Talk:Urban Medical Relief
The country before was more of a land of villages. But cities were more populated than villages like the present scenario. The great changes in the palace revolutions and foreign domination have left the rural life of our country almost untouched. Every village has had its extent of land for tillage and pasturage, its temple for worship, its own priest and vaidya, its barber and dhobi all institutionalized on a lasting basis.
The changes are in the city lifestyle and the political and social upheavals have their source and their end in the life of the urban population. Every dynasty of kings took care to meet the changing needs of the urban life. In all these aspects, the pursuit of health and medical aid could not have been neglected.
Types of Medical Institutions
There existed two types of medical institutions, which are prevalent in present days also:
- State Service - It rendered medical help according to the rules and regulations of the State with its authority.
- Private practice - These physicians tried their best to help the people in a humanitarian spirit.
Location of State Dispensary
Kautilya mentions the exact site where the state dispensary is to be established. It should be in the north-west part of the state. The shrine dedicated to the Aswinis along with that of other gods should be built there. In the centre of the city, the aparatments of gods such as Aparajita Apratihata, Jayanta, Vaijayanta, Siva, Vaisravana, Aswini's and the abode of Goddess Madira should be situated. A store of medicines adequate for the requirements of many years should be secured and old stocks should be replenished by fresh ones. In addition to the medical officers appointed by the State, there existed a larger class of physicians who did private practice.
Significance of Medical Profession in Past
The medical profession was a popular one drawing a larger number of people to the trade is evident in as ancient a time as that of the Ramayana where we find it said that all the people of the town viz., Grocers, jewelers, makers of rugs, keepers of hot water baths, medical practitioners, fumigators and wine sellers, all of whom accompanied Bharata to meet Rama. The medical practitioners seem to have formed their own guilds just as other merchants, artisans and craftsmen did.
Practitioners as per Caraka
The medical profession must have been a lucrative one in those days so much that it induced a lot of ambitious persons to parade as physicians and exploit the people. Three kinds of practitioners were existant at that period as depicted by Caraka. Three kinds of medical practitioners are found in the world:
- The impostors in physician's robes - Those who by parading their medical paraphernalia, books, models, smattering of medical texts and knowing looks acquire the title of physician are of this kind viz, the ignoramuses and impostors.
- The vain-glorious pretenders - Those who by laying claim to association with persons of established wealth, fame, knowledge and success, while they themselves have none of these things, arrogate to themselves the designation of physicians, are vain-glorious pretenders.
- Endowed with the true virtue of the healer - They are the persons filled with complete knowledge of their subject in all the aspects. The knowledge of the equipment of the practitioner was as complete as the needs of the times demanded. Caraka ascribed great importance to the equipment knowledge as without it successful treatment is not possible to achieve.
Preparation Before Treatment
Before a physician diagnose a patient for treatment, he is advised to keep ready all the medication, apparatuses and instruments required for the procedure of treatment as well as for the emergency that may arise during the course of treatment. The physician who wishes to administer the procedure of emesis or purgation to a person of kingly circumstance or a wealthy man, must keep ready before beginning his treatment. If the procedure proves quite successful, the equipment will be of use in after-treatment and if the procedure goes wrong it will serve to help diagnosis and emergency treatment of complications arising during the course of treatment. The equipment should be kept because it is not easy to obtain it immediately, even if the means to buy them be available, the stock of remedies needed in the event of an emergency development of the disease.
Thus we see that even in that bygone age the medical profession was a popular one in the cities and towns and the best minds must have striven for high achievement in the profession and science. It is therefore that one should regard Ayurveda as a living and expanding art and science which dominated for thousands of years, but which has suffered neglect only for a few centuries recently. It is now very important to continue to progress into newer realms of achievement and glory and place it before the world in such a form as it may be of universal use and utility.
- The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India