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...

Chapter 18 - People and their Professions

There were four main divisions in which people were classified, each class having a particular type or trend of work in general Caraka permits the study of medical science to the first three groups of people, viz, (Brāhmaṇa, Rājanya, Vaiśya) each class being obliged to make use of this science for a particular purpose.

The Shudra class is debarred from the study of the medical science by Caraka while Sushruta concedes to the Shudra class the general study of medicine, only debarring them from the Mantra (mantramaṃtra) therapy.

The Shudra class was considered the lowest in the society and was assigned the service of the higher classes. Rasayana therapy was neither taught to them nor were they given the benefit of this kind of therapy.

In ceremonies, they were not sanctioned the performance of but they had to be satisfied with mere salutations (namaskāra) to the Brahmins.

The order of sequence was:—the Brahmins first, Rajanya second, Vaishya third and Shudra last.

Sinful professions to be avoided;]

  1. Carakasaṃhitā Sūtrasthāna 5.104;
  2. Carakasaṃhitā Sūtrasthāna 11.5.

Four Castes:

  1. Brāhmaṇa;
  2. Kṣatriya;
  3. Vaiśya;
  4. Śūdra—was almost excluded from medical profession.

(1) There is no mention of (Śūdra) in the description of classes of people and purpose for which they should practice medical profession.

(2) For procreation procedure he was debarred from performance of (???).

He was to be satisfied with (namaskāra).


Sushruta allows admission to (Śūdra) but (mantra) is not to be given. Kasyapa allows this but they have to be assistants only. Vagbhata revolts against the debarring of (Śūdra).

(Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya)—They held the position in the order of their enumeration.

(Suśruta) sanctions the admission of (Śūdra) to medical profession, only debarring him from (Mantra) training.

Kashyapa describes that for subordinate medical work they should be allowed medical training.

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