Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.

Ayurveda - Textbook of Medicine

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Origins of Ayurveda[edit]

Science known as Ayurveda is a branch of Atharvaveda. Brahmā, before creating men, first formulated science of life consisting of a hundred thousand verses and thousand chapters. But due to limitations of understanding the complete science in it's entirety for humans, he again divided this knowledge into eight parts.

Duration of Ayurveda Samhitā[edit]

The period of the compilation of the Ayurveda Samhitā is a controversial subject, but it's era can be concurred with Caraka Samhitā. It was compiled as a branch of Atharvaveda. Atharvaveda is full of medical references. Although being the oldest, Ṛgveda also contains many clues denoting the advancement of medical science in ancient days.

The Ayurveda Samhitā is a comprehensive text on the Science of Life. It includes all the knowledge on life in health and disease available during the Vedic time. It seems to be a systematized compilation as it is said to be divided in 1000 chapters. Each chapter contains 100 verses, which totals up to one hundred thousand verse in all.

Ayurveda as per Caraka[edit]

Science of Ayurveda was regarded as Triskandh or tri-based. It gave dominance to positive health[1] as stated in Caraka. He taught to the sages the science known by Brahmā which included:

  • The science of causes
  • Symptoms
  • Medication
  • Supreme refuge of healthy
  • Safeguard for the ailing
  • Tripartite eternal science
  • Tertiary holy science

Segments of Ayurveda[edit]

With the progress of time and science, specialization in each of its branches became a necessity and we find that the science of life acquired the name of Astāṅga-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:

  1. Medicine
  2. The science of the special diseases of the supra-clavicular parts of the body[2]
  3. Surgery
  4. Toxicology
  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. Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa mentions various authors and their respective works. The names of these authors are found quoted in later works presently available. But unfortunately the original works is still not found, which hopefully might be recovered in the future.

Caraka Samhitā[edit]

To surmise and preserve this science in a permanent and standardized from would have a confusing task amongst the authorities of that time. Fortunately for Ayurveda in about seventh century. B. C. a great event in the history of medicine was hosted. A complete Aryavarta Ayurvedic Congress was held in the vicinity of the Himalayas where even the representatives of foreign countries were invited and consulted. The records of proceedings were handed over to six learned sages to classify, arrange and prepare the text of all deliberations and discussions in a systematic way.

The sages collected all the Ayurvedic knowledge existing at that time, collated and compiled a text in a coherent system in a scientific terminology. These texts were presented before the committee of the expert Ṛṣis and they approved the work prepared by Agniveśa as the authorized text. This compilation of Agniveśa popularly called as the Caraka Samhitā is thus the product of this great meeting of savants.

Significance of Caraka and Śuśruta[edit]

Śuśruta was a contemporary with Caraka and another learned sage who contributed in the same manner for surgical knowledge as Caraka did for the medical. He compiled the Śuśruta Samhitā. Caraka and Śuśruta Samhitās were written with clarity, conciseness and simplicity of arrangement and may be regarded as compendiums of the knowledge of medicine possessed at the time.

All the necessary knowledge for an ordinary medical practitioner was collected in one volume, Caraka's being a volume of study for the physician and Śuśruta's for the surgeon. Each book contains the following topics:

  • Description of medicine and surgery
  • Description of anatomy
  • Detailing on physiology
  • Summary on toxicology
  • Report on psycho-therapy
  • Details on personal hygiene
  • Medical ethics
  • Other things important for a medical practitioner

Both the sages can be considered as an encyclopedia of medical literature of the ancient times. Caraka and Śuśruta stabilized all the medical knowledge available at that time. That is the reason why we do not come across any book on the subject of prior date.

Period of Caraka and Śuśruta[edit]

These two memorable works appear at the beginning of the golden age of Indian culture. This age may roughly be said to be from 2700 B. C. to 600 A. D. During this period, the true scientific spirit was abroad in the land. The quest for knowledge had taken different directions. Philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, trigonometry, music and administration were among the branches of knowledge whose foundation was laid in this period and were also considerably developed. There were well known universities located at Taxila, Benares and Nalanda for dissemination and exchange of knowledge.

There were great Ācaryas[3] of different subjects and those who keenly desired to learn, traveled long distances. During this period of intense intellectual activity, the science of life and healing attracted the greatest attention. Ayurveda is a product of that golden age of Indian History. The Caraka and Śuśruta collections prove that a vast amount of scientific research, patient investigation and experimentation must have gone before the conclusions embodied in the literary works penned by them. These must have covered a very wide range as the vast country provided a variety of climate and geographical conditions.

Analysis of Diseases[edit]

Diverse climatic and geographical variations affects health condition, its reaction to the attacks of disease and different kinds of medicines. The country with such enormous varieties of climate was a rich nursery for the growth of all kinds of vegetable life. It provided a vast field for botanical research. Thousands of medicinal herbs or their products growing in diverse parts of the country in different climates are mentioned in Caraka and Śuśruta. Diseases peculiar to different localities and seasons are mentioned in these books. They don't represent a particular local system of medicine recognized throughout the country.

Other Literatures[edit]

Many authors specializing in one or the other branches wrote on their specialized subject which is evident from ancient literature. Many treatises of medicine are currently available. Thereafter, Bhela and the rest made their compilation of the science and these talented ones read them to Ātreya and the assembly of sages. The Salya-tantra of Upadhenu, Urabhra, Śuśruta and Puskalavata are the sources of the other Śalya-tantras.


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 hence centers for learning it developed at different places which however could not have been quite isolated as they preserved a unity of culture which can only come from a 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.

In the extracts cited above and from many other sources, we learn the names of several authors on the various branches but unfortunately most of the works are lost into oblivion and are not available at present. Many more names are likely to be unearthed by the efforts of research workers in the field.


  1. It is called as Svasthtā.
  2. It refers to eye, ear, nose, mouth, throat etc.
  3. They were the Professors of ancient times.
  • The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India