was Bharmyasva. He had five sons, Mudgala and others - Yavinara, Brhadisu, Kampilya and Srujaya. They were called Pancalas because Bharmyasva said, "These sons of mine are able enough to protect my five dominions."


There are also five rivers in the Pancala Desa viz., the Ganges; the Kalindi, the Jumna, the Chambal and the Ramganga. May be these five rivers also contributed to the nomenclature of the country through which they flowed. Draupadi is very often referred to as Pancala as she hailed from Pancala.


Jain literature is full of references to Kampilya. It was this city that was selected by the Jain�s first Tirthankara Rsabhadevaji as his preaching centre. When the Bahubali the son of Rsabhadevaji renounced the world, the prince of Pancala also followed suit. Vimalnath, the thirteenth Tirthankara, was born at Kampilya and he made it his headquarters till his old age. His birth, his penance, his preachings are associated with Kampilya and hence Jain pilgrims make it a point to visit this holy place. Vimalnath was not an ordinary citizen. He was the son of king Krtavarma and queen Jayasyama of Kampilya who ruled over it long before Drupada. 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.


Mahavira Swami the last and 24th Tirthankara also stayed and preached here for a considerable time. Jain literature is also full of references to Draupadi and her Swayamvara.


Some scholars ascribe to Kampilya the honour of being the birth-place of Kapila Muni, the propounder of Sankhya philosophy. Panini the great grammarian refers to Kampilya and Pancala.


The Paficalas are beautiful. The Pancalas are a country."


He mentions Sankasya along with Kampilya. Probably Sankasya was a suburb of Kampilya, set up and created in honour of Sankasa, a prominent citizen.


In the Mahidhara commentary of Brhajjataka we find an area of Kampilya referred to as Kapitthika. Thus Kampilya, Sankasya and Kapitthika are more or leas the same place. The very place which was referred to as Sankasya by the Chinese traveller Fahi-en in the 7th century A D. was referred to as Kapitthika by Hu-en-tsang, another Chinese traveller in the 8th century. Even today we have Sankisa (Sankasya) and Kathiya (Kapitthika), hardly twenty miles apart. This easily leads us to conclude that upto the 8th century of the Christian Era, Kampilya, though shorn of its greater glory, pres�erved its unity as one city.


To the list of luminaries that Kampilya produced or attracted can be added the name of Maharsi Atreya, the propounder of the medical knowledge which has descended to us as Caraka Samhita, which makes a specific mention of Kampilya and Pancali.


The Samasa-pradhana method of Pancala was a reputed method in literature. The great astronomer Varahamihira is another gift of Kampilya to the world. Great scholar graduates of Kampilya like Agnivesa, Bhela, Jatukarna, Parasara, Harlta, 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 India. There were bold and independent thinkers propounding their views in the country beginning with materialists and the evolutionists upto the theists and the Vedantins.


In the Caraka Samhita we find, in addition to the Nyaya, the Vaisesika and the Sankhya schools which are of course the basic schools on which medicine builds its supports, mention of other schools including the following:

1. Materialists that recognise only what is observable by the senses as true.

XIII.     . Those that believe implicitly in revelation alone.

XIV.     . Same as the above.

4. The Naturalists that believe that things happen according to some natural compulsion.

5. The Accidentalists

6. The Creationists that believe in a creator.


Susruta describes the various schools of thought prevalent in his time while summing up the various opinions regarding the original force of the world


�The broad-visioned philosophers regard Prakrti, the original creative force, variously as nature, god, time, accident, instrumentality 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 cause of things and the soul of man.


Rebirth and Destiny

This 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 their author, thus releasing a stream or succession of such causes and effects. This stream is naturally to take effect in a series of births, for we see people dying having initiated actions and before they could reap their fruit.

Then came the question are past actions or their effects called Daiva all powerful so as to leave no scope for escape or counteracting in a succeeding life? Atreya says, ��certainly not��. Their effectiveness depends on their innate strength and if in this life we can act so powerfully as to counteract the past action we can avert its results. Thus he gives man a message of hope whereby he can be the master of his destiny in a great measure. Man can endeavour in this life and perform action that can set at nought the evil force released by past evil action. He can thus also release a beneficent force for the shaping of the future life too. This is a rational basis and justification for the propounding of a science of healing, for if this life was so irredeemably predetermined, no effect of therapeusis would avail in the curing of ailment. But the truth being otherwise, there is scope for fresh initiative in this life and so, therapeutic action commen�surate with the causative factor of disease can neutralise it. This is a definite contribution to metaphysical as well as scientific thought


Sin And Holiness, And Hell And Heaven

The acts of commission and omission either in the present life or in the past which resulted in pain and suffering were known as bad actions or sins. These led to suffering in this life and to hell after death. Similarly, acts that make for happiness here as well as in the after-life were known as good actions, religious name for which was holiness. If one practised such holy behaviour and actions one was sure to be happy both in this life and in a heaven after life.


�Whatever other actions are there similar to these and such as are not disapproved of by good men, lead to the attainment of heaven.�


Hell is mentioned with reference to men who are so wicked that even converse with them leads to hell.

�Even by converse with him man falls Into hell��.




The belief in rebirth or reincarnation is common to all schools of Indian thought. Even the protestant sects like the Buddhists and Jains believe in Karma and rebirth, though not in a creator. Caraka is therefore in line with general Hindu thought and he adduces a proof of it in the experience of the memory of their past lives by some exceptional people. This is recollection of past births. Cakrapani, the commentator, thinks that a passage referring to this idea means also that men in this very life sometimes come back to life after death, their souls having been taken away by the messengers of Yama (the god of death) by a mistake caused by the identical names of persons.

Naturally enough, the corollary is that if a soul can go out of the body and re-enter. It in this very life and continue its sense of identity, it can do so within the bodies of its succeeding incarnations too.


Chapter XVII


The Final Renunciation


According to the Indo Aryan tradition of living, the aim of life is fourfold comprising righteousness, wealth, pleasures and liberation. The achievement of this fourfold aim consti�tutes full living. In the Caraka Samhita too, the pursuits of life are given in a slightly modified form. They are reduced to three, the pursuit of wealth, the pursuit of life and the

pursuit of the other world. Though these three are the natural pursuits of life, the supreme purpose of life and also of the science of therapeusis, is the attainment by man of his total liberation from the tram�mels of nature such as body, senses and mind and to live as pure spirit being one with and merged in the soul of the world known as Brahma Such an Individual as has attained this is called, viz, he that has become Brahma, meaning pure spirit.


When man has lived the life of pain and pleasure and his senses have been satisfied in a great measure and their clamour for pleasure and sensation have abated, he must resort to solitude and meditation over the causes of being and detach himself from his senses, body and mind. He should cease to have all perceptions of pain and pleasure. He thus gets merged into the original essence that is all- pervasive, that is a state of pure being, a state free from all sensations, a knowledge and awareness beyond the scope of mind.


The Sankhya, the Vedanta and the Yoga systems uphold this condition as the final beatitude which every individual should attain; this is called or a liberated condition.


Caraka describes this last stage of renunciation in similar, terms(Sarira I-154 and 155).


The path leading to that state is also set out in elaborate detail. This is called the upward leading path.


�We shall now describe the upward leading path of those who seek liberation. The seeker after final emancipation, who has seen the vanity of the world, should first make his approach to a teacher whose teaching he should then put into practice. Thus he should tend the ceremonial fire, -study the sacred lawbooks, understand their meaning and taking them for his guide should mould his conductthereby. He should seek the good and avoid the evil, he should eschew the company of the wicked, he should speak only that which is true, conducive to the good of all creatures, gentle, reasonable and well considered. He should regard all creatures as himself. He should avoid all reminiscence, desire, questing and discourse with women and renounce all possessions retaining only the following appurtenances: a loin cloth for cover and an ochre-colored garment, and for mending it a case of sewing needles. For the sake of cleanliness, he may carry a water pot and as a mark of his order a mendicant�s staff, and a bowl for collec�ting alms. He may substitute alms by such natural food as is easily available in the woods and just enough to maintain life. If he is fatigued, he may take his rest on a bed improvised with dry fallen leaves and weeds, but he should not do this habitually. He may keep an arm rest as an aid in meditation. He should dwell in the woods and have not roof over his head, avoiding drowsiness, sleep, laziness etc. He should check desire and aversion to sense-objects. He should exercise circumspection in sleeping, staying, moving, seeing, eating, recreation and in fact in the movement of every individual limb. He should be indulgent alike to honourable treatment, adulation, contempt and humiliation and should be able to put up with hunger, thirst, fatigue, strain, cold, heat, wind, rain, pleasure and pain. He should be unmoved by grief, depression, self-conceit, affliction, arrogance, greed, attachment, envy, fear, anger etc. He should look on egoism etc., as causative of suffering and on the macrocosm and microcosm in the matter of creation etc., as being identical He should dread procrastination and should never feel disinclined to practise yoga. He should be of an enthusiastic frame of mind. He should bend all his powers of understanding, resolution and recollection towards final emancipation; he should restrain the senses by means of the mind and the mind by means of the spirit and the spirit by itself. He should constantly revolve in the mind the categories giving rise to the body and its members and should resolve that everything that has causation is not the self, is fraught with pain and is transient. He should regard activity as being tainted with evil, and hold the conviction that in the renunciation of all things is true happiness. This is the path leading to final emancipation; straying, from this, one is bound. Thus have we described the upward 'leading, steps.(Sarira V. 12)


Again to bring about that final renunciation of individuality, the following path is prescribed.


�'From the accession of the pure understanding all these proceed; the right seeking of the company of the good, the total avoidance of the wicked, continence and abstinence and various austerities, the study of the sacred scriptures, meditation, love� of solitude; aversion to sense pleasures, perseverance in the path of liberation, supreme determination, the non-beginning of actions and the complete anni�hilation of those already done, the desire to quit the world, humility, dreading attachment, the fixing of the mild and understanding in the self and the investigation of the true nature of things - all this procures from the recollection of the true nature of the self. The true recollection comes from the beginning with the right seeking of the company of the good and ending with supreme determination. Having recollected in mind the true nature of all 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. Recollection is so called because by dwelling upon what was seen, heard or otherwise experienced, it collects again the fullness of past experience in the mind. This is the only road, consisting of the power of true reco�llection which has been indicated for final liberation by those who have attained liberation. Those who set out on this road do not return. This road has been described by the yogis as the path of yoga, and by the liberated seers who have had all the knowledge of philosophy, as the path of liberation. All, that results from causes, is pain-giving, is other than the self and transitory. Such is not an offspring of the self; yet the self-sense obtains there, so long as the true understanding is not born; but the sage, knowing "I am not this and this is not mine." transcends everything. In that final renunciation all sensations together with their root, cause, and also cogitation, contemplation and resolution, come to an absolute termination. Thereafter the individual self having become one with the universal self is no longer seen as particularised, being rid of all qualities. He has no longer any distinguishing mark. The knowers of Brahma alone have knowledge of this, the ignorant cannot understand it." Sarira VIII, 143-153


Chapter XVIII


People and Their Professions


There were four main divisions in which people were classified, each class having a particular type or trend of work in general. Caraka permits the study of medical science to the first three groups of people, viz, ____ each class being obliged to make use of this science for a particular purpose.

The Sudra class is debarred from the study of the medical science by Caraka while Susruta concedes to the Sudra class the general study of medicine, only debarring them from the Mantra therapy.


The Sudra class was considered the lowest in the society and was assigned the service of the higher classes. Rasayana therapy was neither taught to them nor were they given the benefit of this kind of therapy.

In ceremonies, they were not sanctioned the performance of Homavidhi but they had to be satisfied with mere salutations to the Brahmins.


The order of sequence was:

1. The Brahmins

2. Rajanya

3. Vaisya

4. Sudra

Sudras were almost excluded from the medical profession.

1. There is no mention of Sudras in the description of classes of peo�ple and purpose for which they should practice medical profession.

2. For procreation procedure he was debarred from performance of Homavidhi. He was to be satisfied with Namaskara.


Susruta allows admission to Sudra but mantra is not to be given. Kasyapa allows this but they have to be assistants only. Vagbhata revolts against the debarring of sudras.


Chapter XIX


Astrological Chart