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...

Man is a social creature Caste, guilds, unions etc., are the attempts of man to satisfy the social instinct. What these groups are to society, friends are to the individual. It is truly said that a man is known by the company he keeps A man therefore should be very careful in the selection of his friends as these friends are not only an indication to the man’s inner qualities but they very often mould a man’s character

But it is not always expedient to have a fixed set of friends for all occasions Man’s activities are diverse and the company for fundamentally diverse activities should be different in order to create harmony and receive stimulus.

Caraka Samhita contains many instructions regarding the selection of one s company. He does not preach the orthodoxy of having a company of particular persons for all occasions. One has to select the company of those who are of homologous nature and at the same time fitted for the purpose. In a learned assembly, one can have scholars, but at a wine party, they would certainly be out of place. At such parties, the company should consist of those who can compete in drinking bouts and enhance the pleasure of drinking. For the purpose of increasing virility persons who augment the sensual atmosphere would be the fittest. For a company not meant for any particular occasion, one should select persons who help in the development of his life. The citations from Caraka given below will give an idea of the life of those days and the company one chose for the dififerent activities and pleasures.

Company in General

[Carakasaṃhitā Sūtrasthāna 7.56-59]

“Those who are sinful of conduct, speech and disposition, back-biters, quarrelsome, sarcastic and niggards; those who are envious of others’ prosperity, and cheats; those who delight in scandal-mongering and are fickle-minded, those who have a foot in the enemy’s camp, those who are without compunction, and apostates—all such, the scum of humanity, should be shunned. While those who are mature in understanding, learning, years, character, courage, memory and one-mindedness; those who frequent the company of such those who are endowed with insight into the nature of things, those who are free from all ailments, those who are well-disposed towards all creatures, those who are tranquil of heart, those who are commendable of character, the teachers of the right path and those who hear and see only that which is meritorious, are to be sought.”

Virilific Company

[Carakasaṃhitā Cikitsāsthāna 2/3, 21-23]

“The man that has, as his intimate companions, men given to the same activities as himself, men who have attained their objects, who are mutually helpful, skilled in the fine arts, who are similar in mind and age, who are endowed with noble lineage, magnanimity, skill, character and purity, who are' ever desirous of enjoyment and are cheerful, free from sorrow and depression of spirits, who are akin to him in disposition and who are loving and beloved and pleasant in speech, such a man gets increased in his virility.”

Wine party Company—

[Carakasaṃhitā Cikitsāsthāna 24.80-82]

“The men of excellent character, those that are pleasant of speech, that are amiable in expression, that are applauded by the good, that are not unversed in the arts, that are clean of heart and quick in the grasp of things, those that are mutually helpful and whose coming together is out of sincere friendship, who enhance the pleasure of drinking by their joy, affection and sweet manner and the seeing whom causes mutual increase of joyous spirits: such men indeed make happy company at drink, for, drinking in their company one enjoys delight”

Scholars’ Company—

[Carakasaṃhitā Sūtrasthāna 13.3]

“Unto Punarvasu seated in the company of the masters of the numerical metaphysics (Sankhya) who had counted all the existing categories of truth, Agnivesha put his question having in his view the world’s welfare.”

The last citation but indirectly indicates the qualities of scholar’s company.

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