A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 2

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1932 | 241,887 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of ayurveda literature: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the eighteenth part in the series called the “speculations in the medical schools”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

The systematic development of Indian' medicine proceeded primarily on two principal lines, viz. one that of Suśruta and the other that of Caraka. It is said in Suśruta’s great work, Suśruta-saṃhitā, that Brahmā originally composed the Āyurveda in one hundred verses, divided into one thousand chapters, even before he had created human beings, and that later on, having regard to the shortness of human life and the poverty of the human intellect, he divided it into the eight parts, Śalya, Śālākya, etc., alluded to in a previous section. But this seems to be largely mythical. It is further said in the same connection in the Suśruta-saṃhitā , 1. 1 that the sages Aupadhenava, Vaitaraṇa, Aurabhra, Pauṣkalāvata, Karavīrya, Gopurarakṣita, Suśruta and others approached Dhanvantari or Divodāsa, king of Kāśī, for medical instruction. Suśruta’s work is therefore called a work of the Dhanvantari school. Though it was revised at a later date by Nāgārjuna, yet Suśruta himself is an old writer.

A study of the Jātakas shows that the great physician Atreya, a teacher of Jīvaka, lived in Taxila shortly before Buddha[1]. It has been said in a preceding section that in the enumeration of bones Suśruta shows a knowledge of Ātreya’s system of osteology. Hoernle has further shown in sections 42, 56, 60 and 61 of his “Osteology,” that the Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa, which is at least as old as the sixth century B.C., shows an acquaintance with Suśruta’s views concerning the counting of bones. But, since Ātreya could not have lived earlier than the sixth century B.C., and since the Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa of about the sixth century B.C. shows an acquaintance with Suśruta’s views, Hoernle conjectures that Suśruta must have been contemporary with Ātreya’s pupil, Agniveśa[2]. But, admitting Hoernle’s main contentions to be true, it may be pointed out that by the term veda-vādinaḥ in Suśruta-saṃhitā , hi. 5. 18 Suśruta may have referred to authorities earlier than Ātreya, from whom Ātreya also may have drawn his materials. On this view, then, the lower limit of Suśruta’s death is fixed as the sixth or seventh century B.C., this being the date of the Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa, while practically nothing can be said about the upper limit.

But it is almost certain that the work which now passes by the name of Suśruta-saṃhitā is not identically the same work that was composed by this elder Suśruta (vṛddha Suśruta). Ḍalhaṇa, who lived probably in the eleventh or the twelfth century, says in his Nibandha-saṃgraha that Nāgārjuna was the reviser of the Suśruta-saṃhitā[3]; and the Suśruta-saṃhitā itself contains a supplementary part after the Kalpa-sthāna, called the Uttara-tantra (later work). In the edition of Suśruta by P. Muralidhar, of Pharuknagar, there is a verse at the beginning, which says that that which was so well taught for the good of the people by the great sage Dhanvantari to the good pupil Suśruta became famous all over the world as Suśruta-saṃhitā , and is regarded as the best and the chief of the threefold Āyurveda literature, and that it was strung together in the form of a book by no other person than Nāgārjuna[4]. Cakrapāṇi also in his Bhānumatī refers to a reviser (pratisaṃskartṛ); but he does not mention his name.

Gayadāsa’s pañjikā on Suśruta, Suśruta-candrikā or Nyāya-candrikā, has an observation on the eighth verse of the third chapter of the Nidāna-sthāna, in which he gives a different reading by Nāgārjuna, which is the same as the present reading of Suśruta in the corresponding passage[5].

Again, bhaṭṭa Narahari in his Tippaṇī on the Astāṅga-hṛdaya-saṃhitā, called Vāgbhata-khaṇḍana-maṇḍana , in discussing mūḍha-garbha-nidāna, annotates on the reading vasti-dvāre vipannāyāh, which Vāgbhata changes in borrowing from Suśruta’s vastimāra-vipannā-yāḥ (11.8.14), andsavsthat vasti-dvāre is the reading of Nāgārjuna[6].

That Nāgārjuna had the habit of making supplements to his revisions of works is further testified by the fact that a work called Yoga-śataka, attributed to Nāgārjuna, had also a supplementary chapter, called Uttara-tantra, in addition to its other chapters,

This makes it abundantly clear that what passes as the Suśruta-saṃhitā was either entirely strung together from the traditional teachings of Suśruta or entirely revised and enlarged by Nāgārjuna on the basis of a nuclear work of Suśruta which was available to Nāgārjuna. But was Nāgārjuna the only person who revised the Suśruta-saṃhitā ?

Ḍalhaṇa’s statement that it was Nāgārjuna who was the reviser of the work (pratisomskartāpīha Nāgārjuna eva) is attested by the verse of the Muralidhar edition (Nāgārjunenaiva grathitā); but the use of the emphatic word eva in both suggests that there may have been other editions or revisions of Suśruta by other writers as well. The hopelessly muddled condition of the readings, chapter-divisions and textual arrangements in the chapters in different editions of the Suśruta-saṃhitā is such that there can be no doubt that from time to time many hands were in operation on this great work. Nor it is proper to think that the work of revising Suśruta was limited to a pre-Cakrapāṇi period. It is possible to point out at least one case in which it can be almost definitely proved that a new addition was made to the Suśruta-saṃhitā after Cakrapāṇi, or the text of Suśruta known to Ḍalhaṇa was not known to Cakrapāṇi. Thus, in dealing with the use of catheters and the processes of introducing medicine through the anus (vasti-kriyā) in iv. 38, the texts of the Suśruta-saṃhitā commented on by Ḍalhaṇa reveal many interesting details which are untouched in the chapter on Vasti in the Caraka-saṃhitā (Uttara-vasti, Siddhi-sthāna, xii).

This chapter of the Caraka-saṃhitā was an addition by Dṛḍhabala, who flourished in Kāśmīra or the Punjab, probably in the eighth or the ninth century. When Cakrapāṇi wrote his commentary in the eleventh century, he did not make any reference to the materials found in the Suśruta-saṃhitā , nor did he introduce them into his own medical compendium, which passes by the name of Cakradatta.

Cakrapāṇi knew his Suśruta-saṃhitā well, as he had commented on it himself, and it is extremely unlikely that, if he had found any interesting particulars concerning vasti-kriyā in his text, he should not have utilized them in his commentary or in his own medical work. The inference, therefore, is almost irresistible that many interesting particulars regarding vasti-kriyā, absent in the texts of the Suśruta-saṃhitā in the ninth and eleventh centuries, were introduced into it in the twelfth century. It is difficult, however, to guess which Nāgārjuna was the reviser or editor of the Suśruta-saṃhitā ; it is very unlikely that he was the famous Nāgārjuna of the Mādhyamika-kārikā, the great teacher of Śūnyavāda; for the accounts of the life of this Nāgārjuna, as known from Chinese and Tibetan sources, nowhere suggest that he revised or edited the Suśruta-saṃhitā.

Alberuni speaks of a Nāgārjuna who was born in Dihaka, near Somanātha (Gujarat), about one hundred years before himself, i.e. about the middle of the ninth century, and who had written an excellent work on alchemy, containing the substance of the whole literature of the subject, which by Alberuni’s time had become very rare. It is not improbable that this Nāgārjuna was the author of the Kakṣaputa-tantra, which is avowedly written with materials collected from the alchemical works of various religious communities and which deals with the eightfold miraculous acquirements (aṣṭa-siddhi).

But Vṛnda in his Siddha-yoga refers to a formula by Nāgārjuna which was said to have been written on a pillar in Pātaliputra[7]. This formula is reproduced by Cakrapāṇi Datta, Vaṅgasena and by Nityanātha Siddha in his Rasa-ratnākara. But since Vṛnda, the earliest of these writers, flourished about the eighth or the ninth century, and since his formula was taken from an inscription, it is not improbable that this Nāgārjuna flourished a few centuries before him.

Of the commentaries on the Suśruta-saṃhitā the most important now current is Ḍalhaṇa’s Nibandha-saṃgraha. Ḍalhaṇa quotes Cakrapāṇi, of A.D. 1060, and is himself quoted by Hemādri, of a.d. 1260. He therefore flourished between the eleventh and the thirteenth centuries. It has been pointed out that sufficient textual changes in the Suśruta-saṃhitā had occurred between Cakrapāṇi and Ḍalhaṇa’s time to have taken at least about one hundred years. I am therefore inclined to think that Ḍalhaṇa lived late in the twelfth, or early in the thirteenth, century at the court of King Sahapāla Deva.

Cakrapāṇi had also written a commentary on the Suśruta-saṃhitā, called Bhānumatī, the first book of which has been published by Kaviraj Gangaprasad Sen. Dr Cordier notes that there is a complete manuscript of this at Benares. Niścala Kara and Śrīkaṇtha Datta sometimes quote from Cakrapāṇi’s commentary on the Suśruta-saṃhitā.

Ḍalhaṇa’s commentary is called Nibandha-saṃgraha, which means that the book is collected from a number of commentaries, and he himself says in a colophon at the end of the Uttara-tantra that the physician Ḍalhaṇa, son of Bharata, had written the work after consulting many other commentaries[8].

At the beginning of his Nibandha-saṃgraha he refers to Jaiyyata, Gayadāsa, Bhāskara’s paujikā, Śrimādhava and Brahmadeva. In his work he further mentions Caraka, Hārīta, Jatukarṇa, Kāśyapa, Kṛṣṇātreya, Bhadraśaunaka, Nāgārjuna, the two Vāgbhatas, Videha, Hariścandra, Bhoja, Ivārltika Kuṇḍa and others. Ilari-ścandra was a commentator on the Caraka-saṃhitā. It is curious, however, that, though Ḍalhaṇa refers to Bhāskara and Śrimādhava Concluding verse of Ḍalhaṇa’s commentary on Suśruta’s Uttara-tantra, chap. 66.

at the beginning of his commentary, he does not refer to them in the body of it. Hoernle, however, is disposed to identify Bhāskara and Kārttika Kuṇḍa as one person. Vijayarakṣita and Śrīkaṇtha Datta, commentators on Mādhava’s Nidāna , refer to Kārttika Kuṇḍa in connection with their allusions to the Suśruta-saṃhitā, but not to Bhāskara. A Patna inscription (E.I.I. 340, 345) says that King Bhoja had given the title of Vidyāpati to Bhāskara bhaṭṭa. Hoernle thinks that this Bhāskara was the same as Bhāskara bhaṭṭa.

Hoernle also suggests that Vṛnda Mādhava was the same as Śrimādhava referred to by Ḍalhaṇa. Mādhava in his Siddha-yoga often modifies Suśruta’s statements. It may be that these modifications passed as Mādhava’s Tippaṇa. Since Gayadāsa and Cakrapāṇi both refer to Bhoja and do not refer to one another, it may be that Gayadāsa was a contemporary of Cakrapāṇi.

Hoernle thinks that the Brahmadeva referred to by Ḍalhaṇa was Śrībrahma, the father of Maheśvara, who wrote his Sāhasāñka-carita in A.D. 1111. Maheśvara refers to Hariścandra as an early ancestor of his. It is not improbable that this Hariścandra was a commentator on Caraka. The poet Maheśvara was himself also a Kavirāja, and Heramba Sena’s Gūḍha-bodhaka-saṃgraha was largely based on Maheśvara’s work. Jejjaṭa’s commentary passed by the name of Bṛhal-laghu-pañjikā; Gayadāsa’s commentary was called the Suśruta-candrikā or Nyāya-candrikā and Śrīmādhava or Mādhava-Kara’s Tippaṇa was called Śloka-vārttika. Gayadāsa mentions the names of Bhoja, Suranandī and Svāmidāsa.

Gayadāsa’s pañjikā has been discovered only up to the Nidāna-sthāna, containing 3000 granthas. Among other commentators of Suśruta we hear the names of

It may not be out of place here to mention the fact that the Sāṃkhya philosophy summed up in the Śārīra-sthāna of Suśruta is decidedly the Sāṃkhya philosophy of īśvarakṛṣṇa, which, as I have elsewhere pointed out, is later than the Sāṃkhya philosophy so elaborately treated in the Caraka-samhitā[9]. This fact also suggests that the revision of Suśruta was executed after the composition of īśvarakṛṣṇa’s work (about A.D. 200), which agrees with the view expressed above that the revision of Suśruta was the work of Nāgārjuna, who flourished about the fourth or the fifth century A.D. But it is extremely improbable that the elaborate medical doctrines of an author who lived at so early a date as the sixth century B.C. could have remained in a dispersed condition until seven, eight or nine hundred years later. It is therefore very probable that the main basis of Suśruta’s work existed in a codified and well-arranged form from very early times.

The work of the editor or reviser seems to have consisted in introducing supplements, such as the Uttara-tantra, and other chapters on relevant occasions. It does not seem impossible that close critical and comparative study of a number of published texts of the Suśruta-saṃhitā and of unpublished manuscripts may enable a future student to separate the original from the supplementary parts. The task, however, is rendered difficult by the fact that additions to the Suśruta-saṃhitā were probably not limited to one period, as has already been pointed out above.

It is well known that Atri’s medical teachings, as collected by Agniveśa in his Agniveśa-tantra , which existed at least as late as Cakrapāṇi, form the basis of a revised work by Caraka, who is said to have flourished during the time of Kaṇiṣka, passing by the name of Caraka-saṃhitā[10]. It is now also well known that Caraka did not complete his task, but left it half-finished at a point in the Cikitsā-sthāna, seventeen chapters of which, together with the books called Siddhi-sthāna and Kalpa-sthāna , were added by Kapilabala’s son, Dṛḍhabala, of the city of Pañcanada, about the ninth century A.D. The statement that Dṛḍhabala supplemented the work in the above way is found in the current texts of the Caraka-saṃhitā [11].

Niścala Kara in his Ratna-prabhā describes him as author of the Caraka-pariśiṣṭa , and Cakrapāṇi, Vijayarakṣita and Aruṇa-datta (a.d. 1240), whenever they have occasion to quote passages from his supplementary parts, all refer to Dṛḍhabala as the author. The city of Pañcanada was identified as the Punjab by Dr U. C. Dutt in his Materia Medica, which identification was accepted by Dr Cordier and referred to a supposed modem Panjpur,north of Attock in the Punjab. There are several Pañcanadas in different parts of India, and one of them is mentioned in the fifty-ninth chapter of the Kāśī-khaṇḍa ; Gaṅgādhara in his commentary identifies this with Benares, assigning no reason for such identification.

Hoernle, however, thinks that this Pañcanada is the modern village of Pantzinor (“five channels” in Kashmir) and holds that Dṛḍhabala was an inhabitant of this place. There are many passages in Caraka which the commentators believe to be additions of the Kāśmīra recension (Kāśmīra-pātha). Mādhava quotes a number of verses from the third chapter of the sixth section, on fevers, which verses are given with the omission of about twenty-four lines. Vijaya-rakṣita, in his commentary on Mādhava’s Nidāna, says that these lines belong to the Kāśmīra recension. Existing manuscripts vary very much with regard to these lines; for, while some have the lines, in others they are not found. In the same chapter there are other passages which are expressly noted by Cakrapāṇidatta as belonging to Kāśmīra recensions, and are not commented upon by him. There are also other examples.

Hoernle points out that Jīvānanda’s edition of 1877 gives the Kāśmīra version, while his edition of 1896, as well as the editions of Gaṅgādhara, the two Sens and Abinas, have Caraka’s original version. Mādhava never quotes readings belonging to the Kāśmīra recension. Hoernle puts together four points, viz. that Caraka’s work was revised and completed by Dṛḍhabala, that there existed a Kāśmīra recension of the Caraka-saṃhitā, , that Dṛḍhabala calls himself a native of Pañcanada city, and that there existed a holy place of that name in Kāśmīra; and he argues that the so-called Kāśmīra recension represents the revision of the Caraka-saṃhitā by Dṛḍhabala. Judging from the fact that Mādhava takes no notice of the readings of the Kāśmīra recension, he argues that the latter did not exist in Mādhava’s time and that therefore Mādhava’s date must be anterior to that of Dṛḍhabala.

But which portions were added to the Caraka-saṃhitā by Dṛḍhabala? The obvious assumption is that he added the last seventeen chapters of the sixth book (Cikitsā) and the seventh and eighth books[12]. But such an assumption cannot hold good, since there is a great divergence in the counting of the number of the chapters in different manuscripts. Thus, while Jīvānanda’s text marks Arśas, Atīsāra, Visarpa, Madātyaya and Dvivraṇīya as the ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth chapters of Cikitsā and therefore belonging to the original Caraka, Gaṅgādhara’s text calls the ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth chapters Unmāda, Apasmāra, Kṣatakṣīṇa, Śvayathu and Udara.

The seventeen chapters attributed to Dṛḍhabala have consequently different titles in the Gaṅgādhara and Jīvānanda editions. Hoernle has discussed very critically these textual problems and achieved notable results in attributing chapters to Caraka or Dṛḍhabala[13]. But it is needless for us to enter into these discussions.

Mahāmahopādhyāya Kaviraj Gaṇanātha Sen, merely on the strength of the fact that the Rāja-taraṅgiṇī is silent on the matter[14], disputes the traditional Chinese statement that Caraka was the court-physician of Kaṇiṣka. There is no ground to believe as gospel truth a tradition, which cannot be traced to any earlier authority than Bhoja (eleventh century), that Patañjali was the author of a medical work, and that therefore Patañjali and Caraka could be identified. His comparisons of some passages from Caraka (iv. 1) with some sūtras of Patañjali are hardly relevant and he finally has to rest for support of this identification on the evidence of Rāmabhadra Dīkṣita, a man of the seventeenth or the eighteenth century, who holds that Patañjali had written a work on medicine. He should have known that there were more Patañjalis than one, and that the alchemist and medical Patañjali was an entirely different person from Patañjali, the grammarian.

The most important commentary now completely available to us is the Āyurveda-dīpikā , or Coraka-tātparya-ṭīkā, of Cakrapāṇi-datta. Another important commentary is the Caraka-pañjikā by Svāmikumāra. He was a Buddhist in faith, and he refers to the commentator Hariścandra. The Caraka-tattva-pradīpikā was written in later times by Śivadāsasena, who also wrote the Tattva-candrikā , a commentary on Cakradatta. We hear also of other commentaries on Caraka by Bāṣpacandra or Vāpyacandra, īśāna-deva, īśvarasena, Vakulakara, Jinadāsa, Munidāsa, Govardhana, Sandhyākara, Jaya nandī and the Caraka-candrikā of Gayadāsa.

Among other ancient treatises we may mention the Kāśyapa-saṃhitā , discovered in Kathmāṇḍū, a medical dialogue between Kāśyapa, the teacher and Bhārgava, the student. It is interesting to note that it has some verses (MS., pp. 105-110) which are identical with part of the fifth chapter of the first book of Caraka. There is another important manuscript, called Bhāradvāja-samhitā, which contains within it a small work called Bhesaja-kalpa , a commentary by Veṅkateśa[15].

Agniveśa’s original work, the Agniveśa-saṃhitā , which was the basis of Caraka’s revision, was available at least up to the time of Cakrapāṇi; Vijayarakṣita and Śrīkaṇthadatta also quote from it[16].

Jatūkarṇa’s work also existed till the time of the same writers, as they occasionally quote from Jatūkarṇa-saṃhitā[17].

The Parāśara-saṃhitā and Kṣārapāṇi-saṃhitā were also available down to Śrikaṇthadatta’s, or even down to Śivadāsa’s, time.

The Hārīta-saṃhitā (different from the printed and more modem text) was also available from the time of Cakrapāṇi and Vijayarakṣita, as is evident from the quotations from it in their works. Bhela’s work, called Bhela-saṃhitā, has already been published by the University of Calcutta.

It may be remembered that Agniveśa, Bhela, Jatūkarṇa, Parāśara, Hārīta and Kṣārapāṇi were all fellow-students in medicine, reading with the same teacher, Atreya-Punarvasu; Agniveśa, being the most intelligent of them all, wrote his work first, but Bhela and his other fellow-students also wrote independent treatises, which were read before the assembly of medical scholars and approved by them.

Another work of the same school, called Kharaṇada-saṃhitā , and also a Viśvāmitra-saṃhitā, both of which are not now available, are utilized by Cakrapāṇi and other writers in their commentaries.

The name saṃhitā , however, is no guarantee of the antiquity of these texts, for the junior Vāgbhata’s work is also called Aṣṭāṅga-hṛ day a-saṃhitā. We have further a manuscript called Vararuci-saṃhitā, by Vararuci, and a Siddha-sōra-saṃhitā by Ravigupta, son of Durgāgupta, which are of comparatively recent date.

The Brahma-vaivarta-purāṇa refers to a number of early medical works, such as the

But nothing is known of these works, and it is difficult to say if they actually existed.

It is well known that there were two Vāgbhatas (sometimes spelt Vāhata). The earlier Vāgbhata knew Caraka and Suśruta. It is conjectured by Hoernle and others that the statement of I-tsing (a.d. 675-685), that the eight arts formerly existed in eight books, and that a man had lately epitomized them and made them into one bundle, and that all physicians in the five parts of India practised according to that book, alludes to the Aṣṭāṅga-saṃgraha of Vāgbhata the elder. In that case Vāgbhata I must have flourished either late in the sixth century or early in the seventh century; for I-tsing speaks of him as having epitomized the work “lately,” and on the other hand time must be allowed for the circulation of such a work in the five parts of India. A comparison of Suśruta and Vāgbhata I shows that the study of anatomy had almost ceased to exist in the latter’s time. It is very probable that Vāgbhata was a Buddhist. The Aṣṭāṅga-saṃgraha has a commentary by Indu; but before Indu there had been other commentators, whose bad expositions w’ere refuted by him[19].

Mādhava, Dṛḍhabala and Vāgbhata II all knew Vāgbhata I. Mādhava mentions him by name and occasionally quotes from him both in the Siddha-yoga and in the Nidāna , and so also does Dṛḍhabala[20]. Hoernle has shown that Dṛḍhabala’s 96 diseases of the eye are based on Vāgbhata’s 94. Vāgbhata II towards the end of the Uttara-sthāna of his Aṣṭāṅga-hṛdaya-saṃhitā definitely expresses his debt to Vāgbhata I. But they must all have flourished before Cakrapāṇi, who often refers to Dṛḍhabala and Vāgbhata II. If, as Hoernle has shown, Mādhava was anterior to Dṛḍhabala, he also must necessarily have flourished before Cakrapāṇi.

Hoernle’s argument that Mādhava flourished before Dṛḍhabala rests upon the fact that Suśruta counts 76 kinds of eye-diseases, while Vāgbhata I has 94. Dṛḍhabala accepts Vāgbhata I’s 94 eye-diseases with the addition of two more, added by Mādhava, making his list come to 96. Mādhava had accepted Suśruta’s 76 eye-diseases and added two of his own[21]. The second point in Hoernle’s argument is that Mādhava in his quotations from Caraka always omits the passages marked by Vijayarakṣita as Kāśmīra readings, which Hoernle identifies with the revision work of Dṛḍhabala. These arguments of Hoernle appear very inconclusive; for, if the so-called Kāśmīra recension can be identified with Dṛḍhabala’s revision, both Dṛḍhabala’s Kāśmīra nativity and his posteriority to Mādhava can be proved; but this proposition has not been proved.

On the other hand, Cakrapāṇi alludes to a Dṛḍhabala samskāra side by side with a Kāśmīra reading, and this seems to indicate that the two are not the same[22]. The suggestion of Mādhava’s anteriority on the ground that he counts 78 eye-diseases is rather far-fetched. Mādhava’s date, therefore, cannot be definitely settled. Hoernle is probably correct in holding that Dṛḍhabala is anterior to Vāgbhata[23]. However, the relative anteriority or posteriority of these three writers does not actually matter very much; for they lived at more or less short intervals from one another and their dates may roughly be assigned to a period between the eighth and tenth centuries A.D.

Vāgbhata IPs Aṣṭāṅga-hṛdaya-saṃhitā has at least five commentaries, viz. by Aruṇadatta (Sarvāṅga-sundarī), Aśādhara, Candracandana (Padārtha-candrikā), Rāmanātha and Hemādri (Āyurveda-rasāyand). Of these Aruṇadatta probably lived in A.D. 1220. Mādhava’s Rug-viniścaya, a compendium of pathology, is one of the most popular works of Indian Medicine.

It has at least seven commentaries, viz. by

Vijayarakṣita’s commentary, however, closes with the 33rd chapter, and the rest of the work was accomplished by Śrīkaṇthadatta, a pupil of Vijayarakṣita. Vṛnda (who may be the same as Mādhava) wrote a Siddha-yoga, a book of medical formulas, well known among medical writers.

In connection with this brief account of Indian medical works the Nava-nītaka, and the other mutilated medical treatises which have been discovered in Central Asia and which go by the name of “Bower manuscript,” cannot be omitted. This manuscript is written on birch leaves in Gupta characters and is probably as old as the fifth century A.D. It is a Buddhist work, containing many medical formulas taken from Caraka, Suśruta and other unknown writers. It will, however, be understood that an elaborate discussion of chronology or an exhaustive account of Indian medical works would be out of place in a work like the present.’The Āyurveda literature, and particularly that part which deals with medical formulas and recipes, medical lexicons and the like, is vast.

Aufrecht’s catalogue contains the names of about 1500 manuscript texts, most of which have not yet been published, and there are many other manuscripts not mentioned in Aufrecht’s catalogue. Among the books now much in use may be mentioned the works of Śārṅgadhara, of the fourteenth century, Śivadāsa’s commentary on Cakrapāṇi, of the fifteenth century, and the Bhāva-prakāśa of Bhāvamiśra, of the sixteenth. Vaṅgasena’s work is also fairly common.

Among anatomical texts Bhoja’s work and Bhāskara bhaṭṭa’s Śārīra-padminī deserve mention.


  1. Aupadhenava-tantra,
  2. Pauṣkalāvata-tantra,
  3. Vaitaraṇa-tantra
  4. and Bhoja-tantra

are alluded to by Ḍalhaṇa.

The Bhāluki-tantra and Kapila-tantra are mentioned by Cakrapāṇi in his Bhānumatī commentary.

So much for the anatomical treatises.

  1. Videha-tantra,
  2. Nitni-tantra,
  3. Kāñkāyana-tantra,
  4. Sātyaki-tantra,
  5. Karāla-tantra
  6. and Kṛṣṇātreya-tantra

on eye-diseases are alluded to in Śrīkaṇtha’s commentary on Mādhava’s Nidāna.

The Śaunaka-tantra on eye-diseases is named in the commentaries of Cakrapāṇi and Ḍalhaṇa.


  1. Jivaka-tantra,
  2. Parvataka-tantra
  3. and Bandhaka-tantra

are alluded to by Ḍalhaṇa as works on midwifery.

The Hiraṇyākṣya-tantra on the same subject is named by Śrīkaṇtha, whereas the Kāśyapa-saṃhitā and Ālambāyana-saṃhitā are cited by Śrīkaṇtha on toxicology.


  1. Uśanas-saṃhitā,
  2. Sanaka-saṃhitā,
  3. Lāṭyāyana-saṃhitā

are also mentioned as works on toxicology.

Among some of the other important Tantras may be mentioned

  1. Nāgārjuna’s Yoga-śataka, containing the eight regular divisions of Indian Medicine,
  2. and Nāgāijuna’s Jīva-sūtra and Bheṣaja-kalpa,

all of which were translated into Tibetan.

Three works on the Aṣṭāṅga-hṛdaya, called

  1. Aṣṭāṅga-hṛdaya-nāma-vaidūryaka-bhāṣya,
  2. Padār-tha-candrikā-prabhāsa-nāma, Aṣṭāṅga-hṛdaya-vṛtti
  3. and Vaidyakā-ṣṭāṅga-hṛdaya-vṛtter bheṣaja-nāma-sūcī,

were also translated into Tibetan.

The Āyurveda-sūtra is a work by Yogānandanātha, published with a commentary by the same author in the Mysore University Sanskrit series in 1922, with an introduction by Dr Shama Sastry. It is rightly pointed out in the introduction that this is a very modern work, written after the Bhāva-prakāśa, probably in the sixteenth century. It contains sixteen chapters and is an attempt to connect Āyurveda with Patañjali’s Yoga system. It endeavours to show how different kinds of food increase the sattva, rajas and tamas qualities and how yoga practices, fasting and the like, influence the conditions of the body. Its contribution, whether as a work of Āyurveda or as a work of philosophy, is rather slight. It shows a tendency to connect Yoga with Āyurveda, while the Vīra-siṃhāvalokita is a work which tries to connect astrology with the same.

Footnotes and references:


Rockhill’s Life of Buddha, pp. 65 and 96.


Hoernle’s Medicine of Ancient India, Part I, “Osteology,” pp. 7 and 8.


Pratisaṃskartāpīha Nāgārjuna eva. Ḍalhaṇa’s Nibandha-saṃgraha, 1. 1. 1.


Upadiṣṭā tu yō samyag Dhonvantari-maharṣiṇā
Suśrutāya suśiṣyāya lokānāṃ hita-vānchayā
sarvatra bhuvi vikhyātā nāmnā Suśruta-saṃhitā
Āyurvedat-rayīmadhye sreṣṭhā mānyā tathottamā
sā ca Nāgārjunenaiva grathitā grantha-rūpataḥ


Nāgārjunas tu paṭhati; śarkarā sikatā meho bhasmākhyośniari-vaikrtam iti.

In the Nirnaya-Sāgara edition of 1915 this is II. 3. 13, whereas in Jīvānanda’s edition it is 11. 3. 8.

See also Dr Cordier’s Recevtes Decotwertes de MSS. Mēdicaux Sanserifs dans Flnde, p. 13.


ata eva Nāgārjunair vasti-dvāra iti paṭhyate.


Nāgārjunetia likhitā stambhe Pāṭaliputrake, v. 149.


Nibandhān bahuśo vīkṣya vaidyaḥ Srībhāratātmajaḥ uttara-sthānam akarot suspaṣṭaṃ Dalhnṇn hḥiṣak.


History of Indian Philosophy, vol. I, pp. 313-322.


On Caraka’s being the court-physician of Kaniska see S. Levi, Notes sur les Indo-Scythes, in Journal Asiatique, pp. 444 sqq.


Caraka-saṃhitā, VI. 30 and Siddhi-sthāna , VII. 8.


asmin saptādaśādhyā kalpāḥ siddhaya eva ca
’gniveśasya tantre Carakasaṃskṛte
tān etān Kāpilabalaḥ śeṣān Dṛḍhabalo ’karot
tantrasyāsya mahārtḥasya pūraṇārthaṃ yathāyatham.

      VI. 30. 274.


J.R.A.S. , 1908 and 1909.


Pratyakṣa-śārīram, introduction.


See Dr Cordier’s Recentes Decouvertes de MSS. Midicaux Sanscrits dans VInde (1898-1902).


See Cakrapāṇi’s commentary on Caraka-saṃhitā, 11. 2, also Śrīkantha on the Siddha-yoga, Jvarādhikāra.


Cakrapāṇi’s commentary, 11. 2 and 11. 5, also Śrīkantha on the Nidāna (Kṣudra-roga).


It is curious to notice that the Brahma-vaivarta-purāṇa makes Dhanvantari, Kāśīrāja and Divodāsa different persons, which is contrary to Suśruta’s statement noted above.


Durvyākhyā-viṣa-suptasya Vāhaṭasyāsmad-uktayaḥ satitu saṃvitti-dāyinyas sad-āgama-pariṣkṛtā. Indu’s commentary, i. i.


Siddha-yoga, I. 27,
Aṣṭāṅga-saṃgraha, 11. 1,
Nidāna, 11. 22 and 23,
Saṃ-graha, 1. 266,
(Jivānanda, 1896),
xvi. 31,
11. 26.

Again, Cikitsita-sthāna, xvi. 53, etc.,
11. 27, etc.


Hoernle thinks that the total number of 76 eye-diseases ordinarily found in the printed editions of Mādhava’s Nidāna is not correct, as they do not actually tally with the descriptions of the different eye-diseases given by Mādhava aṇḍ do not include pakṣma-kopa and pakṣma-śātā varieties. Hoernle’s “Osteology,” p. 13.


Cakra’s commentary, i. 7. 46-50.


See Hoernle’s “Osteology,” pp. 14-16.


Narasimha Kavirāja was the son of Nīlakantha bhaṭṭa and the pupil of Rāmakṛṣṇa bhaṭṭa. He seems to have written another medical work, called Madhu-matl. His Vivarana-siddhānta-candrikā, though based on Vijaya’s Madhu-koṣa, is an excellent commentary and contains much that is both instructive and new. The only manuscript available is probably the one that belongs to the family library of the author of the present work, who is preparing an edition of it for publication.

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