History of Indian Medicine (and Ayurveda)

by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society | 1949 | 162,724 words | ISBN-13: 9788176370813

The History of Indian medicine and Ayurveda (i.e., the science of life) represents the introductory pages of the Charaka Samhita composed of six large sections dealing with every facet of Medicine in ancient India in a Socio-Historical context. Caraka is regarded as one of the pioneers in the field of scientific healthcare. As an important final a...

It was the great German Poet-philosopher Goethe that said,

“If you would understand an author, you must understand his age”.

Most people will agree with us when we say that the meaning and spirit of this greatest of medical classics will become more intelligible and vitally interesting against the background of the context of life and things, and 'the ideas, the forms of thought, sentiment and behaviour that obtained and developed in their age Though this is a work on medicine, it is not without interest to the general man, for medicine is one of those vital subjects that have a bearing on various general aspects of life. It has a light to throw on the food and clothing, the methods of education, the place of man and women in society, the pleasures people resorted to, on sex and marriage, the habits and addictions, the social pleasures and the religious practices pertaining to that age

It is thus that the material for writing history is culled from the works on art, literature and particularly medicine. Even as the chronicles of general history provide data for the medical historian, similarly the chronicles of medical history and science throw considerable light on the facts and features of general life and history.

It needs the diligent and patient mind of the researcher to exhaustively investigate these ancient texts of medicine in the light of a historical perspective, to paint a complete picture of the social, economic and religious aspects of life in Caraka’s age We have contented ourselves under the present circumstances to pick up only the salient features obtained from incidental references in Caraka and to draw a probable picture of the conditions of life warranted by such references. It is hazardous to aver that our conclusions are exactly and completely true of the state of things obtaining several millenniums ago. yet we are certainly able to suggest the direction in which the truth might lie and thus guide the interested reader in his further and more detailed investigations in the realm We are thus in a position to declare that a more intense investigation, in the light of and with the object in view we have suggested in these pages, is bound to bear fruit and yield the historian rich material for depicting the social, economic, religious and cultural aspects of life in the India of more than two thousand years ago. We are sure that the following outline of the picture of life then, built upon the salient features mentioned in the Caraka Samhita and allied works, will greatly interest the general reader.

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