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It is felt to be one of the oldest and the most important ancient authoritative writings on Ayurveda. It is not known who this person was or, if indeed, this represents the work of a “school of thought.
This work is sometimes considered a redaction of an older and more voluminous work, Agnivesha Samhita 46, verseswhich is no longer extant. The language of Charaka is Sanskrit and its style hridaya poetry, with meter and melody.
Poetry was known to serve as a memory aid. For example, Charaka contains over 8, metrical verses, which are often committed to memory, in toto, by modern medical students of Ayurveda. It presents most of the theoretical edifice of Ayurveda and concentrates hrkdayam the branch of Ayurveda called kayachikitsa internal medicine.
The Ancient Ayurvedic Writings
This is largely the theory of the internal fire–of digestion–or internal medicine, in modern terms. Charaka never discusses the sub-types of pitta and kapha, but does list and describe the 5 sub-types of vata.
Seen from a greater perspective, this work seems to represent a certain value of consciousness that is different from other works. It gives more discussion about the notion that life is fundamentally a field of intelligence and pure knowledge. This field is self-aware; it is the Knower as well as the object of perception, and for Charaka this is part of what is to be treated by the physician. Sharma translation comes in four volumes, two of original text and two of commentary about the original work.
Sharma’s English version is said to be a scholarly and relatively faithful work. It has numerous appendices and an extensive index. Sharma version lacks these features but does have extensive commentary incorporated in with the original text. The Sushruta Samhita presents the field of Ayurvedic surgery shalya.
This branch of medicine arose in part from the exigencies of dealing with the effects of war. This work also is said to be a redaction of oral material passed down verbally from generation to generation. It is thought to have arisen about the same time period as the Charaka Samhita, slightly after or before it according to different authorities.
Its style is both prose and poetry with poetry being the greater portion. The Sushruta Samhita, while dealing with the practice and theory of surgery, is an important source of Ayurvedic aphorisms. For example, the most comprehensive and frequently quoted definition of health is from Sushruta.
This work is unique in that it discusses blood in terms of the fourth doshic principle. This work is the first to enumerate and discuss the pitta sub-doshas and the marmas.
With its emphasis on pitta, surgery, and blood, this work ashganga represents the transformational value of life. This work, also originally written in Sanskrit, is now available in English with Devanagari. Bhishagratna’s translation is English and Sanskrit.
Dallana has been regarded as the most influential commentator on Sushruta’s work. Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtanga Hridayam are the work of a person named Vagbhata. There are two works by a person or persons with this name. The Hridayam about 7, verses is written in prose and seems to have a slightly different organization of material than the former.
Both works have been dated about the same time and are thought to date after the Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita CE. The exposition is relatively straightforward and also deals primarily with kayachikitsa. In this work, we see the kapha sub-doshas are listed and described vagvhata the first time, completing our modern edifice of vata, pitta, and kapha with their five sub-types.
The Ancient Ayurvedic Writings
Its emphasis on treating the physiology of the body and ashtangq for therapeutic use of metals and minerals means the perspective of the treatise represents the gross, material value of life more than its counterparts Charaka and Sushruta. While Charaka has entire chapters dealing with the Self, these works merely mention hridaaym the body is the home for the Self without any elaboration.
Murthy has translated many of the ancient Ayurvedic writings into English, for which we are indebted. He has weighty credentials and brings them to bear in this work.
The Sharngadhara Samhita is a concise exposition of Ayurvedic principles. Its author, Sharngadhara, has offered his work as a digested version of Ayurvedic knowledge, deliberately omitting much detail because the works of The Great Three were already widely known. This treatise is thought to have originated in the 15th century AD. The Sharngadhara Samhita is prized for its enumeration and description of numerous pharmacological formulations used in panchakarma and contains the first textual elaboration of diagnosis by means of the pulse.
Ashtanga Hridaya of Vagbhata – with 2 Commentaries [Sanskrit]
Its subject matter is again the field of kayachikitsa. Bhava Prakasha is just now available in English translation. It is the most recent of the classical texts, written in the if century. It is a well-organized and compact re-presentation of the earlier classics. There are about 10, verses of varying meters. It deals with kayachikitsa generally and has a large section entitled Nighantu, which gives the characteristics of many foods, plants, and minerals.
Many of it sutras are direct quotes from earlier writers.
Its vagbhaya is slightly different at times from those given by Charaka, Sushruta, and Vagbhata, while for the greater part its verses are seemingly direct quotes from them. This work is dated around AD and is prized for covering a wide range of diseases in the fields of bala children and women’s disordersshalya, damstra toxicologyshalakya ear, nose and throatand kayachikitsa.
While this treatise gives detailed description of disease etiology disease doctrinesprodroma and cardinal signs and symptoms, it does not give explanation or suggestions for chikitsa treatment. This article is not strictly transliterated from the original Sanskrit. Charaka is often transliterated as Caraka as kayachikitsa is often kayacikitsa.
The “c” was changed to “ch” to aid in the correct pronunciation in these cases. Bhava Prakasha Bhava Prakasha is just now available in English translation. CopyrightMichael S. Dick and The Ayurvedic Institute.