By Swami Harshananda
Cikitsā literally means ‘desire to get rid of disease’.
Āyurveda, the science of health and longevity, is an ancient discipline. Its aim is to treat the patient and remove the root cause of a disease in addition to its symptoms. One step is in supporting the recovery of a patient is the curative treatment.
Out of the ‘aṣṭāṅgas’ or eight limbs of this science, ‘cikitsā’ or treatment of the disease, forms the sixth. It has four pādas or quarters:
- Vaidya - the physician: He should be an adept in this science not only in theory but also in practice. He should be devoted to his profession following righteous conduct.
- Auṣadha - the medicine: It must be prepared by the vaidya himself after proper examination of the patient and diagnosis. It should be prepared with the right kind of materials.
- Paricāraka - the nurse: She must be meticulous, hardworking and sympathetic towards the patient.
- Rogi - the patient: The rogi should obey the commands of the physician and cooperate strictly with the paricāraka.
If these conditions are fulfilled, Cikitsā (treatment) will be effective.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore