Talk:Textbooks of Medicine

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Text books of Medicine


The period of the compilation of the Ayurveda Samhita will remain a subject of controversy and research for a long time to come, but we can broadly put the period as running concurrently with the Samhita period of the Vedas themselves. It is likely that it was compiled as a branch of Atharvaveda, as we find the last named Veda full of medical references, although the oldest Rgveda also contains many clues to enable us to say that medical science was well advanced even in those days of the hoary past. In any case the compilation was a comprehensive text on the Science of Life. It included all the knowledge of life in health and disease, accumulated during thousands of years of Vedic period over the length and breadth of the land. It seems to be a systematised compilation as it is said to be divided in 1000 chapters, each chapter containing 100 verses, thus making one hundred thousand verses In all. This science of Ayurveda was regarded as Triskandh or tri-based. It gave dominance to positive health or Svasthta as stated in Caraka.


"He taught the science of causes, symptoms and medication, the supreme refuge of both the healthy and the ailing, the tripartite science eternal and holy, which the Great Father Brahma knew.


He, the sage of great understanding, learned correctly, by single-minded devotion the whole science of life, tri- based and extending without end.�'


" This science known as Ayurveda is a branch of Atharvaveda. The self-created Brahma before creating men, first formulated this science of life consisting of a hundred thousand verses and a thousand chapters. But in view of the shortness of life and the feeb�leness of understanding of mortals, he again divided the knowledge into eight parts.


Thus with the progress of time and of the science, specialisation in each of its branches became a necessity and we find that this science of life acquired the name of Astannga-Ayurveda from the eight different specialized branches into which it developed. This term is still applied to it.


The eight branches are enumerated by Caraka as under:


"The branches of this science are eight. They are:


(2) The science of the special diseases of the supra-clavicular parts of the body (viz. eye, ear, nose, mouth, throat etc,)

(3) Surgery


(5) Psycho-therapy

(6) Pediatrics

(7) Rejuvenation

(8) Virilification


Before the, actual division of the Science of Ayurveda into its eight branches named above there were many treatises written by sages on the subject of Ayurveda in general. The following is a list of them.


Brahmavaivarta Purana mentions various authors and their respective works thus


The names of these authors are found quoted In later works which are available at present. But unfortunately the original works. He hidden in darkness, which one day the future research- worker may bring to light.


' Ayurveda is essentially an Aryan product and it expanded with the expansion of Aryan sway and culture over the country. The knowledge became scattered over the country Centres of lear�ning sprang up in different places which however could not have been quite isolated as they preserved a unity of culture which can only come from regular inter-communication. But despite this basic unity, a practical science has to develop in different places according to their special requirements and condition of life. For scores of centuries Ayurveda developed in this manner, its wisdom being handed down in the form of aphorisms by word of mouth.